The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-392 – Rhonda Marie Runs Tennessee

(Audio: link) audio:]
Link epi4392.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-392. 

This is Chris your host.  Well, it’s been a couple weeks since we talked and a couple weeks since I finished the Burning River 100.  I’m back to full strength as near as I can tell.  I seem to have recovered very well and very quickly, probably because I hiked so much of the last half. 

Today we speak with Rhonda-Marie who a blind ultra-runner who did something amazing this summer.  She ran the Last Vol State Run across Tennessee which is a 500KM or 314 mile race.  But she did it unguided.  You are going to love this interview.  My audio editor Dimitri even commented on how this one was super interesting.

In section one I’ll do some Q&Q on the Burning River race, a bit of a wrap up, if you will.  In section two I’m going to talk about kindness.  Because we all need more kindness in our lives. 

My recovery is going very well.  I’ve started training again and have some races lined up that we’ll chat about later.  The first week after the race I did mostly stretching and a couple bike rides.  The second week I started running again. 

Two weeks from stumbling across the finish line in Ohio I went up with some friends and ran the Wapack trail course one-way with them.  We had a blast and I felt great.  Very strong. 

What you look for when doing recovery runs after an ultra is unique.  When you go out it’s not that your legs feel tired. Just the opposite.  When you first start the runs your legs feel great.  Unique to post-ultra recovery runs is that somewhere in that run your legs can go like throwing a switch.  It is all the more telling because you feel great up to that point, then your legs just disappear.  

That hasn’t happened since I started back in.  So I think I’m good. 

If you listen to any interview or story of ultra runners, when they are asked what they learned, invariably the answer is that we are stronger than we think.  Our bodies are designed for this stuff.  All we have to do is train for it and ask our bodies.  Then we have to decide to do it. 

Whether it’s getting up off the couch for your first run, or stepping off the cliff edge into the yawning dark unknow of 100 miles, or 300 miles, you can do it if you decide to. 

That’s it.  That’s what separates the finishers from those that don’t start, the belief that you can do it. 

You can do it.  Just decide to do it and it is as good as done.  That’s the hard part.  The decision. 

What hard thing are you going to decide to do today?

On with the show!

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Section one – Fever Dreams -


Voices of reason – the conversation

Rhonda-Marie Parke, Blind Runner


Other-abled athlete Rhonda-Marie Parke has 8% vision. Traditionally Rhonda-Marie runs accompanied by guides; runners who call out obstacles along the way. With these guides she's run races from Marathon distances to 100 mile distances. She has also completed several end-to-end runs of various Ontario trails including The Bruce Trail (885 km), The Avon Trail (110 km) and The Thames Valley Trail (112 km). Rhonda-Marie has also ventured to the infamous Barkley Marathons. Rhonda-Marie continues to work in her community to encourage and create space for inclusive sport.

Accessing the Inaccessible

In July of 2018, Rhonda-Marie Parke will attempt to run The Last Annual Vol State race without the aid of guide runners.

Why Will Rhonda-Marie Proceed Unguided?

"My whole life, I have had to follow - even if the direction has been my choosing." - Rhonda-Marie Parke

Disability is diverse, dynamic, and ever changing. There is no such thing as universally accessible, especially in a 314 mile road race where cars are moving pieces, where animals are out and roaming, where fatigue, injury are all very very real; but then again, so is crossing the road to get to the library.

Rhonda-Marie continues to show other-abled athletes that they can get involved in the sports of their choice. Rhonda-Marie also continues to encourage running events to think about how to make their events accessible to athletes of ALL abilities. Inclusion in sport is not a given, it’s a process of adaptation and evolution of parameters. Ongoing conversation and community building is required.

What Is The Last Obstacle?

In addition Rhonda-Marie looks to bring light to a bigger issue facing those with disability - stigma. She continues to face intolerance when it comes to her participation in sport as some believe that there is no place for a blind athlete in such a dangerous event. Rhonda-Marie is confident in her athletic abilities and that through training and careful planning, there is no reason why she won't have the same chance at success as any other runner.

