Beer, pancakes and Berlin: Teammate Q&A with Todd Moore

Just a few weeks ago, Todd Moore ran a very impressive 2:40:16 at the 2021 Berlin Marathon, adding a second major marathon under his belt (the first being Boston). The result didn’t come without its challenges, though. After running aggressively for 22 miles, Todd faced some late-race drama and fell off pace for three miles. In the end, he was able to regain control and notch a personal record.

Fresh off from his Berlin race experience, we caught up with Todd to talk about all things training, racing and nutrition. After nearly two years of training altered by COVID-19, Todd shares how the RCTC community has helped fuel his joy for running. We also talk about his future plans and shed light on the role of fueling (pancakes) and hydration (beer) in his running hobby. Enjoy!

You just returned from the Berlin Marathon. Tell us about your experience running an international, major marathon.

The Berlin Marathon was a really distinct race experience. Boston being the only other major I’ve raced, I was struck by how different I felt about the settings. I don’t mean the course profile. As you run through Berlin you can feel the history of the place, the monuments, the communities. Each time you changed direction you turned into a neighborhood that was shaped by Berlin’s churning history, or that has developed a counterculture identity in response to that history. Where Boston felt like running in the footsteps of legends and celebrating our sport, the Berlin Marathon really felt like taking a small part in this ongoing reclamation of the city from its fraught past century. I could be assigning too much meaning to it, but between that context and the two year wait to toe the line, it felt special. 

And it is unquestionably flat and fast as advertised. My only regret from race day is not managing my emotions for the first 15 miles. I got caught up in the excitement and ran a few enthusiastic miles that probably cost me a minute or two in the last 10k. When you don’t have hills or bridge climbs looming, every straightaway seemed like an opportunity to open up my stride (possibly to my detriment).

Take us back to the beginning, where it all started. How did running become a part of your life?

Running has always been an essential part of my life.  My dad was a high school track and cross country coach, and an accomplished runner in his own right. So I grew up going to meets, road runs, and the like as his tag along. I became a good, far from great, runner in high school but then fell out of love with the sport around 18. My dad passed away that year and as a result I drifted away from the sport competitively. I did keep running a little for fitness and fun into my twenties. The excitement came back for me around 2018. Around that time my mom found and shared a lot of my dad’s old race and marathon momentos. He had run the Eugene Oregon Track Club marathon in the 70s, when they used to finish on the Hayward Track. With U of O planning to tear down historic Hayward in 2018 I was inspired to seize the final opportunity to finish in his footsteps at the 2018 Eugene Marathon. I had a lot of fun training for that race, and had more success on race day than I could’ve hoped. Just like that, the spark for running was back. 

Why did you decide to join Rose City Track Club?

As much as I may have enjoyed training solo for the 2018 marathon, after another solo training cycle and the, let’s say general societal despair of the last 2 years, I really felt a need for a running community. The RCTC encouragement and accountability made an immediate positive impact for me in what was my first training cycle with real injury challenges. This group is kind, and thoughtful, but also gets down to business when it counts. 

 I was also drawn to RCTC for their efforts around the Rose City Mile (even if I truly dread that race distance). After a few years focusing on my own running, I wanted to be part of a group that was giving back to the broader running community, and building up the sport. There aren’t many mile races out there, anywhere, for your non-professional runner. Finding this club that had created a unique and tangible opportunity for our sport was one of many signs it was the right kind of group for me.

What are you looking forward to after your experience at Berlin?

I’m undecided on my spring plans. It could be another marathon cycle, something local. I’m loathe to race Eugene again because of the travesty of what the University has done to Hayward Field (Editor’s note: shots fired!), but I do love running that course. Or it could be an opportunity to train for a faster half marathon PR. I’d love to break 1:15 at that distance. We’ll see what training inspires me as ramp back up. 

Next fall I’m eyeing Chicago. We’ve got a good thing going on auto-qualifying for the majors, so I figure I might as well keep it going. I have friends in and connected to that city that it should be a really fun experience.

You’ve developed a bit of a reputation as a pancake connoisseur. How’s that going for you?

Pancakes have always been and always will be my breakfast food of choice. I spent some time in this Berlin training cycle dialing in some simple, lighter recipes that aligned with my nutrition and recovery goals. Batters sweetened by mashed bananas and some higher protein options that allowed me to “indulge” midweek without compromise. Now that I’m in my off season, it’s time to get back into some real treats though. Long run Sundays become all about earning the stack at home afterwards.

Can you recommend any pancake/beer pairings?

Any time I am going with a sweet plate for breakfast, I want the drink to balance with some bitterness. I prefer something like a coffee stout and would recommend the Breakside Mexican Coffee stout if you can find it in season. As an unabashed Pabst advocate, I’ll also note that the PBR hard coffee options are great and suitable for a breakfast drink (though not technically beer). I also have a proven recipe for crispy beer waffle batter made with PBR if you really want to tie your beer and breakfast combo together.

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