The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-357 – Hip Re-surface with Joe

 (Audio: link) [audio:]

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-357 of the RunRunLive podcast. I wrote this sitting in the airport in San Jose waiting on a red-eye flight back east. I don’t mind sleeping on planes. I’m a good sleeper. It wasn’t a direct flight and there actually wasn’t much sleep. I’m a bit burnt out from a couple weeks of travel and some emotionally draining interactions.

I got a run in. A morning run. I just headed out from the hotel and followed the trolley tracks and sidewalks up north 1st street. It was cold and rainy. Something very rare in California. They welcomed the rain but it messed people up. It caused extreme traffic problems.

It was a bit surreal running past PayPal’s head quarters in the pre-dawn drizzle. I just did an out and back. It’s cold for them - in the 40’s and everyone is bundled up in down jackets and scarves. It was more like an April day for me and I was in shorts and a t-shirt.

Today we are going to talk to Joe Hill a friend of the show who talks us through his hip resurfacing journey that ended, believe it or not, spoiler alert, very well. This is a continuation of the ‘overcoming serious injuries’ series.

And I have no agenda here. I’m perfectly fine, training away, no aches and pains more than usual. I am unusually busy so I’ll apologize for being distracted!

I have been collecting questions for a Q&A show and I’m going to get Teresa to interview me - that should be fun - so if you have questions for me about anything send ‘em on over.

In the first section I’ve got a piece about how long should the long run be in your training plan. In the second section I’m going to share with you a verbal doodle I penned while sitting in a Starbucks in San Jose. Hey, take it for what it is. My form of poetry. Sorry. As the saying goes „Sometimes you’re the bird and sometimes you’re the windshield.“

Two self serving points. I am collecting for Team Hoyt for the Boston Marathon and would appreciate your support. A little bit from a lot of people makes a difference. Be kind. Help those who need it.

The crowdrise Link in the show notes.

The second thing is that the podcast is ad free and listener supported. I do this by offering a membership option. This isn’t a job for me, it’s a hobby and your membership helps keep the lights on. In exchange we put out some members only content. Go to my website to sign up. WWW.RunRunLive.Com


I watched a good movie last week. It’s one of the new releases on Amazon Prime and it’s called Gleason. It’s about Steve Gleason, an American football player, famous for bocking a punt in the post-Katrina New Orleans Superbowl.

He finds out he has ALS, Lou Gerrig’s disease, and documents the whole process. This is the same disease Stephen Hawkings has. Most patients don’t last more than 3 - 5 years. Hawkings has somehow managed to live to 73 with it.

It’s a terrible disease because it doesn’t really effect your mind but it wastes your body. It is a heart wrenching movie. In my house they girls usually fight over what to watch, but this had a football in it so my wife would watch it and had some neuro science in it so my daughter would too.


In the end it’s about struggle and courage. And that’s life in a microcosm, right? We all have struggles and we all need courage.

On with the Show!

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported. We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio and articles.

Yes, we are still working on setting up the separate podcast feed for the member’s content. Most recently I recorded and uploaded the first chapter of the zombie novel I’ve been writing for 30 years.

o Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!

Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows

o Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one –

How long? -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Joe Hill’s Hip Re-surfacing journey

or info on the procedure:


You can include my email address on the show notes, if you want:


I enjoyed chatting with you today! Thanks for your time!



Section two

Caffeine and Laptops -


Yes my friends you have slept sitting up between two strangers all the way across the country and to the end of Episode 4-357 of the RunRunLive Podcast.

How about Joe,huh? New hip and he runs a PR and gets a BQ! The learning here is that you don’t have to train, just get new parts! I wonder how many years before sports are going to have to make a call on how much artificial augmentation you get to have in your body before you get disqualified or at least have a different standard for ‘augmented’ humans?

It’s a science fiction world out there.

I don’t think I’m going to race until Boston this year. I’m a bit tired of these races and they are all getting pricey as well. We’ll see. I might get the urge to run Eastern States or Stu’s but I’m going to skip Derry this weekend and just do my own long run.

I don’t have any big plans for the summer yet. I just finished reading Thoreau’s “The Maine Woods” and I’m thinking about taking Teresa up to climb Kataddn. It still sounds pretty wild up there on the other side of Bangor and I do love the woods.

I’ll write a review of ‘The Maine Woods’ this week. It was much more readable, narrative-wise, than Cape Cod or Walden. I might circle back to Walden, but I’ll work in some business reading first.

With travel the last couple weeks I have fallen off the good-eating habits train, but I’ll get back on and do what I can. Life is life and you have to adjust to circumstance. With Boston only 90 days away my training will start getting more intense and more race specific. Longer runs and more tempo work, less easy base building.

Buddy is doing great. I took him for a run in the woods this week and he loved it. 20 minutes in the cold and slush. He’s now the last of his cadre in the neighborhood. The last of his class, the black lab next door who taught him how to swim moved on to the great dog park in the sky after the holidays. Buddy is still up and reasonably mobile for a goofy old man.


I was going to end this show by sharing some thoughts on the Hollywood blacklist. I’m listening to a history of it right now, and it’s top of mind. But it wasn’t the most positive thing so I’ll push it out to the member’s feed and avoid the hate mail.

Instead let’s think about Joe’s journey, and Steve Gleason and all the others like them. We all have low points and challenges in our lives. When you’re inside them you can’t even imagine things getting better. You get overwhelmed by hopelessness and despair.

Invariably when I look back at the really challenging times in my life, whether they be in my career or my training they were a gift. They caused me to stand up and take charge of my story. They caused me to take leaps of faith and make things happen. The lower the low point, the bigger the challenge, the more you learn from it and the bigger the bounce. You come the other side forged in the heat of the furnace. You become a much stronger and resillient person.

But only if you are willing to try, to adapt, to learn - to get over yourself and move. Challenges become meaningful when you give them meaning. Low points become valuable when you wring the value from them.

And as for you - Keep your heads up and your eyes open. Watch out for the sharp rocks and hanging branches of life... and I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -



Direct download: ep4357.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 10:27pm EST

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-356 – Talking Communities with Kevin Gwin of the Extra Mile

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4356.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hey there!  It’s a new year! I know we lost a lot of celebrities in 2016, but you and I made it, right? 

So welcome to a new year.  And welcome to the extra-mile edition of the RunRunLive Podcast.  That’s right I grabbed our friend Kevin Gwin away from his Beatles albums and Galloway chatter to talk to me about communities of runners and how the world has changed since we started doing this a decade ago. 

How was your 2016?  Glass half-full or tank half-empty?  I’m going to quote my favorite race ‘A’ goal.  “I didn’t die!”  The rest is gravy I guess!

Let’s see what I can remember…

I think we started the year running the Hangover Classic 10k on January first and jumping in the ocean.  Then in January didn’t trundle the wife off to Phoenix for a quick vacation that included the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon and a bunch of cool sight-seeing?

Did I not run a bunch of the local races leading up to Boston?  Like Derry and Stu’s and Eastern States?  Did I not Have a great training cycle? The best in 5 years right? 

Then we ran Boston and learned that lesson about going out too fast that somehow never gets learned.  But, we checked off our 18th Boston, didn’t die and raised some coin for the Hoyts. 

Do I seem to remember capping off 10 years of Race Directorship of the Groton Road Race?  The race and the club managed to survive my term and handed it off to someone even more capable!

There might have been a couple weeks in May where all that caught up with me and I slowed down with a small case of pneumonia, but you can’t get rainbows without rain. 

I jumped out of that rough patch by running the Grand Canyon with my newly graduated Daughter.  How cool is that for a bucket list checkoff?

The summer was a bit doldrum filled, but I capped it off with another nice vacation to Chicago, yes I did see a Cubs Game in Wrigley Field.  Apparently my good karma rubbed off on those fellows later in the year.

I shook off the heat and placed in that trail marathon in Indy.  I returned to my old friend the Wapack Trail for a long outing in the rocks on Labor Day. 

Then I turned around and spanked that Spartan Beast a couple weeks later, making a fair amount of young people cry.  

Somewhere in there I lost 15 pounds and showed up for the Portland Marathon lean and light.  I got lucky with the weather and requalified. 

I joined my club for the Ayer 5k tradition on Thanksgiving and our end-of-season shindig at the Mill Cities Relay. 

This past Saturday I ran the 4th edition of my very own made up marathon and I’ll tell you about that later. 

Goodreads tells me I read 27 books.  I know I wrote at least 52 articles.  I pushed out 26 podcasts. 

I trained almost every day. 

Pretty good year, right?  Was it perfect?  Was it filled with challenges and accidents and side turns?  Of course, it was.  If everything is smooth sailing and your life isn’t filled with challenges you’re not living, you’re waiting to die.

I don’t know if any of that stuff would be considered worthy, or good or bad.  I try very hard not to waste time keeping score. 

It’s simpler.  Get up and do stuff.  Do what you can do.  I have a sign by y desk that reminds me that consistency and practice are a reasonable substitute for genius, it says; “Work the Process.”

Anyway, today we talk with Kevin.  In section one I’ll talk a bit about breathing.  I was thinking about this topic this week and wanted to poke at it a bit. In section two I’ll probably pull some more nuggets out of the Drucker book I’ve just finished.  (that would count as number one for 2017, if I was keeping score!)

BeforeI let you go I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  We have a membership option where you can become a member and as a special thank you, you will get access to member’s only audio.

I’ll also remind you that I have started raising money for team Hoyt for my 2017 Boston Marathon.  I would appreciate any help you can give.   The fundraiser is on Crowdrise (so I don’t have to touch any of the money) it goes straight to the Hoyts and supports acquiring equipment and supporting others who want to participate like the Hoyts do.

My family and I go over to my Mom’s for Christmas Eve.  I was driving around in the truck with Buddy doing errands on Saturday and she called me to see what time I was planning to come.  I asked her who else was coming, because I had some nieces and nephews I was trying to get presents to.

And she must have thought I was qualifying the gathering because she said “It’s not the number of people who show up, Chris, it’s the quality of the people who show up.”

There ya go. 

Happy New Year.

On with the show.

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio and articles.

Yes, we are still working on setting up the separate podcast feed for the member’s content.  Most recently I recorded and uploaded the first chapter of the zombie novel I’ve been writing for 30 years. 

    • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!
  • Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows
    • Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one –

Breathing -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Kevin Gwin from the ExtraMile Podcast

The Extra Mile Podcast is a podcast for runners of all abilities from any part of the globe.

In this podcast we encourage runners, no matter what their ability, to get in touch and send us their audio updates to tell us about their training, their races, or even if they've just taken up running. We welcome everyone in to our online community.

Some runners choose to record themselves out on a run, whilst others like to record in the comfort of their own home. Whichever suits you, why not record us a message and let us know how your running is going? You can use your computer, your MP3 player or any type of audio digital recording device to record something and email  it in to us, we really would love to hear from you.

This podcast is listened to by many runners around the globe who often take the show out on their training runs and just love to hear about how other runners are doing - a bit like having a group virtual running buddies to keep them company.

Thanks for visiting the site and we hope you'll add your voice to our growing global community of runners on the Extra Mile Podcast!

The Extra Mile Podcast-GALLOWAY EDITION is a podcast for runners of ALLabilities who want to learn everything they can about theGalloway RUN/WALK/RUNtraining method right from Jeff ! This podcast will Run/Walk you right through Jeff's 30 week marathon training schedule and gently get you to the finish line of your fall marathon "INJURYFREE"!!!

