The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-309 – Anne – Laura and 50 states by age 25

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Link epi4309.mp3

Intro Bumper:

Man, what a week!  I’m tired.  I raced the Eastern States 20 miler on Sunday.  It was the 20th anniversary race and they were back to the original course which starts in Kittery Maine, crosses over into Portsmouth, runs the entire coastline of New Hampshire and ends in Massachusetts.  You get 3 states in one race.  

I didn’t really know how to manage the race going in.  I have been logging 40ish miles a week for a while and have done several 3 hour long runs but I’ve done almost no tempo or speed.  The summary would be that I’m in really good aerobic shape but lacking the sharp edge of racing.  

And, for those of you not paying attention, the reason I can’t do the tempo and speed is that I have a heart condition, ‘exercise induced’ A-fib that I’ve developed over the last couple years where later in a workout, under load my heartbeat becomes irregular.  I’m going in to get that fixed in May but I have to drag my old self through the Boston Marathon course first!

And, for those of you really not paying attention, this is Chris, your host, and this is the RunRunLive Podcast where we consider the transformational power of endurance sport.  From now on, try to pay attention.  

There were 5 of us from my club at the race but we weren’t running together because we were at different goal levels.  I planned to just sort of hang back and let the race come to me and keep a watchful eye on the heart rate.  But, any of you who have raced with me know how that usually goes.  

I’m an excitable boy, and, as usual I struggled to stay slow and knocked off the early miles 45 – 50 seconds a mile faster than my ‘safe’ goal.  I was worried I’d fall apart at the end but I felt great.  The A-fib did kick in for the last few miles but I never crashed and my legs were solid and I wasn’t sore at all on Monday.

We got a great day for racing.  It was sunny and mid-30’s.  There was a bit of a head wind, but nothing that was unmanageable.  This course is nice and flat.  I’ve probably run this race a dozen times.  All-in-all it was an excellent outing.  I had a blast. 

I have to be careful with my exuberance.  Even though it was a good 20 mile run, that only gets you to the base of Heartbreak Hill and for the last 10k my heart was whacking around in my chest like a deranged hamster. 

While I was sorting through the race photos this week I actually paid for one it was so good.  I usually don’t bother with race photos.  The camera isn’t that kind to me in general and I’m too cheap to pay the exorbitant prices, but this was a great picture that captured how much fun I was having and was only $10 for the digital. 

We have a great show for you today. In the first section I’m going to look at how road races have changed over the 25 years I’ve been running them and what that may or may not mean for us.  

In the interview we have the final guest interview that was recorded for me at the end of last summer (sorry Anne and Laura for the delay in getting it out!)  Anne interviews Laura who set the record as the youngest person to run all 50 US states.  She did it by the age of 25. She recounts how she started as an adamant ‘non-runner’ just trying to get to one mile and some of the wonderful, transformative life lessons she learned along the way. 

The final section is a super interesting (and maybe creepy) social experiment that I was running on strangers while traveling this week using the tools of the Pick Up Artists.  

Props to my coach, Jeff from PRSFit.  I told him in January that I couldn’t so any speedwork but I still wanted to race Boston and we figured out how to work with what we had.  All long, slow, build, aerobic training.  I can feel the results in my runs over the last 3 weeks and I can see the strength in my body.  

Just goes to show you folks, where there is a will there’s a way.  

On with the Show! 

Section one - Running Tips

7 ways road races have changed in a generation

Voices of reason – the interviews



Management consultant who became the youngest woman to run a marathon in all 50 states, while still enjoying her margaritas. Sometimes simultaneously.

I began writing this blog in December 2007 under the title “Absolut(ly) Fit.” I chose the name to reflect a belief that I had then (and still have today): the best way to live a healthy and happy lifestyle is to maintain balance. Of course it’s good for your body to work out and eat healthy food most of the time, but it’s also good for your spirit to eat the foods you enjoy. Perhaps you want to set an ambitious goal like training for a marathon – but in the pursuit of that, you don’t need to give up everything else in order to succeed.


Case in point – heading straight from my 2nd marathon to visit my favorite winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle

I didn’t always have this philosophy of balance. Growing up, I preferred musical theater to sports, and never understood how someone could do both. In my mind, you were either artsy or sporty – but never both. I began to challenge this and other assumptions while doing a college internship in Sarasota, Florida. Finding it difficult to make friends in a strange place, I told myself that I could either be miserable and have a terrible summer, or I could make the best of it and spend the time trying to improve myself in some way. I decided that I was going to do two things I had previously thought impossible: learn to cook and learn to run.


