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

 (Audio: link) [audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi4349.mp3]
Link epi4349.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks - http://www.marathonbq.com/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. 

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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 -. http://runrunlive.com/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 - http://runrunlive.com/financial-independence

Outro

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 - http://www.marathonbq.com/qualify-for-the-boston-marathon-in-14-weeks/

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Direct download: epi4349.mp3
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Spartan up!

A first timer takes on the Beast. 

(Audio: link) [audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/SpartanUp.mp3]
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 EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-348 – Kristy Jo and Power Foods!

 (Audio: link) [audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi4348.mp3]
Link epi4348.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks - http://www.marathonbq.com/qualify-for-the-boston-marathon-in-14-weeks/

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-348 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  I ran a bit long last episode with Mike.  I was up against a deadline so I just let it slide.  I’ll try to better this time. You may have noticed I started slipping cookies into the end of the show after the outro.  A ‘cookie’ in the lingo of the podcasting ‘biz’ is a blooper that I find particularly engaging.  Like last week when I either wrote into my script or spell checked in that Australopithecines had ‘disposable’ thumbs!

That’s just too funny not to share. 

Today we speak with Kristy Jo.  I love that name.  It’s like something from a TV show. Kristy shares some very good tips and tricks around her Power Foods nutrition plan. I read through her book and it’s quite sensible.

I know this whole weight loss nutrition thing is a real challenge for so many people and I thought we’d give you some pointers from someone who has been through it all and get her approach. 

I have been steadily losing weight as well.  I wrapped up my 30 day plan at the end of August but decided to keep it going.  My training is going really well at the lighter weight. I want to see where I can get to by the Portland Marathon next month. 

Last episode I erroneously said I was down to 170 pounds. That was incorrect.  What I meant was 175 pounds, which is still good, because I started at 185ish.  I’m currently in the low 170’s with a body fat percentage of in the 10’s.  Body fat percentage is a much better metric than weight or BMI.  A good range for a guy my age is in the low teens. 

All that aside what I’m really pleased with is how much better workouts feel and how well my heart is responding.  That’s how I define ‘feeling healthy’ and that’s what I’m going for. 

We have a wonderfully hewn, well crafted, and individually designed for your specific needs - show for you today.  It’s a thing of beauty this show.  I had it hand crafted by virgin baby koalas just for you.

In section one I’ll answer some rapid fire running questions.  In section 2 I’ll talk about the Wapack Trail race I ran over Labor Day weekend. 

I was wondering if anyone was going to write in about my math problem when I told the story of the store clerk in Atlanta.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  For the record, I know that 30% plus 20% can be calculated 2 different ways.  When you combine a 20% discount with a 30% discount the answer is either 50% or 44% depending how you apply the discounts.  Glad to see you’re paying attention.  Makes me feel loved.

There are a billion podcasts these days aren’t there?  It’s funny how the cycles turn.  Someone should do some research on it.  First it was just us hobbyists and the big news outlets.  Now everyone with a platform has gotten the message that a podcast is a must-have channel – especially the internet marketing folks. 

Thank you for joining me on my journey.  You don’t have to.  I’m doing it because I like doing it. It allows me to practice my creativity and production.  It forces me to think critically about topics.  It allows me to interact with people I find interesting.  I explore topics and people that are interesting to me, that’s why I can keep producing for 9+ years and 350 shows.  I do it for myself. 

At the same time, whenever I create anything I think about the audience.  I ask the question “Why do you care?”  This keeps me from getting too wrapped up in myself and allows me to add value.  If you don’t care I’m just an annoying old dude that you sat next to on a long flight and won’t shut up even though you put your headphones in and pretended to sleep.  I don’t want to be that guy. 

I do have a membership option to defray the cost because I’m a capitalist at heart and not a charity!  I’m working on a proper set of books but as near as I can figure I spend about $1,500 a year on the podcast.  Consider buying a membership. I’m still working on a separate iTunes feed for it.  My guy in Nigeria can’t quite figure out how to make the remote header calls work with my wordpress plugin, but I’m working on it.  If you’ve known me for any length of time you know I’m patient.  When I decide to do something it takes on the inevitability of a glacier. 

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.

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How about some useful running information?  How about that?  Instead of all this waffling on about the creative act?  OK

One of the workouts Coach gave me this week was a medium effort hill workout.  Many times you will run longer or faster hill workouts for leg strength or as a type of speed workout or threshold workout.  That’s not what this particular workout is for.  This is a workout to practice form.

Hills are a great place to practice form because running uphill naturally forces you up onto your forefoot, to take shorter, more rapid strides and to lift your knees.  Hills bring the form to you.  