Section two

The Effective Executive -


Alrighty my friends.  New year, new lease on life, right?  Blank slate for us.  You my friend have diaphragmatically breathed your way through the end of Episode 4-356 of the RunRunLive podcast. 

Strange cadence to the holidays this year.  It seems like everyone disappeared for 2 weeks on the business side.  I was trying to make calls and I couldn’t get a response out of anyone.  Now this week they are all emerging from the woodwork with a corresponding urgency!

As of Monday I’m back on my clean eating wagon.  It feels good.  My goal is to see if I can get down to 165 pounds for the Boston marathon.  It’s ironic that the government BMI tables have always told me I should be between 155 and 165 for my height.  I always thought that was bull.  At that weight I’m going to be somewhere in the 6-7% body fat.  Should be able to see some of those ab muscles I’ve never seen!

I’m healthy and my training is going well.  Coach has me in the build-2 stage, which means I’ll start ramping up the volume and working in some intensity. 

I did one last idiotic thing to close out the year, well, actually two things. 

I hosted the 4th annual Groton Marathon.  We made it more official this year.  We set up the clock and had people ‘register’.  We got some blank buttons with the club logo on them. I Left a piece of notebook paper on the tailgate of my truck and had people sign in their name, distance and make up a bib number. 

The official bibs were the buttons.  I gave them a sharpie to write their numbers on the button.  Of course, given the geekiness of runners I didn’t just get numbers.  I got two pi’s, a mu, a natural logarithm and a tally mark five.  Then I had them write down their finishing time when they were done. So we could get results.  I handed out handmade holiday ornaments as medals. 

I got about 24 people to come out and run various differences.  The ½ was very popular.  Two other guys joined me for the full.  Given the shape I was in it was probably about 4-6 miles more than I should have been running – but we got it done, finishing up around 4:09.  It hovered just below freezing for the whole day.

I guess the lesson here is you don’t need to be a $150 Rock n Roll event to get out and have fun with your buddies. 

Because of the odd way the holidays fell, the Hangover Classic was the next day.  I ran the 5K with Teresa and we all jumped in the Atlantic, as is our tradition.  It was interesting running the day after a marathon.  I just stretched out and let my legs do what they wanted. 

I survived.  Now I’m back on the plan and ramping up for Boston.  It’s good to have a compass point to steer towards. 

On a different note, Buddy the old Wonder dog is doing ok.  He can’t run much anymore because his his back hips are very weak now.  He’s not in any pain, he just has trouble getting up and down.  He still climbs the stairs and jumps up in the bed.  He’s still perfectly mobile, but I think his running days are over. 

He’s started his new career as a lap dog to keep the girls warm at night.  Not a bad gig.

We had a warm day with rain this week and it washed most of the snow and ice from the trails.  I was able to get out for a run. 

Out behind the pond I found a cell phone in the ground.  I brought it home.  It was a droid in an Otter case and it still had a charge on it.  It was locked so I couldn’t tell whose it was.  I brought it home and put it on the charge.  It rang a couple times, but I couldn’t get to it in time.  I ended up dropping it at the police station.  I hope the owner thinks to call down there.  I feel like I should put a sign up on the trail that says “I found your cell phone and left it with the Police.”

I also tried to give blood.  Funny story.  The Red Cross were sending me desperate emails.  I tried to make an appointment on their website, but my experience is that making an appointment really has no impact on the process.  It’s not the most organized process.

Of course the lady is taking my HR and I tell her it’s going to be low, but she enters it and the system flags it, and she has to call a doctor to get it overridden.  Crazy right?  I sometimes feel like we get penalized for being healthy.

Then they hook me up, she can’t find a vein, because, I guess I ‘m a bit grissley.  She fishes around, calls the other guy over, he fishes around, they finally find some blood flow and get me going.  Couple minutes later the next person wanders by and notices that I’ve dried up.  She fishes around for awhile, then they give up.  They unhook me and I’m done.

That’s it. They don’t get a bag of blood. I get a bottle of water, a t-shirt, a Dunkies gift card and a bruise.  So, I’m not complaining but there’s an hour and a half of my life I think we could make better use of!

Anybody else have this challenge?  Seems like a process that could use a bit of effectiveness consulting, eh?

So my friends. Here we are in 2017.  Ten years in.  Remember when you were a kid and 10 years seemed like such a long wait?  Now it’s the blink of an eye.

It’s up to you to slow it down.  You have to grab time by the tail and hold on tight, or as Ferrris said, you might miss it.

We tend to get caught up and tied up by all the things undone, piled up and leering at us.  I think you have to actively counter that.  Especially in these early days of the calendar when we’re all thinking about goals and list and priorities. 

I leave you with one of the sentiments from my daily practice.

Focus on executing today, living now, being present in today’s tasks and let the outcomes take care of themselves.


I’ll see you out there in a healthy, prosperous and joy filled 2017.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4356.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 1:11pm EST

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-354 – Heart Rate Training Refresher with Coach

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4355.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Hello my little elves and reindeer and welcome to the Saturnalia celebration of the RunRunLive Podcast.  We are at Episode 4-355 today.  I hope all of you are doing well.  Are you getting to spend some time with your families?  Maybe take a moment to be grateful and in the moment?  It’s all good. 

Today we are going to do a little heart rate training refresher with coach.  I have been getting a lot of questions on heart rate training so I thought we’d take a couple beats to review some of that.  Maybe it will set you up for your next training cycle coming out of the winter solstice. 

In section one I’m going to talk about Raynaud’s disease or syndrome – which is common in the cold weather months – and how it’s a different thing than just having cold hands.  In section two I’m going to wax philosophic about setting your own work/life balance rules.

As you may have noticed from the sexy timber of my voice I am or have been sick.  Last week I had a sore throat that rapidly progressed into a sinus infection and I’ve been on antibiotics for a couple days. 

I lost a week of training in the process and managed to eat 6 pounds worth of sugar cookies as well.  I’m getting fairly disgusted with myself!  I’m ready to get back on the training horse for…{dramatic pause here} the Boston Marathon! 

Yes, I’m lucky enough to have received a waiver entry for the 2017 Boston Marathon.  It will be my 19th Boston.  I’m qualified for 2018, but not this year, I age up in November of 2017.  Unless they change the rules again.

It’s been a long ride.  Qualifying for that first Boston in 1997 damn near killed me.  I only needed a 3:15 at the time because I was already aging up in 1998.  But I trained for and ran a 3:09 just because that was the goal I set.  I set my PR at Boston that spring of 98 at the ripe old age of 35 running a 3:06 on a nice cool, drizzly day. 

I remember that day.  I remember passing Rick and Dick Hoyt somewhere in the middle miles.  They weren’t as famous as they would become.  You could really see people back then, especially as a qualified runner, there were a lot less, like a tenth, the number of runners on course.  The crowds were the same but the course had a lot fewer runners.

I clearly remember that day.  GPS watches didn’t exist yet, but I knew I was running over my head when I caught the Hoyts.  I positive splitted that race too.  Ran like an idiot.  The last two miles were a nightmare but I was in good enough shape to tough it out. 

You can see the thousand-mile stare in my eyes in the race photo from Boylston street.  Good photo.  My form is beautiful.  I’ve got nice, big hair with a red bandana as a sweat band.  I’ve got those red high-cut shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt with a nice nipple blood stain. 

You remember those things.  Those moments change your life.

In the same way the Hoyts have changed thousands of lives.  Just by being out there.  I hear the stories.  They all start with some version of “Little Johnny saw Rick and Dick, turned to me and said “We can do that!”, and, Bam!, I life is changed, a dream is enabled.  That art of the possible.  The frame is broken.

I can be part of that by supporting these guys.  So expect me to ask you for a contribution so I can help these guys continue to change the world.  You can do that.

On with the show!

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio and articles.

Yes, we are still working on setting up the separate podcast feed for the member’s content.  Most recently I recorded and uploaded the first chapter of the zombie novel I’ve been writing for 30 years. 

    • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!
  • Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows
    • Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one –

A couple words on Raynaud’s Syndrome -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Coach Jeff Kline PRSFit


At PRS FIT we provide training, motivation and camaraderie. When you become a part of our Team you quickly see we love what we do. (You also receive our first time finishers guarantee) We do it better because we care about you. The Team cares about you. We don’t go off the grid. When you need an answer we’re there to help you find it!


Prs Fit is a community of athletes from all over the world. We are a team. Alone or together, from beginner 5k to Boston Marathon and 100 Miler, sprint triathlon to Kona, we strive and we conquer. Prs Fit lets you experience what we call Team and social fitness – connecting and motivating each through our one of a kind global team experience. No matter the weather, the circumstance, day after day, we provide a high quality training experience that produces results.

Be Healthy. Train Smart. Have Fun.

Section two

Work the way you live your life -


Hey folks, merry Saturnalia and solstice to you…congratulations on having your heart continue beating through the course and to the end of episode 4-355 of the RunRunLive Podcast

No races to report this week.  Just 6 extra pounds of Christmas cookie blubber and an amoxicillin chaser.

I do have the Groton Marathon coming up.  As usually happens people tend to bail out as we get closer.  What seems like a swell idea in October becomes a dumb idea In December.  With my week off I’m in no shape to run it, but as the host I’m going to have to trundle my cookie-eating-butt out there and make a show of it. 

Teresa wants to run the Hangover classic, which due to the way the holiday’s fall is the next day!  I guess a guy of my experience can go limp an easy 5k with an ocean dip… The water is warm this year; it’s in the mid-40’s.  That will cure any and all hangovers.

As we kick off the new year, as we turn over the calendar, it’s a new season.  I’m going to focus on getting back into the shape I was in for Portland.  With that fitness and actually training for the target race I should be able to go down into the 3:20’s and I’d really like to do that as a vindication for these last five years of struggle before I age up and stop worrying about it. 

I know.  As much as I like to act like I don’t care, I guess I do.  As much as I like to pretend I’m not compulsive in my need for book-end events, I am.  I guess we’re all compulsive in our own ways right?

I’ll keep it brief.  I hope you’re listening to this while you’re out in the winter trails at night under a waning moon.  The snow crunching and squeaking under your yaktrax.  The breath blooming large like a flower of life from your lungs.  A chrysanthemum of joyous exertion.  I’d like that. 

I’ve been figuring out how to get out in the dark and the cold and the snow myself.  We got enough snow, and it stayed, to narrow the roads and make the trails dicey.  People in the cars around me are super angry.  We only get 4 hours of sunlight or something now, so, yeah, it’s a challenge to get out there, right?

But you must get out there.  Out there is that other existence.  Out there is where life is. 

So get out there.  Lean in…or maybe out…make someone’s day.

Enjoy your holidays.  Be grateful.  Hug your family.  Cuddle the dog.  Relax.  Be in the moment. Thank you for 2016.

I’ll see you out there in 2017.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4355.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 7:01pm EST

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-354 – Thor Kirleis – UltraRunner Vs Lyme Disease

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4354.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-354 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  How’s everyone doing?  We got our first snow on the ground up here in New England this week.  It’s been a mild winter so far. 

In today’s show we have a good long chat with my old buddy Thor about his experience with Lyme Disease.  This is part of my series on athletes who have been challenged and have had to reconsider the role of running in their lives. 

In section one I’m going to drop a piece on selecting a HR monitoring device (based on a listener question) and in Section two I’m going to share some timeless wisdom by Peter Drucker. 

