The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-386 – Pat Runs Boston

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Link epi4386.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-386.  This is Chris, your host.  How are we doing on the fine spring day?  I love May.  Don’t’ you?  Up here in New England it’s a time of rebirth.  The trees and bushes go from brown to green in the span of a few days like one of those slow motion nature videos. 

We are close by the summer solstice.  We get back all those long dark winter days.  The sunrise today is 5:19 AM and the sunset is 8:02.  Plenty of time to get stuff done!  It’s still cool in the mornings and hasn’t gotten hot yet during the days.  This is the week after Mother’s Day when those of us who have read the farmer’s almanac start planting our gardens, and those of us who are over enthusiastic have to replant what they killed by planting it two weeks ago!

Today I have an interview with Pat who is from Calgary and ran his first Boston this year in the epic weather.  In section one I’ll give you a write up of the trail race I ran last weekend.  And in section two a quick book report on the second book in the Takeshi Kovacs series.  A real grab-bag of topics. 

You might ask, Chris it seems like you’re just stuffing random topics into a show to make a deadline.  And I would answer no, I’m embracing a random universe, I’m satisfying the souls of the renaissance woman and men who are endurance athletes and well… a deadline is a deadline!

My training for my first hundred miler is going as well as can be expected.  I topped out a couple 50+ mile trail weeks and now I’m in a recovery week to get the benefit.  With the long days I can go out in the morning in the forest behind my house.  I can be back before most people are even up! 

It’s beautiful out there.  The trails are drying up nicely.  I take Buddy the elderly wonder dog with me for the first 2-mile loop and he loves it.  He’s a trooper.  In the morning it’s cool and the bugs aren’t out yet. 

Let me tell you the story about Buddy’s soccer ball.

Many moons ago when I was a soccer coach for my kids I ended up with a kid’s soccer ball in my bag of balls from the local field.  It was one of the little ones for little kids.  It eventually ended up in my front yard and became the dog’s soccer ball.  Buddy never popped it, he just played with it.  For a decade it was a fixture in the yard. 

This spring, unknown to me, it disappeared.  A couple weeks ago I was out in the trails and there was Buddy’s soccer ball a ¼ mile from the house on the trail.  Then yesterday I was out and I saw it again, now maybe ¾ of a mile out on the trail. 

It seems some friendly interloping dog came into our yard and took Buddy’s soccer ball for a carry in the woods.  The problem is that I don’t come back the same trail I got out.  But, yesterday it didn’t seem right to abandon it so I grabbed it and carried it with me as I was running through the woods.

I was like some grade schooler goalie given a coach’s penalty.  “Take that ball with you and give me 20 laps!” 

A muddy, half-deflated kid’s soccer ball isn’t as easy to carry as you would think.  I didn’t want to put it under my arm, like an American football, because it was quite muddy.  I had to sort of clench it in one hand.  It was a bit unwieldy.

But, now it is back where it belongs.  Lying in the grass beside an elderly border collie… until a thieving rover roves by once more. 

On with the show!

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do 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. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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.

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

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one – Wapack and Back 2018 -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Patrick Hanlon

Patrick Hanlon, 51, is an educator, writer and photographer based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has been a long distance runner for the last 9 years and can be regularly found running along the Bow River. He has completed 11 marathons including Big Sur, Edmonton, Calgary, Nova Scotia, Nashville and Boston. His account of the 2018 Boston Marathon can be read at: Gratitude Versus Expectation: A Marathon Meditation


Section two – Broken Angels –


Ok my friends you have stumbled down a rocky slope to the bottom of the mountain that was Episode 4-386 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Mission accomplished. Have a smoothie.  Throw in some extra Kale. 

I started figuring out the logistics for the 100Miler.  It is the Burning River 100 in southern Ohio.  It starts on Saturday July 28th at 4:00 in the morning.  I am not going to try to guess a finish time but it will be some time Sunday Morning.  It’s a point to point.  They bus you out from the finish at 3:00 in the morning. 

The course doesn’t look to bad.  It’s only got a few thousand feet of gain and loss over the 100.  So nothing like the Wapack.  The timing is a bit troublesome.  With that start time I’ll be running the last half of the race in the dark.  Doesn’t sound like I’ll be getting much sleep that weekend. 

I haven’t decided if I’m going to drive out and get a hotel or maybe rent a camper or something.  I know I won’t be in any shape to drive afterwards. 

And, this is where you come in.  I need pacers and crew. Who wants to come pace me through a section of the last 50 miles?  I’m going to be going super slow.  It’s going to be the middle of the night.  All you have to do is keep me on course and say encouraging things like, “Come on, you can barely see the bone protruding through the skin, rub some dirt on it and suck it up!”

Shoot me an email and we’ll make a date.

Guess what else? 

I got my old motorcycle running this week.  Yup, that bike that I bought factory fresh in 1985.  It lives. 

Here’s the story. 

Last summer the clutch started getting soft on me and I didn’t have time, money or energy to attend to it so I just packed it away into the garage for the winter.

I dropped it off last week at the shop and had them take a look.  With a clutch problem it can either be simple or hard.  It might be simply air in the line or fluid or a leak in a line.  Or it can be the slave cylinder or the oil seals where the clutch meets the engine.  I was a bit terrified that this was going to be one of those take the engine apart kind of things. 

I know from experience that if this was a car that clutch could run me $1500 dollars and I wasn’t really excited about spending that on a $1,000 motorcycle. 

I called the guy and asked if they had figured out what was wrong.

He said, “You’ll have to call back later we’re still building the estimate.” 

That sounded to me like I should start mentally preparing for the worst. 

I called back.  My heart sank when he said, “I’m sorry but it’s the slave cylinder and an oils seal.” 

Then he continued, reluctantly, “It’s going to be $238 dollars.”

I heaved a sigh of relief and told him to go ahead.  Got to love the simple engineering of a Honda motorcycle!

So, as it turns out, I’ll see you out there!


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


Direct download: epi4386.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 7:17pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-385 – Brian Burke’s Running Adventures

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Link epi4385.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-385.  This is Chris, your host.  Who am I?  I don’t really know.  But, I’m working on it.  And I’m hopeful. 

In this podcast we talk about endurance sports and other complimentary topics that can help you find succor in your life.  We have been doing it for 10+ years now.  It’s been a fine ride.

Been quite a spring so far hasn’t it?  Boston was epic.  I got a lot of positive feedback on the race report.  Thank you.  I took a little extra time putting my thoughts together there so I’m glad it resonated.  I wanted to tell a good story and see if I could put you in it, so you could live the story with me. 

Particularly rewarding for me was to hear from others that were in the race and have them say “You nailed it!” and forward the post to their friends. 

Eric is putting together a video from what he could reclaim form the race and he’s going to use part of my audio to support the video story.  His camera is waterproof, but it was raining so hard the water got into the microphone and essentially muted it. 

I recovered fine from the race.  No problems. Got busy trying to make up for all the bad eating and drinking I had been holding at bay during the training cycle!

Last weekend we held our 27th Groton Road Race.  We got a bit of rain, but it was very successful.  We had good numbers this year, the shirt was great, and people seemed to really enjoy the earlier starting times. 

The cooler temps made for some good race times.  I ‘ran’ the race on Saturday this year, really just jogged it.  But, good enough to get my name in the results to keep my 27-year streak going.  We stopped to pick up trash and other things.  Even after I led a crew to clean up the course the previous weekend, there is always a few fresh beer cans that we have to police up. 

Teresa set a PR in the 10K this year.  She ran it in 53 minutes.  That beats my official time of the day before.  Good for her.  It is great to be young.

I’ve launched into my training cycle for the 100 miler this week after a couple light recovery weeks.  I’ll be running 3 days of middle distance during the week then back-to-back distance on the weekends.  All of it on trails. 

I’ve been getting up this week and heading out into the trails early.  I take Buddy the Extremely old Wonder Dog for the first 2 miles than I head back out.  It’s beautiful in the trails in the morning.  The sun comes up around 5:40 and I’ve been getting out by 6:00.  Really nice.  You should try it. 

Today we have a conversation with Brian Burk who is a an ultra-runner with many adventures to his credit and is also a writer. 

In section one I am going to read you an old post on how to recover from a marathon because I thought that might be timely for people.  In section two I’m going to talk about future narratives and red blood cells.  A bit of the old vinny-vin-vino. 

I’ve been exploring a meditation site called ‘Calm’.  They have a free 7-day beginners program where the guided sessions are about 10 minutes long.  A lot of it is exposition, i.e. instruction, but it’s a good basic introduction to breathing meditation. 

The day 5 session is particularly good.  Or at least I found it resonated.  It addresses the ability to let go of the need to do something.  It’s primarily a phone app, but I went to the website instead.  As an extra-bonus of the web site they have a looping white noise track that is pretty good for concentration enhancement that plays automatically.

But, I digress.  I recommend you find a quiet place and listen to the day 5 session.  (Ironically I stopped to take some quick notes so I wouldn’t forget to tell you about it!)

We all have our lists and impending deadlines and these things tend to push us through life by creating tension that drives us to do stuff.  But that causes us to rush through life without looking out the window to see what is going on within and without. 

This session explains how to shut that rush to do things down and how that gives you a healthier perspective.  And ‘perspective’ is the correct word.  Because, through focus you can observe the scurrying of the mind to get things done, and without judgement, know it for what it is. 

You gain an awareness that you don’t have to fill every moment with something.  That there is a value of non-doing.  Through practice you learn to give yourself permission to pause. 

Learn how to give yourself permission to pause. 

But not now!

We have to get…

On with the show!

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do 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. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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.

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

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one – Recovery after a marathon-

Voices of reason – the conversation

Brian Burk

Brian Burk


Brian’s running adventure started in 2000 stationed on top of the world, at Thule Air Base, Greenland he ran 1200 miles.  As a member of the Air Force Special Operations Command the worlds events around Sept 11th distracted him from his running.  In 2005 he ran his first marathon while stationed in the United Kingdom.

