Keeping it in the Family: Michael Mountain Joins Team JAF

Team JAF is much more than a running group, we like to think of ourselves as a family, and our group has never been stronger than it is this year. One of our newest additions, Michael Mountain, knows how important family is to our cause and our mission. 

Mike will run this year in honor of his cousin, Marty, who is a member of our JAF patient community. We are thrilled to say that Marty beat Leukemia, and now Mike will conquer this marathon to help even more patients and families overcome cancer. 

Mike’s commitment to his family and upbeat attitude make him the perfect addition to our JAF family. We are so thrilled to welcome him to Team JAF for his first Boston Marathon, and we can’t wait to cheer him on at the finish line! 

Click here to help Mike meet his fundraising goal!

– Joe Andruzzi

HOMETOWN: Northridge, CA (originally Carver, MA)
OCCUPATION:  Product Management Easton Hockey

JAF: What inspired you to run for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation Marathon Team this year?
Mike: I’m inspired by my little cousin, Marty Wells.  He was diagnosed with Leukemia at two years old and the Joe Andruzzi Foundation  stepped in to help out him and his family.  I watched from a distance as his dad trained for this race and raised an incredible amount of money for JAF.  I wanted to do my part and help them continue to assist families get though their treatment.

JAF: What’s your marathon fundraising goal? How do you plan on reaching that goal?
Mike: My fundraising goal is $12,000.  As this is my first fundraiser, the strategy is evolving as I go.  I am definitely learning a lot, not only from what I am doing, but also from my teammates.  Some of them are having some incredible success.

JAF: Have you ever run a marathon before? If so, which? When/how often?
Mike: Yes, I ran the 2013 LA Marathon.  I didn’t train for it and hit a painful wall around mile 15 and suffered to the end.  I’m taking a very different approach this time.

JAF: How’s training going? What is your regimen?
Mike: So far, so good.  I had a knee injury that delayed my training, but I have been going strong for the last month and have started to get some long mileage in.  Taking it very slow, focusing on being healthy first and foremost.  I run 5 or 6 days a week and cross train a couple times a week with a day of rest.

JAF: How do you motivate yourself to train when it’s freezing cold or snowing?
Mike: Luckily, I live in LA so that’s not a factor.  However, I think of my team getting out in those temperatures fighting through their runs- that’s all the motivation I need.

JAF: What are you doing to fundraise?
Mike: I started by sharing the Joe Andruzzi story with everyone I know.  Friends and family have stepped up in a huge way.  I am now turning my attention to holding events.  Some are more conventional, such as giveaways and auctions. Others are not so conventional, such as a yard sale I am holding this weekend.

JAF: Do you do other charity work? How/why did you get involved?
Mike: This is my first major fundraiser, but it will not be my last.

JAF: Anything else you’d like our supporters to know about you or your family?
Mike: I like training with my family.  That consists of loading my daughters into our bike trailer and pushing them around town while they watch movies and eat snacks.  Win, win.

JAF: Do you have any funny/touching/inspiring running stories from previous races or marathons?
Mike: I was running the LA Marathon, which was held on March 17th.  That meant the entire city was either running 26 miles or drinking 26 beers. I had just hit mile 15. I felt my body breaking down, and I was struggling.  Right at that moment I could hear some Elvis music getting louder.  Then, 5 guys dressed as Elvis pushing a keg on a cart with a radio blasting Elvis music went flying by me.  My spirit was crushed that they could be running faster than me. It wasn’t until mile 22 that I realized they didn’t run the whole race.  I laughed at myself for a quarter mile.

JAF: What do you do to stay “upbeat” and motivated while training?
Mike: I think about my cousin little Marty who beat Leukemia.  I think about the people that this Foundation is helping each and every day.  I think about my kids’ health and how fortunate my family is.  I think about my JAF teammates training every day.  I think about the people who have donated to my fundraiser.  It’s hard not to be motivated.

JAF: What would surprise the inexperienced about marathon training?
Mike: I will put myself in that category as well.  I think my biggest surprise has been the preparation needed. It’s not about throwing on your shoes and heading out for a couple hours.  You need to prepare with nutrition, stretching, strength training and REST.

JAF: Is “runner’s high” a myth… or real?
Mike: I’m still waiting.

JAF: What’s the best training meal or snack?
Mike: One scoop of chocolate whey protein isolate, almond milk, a few blueberries and ice.  I blend that together for a while to make “ice cream.”  That’s how I end every day.


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