The RunRunLive Podcast Episode 152 – Gary Robbins, Endurance Athlete
Show intro by:
Hello and welcome to the Amusing animals podcast, tonight we talk about Ferrets, Aardvarks, Platypuses, Chinchillas, Wombats and yes even the proud Capybara, which you know is a rodent of unusual size. No, wait, that’s my Thursday noon-time Furry-Friends podcast, this, this my friends is the famous RunRunLive Podcast and you have made the grave mistake of downloading and tuning it in.
You know Buddy the Wonder Dog is my furry friend and Border Collie running partner. If you missed it he had a birthday this month and he’s 8 years old and still going strong. His winter Yak-fur is all in now so he’s ready for the outside running. For a while there he was looking a little scabrous with big hunks of pelt hanging off here and there. Everything in my life is covered with big hunks of dog-hair.
I was at the store last week and they had the rope toys that he likes. Now, what you have to understand about Buddy is that he is not an indiscriminate chewer. He never stole gloves, or shoes or any of that, but he likes these rope toys that are basically a pieces of rope shaped like a bone by tying knots in both ends. The last one he has destroyed down to one little frayed sticky lump of rope string.
So – I was at the store and a saw one of these toys and figured I’d buy it for him and give it to him for Christmas. I brought it home and stuck it in with my daughters stuff so she could wrap it and put it under the tree. He comes in, takes a couple sniffs and goes directly to where I put it, pulls it out and starts tearing into it with vigor. How do they do that? Does a rope toy have a specific smell? Or did he just use ESP? Dogs are amazing.
But if he is Buddy the Wonder Dog, that would make me Chris your host and, yes today we have another fabulous show for you. I interview Gary Robbins a cool ultra-endurance guy from Western Canada and we have a great chat – really fun. I’ve got some tips and tricks and a little this and a little that, but I’m starting a NEW 10 part series that I am calling the 10 secrets to successful running. I intend this to be a bedrock series from which you can achieve great things.
I had a super week back in the training saddle. I had a breakthrough workout on Sunday morning. I really wasn’t looking forward to this workout. It’s a 14 mile step up run. You run the first 3 miles in warm up or zone 2 effort, the second 3 miles in normal zone 3 effort then run the next 7 at race effort zone 4 with a mile cool down.
I knew it was going to suck. I ate a ton Saturday night and was worried I’d be running into the woods or have problems. It was 20-something degrees out. I was still a little leg weary and sore from training on Friday and Saturday. And, frankly my head was not in it. One of the funny things that Coach Jeff PRS does is he puts in the comments “this is supposed to be a hard workout” No kidding? I usually do 14 mile step up runs when I want to take it easy! Sheesh!
When I got out there I focused, not on pace or even so much on effort. I focused simply on forefoot strike, fast cadence, forward lean at the ankles and pushing my hips forward. Much to my surprise and delight the run was not horrible and when I got home to check the splits they were all under 7:00 min pace.
That’s a breakthrough. Two months ago I couldn’t even finish this work out without stopping. See? Even mediocre athletes like me can continue to find new things if they stay with it and trust their plan.
I’m still a mid-packer, but I’m a happy mid-packer when I can see progress.
As always I am CYKTRUSSELL Chris Yellow King Tom Russell, with two esses and two Ell’s on Twitter, facebook, youtube etcetera… Shoot me an email under the same moniker at gmail dot com. Go to my Web site runrunlive.com to get all archived shows, sign up for the weekly, newsletter and my blog.
Happy holidays to you all,
On with the show!
Audio clips in this episode:
Skits, commercials and parodies in this episode:
I was reading in that running magazine about race strategy etc. and they talked about writing you name on your shirt. They said you can write with indelible marker, but it ruins the shirt or you can tape it on, but the tape falls off. I have solved both these problems.
Here’s what you do. Get white hockey tape. Not the shiny stuff, the cloth stuff. Get the wide roll – like an inch and a half. Take a 8-10 inch strip and write your name with indelible marker on it.
Put that on your shirt where you want it. Now put one small stitch with needle and thread in each of the four corners of your label. This works great if you’re in a hotel for the race and they have those little sewing kits.
You won’t wreck your shirt and it won’t fall off. When you’re done just cut, rip or chew the stitches off.
Be careful what you write on your shirt because you are going to hear it yelled 1,000 times. It better be something you want to hear. I did this for the Chicago Marathon in 1998 and wrote “Boston” on my shirt. It was cool.
Gary Robbins, Endurance Athlete
Live With Passion, Pursue Your Dreams
Another thing that Race prep article talked about was what to do in the corral and when the race starts and you are in a crowd. But they missed a couple points. If you’re up towards the front and the race is properly designed with a reverse funnel or it’s a smaller race you may find yourself running at race pace while still surrounded by runners.
It is tricky to be running at pace and be in a crowd. You have to be very aware of your space. Don’t bob and weave, stay in your lane and try to find an open patch of road until things thin out a bit. One trick is to run towards the side where it tends to be thinner. I’ve found that this allows you to run off into the grass or sidewalk to avoid a jam if you have to.
My most valuable tip for you is for a specific circumstance. When you are running in a crowd at race pace many of these courses will take a sharp turn while things are still stacked up. Everyone will try to run the tangent and it gets quite dangerous.
First, if you have scoped out the course you will know where the turns are and be able to preposition yourself to have the inside position on the tangent. When you go into the turn talk to the people around you. “Heads up”, “Take it easy” etc. just by doing that you will create a bubble. While you are doing it hold your elbows out a little to create a wider space and keep from being tangled in the legs. Not to push or elbow the other competitors, just to set up bumpers so that if someone veers into your space you can catch them with your arms before you get tangled.
