Name: Exavier Watson
Self-described age group: 41
Residence: Montgomery County
Occupation: Government Contracting
Volunteer roles in the running world: Was the track meet director for four Tommie Smith Youth Track Meets in Washington, D.C., which brought over 25 youth track teams to D.C.; hosted by former U.S. Olympic track athletes in a full day of track competition and health awareness.
How has your running changed in the last six months: I have transitioned from running to stay in race shape, to running for the enjoyment of it. Before the pandemic I was racing regularly and my runs and workouts were more intense; whereas now I actually enjoy the scenery and stop regularly to take pictures of things I see.
Why you run: I run because when I don’t run, my pants start to accidentally fit weirdly for some reason?
When did you get started running: I started running around 18 years old. I grew up on a farm in South Carolina and worked after school in high school; so I did not run cross country nor track, but ended up as a walk on and eventually scholarship track and cross country athlete for a Division I program in college.
Have you taken a break from running: Yes. When I moved to Maryland in 2001, I worked full time in Air Traffic Control and was attending graduate school, obtaining my masters degree full time and I took a break for about 10 years as I worked very hard after grad school and did not have time to incorporate runs into my schedule. I ballooned up to 200 pounds and was in really bad shape. I met Chris Sloane while attending a run with the Rockville Running Club shortly after taking a job that allowed more flexibility in my schedule. After checking his qualifications (making sure he was faster than me) I asked him to coach me and he did.
Training shoe: Nike Vaporfly Next % (Yes. I know you are not suppose to train in these blah blah blah – but I like them and I even to trail runs in them)
Coach or training group: Formerly the Chris Sloane Performance Group, back when I was in racing shape and I plan to get back into his program when racing begins. I run with the Montgomery County Road Runners Race Team.
The hardest race you’ve ever run: Definitely the 2016-2018 Peachtree Road Race. First – Everyone that knows me and races with me agrees that I am by far, the worst hill runner in the DMV. Running up a 3 mile hill with no breaks in 90 degree weather and 100% percent humidity I saw my life flash before my eyes and I was literally hallucinating about Chuck E Cheese as I was trying to get to get to the finish of that race. That race hurt so bad, I ended up doing it again two more times.
Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: Definitely racing the Atlantic City Marathon without properly training. It was the very first time I hallucinated about Chuck E Cheese. True Story! (Editor’s note: read the comments and note when they were posted)
Running mentors: Tommie Smith (he is a great friend that I communicate with). Chris Sloane. Colleen Quigley.
My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: National Mall / Georgetown / Hains Point
Favorite local trail: Anacostia Tributary Trails. Although I have only biked there a few times alongside a really good friend training for a marathon. I would like to eventually run there.
My best race was: I have 3. (1) Jingle All The Way 5k 2015. First time breaking 17 minutes for 5k.
(2) Pikes Peek 2016. First time breaking 35 minutes for 5k.
(3) Miami Half Marathon 2016. Most fun race ever and I PR’ed in the half.
(4) Marine Corps 10K 2016. Placed 3rd overall
Favorite local race: MCRRC Pikes Peek 10k
Ideal post-run meal: Krispy Kreme donuts (one dozen, please)
Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Shotblocks watermelon
Pet peeve: When the person ahead of you at the pre race porta john explodes all over and you open the door and everything is all over the seat, floor, walls, etc.
Goals: I would like to train very hard to complete a marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Your advice for a new runner: (1) Set short term and long term goals for yourself
(2) Make a schedule for your week that includes when you will run
(3) Identify a path to complete your goals
(4) Test yourself regularly (Time trial, race, etc.)
(5) Work with a coach
Favorite running book: C is for Chafing by Mark Remy
Song in your head during a run: (1) “Paradise City” by Guns n Roses
(2) “More Human than Human” by White Zombie
(3) “Kickstart my Heart by Motley Crue. I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Doe and growing up in the 80s my Martial Arts instructor listened to a lot of rock music and it stuck with me; just like the martial arts stuck with me.
Have you dealt with a major injury: Ten years ago, a robber attempted to rob me at gunpoint. Held the gun on me from Shady Grove metro to Bethesda metro. At the Bethesda metro stop I was able to disarm him, give him a tiger paw to his nose and had to do some other things to get him off me and during our scuffle, I had a slight injury to my knee that injury has recurred a few times over the past few years.
Running quote: LOL so actually. When I was in the best shape of my life, I was running with Chris Sloane regularly and at the end of our workouts I would always ask how far or during a workout I would ask how many sets are we doing and he would always say “Don’t worry X, it will toughen you up.” I started saying that same quote to kids that I coached and it just stuck with me.
Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: Because D.C. has the best scenery. You can be in the metropolitan downtown area and run a few miles and be alongside a beautiful canal or river or on Rock Creek.