Episode 156 Mary and Eric

The RunRunLive Podcast Episode 156 – Mary and Eric

[audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/epi156.mp3|titles=Episode 156 – Mary and Eric]


Show intro by:

Judy Alexander – Gulf Winds Track Club http://gulfwinds.org/


Hello and welcome, no this is not the history of Rome Podcast this is the RunRunLive Podcast and I ma Chris your host, welcome.  We’ve got a great show for you again today it is Episode 156.  If you’re a new listener that means it took you almost a month to figure out how to use the iPod you got for Christmas?  Really?  You’re just now downloading stuff from ITunes?

Well, you’re welcome to stay and listen in to the endurance fun-stuff we prattle on about, but if you’re that slow you probably won’t get any of the jokes.  Most of the folks here are above average and good looking, (with the obvious exception of yours truly), so I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.

You may even think that this how is just a random collection of spurious effluent.  But, in this, you’d be wrong.  It’s not random.  It’s chaotic.  There’s a difference.  Chaos has a pattern, you just can’t see it or define it.

But, to sum up, wetalk about running and endurance sports.  We interview interesting folks like Mary and Eric we talk to today and we strive to inform, inspire and entertain.

It’s been a long and weird week.  I got an awesome 20 miler in Sunday morning finishing up a high mileage build week and I feel strong.  Coach has me in a race taper this week with some shorter interval stuff and less load.  I’m going up to race the Derry New Hampshire Boston Prep 16 Miler on Sunday.  It’s going to be Zero degrees Fahrenheit which in Celsius is 210 Angstroms.   It’s a very difficult hilly course and there is snow in the forecast so I’ll have to hunt down my fuzzy balaclava for this one.

It’s been snowing almost every day this week.  It’s like living in Ice Station Zebra.  But, I do notice that the sun is staying up longer and before you know it, it will be springtime.  Ahh…Springtime, the time when a young man’s heart turns to thoughts  of …the Boston Marathon! That’s right our old friend Boston is just around the corner and if I can hold onto the conditioning I have now I should be able to spank out a decent time, for an old guy.  Which is good, because they will be announcing the qualification rules changes in the next couple weeks.

Hope everyone is staying warm and doing well If there is anything I can do for you let me know! On with the Show!

and you’ll need a thesaurus to keep up with our vocabulary gymnastics.

Audio clips in this episode:

A History of Rome Podcast – Episode 89 (or 99 depending on your accounting) by Mike Duncan

Blog Reading by Adam M – http://runningspark.blogspot.com/ “Letter to my younger self”

Groton Road Race promo…

Maybe some hand-held audio from Chris…if it fits…

Skits, commercials and parodies in this episode:

Story time:

Equipment Check:


Brian asked me an interesting question while we were running this weekend.  “What is the difference between grade and angle of elevation when you are talking about running hills?”  It’s one of those things we throw around but never take the time to explain.

For instance I can tell you that according to That Running Magazine, the grade of Heartbreak Hill is 5% because it rises 88 feet in .37 miles. (The math is 88 divided by 1720 times 100) And I also can tell you the Mount Washington Road Race has an average grade of 11.5% with extended sections of 18%, and the last 50 yards is a 22% grade.  But, what the heck is a grade?

Well the grade is the slope of the hill, the rise over the run and it is expressed usually as a percent.  OK, so what does that mean when the coach asks you to find a hill with a 4-5% grade?  That means you have to find a hill that rises 4 – 5 meters in a 100 meter run.  Most of the hills you and I run are of this ilk 0 – 10% grade.

How does that relate to angles?  A 90 degree angle is straight up, like the wall.  A 100% grade would be a 45 degree angle.  You can’t run up a 45% angle.  That’s the pitch of the roof of your house up here where we get snow and you can barely hang on at that angle.  Half of that, a grade of 50% would be a 22.5 degree angle.  Speaking from experience a 22 degree angle is a severe chin scraper – I have only found hills like that in NH and Atlanta and hell.

A 10% grade is an approximately a 6 degree angle of elevation, and a 5% grade is just under 3 degrees of angle.

So what’s the answer?  Damned if I know.  I’m going to stick with steep, fairly steep and shallow and let Steve worry about all about the math.

Ten secrets to successful running

Peter Herridge – http://arunningskeptic.blogspot.com/

OK – we are having some fun now.  We are really getting into the meat of our ten week series – “10 secrets to a long, healthy successful running career”.  I know I keep changing the title.  It’s because I’m learning and coming up with more reasons and more points as we go through it.  I’m trying to give you a personal and strong psychological framework to build a successful running lifestyle around…if you choose to.

