A Conversational Pace – Trevor Hains; less about the “where” and more about the “who.”

A quest for identity, a journey replete with embracing soaring highs, getting comfortable with the crushing lows, pushing through frustration, practicing patience, and focusing on who you run with over where, this is the story of Trevor Hains.

Saying yes to last-minute invites, far-away running camp opportunities, showing up for group runs with clubs you don’t belong to (yet), and essentially getting comfortable with being uncomfortable has paved the path for lifelong friendships, a deeper sense of connection, and feeling less lonely through running.

At this point, I feel like everyone is somewhat sick of me talking about the transcendent experience that was my summer 2022 Hood to Coast adventure. But it’s near impossible to talk about and the power of togetherness, community, and feeling less alone without mentioning such a defining moment in the life of a runner. (While this sounds like a broad-stroke, I have yet to meet one person that has run H2C that hasn’t wholeheartedly agreed that your first time will stick with you for a lifetime.)

Enter Trevor Hains. Trevor and I met in Van 2 during the Hood To Coast 2022 relay. Drawn immediately to his competitive nature, I appreciated the hell out of his grit and blunt fortitude to make our van one of the elite participants even before Sam turned the ignition key. While, “we’re gonna podium,” was mentioned more than once, my fave things about Trevor were his commitment to pushing himself, his die-hard defense of all things Van 2, and really bringing the team together through a palpable intensity he instilled in us to keep us going strong regardless of zapped energy.

It was all or nothing. And in that, it was all of us, together.

This is Trevor Hains.

Leggggs: TREVOR. Hell yes. What’s up man? Stoked you’re here. Just for some context, and to introduce you a bit, who are you and what do you do?

Trevor Hains: I am Trevor Hains. Find me on Instagram at @trevhains. I currently work as a brand marketer for The Washington Post. More importantly, I also serve as Dojo of Pain’s unofficial/self-proclaimed “Head of Swag.”

Leggggs: What’s your personal mission? Or, if you had to sum yourself up in one sentence, what would it be?

TH: When I decide I want to do something – I go all in. Be great at the things you love. That applies to running, but more importantly to friendships and relationships.

Leggggs: Hell yes. I so appreciate the unbridled “go all in” spirit. Definitely something that kept us afloat, and in front during Hood to Coast. That said, when did you first get into running? Why?

TH: I’ve played team sports at a competitive level my entire life. It wasn’t until college that sports took a back seat and I spent most of my energy figuring out what the fuck I was going to do with my life in the “real world.” I gravitated towards marketing and managed to land a job in NYC. After 6 months in the “real world” I realized that a competitive outlet was seriously missing in my life. 

I knew that, while I liked my job and took it very seriously, it was never going to be my life’s passion. I wasn’t going to set a 5AM alarm and wake up like “LET’S MAKE SOME FUCKING ADS TODAY, BABY!”. I couldn’t just wake up, commute, work, commute, eat, watch tv, sleep, wake up, commute, work, drink, commute, watch tv, eat, sleep. I needed something that I loved doing, something that I could commit to, something that would make me happy, push me mentally and physically, and provide me identity. In 2017, I spectated the NYC Marathon and decided – “yup, I want to do THAT shit. That’s what I’m going to do for the rest of my life.”

So, just like that, I officially became a runner in early 2018. And of course – I went all in. 

Leggggs: I feel like all-too-often, we build up, so greatly, what we do for money, that if one stone slips, the entire structure of who we are crumbles. Glad you found that outlet. Though, makin some fuckin ads baby is not without its merit.

What type of run gets you going most? Fave type of running basically

TH: I love a good track workout – especially a team track workout. I like that the workout has structure and I like that runners of all paces can support one another. As someone who didn’t run in high school or college – I love wearing spikes. Spikes just turn the energy up a notch.

Leggggs: Tell me about your favorite run ever? What, why, where, how, who, when…. Etc

TH: I can’t think of a single “favorite” run, but for me, it’s less about the “where” and more about the “who.”

I’ve run in some beautiful places, but the runs that I’ve enjoyed the most are the runs in which I’m with a solid, hard working crew. Beautiful weather and solid banter. Luckily for me, that’s most days.

[Running] is less about the “where” and more about the “who.”

Trevor hains

Leggggs: Fair enough. Then, how about the worst run of your life? What made it terrible? How did you push through (if you did)?

TH: My last marathon was pretty brutal. Aside from the head wind, the cold, being completely alone, and the lack of aid stations – I felt bad early and I crossed the line broken and pale. My dad caught me at the line and basically carried me inside to get warm. I was in the best shape of my life, I bonked, and I failed. But hey – that’s marathoning for you. Get comfortable with failing. Get back up and go again. 

Get comfortable with failing. Get back up and go again. 

Trevor Hains on overcoming the crushing lows

Leggggs: Such a valid sentiment that we often forget. Shit is going to happen. We are imperfect, fallible creations. Gotta get comfy with losing it all from time to time.

In a completely different line of questioning, what’s some running gear you can’t live without? 

TH: Salt. I sweat – a lot. Not only do I sweat a lot – I have severe salt/sodium loss. I used to really suffer on hot, long runs – muscle cramping, stomach issues, bonking, etc. Adding BASE salt or LMNT drink mix has been essential. 

Bandanas. They just look cool. 

Leggggs: Sweat brothers. I remember, distinctly, Xavier patting my back after my last H2C leg and going, “Jesus, you’re wet.” Good times.

