Episode 4-304 – Susan Loken

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-304 – Susan Loken – You’re never too old if you believe

(Audio: link) [audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi4304.mp3]

Link epi4304.mp3

Intro Bumper:


Hello my friends.  Here we are creeping up on February.  How has the core of you existence been treating you?  Has it been resonating with the universal master mind?  Have you been doing the dosey-doe with your life purpose?  

Yeah, me neither.  But I’m getting by.  I don’t know what it is about this time of year that just makes me want to sleep!  

It’s all good.  I have the headphones in and I’m listening to some reggae and sipping a local IPA and dredging some creativity from the dregs of my old and atrophied brain for you! My friends.  My running friends.  My endurance sweet hearts.  

Those of you new to our podcast, welcome to episode 4-304.  Codec-wise that’s the fourth version or iteration or generation of the RunRunLive podcast and the 304th episode.  Which is kinda cool.  

And, please, know that you’re among friends.  We don’t want your money, well not all of it, we don’t want your reviews and we don’t have any t-shirts to sell I have no interest in signing you up for a subscription or coaching. 

We just like to deconstruct why running and endurance sports has the ability to drive positive transformation in our lives and why this grand adventure fuels our humanity.  That’s all.  So, you’re among friends.  

And never mind all that drivel I spew about zombies, and yak farming and me being a hit man for the Irish Mafia…That’s all just a little fun I’m having.  That’s just a smoke screen.

Or is it? 

Anyway, here we are again and I have a great show for you.  Our interview today is with Susan Loken who took up running at the age of 36 and within a few years made the Olympic trials and became masters’ marathon champion.  We talk through how it has changed her and what lessons we can learn from deconstructing her success.  It’s a great chat.  

When I recorded this I was still fighting my way out of the chest cold I caught in the Caribbean and you can hear it in my voice.  Battling through adversity to bring you this lovely athlete.

Susan and I were introduced by a friend of mine from the Goon Squad Runners, one of my running clubs, with the motto “No whining, just running.”  Her code name is Cougar and Susan is her coach and she’s one of the runners I respect locally for doing the work and pushing herself.  

In section one, the running tips section I’m going to bring you a piece on treadmill step-up runs, which I’ve probably talked through before, but I thought it was timely with the weather pushing us inside.  

In section two I’m going to revisit another topic that we’ve discussed in the past, “How to get out of a winter funk.” Again, this may not be new information for you folks, but the timing is right and I had to work through it myself again, so I figured I’d share the love. 

How’s my running going?  Fairly well. As you know I’m training for Boston now.  As you also know I’ve got a heart problem that is constraining some of the ways and types of training I’ve done in the past.  Nothing life threatening, just something to work with.  

To net it out, I can’t really do the tempo and speed work and a lot of the effort based heart rate training I’ve done so successfully in the last ½ decade.  Instead I’m working on building a huge base at an aerobic level and building my core strength.  

What does this look like?  This is a build week for me and I’ll run 3 days of 1:45 at zone 2 effort, (conversational effort).  For me that’s like 12 miles a session, so that’s a nice 36 mile volume before I get to my Sunday long run.  Sunday I’ll do another 16 and guess what campers?  That’s 52 miles on a 4 day week.  Pretty good, huh? 

On the other 3 days I’m core training. I’m experimenting with some awesome new core protocols that I think are going to work out.  It’s a totally different approach than I’ve done before and really intriguing.  It’s too early to make a call but I’ll let you know. 

The challenge I’ve had this week is fitting 1:45 of running into a weekday.  I prefer to run in the daylight for these and that’s a big chunk of the work day.  I’ve been able to pull it off by prioritizing, but it’s a challenge.  

The theory here is that I’ll be able to build so much strength I’ll be able to bring my pace up for the big race, maybe.  We’ll see.  For now I’m having fun with it. 

I was casting about for some company for my Sunday long run today and my buddy Ryan reminded me that this weekend is the Derry 16 miler.  I went to the site and low and behold it hadn’t sold out so I signed up.  Derry is an awesome race with a stupid difficult course that brings rookies to tears.  I’ve run it at least 10 times.  

For those of you who read my book of running stories “The Mid-Packer’s Lament” you’ll recognize the references to Derry.  Back in the day we ran it in snow storms and in below zero Fahrenheit temperatures.  One year we had a guy die in front of us there, no kidding. 


If you like my voice, and by that I don’t mean the digitized sound vibrations of my vocal chords, I mean the unique melody to my prose and the slightly odd way I turn a simile go check out my books of running stories.  You can get them on Amazon or as an e-book from my website or lining bird cages in the seedier parts of town.  

I even read them into audio and you can find those on my website.  If you can’t find them or the website is broken, just shoot me an email. 

That is my gift to you! My voice set free like a rabid Tasmanian devil, or maybe a zombie yak, to terrorize your brain and make your runs that much more interesting. 

On with the show! 

Section one - Running Tips


Voices of reason – the interviews

Susan Loken – Masters Marathon Champion and coach.


Growing up, I was that girl that always skipped gym class because all that exercise and sweat would ruin her fabulous Farah Fawcett hair.

By the age of 36, I had reached a new stage in my life. After the birth of my 3rd son, I was sick of being out-of-shape, short on “me time,” and suffering from lack of good friendships.

