Level Dossier: Joe Navas

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In honor of our very own Joe Navas being nominated for the 2013 USATF-NE Athlete of the Year award, here’s a dossier that we ran on him way back when:

L-R: Sean Duncan, Tim Ritchie (AoY award recipient) and Joe Navas. Courtesy of Ephraim Ezekiel.

Name: Joe Navas

Nickname: Toad (Whirlaway nickname. Paul Hammond told me I was all guts and no legs.)

Residence: Eastham, MA

Occupation: Photography business (Organic Photography), art, writing, waiting tables, the occasional prize money.

High School: Nauset Regional High School;1988

College: Cape Cod C.C.; ongoing writing-journalism major

Club: Whirlaway

Miles per Week: 75-85 (some 60’s, some 90’s)

Notable PR’s:

  • Mile - 4:33 (New Balance Indoor Games; 2011)
  • ½ Marathon - 70:26 (New Bedford; 2009)
  • Marathon - 2:33:17 (Boston; 2011)
  • 7 mile - 36:51 (Falmouth; 2009)
  • 10K - 32:18 (Lone Gull; 2009)


Falmouth Road Race
Brew Run
New Bedford ½ Marathon
Boston Marathon

10K pace x 3:00 w/1:30 recovery x 6-10
90/75/60, etc. fartlek
any fast, long progression run

Places to Run:
National Seashore, Eastham MA
Province Lands, Provincetown MA
Ocean View Road, Wellfleet MA
Hopkinton to Boston

Workout Songs:
“Millionaire,” Queens of the Stone Age
“Cut Like a Buffalo,” The Dead Weather
“Bodysnatchers,” Radiohead
“Ain’t No Right,” Jane’s Addiction
“Jambi,” Tool
“Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own,” U2
“No One Knows (Live),”  Queens of the Stone Age
“All My Life” Foo Fighters
“Freedom,” Rage Against the Machine
“Readymade,” Red Hot Chili Peppers
“So What,” Ministry
“Something Against You,” Pixies
“Spacelord,” Monster Magnet

Book: “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” David Sedaris

Hobbies: Photography/filmmaking, writing, visual art, music, eating good Mexican food and absurd amounts of ice cream.

Running Intangibles

Training Philosophy: “Every minute you are not training, someone else is training to kick your ass.” and “The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare to win,” (I hate Bob Knight; like, I really despise the man, but I gotta give him props for work ethic.)

Prerace Ritual: Watch video of Queens of the Stone Age performing “No One Knows” at the Reading Festival in 2005. I dare you to not jump through the roof of your car after the break when the drums, bass, and guitar come crashing back in. Easily worth 8-10 seconds that opening mile.

Career High/Lowlights: High- Winning the Masters Team title at Boston this year and walking up to the podium next to Chris Spinney and Jason Porter, knowing that I led the Whirlaway Masters Team.  Low- Starting the 2010 Falmouth Road Race with a bad hamstring and having to jog it in from mile 3. Took of my Whirlaway tank because I didn’t want to tarnish the name with my crap showing.

Goals: Short- Break 32 in the 10k; 15:20 in the 5k; go under 36:30 at Falmouth.

Long- Sub 2:30 at any marathon; finish the year in the top 10 Masters in the US; win the USATF-NE Grand Prix Masters title; run fast for the rest of my life.

Proudest Moment: #1- Marrying my wife at the Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theater with my son, my mom, and my family on the stage in front of 120 of the best people in the world.  #2- Winning the 2007 Brew Run. I wanted it; I trained for it. I went all out from the gun. First Cape Codder to do it in a long, long time.

Miscellaneous: 40 years as the son of an incredible mother and a heck of a father (long-passed), 12 years sober, 11 years without cigarettes, 10 years running, 4 years with my girl and son, 3 years with Whirlaway. Just numbers, I know, but some really big ones to me.

I really, really love to run. I love to compete. More than anything, I love the weird, raw humanity of the whole endeavor.

I love people and the more real they are, the more I love them. Nothing makes someone more real than a good, near-death experience; I mean an all-out, soul-searching, gut-busting, meet-your-maker race.  When someone gets to the end of these things and seems truly unchanged, I am simultaneously perplexed and repelled by such behavior. I mean, c’mon, that thing we just did? That was really something pretty crazy, y’know?

I love to win, and I will try every honest thing I can to do it, but by the end, if I did what I could, well, then that’s it. I’m smiling (unless I made some utterly boneheaded strategic mistake, in which case I just try to get the hell away from everyone before I start making excuses, which is just about the most lame, tactless, tasteless thing one can do.) If I didn’t do what I came to do, then it’s back to the drawing board to figure out how to make this thing work right.

Run hard or stay home. There’s really no point in showing up and putting on that bib if you’re not going to give it everything.

My teammates know this next part so much already, that they are likely sick of hearing it, but I really am so incredibly appreciative of what it means to run for Whirlaway. The history and the makeup of this team are what New England club racing is all about. Not to say that there aren’t plenty of other teams that are just as notable (CMS especially, but also BAA, GBTC, HFC, Somerville, the list goes on…) but there’s just nothing quite like being able to call up Craig Fram or Reno Stirrat for advice on how to run the mile or needing 8 miles to catch up to a 51 year old Chris Spinney at the Boston Marathon on the way to a 2:33 (he in 2:40) or having Mike Platt tell you you’re “tough” or the stories of Paul Hammond and the recently added John Noland. The advice of Scott & Chrissie Anderson, the toughness and resolve of Brandon Newbould, Nancy Corsaro, Doug Martyn, Simonetta Piergentili, all incredible. Damn, these people are like no other group. The fact that I get to call them all teammates continually blows my mind. I can’t wait to see what the next few years brings and I only hope I can count my name someday among the notables of New England running.

Editor’s Note: If you don’t have a copy of “No One Knows” to listen to before your next race, just rip out Joe’s dossier and read it.  It will pump you up all the way to a PR.  If this guy doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know who or what will.  You can check out Joe’s blog at www.theherowithathousandlacesrunninglog.blogspot.com


As was stated at the beginning, this article originally appeared in the August 2011 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).

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