The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-340 – Becca Pizzi – 7 marathons, 7 continents, 7 days

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4340.mp3

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

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-340 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

It’s Memorial Day Weekend this weekend in the States! It’s officially summer!  Wow! I had a May to remember! I’m telling you, you will never hear me say “I’m overwhelmed” but these past weeks came close!  I was back down in Atlanta this week and I caught some sort of stomach bug for a few days that sapped my energy – but this morning – Friday – I feel great! 

Let me summarize my May adventures for you…

Came in Friday night from Atlanta.  Was the second trip of the week having been in New Orleans earlier.  Rented a car and drove up to Teresa’s graduation Saturday night for all day Sunday.  Packed her up and drove back Sunday night.  About 500 miles each way. 

Repacked and headed out to Phoenix Monday, took Teresa with me.  Had a conference at the JW Desert Inn Tuesday and Wednesday – Up at 7:00 AM east coast time, (4:00 AM local time) for calls, in the conference all day, getting my workouts in. 

Meanwhile she slept late and floated around in the pool.

Grabbed a rental car Wednesday night and headed up to Flagstaff.  Crashed out for the night, up early, drive up to the Canyon.  Into the trail head at Bright Angel by 7:00 AM – Down to Phantom Ranch in about 3 ½ hours, turn around and push back up and out in around 8 ½ - 9 hours.

Jumped in the car and drove to Sedona for dinner and crashed.  Up Friday morning for 7:00 AM east coast (4AM local time) for 3 hours of calls. Breakfast, short trail hike up Oak Creek, some yoga to loosen the creeky bodies up, shower and off again. 

Sightseeing around Camp Verde and Montezuma’s Castle, an early barbeque dinner and off to the airport for a 10:30 redeye back to Boston Saturday morning. 

Back on a plane Monday morning to Atlanta, suffered with a sore tummy and no energy all week.

And now it’s Memorial Day weekend! Made it! Didn’t drop too many things in the process except sleep, health most of my RunRunLive ToDo list.  That’s why this show is all me! Didn’t have time to get any outside editing as I fell behind on my production schedule. 

Did I mention you people are great?  Did I mention I had a crazy spring?

But – as crazy as all that sounds, my life is nothing compared to what our guest today did.  Becca Pizzi was the first American woman to do the 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days last year and we have a great conversation about it. 

I’m going to give you the Becca interview right up front and then give you my overly-long Grand Canyon adventure summary.  I’ll leave it at that because I don’t want to go over my time limit again!

Our Grand Canyon experience was pretty tough and totally cool.  I’m so happy I was able to spend these days doing something interesting and worthy with my baby! We had a blast. 

I’m fun to travel with because I’m a 30 year travel veteran.  I have status and get treated really well.  This gives me a certain chill fluidity in the chaos of the travel world.  I just skate right through like a ghost, having a grand old time.

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Sometimes the universe seems to be against you.  In all religions there is a universal trickster that trie to unravel your well made plans – Coyote, Loki, Shiva. 

There was a lot of counter pressure that was trying to keep me from running the canyon.  I had to schedule the skeleton of the trip a couple months ahead of time.  I don’t know about your life but mine doesn’t lend itself to planning 2+ months out. 

As soon as you put something like this on the calendar the world begins conspiring to make you regret it by coming up with far more important things that you should be doing on exactly that day.

You have to just bite the bullet, commit to something and then hold fast to the buffeting winds of circumstance. 

Teresa and I had a great Father-Daughter moment.  Running the canyon was a hard thing to do and that gives us that shared legacy of conquering hard things that is one of the most important aspects of an endurance sports lifestyle. 

Life isn’t easy all the time.  You get tired and you get knocked around.  You show up and do the best you can with what you have.  You try to be grateful for what you can squeeze free of the vortex of time and hold those moments and shared, sacred things close as something timeless.

On with the show.

Section one -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Becca Pizzi – 7 marathons, 7 continents, 7 days…

Running is in my DNA. My Dad is a runner and inspired me to start running when I was a 6 years old. I ran my first race when I was 7 . I have never stopped, competing through college and running 44 marathons, including 15 Boston Marathons, qualifying for all of them and marathons in 24 USA states. I love running and share my passion with others, volunteering as a coach, coaching with Team In Training and Boston Fit, I'm a pace setter for Beast Pacing. I am an ambassador for Orange Mud trail running gear. Running permeates every aspect of my life - I’m a Mom… my daughter is seven and ran her first race in 2014. I’m a sister…my twin sisters are also accomplished runners. I’m a Bostonian…I have run 15 Boston marathons and wont ever stop. I’m a friend…I have built lifelong friendship over miles of training. I’m a business owner… I own a day care and manage an ice cream shop, both in my hometown Belmont MA!! I’m every runner…a real person that faces the challenges of everyday life, while making time for my the sport that I am so passionate about. 