For the medium effort hill repeat you are only doing 30 seconds. That’s long enough to get into your form but not long enough to stress you.  You do the workout at medium effort, so maybe a 7-8 on a scale of 1-10. 

People always ask ‘how steep should the hill be?’  For these medium effort repeats you can actually answer that question.  When you get into the repeat itself your form should be clean.  If you’re having to lean forward or struggling to get your feet turning over – the hill is too steep. 

When you run the repeat focus on pushing off rapidly from the forefoot.  Push your hips forward.  Run tall.  Keep your chin up, your shoulders high and loose and your hands high and loose.  Focus on the form, not the effort.  Don’t carry anything in your hands. 

Jog down the hill and don’t start another rep until your heart rate settles down.  I usually leave my bottle at the bottom of the hill.  I stop when I get back, take a drink, walk a bit and when my HR falls under zone 2 I’ll ease into the next rep.  I also find a stick and scratch a tally mark into the dirt after every rep.  It makes a game out of it. 

Do a set of 10-15 of these.  These are great, especially if you are trying to clean up your form.  Like I said a 4-6% hill will automatically help you clean up your form.  And I’m pretty sure the sine of that angle is the opposite over the hypotenuse, but I could be wrong. 

Practice makes perfect. 

Do your practice. 

On with the show.  

Section one –

Running Tip Roundup -. http://runrunlive.com/running-tip-roundup

Voices of reason – the conversation

Kristy Jo Hunt

My Skype is "kristyjohunt."

My home website is www.body-buddies.com but there is much under construction with funnels, and I fear not everything leads back to one congruent space. I would love to talk about my background with long distance running and why I got into it (disordered eating and thinking it would solve weight issues) to why I got out of it (chronic pain with my 50-degree scoliosis that I pushed through the pain due to the disordered eating habits and FEAR), as well as my coaching of long-distance athletes with meal structure and timing that we have found to be very successful and optimize their body weight and energy for better times.

I will put my bio below:

Kristy Jo Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, published author, and natural Women’s Figure Competitor. After overcoming over a decade of disordered eating battles, she began a Facebook page in 2012. This Facebook page grew to be a full-blown education-based body transformation company called Body Buddies.  Her team of coaches helps people correct health issues, overcome disordered eating, achieve their goals, and reach their desired aesthetics.

She is the author of the book series and recipe book line, The Power Foods Lifestyle, and founded the company, Body Buddies, a transformation and education coaching system. Body Buddies teaches strategic implementation of scientific principles using psychological profiling to help people make sustainable changes in their nutrition and fitness efforts. She hosts online group challenges, coaches clients one-on-one, and teaches seminars for athletic teams, corporations, and church groups.  As a way to help many people for free, she hosts the Body Buddies podcast, YouTube Channel, and Social Media feeds where she shares tips and tricks to nutrition, exercise, and mindset training.

Her greatest happiness comes from watching others succeed and overcome obstacles that previously prevented them from reaching their goals. 

I would love to link to www.body-buddies.com in the show notes and I would love to offer my free gift to your listeners of my free book (they just pay shipping) at www.powerfoodslifestyle.com.

Kristy Jo


 

Kristy Jo Hunt
CPT/FNS/Author, Body Buddies

929-BOD-BUDS | kristyjo@body-buddies.com | www.body-buddies.com | Skype: kristyjohunt

Section two

Wapack 2016 - http://runrunlive.com/wapack-2016

 

Outro

Well my friends you have nibbled your way on proteins, vegetables and carbohydrates through to the end of  episode 4-348 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Are you full?  Are you satiated?  Did you have to unbutton your jeans so all that good info would fit? 

I’ve got a short turn around now and I’m heading out to do the Spartan Beast in Killington Vt.  I’m dragging my youngest along and she’s going to do the sprint on Sunday. 

I was looking at the instructions and anyone who starts the Beast after noon needs to carry a headlamp and two glow sticks…And they pull you off the course if you haven’t finished by 9:00 pm.  Really? I have no intention of being on that course for 9 hours.  Am I missing something? 

Coach is still trying to talk me out of it so I can focus on the Portland marathon on October 9th.  What I like about him is that he’s old-school.  He thinks every race is an Olympic qualifier.  But, I’m at the point in my life where I have to try new things and have some fun too. 

That being said if I can maintain the diet and come out of Portland strong I’ll look at the calendar and see if there isn’t something serious to train for.  I’ve got to figure out if we are going to do the Groton Marathon again this year.

