The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-341 – John “The Hammer” Young

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4341.mp3

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

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-341 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Today we have a great chat with John “The Hammer” Young.  John is a proud father, husband, teacher triathlete and marathoner.  I hunted John down to get an interview when I passed him in the Boston Marathon this year.  It was one of those flashes in time during the marathon.  One of those ‘moments’ in the disjointed flow of images as you fade in and out of race consciousness.

I remember looking at John, seeing his kit and thinking, “Jeez, that guy’s a stud.  I bet he has a great story.” Then I saw him hamming for a picture with Bryan Lyons who pushes Rick Hoyt in the marathon now. I enquired.  We connected and today you and I get to share the fruit of that conversation.

As you listen to our conversation you’ll hear me circling around the subject at hand because, frankly we’ve got ourselves a bit of a Catch 22 situation.  The reason I wanted to pick John’s brain is that he competes, is an athlete, with Dwarfism.  And I don’t say ‘suffers from’ or ‘is afflicted by’ on purpose because John is way more than you or I or anyone could pigeon hole as a ‘little person’.  

In fact he’s just a great guy, a committed endurance athlete and we could all learn something from him.  But, the fact that I wanted to talk to him about it is a bit at odds with John’s narrative of being an athlete.  As with so many of us John doesn’t want to change the world or intrude a message into the conversation. Like all of us he just wants to pursue his sport; to swim bike and run.  To test himself and set an example for his family and community.

In section one I’m going to talk you through a speed workout that coach has me given me a couple times.  I’ll talk through the execution and the purpose and hopefully give you another tool for your box. 

In section two I’ll give you a working example of some of the tricks and tools of writing a compelling speech or talk. 

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I had a bit of a scare coming off that crazy May that I had with the travel and being under the weather.  I had a couple easy long runs when I got back where my heart rate flipped on me in the 2nd half and I thought the AFIB might be back.  But, everything seems to be cool now. 

I did call my heart doctor and they freaked out a bit.  I just casually mentioned that I had a follow up appointment coming and, oh, by the way, it’s probably nothing, but I got a couple anomalous heart rate readings… And they freaked out.  They wanted me to wear one of those 24 hour a day heart rate monitors. 

Luckily they seem to have lost their enthusiasm in their bureaucracy and I haven’t heard from them in a week.  I’ll probably get a bill for the phone call.  If you stop getting podcasts you may want to drive up to Massachusetts and start looking for me in the trails behind my house.

I’ve been doing a lot of long trail runs.  I’ve related to you before how in a span of 2-3 weeks where I live the forest explodes into verdancy. My woods ae all fairly mature trees and when they leaf out there is a dense canopy over and around the trail.  It’s like running through green, living, soft and womb-like tunnels – or ‘Green Mansions’ as William Henry Hudson put it.   The forest becomes a living entity and a nurturing character in my life play. 

I’ve got a new system where I take Buddy, the old Wonder Dog, out for the first 2 mile loop. Then I drop him at the house and head back out for the meat of my run.  That’s enough for him to get a little freedom and pride of accomplishment without tweaking his hips. 

I even got my first mountain bike ride of the season in.  I forgot how much fun it is to hit the trails on my 29er, Mr. Moto.  And when I say ‘hit the trails’ I do usually end up face down in the mud bleeding at some point.  But, I’m always surprised by how quickly the technique comes back…it’s like…well…wait for it…riding a bike.  Makes me wonder if I shouldn’t do another mountain bike ultra this fall. 

I had a great run this past Sunday out in the trails.  I did maybe 10 miles or so for a bit over 1:35 at a casual Z2 pace.  It was overcast and sprinkling when I dropped Buddy and headed back out.  It advanced to a steady rain and then to a downpour.  But in the woods the rain is filtered through the canopy so it coagulates into these big, warm dollups of water that drain from the trees onto you.  It’s glorious. 

When I got back I was totally soaked.  Like wet t-shirt contest, just went swimming, soaked.  I went upstairs to the master bath to strip off my wet stuff.  I noticed that the gutter outside the window over the hot tub was clogged and not draining at all.  I opened the window to see if I could reach up and get the leaves out of it.  It’s still pouring buckets of rain that is cascading out of the clogged gutter down me and the house. 

I finally was able to tease it out with an appropriately MacGyver-ed coat hanger. 

Here’s the picture you won’t be able to get out of your mind.  Stark naked, soaking wet man, hanging out a second story window in a driving rain storm fiddling at the gutter with a bent coat hanger.

