The RunRunLive 3.0 Podcast Episode 3-289 – Ann Brennan and the Challenges of Depression

(Audio: link) [audio:]

Link epi3289.mp3

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Introductory Comments:

Hello my friends – And welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast.  It sure was nice to not have to do anything over the last couple weekends.  No long runs and no races.  I’ve been running around as much as ever, but I feel like the pressure is off.   

That’s not quite true – I actually hosted an episode of the Runner’s Rountable Podcast last week from my hotel in Atlanta where we had a group of Boston Runners tell their Boston 2014 stories.  I wasn’t sure how it would go, because some people aren’t good stories tellers, but OMG these folks told some emotionally impactful, wonderful stories.  

If you ran Boston, or just want a glimpse of what this year’s race meant to people you should go download that  - it’s the runner’s roundtable on itunes.  It’s actually hard to find by Googling Runner’s Roundtable because you get a bunch of furniture ads!

Runners Round Table

There is a brief window in April in New England where spring is in the air but has not yet enforced its will.  It is like a great inhaling of breath that will blow in the warmth and chaos of summer.  During this interregnum the trees haven’t leafed out but the flowering shrubs explode.  Crab apples, forsythia, and cherry trees bursting forth with sweet flowers in the cool mornings.  

The tulips, and asphodels and grapey things push up through the hard clay and announce the incoming season.  The suburbs are a-bustle with men fertilizing lawns and spreading  pungent mulch.  For it is in this window that man has the advantage over chaos.  Before the wild grapes snare your perennials or the wild roses enmesh you daylilies.  It is your two-week chance to tear the weeds and beat back the burgeoning wild and establish, once again, domestic order on the verdant chaos. 

Yeah – I did some yard work. 

In the process I picked up some ticks.  Or the dog brings them in.  Most of the time I’ll strip off my work clothes, throw them in the washer and take a shower to make sure I get all the critters off me.  But sometimes they get by my defensive vigilance.  I had a deer tick in the back of my thigh last week when I woke up Sunday.  It was dead, so it probably came off the dog. 

I posted a picture of the bite on Facebook and I wanted to thank you all for freaking out about Lyme disease, like I need more things to be stressed out about.  And, before you start to lecture me again, I know all about Lyme.  It has impacted my family and friends and I’m all too aware of the debilitating long term effects.  

I recommend the same strategy I used when I worked in Mexico and India:  chase everything with four strong drinks and the parasites can never take hold.  Besides, you know I’m indestructible.  Bacterium can’t take me out. 

It’s just something we have to live with up here, but I would recommend if you aren’t familiar with deer ticks and Lyme disease you should do a little research.  It can change your life and not in a good way if you miss it.  I think I’m ok – I’ll let you know if I die.  It will make a great story.  I might even get into Runner’s World. 

I didn’t travel for a couple weeks and as nice as that was it also meant I managed to stay in place long enough to get allergies.  I was full of phlegm for a week.  It didn’t really bother me I just went through all the Kleenex in the house and ended up carrying a roll of toilet paper around with me. 

I failed miserably in my miracle morning habit last week traveling in Atlanta.  I was up late reading and couldn’t get into the 5 AM habit with the travel.  We’ll see if I can turn it around this week.  

I got an email from Kevin from the extra mile/extra Galloway podcast wondering what to do about that mid afternoon sleepiness that happens when you get up early.  It’s interesting because by getting up a couple hours earlier you are affecting the rhythm of the whole day.  

What Hal says to do is to manage your energy throughout the day with your nutrition.  Have a bunch of small, clean meals-  like super smoothies and raw fruits and veggies – and spread them out across your day to maintain your energy level.  

This gets me when I’m traveling because you have large expanses of time where you’re fasting broken by large quantities of not-so-great nutrition.  If you eat a big lunch for example it sucks energy out of your system to digest it in the afternoon.  The relationship between eating and energy level is something to be mindful of. 

With the sun coming out I finally got to ride my old road bike Fuji-san.  It was a blast but shortly after my ride I realized that being clipped into the peddles hurts my ankle – so that was a bit of a setback.  The stationary bikes in the gym are ok because I’m not clipped in, but pulling up aggressively on the speed-plays on Fuji-san tweaks it and makes it angry.  

I’m going to go visit my orthopedic surgeon next week and see what he thinks it is.  I know I’m an active guy but 6 months is a long time for something to hurt.  

Today we have an important conversation with my old friend and collaborator Ann Brennan who had a hard year.  We talk about dealing with stress and depression and doing the things you have to do to stay mentally healthy and keep your loved ones safe. 

In section one I’m going to talk about another tool from business that you can perhaps put to good personal use and in section two I’ll talk about how to create and manage a recovery phase in your training. 

It’s been a long year.  In the pre-industrial era this time of year was known as ‘the starving time’ because the new crops weren’t in yet and you had eaten through last year’s supplies.  But you know what they say, If life give you lemons, use the acidic juice to reveal hidden codes on the back of revolutionary war documents.  It’s true.  I saw it in a movie.  