How about shoes? Best shoes for road / trail / recovery / short runs / long runs? All that…

TH: My favorite road race shoe of all time is the first Nike Vaporfly NEXT% – you know, the green colorway. The lock down, the design, the weight, the bounce, the durability. I bought a pair in 2019 and I still do workouts in them after 500+ miles. 

All about the OOFOS post-run.

Leggggs: Team OOFOS for life, man.

Got a quote you repeat to yourself mid-run when shit is getting real? 

TH: I don’t have one. I wish I did. If I’m honest, positive self-talk is something that I struggle with as a runner. I’m incredibly hard on myself. My default setting is not nice. When a race or a workout gets hard, I always push through – but mainly out of frustration. It’s something that I’ve really noticed this year and I’m working hard to address it. 

But, I think “shit will get real” for any runner that is truly pushing their limits. Failure and doubt are guaranteed for those brave enough to toe their threshold.

While I don’t have a quote or a mantra, something that I do try to remind myself pre-race is “Trevor, you love this”.  You love working hard, you love finding your limits, and [while you’d really prefer not to] you love entering the pain cave. The nerves, the pressure, the expectations – you enjoy that. So, go do what you love. 

Leggggs: I so value and appreciate the vulnerability and honesty in that response, Trevor. When I intially crafted that question, I had no idea the nuanced answers I’d get. And sometimes, there’s just no answer. It’s almost harder to operate without a mantra but still find ways to keep yourself going. Fuck yeah, man.

Keeping your head in the game on your runs, though, are you a headphones or no-headphones guy?

TH: I’m a firm believer in no headphones when racing or on a group run. I love the sound of a runners’ stampede. But, music is essential when running indoors on the treadmill or on a solo long run.

Leggggs: Well said. It’s not black and white. Also, I have never heard the term “runners’ stampede” and I am now in love with that. Gonna steal it. (with credit).

Follow up – Pump up music for running? What is your perfect song?

TH: I tend to stray away from the typical loud pump up song. I like these quiet, yet emotionally powerful type songs. It’s not genre-specific and frankly I can’t really describe it. They tend to hit me in some weird part of my brain that makes me want to run through a brick wall.

  • “Escape (feat. Hayla)” by Kx5, deadmau5, Kaskade, Hayla
  • “Nose to the Grindstone” by Tyler Childers
  • “Kyle (i found you)” by Fred again..

Leggggs: Love me some Fred again…

How do you convince yourself to run when you really dont feel like it?

TH: For the most part, I always want to run. But, obviously there are some dark, cold, rainy days in which I would prefer to keep sleeping. I think a few things help push me. First, having others to keep you accountable. It’s hard to make excuses when I have friends/teammates like Xavier (among many others!) who are on time, wearing a huge fucking smile, never complain, and are committed to the workout at hand. 

Second, if I’ve really lost motivation – I’ll just cop an exciting new pair of running shoes. BOOM, problem solved. 

It’s hard to make excuses when I have friends/teammates…who are on time, wearing a huge fucking smile, never complain, and are committed to the workout at hand. 

Leggggs: That Xavier, man. And really everyone I met from Dojo…

What is on your bucket list of places to run?

TH: I’ve always wanted to train in Iten. It also seems like every pro runner was in St. Moritz this season. Other than that, I’d love to hit a workout at the Nike headquarters track.

Leggggs: I can maybe help with the Nike HQ track workout. Next time you’re here, let’s make it a plan.

What no-bullshit advice would you say to inspire a person to start running?

TH: Like most runners, running a marathon was the goal that inspired me to start running. But after completing my first marathon, I waited 4+ years to run my second. I realized (1) a smart runner works their way up in distance and (2) improvements at shorter distances are just as awesome. 

So, I would say to any new runner – don’t get caught up in the marathon (or half marathon) hype. Have fun at shorter distances. Take pride in a new 5k PR. Be patient. Be intentional. 

Leggggs: Really, really well put, man.

Who do you have to thank for where in your running journey?

TH: I have so many people to thank. At the top of that list is Kennedy, who listens to me ramble about training theories, keeps me grounded, and supports me endlessly. When it comes to relationships – running can be an inherently selfish endeavor. It often consumes much of your time, money, and brain power – all of which can lead to friction and resentment. I feel very fortunate to be with someone whose idea of a vacation is going to Berlin … to run a marathon. It’s one thing to have a partner that understands/tolerates your passion, it’s another to have a partner that shares your passion.

Lastly, I wouldn’t be the person/athlete I am today without the influence of my uncle, Rick Schofield. A serial marathoner and long-course triathlete, my Uncle Rick might as well have been Superman. He knew better than anyone the power of endurance sport and its community. My uncle Rick passed away in January 2021. I try really hard to be half as supportive and strong as he was. 

Leggggs: What races are you eyeing in the near or not-near future?

TH: Richmond Half Marathon in November, NYC Half in March, and my first Boston Marathon in April!

Leggggs: Anything else for the community?

TH: Follow my dog’s Instagram → @helloimmeatball. Photos by yours truly. 

A massive thank you to Trevor for sharing his story. The ups and downs and in-betweens are just further reminders that why we do this (running), how, where, with whom, what kind….. etc, is far more nuanced and individualized than anyone can put a label on. Running isn’t about winning races. But it also is about that. It’s about mental health. But it’s also not. It’s about exploring the world AND hammering a treadmill. Whatever your reason for logging distance is, running is a connection to something greater than the individual… something personalized yet universal. And Trevor reminds us of that here.

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