Episode 217 – Shawn’s Anomaly

The RunRunLive Podcast Episode 217 – Shawn’s Anomaly

[audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com//PodcastEpisodes/epi217.mp3|titles=Episode 217 – Matt from Shawn’s Anomaly]


Show intro by:

Torben – Hey Chris – iswww.facebook.com/torbenisawesome.

Just wanted to drop an intro for your show and thank you for producing such a cool, yet informative show. I was never a fan of running with music, so switched early on to just enjoy audiobooks and podcast on my runs. I found yours a few months ago and found it both informative and entertaining. Keep up the good work.

Enjoy your day and keep running strong!

Venlig Hilsen/Best Regards            Torben Jensen.

National Support Team Communications Manager in AIESEC Denmark 11/12.

RunRunLive – Podcast Intro



Hello and welcome to the St. Paddy’s Day podcast where I could tell you about my mum Margaret Mary Connors or my Nanna Margaret Mary Devine who smuggled a bottle of Irish and a smoked ham through Ellis Island under her coat on her way to the textile mills of Lowell Massachusetts from County Kerry.

Whenever someone does something crazy in Lake Wobegone Garrison Keillor says it’s because they have a little bit of the Irish in them.

But, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this is the RunRunLive Podcast and this is Chris your host and we have a great show for you this week.  I have a talk with Matt from Houston who has had his life transformed and has in turn transformed his life through the unexpected and unusual challenges of his son Shawn.  Powerful stuff.

It’s a great example of how he wrote his own story and did so in the face of some personal adversity.

Don’t you love Torben’s website name “Torbenisawesome” – that’s a excellent example of writing your own story! And a positive one at that!

Today we have a quick tip on stretching and I talked our friend the ZenRunner into recording a bit on what Tabatta is.  I just thought Tabatta was some ill-tempered Eastern-European woman who liked to hurt people – but it turns out it’s a work out technique…with science behind it, who knew?

My training is going ok.  I pushed through my planned overload the end of last week knocking off a good strong set of 10 X 800 down at the track with Buddy on Thursday.

Buddy has figured out what I’m doing, which is 3 laps, 2 hard and one recovery.  So he runs the first lap with me, sits out the second one and then runs the cool down with me.  He’s a funny old dog.

I’ve definitely been feeling over-trained.  I was a leery of the long run scheduled for Sunday.  I got through it but I struggled and I got some tendonitis in my hip.  I’ve been hobbling around this week.  I thought I’d get in the pool, but the pool at the club had a leak! It was closed this week!  I’m basically taking the week off to recover.  Hopefully my hip will clear up by Sunday for the Easter States 20 miler.

What I want to do is to go out and run a nice steady 8:00 pace overall.  If I can finish sub-8 without power failure – that’s a good sign for Boston.  It’s still a long shot but I’ll keep doing what I can to show up with a chance.

This Saturday I burned the brush pile in my yard.  We are allowed to burn in New England.  I had an enormous pile.  I had scheduled all day for this because they like you to stay around when you have a fire going.  They only let you burn from 10 – 4:00.  But I had constructed my pyre so expertly all the brush was gone in a true blaze of glory in 45 minutes.

I’m a member of a group in LinkedIn called “Executive Athletes”.  Someone started a ‘who’s going to be running Boston’ topic and I, being full of myself said I’m running and I’m bib# 10181. The subsequent comments all have lower bib #’s.  On my best day I’m still a mid-packer.

Had our last Groton Road Race meeting last night.  We lost a sponsor for one of our races if anyone is interested. It’s April 29th and you can find more info at GrotonRoadRace.com

It’s spring time in New England. – On with the Show.

Audio clips in this episode:

Excerpt from the Scientific American Podcast – sa_60sh_podcast_120306-exceprt

Tabatta question answered by Zen Runner.  http://www.facebook.com/SlowRunnersClub

Liberty Loco Promo – http://resurrectedrunner.blogspot.com/


RunRunLive » Audio Products » MidPackersLament » The Mid-Packer’s Lament Audio Book


It took me a few months…but I kept at it and now can present to you The Mid-Packer’s Lament Audio book.  This is ~50 running stories read into audio by the author (me) and ends up being 6-8 hours of audio.

The Mid-Packer’s Lament is a series of short stories on long distance running, racing and the human comedy inherent in all sports enthusiasts.  This is the perfect book for runners and wannabe runners.  There are stories about training, eating, special places and special races.  There are stories about the accidental athlete in all of us and the stupid things we do for even amateur endeavors.  Whether you are a weekend mid-pack runner or a competitive club runner, you’ll find something thought provoking and amusing that you can relate to in the Mid-Packer’s Lament.

Hope you enjoy consuming it as much as I enjoyed recording it!

Ciao, thanks, and I’ll see you out there.



