The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-324 – Josh – Overcoming Challenge to Qualify

(Audio: link)




Josh1Link epi4324.mp3

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

Good morning, afternoon and evening my friends.  This is Chris your co-pilot on this particular audio escapade.  This is the RunRunLive Podcast episode 4-324 and today we’ve got an interview today with Josh who has gone through a bit of a hero’s journey.  He has had personal challenges and come back with the help of some friends to qualify for Boston recently.

The other interesting thing is that I don’t do the interview.  We got one of our friends of the show, Alex, to do the interviewing.  Alex is one of the folks who edits interviews for me, just because he is a friend of the show.  Today the tables are turned and I have to edit his interview!

In section one I am going to give you a piece on how to come back from a big injury.  In section 2 I’m going to talk about trying to fix my obsession with the scarcity of time.

My training is going well.  I got through the first 3-week cycle of my MarathonBQ plan.  I’m finding I don’t have the willpower or fitness yet to do the speedwork at a full 1600 meters and I’ve been doing 800’s instead.  My speed and strength are coming back nicely.  I did a long run of 15 last weekend and felt fine the whole way through.  I even felt strong enough to kick at the end.

I’ve been doing my speedwork on the treadmill at work, which has its pro’s and con’s.  It’s convenient and you can make the workout very structured.  On the other hand I’m always concerned about the real-to-life equivalency.  And I don’t just mean the effort levels are different. I mean there is a certain specificity to being outside in the elements that is beneficial.

I’ve got a long way to go, but I’m not struggling like I was when my heart was all wonky last year.  Very hopeful.  I haven’t scheduled any goal races yet but I have my eye on a few.

My next scheduled race is the Ayer Fire Dept. 5K on American Thanksgiving morning.  This will be a good test of how much I’ve managed to move my race pace set point.  I’ll treat it as a tempo workout.  I’ll go over and run the course before the race to warm up, then I’ll race it hard to see what pace I can hold.  It will be a good indicator.

I’m eyeballing a ½ in Atlanta on Dec 13th which would work well as a marathon pace run.

You have to trust your training plan but it can be useful to pick up some directional data points along the way.  I have the Groton Marathon on December 27th – which is a self-supported 26.2 mile run that me and some buddies from my running club put on each year.   If I treat that as a last long run that points to a qualifying try somewhere around January 10th.

If I screw the pooch on that one I could regroup and try again in February.  I don’t have a number for Boston, but these things have a way of working out for me.

In the spring my company upgraded me to the iPhone 6, which was nice.  But I kept dropping it and breaking it.  They made me buy a better case and I bought the LifeLock case.

It’s quite bulky. It reminds me of something that the Soviets would have designed.  But, supposedly it is 100% waterproof and it has kept me from breaking the phone again.

One challenge is that the hole for the headphones is now rather deep and has a screw-in feature that makes it impossible to use most headphones – especially the Bose headphones I run with and the big noise canceling headphone I use mowing the lawn and using the chainsaw etc.

As a result I had to either not listen to my phone when I was doing stuff, which kills me because I love to double task, or take it out of the case, which totally defeats the purpose of having a case in the first place.

But, fear not, there is a cable adapter that is about 4 inches of cable with the screw-in tip that you can theoretically buy.  Except you can’t buy it in any of the stores I went to.  They’d all say the same thing to me “you can buy that on line for a dollar”.  Which is not so helpful.

I went on-line to buy it from Amazon and was a bit flummoxed that the .97$ adapter was going to cost me $10 in shipping.  I ordered it anyhow.  This was in the beginning of August.  After a few weeks it hadn’t shown up.  I checked the order status and it appeared to make it as far as a distribution center in Worcester and then disappeared.

I sent an email to the company to tell them I never got it and they agreed with me.  But nothing else happened.  It’s nice to be agreed with, but I still needed a cable adapter and we’re going on more than a month.

