I was fortunate to track down and talk with Haidar Hachem (@samurai_piggy) a few questions about his various Ultra/ Survival/ OCR Runner skills and asked his to answer this pop quiz:
1. What do you do for your passion? How are you leaving your mark? I’m training the next generation to fall in love with running as I have. I formed Happy Trails Run Club, LLC (for profit) & Samurai Piggy & Friends, Inc (non-profit, recognized 501(c)3 to pass on my love of running. I teach kids and adults proper form and technique so they can run better and longer. I just started both companies this year, but I hope to partner with and do large fundraising events with my non profit, I have a big event coming up this year!!! So stay tuned for that.
2. How many years have you been running? Hmm. Good question. I’ve been playing sports ever since I was a kid, but exclusively running? Since about the end of 2011 is when I really took it seriously.
3. What is your preferred choice of event? I will always love OCRs (obstacle course races), but I’ve fallen in love with the ultra. I’m a bit of a masochist. lmao
4. What is the worst thing to happen to you in an event? Explain. Probably my blood sugars falling low. I usually have them in control; but there’s been a couple instances when I haven’t and it killed my race.
5. What is the most defining moment for you while running or in a racing event? When I start the race. Still to this day I get butterflies, but once I hear “Go!” they fade and I’m off.
6. What is the strangest thing that happened to you while in an event or on a run? I almost fell off the side of a volcano. Fuego Y Agua, 2014, I had just gotten INTO Maderas (the inactive volcano) on Isla De Ometepe. I was climbing out and was on the ridge of the volcano and I started cramping and to top it off it was windy as hell. It. Was. Insane.
7. What is on your music playlist while you run? Do you have a motivational “thing” you do? Depends on my mood really. Sometimes I’ll go old school hip hop & rap, sometimes punk rock, sometimes alternative rock, sometimes house music; really just depends on my mood. I honestly just take a deep breath and look around me. I look around me and smile because I’m outside doing what I love to do when things in my life could have taken a terrible turn and I wouldn’t have been able to run anymore.
8. Can you finish the following:
i. I can’t stand it when people abruptly stop in front of me at an event?
ii. If it’s not fun, then what’s the use in doing it?
iii. I do this for the thrill, adventure & excitement?!
iv. I like to take a deep breath, walk a little and tell myself I’m lucky to be out doing what I love to do and to remind myself that I’m out there for those who can’t when I hit a wall, and feel like I can’t go on.
v. Have you ever tried Grasshopper Tacos?
vi. Stupidest thing I ever did in a run was Not pay attention to the trail and trip over roots and rocks?
vii. My secret ingredient to a dominating run is Just going out with a clear head, taking even deep breaths and just letting go & not overthinking it?
9. What the worst injury you’ve ever had from running or an event? Probably during Vermont Ultra Beast. I was wet and cold and love taking down hills stupid fast. I was running downhill, didn’t notice a hole and twisted my ankle which led me to finish only one lap and not the two for the ultra.
10. What would stop you from ever doing another event? If I feel like I’m no longer having fun at said event; I wouldn’t go back and do it again.
11. Can you tell me a time when you felt like everything was going your way, and you could do no wrong? What happened? Where were you? How did it end up? With my ultras I just go out and hope for the best; but there have been a couple 5ks that I initially go for fun and to run with friends, but then something happens and I end up in the front of the chute as soon as the signal to go hits, I’m off. The couple times it’s happened I’ve PR’d my 5k times. I just let go and run. I view the other people around me and use them to keep pushing me forward. And end of the race comes, I sprint towards the finish and collapse out of breath with a new PR!
12. How do you prepare leading up to an event? Depends on the event; I like to crosstrain with crossfit and on top of that I row, use the assault bike, cycle or swim to get different forms of endurance. On top of that, if my event is in an area with higher elevation (basically any event outside of Florida) I would train for twice the distance of the actual event and just super train my legs.
13. If they made a movie about you, who would play you, where would it take place and how would it end? Jason Mamoa. There would be no singular setting, it would just be me travelling the world and having adventures and drinks and food. It would end with me on horseback riding towards the sunset for no reason at all.
14. Can you please give me 3 quotes that sum you and your running up the best?
1) If you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; don’t stop, never give up.
2) The best runners leave no tracks. -Tao Te Ching
3) If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon. If you want to talk to God, run an ultra.
15. You teach young kids about running. Tell us something about that? Tell us about the business? Yes! As stated before I have Happy Trails Run Club; Samurai Piggy & Friends. Happy Trails is my for profit company that I train adults and kids alike to have proper form, technique, breathing technique and either just train them or coach them to reach a time or distance goal. Samurai Piggy is my non profit. I have a big fundraising event coming up that I’m super excited for that I can’t talk too much about at the moment. It will take place August 19-20, 2017 and it’s here in Miami, FL. I have also been training track and field for the Special Olympics as well and that has probably been one of the most fulfilling things I have done in my life. You can check us out at: http://happytrailsrc.com/