Lounging and drinking in the ocean? Don’t worry, I still made time for that!

The cooking was easy; the running was a bit harder. I had defined my goal as being able to run one mile without stopping, and lacking any better running equipment, I drove my car in a loop around the neighborhood until the odometer read one mile – that was how far I needed to go. For two months I pounded the pavement, working my way up to running more and walking less of that distance. By the end of the summer I had not only been able to run my one mile “course ” without stopping, but I also completed a 5K race (though that was with plenty of walk breaks)! I was so proud of myself, and told everyone I knew. But after running one mile, I wondered – could I run two miles? How about three?

I gradually increased my distance, completing a 5 mile race, then a 10K (6.2 miles), and eventually a 10 miler. In December 2007, shortly after starting “Absolut(ly) Fit”, I decided it would be my New Year’s resolution to complete a half marathon by the end of the year. I smashed that resolution before the end of the month when I ran theManhattan Half Marathon in Central Park. I was shocked that I had been able to complete it – I thought for sure I was pushing my limits further than I could go. But I did it, and now I wondered – could I somehow complete a full marathon?

I started adding more miles on to my “training sessions” (which were actually just early Saturday morning attempts to burn off the calories of the alcohol and late-night pizza/tacos/etc I had consumed with my friends the night before). I didn’t follow a real training plan, but typically tried to add five to ten minutes onto whatever I had done the last time I went for a run, and that gradual increase helped me to progress injury-free. I didn’t worry about how fast I was going, and instead focused on enjoying the gorgeous views and surprisingly quiet calm of Manhattan on a weekend morning.

But while it wasn’t too hard to do just another five to ten minutes than I had done the week before, the extra mileage was adding up – until one weekend morning, I ran 22 miles! Although I hadn’t been following a formal training plan, I had read enough to know that most marathon training plans stopped around 22 miles… so it seemed that I was ready to go the full distance. I signed up for the Vermont City Marathon a few weeks later, selecting it in large part because it was sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s and promised free ice cream at the finish. If anything was going to get me to run 26.2 miles, it was ice cream!

My mom and my best friend came to cheer me on, holding signs that said “run to the ice cream, Laura!” That motivation certainly helped – whenever I saw their signs, you can bet that I ran a little faster! Of course I had some soul-searching, “why did I sign up for this” moments in the last few miles (what first-time marathoner doesn’t?), but within a few minutes after the finish line, the memories of the tough times were completely replaced by pride of accomplishment. I did it!


Proud marathoner with ice cream in hand!

In fact, I was so elated that instead of wanting to stop there, I decided to run another marathon. And another after that. To this day, no matter how many marathons I’ve run, there is nothing like that feeling of conquering the impossible I get when I cross a marathon finish line. It never gets old!

I set a new ambitious goal for myself – to run a marathon in each U.S. state by my 25th birthday – and completed it on June 6, 2010, just two years and one week after I completed my first marathon. In doing so, I broke the world record as the youngest woman to run a marathon in all 50 states. I didn’t stop there, though – in November 2013, I ran my 100th marathon to become the youngest member of the 100 Marathon Club. As of this writing (December 2014), I’ve run 105 marathons in 50 US states, one US territory, and six countries.


Seconds after achieving my 50by25 goal, I’m in disbelief.

While I was working toward my “50 marathons by my 25th birthday” challenge, I picked up the 50by25 moniker – and now that I’m a bit older and perhaps not quite so focused on college drinking games and the NYC bar scene, I thought rebranding my blog to 50by25 would make more sense. Yes, I’ve already completed the 50by25 goal and want to move onto new challenges. However, I think the short-and-sweet 50by25 phrase is a great example of how to set a goal, break it up into manageable chunks, and achieve it. It’s quantifiable, it’s timebound, and for me, it provided something inspiring enough to work toward that I didn’t give up even when things got tough. 50by25 is a huge part of who I am today, and a reminder that I can do the “impossible.” Of course I hope to accomplish more in my life and not just rest on my laurels from here on out, but 50by25 was really the perfect quest and serves as a great template for future endeavors.

