The RunRunLive 3.0 Podcast Episode 3-270 Chris Cooper & 50 Best Races 

(Audio: link) [audio:]

Link epi3270.mp3

Hey! I spent 40-60 hours of my precious time recording running stories for you and you should go buy them! Cures the blues, guaranteed! Money back if you’re not tickled to death.  ------------->>>>>>><<<<<<<-----------

<Introductory Comments:

Hello my friends!  Holy Cow! I warned you… Didn’t I?  I told you that this time of year things get off –the-charts crazy!  

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since we last talked, (and not just in Colorado).  Last time we chatted was the end of August and I was preparing to race the Pocatello Marathon.  Well in 3 weeks I’ve run 2 marathons and a relay race leg.  

Of course, I’m paying the price this week as we speak.  But, before I get into it let me remind you that it is a busy time of year and with that increased activity comes stress and lack of sleep and all sorts of unhealthy behavior.  You feel it, your family feels it and I feel it. 

I want you to remember that, for the most part, these are external forces of stress and you get to choose how you respond.  I’ll give you a couple quick ideas.  First, channel your inner Zen master and let the stress wash over you – don’t struggle in the current – roll with it and keep swimming. Take this as an opportunity to learn some simples breathing, relaxation a meditation techniques, (there are plenty of examples out there online), have them in your back pocket ready for when you need them.  

We get storms this time of year in New England.  When Buddy and I run the trails after storms we see the trees and branches that have been broken down.  The trees that fares the worst are the Oaks.  And this is surprising because the oak is the strongest wood.  Oaks are the strongest trees and they fight the wind instead of accepting it and moving with it.  Because the oak fights the storm it loses.  The pines and soft woods sway and flex in the storms and don’t sustain as much damage.  They bend, but they don’t break. 

Secondly, you can’t control the external forces of stress, but you can control how you respond, so take a moment each morning when you wake up hunted and tired, your work from yesterday still undone, not enough sleep for a couple weeks in a row, commitments piled high in the road in front of you like angry dragons,  don’t get weird - take a moment and smile, assume a positive outlook, assume a attitude of abundance, take a deep breath, marshal your flagging forces and prepare to attack.  

The best way out is through and the best way through is with vigor. Choose to go forward with aplomb.  Don’t let the bastards beat you down.  Your co-workers, friends and family need you, be the leader, be the beacon, if not for yourself then for the rest of us. 

And finally, not everything needs to get done right now.  It’s ok to let some things slip.  Do a good job of prioritizing and choose what you are going to do well.  Put the other stuff aside.  If you try to do everything, you will just do everything poorly.  If we have learned anything in the five years we’ve been talking it is that successful people choose wisely and prioritize their time for greatest impact.  

Feel better? Good! I’m still sleep derived, jet-lagged and drowning under a sea of self created work!  Did I mention I’m also sore?  

Yup I am sore.  Let’s start back three weeks ago, the last time we talked. I felt good coming out of Pocatello, the quads were a tad sore for a couple days from racing the down hills, but overall I felt strong especially coming out of a hard marathon. 

I ran a couple easy, runs that week.  I was very glad to have Labor Day off to relax a little and sleep a little.  I was down in Atlanta all that week.  I got back Friday night and there was no way I was going to drive up to New Hampshire for the Winnipesaukee Relay the next day.  

Since I had, Leg 7, the second to last leg, I told them I’d drive up in the morning and meet them at the exchange.  Anyone who has ever run a relay race knows that nothing makes a team captain more nervous then when someone says “I’ll meet you at the exchange”!  (Picture confused runners wandering around looking for someone to hand the baton to – I’ve seen it.)

But, I made it with plenty of time to spare.  I drove the course backwards to get to my exchange point and was mortified to see the elevation profile.  It was 8 and a ½ miles of classic New Hampshire rolling hills.  Not a flat spot on it, ups out numbering downs 2-1 and a monster ¾ miler at the end before it turned downhill for ¼ mile into the exchange chute.  

Holy Moly! I just raced a marathon!  I was telling myself I had no commitments here, just run easy, maybe you break 8 minute miles, just don’t hurt yourself…. 

