Project Carbon X 2 wrap – Q&A with Dion Finocchiaro
Fresh from his participation in Project Carbon X 2 on January 23 in Phoenix, Arizona in the US, Melbourne-based coach, massage therapist and ultra-runner Dion Finocchiaro shared his experience with HOKA Australia’s social and PR manager Michelle Singer.
Q: How was your preparation once you touched down in Arizona? Talk us through a typical day ahead of the event.
A: My preparation was actually pretty good training wise. I managed to find plenty of flat roads with no traffic for runs and some wonderful trails. Merely a taste of what Arizona has to offer. I kept local to my hotel and didn’t venture out too far to keep safe from Covid-19.
A typical day involved getting a run done in the morning before or just after breakfast. Followed by some relaxing around the hotel facilities like a walking trail, the pool area or working in my room on my online coaching business. Lunch was again in the hotel restaurant much like dinner was. It was a shock to the system having restaurant food every day. Tough life living almost like a professional athlete. 😉
Q: Did you get to meet/mingle with the other runners prior to the event, was there anyone in particular you got to hang out with who’s been an inspiration?
A: I did actually. Initially I hung around with Audrey Tanguy (FRA), Julien Chorier (FRA), Peter Van Der Zon (NED), Carla Molinaro (ENG), Elov Olsson (SWE), Johan Lantz (SWE), Joacim Lantz (SWE), Camille Herron (USA), Hayden Hawks (USA). I would regularly spend my meal times with Audrey, Julien, Carla and Peter and we got to know each other quite well.
I really valued having the opportunity to meet and chat with Hayden, he is a phenomenal athlete and even better person. I would love to meet him again some time!
Q: Describe the course and event briefing – was this like any other typical ultra event?
A: The event briefing was interesting. Due to the protocols associated with Covid-19, we had the majority of our briefings on Zoom. When we did have to go to a specific area for anything race related, it would be in 15min increments so there was no congregation of groups. It was a little odd to be amongst so many amazing athletes but not get to actually spend much time with them, that was an unfamiliar experience.
Q: You’ve inspired a lot of people during this event. Talk us through how it went for you and how you dealt with the disappointment of not finishing.
A: You’re right, I was really shattered that I came all this way and wasn’t able to finish. I had worked so hard to get fit enough to think I was capable of beating the Australian record, so to not have the legs to finish was far from what I expected. To know so many people were watching and following, I felt like I had let more than myself down. I’m always my own harshest critic and this was no exception.
Q: What was the atmosphere on course and at the finish line when Jim Walmsley and other athletes crossed the line?
A: Being at the finish area to see the excitement build for Jim’s race unfold was something special. Jim was nearly 2 minutes up on the World Record with 11km to go was so thrilling knowing he would have a huge battle on his hands to hold onto a 3:41/km average is no easy test, let alone 100km. He is such a phenomenal athlete and for him to smash the US 100km record by 18 minutes and an agonising 12 seconds off the World Record was incredible. That long finishing straight would have been such a difficult moment for Jim. Such a bitter sweet feeling.
Q: What were your takeaways from the event? What did you learn about yourself?
A: Some of the main takeaways were that there is still much to learn in the art of running. Whether it be on road, trails, altitude or in training camps. Definitely something I’d like to dip my toes into in the future. I learnt I still have so much that I haven’t done yet so I could really go anywhere with my 2021 events.
Q: What’s next for you? Have you had time to reflect on the past few months? How’s the body and mindset?
A: I’m not really sure at this stage. I know I really want to run a sub 2:20 marathon. But besides that, a fast 5km and an extra, extra long ultra event is really quite exciting too.
Q: Finally, how did the shoes perform? And for those who perhaps are thinking about them for their own 2021 goals what would you say?
A: The shoes were great for running an up-tempo pace for long distances. They’re an upgrade from the original Carbon X. They have a softer foam much like the Rocket X but also the same great Carbon X feel.