Since that time with a lot of help and inspiration from the running community he has raced distances from 5k up to and including three 100 Mile races and nine 24 hour events.  Some of Brian’s achievements and personal bests are:

Marathon 3hr 53m 47s
Umstead 100 miler, 21hr 36m 36s
Graveyard 100 miler solo 23hr 05m 05s
Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim 19hrs 30m
JFK50 Miler: 9hrs 36m 27s

With a passion for writing Brian has had two features published in a national running magazine, on various running blogs and on his own at  Brian’s first novel, Running to Leadville, a fictional story about running the Leadville Trail 100 has been well received by runners and non-runners alike.  His second book 26.2 Tips to run your best MARATHON, will help you shave time off your race results with running any faster.  You can follow Brian on Twitter @cledawgs  Instagram @cledawgs and Facebook at Brians Running Adventures.


Section two – The importanceof narrating the future –



My friends you have stumbled through the finisher chute of episode 4-385 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Time to get something to eat, rest those feet and treat those blisters.

We switched from winter to summer up here.  I went out at lunch for 6 miles of easy road work yesterday and it was in the high 80’s Fahrenheit.  I wanted to see how it felt.  I tried to convince my body that the heat wasn’t uncomfortable or even unknown, just a new thing, or a remembered thing to run with.  It wasn’t bad. 

My Plantar Fasciitis is flaring up right now.  I think it’s a combination of things, but I have to keep an eye on it.  Make sure it doesn’t’ go chronic on me.  I have a couple back to back long runs this weekend in the trails and we’ll see how it feels out the other end of that. 

Have another podcast tip for you… With these longer runs I have a need for some long-form content.  I listened to a great interview of Irish poet Michael Longley by Krista Tippet on the podcast “On-Being”.  This is one of those podcasts where you have to read the notes and see if the topic or person is really something you want to stick in your head.  Some of it is not for me.  But the interview of Michael Longley was chock full of wisdom.  Nuggets like “self-importance engraves its own headstone”, and “art and poetry require a certain insouciance”. 

The episode is called “ the vitality of ordinary things”.  Maybe it was the heat, but I very much enjoyed the wisdom when I was out on my lunch run yesterday.

Ok my friends, I have to go, but remember you have my permission to pause and when you pause to remember the magic in ordinary things. 

And thank you all for the compliments on my Boston piece.  As the poet says, ‘It’s ok to accept compliments, but don’t inhale them.”

I’ll see you out there.

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


Direct download: epi4385.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 7:27pm EDT

The 2018 Boston Marathon

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast– Boston 2018

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Link Boston2018


We are near the ‘one-mile-to-go’ marker.  Eric says something about one more hill. 

The crowds are thicker and more enthusiastic than they should be, but this is Boston.  The spectators take it as seriously as the runners.  A multi-colored sea of umbrellas lines the road and the encouragement is loud enough to rise above the storm.  Because it is the Boston Marathon, and this is our race. 

I am slowed but not walking.  Eric has those ultra-marathon legs and is pulling me.  If he wasn’t there I might, I just might, take a walk break.  But I don’t.  And we grind on. 

This race has ground me down but has not beaten me.  The rain continues to come in sheets and stand-you-up blasts of cold wind.  It is a din of squishing footfalls and the wet-plastic scrunching of ponchos, trash bags and rain coats.  All cadenced by the constant buffet and roar of wind-driven rain smashing into humans. 

That one more hill Eric is talking about is not really a hill.  But I know what he means.  It’s Eric’s 10th Boston and he has decided to run it in with me even though my pace has deteriorated in these last 2 miles as my legs lose the battle to this Boston course. 

I will not stop. 

It’s my 20th Boston so I remember when they added this underpass to avoid a road crossing many years ago.  I remember the old days of looking ahead and wishing with all my heart to see the runners disappearing to the right onto Hereford Street.  Now we looked ahead to see the moving tide of storm shattered humans jog left and dip under and out the other side. 

We don’t walk or slow our grimly purposed grind through the storm.  We rise out of the underpass.  Shifting to avoid the walkers or stumblers, or just having to jostle through yet another weaving, wet, exhausted, human-trash-bag blasted into our personal space by the gusty rain. 

There is not much antipathy left for these wayward castaways.  An elbow, a shoulder, a tired shove and we all keep moving. It’s like being inside a washing machine filled with ponchos and rain gear with a cold firehose turned on you at the same time. 

We all just want to finish.  

Ironically I feel a tail wind slap me on the back as we grind up Hereford.  The only tail wind on the course.  Maybe a bit insulting. Too little, too late.

Eric says his family is in the crowd somewhere up by the turn onto Bolyston and I grudgingly grind a wide tangent as he searches the crowd.  Nothing against his family but I don’t think I’d stop here to see God if he were behind the barrier.  The pull of that finish line is too strong, and I’m exhausted from 3-plus hours of pummeling rain and wind and cold. 

Typically, in a rainy race people will strip out of their protective clothing in the first few miles as they warm up.  Not today.  They never warmed up.  But now, as they approach the finish line and the anticipated succor of hotel rooms and hot showers they begin to shed their rain carapaces en masse. 

For the last 10 miles I have been looking out the 6-inch circle of my found poncho’s hood.  Now as I pull it back and look down Bolyston it is an apocalyptic scene. 

Usually in high wind situations the discarded rain ponchos and trash bags will blow across the course like dangerous plastic tumbleweeds to tangle the runners’ legs or lodge in the fencing.  Not today.  The cold rain is so heavy that it plasters the detritus to the pavement like so many giant spit balls. 

Through this apocalyptic landscape we grind out the last ¼ mile of this storied course.  There is not much of a sprint in my stride as we push through the timing mats.  I pull up the found poncho so the timers can see my number.  I’m still clutching my bottle in one cold-cramped claw.  I never finished my drink. I’m not sure I could let go of it if I wanted to.  My hands ceased to function as hands more than an hour ago. 

Grimacing we finish.  Around us runners throw their arms up in celebration.  The look on their faces is a combination of triumph, relief and disbelief.  They have survived the worst weather that Boston has ever offered up.  They got it done on a day that was at once horrible and at the same time the most epic journey in a marathon most will ever experience.

And not just any marathon. 

The Boston Marathon. 

They lived to tell the tales, and this one will be talked about for decades.

I was wrong. 

I thought I had seen everything and raced in every type of weather.  I have never seen anything like this.  The closest I have come was the last leg of the Hood to Coast Relay in 2016.  I had the same 30 mph head wind with the same driving rain.  But the difference that day in Oregon was that the rain was a few degrees warmer and I wasn’t going 26.2 miles on one of the hardest marathon courses.

I have experience. 

I ran my Boston PR in ’98 in a cold drizzle.  I rather enjoyed the Nor’easter of ’07. I had a fine day in the rain of 2015. 

Friday , as the race was approaching, when we knew what the weather was shaping up to be I wrote a blog post to calm people down.  In that post I said not to worry too much, it’s never as bad on the course as the hype makes it out to be. 

I said that the cooler temps were good for racing if you could stay out of the wind.  I mollified the nervous by noting that in the mid-pack there are thousands of people to draft with.  I cautioned against wearing too much rain gear as it would catch the wind and slow you down.  Instead, I recommended, wear a few layers to trap the heat.

I was wrong. 

I have never seen anything like this.

Most races would have canceled or delayed in the face of this type of weather.  Not Boston.  This type of weather at Chicago would have resulted in a humanitarian crises on the scale of an ill-timed tsunami rising out of Lake Michigan.  This weather at New York would have driven the runners and spectators into emergency shelters.

Not the Boston Marathon. 

This old dame of a foot race has been continuously pitting the best runners in the world against each other for  122 years.  This race is part of our cultural fabric.  It’s special.  We don’t stop for weather.  It’s too important to us to stop for anything. 

I remember emailing Dave McGillivray from a business trip in the days before the 2007 race as the Nor’easter bore down on New England.  I asked him if the reports were true, that they were considering canceling the race?  He responded matter of factly that he didn’t know about anybody else but he was going to be there. 

It’s not bravado or false courage.  It’s a mindset that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. 

The organization, the athletes, the cities and towns and the spectators are all in it together.  Together, on Monday, we all screwed up our grit and ran our race despite what wrath nature decided to unpack for us.

The athletes who run Boston are not the type to give up.  They have earned the right to be there.  Either by qualifying or working to raise thousands of dollars.  This is not the one-and-done bucket list crowd.  This is a cohort of seasoned endurance athletes who have trained hard and long over many years to get here.  If they skipped runs for bad weather they would never have made it to the start in Hopkinton. 

For the first time ever I decided to skip the Athlete’s village in Hopkinton.  From past experience I knew it was going to be a mess.  Based on the reports I have from other runners it was like a medieval battlefield scene.  The athletic fields turned into ankle deep mud under the marching of 30,000 runners.  Athletes struggled to find shelter under the tents.  Some crawled under vehicles in the parking lot in an attempt to get out of the elements. 

It was already raining and blowing hard as the day broke in Hopkinton.  The temperatures struggled to find 40 degrees.  There was no good place to be.  It was a mess.  There was no way to stay dry.  Waiting around to be called to the corrals runners started to accumulate a core temperature loss that would haunt them throughout the race.  The organization did the best they could but it was miserable and chaotic. 

I avoided it. 

My youngest daughter offered to drop me off in Hopkinton and I took the spectator bus downtown (instead of the athlete bus to the Village).  Seeing what the conditions would be, I took Eric’s offer of safe harbor at Betty’s place. 

It’s a long story, a Boston story, and it goes like this…  A long time ago, a family from St. Louis owned a home in Hopkinton.  They started a tradition of hosting the visiting Missouri runners in that home.  Eventually that family from St. Louis sold the home to Betty’s Family.  They continued the tradition and this is where Eric, one of my running buddies, who is from St. Louis, has been sheltering before his Boston Marathons. 