Skits, commercials and parodies in this episode:

Story time:

Equipment Check:

Featured Interview:

Matt from Shawn’s Anomaly – http://www.shawnsanomaly.org/

My Story

My name is Matthew.  In June of 2009 my wife and I were blessed with our son Shawn. He was born with several urological conditions including a multicystic dysplastic kidney and then diagnosed with a paten urachus. He had to have surgery at 10 days old to correct the leaking out of his belly button.  During that surgery the doctors noticed something so rare that they had ever seen it before.  Shawn was born with and unprecedented 2nd urethra (I coined it “Shawn’s Urethra” after my son since there has never been a documented case) where his urethra split near the prostate and exited near his anus.  Imagine hearing the doctors tell you about the condition that your son had and knowing that even in the modern day of medicine, the doctors did not know how to help your child.

Since there was very little information about the condition, the doctors needed time to determine how to repair the condition.  At 7 months old Shawn’s went in to have an unprecedented surgery to repair the condition. At that time they also removed the cysts where his kidney should have formed. At 14 months old he underwent his 3rd surgery to repair another common condition to urological problems, a tethered spine.

When my son first was born, there were so many things that were going through my head. How am I going to be as a dad? How am I going to put him through college? How long will I get to enjoy being around him before I die? All of those questions were very trying on me, but the one that concerned me the most was the last one.

I was 33 years old and had a pretty comfortable life…at least I thought I did. Most of my activities were watching college football and sitting at my desk behind the computer all day.

At the first of the year 2010,  the company I work for, Western States Fire Protection in Houston, opened up a fully equipped gym in the office, and I had a bright idea. I knew that now I could not use the, “I am too busy at work to go to the gym,” excuse anymore. I started counting my calories and developed weight training program in February just to bulk up a little and lose the excess baggage that I was carrying around. After a few weeks I noticed that I was losing minimal weight. I knew that I had to introduce some cardio exercise to my program, so I stopped by the nearest athletic store to pick up a pair of running shoes, and I went the popular running park to start my cardio training. After running about 500 yards, walking the remainder of the way, and recovering for the next 3 days, I nearly gave up.  Before I did, I started to think about my son and all of what he went through and how he never gave up, so I knew I could not either.  As week after week went by with me improving my run distances and losing weight, I started to see the change in my body, and I liked it.

After finishing my first 5K and riding high on the emotion, I was sitting in the back yard and talking to my wife and friend Haley about what was next.  I was pretty much joking with when I told them, “Maybe I should complete the Ironman!”  After all, since I was a kid, I had watched the Ironman on TV and pretty much determine that it was impossible to achieve for a regular person like me, but my son had showed me that anything is possible with perseverance, resilience, and taking life one day at a time.  The joke became a challenge that spring day…

My first goal along the journey was to compete in a sprint triathlon. My workouts went from being 3 days a week to 6 days a week that included biking, swimming, running, and weight training. As I went through the weeks, I really started to see a dramatic change in my body and state of mind. I was becoming more productive at work, I had more energy when I came home to play with my son, and the pounds kept dropping off. I was truly becoming an athlete and was working on being in the best shape of my life.

As I reached the starting line on that early August morning, I started to realize how far I had come. I went from being a couch potato to a triathlete in about 6 months. The gun sounded, and I was hitting the water. I can’t remember much about that day except hearing the sound of cowbells and people cheering us on. Everything else was pretty much a blur until I got to the finish line. As I made the final corner, I reached in the back of my jersey and pulled out one of my son’s pacifier and put it in my mouth. This was my tribute to him, since he was still recovering from his 3rd surgery. He was truly the inspiration to me changing my life.

We hope that Shawn’s surgeries are over.  We feel so blessed to have had such a great support group around us of family and friends, great medical coverage that paid for all of the expensive surgeries, and living so close to the greatest medical centers in the world.  Unfortunately, so many families and children are not as fortunate as we are, and we wanted to know how we could help.  I am not a rich man, so I can’t donate a lot of money to some research project, so we decided to use our journey to raise awareness and money to help others.

Quick Tip:

Injury Recovery: On totems and Fear – http://www.runrunlive.com/injury-recovery-on-totems-and-fear


Ok my Irish friends you have worn the green to the end of yet another RunRunLive Podcast – Episode 217 in the can.

Next week we chat with Rodney, one of our community members, known as the ‘barefoot triathlete’ – he turned his life around in 2009, dropping 60+ pounds and is currently gearing up for an IronMan.  The hits just keep on coming!

This weekend for me is the Eastern States 20 Miler, and like I said, I’m going to use it as a pacing experiment and see how I do.  Hopefully my hip will heal up by then.  As of the release date of this show I’m 3 weeks and three days out from Boston.  If you’re listening to this at a later date and already know how I did don’t tell me, I want to be surprised.

Sorry the last couple shows have been over 50 minutes long – I’ll try to do a better job of editing.  Think of it as a bonus.

I work with a lot of technical people, really smart engineers and product people.  One of the challenges I have is getting them to step away from the trees and see the forest.  They see beauty and art in the science and the math and the functionality, but they have a hard time explaining it to a lay audience.