Many of you are running your goal races now or over the next few weeks.  Good luck with those.  Remember that the hay is in the barn and there’s nothing you can do in the last couple weeks to make up training. 

As you are in your taper towards your race you can use a couple of the things we talked about here to help you stay sane.  As your training load gets lighter you have an opportunity and the time to do some of the fine-tuning things. 

  • Think about practicing the mediation and visualization that we’ve talked about.
  • Work in some easy yoga every other day to stretch and strengthen your machine.
  • Do some meal planning around your taper weeks to go into the race lean and strong with a lot of energy.

That’s how you apply the tools from the conversations we have here.

That’s the real trick with all the content available to you.  You’re like a DJ.  You are the creative genius for your life.  You take all this stuff in and mix it to make your own sound, your own movie and craft your own story. 

Make sure you get the ending right.

And I’ll see you out there.

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks - http://www.marathonbq.com/qualify-for-the-boston-marathon-in-14-weeks/

Http://www.marathonbq.com

http://runrunlive.com/my-books

Direct download: epi4348.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 3:22pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-347 – Mike Croy and the One Breath

 (Audio: link) [audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi4347.mp3]
Link epi4347.mp3

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks - http://www.marathonbq.com/qualify-for-the-boston-marathon-in-14-weeks/

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-347 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Today we are going to reconnect with our old friend Mike the DirtDawg who has been doing a lot of useful work around mindfulness in his life, with his students and in his community.  I chat with him about some practical ways we can use mindfulness in our lives and some basic, easy ways to implement it. 

In section one I’m going to zoom in on how meditation or mindfulness can help amateur athletes.  In section two I’m going to do a quick summary of how a 30 day project works and how you can use it to get some traction in your life. 

Because, as I write this I’m wrapping up my latest 30 day plan.  I tend to try to do a bunch of things in parallel when I do 30 day projects.  This one I was trying to get up early, clean up my nutrition, avoid alcohol and work on my next book project. 

It went very well, except for the last couple days where I was on vacation – that always causes some hiccups in the process.  But I managed to keep the damage minimal while not being bad company.  Up until that point though I had lost a bunch of weight and had mat all my goals and felt fantastic. 

I didn’t get as much work done on my book project as I would have liked, but all in all it was a good month for me.

I was particularly pleased with this because I took a 2 week break from running at the same time I took on the 30-day project. I kicked off the project on the 1st of August the day after my trail marathon.  The Achilles was hurting so coach gave me a week off.  After a week I ran once and felt awful.  I ended up walking back from that run.  That run was day 7 or 8 of the 30 day project, and as I will explain, that is when the project sucks the most.  I was in a bad place with no energy.

My runs have been awful all summer.  I just felt sick, had no energy and was hating my runs.  I got them done but it was a struggle.  That’s one of the reasons I decided to put my foot down and use a 30-day project to clean up.  I decided to clean up my nutrition and with Rachel’s help rebuild my healthy biome.

After the day-7 run debacle Coach smelled over-training and gave me another week off.  Not off, but off from running.  That’s when I started to turn the corner.  About 14 days in he finally gave me the green light and told me do an easy 1:15 run. 

At this point I was lighter, healthier and well rested. I decided to go out at night after work. The night was cool, around 60, and the humidity had let up. I left everything at home and just wore a pair of racing shorts.  No phone, no bottle, no shirt – just my Garmin and the heart strap. 

And - Oh my god! I felt weightless.  I couldn’t control myself and was literally flying.  I didn’t even start to feel any tiredness until the last long climb up to my house.  Coach was a bit peeved when I posted my ‘easy’ run and it turned out to be a 8+ mile marathon pace tempo run. But really, sometimes you just can’t help yourself. 

The other thing I’m noticing is that my HR is staying down.  It’s behaving nicely and just the way I would expect it to. 

My Achilles is still a little sore but I’m working it.  My runs since then have been fairly fabulous.   Plus, since I’m getting up early anyhow I can knock them out in the morning without much suffering.  It’s all good.  The wave is cresting again. 

I’m going to see if I can keep the nutrition going until October.  In 30 days I got down to 175 pounds which is very light for me.  I think with a little focus I could get under 170 and I haven’t been there, ever.  I’m curious to see what that would do for my racing. 

By the way, when I say ‘Clean Nutrition’ I mean eating 98% healthy, whole food, nothing packaged, lots of fruit and veg and nuts.  An occasional hit of fish or meat if I feel like I’m not getting enough calories.  I’ve cut out fried food, bread, most dairy and as much sugar as I can find on the food labels – although sometimes the bastards sneak some by me.

