Ruben Sanca is an olympic level marathon runner and the newest member of the UnTapped athlete team. We did a Q&A with Ruben to find out his aspirations, favorite dinner, thoughts on bringing #mapletothemasses and much more!
• Current Residence: Lowell, MA, USA
• Years running: 16
• Race specialties: Marathon
• Website/Social Media: www.RubenSanca.com, @Sanca617
How did it all start, what led you to running?
It all started in middle school when I was asked to try to run track as it would get me strong for soccer. I was primarily a soccer player all my life and dreamed of one day playing in the world cup. Eventually I enjoyed the challenges that running brought to me and I stuck with it. Year after year I kept on improving and then finally towards the end of high school I decided to pursue running as a year round sport.
What motivates you most as a runner?
I’m motivated by the training aspect of running. Even though running is the purest form of exercise, it involves both art and science. I love learning about the sport, going through the training process and using what I’ve learned to help others.
Have any big goals for 2016?
For 2016, my main goal is to return to the Olympic Games. I’m 5 seconds off from the qualifying mark in the marathon. I’ve been training extremely hard to return to the Games.
You’re headed out the door for a run, what UnTapped product(s) are you taking?
UnTapped energy packets come in very handy for some of my longer marathon training runs. Because of the amount of calories burned on these runs (sometimes up to 3,000 on a single run), I need proper fuel in order to keep the glycogen at an optimal level. I usually take with me 2-3 energy packets (I put them in my pockets or gloves).
Proudest running achievement?
My proudest achievement was competing at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It was a pivotal moment in my career, but most importantly it was great to see the amount of support from so many friends and families during that moment for me.
Favorite activity to relax when the trainers are off?
Sometimes I will go to the driving range by myself and play some golf. It relaxes my mind a bit. Because I’m horrible at it, I feel that it also allows me to keep learning something new each time.
You just got back from a brutal workout, what’s for dinner?
Ahh Good question! I enjoy a nice steak on the grill, with a baked sweet potato, cottage cheese and salad on the side. If I’m too hungry and desperate for some quick food, I will blend a protein shake with banana, plain full fat yogurt, berries etc.
You’ve raced in almost every state in the US as well as a dozen countries around the world; does one stick out as a favorite?
Going to South Korea for the 2011 World Championships was definitely an experience. It was the first time I was in Asia and I was traveling alone. I remember almost missing my flight because the airport at one of my connecting flights didn’t have any English writing. I was very impressed with the technological advances in South Korea but most importantly how friendly and hospitable the people were. The only downside is that I had a tough time adjusting to their cuisine. It’s a bit different from the west as they combine a lot of sweetness and spices in their food.
Favorite way to use maple syrup?
Try it in a cup of cappuccino and you will enjoy it!
What led you to UnTapped and bringing #mapletothemasses?
Marathon training and racing requires an extreme amount of calorie burning. The longer the race goes, the faster the glycogen levels in the body start to deplete. In order to keep optimal levels, runners need to constantly consume some sort of food BEFORE reaching the depletion stage. If not, the results could be extremely unfavorable – i.e. not finishing racing or dramatic slow in pace last 5k of the marathon – no matter how ‘fit’ the athlete is. I believe UnTapped’s natural maple syrup provides a natural source of sustainable energy unlike many gels on the market that are in sugars. However, that’s not the end of the story. In addition, the food consumed during the marathon must also be easily digestible. That is easier on a training run but not as easy when racing. UnTapped is the smoothest energy gel or packet I’ve consumed. Unlike other gels that are very thick and hard to digest without drinking water, UnTapped is very fluid and can easily be digested. This makes a huge difference in race. I believe once any runner tries UnTapped, he or she will not try any other energy gel on the market.
Photo Credit: Emily Maye for Tracksmith