But when Eric came wheeling into the exchange, and I took the baton, and something snapped.  I hit that first downhill like Steve Prefontaine after a six pack of Red Bull.  I had the Ska-Punk mix on the head phones and I was jacked. 

The whole time I’m looking at my pace thinking, ‘oh crap, oh crap! Slow it down!’  Then I see up ahead another competitor.  He’s young guy, but I’m gaining on him.  Of course, I’m now thinking, ‘I’ll slow down after I catch this guy…”  The hunt is on.  I reel him in on an uphill section and make sure to pass with authority.  I look at my watch and I’m dropping 7:20’s uphill when I pass..’Oh Crap!’ 

It’s an 8-9 mile leg and I’m running 5k pace up hill at the 2 mile mark.  Idiot! But it feels so good!  I’m flying.  I just passed a guy 30 years younger than me.  I break into a broad smile as the music pounds and my legs churn and I relax into race pace.  And, God help me, it feels good. 

I resolve to slow down. But, I turn a corner and another competitor comes into view.  Well, I’m all in now anyhow, might as well play it out.  I catch him at the top of a hill.  He hears me coming. (Another guy at least 20 years younger than me.) 

I’m reviewing race tactics of how I’m going to break him.  I’m going to get on his shoulder, in his shadow, and stick there silently as he tries to shake me.  Like the grim reaper.  I’m going to look for my opportunity, maybe a nice downhill with a sharp corner, and I’ll administer the coup de grace in such a way that he won’t be able to respond.  

Then he just pulls over and lets me pass.  Huh, that’s not how we used to do things… 

Now it’s just me, my ska-punk and 3-4 more miles of grueling hills to survive.  I pull back into myself and pace.  On that last big hill I think about walking, I actually make the first half step into a walk and then slap myself for being soft and keep the legs moving.  By the top I’ve slowed to over 9 minute miles. 

Then I crest and coming down into the chute I let it go.  I’m flying.  A quick glance puts me at sub 6 minute miles. I do love a downhill finish.  I hand the baton to Ryan and celebrate an amazing 7:15 average pace effort, with a net two place improvement for my team.

Where did I find this performance 6 days after a hard marathon?  All I can think is that “Mad Dog is back”.  I’m indestructible again.  

But, as we all know, pride cometh before the fall. I woke up the next day with a tight left hamstring from racing on the hills.   Tuesday I was doing some fartlek pickups on the treadmill and it hurts, but I decide to push through it because I’m an idiot. 

I take Wednesday off and it feels better. Now, I’m out in Phoenix, and my big brain tells me that I should rest but my romantic brain knows there is a mountain outside waiting to be run. 

If you are ever in Phoenix there is no more religious an experience than running up Camelback Mountain at the crack of dawn and watching the sun rise over Phoenix.  It is mystical. And so it was Thursday morning I ran/scrambled up the Cholla trail on the back side of Camelback and had a wonderful, beautiful, uplifting experience.  Mad Dog was indeed back and indestructible. 

I’m almost at the end of this story – the part where I’m sore – so stick with me.  

This past weekend I drove out to the Erie Marathon in Pennsylvania.  I convinced my wife to go with me and we stopped in Schenectady on Saturday to watch my daughter’s field hockey team play Union. 

It was a long drive and I went into the race Sunday sleep deprived and having spent far too many hours in planes and cars. My quads were still sore from skipping down the mountain and my nutrition was a stale croissant at a Tim Horton’s in the rest area.  Strategy-wise I wasn’t expecting much – especially given the amount of racing I’d been doing. 

But Erie is a flat, shaded, two loop course on a cool day so I went out at race pace to see how I felt – you never know.

I clicked through the ½ feeling relaxed and fine at 1:43:15.  There was a wee head wind so I tucked behind a guy who was running a 7:55 pace.  Around mile 15 ½ he started to slow so I pulled out to pass him and my left hammy, that had been tricky all week, went ‘Kazang!’.  

Oh crapola!  11 miles from the finish and down to one leg…  I pulled my form together and found a limpy pace that I could hold without the hammy screaming – it was around a 9 min/mile. Oh well.  And that was it for the next two hours trying to hold my form together and get to the finish.  

Every once in a while I’d stretch my stride a little too much and let out a little yelp of pain that would surprise the people passing me. 