This past Sunday I raced the Mill Cities Relay.  They gave me the ‘long leg’ of 9.5 miles and I was on a solid male senior team with 4 other guys from my club.

I’ll talk more about that race in the outro, but I’m running well and everything is cool with my training.  I’m looking forward to the spring season. 

When you join me for my call with Thor today I want you to listen to his attitude.  He’s super positive about life even when this insidious disease is tearing at him.  His positive attitude is infectious, (horrible word-play unintended). 

When I ask him how he coped he just stayed positive.  That’s the lesson here.  The things that impact your life have no meaning other than that which you give them.  You can either ‘feed the good dog or feed the mean dog’ as the old story goes. 

So stay positive.  Be that infectious force for those around you.  You deserve it and they deserve it too.

On with the show!

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio and articles.

Yes, we are still working on setting up the separate podcast feed for the member’s content.  Most recently I recorded and uploaded the first chapter of the zombie novel I’ve been writing for 30 years. 

    • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!
  • Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows
    • Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one –

Heart Rate Training Devices -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Thor Kirleis – UltraRunner Vs Lyme Disease

From Thor on 12/7/2016 –

“This morning's run, a 3.2 mile plod of really slow loop, marked 13 years of covering at least a mile on foot each and every day. I used to say that it is my Streak Running anniversary, and it used to be through 12 years, but illness robbed me the ability to run for long stretches of days between then and now, though it never dragged me so low that I could not complete a mile even if walking (though I did come close two or three or four times to not making even a mile). So while I am now back to running, still with some challenges related to illness, I'm still motivated to celebrate my health (ironic, huh?) with a mile a day (I say even more fitting). This will be the last time that I explain how my streak isn't any longer official, because to me it was never meant to be "official", as in qualifying for this list or that list or anything other than me celebrating each and every day my health and ability to prance and play, and now sometimes walk... for 13 years!”

Section two

5 Prctices of effective executives -


All-Righty-Then, you and I have battled off a host of nasty internal pathogens to the end of episode 4-354 of the RunRunLive podcast.  How about that?

Like I said in the intro I raced last weekend.  The long leg is leg 4 out of 5 and it’s a quite doable flat to downhill course along the Merrrimack River.  The challenges are sometimes the weather is dicey in December (there can be a head wind at the end) and you don’t get much of a chne to warm up. 

The leg before the 9.5 is the short 2.5 leg, so you’re basically driving to the exchange, jumping out of the car and racing.  My old body does better with a thorough warm up these days, especially on cold weather days. 

I went out fast.  We had a rival club team with a 3 minute head start on us that I could potentially catch if everything went well.  I laid down the first 3 miles at a sub-7 pace, but I wasn’t feeling it.  I felt heavy. 

I have been letting the diet slip since Portland and I think it caught up with me.  I ended up averaging somewhere between 7:15’s and 7:20’s which, given where I’ve been over the last 5 years, I’m thrilled with.  My HR was great but my legs were heavy and I wasn’t running clean.  I was sore from the effort.  I whined to coach and he said I’m racing too much.  But that’s what he always says!

My Heart is strong and my aerobic base is huge so I’m feeling pretty good about the spring season.  I can always fix my diet and if I can stay healthy I should be able to get some good performances!

I was drove into my old office in Burlington last week.  It’s behind the mall.  Anyone who knows anything about American culture knows that the malls do 85% of their business in the short time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

My usual route when I’m coming off the highway, is to cut through the mall to ‘cut the corner’ on the turnpike and save a few stoplights and a little time.  This time of year, even in the middle of the day the mall is busy.  The parking lot is full.  There are people, cars and general holiday freneticism. 

I rounded a corner by the old Sears store in my truck and saw a woman pushing a stroller crossing the road.  It’s a tight corner so I surprised her.  There was never any danger of me hitting her, because I saw her, and I’m not driving recklessly, but she is in that no-woman’s-land of the crossing.  You know - Less than half way across.  Too far to turn back.  Forward momentum into the middle of the street.

I can see that combination of fear and anger on her face.  She’s doing the Newtonian physics in her head when she sees my truck come around the corner.  She sees the very small chance that I might be checking my email or twiddling with the radio and she is going to have to sprint for the curb or die. 

But there’s more to that look.  There’s the harried nature of the young mother’s life.  She’s got a million errands to run and has to drag the kid with her.  She’s probably already well behind schedule on her mental check list. 

I brake to a stop and wave her across. 

As she bustles by I notice the stroller.  In it is a child, maybe 2 years old, all bundled up against the cold.  He’s wearing a bear hat with bear ears.  He’s got the biggest smile on his face.  Like riding around in the stroller in his bear hat on, on a cold, gray, November day is the coolest adventure ever!

Watching them cross, the mom probably wasn’t havening a great day, but, the kid was having a fantastic time. 

Maybe he didn’t know he was supposed to be miserable?  Which attitude are you going to have during these holidays?

I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4354.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 6:20pm EST

Episode 4-353 – Ann and I talk about when you can’t run anymore

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-353 – Ann and I talk about when you can’t run anymore

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4353.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-353 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Today we are going to have a chat with our old friend Ann Brennan about not being able to run anymore.  I’m going to do a series on this – so if you’ve got some major body part replacement or something that has caused a radical shift in your endurance sports allegiance – shoot me a note and we’ll chat about it. 

In section one I’m going to talk about how to ease into heart rate training and how it makes a great 30-day project.  In section two I’m going to talk about a 30-day project I’m in – running naked!

I apologize for the rough edit job on the last show.  I got a new laptop and it took me a while to break it in.  It was really struggling with the audio editing.  I de-installed the stupid McAffee software, changed the cache settings and added another 8 meg of RAM, so we’re good now. 

We finally figured out how to set up a separate podcast feed for members and I’m working on it.  I have a nice piece on running in the November woods that I’m going to drop this week for members.  If you would like to join and help support the podcast that would be great and you would have access to members only audio. 

Here’s a snippet…

The sound of the leaves crunching underfoot with each rotation of sole.  That sound that is more than a sound.  It is a sound that you feel through your body with each footfall.  Like biting into a crisp apple and that first sweet chew of skin and flesh.

The November leaves have yet to be trodden down by the rains of fall and the snows of winter.  They lay heavily on the trails and in the woods like great drifts of snow.  Piling deep in the hollows, hiding in their multitudes, huddled together from the harrying winds. 

Did you see the kerfuffle around fake news on Facebook?  Wasn’t I just talking about that?  There yah go. I’m a trend setter. 

My running is going great.  I had a kinda big build week last week.  Probably up into the mid-40 miles.  Mostly long Zone 2 trail runs.  My base aerobic fitness is spot on.  I feel great.

What I try to do is to take Buddy the old wonder dog out for the first 20 minute loop, then drop him at the house and go back out.  He’s struggling a bit.  His hips hurt and his back legs don’t work all the time very well. 

I’ve had a stretch where I haven’t been traveling and I’ve been working out of my home office.  It’s great, most of the time.  You can really get into a nice rhythm.  I get up early and do my morning routine.  It makes nutrition and workouts easy to manage as well. 

In the mornings when I get up I have a routine.  I get up, brush my teeth and head downstairs to the kitchen.  I switch on my computer when I walk by on my way to the kitchen. I put my coffee and oatmeal on the cook.  I settle in at my desk while that cooks and do 5 minutes of guided breathing meditation. 

Now Buddy has hacked my routine.  As soon as I switch the lights on he wants out.  If I let him out he sits in the front yard and barks.  Not at anything just Bark! Bark! Bark!  Like some sort of dog Morse code. This is very early in the morning and does not ingratiate him with the neighbors.  It’s still dark out.  No one is up in the neighborhood.  And it’s very difficult to meditate with a dog barking like that.  Even with my noise cancelling headphones.

But if I don’t let him out he’ll sit and stare at me while I’m trying to meditate.  Then he’ll whine a bit to get my attention and if that doesn’t work he’ll just bark right at me.

He broke his lead this week.  I went out for my run at lunch and he met me in the driveway with 3 feet of lead trailing behind him.  He was quite happy with himself, having had an excellent run about the neighborhood.  Apparently he got into something nasty because I woke up to him staring at a big pile of throw up on the living room carpet the next day. 

So, Buddy hates meditation.  I suppose I could do my meditation before I come downstairs…Or I could have him stuffed and mounted.

On with the show!

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio and articles.

Yes, we are still working on setting up the separate podcast feed for the member’s content.  Most recently I recorded and uploaded the first chapter of the zombie novel I’ve been writing for 30 years. 

    • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!
  • Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows
    • Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one –

6 Heart Rate Training Practice Tips -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Ann Brennan – When you can’t run anymore

Ann Brennan is the author of A Running Commentary an adaptation of her blog, Ann’s Running Commentary  a blog about the mental side of endurance sports.

Her book is currently available on Amazon.  

Ann is a marathoner, Ironman and ultramarathoner learning to adapt to life as a non-runner.

She has recently started her own social media consulting firm helping small local businesses realize their full potential through social media marketing.  

I included this photo because I am adapting to life as a non runner.

Section two

Running Naked -


Well my friends you may have woken up unable to ever run again but you have made it to the end of episode 4-353 of the RunRunLive podcast.  How about that?

I held off writing this outro until today, the Friday after Thanksgiving, so I could let you know how my Thanksgiving 5K went.  It went well.  I’ll give you the 300 word race report.

The race started at 8:00 AM so I made sure to set the expectation with Teresa that we were leaving the house at 7:00, so I could get a nice long warm up in before the start.  I got up and rubbed some flexall into my leg muscles to wake them up and get some blood flowing.  I had some coffee and a couple bites of oatmeal.  We got out of the house on time.

The weather called for freezing rain but it held off until after the race.  It was below freezing, maybe 28 degrees or so.  There was a skim of ice on the ponds as we drove over.  I put on full tights and a long sleeve tech shirt with my club singlet over it.  I had a pair of thin running gloves and the multi-colored knit hat my mom made for me.  In such a short race I didn’t want to be cold. 

We checked in and I headed out to run the course as a warm up.  I am so glad I took the time to warm up.  I ran about 2.5 miles of the course in just over 21 minutes, I managed to get my heart rate to come down but my hands never warmed up and I never broke a sweat.  I probably should have done some strides, but by the time I got back to the start I had missed my clubs group photo and the race was about to start. 

There are a lot of kids in this race and a lot of rookie runners.  They tend to take off like bottle rockets at the beginning and you have to be careful not to get tripped or get sucked out too fast.  That first mile felt so strange and unnatural.  I was trying to find a form and pace that didn’t feel totally alien.  I was with a bunch of folks I knew from my club but there was no way I talk to them.  It was all I could do to get oxygen.

I looked up my time from last year and it was an average pace of 7:04’s so I set my A goal to break 7’s and my B goal to not collapse 2 miles in. 

We clicked by the first mile mark at 6:36 which was a pleasant surprise.  I had managed to find my form.  I wasn’t focused on effort or pace, just on having good upright form, turning my legs over and working the tangents.  This course is pretty flat but does a bunch of zig-zagging around the neighborhoods in the second mile.  It helps to know the course or to have run it 20 minutes before the race!  

With the fast first mile I just relaxed and worked my form.  I knew last year I had faded in the last mile so I wanted to make sure I held back enough.  There were a couple little kids running near me, like 8 or 9 year-olds.  It’s great to see the next generation out there but they haven’t learned pace awareness or special awareness yet.  It was like when you’re trying to cook in the kitchen and the dog is underfoot. 