This year, Betty has sold the house and moved into a senior center, right next to the start.  She arranged to have the center’s hall open to the Missouri runners.  I joined a dozen or so gathered there in the warmth, replete with food and drink and good nature to wait for the start.  We didn’t know how lucky we were to have this safe harbor. 

Around 10:30 Eric, another runner and I made our goodbyes and started walking to the corrals.  We walked out into the storm.  We were ostensibly in wave 3 corral 3 but were soon to find out that much of the rigorous Boston starting procedure had been blown out the window. 

I made them stop at the big porta-potty farm on Main Street.  I took my dry race shoes, socks and hat out of their bag and wiggled into them in the cramped plastic box. 

Ready to race.  I tossed the sweat pants, old shoes and ski hat to the volunteer who was stuffing soggy cast offs frantically into a rattling plastic bag.

I have raced and run in all kinds of weather.  I generally know what to do and how to dress. 
Monday I dressed for racing in a 35-40 degree rainy day.  I had trained in much colder weather.  I wasn’t expecting this day to be too cold, especially once we started racing and warmed up.  The only real risk was at the end of the race.  If we were forced to walk or slow down we might get chilled.  I dressed based on my experience from 19 previous Boston Marathons and 60+ marathons over the last 25 years. 

And I was wrong.

I wore a new pair of high-cut race shorts that I bought at the expo.  I have a rule of thumb, especially after a winter training campaign, 35 and above is shorts weather.  We were close to but above that line.  I slipped on a thin pair of calf sleeves in deference to possible wind chill and rain.  Calf sleeves are good compromise between shorts and tights if the weather is on the line and add additional protection against cramping on cold days. 

For the top I added a layer to what I would usually wear.  I had a thin tech tee shirt that I had made into a tank by cutting off the sleeves as my base layer.  On top of that I wore a high-quality long sleeve tech tee I got from Asics for the 2014 NYC race and on top of that my Squannacook singlet with the bib number.  People forget that the bib number is waterproof and wind proof and helps keep your core warm.  Three layers plus the oversized bib should keep the core warm. 

I wore a pair of tech gloves that were designed for this in-between type weather.  You wouldn’t want to wear these when the temps got below freezing but they usually work well in the in-between temps.  I topped it off with a simple Boston race hat from 2017.  That’s the same scheme I’ve used in countless 35-40 degree rainy runs.

I was wrong.

Mentally I was prepared.  I’ve been doing this too long to worry about things I can’t change.  I was happy to not have another hot year.  I had had a decent training cycle and my fitness was good.  I had avoided injury except for a minor niggle in my high left hamstring.  I was ready to race.  I slept well.  I was ready to respect Boston.

I was wrong.  This was a different thing.  This was different than anything I had ever raced in. 

65 seconds.  That’s how long Eric said it took me to poop at mile 9.  I knew those porta-potties were there in the parking lot across from the reservoir.  I have used them in previous years.  I told Eric I wanted to stop. 

We had come to the conclusion that today wasn’t the best racing weather by that point.  We had been holding race pace fairly consistently up to that point down out of Hopkinton and into the flats of Ashland and Natick.  I didn’t feel horrible, but I didn’t feel great either. 

I was worried about spending too much and getting caught at the end.  My effort level was good, but a little high.  My heart rate was good.  But I weirdly felt like I was burning energy faster than normal.  I could feel the energy I was expending fighting the storm. 

Our ability to draft had been minimalized.  With the gusting wind and driving rain runners were having trouble staying in their lanes.  Even if you could get on someone’s shoulder that just meant you were in the wettest part of the road.  The runners you were trying to draft stuck to the dry crown of the road and in order to get into their shadow you had to run in the water filled wheel paths. 

Even a veteran like me, who knows the course, couldn’t make good tangent decisions as runners weaved and wobbled in the storm.  My watch says I ran an extra ¼ mile. 

People were running in all kinds of rain gear in an attempt to stay the effect of the tempest.  Shoes wrapped in bags tied at the ankles, runners clutching space blanket fragments, trash bags, ponchos and even shower caps that they had stolen from their hotels.  All bets were off.

I wanted to slow down and drop off of race pace to conserve energy I knew a forced break was a good psychological way of doing this.  Anyone who has raced with me knows that I will keep repeating things like “we have to back it off” but for some reason struggle to put this sentiment into execution.  A potty break would be a good reset.

Once we had the race monkey off our backs Eric and I settled into a reasonable pace and looked up ahead to anticipate the girls and the hills.  I wasn’t feeling great but it wasn’t critical.  I didn’t really know if I needed to be drinking more or how nutrition should work in this weather.  I told Eric it was now a fun run and he said “Anything under four hours is good”.

We ran on through Natick and Framingham.  Eric turned to me and asked, was that the ½?  I said I think it was.  They hadn’t put up the arch that has been there in recent years due to the wind and we almost missed it. 

Eric kept marveling at the spectators.  He kept repeating ‘these people are the real story’.  He was amazed that they were still out in force lining the course and cheering. 

The spectators at Boston take it as seriously as the runners.  If I could turn my head in the final miles I would see the incongruent, multi-colored sea of umbrellas lining the. route  The spectators at Boston are not spectators, they are partners, or rather part owners, with the athletes. 

Coming down the hill out of Hopkinton there were a couple of kids in bathing suits frolicking in a front yard.  One guy was wearing a mask and snorkel.  There are countless stories of spectators tying shoes and helping runners with food and nutrition when the athletes hands were too cold to work anymore. 

One out of town runner, in a fit of hypothermia went to the crowd looking for a spare rain poncho and got the nice LL Bean rain coat freely off a mans back so he could finish the race.  In some ways it reminded me of 2013 when the people of Boston came together to help each other overcome adversity. 

It’s been five years but our spirit is still Boston Strong. 

We ran on through to Wellesley staying on a good pace but trying to recover enough for the hills.  Other years you can hear the girls at Wellesley College screaming from a mile away.  This year the hard rain damped the sound until we were almost on top pf them. 

They were out there.  They were hanging over their fence imploring the shivering runners with kisses and high-fives.  Eric and I ran through smiling as always.  Even though my energy was low I drifted over and slapped as many wet hands as I could. 

Coming into mile 15 some combination of our slower pace and the increasing ferocity of the storm started to get the better of me.  I could feel my core temperature dropping.  I was working but I couldn’t keep up. 

How did this happen?  How could someone with my experience get it wrong?  Why was this different from any other cold rain run? 

It was, in a sense, the perfect storm.  The perfect combination of physics, fluid dynamics and temperature conspired to create a near perfect heat sink for the runners.  The wind, on its own, was just a strong wind.  The rain on its own was just a hard rain.  The temperature on its own was just another spring day.  But the combination pulled heat out of your body faster than you could make more.

The volume of rain driven by the winds penetrated through my hat and washed the heat from my head.  The same cold rain drove through the three layers of my shirts and washed the heat from my core.  My gloves filled with cold water and my hands went numb.  When I made a fist water would pour out like squeezing a wet sponge. 

The rain and wind was constant but would also come in big waves.  We’d be running along and a surge in the storm would knock us sideways or backwards like being surprised by a maniac with a water cannon.  I would stumble and lean into it and mutter “Holy shit storm!” or “Holy Cow Bells!” Really just to recognize and put words on the abuse. 

The wind was directly in our faces.  The rain was directly in our faces.  The whole time.  We never got out of it.  There would be lulls but then it would return with one of those smack-you-in-the-face hose downs.  My shoulder and back muscles were sore from leaning into it. 

I was having difficulty drinking from my bottle because I couldn’t squeeze my hand hard enough.  I resorted to holding it between two hands and pushing together between them.  People reported not having the hand strength to take their nutrition or even pull their shorts up after a potty stop. 

I was starting to go hypothermic and my mind searched for a plan.  Eric knew I was struggling. 

I started scanning the road for discarded gear I could use.  The entire length of the course was strewn with gear.  I saw expensive gloves and hats and coats of all descriptions.  We passed by an expensive fuel belt at one point that someone had given up on.  Eric knew I was suffering and I told him I was going to grab a discarded poncho if I could find one. 

As if on cue a crumpled orange poncho came into view on the sidewalk to our left and I stopped to retrieve it.  Eric helped me wriggle into it.  It was rather tight, and that was a good thing.  It was probably a woman’s.  It clung tightly to my torso and had a small hood that captured my head and hat without much luffing in the wind. 

It's at this point that Eric says I was a new man.  I may not have been a new man but the poncho trapped enough heat to reverse the hypothermia and we got back to work.  By now we were running down into Newton Lower Falls and looking up, over the highway at the Hills. 

Eric said, “We’re not walking the hills.”

I said, “OK” and we were all business. 

We slowed down but we kept moving through the first hill.  I focused not on running but on falling. Falling forward and catching myself with my feet.  Hips forward.  Lift and place the foot.  Not running just falling.

The hood of the poncho was narrow.  I had an enforced tunnel vision, but it was somehow comforting, like a blinders on a race horse.  I could see Eric’s blue shoes appear now and then on my right, or on my left.  I settled into my own, little, six-inch oval of reality and worked through the hills. 

Other runners would cross my field of vision and I’d bump through them.  I was in the groove.  I don’t know why but people’s pacing was all over the place during the race.  It might have been the wind or the hypothermia addled brains but they were weaving all over the road.  I had to slam on my brakes for random stoppages the entire race. 

Eventually I just ran through them as best I could.  I didn’t have the energy to stop.  This kind of behavior is unusual at Boston in the seeded corrals, but the whole day was unusual. I think the relative chaos of the start may have had something to do with it.