I ordered another one.  Just this past week I got it.  It’s quite useful.  Because not only can I listen to punk rock while I’m doing speedwork, which is quite helpful, but I can run in the pouring rain with it.  It’s waterproof.  Seriously, like, throw in the toilet and let it sink to the bottom, waterproof.

There’s no moral or life lesson here.  I’m just happy that it appears I’ve finally found a piece of audio technology that I can’t kill with toxic Chris juice.

On with the show!

injury-backSection one - Running Tips

Conming back from a big injury -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Josh – The hero’s journey from challenge through resolution to BQ

Josh Butler - @Butler_Live2Run

Hi Chris,

I've been meaning to send you an email for some time, but felt like I needed to accomplish something of merit before I did (mid-packer merit anyway). Here is a much too long summary of my journey to qualify for Boston this past weekend. I know you are very busy and If you want to skip all my drivel, I have contact info at the end and we can discuss this in a call.

A bit of backstory...

I ran cross country and track in high school and ran a bit in the army after high school. When started college, along with my studies, I found other more "interesting" things to occupy time. Youth allowed me to still look fit regardless of my lifestyle.

It all caught up with me when I injured my back in graduate school. In a research lab of all places. It turned out to be a herniated disc. I went with a conservative approach for treatment for several years until it became debilitating. During this period, I was unable to do anything active and gained 40 pounds. Ultimately, I ended up having a surgery in 2005 to replace the degenerated disc with an artificial disc (titanium hardware). The surgery went well and I started running again after a few months. I dropped a bit of the weight but began to have problems again after a year.

All this time, my activity was non-existent and a gained the original 40 lbs back, plus another 20. I was a fat, pitiful slug. I went through several cycles of trying to reduce the medications and get more exercise (they recommend walking, "...running is bad for your knees"). I would get a little better, but would always get a flare up from pushing a little too much. In 2012, I started a new job and was referred to a physical therapist by a coworker that had suffer with back pain but had recovered. I never had luck with any physical therapist in the past, but was willing to try anything. On our first meeting, she asked what my goals were. I told her that I wanted to be able to exercise, specifically run. To my surprise, and unlike all the other medical professionals in the past, she told me she could get me there. It was nearly a 2 year process, but through a multifaceted approach including strengthening, dry needling, and yoga. I was given the green light for running.

My first run was a bit of a disappointment; I struggled to maintain a jog for the 0.8 mile jog around our block. I kept at it for several months until I was able to run up to 6 miles at a 8:00 to 8:30 pace. I did a few 5k's and started to look for a new goal. I signed up for a half-marathon in November 2014 and found a training plan online. While all of this was happening, I found I needed less and less pain medication to function and I could mentally manage the pain I was having. I'm not sure if this was a result of relearning natural pain management through running, getting in better overall condition, dropping 50 lbs, or a combination of all three.

My first half was a success and I came in with a respectable 1:29:22. In less than a year, I went from a overweight, pain med slug, to a half-marathoner. I heard you mention "keystone habits" on several occasions in your podcasts, and I would animatedly agree the endurance running is a great one. Things started to fall in to place in my life. I felt better physically and mentally, and as an added bonus, all of my interpersonally relationships improved as a result. I was accomplishing things I thought I could never do as a runner, which in turn carried over to my career. Nothing seemed impossible anymore.

With a successful half under my belt, I began the search for the next BHAG. THE BOSTON MARATHON!!! I did some research and found out what the qualification standards were, signed up for a race, and began my next training cycle.

As a side note, I have 3 daughters (ages 1,2, and 9), a wife that works full-time, and I have a job that requires long hours and fairly frequent domestic/international travel (80-125 days/year). I really struggled with the training plan. The plan was so complex that I had a very hard time doing the workouts during my travels. Another complication was that I did all of my workouts at home after 9:30pm when we got the kids to bed. Complex track workouts are made even more complex by headlamp (as you know, not being a stranger to night runs). Coming face-to-face with a badger at night also adds complexity.

