Creig P. Sherburne/Atascadero News · Tegan, Dave and Kylen Fleishman pose for a shot just after Tegan and Dave ran the 1,500 meter race at the All-Comers track meet at Atascadero High School on Wednesday. Kylen said he’d like to have run, but had some issues with his feet that prevented it. • Aaron Crutchfield/Atascadero News · Tegan, left, and Dave Fleishman run in the 1,500 during Wednesday’s All-Comers Meet.
Running, even for those with natural talent, isn’t easy. It requires training, thinking, nutrition and equipment.
And there’s different types of running: a 1,500 meter sprint has almost nothing in common with a 26.2-mile marathon. The sprint requires a solid warm-up period, followed by an intense burst of energy and is over in less than five minutes if you did it right. A marathon, on the other hand, is generally completed in three to four hours, at least by regular people. They require constant eating and drinking.
It’s pretty rare that a runner is good at both. Most tend to think of themselves as either sprinters or distance runners. But Atascadero resident Dave Fleishman doesn’t bother with the distinction. He’s just a runner.
“When it gets cold, I do longer races,” he said. “Half marathons, marathons.”
When the weather gets warmer, distance races are harder to endure. That’s when he shortens them, doing 5 and 10K races. The last race he entered was the Rock to Pier 10K in Morro Bay. He said he was satisfied with his performance there, and that he improved on his time from last year, a major feat considering his age. At 46 and the father of two teenaged boys, making improvements in a race is something to be proud of.
But that’s not all he’s got to be proud of. Those two boys are also runners, and the older, Kylen, cut a whopping five minutes off his time at Rock to Pier. And he did it barefoot.
“I like the beach and I decided to run it barefoot,” Kylen said, shrugging.
Though Kylen runs cross country at Atascadero High School and was at Wednesday’s All-Comers meet, he didn’t run. He said he was suffering from Achilles tendonitis in both feet, so was resting them.
Not resting was Kylen’s younger brother, Teagan, 13. Teagan attends Atascadero Junior High School, which doesn’t have a cross country team, so he runs with volunteer extraordinaire Robyn Schmidt through an Atascadero city program.
Teagan said he began running because he was inspired by his brother and dad, but that he enjoyed it more and was better at it than he expected.
“I had more of a talent than I thought,” he said.
He said he was at the track meet to practice the distances he runs most regularly: one and one and a half miles. For a long portion before his first race — the 1,500 meter — he and his dad practiced running at the pace required to finish that race in less than five minutes. Dave was able to accomplish it, finishing in 4:58, but Tegan was about eight seconds behind him. That last lap, he said, was really hard and he “had a monkey on [his] back, hitting [him] in the ribs.”
Despite Tegan not quite reaching his goal, his dad’s pride was evident. It’s pretty clear that Dave’s goals for his sons isn’t a number, it’s doing their best and self-improvement. It seemed to be his goal for himself, too.
“When I come out to the track, I’ve got nothing to prove,” he said.
Despite having nothing to prove, he’s got years of experience behind him, and he just knows the pace he has to maintain to finish any given race in the time he wants. He explained that he breaks it down into meters per X number of seconds and that he just settles in to that pace, which he can generally maintain indefinitely.
For track races, he said, it’s easier because a track in Atascadero is the same as a track in Wichita, Kan. For longer road races, though, he said he makes allowances for hills and bad road conditions.
“I can set Once you get that metronome, you just keep doing it,” Dave said.
Dave said that he’ll be back at the All-Comers meet next Wednesday, where he’ll try to cut 10 seconds off his 1,500-meter time. He said he thinks he has a good chance at it, because it’s only two seconds per lap. His boys were less willing to commit to showing up, but Tegan said he’d like another shot at the sub-5-minute 1,500 meter.
If you’d like to race the Fleishman family, go to the Atascadero High School track on Wednesday — the All-Comers track meet running events start at about 6:30 p.m.