Episode 130 – Michelle Kanavos – Medical Triage at the Boston Finish Line

[audio:http://cyktrussell.powweb.com/RunRunLive/PodcastEpisodes/epi130a.mp3|titles=epi130a – Michelle Kanavos – Medical Triage at the Boston Finish Line]


Show intro by:

Norman Rosenberg


Insert witty and compelling introductory comments here…oh wait…Hello and welcome to Episode 130 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  We’ve got a great show for you today.  Very entertaining, informative and inspiring.  You’ll probably have to quit your job and join the foreign service after listening to this excellent content.

I was, as you heard, don in Hot-lanta early this week.  I actually had to catch a 6:00 AM flight out of Boston Monday morning – which means I have to get up before 4:00 AM and that’s just no way to start the week.

Over the weekend I got a nice 40 mile ride in on the new motobecane – in the woods – around 4 and a half hours and did not fall once!  That’s right not once!  But I was going pretty easy because Friday night I poned myself right proper.  I was going really slow and made a bad decision on a big rock, my foot got trapped and I couldn’t get it out of the pedal. I gouged out my shin and got speared by the bike handle badly.  I probably broke a rib.  But that’s ok, what do you need ribs for anyhow?

Got a nice set of 15 ski-hills in last night before it got dark. So I’m feeling ok about my chances in the Wilderness 101 in a couple weeks.

Since I haven’t been running as much I’ve put on about 10 pounds and I can really feel it when I’m out running and riding.  I feel slow.

Today we talk to Michelle Kanavos who is in charge of the medical team at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Great interview and I found it quite interesting.  Thank you to my buddy Gary for putting me in contact with her.  And thanks to Norm for doing the intro.

I managed to crest over 4,000 followers on Twitter this week – that’s kinda cool. If you’re looking for me dial @cyktrussell – Chris, Yellow, King, Tom, Russell – with two esses and two elles.

I’m going to take a couple weeks off in August.  Maybe go down to my Cape Cod house with the fam.  Anyone want to take over the podcast while I’m on vacation?  I already have all the interviews done…just slap in some music, a little random dialog and …voila! Podcast.

Hope you are all progressing well towards your race goals.  I’m putting together my schedule for the Fall and am getting excited about running again.

I’m still working on my new site. Any wordpress experts out there want to lend a hand?  Ah well, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

We also have our friend Collin with a parody song today.  So strap yourselves in, we are expecting some turbulence and I’m going to ask the flight attendants to remain seated for the duration of the flight.   On with the Show.

Audio clips in this episode:

Audio from Atlanta

Skits, commercials and parodies in this episode:

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Story time:

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Listener Comments:

Ok – so I was asked this week on how to deal with the emotional stresses of training and racing.  What do you do when you hit those high miles in a race and you can feel the wheels coming off and all hope is lost?  Or your much anticipated long run turns into a gi-normous sufferfest for no good reason?  How do you keep yourself out of the ditch?  How do you keep moving and stay focused on the finish line or the goal?

Hey, No one is immune to these little bouts of ennui during a long run.  And there are some simple strategies to deal with them.  Typically it happens to me when I’ve gone out too fast hoping to cheat the reaper and somewhere late in the race I realize I have to pay the price.

Well first of all you need to be prepared.  You have to think ahead, based on your experience or your expectations and see if you can anticipate where the emotional and physical let down is going to occur.

If you know you’re going to struggl late in the race, it’s easier if you know it’s coming and you have a pre-set strategy for it.  People get freaked out if it catches them by surprise.

So what’s an example strategy?  Well you could say if I start feeling awful I’ll take walk breaks and force some nutrition.  Having a simple mantra or a reason to keep going helps as well.  Some of the mantras I’ve used are “run Lightly” or “relax” or “The warrior is within you” anything that you can focus on to take your mind off the race-demons chewing on your brain.

Another strategy is to shorten your focus.  Start counting mailboxes or telephone poles.  Start counting to 5 over and over again in your head.  Count your steps.  Even a simple “left Right” has gotten me through some tough spots.

Because in a long race there is better than a 50/50 chance that if you manage the power loss and emotional lows you’ll come out of it and finish ok.

Take a walk break.  Mentally reset yourself.  Relax your mind and your body.  Focus on your form and calming the chaos in your mind and your body and these storms will pass more often than not.