I did my best to stick to the training plan and ran my first marathon in May  2015. The first 16 miles felt great, so great that I decided to increase my pace to 7:05 miles. I slowed down to goal pace for miles 16-21, but it was already to late. I seized up in my arms and legs and did the Robocop death shuffle to finish at 3:44. I was crushed. In the week following, I started doing some more research on marathon training. This is when I found this "new thing" called a podcast (I used to be an early adopter of tech and social media...not sure what happened the past few years). I promptly subscribed to every running podcast I could find and listened to them at every available moment. After the first week of this, yours was a clear winner. It was like having Master Yoda in my ear. I listened to every episode on iTunes, and then went back to listen to all of the episodes in the archives. Not only were you informative and motivational for running, but also in you segments on life, change, and dealing with people. You really do a great job of illustrating the interconnection of all things in life.

When you mentioned your books, I quickly purchased every one for my Kindle an read them whenever I had a free moment.

I enjoyed every one of your books, and MarathonBQ was a great fit for what I wanted to accomplish. The plan was tough, an at 40 I thought I may be too old for such an aggressive approach, but in the final month of my preparation for The Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon I knew I had made a ton of progress since my last marathon campaign.

I loved the simplicity of the speed/tempo work, but hated doing the workouts in the beginning. I definitely ended up in the dark place during the training period. Your writings and your spoken words helped me through it all. You gave me the insight to stay positive and motivated through the training cycle. Now I have more of a love/hate relationship with the track work.

Come race day, I was ready. The BQ time for 40-44 is 3:15. I trained and did all of my speed work to qualify with 3:12:30. After qualifying, I didn't want the disappointment of qualifying and not making the cut to register.

I traveled from home in Fort Collins, CO to Milwaukee last Friday, along with my 2 year old daughter, and stayed with my parents in a nearby town. We had a family gathering on Saturday and I worried that I jeopardized my race by being on my feet all day, but race morning I was ready to give all I had. I stuck with the 3:15 pace group for the first few miles to keep my adrenaline in check. I bumped it up a bit to come in at a 7:20 avg pace at the half. I continued to mile 16 and felt the race unfolding in my favor and clocked a 7:18 avg pace for miles 13.1-20. Then the race was on, I dug deep. It was my day to get it done. I finished the final 6.2 miles with a 7:13 avg pace. My final time was 3:11:07; BQ with 3:53 to spare.

It was amazing how much you were in my head during the race. "Let the race come to you...", "spin up the hills...", "keep it under control until mile 20, then the race begins...". Most of all, it is painful in the later miles. You have talked about this in your podcast and how to embrace the pain. Your words were most important at this point in the race. They helped keep me positive and prevented me from giving up. I think this is a function of your plan as well. In the other plans I have tried, I didn't get to practice "pain and fatigue" as much as I did with yours. Furthermore, I thought about that last cycle of training tempo runs in the final 6 miles of the race. I remembered how I thought I could never get through that many mile repeats, but in the end I did. I also feel very strongly that the speed/tempo work has greatly improved my form and running economy. I don't see wear marks on my heels anymore. All in all, it was a great journey, and a great beginning to the next chapter in my life.

What have I learned from all of this?

1) Anything is possible. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished with the right resources allocated to it. It's really about prioritization and how badly you want it. I have a demanding full-time job that requires travel, young children, and a multitude of other things that demand my time. Not to mention a bunch of hardware in my lower back. If I can do it, anyone can.

2) Pain is manageable/controllable without medication. You just need to teach your brain how to manage it. This, like all crafts that you attempt to master, requires training. I believe this is a big component of the transformational power of endurance sports. This was a big part of my journey and I largely credit running with getting completely off of pain medication for the past 18 months. This is the skill that also allowed me to ride the knife edge to run a BQ.

3) You never know where you may find knowledge to help you on your journey. In the past, I never understood the appeal of podcasts. I never imagined I would find one that felt like it was made just for me. When you find inspiration and sage advice, grab hold and use it to its' full advantage.

4) Most importantly, positivity is always the answer, regardless of the question or challenge.

