Episode 243 – Michael Vitez – The Road Back

The RunRunLive Podcast Episode 243 – Michael Vitez – The Road Back



Show intro by:

Our old friend Amanda the ChemERunner

RunRunLive – Podcast Intro



Hello and welcome to episode 243 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Here we are again sliding into the cold of another New England winter.  Excuse me as I reach down under my desk and turn my heater on…

We have a great show for you today.  I interview Michael Vitez, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from the Philadelphia Enquirer about his new book “The Road Back” that chronicles one triathlete’s journey back from a devastating accident.

In addition to this fine piece of audio journalism we have the usual menagerie of lively music, Ann’s comeback and another piece sage advice from Dr. Sarb.

I’ve penned a piece on the niceities of rail trail riding here in New England – an emerging art form – and an inspirational outro piece on working on your craft.

If, after the trauma of listening to all this you are interested in further investigations, every word and link is encapsulated lovingly in the show notes, available at my website at www.runrunlive.com.

It’s a beautiful thing.

Folks, I sit here impressed! I estimate, (because I’m too lazy to count), that some 30ish of you went and registered as users on my website.  That’s awesome.  Thanks!  I change my mind every week, but right now I’m thinking of creating a new show wrapped more around the inspiration.

This show I designed as education, inspiration and entertainment.  If I look at where I can add value to the most people I think it is around that type of advice.  You can find marathon running tips and tricks anywhere. Entertainment is fleeting.  Good advice and hope have some value.  What do you think?

I’ve been working out every day.   Coach has me on a maintenance plan but I suspect he’s experimenting on me too because some of these workouts leave me shaking and sore!  I’m doing a couple slow trail runs a week and am up to 3 or 4 miles.  I feel heavy and slow but it’s magical to be out in the woods in the fall with Buddy the old-coot of a Wonder Dog.

The foot is still sore and I’m just ignoring it.  I couldn’t get the Extra-Corporeal Shockwave Treatment scheduled this month so I’m shooting for next month.  I’m getting a hankering to get back in the pool as well.

I got my front wheel with the new spoke for Fuji-san back from the shop last night and will take it out for a test drive sometime today.  I mounted some new knobby trail tires on the Motobecane this weekend and took it out for a couple-hour ride.  It makes a huge difference.  I notice the rolling speed on the easy sections is much slower than the Kenda-8’s but the grip, especially when climbing loose hills is much better.  I can get out of the saddle more without spinning out on the climbs.

I’ll tell you a couple stories from my week – from the frequent flyer file…

The last few weeks of travel the volume is really high.  The parking garages are all full and the planes are packed.  I got to my hotel in Atlanta this week fairly late.  Due to availability I was staying at an ‘extended stay’ type hotel.  They gave me a two story townhouse.  There was enough space in this room for a family of 10.  Of course this happens to me occasionally and most of the time, like this time, it’s when I am going to spend 5-6 hours sleeping in the room and leave in the morning.  It seems such an ironic waste.

The other thing that I have been doing is playing the free-drink karma god on my flights.  Since I am a frequent flyer, every time I print a boarding pass I get a “Have one on us” coupon.  Honestly, it is rare that I want a drink on a plane.  Sometimes I’ll use them for snack boxes, but those are marginal as well.

What I do now is, when I board the plane I find the main cabin stewardess and give her the drink coupon with the instructions to “buy someone a drink”.  There are plenty of people on that plane that need some karma.  I enlist the stewardess as my karma agent.

But now my karma meter tells me that you have stopped listening…

So…On with the show!

Audio clips in this episode:

Ann’s Running Commentary


Ann Brennan

Creator of Ann’s Running Commentary

Senior Advisor for Beyond Limits Magazine

Dr. Sarb’s Wellness blog


Dr Sarb Johal Psychologist, Writer, Runner, Coach

My Books


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:

Michael Vitez – “The Road Back”

Staff writer

The Philadelphia Inquirer

 “The Road Back is an incredible story of survival and recovery against all odds. Matt Miller’s focus and determination are unbelievable and inspiring — I’ll never again have an excuse not to get out and train.”

— Erin Donohue
U.S. Olympic 1500-meter run

 This engaging account of Matt Miller’s unwavering positive attitude and determination in the face of a near death injury is inspiring. As a former collegiate athlete, enthusiastic marathon runner and the current owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, I can truly appreciate the effort it took for Matt to recover and finish the Ironman in such an impressive time. Philadelphia should be proud to call Matt and his fiancée Emily its own.”

— Josh Harris
owner Philadelphia 76ers

“I read it in one day. LOVED it! Matt Miller’s story is one of inspiration and perseverance. Mr. Vitez’s writing is captivating as he describes the unwavering fortitude that brought Matt from near death to medical school and Ironman success. His character and love of life remind me so much of my brother. Amazing book about an amazing man.”
— Maddy Crippen, former U.S. Olympic swimmer and sister of the late Fran Crippen, who plays a key role in Matt’s story

“What an incredible story. Got through it in one day. Couldn’t put it down!” Brad Culp, editor, Lava, official magazine of the Ironman Triathlon






Michael Vitez

staff writer

The Philadelphia Inquirer

801 Market Street, Suite 300

Philadelphia, PA 19107

On Twitter: @michaelvitez

Check out my new book: The Road Back



Quick Tip:

“No Rules of the Road” – http://www.runrunlive.com/no-rules-of-the-road


Ok my Autumnal acolytes, you have taken the air conditioning units from the windows and moved them to storage, you have turned in your summer gardens and planted a sleepy crop of winter rye as you listened through the end of yet another RunRunLive Podcast. Episode 243 in the can.

I’m still trying to nail down Will to talk to him about his ultra-running novel.  Hopefully we’ll get that in play for next week.

I’m currently reading through a few science fiction books.  I got one for the Kindle called the BioFab wars which is all blasters and spaceships that I’m burning through on my kindle. I also am working through a compendium of Heinlen’s alternate future stories on an old smelly paperback.

I sometimes call Science Fiction my last remaining vice but I think if done well it lets us imagine things that could be.  And as a wise man said, ‘once we imagine it, it becomes a possibility’ if we are limited only by our imaginations then the science fiction writers of the world are the avante guard.

What did you folks think of my zombie story from last week?  I had fun with that.  I would love it if you could go to my website and comment on that or anything else I say.  It’s all at www.runrunlive.com and I primarily post under the “Runneratti Blog” tab or the “Podcast” tab.

It’s interesting to me the time-lag for people to react to something I say on the podcast.  I started asking people to register on my site a couple weeks ago.  The first couple days there were one or two then about a week later there were a bunch then about a week after that there started a steady stream.  Apparently most of you listen, or act about 2 weeks after I post.

I’ll take you out with an piece I wrote that plumbs my oft spoken thoughts on taking a positive attitude to what you do and how that can change your life.

Working on your craft – http://www.runrunlive.com/working-at-your-craft

To take you out is a 4 minute Rock piece called Sweet Texas Gold by Straightfork – enjoy.


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

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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