We sat down with Alex Heintz, a Business Analyst and runner, and asked him about applying his mindset during running marathons to his work. In his words, it’s about “[getting] comfortable with being uncomfortable,” and we’d agree, especially with his job requiring a lot of numbers and analysis.
Where are you from originally?
I was actually born not too far away from the LA office in Harbor City and lived in Torrance before my family moved up to Coeur d’Alene, ID in ‘92. After Cd’A, I moved to Boise, ID and did my undergrad at Boise State and lived there for a while, with a stint in Germany, before finally settling in Seattle in 2016.
Do you plan to stay in the NW for the long term? What do you love most about it?
I do – I don’t see myself out of the PNW, whether that be Seattle, Portland or even Vancouver, BC because I’m a dual citizen with Canada. I love the water, the weather (Seattle Summers are this country’s best kept secret!), the mountains and, more importantly, the food of the PNW.
How has life been in Seattle during the pandemic?
Seattle residents took the pandemic very seriously and it was a ghost town most of last year but we have opened up and traffic has returned in 2021. On the bright side, I started my MBA program through Washington State (Go Cougs!) in October 2019 and just finished it in August 2021 so I basically timed it perfectly with a global pandemic when everyone was stuck inside anyways.
We hear you are a big fan of the outdoors and competing in relay races. Now that events are back up and running, are you planning on attending any?
Now that events have returned, my group of friends and I do plan on returning to a few of the fun PNW events that we’ve done over the years like Ski to Sea, an almost 100-mile multi-sport relay from the top of Mt. Baker all the way down to Bellingham Bay. It’s a fun event where my team, the “Canoobers,” have done it every year since 2017. It consists of downhill ski, cross-country ski, a trail run, road bike, canoe down the Nooksack River, cyclocross bike and finally a sea kayak leg. The other event that I’m most proud of is Hood to Coast, which is a 200-mile running relay from Mt. Hood all the way to Seaside, OR that is with a 12-person team. I ran this in 2019 as part of a fundraiser team and we raise almost $13k for Providence Cancer Research in Portland, OR. Hood to Coast is no joke and the largest running relay in the world! My team finished up in about 30 hours!
These relays are no joke! 100-to-200-mile races with multiple activities—even canoeing! Have you always been active in competitive sports/races? Have you created a home gym to train?
Yeah, I’ve always been an active person, but my running picked up not too long ago when I trained for my first full marathon in 2014 in Portland, OR. I’ve now run 5 full marathons (Portland, Chicago 2x, Boise and Seattle). Working out during the pandemic has been tough but my manager, Amy Drell, finally convinced me to get a Peloton last fall and it was the best money I’ve ever spent. We do so many rides together and have even started a Davis Elen Peloton group text for any team member we know that has a bike.
How has competing in these races influenced your daily life, and work life?
When people ask me what it’s like to run a marathon, I always tell them you better get comfortable with being uncomfortable! Marathons are truly an emotional and physical feat/accomplishment and every time I cross that finish line, I always say that it’s my last one but then I somehow end up running another one. I apply a lot of what I’ve learned in marathon training towards my work life and personal life because some parts will undoubtedly suck but then there are those times when random college students in Chicago at mile 26 offer beer to the runners and you go crush a beer with only 0.2 miles left to go – because beer is a carb, right?