The RunRunLive 4.0 Podcast Episode 4-369 – Vybarr and the Muse of Running

 (Audio: link) [audio:]
Link epi4369.mp3

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

Hello my friends, and welcome to episode 4-369, of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Rolling into July and the dog days of summer.  I don’t have any race reports for you this week, but I do have an excellent interview with Vybarr who wrote a book about running.  We have a great chat.

I kicked the 5 at 5 project on July 1st!  So, I officially made it 32 days.  Now I’m playing around with some speedwork and getting ready to train for a fall race.  There are a couple I’m looking at.  Both reasonably flat.   My old Buddy Brian is back training again so we did a couple longish runs on the weekend.

First one was out and about Groton with Frank.  Frank, Brian and I started marathon training together in the late 90’s! It’s cool to run with them.  Now that they’ve slowed down to my pace again.  Frank had that hip resurfacing that we talked about and Brian had a foot problem that caused him to take a year off.  We cranked out 14ish miles.

This week, I met Brian and Ryan on the BayState course in Lowell and we did a loop around the river of another 14 miles.  It was hot, but we lucked out because they were having a triathlon in the river.  We got to refill our bottles a couple times.  We closed the last 1/3 of a mile pretty hard.  Felt good.

My legs are in great shape and my aerobic fitness is good.  I just don’t have and leg speed.

I bought a pair of Brooks Launch off the internet for $60.  They are lighter and less cushion than the Hokas.  It’s challenging to do speedwork in the Hoka Challengers because they are so squishy in the forefoot.  The launch are more responsive.  Takes a while to break them in and get comfortable after running in the Hokas for so long. 

I ran to the local high school track the Wednesday after the fourth.  If you ever read any of my stories about track workouts – this is that track.  I have spent hundreds of miles there.  The old track was heavily used.  15 – 20 years ago I learned where every pot hole and puddle was.  I could run that  track in the dark. 

A couple years ago they finally resurfaced it.  It was a nice new track.  Then I noticed it started getting cracks and grass was growing through it in places.  They called whoever installed it and made them do it again.  Now it’s a new, new track.

Anyhow I was curious as to my leg speed after not having done any speedwork for a couple years.  I ran down there.  Now, in my mind I eyeballed the distance and it felt like 2 – 2.5 miles.  Of course it’s actually 3.5 miles from my house.  That’s a bit of a warm up. 

When I got there, I loosened up, stretched out and did mile as hard as I felt I could.   My legs felt like cement.  I was really dragging them, no pop.  I managed somewhere in the 6:30 mile range.  Not horribly disappointing.  I think the next big landmark for me in my slow slide into decrepitude will be when I can’t run a 1600 in the pace I used to run a marathon at!  (My marathon PR is a 3:06:40 at Boston in 1998 – which is a 7:11 pace.) 

Not to be discouraged, I went back down this week and did a set of 8 X 400 at an aggressive pace.  They came in around 1:35, which isn’t bad, it’s like a 6:15-6:20 pace, but what was encouraging is that I was able to feel that speed form.  Still not much pop, but good strength and form. 

And I went back out Thursday in the rain and did a set of 800’s at tempo pace, coming in around a 6:50 pace.

I think in 3 weeks of speedwork I could get most of my pop back.  Not super-useful for marathon training, but at this point I’m really just benchmarking speed with effort and heartrate before I start my next training cycle.  Coach hates when I do useless speedwork. 

Did you see the post I put up about the Chinese scientist who demonstrated quantum entanglement this week?  I’ll try to give you the summary. Forgive me, I’m not a physicist, but I have always liked particle physics for some reason.   This is the stuff that goes on sub-atomic or smaller than an atom.  Atom is a word that the Greeks made up because they theorized that if you took matter apart you’d eventually find the smallest building block.  From the Greeks up to the 20th century this was the atom. 

Then smart mathematicians and physicists figured out that atoms where made up of smaller bits, and those smaller bits were made up of even smaller bits. “Turtles all the way down is the old joke about this, it’s called ‘infinite regression’.

And the physics, the way these particles interact with each other gets stranger all the time.  In quantum entanglement two particles, in this case photons, which are particles of light, are behaviorally connected regardless of the distance that separates them.   Meaning that if you do something to one of the particles, it also happens instantaneously to the entangled particle, NO MATTER WHERE THAT OTHER PARTCLE IS.

Einstein called this “Spooky action at a distance” and said it could not be true because it violates known quantum physics.  The cool part is the instantaneous part.  This means that something is travelling faster than the speed of light, which breaks all the rules. 

