BIRTHPLACE: Fort Chaffee, Arkansas
OCCUPATION: Physical Therapist at Campbell Clinic
FAMILY: Wife, Erin; two daughters, Claire and Samantha
WW BRAGGING RIGHTS: I won my last two 5Ks, the Book It 5K and the Nanette Quinn Gobbler 5K
MOST MEMORABLE WW EVENT: Winning the 5K at my daughters’ school and holding hands with them as we walked up to get the award. All their classmates and teachers were there.
WHY I RUN: I run first thing in the morning. Running is so hard, and if I can get that out of the way, the rest of my day is a breeze.
FITNESS MOTIVATION: Respect for my body and myself. How can I expect to care for others if I can’t care for myself?
PRE-RACE RITUALS: I like to get to the starting line about one minute before the race. All the fast runners in Memphis are already there at the line, and if I get there too early and stand with them, then anxiety and self-doubt could set in. It’s a part of human nature. The last race I got to the line early, I stood next to a man and a woman who have both been in this magazine because of how fast they are, and I got nervous and ran my worst race of the year.
“Running is so hard, and if I can get that out of the way, the rest of my day is a breeze.”
NEXT WW CHALLENGE: The Forrest Spence 5K. This one is held by the wife of one of the physicians at Campbell Clinic. If I can luckily win that, then I’ve completed my personal “grand slam.”
WW GEAR: Gotta wear Nikes. It’s what all the high school kids wear, so I wear them to try to feel young. The model doesn’t matter as long as they look cool. Now I know that’s breaking the first rule of picking out shoes, but I make my own orthotics and have access to carbon fiber inserts at work, so I can make almost any shoe runnable.
BUCKET LIST: Take my kids to Vietnam. I’m a second generation Asian American and have never been there.
BEST EATS: I like to order an extra large bowl of pho at Pho Saigon. It’s comforting salt-of-the-earth food. And yes, it’s literally loaded with sodium so I have to drink a lot of water.
IF YOU COULD COME BACK AS AN ANIMAL WHAT WOULD YOU BE: Does a T-rex count? I can relive my days as a toddler running around the playground “roaring” at all the other kids as my parents shake their heads in embarrassment.
ON MY KIDS’ NIGHTSTAND: Whatever book my kids pick out as their bedtime stories. There’s a lot of “Fancy Nancy” and “American Girl” in my life right now.
VICE: Chocolate donuts. Gibson’s knows me on a first-name basis.
FAVORITE QUOTE: “Earn this.” It’s what Tom Hanks told Matt Damon in “Saving Private Ryan” when he risked everything to bring him home during War World II. I imagine my parents saying that to me every morning when I wake up when they did the same during the Vietnam War.
Interview by Hailey Thomas. Photo by Sarah McAlexander.