When we got to the corrals they had ceased worrying about protocol and were just waving runners through.  If you wanted to bandit Boston this year or cheat, Monday would have been the day to do it.  But you also might have died in the process, so there’s that. 

We got through the chutes and over the start mats without any formal starting ceremony.  The flood gates were open, so to speak.  Because of this I think the pacing was a bit strange at the start and we passed a lot of people. 

I was racing and Eric was doing his best to hold me back.  We chewed through the downhill section of the course with gusto.  Given the conditions we were probably too fast, but not suicidal.  Both of us have run Boston enough times to be smart every once in a while.  We were holding a qualifying pace fairly well and trying to draft where we could.  Eric had to pull off and have someone tie his shoe but I stayed in my lane and he caught up. 

We rolled through the storm this way until I realized this was not a day to race and we had to conserve our energy if we wanted to finish.  We metered our efforts and this budgeting process culminated in the voluntary pit stop at mile 9.

In Newton between the hills we’d focus on pulling back and recovering enough for the next one.  Eric had a friend volunteering at mile 19 who we stopped to say ‘hi’ to.  We were slow but we were moving forward.  We reached a point of stasis. 

Every now and then Eric would pull out his video camera and try to capture the moment.  I was thinking sarcastically to myself how wonderful it would be to have video of my tired, wet self hunched inside the poncho like a soggy Quasimodo.

I had brought a bottle of a new electrolyte drink called F2C with me.  It was ok but because of the cold I wasn’t drinking much.  I knew my hands couldn’t get to the Endurolytes in my shorts pocket.  I had enough sense to worry about keeping the cramps away.  I managed to choke down a few of the Cliff Gels they had on the course just to get some calories, and hopefully some electrolytes. 

Eric and I continued to drive through the hills.  I miss-counted and thought we’d missed HeartBreak in the Bedlam.  With the thinner crowds I could see the contours of the course and knew we had one more big one before the ride down into Boston. 

We successfully navigated through the rain up Heartbreak and Eric made a joke about there being no inspirational chalk drawings on the road this year.  Eric was happy.  He had wrecked himself on the hills in previous races and my slow, steady progress had helped him meter himself.  With those ultra-marathon trained legs he was now ready to celebrate and took off down the hill. 

I tried my best to stay with him but the hamstring pull in my left leg constrained my leg extension and it hurt a bit.  I was happy to jog it in but he still had juice.  I told him to run his race, I’d be ok, secretly wishing he’d go so I could take some walk breaks without a witness, but he refused.  He said “We started this together and we’re going to finish together.” 

OK Buddy, but I’m not running any faster.  I watched his tall yellow frame pull ahead a few meters though the last 10K, but he would always pull up and wait for me to grind on through. And so we ground out against the storm and into the rain and wind blasts through the final miles. 

In my mind I never once thought, “This is terrible!” or “This bad weather is ruining my race!”  All I was thinking is how great it was to get to be a part of something so epic that we would be talking about for years to come.  The glory points we notched for running this one, for surviving it and for doing decently well considering – that far outweighed any whining about the weather.

This type of thing brings out the best in people.  It brought out the grit in me and the other finishers.  It brought out the challenges for those 2700 or so people who were forced to seek medical treatment.  That’s about 10% of those who started. 

It brought out the best in Desi Linden who gutted out a 2:39 to be the first American winner 33 years.  In fact it brought out the best in the next 5 female finishers, all of whom were relative unkowns.  The top 7 women were 6 Americans and one 41 year old Canadian who came in 3rd.  No East Africans to be seen. 

The day brought out the best in Yuki Kawauchi from Japan who ground past Kenyan champ Geoffrey Kirui in the final miles. 

It was an epic day for epic athletes and I am glad to have been a part of it.  I am grateful that this sport continues to surprise me and teach me and humble me.  I am full of gratitude to be part of this race that pushes us so hard to be better athletes, to earn the right to join our heroes on this course.  I am humbled to have friends in this community, like Eric, who can be my wing men (and wing-ladies) when the storms come.

I am thankful for that day in 1997 when a high school buddy said, “Hey, why don’t we run the marathon?”  Those 524 miles of Boston over the last 20 years hold a lot of memories.  This race has changed me for the better and I’m thankful for the opportunity.

Direct download: Boston2018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:16pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-384 – Stephanie Bombs to BQ

(Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4384.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-384

How are we doing? 

Looks like spring is finally arriving up here in New England.  I was out in the woods this week doing a little, slow trail running with Buddy the Very Old Wonder Dog.  You can feel nature getting ready to explode.  Buddy is getting pretty slow, but I wait for him to catch up and he does ok.  He even breaks into a run every once in a while. 

It hasn’t greened up yet, but it will towards the end of this month. The ground is wet, and the snow is mostly gone.  But even the mud smells fecund in its dormancy.  There are a lot of trees and branches down.  From all the nor’easters we had.  I might go for a walk with my old dog today and bring my axe to clear some of the dead fall out of the trail. 

My wife is always telling me I shouldn’t drive around with an axe.  I’m not sure I understand the safety concern.  I was sharpening my axe last week and wondered how many people in the world still know how to sharpen and axe?  Such an ancient thing.  We humans have been rubbing stones against metal for a few thousand years.

Yes, the dog is still alive, I’m still alive and the woods are coming alive. 

Today we have a great story for you.  I talk with Stephanie who decided to become a runner the day the bombs went off in Boston 5 years ago.  From the emotional beginning, she’ll be running her first qualified Boston this year, on that anniversary.  Compelling stuff.

In section one I’ll talk about active tapers.  In section two I’ll talk about hope and emotional intent. 

Yes, I’m a little bit more than a week out from running my 20th Boston Marathon.  If you want to follow me my number is 18051.  Solidly in the midpack with a 3:33 qualification time.  It looks like we are going to get good running weather.  50’s and overcast.  This may be a good year.  But you never know in New England.

I’m in my taper.  This week still has a few quality workouts in it but next week I’m sure we’ll be shutting it down.  My weight is good.  My fitness is good.  I’ve got a little pirifomis pain but I’m working through it.  All in all I guess I don’t have any excuses!

Racing is like life.  You have to find that knife’s edge between too little and too much.  Too fast and too slow.  It’s a balancing act. 

Picture yourself walking along that mountain ridge.  It drops off into the depths precipitously on both sides.  But we have trained.  We know how to walk the edge with confidence and aplomb.

On with the show!

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do 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. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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.

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

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one – Active Taper-

Voices of reason – the conversation

Stephanie Ames Virding

March 20 at 4:58pm · Spring Valley, NV

Hi everyone!! Here is my introductory story – the video thing is not so much my forte’!

Grab a sammich and sit back…it’s a little long, but I think worth the read!  :)

We all have a story about where we were the day the bombs went off…This is the day I became a runner…

I grew up watching the race, the Red Sox, the Bruins, and doing so many things the great city of Boston has to offer. Five years ago, my husband and I moved to Las Vegas. On Patriots Day 2013, I was in my living room watching the race on TV. When it was finished, I turned it off, and shortly after that got a phone call from my mom, in tears, yelling at me to turn the TV back on, that “something really bad had happened”. And there it was…the news unfolding…my brother was running the marathon that day and his wife and my dad were near the finish line waiting for him. With phone lines down, it took some time to connect with his wife and my dad – oddly, Facebook messenger was operating and this became our life line. It would then be a couple of hours before we got word that my brother was ok….

Having just recently moved and retired, I was looking for some change in my life that would be healthy, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted or needed to do. I was overweight and sedentary. Most everything took so much effort. Everything about the bombings though felt personal. MY city had been attacked and for a few hours, I wasn’t sure if I had lost half of my family. As I watched the world wrap its arms around Boston, I also watched the running community and how they responded. I wanted to be part of that - I was all in! I was going to be a runner!

My brother helped me get started and we talked daily about what happened and the continued news reports…I bought a pair of running shoes. Set a start date. Set a goal – get to the end of the street and back – 1 mile. I was able to “jog” about 20 feet before I had to stop and say, “What the hell????” “This is SO hard!!”. It only made me want it more…

My brother instructed me to find a 5k event to keep me working toward goals. I did and six months later, I crushed it with a time of 40:53!! Hahaha!! I slept the rest of the day - BUT, I knew I wanted to get better and faster. I found a local running club and then my brother suggested signing up for the BAA 2014 Distance Medley. I was going to be back home for marathon weekend anyway – no way I would miss it! So, the 5k was no problem (although still a huge distance for me at the time). I figured I had enough time to train for a 10k, but that half marathon?? Holy hell…I didn’t know if I could do that. Marathon weekend and the first race for the Distance Medley came.

The city was on fire with an energy I can’t begin to describe! I am forever grateful to have been able to be part of that weekend. I ran the 10k with my brother and my dad, at my dad’s pace. He had been so affected by everything the previous year, that this meant everything to him. I had been training with my running club coach and was able to complete my very first half marathon as part of the Distance Medley, in Boston, the city I love so much. My finish time was 2:41:32. I vowed I would never do another one – the training, the anxiety, the effort – it felt impossible…

And those are the things that propelled me forward to want to do better at half marathons. I spent the next couple of years being 100% driven toward better running, faster times, and overall fitness. I lost 90 lbs. I brought my 2:41 half time down to a 1:48. Then I had a conversation with my coach…the 5th year anniversary of the bombings, the thing that started me running was coming up in 2018. I would be turning 50 the week before that race. I decided that I wanted to run Boston to bring my running journey full circle. I thought being a charity runner would be a good idea to make this happen. He stated that in no way was I going to run charity (although we both support charity running 100%). I was going to qualify. I had all the right things inside me, driven by determination and Boston to make it happen.

I had no desire to run multiple marathons to try to BQ and get to Boston. It would mean the most to me to run April 2018, and if I got in, it was meant to be. If not, it wasn’t. I wasn’t going to be a multiple marathon runner. So, the training began and I did everything that was within my power to make it successful – nutrition, training plan, cross training, strength training, reading multiple books about mental focus & motivation – all of it.

