Runners Of Vermont is an ongoing series here at the VTRunCo where we get to meet and start to get to know some of the amazing people that call Vermont home and share our affinity for running. So, sit back and enjoy. The people profiled here are the main reason Vermont is such a great place to live and run. Also, if you know someone that lives and runs in Vermont who you think should be profiled here… Let us know. We’d love to be introduced and give them the opportunity to share their perspective on Vermont’s running scene.
Name: Alex Dossin
Occupation: Outdoor Industry Sales Rep
Location: Morristown, VT
Hometown/Birthplace: The Flatlands (Chelmsford, MA)
How did you first get involved in running and what was it that kept you coming back? Did you develop your habit easily, or was it something you had to work at?
I first started running as many do, high school XC and Track. Initially, I was fortunate to be successful with running and was recruited by a couple collegiate teams. Unfortunately on a recruiting trip, I was in an accident that left me with some pretty bad internal injuries and a broken back. I was lucky to survive the accident… but it left running difficult and I decide to stop running freshman year of college, entering the world of bicycle racing. After several years of bike racing on the collegiate scene and some post-collegiate racing, I decided to leave the sport after an injury (shattered jaw) and focus on my career working in the bicycle, running and outdoor industry. While working for a few running brands, I started picking up running again and I haven’t looked back! While there have been some setbacks, I’ve enjoyed my comeback to running over the past few years.
Racing… Did you start racing right from the beginning? What has been your favorite or best racing experience… Your worst… Why?
Yes. I don’t race a ton these days but I do try to run a few races a year. Favorite… My best memories of racing are probably while racing the mile… since I don’t anticipate running those speeds again. Probably my favorite mile memory is running in the MVC championships where I ran the first lap in 61, in last place… womp womp haha. Most ridiculous… Losing a shoe on the first lap of a mile race and still finishing… Don’t give up kids! Worst… Getting knocked down and nearly coming to punches at the end of a dual meet, high school rivalries get heated sometimes. Recent Favorite… I really enjoyed Smuggler’s Mountain Race this past summer, be sure to be there next year!
Do you have a favorite distance…Why?
25-50k right now, but also looking forward to trying some longer distances. These distances give you an opportunity to see a lot of terrain (course dependent) and I don’t need to recover too long.
Any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
Some strides, no matter the distance… good to turn on the brain and it’s not great to start a race with cold muscles.
Non-racing experiences… Besides racing and training, what are some other ways you enjoy running, or running has improved your life? Your favorite non-racing experience… Your worst?
Running improves my life by providing a great outlet to relieve stress and I do my best thinking while out for a run. It’s also a great way to see new places! Recently I went running while at a tradeshow in Austin and got to see some new parks and parts of the city I probably never would have seen in my 3 days in town.
Running In Vermont… What do you love about it? What do you wish was different?
I enjoy running in VT for all of the exploring! Living near Beaver Meadows in Morristown, there are fun trails, class 4 roads and access to the Long Trail.
Do you have a favorite route/trail here in Vermont?
I like to go uphill… so anything around Mt Mansfield. I also really enjoy the Skyline Trail in Stowe, it’s not super runnable, but there’s some great peak-a-views and it’s a good ~ 15 mile loop depending on where you start and finish from. You can start at Pinnacle and come down Hunger… then run the road back.
During a typical New England winter what do you do to stay in shape, keep motivated, and have fun? Do you continue to run? Do you engage in any other activities?
I snowboard a bit but I really love skate skiing during the winter to stay in shape for running. I also recently got a backcountry xc set up that I’m looking forward to using on the Catamount Trail and other local backcountry zones.
Can you provide some advice for running during the cooler months then into and through winter?
Get some micro spikes, don’t wear cotton, invest in a few good base layers (I really like Craft base layers), wear a wind protective layer, bring a light running pack so you have someplace to put layers when you take them off. Bring nutrition that won’t freeze or keep it close to your body. Put water in an insulated bottle. If you are about to head down a powder trail (tempting!), don’t go without skis or snowshoes… DON’T POSTHOLE!
Do you have a mantra or strategy to get you out the door when you don’t feel like running, through those tough moments in training, or during a long event?
I usually just think that if I don’t feel like running, I probably don’t feel great…. and I usually feel good after a run, so that helps me get out the door!
Favorite piece of running gear?
I rarely leave the house without a Raidlight Responsive running vest!
Favorite thing to eat while training/racing?
Honey Stinger gels
Favorite aid station food?
I try to stay away from stuff I haven’t trained with… but a ham and cheese sandwich usually goes down easy for me.
Favorite way to binge (do you do anything to treat yourself) after a long training cycle/race?
Take a nap while watching a Red Sox game and/or take an long shower/bath.
Next season what event or events are you are looking forward to… Why?
I’m looking forward to doing more 25-50k mountain races. There’s a few in VT, NY and NH that I have my eye on… but nothing definite yet.
What are 2-3 Vermont running events/races that people should check out?
What’s the best piece of running or training advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t forget your toilet paper.
Do you have any running/training tips or tricks you’d like to share?
If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong. Everyone has their own version of fun, find yours.
Anyone out there you want to give a shout out to? Sponsors/Friends/Partners/Coaches/Etc…
I’m very thankful to my family for getting me through some tough times, traumatic situations are always tough and a solid support group is a huge help.
Thank you for taking the time to read this far. Stay tuned for our next installment of Runners Of Vermont. Our goal is to keep posting until we’ve profiled everyone that lives and runs in Vermont! If you know someone that runs and they live in Vermont… Please connect them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.