Help us show that if they have the desire and the drive, other-abled athletes have every right to participate in sport. Please help us send Rhonda-Marie to The Last Annual Vol State. With your help, she will strive to overcome the Last Obstacle.


Section two – Into the Unknown -


OK my friends, you have stumbled along a highway shoulder to the end of episode 4-391.  Be careful out there.

Rhonda Marie is amazing, right?  I felt seriously out of my depth with her.  I think I’m going to try to see if I can’t guide a runner for Boston next year. 

I am training again.  I signed up for a few races.  I’m going to run the Wapack Trail race on Labor Day weekend.  It’s my club’s race.  I’ll go up early, help set up, park cars and then run the race.  I’m looking forward to it.  I should have good juice in my legs from all the miles I did this summer.

Then I agreed to run a Ragnar the weekend of September 21st with my coach up in New York.  Treat myself to a little adventure!

And finally, I signed up for the BayState Marathon again.  It’s my go-to marathon for requalifying.  I’ll take a shot at getting my number for 2020.  My buddy Brian is running it too.  We’ll see if I can get enough speed back by the end of October.

After the successful outing on the Wapack Trail I told coach I was ready to get back to work.  He gave me a couple workouts for this week, as if to test me.  I did a 1:40 step up run Tuesday.  I went into the run feeling dead and didn’t have much hope for being able to step up to zone 3 effort for 30 minutes then up to zone 4-5 for an additional 30. 

That’s a hard workout.  I felt heavy but figured I’d just do what I could and see how long I could keep my legs turning.  As I stepped up the effort my legs were surprisingly strong.  I was able to hold a decent effort level for the last hour of the step up.  Looking at the results, I wasn’t moving super fast but I’m happy with the effort 2 weeks out from the hundred. 

Then Friday night I went down to my local track and knocked out some speed work.  I did a ladder of 2X600, 2X800 and 2X1000 and was able to hang in there.  The mechanics felt quite foreign.  I was leaning back too much and was swinging my arms around.  My butt muscles were sore afterwards. 

It’s going to take awhile to get some speed back, but I think I’ll be fine. 

I had a one day trip to Orlando this week.  It’s a bout a 3-hour flight.  I got up early and flew down, we had meetings and lunch and flew back.  That put me out of the airport in Boston around 7:30 and getting after 8:00. 

I was wiped so I figured I’d order a pizza to pick up as I whizzed by on my way out to the suburbs.  So, I called up Siri and asked her to call the pizza place for me.  I was in my truck on the highway and didn’t want to be too distracted by the phone.  I got the guy on the phone and had the following conversation…

Me: “I’d like to order a Mushroom Pepperoni Pizza.”

Him: “Sure, name?”

Me: “Last or First?”

Him: “OK 15 minutes.”

And he hung up.

When I got to the pizza place I thought I’d ordered from I found out that Siri and I had different ideas on that.  She gave me the number of another pizza place.  It was late.  I was almost home.  I thought about just bailing out on the whole thing, but I knew, across town. 4 .4 miles away, a pizza place had made a pizza for me.  So I bit the bullet and drove over there.  Good karma. 

When I got to the other pizza place, I went in, apologized for being late and asked if there wasn’t a mushroom Pepperoni pizza here waiting for me.  He said, “What’s the name?”

I said, “I don’t know.  You asked me for my name, I said ‘last or first’, you said ’15 minutes’ and hung up.”

He didn’t have a Mushroom Pepperoni.  But, he did have a Sausage Pepperoni, for ‘Lester’.  We agreed that was probably it.  He felt bad about making the wrong pizza and gave me a discount.  I didn’t tell him I never meant to order a pizza from him to begin with and was just barely able to drag p the will power to not stiff him. 

And the karma balances out.  Even when ordering a pizza. 

I’ll see you out there.

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


Direct download: epi4392.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 7:53pm EDT





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