When I learned about the World Marathon Challenge, I immediately wanted to compete in this event in 2016. This event is 7 marathons, 7 days, 7 continents. The physical and mental demands of this race will be an awesome test of endurance. I will be the first American woman to complete the challenge and attempt to break women’s record time of 40:22:25. 
The race director, Richard Donovan accepted my application and saved me a spot while I get organized!

This race and representing USA as the first American female runner to run this, means everything to me.  But above all, I am doing this to inspire people!
I have the drive to complete this race, and I have the best resources in the world (cardiologist, nutritionist, coaches etc). It would be incredible to have you support me on this journey in which I have already been training for since January. I am committed to giving 200 percent. It would be my honor to represent the USA and become the first American female to run this race. Thank you to my friends who have heard me talk about this race for countless hours and to Joe and my family, this would not be possible without your support. Im truly very lucky to have so much love in my life. This is for my daughter Taylor told me I can so this, so it must be true.

View my complete profile

Section two

Grand Canyon- In and Out in a Day -


Well my friends that’s it – you may have been listening to 7 podcasts in 7 days on 7 continents but you have finished episode 4-340 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

It’s getting hot up here in New England.  Summer has arrived.  Buddy the old wonder dog has a full thick coat of black fur and isn’t really designed for the heat.  He’s not running much anymore.  The girls take him for walks in the woods and I bring him for the first 20 minute loop if I’m doing a slow trail run in the woods. 

He gets out on the weekends with me to run errands and visit.  He gets a lot of cuddling with the girls at night when they force him to sit with them on the couch while they watch TV.  But, his distance running career is pretty much over.  His hips hurt him too much for the long stuff and he never liked to run in the heat. 

I can still remember him running all those miles with me that summer I trained for the Vermont 50.  Buddy has a big heart.  He’s a good dog. I’ll have to work in some swimming trips down to the pond for him this summer. 

I have to tell you that I’m pretty beat up this week.  I flew down to Atlanta as scheduled on Monday but have felt awful all week.  I’ve got a sore stomach for some reason and have been really low energy.  Some sort of stomach bug taking advantage of my biome being weak from the antibiotics onslaught a couple weeks ago. 

All of this travel and weirdness makes working out a challenge.  I was in such good shape for Boston and I feel like I’ve lost a lot of that.  I’m definitely not going to run the Vermont marathon on Memorial Day.  I’m instead going shift my training to focus on the Spartan Race at the end of July.

I’ve been looking into it and I do believe I’m in for a ‘learning experience’.  I was a wrestler in high school but it’s been a long time since I’ve been in that kind of ‘total body’ shape.  The first couple workouts have been comically challenging for me as I try to do just one chin up.  But, that’s why we do these things, to learn something new and to be challenged.

I’ve been doing some research on the obstacles in the race and I think I can simulate some of them.  There’s a lot of climbing, carrying, crawling and even some throwing.  And hundreds of burpees – which we used to call squat thrusts.  It’s like boot camp.  Should be fun. 

I’m burnt out.  With the travel, the pneumonia, the canyon and now some sort of stomach bug I’m feeling like I need to lay down for a couple days.  But, I won’t.  These kind of challenges are part of life.  They are temporary setbacks.  It’s important to position them in your plans as temporary setbacks.

There are small setbacks like these and big setbacks.  You can’t use them as excuses to turn away from your course.  The danger when you give in to setbacks is that it permanently changes your path.  When you let those setbacks dictate to you what you can do it changes your velocity and your direction. 

There are always going to be setbacks and challenges and they are always going to be poorly timed, inconvenient and unwanted.  You have to accept that they are part of life.  You keep moving and do what you can to recover and continue on your path.  That’s grit, when you keep going even when it sucks. 

If you keep moving, keep pushing, hold your course eventually the universe will bend back around to meet you in success.

So keep pushing – and I’ll see you out there.

