Episode 239 – Amy Chavez – Running the Shikoku Pilgrimage

The RunRunLive Podcast Episode 239 – Amy Chavez – Running the Shikoku Pilgrimage



Show intro by:

Amy Chavez

RunRunLive – Podcast Intro



Blood on the trail… a dramatic adventure novel by Buster Cycles…

Hello and welcome to the RunRunLive Podcast – this is Chris your host and there was some blood on the trail this past weekend but today we have a great show for you.  We speak with Amy Chavez about her book and experience running the Shikoku pilgrimage in Japan.  It’s a long interview, which is good news from you because it means less of my voice!

We’ve also got Ann returning with a piece and our second installment from Dr. Sarb on wellness research.

I did race last weekend.  I have all my notes prepped and will write up an overly dramatic race report at some point.  But – I’ll give you a quick overview.  I successfully finished the Hampshire 100 mountain bike race. It took me 9:15 but I wasn’t pushing very hard.  I would say on a suffer scale of 1 – 10 with The Wilderness 101 a couple years ago being an 8 and a qualifying marathon being a 7, I’d say this was a 2.5.

It was a hard course with 14,000 feet of gain and loss.  Very slick and very technical.  My core was strong but my fitness wasn’t 100%, especially my bike legs.  I just haven’t got that many miles in over the summer.  I did go down hard once and lost some skin but, as usual it was a stupid mistake, I turned into a patch of sand on a road section because a volunteer was screaming at me to turn and I bounced off the road, rung my bell and got a little road rash.

All-in-all I had fun and it was a good race.  I could have gone a lot harder but I wanted to finish.  I am after all just a novice at this Mountain Biking sport.  I was a little sore but nothing traumatic and have taken the week off from training.

I got a Face Book from Liz who said “Was that you at the Hampshire 100?”  She did the 100 mile race but for some reason didn’t feel like coming over to say ‘hi’ to me!  Liz – call in your impression of the race – I’m interested.

My foot was feeling great this week until I had to travel for work.  I went to a client on Thursday that, interestingly, had a ¼ walk to get to the building.  The CEO of the company did this on purpose to get people to exercise more!  I forgot something in the car and had to do the walk twice for a total walk of a mile in my work shoes and my foot was sore after that – so this injury basically lurks under the surface like a crocodile until you try to use it and then it flares right back up.  Next step is to get the procedure and see if we can root out the root cause.

Congrats to Eric Strand on going sub-30 hours at Leadville – that is something special!

I know a lot of you have your fall races coming up.  Good luck to you!  I got a email from the BAA saying that since I had run 10 Bostons in a row I could register early, but alas I could not because I am out of qualification.

And I’m out of words…



On with the Show!

Audio clips in this episode:

Jimmy V’s 1993 ESPY Speech


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:

Dr. Sarb’s Medical blog – http://completecoach.wordpress.com/

Equipment Check:

Featured Interview:

Amy Chavez



Foreword by Barefoot Ted McDonald

“Amy Chavez . . . has chosen to live on a tiny island in the Inland Sea of Japan. She takes us on a journey through the fabled 88 temples of Shikoku that’s part personal, part philosophical, at one level concerned with worn-out shoes and aching bones, and at another level, a guide to Esoteric Buddhist illumination.”

Alex Kerr

author of Lost Japan and Dogs and Demons

“Chavez’s 1448 km run is a profoundly inspiring journey inward . . . reveals that the most satisfying path . . . is the one that’ll shred your soles.”

Rachelle Mackintosh

Deputy Editor, Australian Women’s Health

“Wearing a white pilgrim’s vest and carrying other “cosmic tools,” Chavez confronts her self-professed and literally painful overconfidence. With humor and tolerance, this book is part travel guide, part travelogue.”

Steve Herman

Northeast Asia Bureau Chief, Voice of America News (VOA)

“. . . not only inspiring, it’s charming and very funny . . . learning not just about Buddhism but her own inner strength . . . you will be cheering for Amy and hoping for another book.”

Sujata Massey

author of the Rei Shimura mystery series

“. . . deserves a place right next to the works of Donald Richie and Alan Booth.”