You should really sign on to my email list.  Rather than basking in safe obscurity you can declare your allegiance to RunRunLive and get my drivel directly in your inbox.  I mean, really, you’ve made it to 289 episodes and sucked the vital life force out of my narrative for 5+ years you should subscribe or at least join the RunRunLive Facebook group. or just search FaceBook for “RunRunLive”. 

On with the show!

Section one:

Mapping an organization for fun and profit -

Featured Interview:

Ann Brennan

In the summer of 2005 I ran a race with my nine-year-old daughter, Meg. It was to become a pivotal moment in my life. Because I was so in awe of her first real race performance, I decided to write it all down. I did not want to ever forget a single detail.

A couple of days later I shared what I had written with my husband who was shocked. Maybe a little too shocked.

“You can write,” he said.

With that one shocked statement I realized that I had all but given up on writing as a career.

As a child I loved books. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on and I dreamed of one day being a writer. But in 2005 I was no longer even writing in a journal.

That day I decided to change that. I sent my story, Raising A Runner, to a couple of magazines and set about on the next great adventure in my life.

Shortly after, my sister-in-law Angie Brennan emailed me a link to this blog.

“I set up a blog for you,” she wrote, “you can change the photo and the password and then just start writing.”

By the way, Angie is the one I have to thank for the cleverly named Ann’s Running Commentary.

Today, I continue to write at Ann’s Running Commentary. I have written one unpublished novel and am in the process of completing my first self-published book on my thoughts on the run.

I host my own YouTube channel and a new podcast.

I am also the editor of Beyond Limits Magazine, an adventure magazine for people who want to change their lives.

Who would have guessed that one little race would change my life in so many ways?

- See more at:

Section two: 

Working the recovery phase of your training -


A few weeks ago we talked about the concept of ‘white space’ in our lives and how to leave enough room in your busy existence for some ‘you time’.  A few months back we talked about the Gaelic concept of ‘thin places’ which were physical or mental places where the margin between you and the other world was thin.  

As I was working with the 5AM Miracle Morning routine I came to think of it as a sacred place.   A place and time that is sacred to me.   A place where it is all about me and I am free.  I am unencumbered from expectations and deliveries.  Sitting at my desk in my house early in the morning, working through my aspirations and affirmations is a sacred place.  

Having a sacred place is a powerful thing.   It is that place or time where you can go and be you.  Be wholly you.  Do you have that sacred place in your life?  I found that in my sacred place I drop into a flow state and time passes without me knowing it.  Ideas and concepts flow from me.  

That’s worth getting up for in the morning! 

What’s next for me?  Still in recovery.  Still fighting off all my codependent friends who daily have brilliant ideas for difficult races and relays in beautiful places.  But I have to be strong.  I have to recover.  No messing around.  

I went through my stuff and pulled all the race shirts from the last 13 months. I gave them to my mom to see if maybe she could fashion a quilt for me.  A bit like one of those medieval tapestries that tells the story of an epic battle. 

Don’t forget to go listen to the Runner’s Roundtable episode with the Boston Stories.  It’s quite powerful.  And for those of you who might want a safe way to dip your toe into podcasting it’s an open forum just waiting for you to volunteer.  Like open mike night at the running podcast café. 

I wasn’t joking, I do have a RunRunLive Facebook page that I post stuff to.  You should join.  It’s free and easy. or just search FaceBook for “RunRunLive”. 

And I do have an email list that I shoot the shows out to.  I’ve been writing some extra posts on my website RunRunLive and I may start recording them as a bonus for those of you who are paying attention! 

Happy Mother’s Day people.  

Be good to each other – party on. 


Outro Bumper

Thanks for listening folks I appreciate your support.  RunRunLive is a free service for you because I like writing and telling stories.  

I also love to meet folks so feel free to reach out to me at Gmail or any of the other social networking sites.  I’m CYKTRussell.  And as you know that’s Chris-Yellow-King-Tom-Russell with two Esses and two Ell’s. 

My Website is and most if not all of this content is posted out there.   If you want the show notes to magically show up in your inbox when I publish a show in a beautiful HTML wrapper you can subscribe to the mailing list at my site.  It’s a useful thing if you are moved by something I say and would like to see if what I wrote is the same thing! It also has all the links to everything and everyone I talk to and about. 

Other than that, thank you for your attention, do epic stuff and let me know if I can help. 


Happy Song – Super Hero -

Other products from Chris Russell you may be interested in

The Mid-Packer’s Lament

On Amazon

On Kindle

On Audio (Read by the author) –

The Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy

On Kindle

Standard Links:



Cyktrussell At gmail and twitter and facebook and youtube


Chris Russell lives and trains in suburban Massachusetts with his family and Border collie Buddy.  Chris is the author of “The Mid-Packer’s Lament”, and “The Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy”, short stories on running, racing, and the human comedy of the mid-pack.  Chris writes the Runnerati Blog at  Chris’ Podcast, RunRunLive is available on iTunes and at Chris also writes for ( and is a member of the Squannacook River Runners and the Goon Squad. 

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Direct download: epi3289.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 1:50pm EDT





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