When I set up the project with Rachel I told her my focus was not to lose weight but to get healthy.  But, as usual, once you focus on eating clean and healthy, the weight just comes off naturally.  It’s not due to a lack of calories per se, just a different mix.  Remember, the first two weeks of this I wasn’t even running. 

There are a couple things I’m doing slightly different this time around.  First, I’m trying to get enough healthy fats.  I include olive oil in my salads and other meals as a condiment, and I mix a spoonful of coconut oil into my oatmeal in the morning – because apparently coconut oil is the new superfood.

Second, we’ve been experimenting with lots of probiotic foods like KimChi, Sauerkraut, pickles, organic honey and homemade fermented beet juice.  This time of year I’m getting fresh chard and cukes from my garden too and they come with some helpful organisms riding along from the great outdoors.  You can get useful critters from any of the fresh from field produce available this time of year.

Check your labels to find certified organic or live culture foods.  To be clear, I don’t mean the well-known yoghurts and other probiotic labeled dairy products which, in my humble opinion, are just another packaged food ploy to stuff more dairy and sugar down your throat.

I don’t know if it is good or bad but my innards are a lot happier now after a month or so of working the probiotic, healthy food plan into my life.  It’s amazing how large a change you can make in a short amount of time with a little focus. 

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!

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I was reading the New York Times in the airport on my way back from vacation.  There was an article in there about Lucy, the famous Australopithecine.  They found Lucy’s fossilized bones in Kenya in 1974 and it really kicked off the study and understanding of all the different branches of the hominid family tree since.

Lucy was a small, juvenile, female Australopithecine that lived in the forested grasslands of Africa a few million years ago.  They weren’t humans in the sense that we think of Homo sapiens - the thinking ape.  They were a side branch or transitional form of hominid that seems to have been moving out of the trees to walk upright on the ground.

According to the news, it seems Lucy’s 2M+ year-old fossilized bones were making a tour of the US.  Some scientists took the opportunity to create a thorough CAT scan of them.  In this way they could get detailed digital images that they could analyze without having to have the bones themselves.

One of the things that they discovered is a number of compression fractures.  These are the type of fractures you get when you hit something hard, like in car accident or a fall from a great height.  They postulate that poor little Lucy met her demise by falling out of a tall tree. 

I question these conclusions.  I don’t think anything so mundane happened.  I see the forensic evidence and I think Lucy was definitely into extreme sports.  She was probably wing-suit flying off the ridge from mount Kilimanjaro or paragliding over the volcanoes.  Maybe she was caught in a sudden gust of wind or was rattled by an ill-timed tremor from imbibing too much Red Bull.  Without fully developed opposable thumbs she couldn’t hang on and she crashed. 

I’m no scientist but I have watched many episodes of CSI Las Vegas and that’s where the data leads me.  It was like an Australopithecine version of Point Break.  They had some mad-dog skills and liked to live on the edge those Australopithecines.  Live fast, die young, leave a fossilized pile of bone fragments – that was their motto.

On with the show.

Section one –

Meditation and mindfulness in Sport -http://www.runrunlive.com/meditation-in-sport

Voices of reason – the conversation

Mike Croy – “DirtDawg50k”

www.root2shine.com

Mike Croy serves as a high school principal for special education students who have been diagnosed with severe emotional impairments. His area of expertise lies in working with at risk students and families for the past 20 years.  Mike is driven to serve by his belief that we are all works in progress and the key is to keep moving forward.

Mike began teaching yoga and mindfulness/meditation classes to his students as a result of him obtaining his 200 RYT (Yoga Teacher Training) and has since started to offer it to staff and adults to help others find the space to be mindful and breathe in a hyper connected world.  He is also a 24x marathoner and has completed several ultramarathons including the Burning River 100.

Contact information: mike@root2shine.com

website: www.root2shine.com

Root 2 Shine: http://root2shine.libsyn.com/   

RSS FEED: http://root2shine.libsyn.com/rss

Dirt Dawg's Rambling Diatribe: http://dirtdawg.podbean.com/

RSS FEED:  http://dirtdawg.podbean.com/feed/

Section two

Anatomy of a 30-day project - http://runrunlive.com/anatomy-of-a-30-day-wellness-project

Outro

Well my friends you have mindfully sat and watched your body’s breath through the end of episode 4-347 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Ohmm…

Ohmm Padni ma…

Yeah.  Rock solid.  Good job.

I’m rolling off the long weekend and heading down to Atlanta to work.  I was out in Chicgao on holidays for a long weekend.  In my career I’ve been there many times but it was fun to go as a tourist.  I got up every morning and went out to run around the lakefront and Grant Park.  Two out of Three days it poured on me in the morning.  But that was ok.  I just took my shirt off and enjoyed myself. 