The first week we talked about finding a way to be accountable and taking responsibility for your journey’s success. (Basically getting yourself to the point where you take ownership and make the decision to be the captain of your own boat)

The second week we talked about figuring out the “why”.   What is that big reason you can use to get you to show up, pull you through the rough patches and keep you feeling good about your decision? It’s got to be personally important enough and strong enough to justify some self-sacrifice and hardship so it is worth taking the time to come up with a good reason.

I’m reminded of the people who carry their kids’ pictures with them to remind them not to smoke.  That’s the kind of emotional and visceral reason to run that can really work.

The third week we talked about the importance of taking action because most people are really good at talking about the running they want to do, but many struggle with crossing the chasm to actually putting one foot in front of the other.  Don’t over-complicate it.  Just get out and move and keep moving.

Last week, the fourth week we talked about goals.  And I may very well have these few out of order, or you may end up better off doing them at the same time, but goals are simply a way to set a stake in the ground, to set a target and to define unambiguously what it is you want to accomplish.

If you followed through with setting some goals, go back and check them against what we have done so far.  Good Goals are the manifestation of accountability.  Good goals align with your purpose.  Good goals drive action.

To get to our goals we need a plan.  This is probably the most straight forward thing we have talked about yet.   Secret number 5 is to get a plan.  There is no tricky extended nebular metaphor here.  Running and plans go hand and hand. Plans define what action you are specifically going to take to get to your goal.

As runners we are surrounded by plans.  The Couch to 5K plan, the Hal Higdon plan, the Pfitzinger plan, the Hansons plan, the Galloway plan, the FURST plan…the mind boggles…

Why are there so many plans?  On one level it’s because there are many different goals and many different paths that lead to those goals.  I have achieved the same goal, a qualifying marathon time, using at least 5 different training plans.  They have their pluses and minuses but all are valid paths to the same goals.

The only real caution I would give you is don’t bite off more than you can chew.  I have on several occasions created excellent ambitious plans for myself that were totally unrealistic.

What are the elements of a good plan?  First you need to have a schedule.  Most of the time this is easy for us because we are backwards scheduling from a race date.  For instance if I want to run the Boston marathon in April, I need to have a plan that probably starts in December.

The next thing a plan has is the list of specific tasks that need to be accomplished.  These tasks are things like a specific workout on a specific day.  These tasks have predecessor and successor contingencies – meaning that you can’t do your 20 mile long run on week 14 unless you have done your 10 mile long run in week 2.

The only other thing that the plan needs is a list of resources required.  One of these resources is you.  You have to look at the plan and determine if you will be available for these tasks. I know it sounds simple but this is where the reality of scheduling meets the ambiguity of planning.  I look at the plan each week and schedule my life around it when I’m in training.

Other resources to be thought about when planning are things like shoes, treadmills, pools, bikes, tracks, trails, etc.  Anything that might pop up as a show stopper in the process of your training is worth a thought.

Don’t get me wrong.  I do not obsess over goals or planning.  If you are one of those poor souls who can’t get a good night’s sleep without everything being perfect – then, by all means, go ahead and plan your little heart out.  But, remember, all plans need to be flexible.  Plans tend to become irrelevant in the heat of battle when obscured by the fog of war.  (yes I like martial metaphors, so shoot me)

That’s as deep as I’m going to go.  Don’t let lack of a plan deter you from action or goal setting.  Don’t use planning as an excuse to dither.  If your goals are worthwhile, and you believe in them and you are accountable to them then you are going to want to g a plan on how to get there.

If you are stressed out or challenged by planning consider getting a coach.  A coach will assess your abilities, your history, your goals and create a plan the fits you.

Next week we are going to talk about one of the ways to be successful in your pursuit of goals.  Yes, secret number six talks about the importance of paying the price.

Featured Interview:

Eric and Mary


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Mary McManus, poet, fund raiser, former award winning social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs, 2009 Boston Marathon Finisher, inspirational speaker, an “Exceptional Woman” on the nation’s #1 FM Radio Station Magic 106.7, Rotarian and a finalist for Brookline Woman of the Year 2010 discovered a whole new world was waiting to unfold before her after the life altering diagnosis of post polio syndrome in December 2006.

In the cold dark winter of February 2007 as Mary was just beginning to emerge from the dark night of her soul, she felt the creative spark of writing poetry ignite in her soul. She wrote the poem, “Running the Race”. As she sat in a leg brace, using a wheelchair at times for mobility and contemplating her future, she felt the stirrings of self love for the first time in her life.