May 29, 2017, I stepped up to the start line of Mountains 2 Beach Marathon. I was ready. I was hungry for it. And I got it! Although I was shooting for a 10 min window & hoping at worst a 5 min window. I came in at 3:56:31, with around 3:30 to spare. Although this isn’t a guarantee, it was enough to keep me somewhat confident, until registration time. I kept with my belief that of it was meant to happen, it would. And it did…I made it in by 6 seconds! Wooosh!

After basking in the glory, the butterflies, and flip flopping stomach, I was going to be running Boston! I was ecstatic!! Then, it was time for training to begin. My coach of four years, the only way I have known running and the coach I trusted to guide me, unfortunately made inappropriate sexual advances toward me. My husband and I fired him on the spot.

But then I was panicked…What do I do? How do I train? How does this all work? I have an amazing support system of running friends that worked me through the grief & loss of my coach and helped get me get invested in a training plan to keep me on track. I have been following Hal Higdon’s Boston plan, with lots of success. I don’t have a time goal. My goal is to simply take it ALL in. Just to enjoy the entire experience, the crowds, the energy – and everything that got me to this point. I have two injuries slowing me down – residual pain from two hammy tears and now a bone bruise in my heel, but NOTHING will keep me from that start line in Hopkinton!

In just under four weeks, I will be running a race I NEVER thought possible when I first started running. I will be bringing my running journey full circle, as I bring it back to Boston, to run the race that started it all for me. I will be turning 50 a week before the race. I will be bringing closure to an event that changed my life completely and fully. And I will be doing it all with amazing friends and my incredible husband who has supported every step of this journey (and just ran his first 5k!!!).

Section two – Hope and intent –



Alright my friends you have hoped yourself – with good intent – through to the end of episode 4-384 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Next time we talk will be post marathon. Should have something interesting to say.  We’ll see. Boston is always an adventure.  Then I have to throw myself into ultra training for the Burning River 100 in July. 

I’ve been watching my way through a couple good shows on Netflix.  The first one, I think I told you about is Altered Carbon.  This is a hard scifi series based on a very good hard scifi novel. 

I would recommend reading the novel before you watch the series though.  The show sticks very closely to the novel’s narrative but in doing so it becomes a bit of an insider game.  If you don’t know the backstory of the universe you might think it is some sort of soft porn snuff movie.  

The universe’s conceit is that humans have discovered alien technology whereby you can put yourself on a chip.  Which means you can be reanimated in any body or ‘sleeve’ and few people suffer ‘real death’.  Leads to some tricky cultural problems when people can live forever.

I’m starting the second novel in the series as we speak.

Another one I’ve been working my way through is Peaky Blinders.  Which is about a gang in Birmingham after the great war.  It’s very well done.  It’s a bit like Boardwalk Empire.  The characters are compelling. 

It occurs to me that it is the embodiment of a Clockwork Orange set in the roaring 1920’s. 

(If you don’t get reference google it.  The Stanley Kubrik rendition of this Anthony Burgess novel in 1971 was quite the cult classic – you owe it to yourself to watch it.  You’ll never listen to Beethoven’s 9h the same way again.)

This is another one where if you have a weak stomach for the vinni-vin-vino or the ultra-violence you might want to stay away.  I myself was having dreams of murder last night. 

I’ll give you a running related slice of content recommendation as well.  As part of the marathon run up this year the BAA is putting out a podcast.  So far, they have interviewed Boston winners Jack Fultz, Bill Rodgers and Sarah Mae Berman, and also our friend Dave McGillivray.

Sara Mae won the race before women were official.  Great to remember, with all the dynamics of women in society today and current trials and tribulations, it wasn’t that long ago that the maximum allowable distance for women to compete at was 200 meters.  Seems absurd today, but that didn’t change until the 70’s.  Worth a listen.  Very inspirational. 

These women changed the world, like Stephanie is changing the world, like we all can change the world by filling that moment between stimulus and response with our intent. 

I’ll see you out there.


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


Direct download: epi4384.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 8:11am EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-383 – Ted Talks 100 miles

 (Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4383.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-383

First let me apologize for not being consistent with episode production these last 7 months.  I was in a role that was very taxing on my time an energy.  My basic schedule was to roll out of bed at 4:30 or 5:00 AM, grab my stuff, drive to the train station, get on the train, get to the gym, hit my workouts, get cleaned up, work until 7:00 at night, get back on the train to be home after 8:00, eat something and go to bed.  Rinse and repeat. 

In all of this I had no real office or place to write or record or interview. This left me with the weekends, which after spending all week in the mix-master of work I kinda needed the time off to recharge enough to get through the next week. 

Through all this I kept my training up for the marathon but just about everything else got kicked to the curb.  I had some memorable hard workouts down by the Charles River in the early morning.  I learned a lot about the city. 

I really missed the writing and being able to talk to you folks about endurance sports with the quality and fidelity of a measured mind. 

Good news for the podcast is that I’m done with that gig and for the near future able to refocus on getting my mind and body straight for the Boston Marathon. 

Today I’ve got an interview I recorded with one of my old friends and running buddies Ted.  We talk about stepping up to a 100-mile distance and what it is going to take. 

In section one I penned a soliloquy on running my 20th Boston Marathon and in section two I’ll talk about the power of gratitude. 

Since we last talked I’ve been in the dark place with my training.  Lots of hard, hard workouts in lots of bad weather up here in New England.  As of today, we’ve had 4 major storms in the month of March.  I’ve run in all of them and moved all the snow they’ve brought. 

I’ll give you a funny, or pitiful, depending on your view point, story.  Last week I had a pretty big workout on the calendar for Tuesday.  It was an hour and forty-five-minute fartlek run.  Looking at the weather I could see that it was going to snow all day Tuesday bringing high winds and 2+ feet of snow. 

So I sent a note to coach. “Can we move this workout?”  I asked.

“You’re 5 weeks out from Boston.” He returned.  “This is an important week.” 

And I thought maybe I could do it on the treadmill at the office.  But, the Governor declared a state of something and told everyone to stay home and stay out of the city.  So I couldn’t get to the treadmill. 

I set the alarm early to see if I could get out before the storm got too bad.  When the alarm went off I could see the wet snow being driven sideways at the window and hear the wind gusts.  That wasn’t happening. 

I worked from the home office all day with one eye out the window to see if the storm might not relent.  The snow kept piling up. 

5:00 pm rolled around and I knew it was now or never.  I was going to lose daylight.  I strapped on some flashy lights for visibility and geared up.  I pulled out my trail shoes for traction. 

My neighborhood is a cul de sac with a 1 km loop.  I was not venturing out of the cul de sac.  The snow was coming down hard and about 6 inches deep on the road.  I had pretty good traction because it had started as wet snow and there was a couple inches of slush at the bottom that my trail shoes could hook into. 

I warmed up for 10 minutes and then timed out a 2-3 minute stretch that was slightly uphill and maybe a 1/3 of the loop.  Each loop I’d accelerate into this stretch and bring my heart rate up, focusing on form and turnover. 

By this time the storm was starting move off.  The plows came out and I danced with them on the road.  The neighbors came out with their snow blowers and shovels and tractors.  I startled more than one coming out of the mist wet and churning forward in the mush. 

I finished up with over 12 miles, 15 little fartleks and probably 20 laps of the neighborhood – I’m sure much to the amusement of my neighbors.  That was a hard workout.  Then I changed into my snow moving gear and moved snow for another 3 hours.

So that’s life.  When life gives you blizzards, give back fartleks and have fun doing it. 

On with the show.

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do 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. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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.

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

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one – 20 years of Boston-

Voices of reason – the conversation

Ted MacMahon

Ted MacMahon is a lifelong endurance athlete, having competed in 50+ marathons (20+ Boston Marathons), 10+ Ironmans, and 10+ ultramarathons. He often says, “Having raced in a bunch of races only means that I’ve made more mistakes than most and am happy to help others avoid my pitfalls.” In the past year, Ted won his division in the US National Championships in both the trail marathon and 100-mile trail distances. Native to Massachusetts, Ted and his wife Pamela now reside in Flagstaff, AZ. Ted can be reached at

Finding the right “stuff” can be a lengthy and complicated process. Here are Ted’s go to products:

Fuel and recover:

Daily nutrition:


Hydration packs and more:

Game changing ultra camp:

Section two – The scientifically proven power of gratitude –



OK my friends, after much patience and fortitude on your part we have made it to the end of episode 4-383. Congratulations.  You’ve got a lot of spunk for a skinny little endurance athlete.

You know what I’m drinking right now?  Bouillon.  Yup.  I needed something warm on this cold afternoon as I sit at my desk and write love letters to the ether. 

Too late for coffee.  To be honest, since my January 30 days of clean eating I can’t drink more than one cup of coffee a day.  Rachel detoxed me from the caffeine habit.  I do drink tea but all we have in the house is a choice between super caffeinated morning teas and god-awful sickly sweet fruity teas that my girls drink.  I swear it’s like soaking potpourri in cheap perfume. 

Bouillon hits the spot.  Lots of nice salt for my sweaty soul.  Less than 10 calories. Maybe a pinch of fat in there.  Very nice broth.  Very sustaining. 

Just about 3 weeks out from Boston now.  I’m in a down week.  I don’t know what coach has in store for next week.  We have time for one more volume week if he feels I’m up for it.  I’ve struggled with a lot of leg fatigue this cycle.  He may just put me into a 3-week taper.  We’ll see.

I’m ready.  I’ve done the work.  The times I’m running on tired legs would be good enough for a BQ.  With a decent taper, some reasonable weather and a little luck I could bring home a good race this year. 

As taxing as this past training cycle has been I’ve quite enjoyed it.  In the sense that I’m proud of having done it.  I’m grateful every day for the ability to do it. 