Man, I gotta tell you, I would much rather run at race pace because it takes sooo long to get to the finish line when you’re going slower than you’re used to.  

I managed it through the finish in a 3:41, and gave back 10 minutes in the last 10 miles – but doing it with calculated efficiency, like the veteran I am.  

One thing I am proud of is that I didn’t walk.  I decided that no matter what happened there would be no walking in this race, and there wasn’t. 

This is all the race report you’re going to get on Erie because it was really quite uneventful.  It’s a fast course on a flat, mostly shaded, two-loop course.  There is a water stop every mile and they have been doing this for 40 years so the volunteers know what to do.  If you are looking for a time I would recommend Erie. 

The only interesting story that I have for you is about a big, old, ugly possum.  

We were working our way through the final miles and a possum walked out into the road in front of us.  It’s hard enough running the last couple miles of a marathon with a bad leg and them I literally had to run around this big, ugly, stinky, bad-tempered possum!  It was surreal.  

Marathon of the month - Eire Pennsylvania – done.  And I am sore!  My left calf is hammered from running those last ten miles with a limp! I am beat up!  I have to let my old bones recover a little. 

And now, my friends, we are all caught up. 

Today we have an interview with Chris Cooper about his new book “50 best races” where he interviews all these famous runners about what their most memorable race was.

In Section One I’m going to rant about the power of Sales Thinking.   

In section two I’ll keep going on the Plantar Fasciitis series. 

In section three I’ll read Sanskrit runes inaudibly into the microphone. 

On with the Show!

Section one:

The Power of Sales Thinking -

Featured Interview:

Chris Cooper – My Best Race

Hi Chris,

Glad you are finally home from all your business travels and marathons!  Loved listening to your Pocatello Marathon story, by the way.  

Here is a nice preview link (below) that gives an intro to the book, the first chapter, and gives links (i.e., buttons) to all the online purchase sites.  A cover photo in various sizes is also attached.  Let me know if you need anything else, and let me know when the show will be available.  


(audio book link via Amazon/Audible) 

Thanks again for the opportunity to be on your show!  


Section two:

Recovering from Plantar Fasciitis Part Two -


There are times when I feel old.  There are times when the ancient dirt of this world sifts into my soul like a ghost.  It is in these times that I smile.  I smile for those things I have done, for those people who I have met on my path and I get up and go to meet the people and do the things that have yet to be met or done.  

This is life.  Don’t think about it too much. 

I’ve got a bunch of interviews in the can and I’m going to try to start cranking out some shows to catch up.  I may even have to push out more than 2 per month – so make sure you go to my web-site at and sign up for the Email list and it will drop a notice in your inbox whenever I drop a show.  It’s actually just reading the RSS feed and slapping it into a newsletter format. 

I know I’m running long, so I’ll head for the exit.  I haven’t run all week.  I felt super beat up and burnt out coming out of Erie and I wanted to let my Hamstring pull rest.  I’m going to meet Ryan for a 10-12 mile zone 2 in the morning and I’ve got the Littleton 5K on Sunday.  I normally don’t run 5K’s, but it is part of the Nashoba Valley Grand Prix series and I want to do all of them.  I’m going to just jog it.  I might even go over and run the course once before the race to warm up.  

Next weekend is the Harvard 10Miler, another Grand prix race.  Then I’m off until The Denver Rock and Roll on Oct. 22nd.  I’m definitely not racing Denver.  I have on my to-do list to put a training plan together and I think I may shoot for Ft Myers as my next qualifying attempt.  The good news is that any race I qualify at now is good for 2 years.  Meaning I’ll get slotted into Boston 2014 based on that time, which this year will be good because with 36K runners on the course you don’t want to be in the back.  And I’ll be qualified for 2015 as well. 

I had a few people purchase my audio book(s) over the last couple weeks and I really appreciate it.  I don’t get paid for any of this and If you were to invest $10 in one of my audio books it keeps the wheels turning at the RunRunLive Studios.  

Have a great week – talk to you soon – shoot me an email if you need anything. 


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 -

 Links for this show


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


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Dial in number for RunRunLive is – 206-339-7804 (to leave an audio message for the show)



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: epi3270.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT





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