Episode 53 Dean Karnazes

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Episode 53 – Dean Karnazes

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Hey folks! This is Chris your hostess with the most-est and welcome to episode 53 of the RunRunLive Podcast.  Hope you’re doing fine.  Stick with me and we’ll ride out the recession together.   Follow me as we run out of the arroyo of despair, up the steep hill of challenge and onto the plateau of athletic success!  Or probably more appropriately in my case the plateau of athletic Excess!

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see this recession hit my beer gut, and I haven’t had a beer in over 10 years…Ahh, well can’t have everything.  Isn’t it funny how the food that’s really bad for you is also the cheapest and easiest to get.

So if you’re a returning friend, welcome.  If you’re a first timer, guess what?  This is a podcast.  This particular podcast is put on by me and my Border Collie Buddy the Wonder Dog, and as you’ll soon realize he does most of the editing- Bar Bark –  and we mostly cater to the mid-pack runner.  We try to seek out interesting folks to talk to so y’ all can get access to the cool stuff they have to say, mull it over and spit it up on your running friends next time you’re out for a communal jog.

Hey – Keep friend-ing me on Facebook – love to hear from you – I’m the Chris Russell in the Boston Area and my picture shows me on top of Camelback Mt. in Phoenix.  And tell your friends about the podcast – more the merrier.  Hey if we can get just 1 person off the couch and out into the endorphin soaked cold of a morning run – we will have been successful.

Today as previously threatened we talk to ultra-marathon man Dean Karnazes.  It came out ok – I think I’ve done better interviews.  He kinda threw me off – I mean he’s Dean Karnazes! – I’ve run a few miles in my life, but Dean’s done it all.  If you could run to the moon Dean would figure out how.  So Thanks Dean – you’re a stud.

Interestingly his next big thing is Dean TV – so we’ll have to see how that goes.  I always thought the drama of endurance sports would make great TV, but from the outside all you see is some dirty, sweaty, old guy suffering for hours – you have to find some way to get inside the endurance athlete’s brain where all the fireworks are.

Which is a nice transition.  I have to share with you, and I’m going to try to do so without sounding like an elitist.  Because, well maybe I am, but I do think it’s good for everybody that running and especially endurance events like marathons are becoming more accessible.  As an observer of the sport for a few years it seems as though the marathons are becoming accessible by making them more of an entertainment venue than a race.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

I was thinking about it because I listened to a bunch of runners who finished Disney recently and I was struck by just how much focus is on everything except running.  And I don’t want to knock anyone’s religion here but I’m not wired to be a Disney person.  I took the kids while they were young and I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either.  For me it seemed like a bunch of standing in line in the hot sun with hundreds of fat people from Wisconsin.  (I have nothing against Wisconsin – Love the cheese and the sausages, always have fun in Milwaukee – just using this as an element of hyperbole, stay with me)

And it struck me this week that the folks at Disney have created a marathon as essentially another ride!  If we follow the progression, I could see them selling ticket to complete non-runners in the future to board a tram and ride along with the runners so that everyone can enjoy the emotion of the marathon!  “Look Marge, he’s throwing up! Get a picture!” Maybe that isn’t a bad thing either.  Maybe it’s all exposure and all good.  I don’t know – What do you think?

Anyhoo – My training goes well.  I ran the Derry 16 miler like a champ this last weekend.  Went out easy, held back on the hills and hammered home the last 5k for a respectably mediocre 2:06.  The weather turned out to be awesome – sunny and in the teens with dry road conditions.   I was definitely sore in the quads from the down hills.  I am still carrying too many pounds.  There were no bands, singers, people in costumes and nobody cried.

By the way – the theme for today is crying in a marathon.  I heard Gordon from the run-to-Disney podcast crying and it made me wonder how common that is, because I don’t think I’ve ever cried in a marathon.  So I asked around.  I found that it runs about 40-50% of marathoners have cried for joy at the end of a successful marathon – so there ya go.

My next race is the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler – join me – love to have the company.  Come on – how hard can it be?  It’s on an island for goodness sake.

OK – On with the Show!

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Equipment Check –

Ok folks – I tried to get this company on the phone, but they ignored me.  Their loss – and see how I am?  I’m going to give them free publicity anyway.  When you run these cold races you see folks wearing all sorts of crazy stuff to stay warm.  Different people handle the cold in different ways.  There’s always some guy in shorts. And there are always people bundled up like they’re going snow mobiling.

Some people wear those Darth Vader masks that are some hard material that comes out away from the nose to allow them to breath – “Luke I am your father”.  But I saw something new this week.  This lady was wearing little strap on covers that went over the top of the toe of her shoes to cut the wind and keep her toes warm.  She told me the website and I checked it out – RunWarm.com – go figure.  So if you suffer from cold toes – check that out.