When I’ve been running down by the Charles in the morning I get to see all the other athletes.  It’s not just me out there in the 10-degree weather with the ice and snow and wind.  There’s a pack of us.  Young and old. 

This close to Boston or any other spring race I see a fair number of athletes doing tempo work.  It wouldn’t be obvious to the casual observer but I see them stealing peeks at their watches and pushing their form.  There are some beautiful athletes out there in the morning.  Lot’s of unicorn gear. 

I’m happy that they let an old guy like me join in their unicorn games. 

It doesn’t matter how old you are, how pretty you are or how good you are.  The trail and the morning are both equal opportunity employers.  Get out there and get yours.

I’ll see you out there.


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


Direct download: epi4383.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 5:46pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-382 – Dave Mcgillivray – 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents

 (Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4382.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-382

Hello.  This is Chris.  Today we have an excellent interview with Dave McGillivray about his recent experience of running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days.  We go off script a bit and do a bit of old-guy trash talking too.

I was originally going to skip this week because I’ve been so beat up by work and training recently.  But, when I spoke to Dave and heard how great the conversation was I had to get it out. 

In section one I’ll talk about how struggling through bad workouts isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  In Section two I’ll drop a chapter from the audio book version of my Marathon BQ book called “The Dark Place”. 

That’s the theme for this week I guess, struggle and perseverance.  Stick to the plan. 

As of today, we are 50 or so days out from Boston.  My training, although challenging, is, in the grand scheme, going well. 

Coming into this weekend I saw that the weather was going to be heavy freezing rain on Sunday and petitioned coach to move my long run to Saturday.  He acquiesced and I did a nice sunny run with my buddies yesterday.  They ended up running about 2:15 and I went a little longer and hit 2:45.  It ended up around 19 and ½ miles for me. 

Having run the same 2:45 last weekend on Sunday, that means the two long runs fell into the same 7-day week and I ended up with over 60 miles for the week.  That’s something I haven’t seen for awhile. 

My legs are holding up ok.  I went back out today with some other guys from my club and we did an easy hour in the trails in the freezing rain.  No issues.  I do need to work more core strength and stretching in because I’m tight, but, hey you can’t do everything.

My tempo runs are coming in around a 7:30 pace which is encouraging.  My engine is very strong.  My heart is solid.  The legs are the constraint right now.  I imagine that should improve with all this volume. Bottom line I’m in a good spot for a strong 20th Boston Marathon if we get good weather.

It’s funny, I wrote that Marathon BQ book a couple years ago because it insisted on getting out of my head.  If you were to train with me these are the kind of stories you’d hear over and over.  I started the podcast for the same reason, to take all this stuff about running I’d accumulated and get it out into the public where it might do some good. 

The book, putts along at a dozen or so a month, spiking in the spring and fall when people tend to think about qualifying!  I suppose I should make some effort to find a real publisher given the staying power and what they call “irrational enthusiasm” people have around the topic.  I’m too busy.  If you know an enthusiastic publisher who wants a market tested vehicle I’ll take the meeting. 

But, what really turns me on, what really makes me think ‘huh’, is when I get these emails out of the blue that thank me for it.  It really blows me away.  I’ll share one here.  Redacted, because I don’t have permission. 


I know that you receive countless "thank you" emails from runners who have found success using your Marathon BQ training plan.... but I wanted to offer yet another.

Last year, I ran the Chicago Marathon - giving it all that I had - finishing in 3:44:24....essentially the same time that finished at the Disney Marathon several years prior.

In one year, using your program, I dropped 23 minutes off of my time, finishing the 2018 Houston Marathon strong in 3:21:04.

My goal was to qualify for Boston....and with a BQ cutoff of 3:25 for my age (46) group, it looks like I will get a bib.

All of those speed workouts really worked!

Looking forward to running Boston in 2019.

Can't thank you enough!

Sincere yours,


On with the show!

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do 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. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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.

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

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one – Tale of two workouts -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Dave race director, philanthropist, author and athlete

Dave McGillivray is a U.S.-based. In 1978, he ran across the U.S. to benefit the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.[1] Presently he is race director of the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) Boston Marathon and his team at DMSE Sports, Inc. have organized well over 1,000 mass-participatory endurance events since he founded it in 1981.This was taken toward the end of headlands 100 in sept.

In 1978, McGillivray ran across the U.S. from Medford, Oregon to his hometown of Medford, Massachusetts, a distance of 3,452 miles, ending in Fenway Park in Boston. His effort raised funds for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.[2] Two years later, he ran the East Coast Run to benefit the Jimmy Fund, running 1,520 miles from Winter Haven, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts joined by Robert Hall, a pioneer of wheelchair marathoning, raising money for the Jimmy Fund and meeting with President Jimmy Carter at the White House during the run. In 1982, McGillivray ran the Boston Marathon in 3:14 while blindfolded and being escorted by two guides to raise $10,000 for the Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Mass.[3] He competed in eight Gatorade Ironman Triathlons from 1980 to 1989, an individual endurance event consisting of three back-to-back distance events: a 2.4 mile rough, open ocean water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike race and finishing up with a 26.2-mile marathon run.

In 1981, McGillivray ran in the Empire State Building Run Up, an 86-story, 1,575-step run, placing 10th with a time of 13 minutes, 27 seconds. The same year he participated in the annual New England Run where he triathloned (ran, cycled, and swam) 1,522 miles throughout the six New England states raising $55,000 for the Jimmy Fund. The event required a run up and down Mount Washington and swimming two miles across Lake Winneapesaukee, both in New Hampshire, as well as swimming one mile from Woods Hole in Cape Cod towards Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, ending the course with running three miles alongside inmates within the Walpole State Prison and raising $55,000 for the Jimmy Fund.[4] A year later he swam more than seven miles in the Martha's Vineyard Swim, from Martha's Vineyard to Falmouth, Massachusetts, raising funds for the Jimmy Fund and was greeted on the shore by runners such as Alberto Salazar.

In 1986, he formed the first sanctioned running club inside a maximum security institution at Walpole State Prison in Massachusetts. He conducted and ran in numerous distance races inside the prison yard, including completing and winning a full 26.2 mile marathon against inmates.[5]

In 1980, he ran in the Wrentham State School 24-Hour Run, traversing 120 miles in 24 hours throughout 31 cities in southeastern Massachusetts, ending in Foxboro Stadium during the half-time of a New England Patriots football game. Held to benefit the Wrentham State School for the Mentally Retarded, the run raised more than $10,000 for the handicapped.

In 1983, he participated in the Jimmy Fund 24-Hour Swim, swimming for 24 consecutive hours in the Olympic-size Medford High School pool, which totaled 1,884 lengths and covering 26.2 miles (distance of the Boston Marathon), again raising funds for the Jimmy Fund. Also in 1983, McGillivray took part in the Merrimack College New England Bike Ride where he cycled more than 1,000 miles throughout six New England states in 14 days to raise money for a scholarship fund for his alma mater, Merrimack College. In 1986, McGillivray biked again for 24 consecutive hours around a five-mile loop course in Medford, Massachusetts while simultaneously directing the annual Bay State Triathlon being held on the course at the same time. He covered a total of 385 miles, again raising money for the Jimmy Fund.[2]

In 2004, McGillivray and other marathon runners ran across the U.S. following the same path he took in 1978, raising $300,000 for five charities benefiting children. Each year McGillivray runs his birthday age in miles, a tradition he started when he was 12 and realized that running was his passion. McGillivray has also run the Boston Marathon each year since 1973; the first 16 years as an entrant and since working with the race as its director, has run the course after his duties are completed.[6] In 2006, McGillivray wrote “The Last Pick”[1] with writer Linda Glass Fechter, chronicling his childhood as the last pick for team sports because of his small stature, telling readers never to underestimate their own ability to set and achieve goals. The book also covers his life as an athlete and race director.


Section two – Marathon BQ Audio Book Chapter – “the dark place” –



Ok my friends you have run 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents with 7 brides for 7 brothers to the end of another RunRunLive Podcast.  Episode 4-382 finito.

I’m going to keep it quick. 

Things are weird for me personally, professionally and athletically but I’m keeping my head above water.  I do feel a bit burnt out.  And I think I need to maybe take a couple mental health days in the next few weeks.  It comes and goes.

When things get hard I try to remember to be grateful.  How lucky am I to have all the things I have in my life?  It’s a bounty. 

What you will find is that the more you practice gratitude, the more of a self-fulfilling prophecy it becomes. 

I would love to hear what you are grateful for.  Send me some audio and I’ll put together a composition for us. 

Do it now before you forget.  What are you grateful for?

I’ll see you out there.


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


Direct download: epi4382.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 5:47pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-381 – Megan – First 100 Advice

 (Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4381.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-381

Hey folks, how is everybody doing?  I am doing fine, thank you for asking. 

Here we are in February.  Are you watching the winter Olympics?  Aren’t they exciting with all those fun winter sports?  I

Particularly like the snow-man building.  I think the Czechs have a real shot at gold there. 

With the Russians banned for doping that leaves the snow-fort-building and snowball-fight category wide open?  Who can forget Dimitri Puschov’s overhand ice ball of 88 in Calgary?

I don’t think anyone can unseat the French in competitive pairs snow-angels.  They just got that je ne sais quios.

Been a long couple weeks.  Started out well with the Derry 16 miler after we last spoke.  I ran it as a surge workout and felt fantastic.  Finished in almost exactly 2:15.  People were a bit startled to see me laying in those 3 minute surges during the race.  I’d blow by people like they were nailed down then pull up and settle back into a easy run. 

Like I said, I felt great.  Finished with a good kick and wasn’t at all sore afterwards.  That was at the end of a pretty big build week.  Then coach threw me into another build week with two long surge runs.  I did them before work down by the river.  One in a snow storm and one 10 degrees.  Nothing like an 1:30 surge run in a snow storm before work to make your cheeks rosy. 

