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A Conversation with Matt Troyer

Matt Troyer: When you love running more than a frost-free beard!

Matt Troyer is a busy man. But we were determined to find out more about this UltraSignup community member. It took a few weeks to coordinate, but we finally got a few minutes to sit down so I could ask him a few questions. Based out of Indianapolis, Indiana, Matt is a parent, new runner, lover of nature and community, and all-around good person. I’m excited to introduce you to Matt Troyer. 

Tell me how you got into trail running. 

I wasn’t a runner until April 30th two years ago. I grew up playing sports like soccer but not running. Two years ago I got into a challenge with my siblings to see who could run the most miles in May of 2019. I ran like 50 miles that month. I might have won the challenge but I don’t remember. But that challenge gave me the running bug. 

I’m a business owner so I’m busy and personal health took a back seat, a common theme with a lot of entrepreneurs. 10 years into running my business and I wasn’t getting much physical activity. That challenge in May with my siblings gave me the bug and got me active. 

I also was on the crew for a friend in Leadville Colorado for a race in summer of 2019. My eyes were opened to a whole new world of what the body is capable of. It’s a great community of people there to help each other and get everyone across the finish line. A really fun experience. 

What’s been your most memorable race?

It’s funny, I’ve actually only run two races so far. I didn’t run a formal race until October of 2020 when I ran a 50k. Other than that, I’ve run a few turkey trot 5ks and an olympic distance triathlon back in 2010. When Covid hit I was probably in the best shape of my life and ready to race but races were canceled. So I did some fun races at home, like a marathon and 50k from our front door. This year, I am signed up for a 50 mile and a 100 mile race in the fall, so I have a big year ahead.

Have you had a difficult race/run moment? 

The 50k was extremely difficult and highly emotional. I was in a pretty dark spot from miles 22-24. I got behind on my hydration and dealt with leg cramping for the last 10 miles. Thankfully, I had some friends carry me emotionally and mentally through those miles. Trail running is emotionally and mentally challenging. I always thought about running as a physical act but I’ve had my eyes opened to the importance of the other aspects of training. 

I’ve definitely had some tough moments training. When I got injured on mile 2 of a 10 mile run and had to walk back to the car, that was hard. But there’s so much beauty in pushing through the pain. I think that’s why so many ultra runners do it. Once you push through the wall, it’s an eye-opening experience. It changes everything. It’s a sense of accomplishment of actually doing what you set out to do. 

Why do you keep running?

I own a construction and real estate development company and the benefits of focusing on myself as an individual trickle down. Physically, I’ve lost 30 pounds in the past year. But more than that, it’s transformed my life. It’s my escape from work and life. I can go into the woods and process, wrestle with ideas, and dream. Sometimes I bring headphones but a lot of times I don’t put them in because I enjoy the quiet. 

Do you like to run alone or with a group?

It’s 50/50; I run half the time with others and half the time by myself. It’s funny how it’s changed. When I started I didn’t want to run with anyone because I was breathing so hard I couldn’t talk. Now that I’m in better shape, I enjoy talking during runs, and it’s become a great way to catch up with friends. 

I’m also involved in our local running community, New Shoe Day, which hopefully  becomes a formalized non-profit in the near future. As runners, there’s not much better feeling than running in brand new shoes and we want to share that feeling with everyone. We want everyone to experience a New Shoe Day.

I also participated in One Thousand One City last year. It was a challenge where we ran 10 miles everyday for 100 days in Indianapolis. I did roughly 600 of the thousand miles or so, which was a lot for me as a newbie runner. There was so much going on in the community, protests, covid. Everyday we ran new roads in Indianapolis. It was a way we could get out into the community, share some good news, and connect to hear people stories. 

We ran everywhere, low, high income communities. Everyday we’d meet someone in that community. and then we would give them a gift of a cash card from new shoe day so they could get some new shoes. It was a fun way to focus on health and the community. 

What do you like to do post run?

Pizza and cheeseburgers always sound good to me post runs. I find I have to force myself to eat during a long run. I know I’m super hungry but I don’t want to eat.

I’m also focusing more time on recovery, stretching, yoga, and time in our sauna. Probably the best thing to do is to get back up and move. Sitting still is the worst thing after a run. Moving is the last thing you want to do but the best thing for you. 

Matt Troyer making us all feel cold just looking a him!

Do your boys show an interest in running, too?

We have 3 boys, 11, 8, and 4. We got a treadmill this year and the boys like to get their steps in on that. But I’m not forceful with getting them into running because I feel like I discovered running at 36 so I’m not gonna force them. I often wonder if I would have grown up running, would I still love it now? Hopefully by showing the value of running in my life, they will eventually discover it too. 

Do you still do road running or just trails?

I do a mix of road running and trail but definitely prefer trails if possible. I just have more of a passion for being in the woods. Trail running is so different from road running. It’s more about time on your feet, and a different ask of your body, different muscle groups; being connected. 

What would you tell a new runner?

Don’t be discouraged with progress but focus on consistency. You’re building durability in your body and the only way to do that is to run consistently.  It’s a slow progression and the goal is to not get injured. There’s no shortcut or secret, you’ve just gotta get out there and enjoy doing the work, especially the days when you don’t want to. That’s typically when you’ve have a breakthrough.

Big thank you to Matt for letting us get to know him a little better. The running community is certainly better with him in it. And if you want to learn more about New Shoe Day and One City One Thousand, check out their sites. Their work really embodies the positive impact running can have on a community. 

If you have someone else that you would like for us to interview, send them our way.