The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-343 – Susie Chan – Endurance Runner

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4343.mp3

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

Hello my friends and welcome to episode 4-343 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Today we talk with author UK Ultra-runner Susie Chan, and by ‘we’ I mean Alex.  Alex caught up with her and I did the editing. 

Susie’s story has all the elements that we see when we talk about the transformational power of endurance sports.  She was living her life,not in a good place physically or mentally.  She ran a race, caught the bug and then dove quickly into the deep end with ultras and stage races – reporting it all on social media (as is often the case these days). 

I love the story she tells about not having even run a marathon yet and signing up for the Marathon de Sables – Which is a 7-day ultra stage race across the Sahara.  We’ve talked to people who have run this on the show – like Ray Zahab – it’s definitely not for an amateur.  They lost two guys there one year in a sand storm. 

There you go! If you take Susie as your data point then all you have to do is wake up one morning and start running ultras.  Easy peasy. 

In section one I’m going to talk about what to do when you are struggling in a run.  Because I’ve been struggling recently.  In section two we’ll chat a bit about telling a story into the future and using that to create a different outcome. 

Happy 4th of July!  I stayed home over the long weekend here in the states. Didn’t do much. Got a couple runs in and a long bike ride.  Hung out with my family. Unclogged a couple drains in the house.  Yes, I have basic plumbing skills.  I might be the last generation of men who can do a little plumbing, a little carpentry, a little forestry and whatever else needs to be done.  That being said, the stuff we used to learn from our fathers’ you can now get from YouTube. 

Monday, on the fourth of July itself Teresa and I dug out my old canoe (see what I did there?) and took it out onto the Concord River.  We put in in Bedford and paddled up to the Old North Bridge in Concord. That’s where Minuteman National Park is.  That whole section of the river is park so it’s quite arboreal. 

It was nice.  We talked about Thoreau.  One of his books was “A Week on the Concord and Merimack Rivers” and other stuff.  Not as hard as running down the Grand Canyon but a very nice few hours in the sun. 

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Why don’t I take the cheaters way out and instead of thinking up my own salient content to ease you into the episode proper I’ll quote that crazy old philosophe Thoreau hisself…

“It is worth the while to make a voyage up this stream, if you go no farther than Sudbury, only to see how much country there is in the rear of us : great hills, and a hundred brooks, and farmhouses, and barns, and haystacks, you never saw before, and men everywhere ; Sudbury, that is Southborough men, and Wayland, and Nine-Acre-Corner men, and Bound Rock, where four towns bound on a rock in the river, Lincoln, Wayland, Sudbury, Concord . Many waves are there agitated by the wind, keeping nature fresh, the spray blowing in your face, reeds and rushes waving ; ducks by the hundred, all uneasy in the surf, in the raw wind, just ready to rise, and now going off with a clatter and a whistling like riggers straight for Labrador, flying against the stiff gale with reefed wings, or else circling round first, with all their paddles briskly moving, just over the surf, to reconnoitre you before they leave these parts ; gulls wheeling overhead, muskrats swimming for dear life, wet and cold, with no fire to warm them by that you know of, their labored homes rising here and there like haystacks ; and countless mice and moles and winged titmice along the sunny, windy shore; cranberries tossed on the waves and heaving up on the beach, their little red skiffs beating about among the alders ; - such healthy natural tumult as proves the last day is not yet at hand.” HDT

On with the show.

Section one –

When easy runs are hard -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Susie Chan!blog/c1rpo

Hi I'm Susie and I like to run.

I have run races from 1 mile to 100 miles.

I began running quite late in life to get a bit healthier. Since stumbling over my first finish line in a race in 2010 I have gone on to run thousands of miles in training and in races.  My favourite races are multistage ultras, these are races over multiple days and miles.

Highlights of my races have included two Marathon des Sables (setting off with the elites in 2015) Thames Path 100 and Boston Marathon.

I do the odd bit of cycling and swimming too.

I'm happiest running with my friends on the trails.

Contact me for public speaking, kit chat and any questions!