Another issue people have is that if you’re carrying gels they may freeze on you and become gelsickles.  To avoid this I’ve found you can cram up to 3 gel packets into that little key-pocket in your tights and that will keep them warm – you have to spread a little lube around that area on the inside because they’ll chaffe.  The other thing that I do is I stick one up the back side of my gloves.  So they are up against the back of your hand, they’ll stay warm and you can still use your hands. You can stuck them on the inside or palm side of your gloves, but I’ve found that I tend to squeeze them absentmindedly and end up rupturing them for a fist full of gel – New Clint Eastwood movie – “A Fist Full Of Gel”.

So – kep pwarm my friends – spring is on the way

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Dean Interview

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Quick tip

Ok folks you may wonder when you look at my training plan – which by the way is available on Buckeye outdoors, why I run so many long “middle distance” races during my training and what I think they do for me.  Well if you only do long slow runs, you’re building good aroebic base, but your also training your bidy to run slow.

What I do is replace as many long slow runs as I can with long races.  Essentially they become long tempo runs.  I feel they are more realistic training for the marathon.  You still get the distance and aerobic base, but you also get to test your pacing skills.  A real race forces you to deal with the race environment that you’ll be in when you run your target marathon.  It forces you to recover from a fast start and monitor you pace, and try to finish strong.

Let’s face it, running is a specific activity and there’s nothing more specific than a long race.  What I try to do is to run my target marathon pace.  Many times this has left me a dying a few miles short of the finish – but that’s exactly the kind of learning you want.  You don’t want to go into your taper thinking you’re in great shape when you’re not.  Hard long races like Derry, or Martha’s or Stu’s will give you enough of a kick in the head to keep you humble and on track in your training.  And Since I’m a midpacker – I’m not running fast enough to injur myself, it’s not all out, just a good honest effort.

You may not have the plethora of middle distance races that we have up here during the spring run up but even a 10k or a half marathon run hard will give you an excellent sense of your race shape.

Race your way to your goal – it works for me and it’s entirely more social.

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Ok folks – that’s it.  It’s mile 18 of this podcast and we’re starting the death shuffle to the finish.

I’ve got a couple of nutrition experts lined up for the next podcast.  They surprised me by being super responsive – so I may end up doubling up with a nutition-palooza episode, or just put out two.

I’m going to ask for help now.  I want you youngsters to come up and run my home town race.  The Groton Road Race in Groton Ma.  It’s got a 2k, 5k, 10k and tot’s trot – it’s a great family event.  It’s one of the prettiest courses you’ve ever seen.  We’ve been putting on a quality event for 17 years and we get close to 200 folks in all the races.  So go to Grotonroadrac.com and sign up.  As we get closer I’ll set something special up for the RunRunLive family.  It’s April 26th – come on up and see the race that got me started running again in 1991!

You know what – as I write this I have no idea what my training schedule is this week.  I went out in the woods with the dog this morning and had a sharp pain in my Hammy.  I had to turn back.  I think it was a combination of the cold and the mincing about in the snow with my YakTrax.  Buddy was very upset that we turned around early.  He grabbed the lease and wouldn’t give it back.  I should’ve taken an ice bath after Derry – we’ll see if it’s something or nothing.   BTW, you don’t want to leave the YakTrax on your shoes because they will deform them, take them off after you run.

Thanks for hanging out with me for a few mindless minutes of midpack mishmash and I’ll see you out there.


Inspiration – as I’m writing this I’m in Long Beach CA, and I pulled something in the back of my leg that is making it hard for me to train.  I started to panic – but you know what, I’m sanguine.  I’ll take a couple days off or whatever it takes.  It’s just a muscle pull.  It’ll takes care of itself in a couple days.

I’ll take this oppoty to focus on doing a little strength triaining and doing some stretching and it’ll all be fine.

Folks – you have to look at the big picture.  You have to learn to look at your training and running in terms of years and decades, not like a day-to-day desk calendar.  That’s why I don’t have a Garmin or a Nike Plus, My distance and time today or tomorrow don’t matter as long as at the end of the year I’m achieving my goals and living the miles that I want to live.

Live the miles folks, live the training, don’t let it stalk you and ride you like a harpy.  Time flows like a river and we are just motes in the current.


Since I’m carrying on about stuff – here’s something else I don’t get, and I don’t mean to offend anyone, anyone who has the cahones to toe the line is a runner and a winner – it doesn’t matter if you finish – you just have to start – that’s the victory, that’s the miracle. but if I do the math a 6 and a half hour marathon like 3.5 miles per hour.  When I was training for Mount Washington I was power walking an 18% grade at 3.5 miles per hour.

So how much of a 6.5 hour marathon are you actually running?  And doesn’t that mean you’re running slower than you can walk?  Why not just walk the whole thing?  You’d finish sooner. I ran with Joanne Dow the Olympic race walker once and she was walking sub-7’s.  That’s twice as fast.  Well, anyhow, no offense intended, more power to you for doing it. It would freakin kill me to be out in the sun for 6+ hours – I couldn’t do it.

Apologies for the rambling – that’s not what this podcast is about!  On with the show!

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