I was just behind some dude running with a pumpkin pie hat, more like a head dress, and he got a lot of attention from the volunteers. 

I passed the 2 mile mark and misread my watch. I thought it said 6:37 but it actually said 6:47, but either way I knew I was ahead of my goal pace going into the last mile.  Right after the 2-mile mark the course turns up and over a rail road bridge and back through the center of town, then one more small hill and downhill into the finish. 

Those little hills were where I faded last year, but with my thorough warm up I was able to push through there without the leg fatigue.  I just held my form and focused on turnover.  I pushed through the finish strong. 

My watch had me running 6:44 averages pace but the race clocked me at 6:51’s. I ended up 61st out of 587 with a  21:16 finish and 5th out of 72 in my age group.  So, yeah had a good morning.  Got to talk to some friends and made room for some turkey. 

Next weekend I’m running in the Mill Cities Relay and I’m dragging Teresa along for that too.  It’s an 8-leg invitational that all the local clubs run from Nashua New Hampshire down the Merrimack River to Lawrence Mass.  My club usually fields a bunch of teams. 

After that you’re all invited to join me at the 4th annual Groton Marathon and half marathon on New Years Eve Day.  We’re going to have actual timing this year.  I have at least 3 other people going the distance with me and we usually get 20ish people show up to run some of it with us. 

I have been doggedly reading through Thoreau’s Cape Cod in snatches as part of my morning routine.  I find it quite enjoyable.  I know the places that he is talking about.  I have been to them.  And even though he is tramping around the outer Cape in the 1850’s, the towns are the same, the flora nad the fauna are the same, and the sand and the sea are the same.  I can picture it quite well as I read. 

I’m nearing the end of my trip through this small but dense book.  And Mr. Thoreau is nearing the end of his trip as well.  The portions I read this week travelled through Truro, past Highland Light and up Race Point to Provincetown. 

One morning he is watching the mackerel fleet sail out to the fishing grounds from Provincetown.  He sees hundreds of boats under sail coming in the morning then arriving back in the evening.  He compares fishing in the ponds of Concord to the fishing these men do.  In Concord they fish as a form of relaxation or sport.  He seems to infer that these men and boys of Provincetown get to play at fishing all day and it seems like quite a life. 

The next day there is a strong North Easterly gale.  Thoreau and his companion march out of Providence into the wind across the desert, as he calls it, to the Atlantic shore.  They see the breakers being driven onto the banks at high tide and see the few ships struggling in the sea.

“As we stood looking on this scene we were gradually convinced that fishing here and in a pond were not, in all respects, the same, and he who waits for fair weather and a calm sea may never see the glancing skin of a mackerel, and get no nearer to a cod than the wooden emblem in the State-House.”

This resonated with me on a fine morning in November with the first dust of snow on the ground.  Are you waiting for calm seas?  Are you waiting for fair weather?  The fish aren’t going to wait for you.  Get in your small boats and be brave.  Go out into the stormy world and wrest your destiny from the gaping mouth of Fate.

I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4353.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 6:27pm EST

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-352 – Frank Gianinno – The USA Cross Country Record Falls

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4352.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello and welcome to Episode 4-352 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  How are you doing?  Hanging in there?  Good.  It’s been a weird couple weeks, But we made it. Here we are.  It’s the middle of November. I am another year older and as far as I know the sun is going to come up today. 

Although I can’t be too sure because we’re in that part of the year where we wake up in the dark and come home in the dark up here in New England. 

The leaves are all down and the bones of the old Earth are poking through the great canvas.  It’s cold in mornings and that feels good on our old bodies.  I’ve already had a fire in the fireplace. 

Today we have a great chat with Frank Gianinno who held the record for the cross USA run until Pete Kostelnick broke it!

In section one we’ll talk about the advantage of creating seasons of losing fitness into your endurance careers. 

In section two we’ll inspect how today’s environment is wired to keep us from focusing on long term, high value projects.  And I’ll issue a challenge for you to join me in a 30 day project.

My running is going fine.  I’m starting to lay on some more miles now that I’m fully recovered from Portland.  I’ve been doing a lot of strength work especially in my glutes and hips. 

Buddy the old wonder dog is doing fine.  He’s nuts though.  Compulsive border collies don’t make the best retirees.  He’s up in the mornings, ready to go and bothers me like a 3-year-old until he collapses on his bed for a 2-hour nap. 

I’ll take him out at lunch for a short run in woods behind my house.  He can still manage a slow 20 minutes but his hips bother him.  We give him the Glucosamine treats and those help.  As near as I can tell Buddy will be 13 this month. 

He’s gone a bit deaf as well, but I think some of that may be an affectation.  He just doesn’t want to listen anymore.  It’s a bit like living with a crazy old person.  He’ll start barking for no reason and running around the house.  He hears imaginary threats. 

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio and articles.

Yes, we are still working on setting up the separate podcast feed for the member’s content.  Most recently I recorded and uploaded the first chapter of the zombie novel I’ve been writing for 30 years. 

    • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!
  • Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows
    • Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

I’ve been filling my birdfeeder this month.  The wild birds in my yard love it. It’s a party outside the window every day.  I’ve got all your normal wild New England birds.  There are the small black and white chickadees that are our state bird.  There are the similar looking nuthatches.  There are titmice and a flock of sparrows that come in like a motorcycle gang taking over the town.  There are mourning doves and cow birds who pick up the leftovers on the ground. 

I’ve got a pileated woodpecker or two and some angry looking blue jays.  Occasionally we’ll be surprised by a goldfinch or a ruby crested kingslet or some other unique visitor. 

This morning I got up to let Buddy out at 5AM.  As I held his collar in one hand and reached for his lead with the other I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye.  It was a big old skunk snarfing around under the birdfeeder for left overs not 2 feet from where I was standing with the dog. 

I quickly pulled the dog back inside.  Crisis avoided. Imagine how different my day could have been? 

On with the show!

Section one –

Purposeful Deconditioning -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Frank Gianinno – Cross USA world record holder 1980 – 2016

Frank’s Store:

Frank's Custom

Shoe-Fitting Happy Feet,

Guaranteed329 Route 211 East, Middletown NY 10940


Frank’s Story:

I began fitting running shoes in 1977 in Eugene, Oregon, while attending school there.   I have been a shoe store entrepreneur since 1983.  Two friends, Bob Bright and Bill Glatz, opened a running store in New Paltz, New York, in 1978 called Catch Us If You Can.  I was with them when Bob suggested the idea to Bill.  I ran regularly with Bob and Bill and helped them in their store.   I knew it was just a matter of time before I too would own a running shoe store.   Orange Runners Club co-founder, Bruce Birnbaum, gave me that chance at ownership in 1981.  The Middletown New York store was called Blisters Ltd.  Blister’s was opened for business for only one year.  The next opportunity at ownership was with Albert Weinert Jr. in 1984.  At first the business was called Frank’s Run-In Room.  A few years later we incorporated the business under the name Orange County Sporting Goods.  I became the sole proprietor in 1991.  In 1998, I changed the name to Frank’s Custom Shoe-Fitting.  In 2003, I became a Board Certified Pedorthist.  Here are the (14) key life experiences that put me on the path to the running shoe business: 1. Received the Eagle Scout Award, Troop 55, Blauvelt, New York, 1967; 2. Ran Track at Tappan Zee High School my freshman year; 3. Ran Track and Cross Country for three years at Valley Central High School in Montgomery, New York, graduated 1970; 4. Ran Cross Country during my two years at Orange County Community College, Middletown, New York; 5. Completed Army basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey, 1972; 6. During advanced basic training at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, I watched the Olympic Games in Munich on television as Frank Shorter won Olympic Gold in the Marathon and Steve Prefontaine finished 4th in the 5,000 Meters; 7. Lived in Anchorage, Alaska, from December 1972 thru June 1975 during the “Black Gold Rush”, ran my first marathon there; 8. Spent the entire summer 1975 traveling from Alaska thru Canada and all over the USA really seeing the sights and getting to know the lay of our great land; 8. While attending SUNY New Paltz in 1975-76 ran (3) marathons in Buffalo, Maryland and Boston running Maryland in a lifetime personal best of 2:39:34; 9. While living in New Paltz that year I trained almost every day with Bob Bright; 10. While in Flagstaff Arizona 1976-77,  completed my undergraduate degree and learned a great deal while training at an altitude of 7,000 feet; 11. Spent the summer 1977 traveling around the west with my brother John; Attended the University of Oregon for two semesters and lowered my personal best 10K to 32:59; 12. Worked in my first store selling running shoes Sugar Pine Ridge in Eugene, Oregon; 13. Returned to New Paltz in April 1978 for the Boston Marathon to handle for my two friends Bob Bright (27) and Bill Glatz (20) where they ran 2:37:24 and 2:32:00 respectively.  The running scene in New Paltz had really elevated. While living in Flagstaff and Eugene, I really missed running in the Gunks and of course my friends and the social scene in New Paltz.  14. While in Boston I noticed a book called My Run across the United States by Don Shepherd, and started to dream about a run of my own.  Soon after Boston 1978 I knew my career path was going to have a great deal to do with running.  Everything I was doing revolved around the running lifestyle.  Nothing ever felt more real.  I have stayed close to the running sports ever since.  I will continue to do so until the day I die.

Frank’s record setting run across the USA

There were actually two Runs. The first effort began on March 1, 1979, in Santa Monica, California. During a pre-dawn rain, Frank and his friend Bill Glatz scooped up some Pacific Ocean water. They handed it to their friend and handler, Rebecca Wright, to store in their donated motor home. The water would be part of a ceremony of "West meets East" on the water's edge at New York City's Battery Park at the completion of the Run. Run #1 began from the parking lot of the Four Seasons Restaurant on Highway One, overlooking the Pacific.


Prior to this, Frank and Bill often trained in the Shawangunk Mountains near New Paltz, NY. Arguably, New York's Hudson Valley Region is one of the best places to train on Earth. The mountain trails of the 'Gunks', world- famous for rock climbing, hiking and boldering, also feature some of the best 'Rave Runs' anywhere. Currently, the U. S. Marathon team trains there. The countless miles on the carriage trails of Mohonk and Minnewaska helped prepare them for their odyssey. After a rough start, Billy decided not to continue. He departed Run #1 early on day eleven in Phoenix, only after he was sure that Frank and Becky would be able to keep up the 50-mile per day pace needed to reach the finish in 60 days.

Despite daily terrain and weather challenges, Frank's greatest concerns were physical. Thankfully, symptoms that could lead to injury would disappear, despite running all day, day after day. Much of this was due to creative shoe modifications, lower leg compression hose and an understanding of self, along with the constant help of Becky. Frank, with Becky's undaunted support and friendship, finished Run #1 arriving at New York City Hall on April 30, 1979, sixty days and six hours after that rainy start. They ran through thirteen states, covered 2,876 miles, averaging fifty miles per day. Their adventures along the way have become legendary. At the end of a brief ceremony in Battery Park, the Twin Towers looming overhead, Frank answered a reporter's question regarding, "Would you ever do it again?" by saying he was definitely going to do another run: this time from San Francisco to New York. He knew that for his next Run he would need greater financing and a larger support crew.

Four months later, Frank won the Kingston Half Marathon in 1:12:05. Then in March of 1980, he finished second in the St. Patrick's Day 10K in New Paltz with a time of 33:00. All the high mileage coming across the country paid off, as Frank enjoyed the best racing performances of his life. His only other standout performance, time-wise, was his 2:39:34 in the 1975 Maryland Marathon.

