San Diego radio personality AJ Machado shares why he enjoys running and the perks of his job.
AJ Machado is the kind of runner that even a non-runner can relate to. He won’t bore you with mile-by-mile splits of his latest race.
“I like running,” says the namesake behind “The AJ Show” on San Diego’s Energy 103.7. “I don’t love running.”
He doesn’t act like he memorized the “Gray’s Anatomy” textbook and offer a head-to-toe breakdown of every injury he’s ever suffered.
“I never became a running fanatic,” says Machado, who will run the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon on May 31. “It’s not my passion. It’s my hobby.”
While Machado has run about a dozen half marathons, his life will not lack completion if he never stretches to 26.2.
“You know,” he says, “I’ve never finished 13.1 miles and said, ‘I wish I had 13.1 more ahead of me.’ I haven’t been bitten by that thought yet.”
Machado’s level approach to running may be a product of living a balanced life. He’s married and the father of two daughters, ages 3 and 5. When training for a race he typically runs three times a week. Those workouts are augmented by two to four martial arts sessions per week.
Spend time with him, though, and you quickly learn this is a man who loves his job.
Machado grew up in the Bay Area and originally wanted to be a stand-up comic. In fact, he was performing professionally by the time he was 16 and pursued the career until he was 22.
“After a few years of doing that, I realized I didn’t want to live my entire life out of a suitcase,” he says. “The conundrum was: What to do now?”
He had visited radio stations while fronting his comedy act, thought “They have it pretty good,” and enrolled in broadcast school. Now he’s been behind a microphone in San Diego for 14 years.
Machado (no relation to Cardiff surfer Rob Machado) is eloquent, be it on the air or off.
“You know what I love about radio,” he says. “There’s so much variety to what I get to do every day. Maybe one hour I’m interacting with callers. The next hour I might be talking to a musical artist. Then we’ll have a contest prize to give away. It’s the least repetitive thing I can imagine in entertainment.”
He’s passionate about giving back to the community with his AJ’s Kids project, raising toys for Rady Children’s Hospital.
On the running front, he’s descriptive when describing what he enjoys about stepping outside and pounding the pavement.
“I like that you get a little bit of time to yourself to get inside your head,” says Machado, whose half marathon PR is 2:02. “Running is a great way to experience San Diego. What fun is it to stare at Mission Bay or Cardiff by the Sea? They’re more enjoyable when you’re in touch with them.”
But Machado’s true interest in running isn’t just physical.
“The other thing I like about running is psychological, you only get so many big wins in life,” he says. “You only get the girl once. Or the big job once. But every run is a little win, especially when you’re a beginner.”
Machado began running about five years ago. He was big into obstacle course racing at the time and was looking for another outlet.
“My challenge became not how I was going to get under this barbed wire or climb that wall, but how long can I go,” he says.
While he’s not the consumed count-carbs, must-do-speed-workouts, eye-on-the-watch runner, Machado does make one confession when it comes to stretching his comfort zone.
“I’m sure I’m going to wake up one night and want to run one marathon.”