Featured Interview:

Everyone always wants to know what goes on at the finish line (basically it is crazy-busy and lots of fun punctuated with interesting medical moments).  My staff oversees the streets from just beyond the finish line for approximately 1 1/2 miles to the family meeting area.  We are outside all day, regardless of the weather.

My staff is composed of all volunteers, and I got involved 3 years ago through the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), of which I am the Chair of my town’s MRC and I was the Deputy Coordinator of Region 4A (in the Middlesex County) when I took over the position of Sweep Medical Team Captain.  The Boston Marathon is the largest Mass Casualty Training Exercise in the state of Massachusetts each year.  The MRC is a partner in Emergency Management, and we joined forces with the BAA to provide volunteer medical care.  (This is a whole topic in and of itself!!)\

We start planning for the Mararthon in the late fall, and by Patriot’s Day, the Medical Command staff has been hard at work for almost 6 months.  I average 200+ emails a day in the months leading up to the Marathon, in addition to all my regular emails, as well as student emails from teaching.

Some people like to hear about how we organize such a large team, how the team is trained, etc.

Our biggest comment from our volunteers each year is how much the runners appreciate and thank our volunteers as they progress through the finish line chute system.

I am a Nurse Practitioner in an Adult Primary Care office in Framingham, MA, and I teach part time in the Nursing Program at Framingham State College.  I also do occasional guest columns for my local paper on health-related topics, and I occasionally appear on our Cable TV station doing spots on emergency-management/MRC topics.  I am on LinkedIn, and that’s about it for me.

Quick Tip:

Boston Marathon qualifying tips – chapter 8.

  • The mind body connection


OK folks you have booked your ticket and taken the slow steamer to the louth of the lazy river of the RunRunLive podcast…Episode 130 in the can.

Next week we continue with our BQ series of interviews talking with Amanda who qualified for Boston and ran it when she was 19.  It’s a good story.

I’m working on getting some volunteers to be replacement hosts for the podcast while I’m on Vacation.  So if you’re interested all you need is a passion for the running community and an excellent speaking voice.  Shoot me a tweet or an email and we’ll talk.

I had a fair bit of travel hell coming back from Atlanta on Tuesday and I’ll share a couple road vignettes with you.

First, while we were at the gate boarding the plane there were a bunch of people wearing the same shirts, so I asked them what was up.  They were missionaries, a teen group, returning from Panama where they had been working with kids in orphanages.  The lady said it was a wonderful experience but also couldn’t wait to tell me how badly she missed the States.

I hope the teenagers got something out of the trip and working with the orphans.  I’m always a little uneasy when they describe these things, it’s almost like they’re coming back from a visit to a theme park or the zoo.  I hope are exporting what’s good about our culture and people and not just reinforcing the bad American stereotype.

This lady I was talking to didn’t appear to be thrilled with the living conditions.  I’ve done a fair amount of international travel and to some very interesting places.  And I think you have to travel with the eyes of a child and the soul of the Buddha.  You have to let the experience in and not try to transfer your mores onto other people and places.  Eat the food, drink the local wine, smile and indulge the happiness that is inherent in humanity around the globe.  You have to be comfortable with a little deprivation and have a sense of humor.  The smile is an international talisman of good will.

When we finally got on the plane it was packed.  And we got stranded on the runway for 3 hours before we could take off.  I shared my row with a mom and two kids.  She was traveling with three kids all very young.  They were very good kids.  They didn’t cause any trouble for me even with the dire circumstances.

The only one that was really antsy was the lap child toddler and she kept him busy by breastfeeding almost continuously for the 7 hours we were on the plane.  Personally I’d rather have the youngin satisfied than kicking and screaming so no problems here.  But I found the loud smacking and yummy noises that the kid was making fairly amusing!

So do I have a point?  Why, thank you for asking, yes I do.  You know in any situation you have a choice how you’re going to act.  You can get upset at things you can’t control, like being stuck on a plane, but you’re really wasting your energy because it doesn’t change anything.  It won’t make the thunderstorms go away.  And at the end of the day we’re all trapped in this bog plane together so let’s just relax and we’ll all get where we are going.

And I’ll see you out there.

Music tonight is last_shadow_puppets-the_age_of_the_understatement.mp3





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