  • Beyond the Ultimate's Jungle Ultra
  • Gevena Marathon 2016
  • Sierra Leone Marathon 2016
  • Pacer at London Marathon 2016
  • North Downs Way 50
  • New York Marathon 2016
  • Winter Wonderland

Section two

Telling your story out into the future -


Well my friends you decided to get up off the couch and run across the Sahara Desert to the end of Episode 4-343 of the RunRunLive Podcast. 

Hope you’re enjoying your summers.  Or your winter if you’re in the other side of the planet.  If you were on Jupiter where NASA just successfully dropped the Juno probe into orbit your summer would be 1083 days long.  And the Europeans would still take most of it off. 

I’m close to pulling the trigger on a trail marathon in Indianapolis for July 31st.  Even though I’ve been feeling less-than-awesome in my running lately I figure I can just casually run it for fun.  I don’t have an Indy Marathon yet and both my sisters live there.   We have an office there too.  I need to get out! Do something!

Then I’m going to do the Wapack Trail race.  That’s Labor Day weekend.  You should come up and do it.  It’s 18 miles on technical mountain trails.  A real hoot.  I guarantee it’s different than anything else you’ve ever run!

Then I have the Spartan Beast.  Which I’m not excited about but I’ll do it.  And finally I told coach I’d run the Portland marathon with him in October.  I did the Hood to Coast relay out there last year but I don’t think that counts as a state marathon?

So, like I said I’ve really felt like crap in my runs.  Basically since I had pneumonia in May.  I’m tired and my paces are off.  I noticed my HR spiking a bit at the end of runs.  I called my cardiologist and they asked me to wear a 24 hour monitor.  I’ve been wearing it for a couple weeks now. 

It’s a giant pain in the …  It consists of three electrodes that you stick to your chest.  One above your left breast and then another two, one under each breast.  I’d post a picture but no one needs to see that.  Oh, the horror. 

Then the three wires run down to a small pendant that you keep in your pocket or clip to your belt.  It’s like the size of a pager.  (For you millennials, pagers were texting devices before we had cell phones. In old movies from the 80’s and 90’s you’ll see doctors wearing them.)

The companion piece is an android cell phone. The pendant track smy heart and sends any weirdness to the cell phone via Bluetooth.  The cell phone then shoots that data off to the main office – where someone is watching. 

This is all well and good but I don’t think the designers had me in mind when they designed the rig.  When I’m trail running this time of year I sweat.  A lot.  I’ve managed to sweat off the electrodes in a few of my runs.  Which is unfortunate because if there is anything nefarious going on with my heart it’s going to be at the end of a run. 

I’m working with it.  I found a way to run the wires up through the neck of my shirt and clip them to my camelback for yesterday’s 2-hour sweat fest and that kept the electrodes in place for the whole outing. 

I don’t think they are seeing anything.  Which is good news and bad news.  Good news may be it’s not the heart.  Bad news is now I have to figure out what it is!

I got a couple new pair of shoes too.  I bought a new pair of trail Mizunos.  I’ve never owned a pair of mizunos.  They are basic neutral cushion shoes with an aggressive tread.  The toebox was a little tight but my foot usually wins that battle. 

I bought a pair of Hoka Challenger 2’s for the road.  I was trying to break in a pair of New Balance that I had picked up dirt cheap at the outlet store but they just weren’t working.  They were New Balances version of a Hoka-like shoe.  Light and responsive but I couldn’t get used to the heel drop.  I got the Hokas which are last year’s model for $84 and I know they work for me. Like running on clouds!

Because no matter how crappy your training is going, you can always use a new pair of shoes, right?

Susie is a great example of someone seizing control of her life. She became the captain of her ship.  We all have that capability.  No matter whether we are 20 or 60.  Whether your boat is a cloth coracle or a party yacht.  It’s all good. Thoreau in his canoe.  You and I in our dinghies. 

Grab an oar or a paddle and I’ll see you out there.

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


Direct download: epi4343.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 4:37pm EDT





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