RUN #2

Sixteen months after the finish of Run #1, after a brief ceremony, Frank began Run #2 from the steps of San Francisco's City Hall. This time his support crew consisted of his family and a friend. His brother John stayed with him on a bicycle to give immediate support. He had a radio/cassette player mounted on the back of the bike, as well as medical supplies and food for he and Frank. His parents, Frank Sr. and Josephine Giannino, drove the motor home and provided all-round support. His friend Bruce Goldberg did the public relations work, contacting the media, United Way representatives and running clubs along the way. Frank Sr., a retired male nurse, looked after Frank's health and the health of everyone on the trip. He drove and maintained the motor home. Josephine created a homey atmosphere in the motor home, did the cooking and calorie counting, and kept a detailed diary of her experiences. The family dog, Brindle, was on the trip too.

Things were not easy on Run #2. On the 4th of July, Stan Cottrell of Georgia raised the performance bar, completing a well-financed run from New York City to San Francisco in 48 days 1 hour 48 minutes, an average of 64 miles per day. Frank's original plan for Run #2 was to average 60 miles per day. Cottrell's effort raised the bar. Not only did he have to better that average, but he had to do it convincingly. Frank did not have the gifts of a fast ultra-marathoner, but he did have two things going for him — he had done this before, and he had the perfect support team to do it with - his family! If he was going to average more than 64 miles per day, everything was going to have to come together perfectly.

Frank's plan was to reach Fort Collins, CO at an average of 60 miles per day. After that, he planned to average 70 miles per day. The plan was to run 2.5 miles at 10-12 minutes per mile, walk a little, run 2.5 again and repeat the process through twenty miles; then break for breakfast for one hour; run/walk another twenty miles; break one hour for lunch; then run as many miles as possible into the nighttime hours. The first four days across California were rough. Frank's pace was slow. California roads were very busy. The family was not making enough sacrifices in an effort to reach seventy miles per day. Instead of foregoing showers and parking near the finish marker, the family would drive out of its way for a KOA, in order to be comfortable after the fifty or so miles they had covered. This pace was far below the 60 miles and ultimately 70 miles that would be needed daily.

With a renewed resolve, all family members dug in and made sacrifices. In some cases, the sacrifices were painful. Frank Sr. came down with dysentery in Nevada. John's bike was run over. Bruce survived stomach problems. Frank lost three toenails. Brindle, more than once, managed to collect burrs in her fur while seeking relief during roadside pit-stops. The stories, as on Run #1, are legendary.

Suffice it to say, things worked out in the end. The group tightened up the routine. They grabbed showers when available. Only Frank bathed at the end of the day in the motor home shower. Frank's mileage routine increased. After Fort Collins, the crew awoke at 3:00 AM; Frank ran 25 miles; broke for breakfast; twenty five more miles; lunch; then as many miles as possible by dark. They reached the 70-mile goal almost every day and finished in 46 days 8 hours 36 minutes. The Guinness Book of World Records still lists it as the fastest crossing of the United States on foot.

Many people influenced Frank's decisions to do these runs. None more than the efforts of Dave MacGillivray. One of Dave's many personal accomplishments was his 1978 run across America for the Jimmy Fund. David is the director of the Boston Marathon and is a great and cherished resource.

Section two

Urgency and long term thinking -


Well my friends you have run completely across the country to the end of episode 4-352 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Are you tired?

The next race for me will be the Thanksgiving morning Turkey trot.  I don’t like 5k’s.  You’d think I’d be ok with 20 minutes of intense effort versus a multi-hour campaign.  But, no, I’m not. 

It takes my body 10+ minutes to warm up to race effort.  If I jump in cold the race is almost over before my heart rate normalizes.  It hurts too.  It’s a foreign feeling for me now to force myself to race at tempo pace.  I’d much prefer the slow dull blade of a fat adapted endurance effort to the white-hot burn of a short race.

I’ll tell you a story. 

When I was 14 or 15 this time of year I ran cross country for my school.  We would take the school van to other small New England prep schools in within driving distance for meets. 

I remember one cold morning in November we went to an away meet.  When the race began it started snowing.  The snowflakes were those big fluffy ones that you get early in the season when winter isn’t quite sure of itself yet.  They float down like big, fluffy, wet potato chips and dissolve into anything they hit. 

When we ran in those days we ran in short shorts and a racing singlet.  I can remember those big snowflakes covering my exposed thighs as I raced, making them numb as the snow evaporated.  I don’t remember anything else about that day, just the crunch of the leaves under my Nike Waffle Racers and the numb wetness of my thighs.

I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4352.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 8:32pm EST

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-351 – RunGum

nickebaytat-small (Audio: link)

Link epi4351.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello my friends.  How’s your October going?  This is Chris, your host.  Welcome to episode 451 of the RunRunLive podcast.  Today we’re going to chat with Nick Symmonds Olympian, 800m champion and CEO of RunGum.  I usually shy away from talking about products but Nick seemed like a fairly interesting dude and I like to support entrepreneurs, especially in our space.

Reading Nick’s bio he seems a bit of a high-energy renegade type.  A world class 800M racer with a rich social life – supposedly he dated Paris Hilton but I didn’t have the guts to go there.  Perhaps he’s the Toulouse-Lautrec of middle distance running?  I tried to tease him out on his start-up story but he mostly sticks to the script.

It’s something we are seeing more of.  Accomplished runners in 2016 don’t have to fade into obscurity or open a shoe store.  The new playbook in to use that 15 minutes to launch something.  A cookbook, a clothing line or a supplement.

I haven’t tried the RunGum, but I suppose it’s as good a way as any to get caffeine into your system.  I’m a bit leery of supplements in general, but I tend to play a long game when it comes to my health and fitness and I’m not looking for shortcuts.  If he gets a hit with RunGum it will be from treating it as a fashion accessory not as a supplement.  It could go viral on him if he can get a Kardashian to spit some out at the Oscars or something.

In section one I’m going to read an abstract from an NIH article on supplements because they said it better than I could.  In section two I’ll talk about the interesting nature of social media algorithms.

It’s been 2 weeks since the Portland marathon and I have only run once.  I’ve been doing a lot of strength workouts and yoga.  My right hip is a little tight and I don’t want to push it.  I’m on a strict beer, chips and cake diet that is working wonders at reversing the ill effects of eating clean for 90 days!

I plead my case with the Portland marathon and they credited me 4 minutes off my finishing time for running that extra ½ mile.  Honestly, the only reason I pushed so hard was I knew I was close.  I’m not sure we can make a linear assumption on that pace! But, officially it’s now in the books as a 3:34:54.  That puts me just over 5 minutes under my BQ for 2018.

Thank you for all the great feedback on that episode.  It seems to have resonated with many of you.

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio

eyes-1284883_640****This week the first chapter of the lost zombie novel!!!!

    • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!
  • Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows
    • Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Thank you for my new members over at the member feed. My guy in Nigeria couldn’t figure out the members only podcast feed so I got another guy somewhere else to take a swing at it.  Because I’m patient.  I will have the separate feed up so you can get it in your favorite podcast app.  This week I’m recording some another couple book reviews for members only.  If you want to join up go to the website and follow directions.

I also volunteered at two local races last weekend.  In the morning I worked the BayState Marathon water stop.  In the afternoon I worked the Groton Town Forest Trail Races.  Both had excellent days.

In general the weather has been great for most of the marathons this fall.  That’s going to put time pressure on all you people looking to qualify for Boston in 2018.  You’d better get chewing some RunGum because you may need 4-5 minutes under your qualification standard!

It’s funny.  It’s just like the 4 minute mile story.  No one thought it was possible until Bannister did it.  Now they run sub-4 in high school!  You lower that Boston standard and people are going to figure out how to do it.

That’s the one of the great things about challenges.  The bigger the challenge the more likely we are to rise to it, the more likely we are to have our finest hour!

On with the show!

nih_logo300x300Section one –

NIH Article on Supplements -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Nick Symmonds



In the fall of 2002, Run Gum co-founder Nick Symmonds began his studies at Willamette University in the field of biochemistry. When Nick wasn't in class or the lab, he was running miles as part of the cross country and track and field teams. It was on the track that Nick met Run Gum's other co-founder, Coach Sam Lapray and a dynamic partnership was formed.

This partnership would go on to win 7 Division III NCAA Titles, 6 USATF Outdoor National Titles, and make two Olympic teams (Beijing 2008, London 2012). Always searching for the extra tenth of a second that could separate winning from losing, they experimented with non-banned performance-enhancing stimulants. Pulling from Nick's biochemistry background and experience in training and competition, they knew what chemicals the human body needed to perform optimally. Among these was the world’s most consumed stimulant, CAFFEINE.

Nick and Sam found that the current methods of delivering these important stimulants to the body often required drinking large quantities of liquid in the form of coffee or energy drinks. To achieve optimal performance, they needed to eliminate the water, acid and slow absorption. They wanted a product that could perform as well and as fast as Nick.

It was on the track during one of their many training sessions together that the idea came to them. GUM. Utilizing chewing gum as the delivery vehicle for stimulants to the human body allowed for faster uptake through sublingual absorption. Furthermore, this lightweight, zero calorie option would allow an athlete to run free without the unwanted liquids around in their stomachs. Truly, the smarter caffeine kick had been found.

They launched Run Gum because they truly believe that people matter and their performance matters, both in sport and in life.  They hope they can show this with the products they create, the inspiration they provide and the support to athletes of all levels.

tree-200795_640Section two

Social Media algorithms -


Well my friends you have chomped your caffeine laced gum through the end of episode 4-351 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Feeling a bit jittery?

I have some good news.  I mentioned I was upgrading my home computers, right?  I found a backup of my zombie novel that I thought I had lost in a hard disk crash 2 years ago.  I have a feeling you folks on the members feed may be getting some zombies….

I’ve got no big plans other than continue to lose fitness.  If my hip feels better I may try to lay on some speed for my Thanksgiving 5K.  But I’m not pushing it.  I have to think about what my next big thing is.

Speaking of big things, did your see the Guinness record for the USA cross country run is going to fall this week?  Probably by the time you hear this.  I was trading emails with Frank Gianinno who has held the record since 1980.  He did it in 46 days and 8 hours and 36 minutes.

As we speak Pete Kostelnick should be pulling into NYC with an average of 72 miles a day to set a new record.  Frank is going to be down there to greet Pete this week.  I’m going to chat with Frank later in the week if we can swing it.

You know what’s special about Pete?  Nothing much.  He started running to lose weight.  His first goal was to complete a marathon.  He caught the bug and ran Boston in 2009 and 2010.  Then he caught the ultra-bug and went on the set a new record at the Badwater 135.  Now he’s going to break the record for running 3,000 plus miles across the country that has stood for 36 years.

Just because He decided to lose some weight and run a marathon.

Humans are amazing.  There are miracles hidden in each of us.  We just have to find them.

And I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4351.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 7:17pm EST

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-350 – Marathon Training Strategies with CoachPRS

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4350.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello my friends from Portland Oregon where I just ran the marathon.  Portland – home of the weird.  Welcome my friends and family to episode 4-350 of the RunRunLive podcast.  Another week another adventure, eh?

This week’s adventure was flying to Portland to run the marathon.  It was weird and wonderful and I did well – but you can hear all about it in the race report in this episode.  I also sit down with Coach and we talk about some marathon strategies on the futon in his running store in Woodstock Oregon – Pace Setter Athletics.

That’s probably enough for one episode. 