You should understand that no matter how technical the topic is people still want to be told a story.  Whether you’re a doctor or a lawyer or an engineer you need t set aside all the stuff you know, put yourself in the other person’s, the audiences shoes and tell them a story.

What I’ll do is I’ll make them put away all the existing powerpoints and material they have and start with a blank white board.  I’ll make them do a story board.  Just like you would for a movie or a pitch.  Then once they have the flow and the story we can start loading the facts and figures back in, where appropriate to support the story.

Business clients will tell you “don’t give me any of that soft stuff – just tell me the facts about how you support my requirements!” “If you come in here and waste my time with a bunch of fluff we’ll throw you out!”

But, you know what happens? If you go and tell a compelling story, about them, in their words using their fears and emotions – they’ll tell you it was the best presentation they have ever seen.

You may say, “hey Chris, it’s easy for you, you’re creative.”  How do you become creative?  Chris how do YOU find inspiration to create so much content?  I’ll tell you what the secret is.  Creativity is work ethic. No famous artist got famous by sitting around and thinking about their art.  The more you do the more creative you are.  It’s like any other muscle, use it and it gets stronger.

“But Chris, I sit down with a blank piece of paper and nothing comes into my head.”  Pirsig tells the story about how when he asked students to write an essay, they could not, they couldn’t think of what to write.  But, when he then told them to write about one side of a coin they got started and couldn’t stop.

Creativity is not a spark.  Creativity is movement.  Start and it will flow.  Sometimes, and you can hear this in our show.  I’ll just start writing random words, almost poetry, until the thoughts and phrases crystallize.

“But Chris I only have so much creativity. I don’t want to waste it doing this stuff, I want to save it for work…”  Creativity follows the theory of abundance not the theory of scarcity.  The extra creative work that I cram into my life makes the creative work I do at work that much better and more effective.  The more you do, the more capacity you have.  To be creative, to make your art.

No one has the right to judge your art.  Go ahead and flex your creativity muscles.  There is no risk.  Have some fun. Be your own creative spark.  And I’ll see you out there.

You can find me being creative at Twitter, Facebook, DailyMile, YouTube, Google, Tumblr and Pinterest as cyktrussell that’s Chris yellow king tom Russell with two esses and two ells.

Mile Daily Mile account is horribly over-subscribed, so don’t be offended if I don’t follow you back, they won’t let me.

Share your creativity with us-call  206-339-7804.  Leave a message there it sends an audio file.

A super way to start your creativity practice is to call in an intro – Sue Kenny told me she pickedup 1700 additional facebook hits from reading the intro on the show – how to submit one is in the show notes and on the web site –- you will find all the other content on the website www.runrunlive.com

Music to take you out is a 2:40ish peppy punky number called Dictator by the Cycanide Pills.  I know I’m punk rock heavy but it make my old heart beat.

Be safe.  Run strong.  Ciao.

Great news my running friends – my book of running stories “The Mid-Packer’s Lament” is now available in Kindle format at the Kindle store on Amazon.com!  Just search on “Mid-Pack”.  It’s a bargain at an easy $5 and all proceeds go towards supporting the underfunded pension plan of the retired cleaning staff at the RunRunLive world headquarters. I recently got a kindle myself and I love it.  It does reading very well.

The Mid-Packer’s Lament is a series of short stories on long distance running, racing and the human comedy inherent in all sports enthusiasts.  This is the perfect book for runners and wannabe runners.  There are stories about training, eating, special places and special races.  There are stories about the accidental athlete in all of us and the stupid things we do for even amateur endeavors.  Whether you are a weekend mid-pack runner or a competitive club runner, you’ll find something thought provoking and amusing that you can relate to in the Mid-Packer’s Lament.


From Podsafe:

All music used in the show is from the Podsafe music network found at Music Alley.  Please support the starving, socially minded artists sampled herein by purchasing some!



Song 2-3


Outro music:


Outro Artists Bio:

Standard Links:







Cyktrussell At gmail and twitter and facebook and youtube

Chris’ book on Amazon – > http://www.amazon.com/Mid-Packers-Lament-collection-running-stories/dp/141961584X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228687012&sr=8-1

Mid-Packer’s Lament E-book

Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy E-Book

Dial in number for RunRunLive is – 206-339-7804

Chris Russelllives 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

Running  Podcast, podcasts for running, podcast for runners, free podcast for runners, Running Blog, marathon, triathlon, mileage, sprinting, run, track, training, running clubs, running groups, running shoes, exercise, health, 5k, running, swimming, sports, injuries, stretching, eating, jogging, biking, trail race, 5K, 10K, Ultramarathon, jogging a good exercise, road runner, jogging tips, benefits of jogging, free running, running shoes, marathon training, running, jogging, health and fitness, runners, runner, Boston qualification, Marathon BQ, Boston marathon


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