So anyhow the Chinese measured quantum entanglement between two photons last week.  One on earth and the other in a satellite in space. The SciFi part of this is that if you consider the entanglement a form of information or data, you could say, as the journalists did, that they transported a photon to space. 

Pretty cool huh?  There’s a lot we don’t know and some of it is cool.

Oh yeah – In section one I am sticking in chapter 9 from my marathonBQ audio book.  I had this guy with a great Midwest voice record it for me in his studio.  This is the version that’s on audible.  This chapter is about what you need to bring with you if you’re going to be doing speedwork down at the track.  Was thinking about this topic when I was down at the track this week.

In section two I’ll talk about dealing with uncertainty.

On with the show!

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Section one – Chapter 9 from the Audible recording of MarathonBQ on what to bring to the track  -

Voices of reason – the conversation

Vybarr Cregan-Reid

VYBARR CREGAN-REID is a Reader in English and Environmental Humanities at the University of Kent. He has a popular blog,, and has written on and been interviewed about running in major publications all over the world. He has also written numerous articles and essays for academic journals and a book on Victorian culture, Discovering Gilgamesh.

Running is not just a sport. It reconnects us to our bodies and the places in which we live, breaking down our increasingly structured and demanding lives. It allows us to feel the world beneath our feet, lifts the spirit, lets our minds out to play, and helps us to slip away from the demands of the modern world.

When Vybarr Cregan-Reid set out to discover why running means so much to so many, he began a journey which would take him out to tread London’s cobbled streets, the boulevards of Paris, and down the crumbling alleyways of Ruskin’s Venice. Footnotes transports you to the deserted shorelines of Seattle, the giant redwood forests of California, and to the world’s most advanced running laboratories and research centers. Using debates in literature, philosophy, neuroscience, and biology, this book explores that simple human desire to run.

Liberating and inspiring, Footnotes reminds us why feeling the earth beneath our feet is a necessary and healing part of our lives.

"Here is a book in which the striding energy of the prose matches its subject." 


Iain Sinclair, author of American Smoke


"Wonderfully authoritative vindication of what ought to be a self-evident truth: that running should be about being alive, not being a consumer."

​Richard Askwith, author of Running Free


"Insightful and intoxicating. Vybarr Cregan-Reid's book makes you take your shoes off and run through a world of ideas about nature."

Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves and A Certain Age


"Footnotes is a blazing achievement. It burns with restless energy as Cregan-Reid, alive, alert, wholly and gloriously present, sets out his manifesto that running makes us human"

Kate Norbury, author of The Fish Ladder

Section two – Uncertainty  -



OK my friends, have read the collective works of Coleridge, Byron and Scott through to the Romantic end of episode 4-369 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Good for you. 

Since we last talked I took Buddy down for his annual checkup and shots.  He’s healthy as he can be for an old man of 14 years old.   He loves the vet.  They give him food and say nice things to him.

I told them he had gone totally deaf over the last 6 months. They said that’s normal and if it didn’t bother him, which it doesn’t, then there’s nothing to worry about.   It actually helps this time of year with the thunderstorms, fireworks and for some reason the coyotes being super vocal at night. 

He’s also lost 7-8 pounds since last year.  A lot of it is muscle mass from getting older.  He also leaned up running with me most days in June during the 5 at 5 project.  I noticed the same thing in my own body.  You just lose muscle mass as you get older. 

I think I’m going to run the Portland Maine marathon on Oct. 1st.  That’s a bit of a short training cycle for me but I’m in pretty good shape already.  If you want to come up it’s a flat marathon in southern Maine.  Plenty of places to stay and we’ll have some fun. 

It’s been weird rainy and cool weather into July now.  My Raspberries are coming in.  I get about a pint a day – even after the birds take their share.  With all the rain I’m having a mold issue.  My tomatoes are going gang busters.  We’ll see if they fruit out well.  Need some hot weather for that.


Had a bit of a long week this week.  We had lost a young family member in my wife’s family.  Same age as my kids. It’s always a tragedy when we lose the young.  Makes you think. 

Rightly or wrongly it makes you reflect on your own life and your own family and the fragility of this life.

Folks, hold those you love tightly.  Don’t waste time on petty things.  Forget slights real and imagined.  Reach out and hold the people who need you. 

Right now, today, you can do one thing.  You can turn on your love light and let it shine.

I’ll see you out there.

And thank you for being my friend. 


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


Direct download: epi4369.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 5:14pm EDT





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