Thank you all for showing up every other week and listening to my stories.  I appreciate it.  I truly live a charmed life. 

I ran into a couple folks this week who were podcast listeners and it’s super weird for them to hear my voice and see it coming out of me.  I’m sure it’s terribly disturbing and potentially disappointing but I love getting out and having adventures and meeting people.  I’m like Kwai Chang from Kung Fu.  Wandering the earth, speaking cryptic philosophy and kicking ass.  “When you can snatch the pebble from my hand…grasshopper”  (Google it kids.)

I’ll keep my comments brief because I’m juggling travel and work this week.

If you want the inside scoop on my adventures you can always become a member.  It’s basically a subscription option to fund the podcast and in exchange I produce member only audio.  Mostly I’ve been doing book reviews of the various books I read but you never know what’s going to pop out of my fertile and active mind and into a member’s episode!

Look on the RunRunLive Website for the member links. 

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio

Last week I uploaded two, count ‘em, two, book reviews.  One for the Neal Stephenson SevenEves scifi tome and another for Moonwalking with Einstein, a treatise on memory techniques.

    • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!
  • Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows
    • Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

For the cost of a pack of Clean and Clear oil absorbing facial wipes, to, you know, remove that extra shine off your brow, you can be a member of the runrunlive support crew.  There is no shipping charge for membership and I just today fixed the bug in the annual membership signup process!

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

I spent the week in Woodstock Oregon.  You have to remember I’m from Boston.  .  I grew up in the 70’s Irish Catholic.  The Portland area is in some ways way outside my comfort zone but in other ways strangely familiar. 

It’s like being dropped into a friendly pot growing commune in 1972.  Everybody is super politically correct and friendly but at the same time super alternative life style. 

This is a place where you have to be careful not to walk too close to the road when walking down the sidewalk because cars will crash themselves stopping to let you cross.  In Boston driving is a contact sport and pedestrians are the prize.  In Portland it’s like some sort of baroque dance routine.

There is a coffee shop on every corner.  But not a Starbucks.  The villagers picket Starbucks and drive them out of town as the evil corrupting corporation.  Every store sells craft beer.  The hardware store sells craft beer. The tanning salon sells craft beer.  If they’re not selling craft beer they are selling pot. 

Everyone wears a ski hat.  Everyone has purple hair, and piercings and tattoos and man-buns and Mohawks.  But they are all super nice and homey.  Every restaurant is a vegan restaurant.  There are homeless people everywhere, but it’s hard to tell the homeless from the hipsters.  There’s an actual game in Portland called ‘Homeless or hipster?’ where you try to guess. 

Everything is made by orphaned panda cubs using baby koala tears.  It rains almost every day. 

As I sit here writing this, on the roof of a natural foods market – that sells craft beer and vegan appetizers – they have Kombucha on tap - there is a woman(?) with a goatee who has been discussing the nuances of an upcoming wiccan ceremony for 40 minutes like she’s talking about what kind of brownies to bring to the PTA meeting. 

I love it here.  You can be as weird as you want and everyone is friendly. 

And that’s what I love about America. 

And that’s why I go on adventures.

On with the show.  

Section one –

No Section one.

Voices of reason – the conversation

Coach Jeff Kline PRSFit


At PRS FIT we provide training, motivation and camaraderie. When you become a part of our Team you quickly see we love what we do. (You also receive our first time finishers guarantee) We do it better because we care about you. The Team cares about you. We don’t go off the grid. When you need an answer we’re there to help you find it!


Prs Fit is a community of athletes from all over the world. We are a team. Alone or together, from beginner 5k to Boston Marathon and 100 Miler, sprint triathlon to Kona, we strive and we conquer. Prs Fit lets you experience what we call Team and social fitness – connecting and motivating each through our one of a kind global team experience. No matter the weather, the circumstance, day after day, we provide a high quality training experience that produces results.

Be Healthy. Train Smart. Have Fun.

Section two

Portland Marathon -


Well my friends you have pushed your hips forward through the end of episode 4-350 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

That was fun right?  I’m definitely on a high cycle right now.  I find myself at the end of my to-do list with no races on the calendar.  Well, of course I always have races on the calendar.  But, I’m going to heed Coach’s advice and lose a little fitness now.  I decided not to double down.  See?  I’m coachable.

I have my yearly water stop volunteer duty at the Bay State Marathon coupled with the Groton Town Forest Trail race next weekend.  At some point in November I have a turkey trot.  Then in December is the Mill cities relay.  Of course on New Year’s Eve day we have the newly official Groton Marathon.  And on New Year ’s Day the Hangover Classic.  That should keep me busy. 

How about you all?  What are you racing and training for?  What’s your next adventure?  What are you going to do?  You’re not getting any younger.  Now is as good a time as ever.

Find something the scares you as much as it inspires you and turn that weird thing into an adventure.

And I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4350.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 8:08pm EST

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-349 – Chrissy Runs a BQ

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4349.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-349 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Today we chat with Chrissy Simmons who made the grave mistake of tell me on facebook that she ran a qualifying marathon using my MarathonBQ training plan.  Of course I coerced her into an interview.  The audio quality is a bit off because we were using the telephone to record.  Most of the time I can use a skype plugin to record digital audio but we couldn’t swing it this time.  Think of it as quaint trip down technology memory lane when we used to pick up the phone and call each other over twisted pair, copper wire, plain old telephones. 

I like to talk to folks who have used the plan successfully because when I was writing it down I never really knew if it would work for other people or if it was just some strange manifestation of my own personal demons.  I thoroughly tickles me to hear it working and to hear people learning the things I learned by going through it. 

When you boil it down it’s really about speed.  I’ve heard a couple interviews of Shalane and the other marathoners since the Olympics.  They train up to 100 – 120 miles a week.  Most of it varying forms of long tempo which is very specific to the marathon distance.  In essence their training is specific practice for the race they are looking to run.  They are training to find and stay on that edge of the pace where they maximize their results without crashing. 

They don’t do a lot of speed work.  Why?  Because they are already fast.  They are coming up from the track or the shorter distances.  They already know how to run fast. 

The amateur mid-packer marathoner is different.  We may have never run track in school.  We don’t know how to run fast. Even those of us who may have run 20-30 marathons.  We know how to run, we just need to get faster if we want to qualify for Boston or any other race. 

The key light bulb idea for you is this.  Everyone is capable of running fast.  They just have never practiced running fast. They don’t know how.  That’s the main question I addressed in MarathonBQ; “How do I take 20 – 40 minutes off my marathon finishing time?”  The answer logically is to run faster.  But how?  The answer is to practice, rigorously running faster.  Simple. 

Not all simple ideas are powerful, but most powerful ideas are simple. 

In section one I’ll chat a bit about how to experiment with speed.  Not just for the marathon, but in general as a component of your tool kit.

In section two I’m going to talk a bit about your personal finances.  Why?  Because I just went through a long avoided financial planning process and I think I’ve got it figured out and thought I’d do you the service of telling you what I learned. 

So how’s my training going?  As it turns out, fairly well.  The big part of it is that I’ve stayed on the nutrition plan that I began as a 30-day project in August.  I dipped under 170 pounds last week which is as light as I’ve been since the 1980’s and that really has had a positive effect on my training. 

It has a dual impact.  The healthy, lean diet has my body reacting better to workouts and the weight loss has put a pop back into my pace.  The net result is I’m able to train at a pace that is a lot more familiar and comfortable to me and I’m guessing that I’ll benefit from that. 

I raced the Spartan Beast last weekend and you should get a nice long race report on the podcast feed if everything works out.  I followed up with a nice 3-hour, 21ish mile long run the weekend after.  I still don’t have a lot of volume but I’m going to continue on this nutrition plan through the Portland Oregon marathon in October and see what happens. 

The RunRunLive podcast is Ad Free and listener supported.  We do this by offering a membership option where members get Access to Exclusive Members Only audio

Last week I uploaded two, count ‘em, two, book reviews.  One for the Neal Stephenson SevenEves scifi tome and another for Moonwalking with Einstein, a treatise on memory techniques.

    • Member only race reports, essays and other bits just for you!
  • Exclusive Access to Individual Audio Segments from all Shows
    • Intro’s, Outro’s, Section One running tips, Section Two life hacks and Featured Interviews – all available as stand-alone MP3’s you can download and listen to at any time.

For the cost of a pack of Clean and Clear oil absorbing facial wipes, to, you know, remove that extra shine off your brow, you can be a member of the runrunlive support crew.  There is no shipping charge for membership and I just today fixed the bug in the annual membership signup process!

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

I have a course at home that I do most of my workouts on.  It runs down some back roads that are fairly light in traffic.  It’s rolling hills through neighborhoods.  One of the modest 1950’s ranch houses I run by has had a sign for one of the current political candidates out in his front wall. 

I say ‘his’ because I’ve seen him.  He’s a white guy, about my age.  The yard and the house are well kept but not overly fastidious.  He drives an older model red Volvo sedan.  He and his wife live there on that classic suburban ¼ acre lot.  Doesn’t look like there are any kids. 

He’s had his sign up since the primaries. 

I shake my head when I run by.  I wonder what has happened to him to make him so angry.  I wonder what his narrative is. 

I’ve often thought of starting one of my speeches by talking about all the challenges I’ve had to overcome in my life. 

I say it with great seriously and gravitas.  How hard it was to grow up white and male in the suburbs of the richest state on the richest country in the world.  I’d spin my miserable yarn about how I had to cope with being healthy and well fed, being provided the best education by loving parents who were in a stable long term marriage. 

I wonder how long the audience would stay with me? 

These are confusing times for many.  If you can look beyond that confusion.  If you can look within.  You will find abundance. 

And I just wish more people would see that abundance.

Do you believe in abundance?

On with the show.  

Section one –

Getting Faster -.

Voices of reason – the conversation

Chrissy Simmons

I am a 34 year old living and working in Winchester, KY. I enjoy hiking and various outdoor activities, playing with my two dogs, and of course having drinks with good friends.  But my primary hobby is definitely running.


Over the years, I have established my top 3 running goals: 

1.) Run a marathon in all 50 states (16 down!)

2.) Finish a 100-mile race (50-mile race completed.  100K scheduled for 12/31/16)

3.)  Qualify for the Boston Marathon (Done!).


I started running when I was 25 years old.  With help from the well-known Couch to 5K training plan, I ran my first 5K.  3 years later in 2010, I ran my first marathon at the Cincinnati Flying Pig (4:38).  Since then, I have run about 25 races that were marathon length or longer.  Some of those were ultra-marathons, some trail marathons, some races I did just for fun, and some I did to check new states off the list.  I would say that I honestly put effort into training for about 6-7, making gradual improvements to my finishing times by loosely following hybrids of various available training plans.   Qualifying for Boston was a dream I had from the beginning and after finally breaking the 4:00 mark in 2014, the goal felt like it was in reach.


On 6/6/16, I started the MarathonBQ training plan with a goal to run a 3:35 marathon (BQ -5). And on 9/11/16, I finished the Erie Marathon with an official time of 3:34:36.  Training with this plan during a hot, miserable summer was brutal at times but the final result was definitely worth it.

Section two

Financial Independence -


How about that?  You, my abundant friends have sped your way to the end of Episode 4-349 of the RunRunLive podcast.

Do you feel faster?  I do. 

