Feb 21- Photo by BASS – Coming off two marathons for which he trained hard, Aaron Martens says he’s in the best shape he’s ever been: lean, disciplined and mentally stoked to take on a challenge.

“I’ve never felt better,” said Martens, 39.

All the better to tackle the Red River in this week’s Bassmaster Classic. The 2005 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year is looking to break into the Classic winner’s circle. He finished second to Kevin VanDam in last year’s Classic. It was Martens’ fourth runner-up Classic finish since 2002.

A runner and cyclist years ago, Martens began running again at the end of the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series season. For his most recent marathon — the Feb. 12 Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham, Ala., near his home in nearby Leeds — he stepped up his regimen by running about 45 miles a week for several weeks leading up to the race.

“I ran an hour to two hours a day, five to six days a week. I would have run more if I had had more time, but that’s as much as I could put into it,” Martens said. Classic prep had to come first, he added.

The half marathon course of 13.1 miles snaked through the city streets, then turned up into the city’s hills and back down. To compound the obstacle of the lung-busting terrain, the weather was nasty. Complete Story