I did a 2:20 long run Sunday morning and the path was packed with Chicago Marathon aspirants and club runners.  The triathletes were swimming their workouts in the lake. It just so happened that the Chicago Triathlon was also going on over at Grant Park.  There was a constant stream of bicycles on Lakeshore drive the whole time I was out. 

We took the architecture tour up the river one night, went to Second City another night and then caught a Cubs game another night.  We walked through the Chicago Institute of Art one day as well.  Like I said it poured rain, but only while I was out running.  

I’ll share one image with you.  Monday morning I was running a fartlek run. I got up a 6:00 AM local time, ran down the river trail, crossed over on the Lakeshore Drive bridge, ran out to the end of Navy pier and circled around to head north on the lakeshore path. 

It was early, overcast and humid.  It hadn’t started to rain yet.  The lake was calm and the triathletes were cruising in the shallows parallel to the shore making little wave here and there. There are some sections of beach and sections of concrete along here as the path winds along the coves and points. 

I passed the remnants of a beach volleyball tournament that was being disassembled.  Not too many runners were out yet.  Bicyclists were making their way inbound to the city.  Early morning maintenance crews were picking up trash and readying the day’s projects.

At one point as I ran along the cement wall I could look down and see into the water of Lake Michigan.  It was clear enough for me to see the sandy bottom and I had to stop because there was a 3-5 pound bass going about its business there immune to my strivings. 

A few minutes later as I pushed north, throwing in occasional 2 minute surges, the heavens opened up with a warm downpour.  This broke the humidity and washed the sweat from my body.  My shoes squished along as I weaved around the deeper puddles.  Another good morning run in the windy city.

“Life Moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop to look around once in a while you could miss it.” Ferris

Next up for me is the Wapack Trail race 18 miler.  I’m just going to try to have fun and enjoy myself.  If I can get in under 4 hours and not hurt myself that will be great! After that I have that Spartan race the next weekend.  I’m going to take Teresa up with me and spend the night.  My Beast race is on Saturday and she’s going to do the sprint version on Sunday. 

Coach wanted me to skip it and focus on the Portland Marathon in October.  If I stay on my nutrition plan and manage to squeeze some training in and stay healthy I could do well out there.  I’m not worried about it though.  I think my days of overwrought expectations are over!

Speaking of overwrought expectations, on one of the planes on the way to Chicago a lady next to me was reading “Fast Girl” – Suzy Favor-Hamilton’s book.  I asked if it was any good and she said she was done with it and gave it to me.  I took it and read it over the next couple days.  I’ll see if I can’t write up a full review but I’m still processing it. 

Suzy was a contemporary of mine.  We’re about the same age. I remember her on the cover of that running magazine back in the 1990’s.  She was fast and pretty and the media loved her.  She made 3 Olympic teams in the 1500 but mentally imploded in all of them. 

It turns out she’s bipolar and has been struggling with mental illness her whole life. The final manifestation of that mental illness was her becoming a high-paid escort in Las Vegas.  Apparently she brought the same enthusiasm to that as she brought to everything else – but that’s a symptom of being bipolar. 

I follow Suzy on Facebook and she is a genuinely likable person.  I’m still processing her story because there is so much intertwined here with the competition, the mental illness and yes, the sex.  It’s a complicated mess for her and her family.  I’m glad that these types of illnesses have less of a stigma now than they did, but it’s still a complicated mess. 

It makes you wonder, when your mind is capable of such deception and complexity in the extreme, how much of what’s going on in your head is real and how much any of it actually matters? 

The human mind is a complex and sometimes deceptive intelligence.  We should all be careful to remember that.

I’ll leave you to think on that.  As you ping pong around on the inside of your overly complicated homo sapiens skull bone – how much does any of that noise matter? 

Everyone thinks they are the center of the universe.  We worry about what other’s think. We worry about being good enough, rich enough, smart enough, strong enough – we create, or allow that complex human brain to create stories and chaos.  You don’t have to create that chaos.  All that noise is inside your own head and you and I, if we want to we can quiet it.

Maybe you think you’re alone in the world with your deamons.  But you’re not. We’re in this together my friend. 

Quiet your mind.  Get some help if you need to.  You’re not alone.  You’ve got us. 

And I’ll see you out there.

 

MarathonBQ – How to Qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 Weeks - http://www.marathonbq.com/qualify-for-the-boston-marathon-in-14-weeks/

Http://www.marathonbq.com

http://runrunlive.com/my-books

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