Mary took a leap of faith leaving her 25 year career as a social worker to follow her bliss as a poet and heal her life. Heal her life indeed! She went on to run the 2009 Boston Marathon and raise over $10,000 for Spaulding Rehab Hospital where she took the first steps on her healing journey. She is the author of two books of inspirational poetry: “New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World” and “Set Sail for a New World:Healing a Life Through the Gift of Poetry.” Mary donates 20% of book sales to Rotary International’s End Polio Now Campaign. She inspires others with her journey as a guest on radio shows, as an inspirational speaker and is delighted to share her journey and gift of poetry with you! Be sure to check out Miles for Miracles. Mary’s husband Tom is running the 2011 Boston Marathon for Boston’s Children’s Hospital. This holiday season, give while you give. Visit Holiday Gift ideas and you’ll see what we mean. Thanks for stopping by! We know you’ll enjoy your visit.

Quick Tip:


Well my friends, neighbors, fellow travelers, sojourners on this journey of life we have sadly, come to the end of yet another RunRunLive Podcast, episode 156 in the can.  See, I told you you wouldn’t get the jokes, but would you listen?  No. and here we are.  Ah well…

Next week we have Martin from Marathon Quest 250 and he speaks to us about the 250, yes you heard me right, 250 marathons that he ran last year.  After that we have Sam from Operation Jack and The Chief Technical Officer from Newton Shoes.  I also am corralling the Race Director for the New Bedford Half Marathon, Dan, because I wrote a race article for Cool Running on that venerable race this week and thought you’d enjoy some behind the scenes chat from the Race Director.

And as usual we will try to keep the good stuff coming.  I have my next ‘A’ race in 4 weeks in Hyannis, so strap yourself in for that.  I may have to have an emotional breakdown.

So these last couple weeks I’ve been powering through the History of Rome Podcast.  I’m currently all the way up through Commodus.  It’s been a good ride and I particularly liked Marcus Aralias.  He was ‘philosopher king’ and what is known as a stoic.  The stoics basically believed in living a virtuous life, accepting your situation and doing as good a job as you could today, at your lot, with the resources at your command.  They were good worker bees, those stoics and pretty good leaders.

I remember reading an interview with a successful NASA astronaut and they asked him how he managed to accomplish so much.  He replied that he simply tried to do the best job he could at what he had to do at any point in time.  And by doing that he accomplished things and moved ahead in life.

And it impressed me as a very clean and tidy philosophy, in part because it removes the fear and worry from large and difficult things.  “Just do your best.”  And fate will handle the rest.  Indeed there has been more than one occasion in my own career where I had to lead people through situations with unknown and potentially scary outcomes.  We got through by focusing on what we could control and doing what we could today.

It’s the same with any race.  At some point you may feel overwhelmed and a great strategy is just relax, forget about the finish line, focus on your form, your breathing, your now and the finish line will come.

This is something we learn with maturity.  If you look at the really awful Roman emperors, Caligula, Nero and Commodus the one thing they had in common was that they all came into power at as teenagers. You can’t give absolute power to teenagers.  It’s just a bad idea.  The best emperors came into power in their 40’s and 50’s.

I know I would have made an awful emperor when I was 18.  I would have been another Nero or Caligula but I would be much more suited and able to handle the job now.

How about you?  What kind of emperor would you make as a teenager?  How about now?  Could you handle absolute power?  What would you do? Would you do the best you could every day? Would you be able to live a virtuous life with the spoils and sycophants in your face?  Maybe we should think about that when we find ourselves judging others.

And as you’re thinking about that, I will be out there trying to add value with each day I have.

And on my journey I hope to see you out there,

Music to take you out, from Music Alley, and all the music is today’s show is by a new group called Brother Love.  They are really good, really tight.  Toight. Toight like toiger.



From Podsafe




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Chris Russell lives and trains in suburban Massachusetts with his family and Border collie Buddy.  Chris is the author of “The Mid-Packer’s Lament”, and “The Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy”, short stories on running, racing, and the human comedy of the mid-pack.  Chris writes the Runnerati Blog at www.runnerati.com.  Chris’ Podcast, RunRunLive is available on iTunes and at www.runrunlive.com. Chris also writes for CoolRunning.com (Active.com) and is a member of the Squannacook River Runners and the Goon Squad.

Email me at cyktrussell at Gmail dot com

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