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


Direct download: epi4340.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 10:03pm EDT

The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-339 – The World Walk – Tony Mangan

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4339.mp3

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

Hello and welcome to episode 4-339 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

It’s been an interesting week but we managed to rise above and pull off an interesting and compelling show for you.  This week I’ve got an interview with Tony Mangan who, last time I checked facebook,.was in Russia some 2000 odd kilometers into his walk around the world. 

Tony is/was an accomplished ultra runner and then decided to run around the world.  He did.  It took him 4 years.  But when he got home he was still restless so he has set off again, this time at a slower pace and on an alternate route.  This is basically his life now.  Perambulation of the globe.

I was asked last week what I’d do if I didn’t have to work.  My answer was probably just start running.  Run across the US or something.  There’s something about it that appeals to me.  Not the effort or the accomplishment or the challenge.  What appeals to me is the monastic clarity of it.

How’s my running going?  Well I actually took 7 days off.  What? Shocked? Yeah, I said it had been an interesting week. 

It started 2 weeks ago.  On that Thursday I got a cold sore and a slight fever.  I thought ‘Ok, it’s some of those seasonal allergy symptoms’ and really didn’t think more about it because, as you know, I don’t get sick.  Big waste of time getting sick.  No reason for it.

It didn’t get any worse and Saturday I spent a fabulous long day working on my yard and got so much done.  I was on a roll.  Sunday I woke up to get my long run in and noticed that my heart rate was pretty high and I didn’t feel so hot.  I went out and knocked out a couple low-energy hours anyhow but knew something was going on. 

I felt progressively worse all day Sunday and when the early alarm went off to jump on a plane Monday morning I couldn’t do it.  I was too sick.  Which kills me.  I usually go to work if I can still fog a mirror.  I ended up sitting in on 3 days of 10 hour-long meetings by phone.  It was the right decision.

Monday night I had the chills and fever sweats.  I was awake coughing all night most nights. I slept on the couch all week sitting up to let the rest of my family get some sleep.   

By the end of the week it had moved into my sinus and I was in some discomfort.  My wife and daughter told me to go see the doctor.  I hesitated because, hey it’s just a cold, all they’re going to do is tell me to go home, sleep and take fluids.  Why waste my time and theirs?

I relented Saturday morning – more than a week into it by then.  The nice nurse practitioner Duncan took my vitals and was giggly at how good shape I’m in for an old guy. But, he said, “Given your baseline this is totally out of whack.  You either have acute sinusitis or pneumonia and we need to get you on antibiotics.”

Oh, ok…So I’m 4 days into the drugs and it’s clearing up. 

Meanwhile I’m supposed to be speaking at a conference in New Orleans on Monday.  I was speaking as a favor to an old friend of mine Dan who lives in Chicago.  We chewed some dirt together back in the 90’s career-wise and always got along.  I ghost wrote some of his first book.  We were peers from the same cadre, he was about my age.

Last time I talked to Dan he was pretty sick.  He had some problems with Diabetes and had to get a couple toes removed.  I asked him, “Jeez Buddy, how does something like that happen?” and he joked back to me “Too much rich food.  Bad lifestyle decisions.”

Much to my shock last week, I got a note from the conference Friday morning that Dan had passed away.  This week, while I was speaking at his conference in New Orleans they were having services for him in Chicago.

So summary: Weird couple weeks.

I’m going to give you something a bit different today format-wise.  We’ll drop right into the chat with Tony and then I’ll lay my Boston Marathon story on the backside of that. I’ll hit you with some closing comments on the back end.  Fair warning, last time I checked my Boston story was over 5,000 words.  I recorded a draft of it last week, but I’ll re-record because my voice was just painful to listen to.

Remember there is now a membership option for the RunRunLive podcast with special members only content.  My goal is to get one piece of unique audio every week.  This past week members were treated to my uncomfortably contorted sick voice rendition of the business podcasts that I listen to and why.

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When you have a weird week like the one I had it can cause you to take pause.  If you’ve got unfinished business to attend to in your life, for heaven’s sake get to it.  Don’t put it off.  Don’t put off the things you need to do and the things you need to say. 

The small decisions you make on your healthy lifestyle add up over time.  Don’t put those off either.

I’ll share a less dramatic story from a couple weeks ago after Boston.

I’m in my office the week after the marathon.  Coach has me not running much but has me doing yoga.  I work out of a remote office and many times I’m the only one in there.  I have a real, old style office with walls and a solid door that locks.  I’m an executive!

I decided to do the yoga in my office.  No one is there and it saves me from having to walk over to the gym and I can use the WiFi in the office to play Bonnie’s videos on my tablet.  It’s all good.  So I change into my workout stuff which just happens to be short shorts and a singlet. 