Though I still run marathons (and write about them on the blog), you’ll find that my blog now focuses a lot on goal setting, productivity, and travel in addition to the usual health and fitness topics. I think mastering these activities is the best way to enjoy life and attain true happiness, and I’m eager to learn and share as much as I can about those topics! If you’re not sure where to start, check out my top posts page that I put together for new visitors.

Thanks for coming by, and if you have any questions, always feel free to leave a comment on a post or contact me anytime :)

Section Two – Life Lessons

Make them smile -


Oi! Oi! Oi! Come on! Let’s have some energy!  Pick it up buttercup! 

Mmmmm… Got a little bit of rumbly in my tumbly today.  Had to make not one, but two pit stops in the woods on my run.  Feeling a bit jet lagged.  I’ve got a funky playlist going now and I’m tapping out this semi-screed for you.  Or, I guess for us.  

I had a funny idea for a short story based in the not-so-distant future where the people who come in last in the race get all the prizes and praise.  No one wants to win because the winners get tied to a post and stoned for being un-feeling bastards.  

I forgot to tell you folks that I’ve been steadily upgrading my hardware.  I got the new iPhone 6 and I really like it.  Not the super big one the ‘just a little bigger’ one.  And I replaced my laptop with a Surface Pro 3 a couple months ago and I’ve grown to like it, especially for travel.  And finally, I lost those Bluetooth headphones that Hilton sent me, ironically by leaving them in a Marriott.  

I like the no-strings attached option though and I’ve bought another pair.  These are called an Mpow Cheetah Sport Bluetooth 4.1 Headphone.  They are good but they go all the way into the ear canal which can be uncomfortable and dangerous because you really can’t hear anything else.  So far my toxic body juices haven’t killed them but the battery life seems to be maybe 4 hours.  And of course the microphone sucks if you wanted to use them to talk on the phone.  

When I was up at the start I had a great chat with Team Hoyt.  Rick and Dick were there as well as Bryan Lyons who is pushing Rick in the longer races now.  I was talking to Dick, who still pushes Rick in the shorter races.  Dick was telling me how he was having back pain and now that he was retired he’s got a physio coach and has been doing core work every day and he feels great.  

Does it ever feel to you like everyone is having the same conversations at the same time?  Dick was telling me about how great having a strong core is.  He’s 75 years old! 

I wanted to thank all of you who helped me make my goal for fund raising for Team Hoyt for Boston. I hope to get Bryan on before the race, in the next show.  He was nervous, telling me he’s not good with ‘media’ – makes me laugh – like I’m Geraldo or something. 

Did some math and figured out that I’ve got somewhere around 5-600 miles on these Hokas.  They still feel fine but I can feel them getting a little ‘loose’.  Time to start looking for a new pair of something.  I’m not going to change horses before Boston.  

But, as a lesson, don’t do what I do, which is to run in a pair of shoes until your knees start hurting.  You should always have a couple pair in rotation and switch back and forth so you don’t get ‘repetitive’ injuries. 

Well my lovelies I have to let you go.  I’m so far behind in my work that I may never dig out and it’s Friday afternoon.  My motivation and energy flows from me and spreads like a dark puddle across the hardwood floor.  The warmth of a comforting bed, the friendly embrace of the couch and the warm dopamine drip of procrastination are sucking at my mind.  

Last week I played hooky one weekday afternoon and went into China town with my daughter. We had a blast knocking around the Chinese shops and eating at a Shabu Shabu place.  We didn’t roll back home until around 8:00 PM.  I had still had to get my run in.  

The weather had taken a turn from the better.  It wasn’t snowing and the hulking drifts had retreated from the roads a bit.  There was not a cloud in the sky.  There was not a breath of wind.  There was a 1/4 moon and a sky full of stars.  It was about 28 degrees – warm enough to allow some freedom from the atrocious and common winter bulk of accoutrements of the past 3 months. 

A soundless night.  

I made my way over through the old neighborhood where I bought my first little house and settled with my new bride in 1985 at the age of 22.  I remember struggling to run a 2 mile loop there as I started my fitful return to fitness in my late 20’s.  

I ran down the sidewalks of my life and looked in the windows of my memories and felt at peace and full of joy. I remembered the nights like this when all is effortless and joyful are the reason I train and race and strive.  It’s the quiet and beautiful moments that sneak up on you while you are busy living that teach you how precious living is. 

I’ll see you out there.

Closing comments


Direct download: epi4309.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 8:18pm EDT





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