Next up for me is the Portland Or marathon in two weeks.  I don’t know what to expect, but I’m hopeful.  Travel marathons are always a bit of a wild card for me, but we’ll see how it goes.  Depending on how things go in Oregon I may look for a November race.  Other than that there is the tradition of volunteering at the BayState Marathon in October and either volunteering or running the Groton Town Forest 10 miler and then of course the traditional Ayer Fire Department 5K on Thanksgiving morning.

One new development is that I’m setting up a website for the Groton Marathon.  I’ll read you the copy. 

“The Groton Marathon was founded in December of 2013 by veteran runner Chris Russell.  He was in the midst of a ‘marathon a month’ streak in honor of the Boston Marathon bombings from April 2013 to April 2014.  The marathon he was scheduled to run in December was canceled due to snow.  Frustrated at the lack of convenient distance events in the Massachusetts area, Chris grabbed a couple running buddies and created the first Groton Marathon to keep his streak alive.

The Run has repeated each year since.  This year, 2016, we want to open up the race to a select number of applicants who are facing the same shortage of local distance events to keep their streaks alive.  If a small, lightly managed run with veteran runners in December sounds like a fit for you, join us this year.”

That’s what I’m up to.  It’s an abundant life. I don’t have to stop and ask permission if I can create my own race.  I just have to do it.  The way I’m able to continue to run and have adventures is simply that I believe I can, and I do it. 

Frankly the biggest challenges we face in this era and in this season of our lives is that there is too much abundance.  The challenge is how to focus your energy on the handful of things that bring value to you and your family and your community. 

The Millennials talk about FOMO – ‘fear of missing out’.  That’s a classic example of how abundance makes us crazy.  There are too many good choices and we either freeze in place overwhelmed or flit from thing to thing like deranged dilettantes. 

And then I’m out for a walk with Buddy in my woods.  With the dry sun filtering through the green tree canopy and falling mottled in the leaf litter.  The old stone walls delineating sheep pastures that long ago gave way to forest.  We stop to breath in that good air.  We listen to the skittering of squirrels and the chittering of birds…

And we know abundance.

Think about the abundance in your life. 

And I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks -


Direct download: epi4349.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 4:01pm EST

Spartan up!

A first timer takes on the Beast. 

(Audio: link) [audio:]
Link SpartanUp.mp3

The funniest line of the day was when I was flying down an open field descent passing people in big clumps.  I yelled “Come on people you’re being passed by a 54 year old guy!”

A lady looks at me sideways and responds “Yeah, but not a normal one.”

I took that as a compliment. 

The great herds of hikers I passed were mostly pretty cranky about it.  I don’t get it.  If you’re out there you might as well enjoy yourself.  I suppose if you’re at the end of your rope and some hairy, half-naked old guy flies by yelling “Weeeeeee!” it might piss you off. 

It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I was a bit out of my element but I raced the Spartan Beast as best I could and did relatively well.  I met my primary goal of not dying and my secondary goal of not injuring myself.  I did get nicked up and was a bit sore.  It will be a couple weeks before all the bruises, scrapes and scratches heal.  But nothing broken or sprained. 

I ran this event as a bit of a lark because they reached out to me and offered an entry.  My daughter Teresa wanted to come along and do the sprint so I signed her up too and I was glad for the company.  We made the drive up to Killington, VT Saturday morning.  I raced on Saturday and she raced Sunday morning so it was another nice endurance adventure weekend for us. 

Having been offered a complimentary entry I figured I’d get my money’s worth and run one of the events with a higher difficulty level.  When you look at the advertised events it starts with the Sprint, moves up to the Super and then up to the Beast.  The Sprint is advertised as 5k distance, the Super is a 10K and the Beast is around a ½ marathon.  There’s a special shirt / 3-part medal if you do all three. 

There are also longer events like running the ‘Ultra-Beast’ which is the Beast twice and the Agoge which is a special multi-day event.

Not knowing much about Spartan races I signed up for the Beast event which is listed as 13 miles and 30 obstacles.  I mean, it’s only a ½ marathon, right?  How long could it take? How hard could it be? 

I have my best adventures when I don’t pay attention too much. 

I’m in decent shape this summer and could jog any given ½ marathon in under 2 hours so I figured I’d do this in under 4 hours, right? 

Two weekends previously I ran the very difficult Wapack Trail race which was 18 miles of technical single track over 4 mountains, twice in just about 4 hours.  At the end of July I ran a hot trail marathon in around 5 hours and that’s twice as far as this Beast, right?  You see my logic here. 

I looked at the Spartan training plans and they were, frankly, terrifying with hundreds of burpees, squats and pullups.  It was like something out of a gladiator movie.  Or that old “Monty Python sketch about Ken the Boxer” I watched a few videos of races and it looked reasonably engaging but some of the athletes were clearly not in the best of shape. 

I asked Coach to give me some Spartan specific training but, honestly, he thought it was stupid idea.  He basically gave me the same training he always does, maybe with a bit more yoga and core work.  I can honestly say I think I did more burpees on the course then I had done in all my training. 

To summarize, I went into this Spartan Beast race having no idea what I was getting into and without training for it.  Guess what?  I did really well. 

That’s right.  I excelled.  I came in 10th in my age group out of 106 old guys. I was 220th out of 2296 males and I was 252 out of 3,213 overall.  And I think that’s just the finishers.  They pulled a large number of people off the course due to injury and time limits. 

How is this possible?  How did my tired, old marathoner butt out perform all these millennial cross-fitters? 

It’s simple.  I actually trained for the race.  They didn’t. 

It turned out the obstacles were 1% of the course.  99% of it was technical, mountain, trail running.  Well it was technical, mountain, trail running for me.  It was a miserable death march for all those well-chiseled, millennial cross-fitters who spent their training flipping tires and doing hundreds of pullups.

I can honestly say, with a large dose of irony, that I was probably the only one who trained well and course specifically in the whole crowd.  I was able to fake the obstacles and play to my strengths.  I just rolled off Wapack and the Indy Trail marathon.  I WAS trained for this race. 

I think another advantage I had was a certain familiarity with long races and suffering.  I can go pretty deep into the suffer locker when I need to and still compete.  I got the impression that these folks weren’t as familiar with the sweet suffering of a multi-hour endurance event. 

Don’t get me wrong.  If I had to compete in the global tire-flipping, box-jumping games I wouldn’t last 60 seconds.  I just happened to luck into a course that was basically a long mountain race. 

Still, it took me 6 ½ hours to get through the course.  Mostly because of the 3-4 near vertical ascents of the mountain we did.  It was slow going.  Especially in the last couple hours when I was out of fuel. 

What I discovered, (as I was getting ready in the parking lot), was that the average open participant takes 7-9 hours.  Really?  I had no intention of staying out there that long.  I told Teresa 4-6 hours max.  I mean it’s only 13 miles. 

The organizers told all of the waves starting after noon to carry headlamps and glow sticks but I thought that was just more ridiculous Spartan hyperbole.  It turns out it wasn’t.  When I was leaving the venue that night you could see the long line of headlamps trooping along the slopes on the mountain. 

Those technical descents would be really difficult in the dark.  Glad I wasn’t out there.  There was some controversy because they let people start the Beast up until 2:00 PM, knowing the average cross fitter takes 7-9 hours.  Then they pulled them all off the course at 9:00.  Those people were a bit miffed at having paid a couple hundred bucks and traveled to Vermont only to get forcibly DNF’ed. 

This was the ‘Open’ division.  There is also a ‘Competitive’ and an ‘Elite’ division.  I toyed with entering as competitive, but then I got over myself and went with open.  The advantage of the competitive division is less traffic on the course and people generally know what they’re doing.  The advantage to the open division is that they are far less strict about how you approach the obstacles.  The volunteers really didn’t care if we did obstacles correctly or did all the penalty burpees for not completing the obstacles.  I think I could have run around the obstacles and no one would have stopped me. 

It was a nice, warm sunny day when Teresa and I rolled into the venue.  We had to pay $10 for parking (on both days).  There were shuttle buses to the starting area. 

I got kitted up before we went on the bus.  Looking at the weather I decided to go shirtless.  I had the same Hoka road shoes that I used in my other trail races. I had my water back pack – I had considered trying to ‘live off the land’ but there didn’t look to be much support on the course and I didn’t want to run out of water.  I had three old Gu’s that I threw in the pack for fuel. 

I didn’t want to carry a bunch of stuff because of the obstacles.  Any extra stuff would have to be dragged through the course.  Instead of a hat I made a hippy-helmet out of an old bandana with a chilli pepper motif.  I didn’t wear a watch or sunglasses.  I put my wedding ring in a zippered pocket in my pack – I have lost a little weight and it’s not so tight anymore and I didn’t want it coming off in an obstacle. . 

They made you wear a headband with your number on it and a timing chip on your wrist.  I put on a pair of Zensah calf sleeves as well. Everyone I saw had either calf sleeves or tall calf socks.  I figured they knew something.  I threw a pair of running gloves in the pack in case my hands needed protection.  I went with my tried and true Brooks baggie shorts with the liner and the man-thong tech undies. I greased up the pointy bits.  That was it.  We were off. 

Teresa helpfully painted a large Spartan logo on my belly, because, hey, when in Rome.  I joined the queue-up for the 12:15 open Beast wave. There looked to be around 100 or so competitors in my wave.  The first thing they do is make your climb over a 4 foot wall to get into the corral. That’s a nice touch. Then an announcer whips the crowd into a frenzy. 

I was chatting with some folks who came in from Ohio, a husband and wife and their friend.  I related how it was my first Spartan race and I hadn’t trained much but was a runner.  They said “You’ll be fine, just don’t go out too fast.” But their eye’s seemed to say “you have no idea how much trouble you’re in.”

With much hoopla were sent en masse on our way.  The first obstacles were 4 foot high beams that you had to vault.  I stopped to help a woman who could get over them.  In retrospect, she probably didn’t’ finish. 

One of the early obstacles was to crawl under barbed wire.  There were two of these on the course.  I found these hard because it tore up my knees to army crawl through the dirt.  I had to take my pack off and push it ahead of me, which was a pain and got it all dirt covered.  Many people roll like logs under the barbed wire.  This seemed to work for them but they kept kicking me in the head in the process as I was moving pretty slow. 

My strategy on the obstacles was to get as much help as I could, take my time and not get injured. 

Another signature obstacle early in the race is the Bucket Carry.  You get handed a plastic 5 gallon bucket.  You have to fill it up with gravel and carry it up, around and down the hill.  It turns out all my yoga and core was good for these carrying things – or maybe it’s all the years I’ve spent running through airports with bags – but I found this really easy and you can see me smiling in the photos.  I’m having a blast. 

There were a constant series of walls you have to climb over of different heights.  I managed the shorter ones, but with my ability to do 3 pullups I had to get help getting over the tall ones.  In the open division getting help is encouraged. Teamwork is part of the Spartan value system.  Good thing too, because without help I would not have made it through many of those obstacles. 

It was a warm day.   The course was dry from lack of rain.  I was glad to have the water pack because I was working hard and sweating. 

They did manage to engineer in some mud pits in the second half of the race, including one that you had to go completely underwater to get under an obstacle, but these were quite manageable. 

The big water obstacle was an actual open water swim about half way around the course.  I say ½ way because it was about 6 miles in but time-wise this was probably 1/3 of the way through.  Like many ultra-type events they back loaded much of the difficulty and the back half of the course took much longer.  It’s a mental game. They like to throw hard stuff at you when you’re tired and think you’re almost done. 