Robert Whiting

author of Tokyo Underworld, The Meaning of Ichiro and You Gotta Have Wa


Quick Tip:

Ann’s Segment –   http://www.annsrunningcommentary.com/?m=201103



Ok my Zen Buddhist acolytes, you have run weeks on end with the running monks to the state of pure, guileless, epiphany and enlightenment that can be found at the end of yet another RunRunLive Podcast episode 239 in the can.

Next week we talk with Sue about yoga for runners.  I have never actually done any yoga but I’ve always wondered how it could help us in our running and help us stay fit and healthy so I had the opportunity to chat with Sue and ask her all my questions.

Now that I have gotten through the Hampshire 100 I don’t have any events on the horizon except for dealing with my foot!  I’m toying with the idea of doing some sort of fitness challenge because, having been forced to do a lot of fitness type activities lately I kinda like it and could see myself doing one of those 90 day challenges to transform my body.

The season is starting to turn up here in New England with the sun hurrying out of frame earlier each night, the maples starting to tinge in reds and oranges and a certain nip to the air in the mornings.  It makes sleeping easier.  It is the time of year when a young man’s thoughts turn to firewood.

I’ve been harvesting lots of tomatoes from my garden.  I got a good crop of beans earlier.  I still have loads of kale and chard but, in all deference to my vegan friends who have unlocked the secret to happiness, I just can’t get excited about kale.

I expanded my garden this year and grew my tomatoes in pots.  I was unable to truss them up sufficiently as they grew and now have a bit of a chaotic tomato jungle on my hands.  My wife gave me some very interesting heirloom tomatoes like these pear-shaped yellow tomatoes that are quite yummy.  Of course I also have two giant pots of basil and parsley and coriander.

Buddy is doing ok.  He goes on walks with me and sometimes I’ll take him along if I’m doing a short, easy loop on my mountain bike in the woods.  The water holes have all dried up and he gets very hot – so I have to be careful.

What shall we talk about this week to help you out?

I was thinking a lot about time this morning.  Time is the only thing we don’t get more of.  Yet it is also something that we readily waste.

One trick that you can use to get more time is to figure out what you spend time on and either not do it or have someone else do it.  The way to do this is to simply write down everything you do, in a journal, for a week.

This is similar to counting calories.  When you count calories it helps you to avoid mindless eating because you are making a choice to put those calories into your system or at least understanding and quantifying them.  This make for mindful eating. You are engaging a different part of your brain.  Instead of just responding to your dinosaur brain, you are using your big brain.

That’s what makes it successful.  It causes you to consider what you are doing.  It engages a editorial staff or supervisory board function that allows you to actually make decisions.

Counting time calories is the same concept.  Writing it down forces you to consider what you are doing with your time.

(As an aside, studies have shown that we actually do better, more effective work when we know we have a limited amount of time, like on a deadline.)

Once you track your time, you can make lists of the things you do with your time and categorize them.

Different people have different ways to categorize but consider 3 basic categories.

First is things you hate to do and add no value, like busy work and paperwork.

Second would be things you like to do and add value, like writing and reading and working out and spending quality time with your spouse.

Third are things you like to do, but add no value.  Watching TV, playing zombie hunting games (who does that!) Drinking beer, etc.

For the first category those are the things that you should either a)figure out how to stop doing them, or b)pay someone else to do them. (i.e. mow the lawn)

For the second find out how to schedule them so you get them done.

For the third find a way to compartmentalize them so you can do some, but they don’t take over your life.  Someone said that time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted.

But, my point is, however you decide to categorize your time, once you move it into the mindful realm you will learn something.  And this is not something you need to do every day.  I tend to go through this exercise every few months when I feel like I’m not making and just spinning my wheels.

And as you are counting your time you can count on seeing me, out there.

You lucky dogs, I found some Procol Harum on Podsafe!  This song went to #1 in the UK before it had even been released on record.  Radio London, the pirate radio station got a demo copy and it was #1 before it even was available in the stores.  That’s the kind of success story you dream about!


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!

Songs sampled from Podsafe:



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

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