You’re welcome.

On with the show.

Section one –

Change of pace speed workout -

Voices of reason – the conversation

John Young – The Hammer

Twitter & Instagram @dwarfparatri

Facebook John Young - The Hammer

Run for TODAY: How running changed the life of a man with dwarfism



Run for TODAY: How running changed the life of a man with dwarfism

As the More/Shape Women’s Half Marathon in New York, hosted by TODAY’s Natalie Morales and Erica Hill, approache...

John Young Is Blazing A Trail For Triathletes With Dwarfism


John Young Is Blazing A Trail For Triathletes With Dwarfism

Since 2008, John Young has crossed the finish line of more than 30 triathlons, including four half-iron-distance...


The Replacement Run – Video of John’s 2013 / 2014 Boston experiences.

Photo from start of marathon by WBUR and the other one is by Matthew Muise

"Triathlon has become life in microcosm, a metaphor that gives truth to the wisdom passed from each generation to the next: work hard and you will be rewarded, have faith in yourself and you will excel; do not falter when an ill wind blows your way." Ashley Halsey

Section two

Telling a better story workshop -


Well my friends Your stride may be not be as long as mine and it may have taken you more steps but you have managed to make to the end of Episode 4-341 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Next episode will be our 9 year anniversary.  Who would have imagined that? 

That first piece, for the first episode I remember recording in my old truck after running the Mount Washington Road Race and then running back down, which ironically is the just about the same as the Grand Canyon, just in reverses.  Quite a ride. 

I signed up for a Spartan Beast in September.  Hopefully we can get Joe on to talk about his new book at some point.  The Beast is around a ½ marathon distance with 30+ obstacles in it.  They have told me it takes people in decent shape 2 and a half hours.  I can run 12 miles in an hour and a half so I don’t know what these Spartan people are doing with their extra hour J - must be a lot of standing around involved, right?  Hey, I’ve been training hard and I can do almost 3 pullups now!  They make you buy insurance when you sign up. This might not end well. 

But, that’s not until September so I have to find something else to train for.  I’m thinking a nice technical trail 50K. I’ve never run the 50K distance officially so it’s an automatic PR for me!  And, it will be good base training if I want to try to race a marathon in the fall.  Let me know if you have an interesting trail 50K I can run in late July or August.

I’m still trying to catch up from my May Madness.  I feel good.  I like the way the strength training makes you feel strong.  I guess it’s probably a guy thing to like the feel of your new found muscles in your clothes as you walk around. 

I have not traveled the last couple weeks which has allowed me to catch up on sleep and get my diet and biorhythms back to normal.  Whatever normal is.  Running in my trails.  Working in my garden.  Mowing the lawn. 

The pollen has been really bad this year.  When you come out in the morning the cars are covered in yellow dust.  It’s given me a runny nose and headache but it’s ok. 

We talked a bit about telling a good story today and being aware of your inner narrative.  I had to learn this lesson again over the last couple weeks myself.  I was in a situation where another person was asking me for details about some project I was working on. 

My inner narrative went nuts and I got really defensive.  Why are they questioning me? Why do they care about what I’m doing?  This is my responsibility. I’ll handle it. Why question me?  Do you think I can’t do my job?  Are you trying to make me look bad? 

I was really wrapped around the axle.  I talked myself into being quite angry.  I made up several scenarios in my head where I would wait for the next time this person asked for detail on something I was doing and I would call them out on it in front of our peers and put them in their place with a show of force. 

Luckily for me I had a chance to bounce the issue off a friend and quickly realized that I was letting someone else influence my inner narrative.  What I do or don’t do is under my control.  What other people do or don’t do isn’t. 

The solution is to keep doing what you think is right.  Keep going on the path that is your path.  At some point it might come to me saying something like ‘no, I’m not going to do that because it’s not a priority for me’ or ‘I’m doing this because I believe it’s the best path’ or whatever to keep someone from co-opting my agenda. 

But I’m not going to let someone else’s narrative intrude on my own or cause me to go on the defensive or change my approach.  If I’m doing what I believe is the right thing, then I’ve got nothing to worry about.  I can sleep at night.

It’s your ship.  You’re the captain.  You can’t control the world.  You can’t control other people.  But you can control your own inner narrative and the way you react to the world and other people. 

Choose to tell a better story.

And I’ll see you out there.

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


Direct download: epi4341.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 3:59pm EDT





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