I knew the race played this way from reading Joe’s book.  One manifestation was to have an obstacle right after every hard climb.  Another was to have nonsensical mile markers along the course. The actual distance was somewhere between 14 – 15 miles.  If you were watching for mile markers you were playing a fools game because they were purposefully random to mess with you. 

The water obstacle was a lake near the start line around 6 miles in.  You hit this after running (well I ran) down the mountain and you’re well warmed up by then.  It’s preceded by a tall climbing obstacle.  These climbing obstacles were all super easy, unless you were afraid of heights.  I joked that we had playground equipment in the 70’s when I was a kid that was worse.  

When you got to the shore line they stuffed you into one of those big orange life jackets.  Which, prevents people from drowning, but also prevents those of us with a background in triathlon from swimming.  The water was advertised as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.  More hyperbole.  I would guess it was around 65 or 70 but cold enough that when people go from running down the mountain into the water they immediately cramp up to holy hell. 

I started cramping too, but knew what was up and just tried to relax my legs.  I wasn’t getting any propulsion from my kicking anyhow with the shoes on.  The best strategy seemed to be to float on your back and use your arms to avoid the leg cramps and the lean on giant life jacket. 

When you got to the middle there was a bridge with rope ladders hanging from it.  This was called the Tarzan bridge.  You were supposed to climb the rope ladder and swing across dangling rope hand holds to the other side.  Swimming in cold water and climbing the rope ladder was no problem but I just don’t have the hand grip strength to swing from ropes and plummeted back into the water after my second grip.

This is where I ended up doing my first 30 burpee penalty.  I ended up doing 90 on-course penalty burpees.  Twice for these dangly obstacles and once for being a total spaz in the spear throw. 

I did all the burpees I was assigned. I didn’t do them well, but I did them.  Mine were more like the down-dogs I had trained for than the clean Spartan burpee.  Another advantage of being in the open division.  Then they made us swim/wade another ¼ mile to get back on the trail and the really hard climbing that was to come. 

One obstacle I am tremendously proud of is the rope climb.  This is just what it sounds like.  You climb a rope 20 feet and ring a bell.  The last time I had done this was in 8th grade.  And as a chubby kid with no upper body strength I was awful at it.  But this time I wanted to do it. I set my goal to at least try every obstacle and give it my best.

For some reason I had out run the pack and was alone at the rope climb.  I chose a rope.  I stood and slowed my breathing.  I took a deep breath and centered my hands to my heart with my eyes closed.  Then I climbed that rope and rang that bell like a champ.  I may have screamed “F-You, rope” in some sort of mindless exorcism of eight grade demons. 

After the water obstacle the majority of the competitors seemed to be spent. They were all walking.  Every time I came to a flat spot in the trail there would be 20-30 people lounging around resting.  Not me.  When the trail opened up I was psyched to have running room and took off at a trot.  Why walk?  You’re going to get there faster running and you use a different muscle set. 

I had been choking down a Gu every hour or so when I felt my energy flagging.  And they helped.  I also brought some Endurolytes with me in a sealed plastic canister but they got all broken up from the jostling but they were gone about 3 hours in.

Due to my lack of proper preparation and poor expectation setting I brought enough supplies for a 4 hour race and ended up going 6 ½ hours.  I was hitting the wall in those last couple hours.  Nothing I haven’t felt before.  Even in my current lean state I’ve got plenty of fat to fall back on.  Not really much I could do except keep moving forward.

Then it got hard.  About 3 ½ to 4 hours into the race we headed up the final climb.  Up until this point we had climbed parts of the mountain 2-3 times already.  It alternated from trooping up the ski slope to scrambling up some gnarly single path technical in the woods between the slopes.  And when I say gnarly I mean it.  Very steep, loose dirt, roots, rocks and trees.  In places you could use your hands to pull yourself up.  They even had ropes in particularly steep spots. 

What made these technical sections hard was you could only go as fast as the person in front of you and there were few opportunities to pass.  Technically it’s known as “the theory of constraints” – which is a fancy way of saying everyone moves as fast as the slowest person.  You’d have to pick your spots and try to jump by people.  Otherwise it was a conga line of slow moving feet.  It made it hard to choose a good line and get a rhythm going. 

The one potential upside was all the young cross fitter booty in cross fitter booty shorts I had to eyeball from six inches away all day long.  That wasn’t awful.  They may not know how to trail run but they look good in their clothes. 

Going down was the same gnarly single path but you could build up momentum and get by people easier.  A couple times I tucked in behind the ultra-runners who seemed to have some sort of implied passing right and just followed them.  Once I figured it out I was just brazenly running the left fringe of the trail blowing by people by the score. 

I’d yell “Ding! Ding!” or “Out of control old guy!” (that got a couple chuckles) or “Coming through!” but overall they had no sense of humor and yelled at me unless I said “on your left!” I’m not used to people being so cranky at a trail race.  But these weren’t trail runners.  And this is the big reason I placed relatively high.  They walked.  I ran.  And I have to tell you it was fun bouncing through the woods, swinging from trees and passing people. 

Some of the open field descents were too steep to run.  You had to do that shuffle hop movement where you’re basically out of control and just touching the ground to slow down every once in a while. 

This was dicey because the pack was thick and everyone else, especially later in the race was not handling the descents with much dignity.  Apparently they were having knee and quad burnout because they were fighting the downhills.  They were stopping a lot, walking backwards or sideways and even scooching down on their bums.  I had to avoid all this. 

There were a couple steep sections where people would kick rocks loose and then those rocks would roll down the hill at velocity like 2-3 pound missiles.  Everyone would scream “Rock”.  You’d hear “Rock!” and then “Owe! That really hurt!”

I made it through all the hard stuff without falling except once in the woods where I went elbow deep into a mud hole where a spring came out of the mountainside. 

Then as I was careening down one of the last descents in the open slope I caught a toe.  I was in open ground so I tried to tuck and roll and it worked I popped back up on my feet.  But, in the process I slammed my shin and my elbow on some rocks.  The shin really hurt.  There wasn’t much I could do about it.  I pulled up my calf sleeves so I wouldn’t have to look at the wound, gritted my teeth and kept running – hoping I didn’t do too much damage.

Then there was the last climb.  By this point we were well into the race.  I was well out of fuel and running on fumes.  It was a super steep 2 mile hike straight up the gondola path to the top of the mountain.  This was a death march for everybody.  It was just a long conga line 3-4 across slogging up the slope.  I will admit to stopping and resting a number of times on this ascent. 

When we final clambered out into open ground at the very top of the mountain it was in the clouds and windy.  The spectators up there had coats on and were shivering.  The temperature dropped and being mostly naked you would think I’d be cold, but I was well into suffer mode and the cold air woke me up a bit.  Now I knew we were done climbing and the finish was down at the bottom of the mountain somewhere. 

Of course there was an obstacle at the top of the mountain that had to do with carrying logs like suitcases which was no problem.  I caught my breath and took off down the fire road.  I leaned on my training again, cleaned up my form and ran.  I used my core and it felt awesome to be moving again after all that slow hiking. 

Coach kept telling me not to worry about the race, that the Kardashians could do it.  Could the Kardashians do it?  Yeah, if they had enough time. 

Overall on the course I saw a number of people that really didn’t look like they should be doing a race this hard.  I think the positive is that assuming you started early enough you could take as much time as you wanted.  You could take all day and work as a team and in that sense anybody could do it. 

I did see people getting taken off the course for injuries.  Mostly knees and ankles.  I think some of them may have been faking an injury to get of the damn mountain!

For all the out of shape types there was definitely the lean, cross fit archetype as well.  Lots of compact, fit looking people with six pack abs.  That’s the Spartan community. This race was the culmination of a long journey for many of them, from the sprint, to the super and now their ultimate conquest of the beast.  I met people from all over the country. I passed one guy who had flown in from Australia. 

I was wondering if I would see anyone with phones or earbuds on the course.  I know the Millennials love their phones but the obstacles make having wires a bad idea.  I didn’t see any wires. I did see a couple wireless headphones, but the one surprising thing I came across was speakers.  At least 4 people I passed had speakers strapped to their packs and were blasting music.  I don’t know how they managed the water obstacles with those. 

Mostly it was millennial hip-hop music that I am too old to appreciate and I remember some Blink182 late in the race but I passed a dude up one of the scrambles and he was blasting some Lynyrd Skynrd.  I obligingly yelled “Whatdayall wanna hear?. Free bird!”  He said it was random and the next song might be Christian music.  We all agreed this climb would be an excellent place to convert people – the kind of place that made you want to ask God for help. 

So yeah, that’s a new one on me.  Speakers strapped to your backpack in a race. 

To finish up the narrative I got to the bottom of the mountain, ready to be done with it.  But they put 5 obstacles in the last ¼ mile just to mess with you.    spazzed out on the spear throw and had to do 30 burpees which left me totally drained for the subsequent log carry.  I managed the Atlas ball carry.  I had no hope of the last dangly rope thing and did another 30 burpees (these took a while because I was running on fumes).  Then over the last A-frame climby thing and a final leap across the fire and I was done. 

The picture I had of myself leaping over the fire in my head was much more flattering than the actual picture.  I look like a hobo fleeing a structure fire.  When we were watching the finish earlier some fit young dude literally did a flip over the fire.  That is styling.  Not me.  I’m the dirty hobo. 

Was it hard? Yeah. Was it the hardest thing I’ve ever done? No way. 

People who have worn their Garmins on the course clock it at 14.83 miles.  They also clock 6,700 feet of elevation gain.  That’s more than a mile.  That’s more than Wapack.  That’s more than the Grand Canyon.  So, if you want to run this version of the Spartan race go get your lederhosen and start mountain training.

The man who won the elite version of my race on Saturday was a 26 year old who did it in 3:32.  The woman was a 29 year old who did it in 4:34. 

In my open division the winner came in at 4:15 the very last runner took 17 hours to cover the course.  That’s a long day.  The average looks to be in the 8-9 hour range. 

Just so everyone knows I want credit for the memorization obstacle.  The way that works is that you have to memorize a number early in the race and they are supposed to ask you for it later in the race.  Both Teresa and I had to memorize the number, and I took great pride in knowing that my familiarity with memorization techniques would give me the clear advantage.  But no one ever askes either of us for our numbers!  For the record Quebec-949-5373.

We slept in an old hotel in White River Junction and grabbed some barbeque and a craft brew.  I earned it.  I had a bit of a hard time sleeping because I had so many open scrapes and wounds every time I rolled over my whole body lit up like tearing a Band-Aid off. 

Teresa tackled the sprint the next day and due to robust genetics she placed 1st in her age group, proving all Millennials aren’t soft.  I was getting around fine.  My quads were a bit sore but nothing like after a hard road marathon.  I could tell I went deep into the glycogen stores because I had the odd struggle with finding the right nouns. 

As the week has progressed the scrapes are healing.  The nastiest is a rope burn on the back of my ankle from one of the traversing obstacles.  I was oddly body sore all over like I had been rolled up in a blanket and beaten with sticks.  Nothing hurt badly, but everything hurt a little.

I’m content with 6 ½ hour finish.  Will I go back?  Maybe for the shorter races to get the other 2 pieces of the medal and complete the ‘trifecta’.  After all I started with the hard one. 

Teresa and I had a nice adventure.  I got a firsthand look at the Spartan races.  I don’t know about all the courses but this one, this beast in Killington, ran a bit like an ultra, maybe a 30k in effort level.  If you’re looking for something interesting go ahead and try a Spartan.

Direct download: SpartanUp.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 9:14pm EST





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