Jordan Lerma: living with the ‘running bug’

WE TALK to Jordan Lerma about his journey back into running and the idea behind his website.

Boston Marathon

Jordan Lerma ran the Boston Marathon this year.


JORDAN LERMA had excelled at running at high school before lapsing into the less active routine a career in finance led him to live.


Inspired to change he began to get more serious about running again and set himself the challenge of competing in the Boston Marathon. He qualified for Boston by competing in the San Francisco Marathon and hasn’t looked back.


In this inspiring and frank interview Jordan talks about his journey back into running and explains how he keeps connected with like-minded people through his blog and website www.ctrlf.co


Could you tell us about your early experiences of running and any successes you had?


I was surrounded by a running culture since I was little. My mum ran a few marathons and her finisher’s certificate and medal are still hung up at my childhood home.


I started getting more serious about running during my sophomore year of high school. During try-outs my coach thought I cut the course and made me rerun it with the varsity team just to be sure. I improved after every race and went on to place in the top 20 for cross country at State in my junior and senior years and third for the 800m in my senior year.


I think my biggest success was getting recruited by a Division 1 school. Being able to take part, compete and train at that level has had a profound effect on my life. My teammates and friends I have made running during that time still inspire me till this day.


Your interest in running faded until you decided to train for the Boston 2015 marathon. What caused this change in you and how did you motivate yourself to prepare?


I had always wanted to run the Boston Marathon. I think deep down it’s a dream that every runner has. I took some time off from training because I was going through a significant transition in my life. I had just graduated from college and after four years competitive running I needed a break. I had started working a demanding job in financial services. I had become an adult. It took some time to learn how to find the balance between work and running. My diet wasn’t the greatest. I would wake up early and get home late with tons of stress in between. It wasn’t a healthy period in my life.


The change happened President’s Day weekend 2014. I was talking to an old teammate who was training for the 2014 Boston Marathon. We talked about his struggles of balancing a full-time job, volunteering at a local high school coaching cross country and at the same time finishing his masters programme. His life was 100 per cent busier than mine yet he still found the time to get in 80 miles a week. It was a sobering talk and after that I started running. I’ve run 3,153 miles since then and in the back of my head I always keep in mind that someone busier than me is running right now.


Chicago Marathon

Jordan running in the Chicago Marathon.


How much do you train and how you managed to put in the hours around your working schedule?


My typical training week is about 20 hours if you count cross training and injury prevention exercises. It was a lot more difficult in my past job where I had a set 8-5 schedule. It meant planning my runs ahead of time and following the calendar religiously.


After a few weeks it becomes second nature and that rush of always being busy and eliminating any wasted time made me more productive. Today, I’m fortunate enough to set my own work hours and I have more flexibility in my schedule to run I want. Having this freedom is dangerous because it requires more discipline to follow the schedule. It has become a learning experience to become more self-motivated to stay on track and not waste time.


You ended up first competing in the San Francisco Marathon – could you tell us about the experience and were you happy with your finishing time?


I signed up for the San Francisco marathon to attempt to qualify for the 2015 Boston Marathon. I instantly regretted my decision as soon as I looked at the elevation chart and became aware of what I was in for. It was a beautiful race through one of my favourite cities in the world. Since it was my first marathon the entire experience was an adventure and I had no idea what to expect. I ran with the three-hour pace group until mile 12 and I finished with a five-minute negative split in 2:53. I was happy that I was able to qualify for Boston with my finishing time, but I felt I could have gone faster. The marathon does a good job of exposing your weaknesses later in the race and it was a huge learning experience for me.


Could you tell us about the three marathons you have since competed in and what has kept you chasing the next goal?


So first off, running a marathon is weird. You train for 15 weeks to run a race that hopefully doesn’t last more than three hours. During the race I have a lot of time to reminisce about my training runs. Each marathon has passed through a different phase of my life, from different relationships to new places to call home; each marathon holds something special in my heart that encapsulated the entire 16-week process.


Over the past two years I have completed the San Francisco, Boston and Chicago marathon. The San Francisco marathon, as I mentioned above, was a qualifying race for Boston. After San Francisco I was able to reflect on my weaknesses and work on becoming a stronger runner. I put in a lot more miles in training and workouts went pretty well. I quit my job in California and moved to the middle of nowhere on the island of Kauai.


To put a damper on things, I was hit by a car in January which complicated training. I was eager to get back out there and start training again, but I didn’t want my injuries to turn into long term problems. After talking with my doctors and physical therapist, they agreed it was okay to keep training as long as I completed three hours of weekly rehabilitation.


There are no words that can fully describe the feeling of running the Boston Marathon. It was special, and I’ll never forget that race. It was even more emotional for me because I would be lining up at the start line with my teammate who inspired me to start running again. I finished in 2:33:44, a 20-minute PR from the San Francisco Marathon. It was my complete intention to stop running after I completed Boston. It was my dream, and I had done it faster than I could have ever imagined.


The night after completing the marathon my teammate sent me a text message containing a link to the Chicago Marathon application. Six months of running later we lined up in Chicago. I ran the race of my life and finished in 2:28:44. At this point I’m still trying to figure out what my goal is.


It’s been an unknown since completing Boston. Finishing all the marathon majors? Qualifying for the Olympic trials? I mean there’s so many possibilities and running has become a larger part of my life than I would have imagined two years ago. Running has come a constant in my life when everything else around it has changed so drastically. So to answer the question, I have no idea what is kept me chasing the next goal but I know what has kept me from stopping.



Chicago Marathon

Jordan is now so dedicated to running that he shares his experiences through his website www.ctrlf.co.


When did the idea for the website (www.ctrlf.co) come about and how important is it you to be able to connect with like-minded people across the internet?


I started ctrlf (www.ctrlf.co) after I moved to Kauai. It was a drastic change, and I just needed somewhere to write and express what was going through my head as I prepared for the Boston Marathon. A little by little I shared fragments of the site with others, and eventually everyone I know has read it. It is comforting to know that people in my life are there to support me in my adventures and endeavours.


The spirit of the running community is amazing especially when someone living in the middle of nowhere can connect to thousands of other runners who can relate to the same struggles and triumphs. I’m a huge fan of Strava. It has allowed to keep in touch with many runners I meet during races and my old teammates.


Do you have any more challenges set for the end of the year and beyond?


I’ve been accepted into the Tokyo Marathon, which takes place in February of next year. I’ve also applied for guaranteed entry into the Berlin Marathon and am waiting to hear back. I’m also competing in a few local races in the upcoming months to stay in shape. Aside from running I am completing two advanced courses in computer science to further my education in economics and statistics.

Reader Comments

Share This Article