High turnover is an inevitable reality for CPTC’s Open Roads scoring teams. Open CPTC members are often still weighing their commitments to the NYC area, running, and CPTC, so movement on and off the club at that age is common. Since the middle of 2016, the Open Men have benefitted from the consistent contributions of Matt Lawder. Matt has been able to maintain a relatively low profile despite his impressive performances. But, as a valuable teammate and someone who has shown willingness to get involved with CPTC more broadly, Matt deserves a formal introduction.
Matt moved to NYC from St. Louis in early 2016 and started training with Tony and the roads group shortly before the Boston Marathon of that year. Prior to NYC, Matt completed a graduate program at Washington University in St. Louis. The time in St. Louis was actually a return home after a running career that took off at Butler University in Indianapolis. Matt’s first jump into running came in his freshman year of high school, and after moving up to his HS varsity squad as a junior he was a 2-time all-state cross country honoree. Matt’s strong career continued at Butler, where he was a 2-time all-conference cross country honoree. After moving back to St. Louis, Matt trained with the Big River Running team, finding particular success at the marathon distance in 2013 at Chicago (2:26:21) and in 2015 at Boston (2:26:15).
Matt came to NYC to participate in a data science boot camp called The Data Incubator, which launched him into a data analyst position at 1010data. Matt lives on the UWS with his wife, Allie, and dog, Abigail. Matt continues to be one of the Open Men’s top scorers in 2018, and while he hopes to give NYAC a run for 2nd place in NYRR club points races for the rest of the year, his current training is focused on the Chicago Marathon, which he’ll take on with a number of CPTC’s other top Open men. I recently peppered Matt with a laundry list of questions – I hope you’ll take a read not only to get to know one of our top runners but also because Matt has a positive outlook on training that he’s earned through years of hard work. And, you may see some contributions from Matt on the website in the future (something he did quite well with Big River Running…). CPTC, meet Matt Lawder.
Preferred race / distance?
ML: I don’t get to race it too often, but I have to go with the marathon. There really isn’t a comparable feeling to having a solid finish at a marathon.
Most memorable performances to date?
ML: I’ll give a couple here. My marathon PR in Boston (2:26:15) was pretty memorable. The atmosphere around the race was electric and I had a great group to run with for most of the race. In the marathon it’s easy to end up between groups in no-man’s land, but we had a 12 or 13 strong group through about mile 15 which made such a difference in my race. Being able to finish in the top 50 there was definitely special. With CPTC my best performance is probably from the 2017 Brooklyn Half. I had run 69:18 at the NYC Half two months earlier and was trying to get under 69 minutes to get President’s Circle status with the NYRR. The whole race I was right around 69 flat pace and was able to hang on and pick up the last couple of miles to run 68:46 for a PR. Even better we had the best CPTC Open Men’s team half performance ever with Matt Rand, Eddie Mulder, Mike Franklin, and Jeff Ares on our scoring team that averaged 68:35 per racer!
Any favorite races?
ML: There’s a really small 4th of July 5k in Litchfield, IL called the Freedom Fun Run/Walk 5k – about 150 people. My family growing up (and still to this day) often spent the holiday at a lake nearby. Before my freshman year of high school was the inaugural race. I had never run before, but I signed up for the race with my family. That first year I ran something like 27 minutes, but within 3 years I won the race and have won it 9 or 10 more times since. It’s always great to run it with the rest of my family and then go enjoy the rest of the day on the lake. In New York, I really like the Bronx 10-Miler. It’s one of the first races where you can finally show your fitness from the summer and has a favorable second half of the course to help you get some fast times!
ML: I’m a strength guy, so there’s nothing like a big tempo run. There’s nothing like going out and running a solid 12-15 mile tempo to know that you’re ready for a marathon.
Least favorite workout?
ML: I don’t mind running 2x5k and have had some great 2x5k workouts. But, we often do that workout with Tony’s group heading up the West Side and going through the Harlem Hills and then doing the second 5k in reverse. I’ve run that course/workout 3 or 4 times and every time that second 5k going up the Harlem Hills and then the Three Sister hills too just seems to wreck me. I say it’s my least favorite workout, but I keep wanting to run it because I know one of these days I’m going to nail it (hopefully)!
Go-to race morning breakfast?
ML: Most races I don’t eat anything beforehand, but for the longer races where I know I need some nutrition I’ll eat some plain dry Cheerios. I know it sounds really boring, but it works for me.
Any favorite NYC running routes?
ML: I live on the Upper West Side now, so don’t get to run here too often anymore, but my first year in New York I lived on the Upper East Side and would go over to Randall’s Island on a lot of my runs. It’s a great route because it’s usually so empty. It’s a great place to run along the water and have a nice peaceful run away from some of the hectic pace of Manhattan. I’m always surprised there are not more people out there running in the mornings!
Rumor has it you just got married and honeymooned in Peru. Congratulations. Most memorable part of your trip?
ML: We did a 4-day trek to Machu Picchu where we started at 11,000 ft and hiked 10-15 miles per day and got up to 15,000 ft. It was really challenging, but the views (and Machu Picchu) were spectacular – definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What’s the best part of training in NYC vs. other places you’ve lived? Worst part?
ML: Best part is the fact that so many training partners live so close. There are as many training partners on the Upper West Side alone as in whole cities I’ve lived before. Being able to bounce over to Central Park in 5 minutes and have some great loops to work out on is a plus, too. Toughest part is that pretty much all of my runs involve Central Park or Riverside/Hudson Park. I really appreciate being able to get in runs outside of the city when I can, but it’s not too frequent these days.
What surprised you most about living in NYC after moving?
ML: New York drivers may seem a little aggressive, but they are generally very respectful to (or at least wary of running over) pedestrians. Running through blocks on the UWS is not that difficult and you don’t have to worry much about people running red lights or cars getting angry about someone running in the roads.
Looking back, any running advice you would offer to your recent college graduate self (…or any recent college graduates on the team now…)?
ML: The toughest thing about post-collegiate running in my opinion is motivation. In high school and college, you have a very set schedule and you have a whole team that has the same goals. Once you graduate you have to start self-motivating and set goals on your own. It definitely helps to have a good group like CPTC, but you’ve got to really want to keep running and training and figure out what level of effort that means for you. I think it’s nice to take a little bit of time off right after college. It helps stepping away for a bit to figure out what you miss and what you want to get out of the sport beyond college. It can definitely take awhile to figure out where running fits in your life after college.
Any bold predictions for you or some of your training partners for the coming year(s)?
ML: I don’t think this is too bold, but I think CPTC will have at least one of our guys hit the men’s Olympic Trials mark for the marathon. We’ve got a lot of talent up top and everybody’s times are getting quicker. I can’t wait to see where everyone ends up in another year or two!
Rapid Fire Round…
ML: Count of Monte Cristo (2002) or Up in the Air
ML: Eggplant Parmesan. Great for a pre-race meal and great anytime for that matter.
What weather conditions make you say, “It couldn’t be any worse for a run?”
ML: 33 degrees and rainy. I’m fine in the snow, but nothing worse than cold rain, especially in NY, where there’s often a brisk wind to make it even worse.
Go-to non-running pastime?
ML: I don’t get to go very often living in Manhattan, but really enjoy an afternoon of golf.
Ideal next vacation spot?
ML: After my last vacation (which involved a lot of hiking), I’m ready for a beach vacation, maybe somewhere in the Caribbean.