I’m sitting on the floor in my approximation of the lotus position and there’s a knock on the door.  It’s some unfortunate young guy who has come to service our water cooler.  There I am like some strange half-naked yogi on the floor of my office. I explained to him what was going on and he got a kick out of it and was interested in all my hardware and running paraphernalia. 

All in good fun. 

Oh, yeah, I shaved my beard last week too. 

On with the show.


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Voices of reason – the conversation

Tony Mangan – the World Walk

On Saturday February 27th, 2016 I began a walk around the world!

I will be walking the world with a cancer awareness message;

        Life is precious, early checking saves lives.

Starting from Run Logic's running store in Dublin’s Temple Bar, we will meet at two pm February 27th, 2016 and leave at three pm. Please follow my new blog for the walk ( Click Here )  or my Facebookpage!

After I first got the idea to run around the world I didn’t see how I could do it without a support vehicle. As running is more problematic than walking I decided instead of running the world that I would walk it! In 1998, I was living in Lake City, Colorado.  I returned to Ireland  I decided that one day I would find a way to live my ultimate dream, to run around the world ( As many of you know I achieved that in Oct 2014)

So, this world walk is my other long cherished dream  :-)

Last Monday I was welcomed by The Lord Mayor of Dublin, this is becoming a habit! Thank you Lord Mayor Criona Ni Dhalaigh for my latest Magic Letter! I will be walking the world with a cancer awareness message; life is precious, early checking saves lives.

In 1977 I read Dervla Murphys book Full Tilt: Ireland to India on a bicycle. I put the book down and read it again immediately. I was gobsmacked. She cycled across Europe in winter continued across the Turkish mountains,across Afghanistan,Pakistan and into India on terrible roads and with a 3 speed bicycle. So I started planning my own trip to India. I bought a 5 speed Raleigh Corsa bicycle and told everyone in work what my plans were..I got in so deep there was no way out! Then someone asked me what I was going to do when I got to India! Cycle back Tony? It occured to me in a flash..No of course not...I'm going to just keep going.

In August '78 I set out to cycle around the world. I couldn't even fix a puncture. My heavily laden bicycle got about 8 in the 160km to Rosslare Harbor. I had to cycle late into the night to catch the ferry to France.I ditched some of my baggage and cycled myself fit. I returned 15 months later severely bitten by the travel bug. For the next 15 years I continued taking extended vacations often on my bicycle in (at that time) exotic locations such as Iceland, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Liechtenstein, Andorra and Egypt, as well as hitch-hiking around the middle-east and taking a year out in 1983 to cycle and hitch in South America.

Other than kicking a football around Dublin's streets I don't think I would consider myself from a sporting background. It just kinda grew on me.I used to run to football training and then run home later to improve my stamina.The penny dropped when I got a very bad ankle injury and missed running more than football.That was almost 25 years ago and I haven't kicked a competitive ball since.

I was going out with a girl whose boss was on my now running club's committee.She suggested I join MSB A.C. I ran the marathon within 5 weeks of first serious lacing of my running shoes.I I did my one and only long run of 35km just 7 days before. In the marathon I ran 3.09 and was hooked. Gradually I got my time down to 2.38.

In 1994 I obtained a green card and emigrated to Colorado,USA. There I discovered the wonders of mountain ultra running.I more or less drifted away from the cycling at this stage..Gradually I progressed to running 24 hour races...I was obsessed by 24's and in an attempt to try to make them 'shorter in my mind' I entered a few 48 hour races only to find I was more competitive with these! In 2002 I returned to Ireland after getting a bad foot injury. Around this time world record attempts were very popular on treadmills. I had a couple of shots and in 2003 managed to get both the 24 and 48 hour world records at the Dublin marathon expo.

I was working in construction as a snagger and used to run in and out of work.Everyone used to sneer and say I musn't be working hard if I still had the energy to run home after a long hard day on my feet. I used to say that it was my running training that made me fitter to work hard and when I stepped in the door I was well warmed up! I always found construction work to be an excellent way to maintain exceptional fitness,especially when I was injured and couldn't train,I rarely lost any. I don't think the dust helped me much though.

I used to run everywhere.I had a small blue satchel and if I needed a magazine in the city or needed to post a letter I usually just ran. I made a few appearances for Ireland for 100km and 24 hours and seemed to be able to run a very consistently reliable 24 hour distance.