Thanks Chris. You have been like a life coach. I know this podcast endeavor requires a lot of your time and I really appreciate that there are people like you in the world that share their knowledge and inspiration.

I would still love to have a chat with you about all of this. I know you have a busy schedule, but if you give me a couple of available time slots, I would be happy to call.


Joshua Butler

Fort Collins, CO 80524

coveySection two – On the abundance of time -

Outro - Closing comments

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

Ok Folks, that was episode 4-324.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful Halloween.  At our house we practice Satanic rituals year round – so there’s really no novelty to Halloween.

Hey, so, Buddy the old Wonder Dog is doing awesome.  These new supplements we’ve got him on called GlycoFlex from VetriScience really help him from getting sore.  He’s doing 2-3 runs a week with me out in the woods and he’s doing well.  The combination of the cold weather and the supplements have made a new man out of him.

Running in the trails makes my ankles stronger which is the key to surviving the zombie apocalypse.  I mean seriously, doesn’t someone always sprain their ankle when they are getting chased by the undead?  Weak ankles are the number one cause of being eaten by zombies.

A little house keeping:  There are two feeds in Itunes for the RunRunLive Podcast.  I’m going to kill off the old feed at the end of the year.  I’m going to repeat this message every episode until then.

If you subscribe through FeedBurner, that is going away.  Go to and search for RunRunLive and subscribe to that RSS or go to my website and subscribe to that RSS feed.  Either way you’ll have a direct pipe to everything I publish and you can still avoid iTunes.

If you subscribe through Libsyn or my site already then you’re all set, nothing will happen.

Now, the majority of you subscribe through iTunes.  If you go into the iTunes store, type RunRunLive into the search box in the upper right and hit enter.  You will see two shows.

You can tell the old one two ways.  One is by the picture.  It is fatter.  The other is by the description.  The old one will say “Welcome to the Run-Run-Live Podcast…”  The new feed will say “Welcome to the RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast…”

If you are subscribed to the old one it is going away eventually.  Subscribe to the new one.

And when, two months from now, you have totally ignored this message, well I guess we can’t be friends any more.  Seriously – I’m going to put all this into a post with pictures for you just go to my website and search on “I’m a lazy dumb-ass who doesn’t take direction well”.  Just kidding.  There’s a search box on my blog just search of ‘Feed’ and you should find it.  I’ll put it up tonight when I post the show and drop a link in the show notes ->


I’m going to kill this feed ->

This is the new one ->

Now that I’ve insulted you thoroughly…the other thing I’m going to do is to convert my main site to a membership site at the end of the year.  I don’t know what form that will take, I’m still working on it and I’m open to suggestions.

Reading through the comments in iTunes I get the impression that some of you are more invested in the show than I am!  Don’t worry, it’s all good.  We’ll figure it out.  I’m not in this as a career, more as a way to sweep the cobwebs around in my head with the added benefit of helping someone find something interesting by the side of their path once in a while.


I’ll let you off easy this week.  Even though our time together is abundant I find that the things I want to do are more abundant!

I’ll leave you with a funny story.  Not the one that I told my sister Jody last night about wandering into the woman’s room in the mall after my eye appointment – that’s a funny story, but I may have to wait for the statute of limitations before I can tell it.

The funny story is how I found another year I didn’t know I had.

Here’s what happened.  I went in to get my colonoscopy that they could give me last year because of the heart, you may remember that episode, but anyhow… The nurse was checking me in.  She said ‘look over these forms and make sure all the information is right’.  And, me, being literal, looked over the forms for mistakes. I said, “The age is wrong, it says here I’m 52. I was born in ’62 and it’s 2015. Five minus 2 is 3, I’m 53 going on 54. “  She looks at the form and gives me that ‘you’re a dumbass’ look that nurses are particularly good at and says, “Your birthday in is November.”

So, yeah I had convinced myself that I was going to be 54 this year.  Somehow I feel much younger now!

But, as you know, I have an abundance of time.

I’ll see you out there – and for another 12 months evidently...

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


Direct download: epi4324.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 10:06pm EDT





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