Episode 254 – Dave Spandorfer from Janji changes the world

The RunRunLive 3.0 Podcast Episode 254 – Dave Spandorfer from Janji changes the world

Mike and Dave Fall image



Link epi3254.mp3

Introductory comments

The fog on my sunglasses was not evaporating.  I had pushed them down to the edge of my nose to let the biting wind defrost them, but it was too cold now and instead of clearing, the fog on the lenses froze.  I took them off and tried to rub the fog and sweat off with equally sweaty and frozen gloves creating a kaleidoscopic smear.

The Derry race was beginning its expected and heartless assault.

I tried to focus on my posture and stride and form but my legs were aching and I felt myself hunching into the cold, leaning, trudging.  I felt awful.  We weren’t even half way.  We hadn’t entered the consuming and giant hills that begin at mile 9 and last through mile 12.

But, apparently we had turned a corner and come out from under cover because there was a biting headwind flash-freezing the sweat in my clothes.  I had thought I was overdressed in the first few miles where cover and a tail wind conspired to force me to shed my hat and gloves and to unzip my sweater and the topmost of my two long sleeve tech shirts.

I had been dripping, soaking through the material, grossly overheated in the winter sun.  Now I just as quickly re-zipped and slapped the sodden hat back on my head with wetted gloves.

I’ve run this race at least a dozen times and it still has the ability to make me miserable.


Brian and I drove up in the morning with the temperature just teasing into the double digits Fahrenheit.  The forecast was for mid-teens and a stiff breeze.  Otherwise it was a beautiful sunny day in the home town of Robert Frost and his Westward Running Brook.

This time of year it’s not uncommon to get some interesting weather.  We’ve run the race in colder weather and raging snow storms.  That just the way New England is in January.  We contemplated what and how much to wear.  We visited the outside porto-potties listening to and feeling the icy wind gust up and around our shivering legs.

Brian and I are both recovering from years of hardcore training and both trying to find some peace in our relationship with running, racing and our local friend the Boston Marathon.

We wanted to go out slow, but neither of us could manage to find any comfortable pace in the early miles.  We kept looking at our red-lined heart rates and wondering whether it was the cold or the hills or we were actually working that hard.  For the first couple miles my heart rate was in zones that don’t even exist.

Finally, somewhere in the 4th mile, Brian pulled off down a dirt road that I’ve seen him use before as a bio break.  I thought that was a grand idea and pulled over to bless a large tree a half mile further down the road.  This gave me a chance to relax a bit and try to settle down into a sustainable pace for the next couple miles as I battled overheating.

The middle miles were miserable as my legs were aching and tired from the early abuse and the wind turned my sweat to ice.

Then we hit the hills.  Full miles of uphill battling through miles 9, 10, 11 and 12.  I slowed and did some walking and invoked my run-walk cadence learned in my mountain and ultra-marathon dalliances.  I knew the hills were coming, but that did not make these monsters any friendlier.

Happy to be out the back side of the elevation gain, I began to get a little form back but now it was really cold.  We were heading directly into it with no cover.  My hat was frozen solid with great hunks of ice.  I pulled the hood of my fleece up to see if I could melt it a bit to no avail.

Through the final miles it was hard, but not too bad.  I was passing people who were suffering worse than I and even managed to stretch out a little kick in the final mile.  It helped to be so familiar with the course.

In an odd moment, as I took the corner into the last short, steep hill into the finish my iPod shuffled into a Bruno Mars song that I must’ve gotten for free from Starbucks because I don’t even like Bruno Mars.  Picture me huffing and frozen at the end of a 16 mile monster of a race, suffering from the wrong music at the wrong time.  I powered through the finish and went off to find some warm food.

Hello and Welcome to episode 3-254 of the RunRunlive Podcast.  Today we have a great show for you.  Today I chat with Dave Spandorfer who has started a company to leverage his running to change the world.  It’s a great chat.

As you heard I have been training and racing, including the wonderfully punishing Derry Boston Prep 16 Miler last weekend. (I made it sound miserable for dramatic tension.)

When the dust settled, even though I could have executed with more grace, I was right in line with where I expected to be and I know that I have work to do for Boston.

I DID go out way too fast and there WAS a fair amount of good natured suffering. I do love this race for its ability to humble me.  What is life without worthy opponents?