I was desperate for change, so desperate that I was willing to sweat. I began running and it actually felt good. My baby weight quickly dropped off and I met my first running friend, who suggested we train for a marathon. Once I was convinced that a 26.2 mile run wouldn’t cripple me, I agreed and we began training.

As I crossed the finished line of my first marathon, huge crocodile tears of joy poured down over a smile so big that it hurt my face, and I didn’t even mind that my hair was sweaty. I knew that I had been changed forever. If I could finish a marathon, I could do anything! I believed in myself and I trained with passion, knowing that success would follow; in doing so, I gained confidence and the understanding that I could become whatever I dreamed!

From that moment forward, I Believed, Trained, and Became a 3-time USA Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, 4-times USA Masters Marathon Champion, 3-time winner of the More Marathon in NYC, and a girl that loves her icky sweaty hair!

I share my passion for running by coaching others to Believe, Train and Become! If you are a competitive runner, I can help you take minutes off of your personal record. If you are a recreational runner, I can help you improve your fitness and endurance, and reach your personal goals. If you are new to running or a walker, I can introduce you to an improved life of fitness.

Between my 10 years of Elite running experience, 8 years of group coaching, numerous courses in personal training, sports nutrition, and coaching, as well my personal understanding of how to balance training with real life, I will build a training plan based on your current fitness, your goals, and your lifestyle. I will help you BECOME YOUR DREAM!!

Do you want to Believe, Train and Become your dream? Let me help you!

Section two – Life Skills


(2013) http://runrunlive.com/getting-out-of-a-winter-funk


Hey, Hey, Hey, Episode 4-304 has drawn to a close.  

The best thing about this whole podcasty running community thing is the cool people I get to talk to and hang out with.  That’s the cool part.  You guys are the cool part. I meet new people every week. 

I’ll give you a couple stories from our funky online running community for this week.  I’m on FaceBook as Chris Russell and have a RunRunLive group as well.  I guess Facebook must recommend me as a friend to other runners because I get friend requests, like everyone does.  

Usually I click through to make sure they are real people and not robots or spammers.  I can tell by the number of friends we have in common.  If their profile picture is them smiling with a bib number pinned to their chest, they’re in. If their profile picture is them grinding up the side of a mountain, yop, they’re in.  

This week I had a lady send me a friend request.  I clicked through and there were the familiar pictures of a mature, athletic woman in her running stuff.  But, the next series of pictures from her Instagram had me baffled, I’m thinking, what is that? A baby squirrel? And clicking on them I soon realized that these were pictures of the detailed anatomical nature. 

I mean, I have nothing against you sharing liberally, but I couldn’t friend you.  I was having pictures of our relationship ending with me being held for ransom by the Russian mafia and I decided to head that off at the pass…

Today I’m working and a friend request comes through.  I look at this lady’s profile and it seems kosher so I accept.  (don’t worry this story has nothing to do with baby squirrels) A few minutes later I get a message “Always good to meet fellow runners!”  

I figure I’ll play nice and respond, “Nice to meet you, what are you training for?” 

She says, “I’ve run 3 5k’s and am planning for a 10K.” and goes on to tell me how she’s just started and still has to run walk. I tell her it’s the best part of running to be a new runner starting on the adventure. 

She asks me how long I’ve been running.  I say “A few years…” Then send a picture of my medal rack and marathon quilt and tell her about the podcast.  So welcome to my world Chrissy.  Nice to have you on our adventure. 

I know I’ve been saying this for months, but, honestly, my new book on how to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 14 weeks while holding down a full time job and a family is done and edited.  I’m pulling the website together and I really like this one.  

It’s not so much a ‘how to’ as it is my manifesto on racing and training the Boston Marathon.  I did not choose to write it.  It chose to be written.  I really like it.  Patience, I’ll get it up in the next two weeks. 

Finally.  I need your help.  And by help I mean money! For my Team Hoyt campaign for Boston. 

I remember the first time I met Rick and Dick Hoyt.  It was in some 10K or 5 miler somewhere back in the 90’s.  I remember passing them in the race.  Later when I was talking to Dick at a race expo I related that story to him and without missing a beat he said, “Yeah, I remember that race, I had a chest cold or you never would have caught us.”  


And that’s the thing about Dick and Rick.  They didn’t set out to change the world.  They set out to run.  Like we all do.  They did what they could do.  They ran.  They weren’t doing it to put on a big show or to call attention.  They were part of the community up here.  They put in the work.  The qualified for Boston under the original 2:50 standard years ago and the BAA wouldn’t let them run in the race.  But they kept showing up and doing that thing that we as runners do.  They ran.  

This humble man with this simple thing eventually changed the world. 

And I’d like your help to keep Rick and Dick’s legacy going.  I’d like your help to propagate their ripples in our pond.  This is good in our world that we can help.  

Please go to my crowd rise page https://www.crowdrise.com/TeamHoytBoston2015/fundraiser/christopherrussell and help sustain this good in the world.  Twenty bucks folks, that’s a way you can make ripples in our pond. 

And that, my friends is how leadership works.  It’s like radiation.  You radiate as an individual and as a leader.  And what you radiate influences the people who come into contact with you. 

If you cultivate stress and negativity, that’s what you will radiate and that is the pollution you will propagate.  But if you radiate positivity and leadership in your thoughts and actions that will radiate out from you and change the world. 

Let’s change the world. 

And while we’re changing the world, I’ll see you out there. 

Closing comments



Direct download: epi4304.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 11:38am EDT





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