Saturday Spotlight- Dan Boline

Name : Daniel Boline
Age : 34
Occupation : Scientist

I grew up in Minnesota, in the Northwest suburbs of Minneapolis. I have two sisters, one nearly two years older, the other 5 years younger (I’m a middle child). I started this whole running thing in High School, I considered joining the Cross Country team in 9th grade, but at the time I thought I wanted to be a journalist and so tried to join the school newspaper. I quickly discovered that I suffer from terrible writers block, and ended up going out for Nordic Skiing (my sister was already on the team).
The first month or so of the skiing season there was no snow, and we ran to get ourselves in shape.
It was these early skiing practices where I first discovered the runners high, and I was pretty much hooked from then on out.

During High School my year was Cross Country in the Fall, Skiing in the Winter, Track in the Spring, and long miles over the Summer. There were many practices, many races, wonderful times with each team.
I went away to College, to Michigan Tech in Houghton, a 6 hour drive from home, the middle of nowhere. My first year at College I went out for the cross country team, but while I enjoyed the workouts, I didn’t do particularly well at running (I was focused on studying so I could graduate as quickly as possible and get on to grad school). My second year I gave myself a stress fracture in the tibia, and after recovering from that, I decided to try my hand at a Marathon.

That first Marathon, Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth MN in June 2001, was an amazing experience, 10,000 people packed onto a 2 lane highway for an 8 am start. I started further back than I should’ve and spent the first few miles dodging people. The first 20 miles were amazing, the last 6 were a bit of a painful surprise, but soon after finishing I knew I’d back again.

Over the next 5 years I ran 8 marathons, Grandma’s each of those 5 years, the Twin Cities Marathon twice, and a now defunct Marathon in Providence RI. During those 5 years I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Physics, and started Grad School at Boston University. In 2006 I moved again, this time to the far western suburbs of Chicago, to continue my PhD research at Fermi National Lab (Fermilab for short). For the next 6 years my office sat about 50 feet from the Tevatron Accelerator, an “atom-smasher” 3 miles in circumference.

The last of those 8 marathons went somewhat badly (my older Sister passed me around mile 22), and I decided that I shouldn’t sign up for anymore until I was willing to actually put in the required training. I continued running, and even put in a few 20 milers, but now did it purely for enjoyment, and without any thought about how fast I was going, or any attempt to train myself. At the same time I started driving everywhere (I hadn’t had a car while living in Boston), and I started partaking a bit too much in calorie dense food (Portillo’s, White Castle, Pizza, Indian Sweets), none of it would’ve been bad in moderation, but I had a tendency to over-consume.

In January 2010 I finished my PhD (it took longer than it should have), and started my current job working as a Post-Doctoral Researcher for Stony Brook (I was still stationed at Fermilab so didn’t actually move). That spring I signed up for Grandma’s Marathon, and discovered that I was in somewhat worse shape than I’d thought. I also realized (or just stopped ignoring) the fact that I’d put on a good 50 pounds since leaving Boston. My immediate solutions to this problem were to give up soda, and buy a bike. Both of those interventions helped, and introduced me to the Illinois Prairie Path (look it up, it’s wonderful).

In 2011 I decided to get serious about losing weight. I got a Gym membership (the first time since childhood) and actually attended regularly, and I started obsessively keeping track of the number of calories I ate, how much I was exercising, and monitoring my weight. I ran a lot, biked a lot, did the elliptical a bit, on occasion lifted weights. By June I’d lost 20 lbs, I signed up for a two-person marathon-relay and managed to run a 7:30/mi pace over nearly 15 miles. In July I ran a sub 18:30 5k, and did my first and to date only Triathlon (the swimming did not go well). By early September I’d lost another 10 lbs, ran a 39:30 10k and a 1:29 half marathon, then managed to injure myself several times over (one pulled muscle playing Ultimate Frisbee, another on an overly fast long run).

At the end of September 2011 the Tevatron Accelarator was shut down for good, and I packed up my things and moved to Long Island. I planned my move around a Marathon in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the course was beautiful, but as I was injured it wasn’t a terribly memorable performance.

After moving to Long Island, I started racing far far more than I had before. 18 races in 2012, 22 in 2013, and an unreasonable 47 in 2014. At the beginning of this year I decided to try running an Ultra-Marathon, as of writing this I’ve finished 8, and by the time you read this I will hopefully have finished number 9, the JFK 50 miler.

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