This week I had a bit of a down week.  Coach gave me speed work.  I had a bad day Tuesday and had to walk away from a 7 X 1600 workout on the treadmill.  I was trying to do it after work and I was just mentally and physically exhausted.  I rarely give up on workouts but I just could will myself to execute.

But it was ok because it forced me to reevaluate my expectations of myself.  I’ve got to come to grips with not being able to do the paces I used to and just execute the workouts to the best of my ability.  I’m putting too much pressure on myself to live up to the Chris of 10 years ago.  I have to put that baggage away and get out of my own head. 

I did a ladder workout in the cold and dark ice of my neighborhood Thursday night.  I just ran as hard as I could and didn’t worry about pace.  That wasn’t so bad.  I was surprised at some of the paces I hit by not paying attention to pace. 

Tomorrow coach has me scheduled to do a 10K race simulation. I hate these race sims but he wants to see what I’ve got.  I’m just going to go out and run it by feel and, again, not worry about pace.  

I’ve got another gym story for you from last week.  Actually I’ll give this one to you as a math problem and a ‘choose your own adventure’ story.  I discovered something interesting.  It turns out one of my daughters has underwear that looks very similar to my athletic underwear, or what they refer to as my ‘man-thongs’, or what we would have called in the 70’s a ‘jockstrap’. 

So here is your math problem.  If you have the choice of a) going commando in your running tights (when it’s 10 degrees out), or b) wearing your cotton briefs in the workout or c) wearing your daughter’s underwear to your workout, and if you also have the choice of going commando to work, cotton briefs to work or girls underwear to work, How many different combinations are possible (assuming you cannot repeat any of the options for work or workout) and what is the formula?

Originally, I thought this would be a factorial, but I don’t think it is because it’s 2 situations, work and workout.   Therefor, unless one of you math geek corrects me I think it’s a simple square of 3.  3 X 3 = 9 different possible combinations of commando, cotton briefs and girls’ underwear. 

And this is the choose your own adventure part of the story.  You find yourself in a gym locker room at 6:30 in the morning.  You reach into your backpack for your running clothes and find a pair of girls’ underwear instead of your athletic underwear.  You have cotton briefs to wear to work.  What do you do?

On with the show!

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do 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. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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.

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

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one – How to do workouts when you forget your watch -


Voices of reason – the conversation

Megan – Teacher, VeganRunningMom and Ultrarunner

This was taken toward the end of headlands 100 in sept.

People can follow me on Instagram @veganrunningmom

Snapchat @veganrunningmom

Twitter @veganrunningmom

Or Facebook -Megan Storms

Was lovely to catch up some Today!

Thanks and good luck to you!!!

Section two – 30 Day Diet Reboot Summary -


Ok my friends you have worn your womens’ underwear to the end of another RunRunLive Podcast.  Episode 4-381 done and done. 

What’s coming up for me?  Not much really.  I’m sure my training will ramp up as we get into the final weeks before Boston.  I used my Baystate time to upgrade my race position.  The BAA accepted my Portland time but didn’t take the adjusted time, they took the original net time, which was still a qualifier but 4 minutes slower than what the race directors gave me.  That was because they screwed up the course and made us run an extra ½ mile. 

My Baystate time is a minute plus faster than that adjusted time, so 6 minutes faster than the time the BAA gave me from Portland.  6 Minutes in the middle of the pack at Boston is probably 3,000 runners.  Might even move me up a corral. 

I’m not collecting for any charity this year.  It’s my 20th Boston Marathon and I’m running it for me, and for you.  I’m training for it.  If we get decent weather I’m racing it.  I’ll do my best and respect it.  We will celebrate it together.  I’m humbled and grateful that this special race has become part of our lives. 

Maybe I’ll run next year, maybe I won’t, but this year I’m going to run and celebrate how lucky I am. 

My wife lost an uncle this week.  We went to the wake and funeral.  It was good to see her cousins and aunts and uncles.  Her parents’ generation is getting to that age. 

I knew this uncle from her family events.  He was a kind and caring man. 

Seeing his kids and the impact he had on his family by being that kind and caring man impressed on me some lessons. 

You don’t have to be a superhero or save the world to make a difference in this world.  You just have to care for those around you. 

You don’t have to overtly do anything special to make a difference.  You can make a difference just by being there, being present and caring. 

Your actions, even those daily, run of the mill activities that we all take for granted, impact the lives of others. 

In fact, it is those small loving and caring moments that have the most impact on the ones we love and care about. 

Live your life, go through life, with the understanding that everything you do has an impact on others.

The hustle and bustle of career and stuff is not that important in the grand scheme of things.  Keep it in perspective and take time to be present for the ones you love.


I’ll see you out there.


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


Direct download: epi4381.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 5:20pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-380 – Lori – Coma to Boston

 (Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4380.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-380, This is Chris your host. 

It is well into January and I lied.  I am going to run the Derry road race this weekend.  I wasn’t going to because coach gets so made when I race instead of following my training plan, but Derry coincided with a long training run.  I promised to actually run the training run on the Derry course and not race. 

Today we are talking with Lori who has a wonderful, compelling story that I am grateful to be able to share with you.  The audio quality of the interview was a bit poor and I had to clean up a lot of noise, so apologies for the hum and fade in places.  But the story is great and should transcend the constraints of the medium. 

In section one I’ll talk about overlapping different types of training plans.  In section two I’ll share, with permission, a response I wrote to a listener seeking advice on presentation skills. 

My training is going fine.  I’m starting to build up my volume for Boston.  It’s less than 3 months away so I’m sure I’ll be getting into some longer quality work in the coming weeks.

The 30 Day Diet Reboot went well.  I dropped about 10 pounds and I feel much fitter.  You don’t realize how much difference it makes until you get back to race weight.  Eating clean just makes everything easier. 

I continue to put long hours in and commute to the city.  It’s difficult to find the time, and more importantly the space to write and record.  I hate pushing it to the weekends because I have other stuff to do.  It makes me feel rushed and less creative. 

Like I said I get up early, take the train in and usually do my workout before all before 8:00 AM.   As my volume starts to increase this means getting out to the Charles River path before 7:00AM – which is just when dawn is breaking.  I’m doing better.  I haven’t forgotten anything or put any clothes on backwards for weeks.

Friday morning I did my hill workout on the treadmill in the gym.  I’m still figuring out the treadmills.  I can’t figure out how to program it to do what I want so I have to manually adjust the speed and incline between reps. 

It’s tricky because you have to hold down two buttons at the same time.  When I was transitioning into my 3rd rep the button got stuck and went to 30% incline and wouldn’t stop.  I had to jump off and reset the whole workout.  That was a bit exciting.  I also discovered that these treadmills decline, at least 3%, which I’ll have to play with. That might come in handy for Boston training.

Remember, this is my 20th Boston.  I asked people what I should do to recognize that and one of the suggestions I liked was to design a special shirt with 20 unicorns on it.  Maybe a unicorn party!

I was listening to an author speak this week about moments.  They were talking about how many of the iconic moments in our lives were created, scripted if you will, by someone.  Birthday celebrations have a script of gifts and cake and candles.  Graduations, weddings, funerals, all these events don’t just happen, they are, were, designed for the social impact that they have. 

The author talked about the Olympic medal ceremony, how someone had to make that up.  It’s essentially a little story, a vignette designed for a purpose.  These vignettes create a message, a sticky emotional story that stays with us.  That’s the purpose of the moment. 

So, when you look at your daily lfe and the good people who share it with you what are those moments?  How can you write your own scripts?  How can you make the vignette of hugging your child have the import of an Olympic medal ceremony?

On with the show.



I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do 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. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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.

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

Links are in the show notes and at

Become a member

Section one – Transitioning from one type of training to another -


Voices of reason – the conversation

Lori Riggles– Teacher and Survivor

Here are a  few links, my bio, and picture. The picture was the moment I saw my daughter during the Boston Marathon 2017.

Teaching is a rewarding experience, which I have dedicated 25 years to.  I teach so that I can expose the infinite possibilities to achieve success to each child that I come in contact with.  I have dedicated my life to inspiring children to help others through charitable causes, service projects, and empathy.

My relationship with running began when I was a child going through many of my own challenges. Running became an outlet that truly saved me and made me the person I am today. Born in Oklahoma, I discovered running while living in Wyoming as teen. I currently live in Alabama with my husband and three children. My interests include reading, writing, coaching Science Olympiad, playing the flute, and being active.

It has always been my mission to help others, I am currently writing a book of my experiences to encourage others to overcome their own personal obstacles.  My goal is to use the challenges that I have faced to help others. If what I have been through can help one person, then that is what is truly important. My future goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I aspire to reach goals beyond what anyone thought would be possible.


Section two – On Story Telling – A letter -


Ok my friends you have worked your way from the coma of consciousness to the hard fought glory of triumph through to the end of episode 4-380 of the RunRunLive podcast.  Congratulations, we did it again.

Nothing radically new for me coming up.  I’ll use Derry as a training run tomorrow.  I’ll keep working hard everyday to meet my life goals and I’ll keep telling stories and smiling.  It’s pretty simple.  I used to think life was complex and hard.  But it aint.  You just keep picking them up and putting them down and smile while you’re doing it.  Life will take care of itself. 

I think Lori’s message is a great one.  We are not struggling and striving and overcoming just for ourselves.  We are doing it for others.  If we are doing it honestly, selflessly and with gratitude we are creating a clearing for others.  We are creating a clearing in the forest of fear; of don’t and can’t – a clearing of can do and a clearing of potential and a clearing of possibility. 

This is the life of abundance.  The more you give the more you receive. 

I’m going to keep it short.  I’m a bit exhausted today.  But I am grateful.  Grateful for you.  Grateful for the gifts I’ve been given.  Grateful to have a curious and active mind.  Grateful for the gift of physical capability and grateful for my choice to use it.