Race report with picture

You know I don’t like race reports.  So here is my alternate race report in free verse..,

Frozen plumes of wet New England breath,

Coat the world,

And sting the chest


Monk-like we stumble,

Tired, we strive,

Frozen, wet sweat stinging the eyes


Dry, crisp, biting cold,

Sucked deep,

And coughed wide


Stark low sun,

Entreats from shallow horizon,

Kissing the cold dirt and snow


Grizzled and bearded,

Beaten and wind-burned,

We smile fiercely at the ice, our tormentor


The weather can’t break us,

We are made of stronger stuff,

We are wood, and bone, and steel and stone


We are indestructible!


On with the show!


Section One:

Life Balance and the tactical necessity of organizing your weeks – http://www.runrunlive.com/life-balance-and-the-tactical-necessity-of-organizing-your-weeks


Featured Interview

John Spandorfer


On the way to the 2010 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Mike and Dave had an idea: what if they could connect runners around the country to solve one of the world’s most serious problems?  By the time they came home from the track meet, Janji was born.

MIke and Dave knew runners like themselves were charitable.  But they saw that philanthropic running only begins — and unfortunately ends — on race day.  They want Janji to change that.  Through Janji’s high performance apparel, runners can fund solutions and raise awareness for the global food and water crisis in a meaningful and lasting way.  Now, rather than racing just one day for a cause, runners can give back through everyday training.

Janji’s goal is to create a community dedicated to running for another.  That was Mike and Dave’s goal on that bus, and that’s what Janji will always be about.




Section two:

Step up runs, surge runs and cheating – http://www.runrunlive.com/step-up-runs-surge-runs-and-cheating




Ahh… My friends, Comrades, we come to the end of another RunRunLive Podcast…another ploy of the capitalist intelligentsia saboteurs… I’ve been listening to the Russian Ruler’s Podcast again.

I love history.  And I love life.  As athletes we fall prey to the very human trap of wanting more, faster and better.  We are always looking forward to a time when everything will be perfect.  No matter where you are or how fast you are you will always have the same challenges, many of them internal.  That’s life.  No matter how many hills you conquer there are always more hills to conquer.  It’s the process of conquering that is where the joy should be found – in the struggle.

It’s ok to look ahead, but remember to enjoy today, the now and the present.

Given the success of my Derry race, (success here is defined as having walked away from the train wreck uninjured), I’ve signed up for the Martha’s Vineyard 20 miler in a couple weeks and the Eastern States 20 miler in March.  This combined with my training should give me a great shot at Boston.  So you get you will get to hear me say “Mahtha’s Vinyahd’ many more times in the coming shows.

Looking back over the last year or so we’ve seen a lot of changes in our little clique of running podcasters.  Eddie had some business troubles, Adam had a divorce, his father passed and he fell in love again. Steve had conflicts with his son.  It seems that our age group is prone to life changes and transitions.

I haven’t ever shared much personal information with you folks, I suppose that’s selfish of me.  You’ve gone through the injury cycle with me and the heartaches and triumphs of my running persona, but you don’t know me personally or professionally.

I had Tom come up to me in the airport today and say “You’re Chris Russell!” Which was cool, but potentially disconcerting.  I told him I’m waiting for the day when some client leans across the conference table and say something similar and I have to explain the difference between Clark Kent and Superman.

For my own sanity, because I think that at some point I’ll need the emotional support, let me share that I have my share of life changes and transitions. I’m no different.  I have those challenges.  That is the stuff of life.  I’m not immune.

But, like it or not, this avatar that I have created for this podcast decided early on to put all that stuff aside because this is not about me.  It’s about you.  This is my service, as selfish as it is, and it in a sense it completes me.

I do know that life is change and transition and that you have to be happy with the striving, with the living and with the changes.

If I haven’t before, if I have been remiss, I want to thank you for letting me find this avatar’s voice over the years and for letting me have this conversation with you.

As you know – Team Hoyt is changing the world.  I’m running the Boston Marathon for them this year to help. I would very much appreciate it if you would help me, help them change the world by clicking on the donation banner on the right side of my web page at www.runrunlive.com.


You can also still get in on my  kickstarter project to create an audio version of my second book of running stories. I’m recording chapters 6 and 7 for distribution to investors as we speak.  If you are interested you can find the link on my website and in the show notes.


Speaking of history, Napoleon said that it takes force and spirit to win a battle, but of the two, spirit is the more important.

I’ll see you out there…



Links for this show



Other products from Chris Russell you may be interested in

The Mid-Packer’s Lament


On Amazon


On Kindle


On Audio (Read by the author)


The Mid-Packer’s Guide to the Galaxy


On Kindle


Standard Links:














Cyktrussell At gmail and twitter and facebook and youtube


Dial in number for RunRunLive is – 206-339-7804 (to leave an audio message for the show)



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.


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