An Interview with a Runner Who Smokes

Most of you know about my boyfriend, Julien Goby, because he is the determined french man who waited patiently 3 years to win my heart. He’s a man of the world having studied, worked and traveled to many places like Ireland, US, Australia, and New Zealand. Some of you may have bumped into him (or one of his alter-egos) while outside a bar smoking a cigarette at Figawi, a weekend in Nantucket during Memorial Day.  He may have introduced himself to you as the world’s fastest speed walker or caught your attention at the Gazebo dressed as a pilot, in women’s clothing or in just his underwear. Or perhaps you may have heard about him becoming a real-life superhero when he hopped on a scooter to chase down a drunk thief in the streets of Paris to rescue my stolen purse, mostly because his iPhone was in my bag, but regardless. Besides being one of the kindest people I know, he is also one of the most sarcastic and funniest. He also makes a pretty mean chocolate chip cookie. You may be surprised to know this European knows most of the rules to American Football, owns more Red Sox gear than most Bostonians I know, and that this fully addicted smoker is a marathoner. He is my complimentary, but let’s be honest – better half. This week I sat down with him to discuss his thoughts on running.

Running in Metz, France
Running in Metz, France


When did you start running and how has it progressed to the present moment?

I’ve always been a runner, starting as a kid during sports, but it was always random and easy, nothing stressful. As an adult, I started running more for cardio and conditioning for club handball. It became a bit more serious when I signed up for half marathons as a way to stay connected with family members and friends who also ran. And then I signed up for my first full marathon in Paris, 4 years ago, because I was curious to see if I could achieve the goal. I didn’t take the training seriously, it was more to see if I could finish rather than perform well. Currently, I’m signed up for my third Paris marathon with this time my focus is to see if I can complete the marathon in under 4 hours. To do so, I’m following an under 3:30 schedule from the Paris Marathon website as a safety measure, knowing I will need to take into account time for hydration and stretching, so the plan will allow for a buffer to hopefully achieve under 4 hours. Currently, I’m running 5x week with 3x intervals (2 long, some hills). I’m in better shape now than when I was younger and doing sports because I’ve put more focus on nutrition, training, and rest.

What do you love most about running?

Coming back for a smoke! Haha. I think it’s a nice life balance and to prove that smoking is a piece of information but not an excuse to not be a runner. Honestly, at first, I just want to be back when I first start out with my run and have it over with quickly. I sometimes get scared of the training that’s planned for the day but when you achieve the plan, you feel stronger and realize the training improves your performance. It’s enjoyable to see the improvements.

What’s your favorite running story or memory?

One of the best feelings after completing my first marathon was simply that I had a friend bring me a beer and smoke through a chain-linked fence after the finish. Another funny memory was before my second marathon last year, another runner saw me having a smoke in my running gear and asked if I was seriously running this thing.

All of your marathons have been in Paris, can you tell us about the race?

It is a nice marathon because you don’t need to have a qualifying time so it gives anyone a chance to run. You run through several neighborhoods, providing you with many spectators and supporters. It is well organized with plenty of aid stations. It’s also a large marathon, I think 54+k runners, so you have a greater chance of not finishing last!

Who is your running inspiration or someone you admire and look up to?

You inspire me because I don’t think I would have probably signed up for my 2nd or 3rd marathon. I mean, I felt bad watching tv while you would be out running. So honestly, you inspired me. (Side note: I didn’t pay him to say that!)

Where do you enjoy running?

My favorite place to run is close to a river on a concrete path. I do not enjoy trail running because I’m flying and I need stability. I like being able to see the horizon rather than guessing what’s behind the next tree.

How has running helped you in your professional or working life?

Running has improved my work/life balance. My co-workers are all aware of my goal and respect my plan as I put my running schedule within my work schedule. This prevents work schedule conflicts which allows me the ability to escape without fear of not having the time. Then I feel better at work because the run allows me to think about work issues more clearly, helping to accomplish the task later. Plus running gives you time to yourself, away from work. There is a slight selfish part to running but it helps you realize you can push yourself harder than the limits you think you have set for yourself. You always seem to find a way to push a bit further whether it be running faster, working harder at work or having 3-5 beers instead of one. Running teaches you to self reflect on one’s own performance and all tasks at life.

What’s your running dream? 

World Marathon Challenge – 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. If anyone would like to contribute or help sponsor towards the 36k entry fee, please feel free to email The Fit Wanderluster

What is your favorite running accessory or app?

I run with my Garmin Forerunner 620 watch and dutifully analyze my performance following my run with the Garmin Connect app. The app is made by runners for runners with all data I would expect and need like pace, distance, heart rate, cadence, and elevation with an easily readable design. The information is readily available because my watch is synced to my phone so I can view my data immediately.

Also, nowadays, I think running clothing options are really nice. Think about the past when people had to run with practically leather shoes and cotton shorts, they have come so far. Personally when I get new equipment (watch, t-shirt, sneakers, etc.) I find it exciting to get out and try it. It’s motivating. The more I run the more I realize how comfortable I need to be especially with longer distances, so I’m pretty picky now because I want comfort, performance, and fashion.

What would you advise anyone who is on the fence about running?

The most difficult obstacle for any starter is to put on the clothes and go outside. Once your out, you’ve already surpassed the main obstacle. There is no good or bad runner, everyone has their own pace and joy in running. I say don’t talk about it just do it, like Nike.

How do you see the future of running for you?

After running my marathons, I tend to take a small 6-month break from running. After this marathon, I would like to think that I will be more consistent and continue my running.

My goals for 2017:

  • April – Paris Marathon: sub 4 hours
  • May – Luxembourg Night Marathon: I have no goal time due to fact that it is a night marathon, the course is really hilly, of which I lack experience, and it is only one month after Paris. I don’t know how I’ll feel and I don’t want to put pressure on myself. This will be more for fun than Paris which I am taking seriously.
  • I’m also thinking about a half marathon in the summer, but this may seem a bit pretentious, I never worry about the training for them.

Going forward running will be about performance and if one day I see my performance decrease, I think that is something emotionally that will be tough for me. At that point, I will have to mentally prepare and accept that running will be more about health than performance.

Paris Marathon 2013
Paris Marathon 2013


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