Like I said to Lori.  Studies show that this practice of gratefulness makes the same physical changes to your brain that meditation or prayer does.  Who knows, maybe my gratitude creates a positive ripple in the pond of universal consciousness.

It’s been a pleasure and a gift to talk to you today.  What can you contribute?  What can you be grateful for?  Surely you have gifts that you can share with us?

I’ll see you out there.


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


Direct download: epi4380.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 5:40pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-379 – The 30 Day Diet Reboot with Rachel Shuck

 (Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4379.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-379, This is Chris your host.  It is the second weekend of the new year if you’re on the Gregorian Calendar introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 to upgrade the Julian Calendar.  Because if your calendar is messed up all your holy days hop around and it makes it harder to aestheticize the mediaeval masses with religious chicanery. 

Or something like that.

Anyhow… before I scurry down the rat hole of historical events let’s talk about the wild and wonderful world of endurance sports, or at least our little corner of it. 

It’s been a busy couple weeks since we last talked.  On the day before New Years, Dec 31st, I hosted my 5th Groton Marathon.  Which is an made up event where whomever wants to shows up and runs whatever they want.  We set up the clock so we have a real start and finish and I post the times to a website – I guess you could call it ‘pretend official’. 

The curious part is the a handful of us go out and run an actual marathon through all the local towns.  This year I got 4 other guys to join me.  The weather did not cooperate.  It was 2 degrees Fahrenheit at the start and never got out of single digits. 

I ended up getting in the support vehicle at 21.3ish because I was suffering.  We went out a bit fast for me and I didn’t have any legs left.  We had to go a bit fast in the beginning to get the feeling back in our toes and fingers from the cold.  It was miserable running weather.  There was a stretch from like 19 – 21 where we turned into a head wind that was awful.  The other four guys finished successfully.  My friend Gary ran in with a 3:52 and the other 3 came in around 3:55. 

The next morning my family and I went up to run the Hangover Classic in Salisbury.  The deep freeze did not abate.  It was -19 with the wind chill.  I ran the 5K with Teresa and she came in 4th in her age group.  Then, yes, we did, we ran over and jumped in the ocean.  I was a bit worried about surviving this but the water felt warm compared to the air so it wasn’t too bad.  The water in the ocean at 35-36 degrees Fahrenheit had steam coming off it like a hot tub in the single digit temps.

That same day, the 1st of the new year (according to Pope Greg) I started a 30 Day Diet Reboot with my nutrition coach Rachel.  I’m off the beer and the bad food for a month.  I’m logging all my food in MyFitnessPal and posting a daily blog about it on my website ( under a category called ’30 Day Diet Reboot’. 

On top of that Rachel is looking over my shoulder, reading my post and commenting each day on her site -  What we wanted to do is to give people an actual case study of how she and I approach the combination of fitness and nutrition. 

And, in today’s interview, Rachel and I talk through all this and hopefully it can help some folks sort through all the misinformation that is out there. 

In section one I’m going to muse a bit on why I think I’m ready to take on a 100 mile race this year.

In Section two I’m going to disassemble the oft-quoted phrase “No Regrets!”

I had something happen to me this week which was a first for me in my running life.  Have you ever heard the old joke that goes something like “I don’t jog because I don’t want to find a dead body!” Because for some reason those news stories always start with “…found by a jogger…”? 

Well I was running down by the Charles in Boston this week.  The weather warmed up to above freezing and the sun was out so I made a concerted effort to get out at lunch.  Boston got over a foot of snow during the ‘cyclone-bomb’ event last weekend and the bike path was still covered in places.  I had a 1:15 easy run so it wasn’t a problem to navigate around the snow. 

I ran up river to one of the far bridges, crossed over and came back across the next bridge to get a sort of lollipop route of the right length.  Since it had been so cold for several days in a row the full expanse of the rive was frozen over all the way down to the museum of science. 

There’s one bit along Storrow drive at the Boston University Bridge where the bike path abruptly runs out of room and they route you out, under the bridge, into the river, on a wooden bridge to get around the abutment and back on the bike path up river. 

Right after this the snow removal ceased and we had to navigate some lumpy foot paths for a few hundred feet.  When I met another runner or pedestrian, one of us would have to give way on the snowy single path.

It was in this dicey section on the way back that the lady runner I had already passed going out started talking to me.  I had my headphones in, but she said something about they were pulling a body out of the river up ahead.  They were breaking it out of the ice. 

Sure enough, when I went out on the wooden plank section that hugs the abutment there was a clutch of police.  As I came to it I was expecting someone to stop me and I asked the one sad looking cop there if I could sneak by.  He motioned that it was ok. 

Not more than 20 feet from me there were four more officers of some type carrying a stretcher up the icy bank with the body.  They had the top of the torso covered, but a man’s boots and snow pants stuck out from the waist down. 

The State Police were interviewing a shaken looking runner.  A good runner. I remember passing him and thinking ‘he’s the real deal’.  Skinny, athletic and underdressed for this weather.  He must have paused for some odd reason to stretch or to catch his breath between intervals or something to cause him to look over that wood railing into the river under the bridge.

I kept going.  They had Storrow Drive West shut down.  There must have been 15 police cars there. 

That’s a first for me.  Never had a CSI moment on one of my runs before. 

So my friends. As you’re out and about today.  You may have your head cold, or your other challenges but you’re not toes-up frozen in the Charles River.  You have that going for you.

On with the Show!

I’ll remind you that the RunRunLive podcast is ad free and listener supported.  What does that mean? It means you don’t have to listen to me trying to sound sincere about or Audible.. (although, fyi, my MarathonBQ book is on audible) We do 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. There are book reviews, odd philosophical thoughts, zombie stories and I curate old episodes for you to listen to.  I recently added that guy who cut off is foot so he could keep training and my first call with Geoff Galloway.   “Curated” means I add some introductory comments and edit them up a bit.  So anyhow – become a member so I can keep paying my bills.


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.

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Section one – Why a 100-miler? -


Voices of reason – the conversation

Rachel Shuck – Nutrition Coach

Rachel Shuck is a board certified nutrition coach with a passion for running and all things fitness. She currently teaches nutrition courses at the local college while pursuing her doctorate in clinical nutrition . She is certified with the International Sports Science Association and the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Association as well. Her personal journey began with running 5k’s and being at the back of the pack, to running marathons and becoming a Boston Qualifier. Along her decade long path of coaching runners she found a true passion for teaching people proper nutrition to fuel for optimal performance. Rachel’s articles and videos have been featured in Mind Body Green, Personal Growth, and  the Livestrong website as well as local news shows covering health and fitness.

It’s no secret – a healthy body is a happy body. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do. Not only will you feel great, you will look great and inspire others to take care of themselves in the process.  As a mother of two teenagers, I know how important eating right and exercising are for not just you, but the whole family. We have the power to influence the health and well-being of our loved ones and create a healthy lifestyle for future generations.

I have experience teaching nutrition classes, group exercise classes and coaching runners.  I coach people on how to achieve a healthy lifestyle, which includes learning to eat right for life and developing the proper mindset to want to do that.   Long term success is the ultimate goal. Hiring a coach or trainer can strengthen your health, take your athletic performance to the next level, guide you in making the correct food choices, and improve your confidence and outlook on life. As a board certified nutritional coach, I’m knowledgeable in how food affects your performance,  So if you want to live a stronger and more confident life, I’ve got the training and the expertise to help you every step of the way.

Section two – No Regrets -


Ok my friends you have eaten handfuls of probiotic macronutrients to the end of episode 4-379 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  

Coach is starting to ramp me up for the spring season.  It looks like he’s going to add some back-to-back volume to my weekends in addition to my normal Boston Marathon training cycle.  I’m not going to run any of the spring races with Frank and Brian.  Maybe I’ll do Eastern States in March, but I’m skipping Derry. 

I’m going to run my plan and focus on staying healthy.  I’m not even half way into the Diet Reboot but I already feel better.  I have so much more energy in my runs.  I feel like someone removed a sandbag from my shoulders.  I’ve got an hour on the schedule today.  I think I’ll put my old trail shoes on and go muck about in the snow in the woods.  Maybe I’ll take Buddy with me for a short bit.  The old dog is getting cabin fever. 

Next week I’m talking to a really cool guest, Lori, who is running Boston this year.  She got hit by a car out running in 2016 and went from being in a coma for 5 days to running New York and Boston.  I hope the audio is good enough because it’s a impactful story. 

I’ve been working some long hours in the city.  I get up at 5:00 AM and am on the road by 6:00 and in the city by 7:00.  Depending on my schedule I usually hit my workout in the morning to get it done and off my plate.  Which gets me into my office around 8:30.  Typically I’ll work until 6:00 or 7:00 and get back to my house around 8:00.  It’s a long day.

Towards the end of the week, especially this week with my head cold, I was dragging. 

I had a hill workout on Friday.  I haven’t quite figured out a good place to do hill workouts in the city yet so I did it on the treadmill in the gym.  I was surprised how easy it felt given the head cold and how I was dragging.  Again, the diet reboot is amazing for your workout energy.

Then I got showered up and put on my work clothes.  This office isn’t suit and tie, but it’s business dress.  I’m an executive so I try to err on the side of business.  I had a full day of meetings including interviewing a candidate for a position I’m hiring to. 

During the day I was noticing how baggy my underwear felt.  I don’t wear anything special just your run of the mill boxer briefs.  I kept thinking, there must be something going on with this pair because they just aren’t fitting right. 

Towards the end of the day I realized what it was.  Have you guessed?  Yeah, I was so tired in the morning I put my underwear on backwards and didn’t realize it until the day was almost over.  I had a good chuckle over that. 

Hey, No regrets, right?

I’ll see you out there.



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


Direct download: epi4379.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 3:54pm EDT





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