In March 2007 I booked a Ryanair flight to Brno,Czech Rep. for a 48 hour indoor race.I really had no expectations as I was just going for the experience. I was wearing my race shoes on the plane and was traveling with just a small amount of carry on baggage.I didn't even bother bringing much race food..During that race I ate the candy I had bought for my niece and nephews..It seemed to hit the spot...I ran like a man possessed and often wonder if I received some form of divine intervention as I broke the world indoor 48 hour record with 426.178km running for 47 of the hours and walked just 750 meters.

This was also the first occasion that a runner ran 2 consecutive days of 200km plus.. Three years later a committee of ultra running researchers and ultra running historians awarded me with a world first for 48 hour running. My splits were 223 and 203km...I was staggered and shocked by this race of my life. Due to this performance I received an invitation to run the prestigious invite only Surgeres 48 hour race in France.

Before accepting I thought long and hard about competing as clearly 8 weeks would not be enough time to recover from a world record performance in Brno. I went against the advice I was given and in Surgeres I surprised myself again by running 401km to finish second. Those 8 weeks were the greatest weeks of my running life. I have never reached those lofty heights since,save for a 405km to regain my world 48 hour treadmill record in Longford Ireland. Getting that record back was so important to me..I was injured having not run much in the previous two months. it was pure determination running through the pain and fatigue barriers that won me that record back.You see the man who took it off me skirted the rules and was holding the treadmill bars as he was running...Yes amazingly its not against the rules to run on a treadmill while holding the bars! Just try it in your gym...If you hold hard enough you can even almost fly above the this running?? No athlete worth his salt would 'run' in this chicken fashion!He actually has records for coach surfing watching mind-boggling daytime tv watching Judge Judy and Seinfeld for weeks on end and thinks running on a treadmill should allow him to hang onto the rails like he was holding onto a zimmer frame for dear life!

So because of cock-ups I do not recognize the authority of a so called record compiler. I endeavor to put my efforts under the the even greater scrutiny of my fellow athletes and a newly formed committee made up of experienced athletes because they understand athletes and athletics. I ran a couple of 3 day races in Arizona,winning one and finishing second in the other. I am now officially retired from competitive athletics and will only compete for fun in the future..I have had a great time.Thanks for the memories,wonderful help and encouragement...

I now look forward to a new career as a journey runner.

Section two

Boston 2016 -


Well my friends that’s it you have done the painful death shuffle to the end of Episode 4-339 of the RunRunLive podcast.  Hope you enjoyed that.  Feel free to send me feedback.  All this stuff is posted on my website and you can leave comments.  If you dig what we’re doing here, feel free to repost the show post or share with a friend.

Well.  I’ve decided to pivot.  I was going to go up and double down at the Vermont City race.  I signed up for it.  But, I think I’ve lost too much fitness.  The sick kept me from training and it will probably take a couple weeks to totally get over it.  I’m basically out of runway for a May 30 race.  I’ll probably just skip it.

I got a new project though.  (Like I don’t have a new project every week…) but seriously, the people from Spartan races contacted me.  I’m angling to interview Joe the owner.  I didn’t know they were based out of Boston, which is cool.  In general I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to racing but these guys actually keep score unlike a lot of the other obstacle events. 

If I do it I’m going to take it seriously and compete. 

They gave me a freebie.  I figure it will take some time to beat my skinny-ass runner upper body into something that can compete at flipping tires and climbing walls, but it will be good for me.  It’s just what I need.  There are two races at the end of July.  One south of Montreal that is only a 3-4 hour drive for me and one in Edinburg which is an interesting thought. 

Then maybe spin up a serious race in the fall. 

I’m out to Phoenix next week and I’m dragging my newly minted college grad with me and we’re going to sneak off and do the canyon at the end of the week. 

Closing comments

It’s strange my life.  While I was writing that Boston report I looked back through the inventory of life events over the past 5 years and it’s really amazing.  I always feel like I’m falling behind and not doing enough but when you lay it all end to end it’s something. 

I’m happy I’ve been able to make choices and decisions that have brought me adventure and challenge and health.  I think about the roads not taken and I wonder how much different my life, the quality of my life and the quality of life for those in my life might be on a different path. 

I’m not one to preach, but like my coach says, “Die with great stories, not regrets.”

Don’t put off ‘til tomorrow.  Don’t sacrifice your now for some unfortunate future and thanks to antibiotics and clean living I’ll see you out there.

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


Direct download: epi4339.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 9:53pm EDT





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