There you go, that’s some advanced road racing tactics for you! Keep it safe out there.
The 10 secrets to successful running:
This is the first in a 10 week series where I am going to cover the 10 secrets to successful running. What gives me the Chutzpah to think that I can come up with the definitive list? Nothing – I have no right but that has never stopped me before!
Here’s what I’m doing – I have interviewed some amazing athletes and entrepreneurs and you may have noticed that the last question I inevitably ask them is something like “What advice would you give?” Through this you have probably noticed some common threads. I’ve distilled these into “10 Secrets”.
You may also notice that I make no secret about the fact that these secrets have less to do with the act of running than with the act of living. These secrets are not secrets. I’m going to challenge you over the next 10 weeks. I’m going to give some homework. This is going to be good for the beginners and anyone trying to sort things out and transform themselves…at least that’s my hope and you never achieve anything by aiming low.
Secret Number one – Take responsibility, for yourself and your own running.
This is the first step. You need to take responsibility. You can lean on a coach, or a book or even me for inspiration but the final responsibility is yours. There will come times when you are alone and you will be required to make hard choices. You need to make a contract with yourself now and take ownership of yourself, your running, your body and your mental health.
It makes me crazy to see people abdicating control of their lives and their health to companies or governments or others. Take responsibility for your own life.
Don’t blame others for where you are. It is your life and only you can be accountable for it.
I know it’s scary – but once you make the commitment it is actually very freeing. We cannot give up this responsibility. No one else can own your future.
Take responsibility for your own change. Don’t worry about things you can’t change. You are a combination of genetics, environment and free will. You can’t control your genetics, you can’t control your environment but you can control your own free will.
It’s easy to blame your parents, your job and your spouse – but really you will never be successful unless you take responsibility.
Taking responsibility is like any other muscle it will get stronger the more you exercise it. You can start small and get momentum. Here’s part one of your homework. Pay attention to yourself and look for opportunities to take responsibility. Are you deferring to others? Are you passing on decisions? Practice making decisions this week. Practice taking responsibility.
How does this apply to running? Don’t blame the shoes, the course, the holiday food, the weather or other people. It’s your responsibility to train well and smart. Take ownership of it.
You need to know, to internalize the fact that YOU have the ultimate power over your actions and your results. Here’s the second part of your homework. Come up with a nice catch phrase or mantra and read it every morning. I actually had one taped to my desk when I started a company that said “I can do anything, I can be anything and I am not afraid.” Because, let’s face it, I had no idea if I could do it and I was very afraid. I needed to remind myself every time I picked up the phone and take responsibility for getting it done. If you come up with something really good call in and share it with us.
The last part of your homework is to look for situations where you are blaming other people or other things. “I can’t go today because it is snowing.” I can’t run because Timmy is sick.” Try to turn those around. “Here’s how I will do it today.”
Hope this series is useful to you, or at least provides some grist for your mill. Let me know if you like it or hate it. And share your thoughts with me.
Ok that’s it you have ridden your one-horse open sleigh over the rivers and through the woods to the end of yet another RunRunLive Podcast Episode 152 in the can!
So I was out running last night. I went out and ran 12 miles when I got home, after I gave blood, but that’s another story, it was dark, of course and coldish-below freezing, and there was a bit of snow and ice on the ground. I run on country roads with no sidewalks and the traffic was just mental last night.
Even though I had my headlamp and reflective sweater on I had to jump into the woods 3 separate times to avoid becoming a hood-ornament. So, folks, please, if you are out running at night run into traffic, facing the cars and keep your head up, watch each car as they come at you. People just don’t pay attention when they’re driving. Yes, you are a pedestrian and you have the right of way but it is just not worth arguing with 2 tons of metal – you’ll lose and we don’t want to lose you.
Coming up – I’ve been a busy little Beavis – heh heh heh – I’ve talked with Tom Derderian who is a fairly famous local runner. He was part of the local Boston crew with Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Pete Pfitzinger, Greg Meyer and others back in the 70’s who were a big part of the worlds marathon scene. I also did a wrap up interview with our friend Ashley from MSRunTheUS to get closure from her successful run across the US this summer. I’m also interviewing Mitch Joel – a pretty famous social media guy. After the holiday I’m going to get back around to some other alumni, most notably Sam from Operation Jack to see how his 60 marathons came out, Martin from MarathonQuest250 to see how his 250 marathons ended up and Mary MacManus to see how she continues to conquer Post-Polio syndrome.
Let me tell you the blood story. I was cleaning my inbox and saw a notice that the Red Cross had the BloodMobile in my office complex. I used to give blood all the time, but it has become harder because it takes so long now. The actual blood giving part is like 10 minutes but the rest of it take an hour and a half. But, I figured I’d do my good deed for the week and go give.
Now the first thing you need to know about me is that I have a resting pulse around 39 beats per minute. Part of it is genetic and part of it is because I’ve been a distance runner for 30 years. The nurse takes my pulse and it’s 40. This is no good. The rule says that it has to be 50. We explain it all to supervisor and they decide I’m not abnormal. She takes my pulse again and this time I use my visualization training to get my heart to beat faster. Just by thinking about it I get it up to 46 and everyone is happy.
Think about the mind body connection there that I have built over the years by spending so much time working with and feeling my body and its systems. I’m no yogi, I can’t lay on a bed of nails, but I can move my heart rate plus or minus 5 BPM just by thinking about it. I bet you can too, try it.
The reason it takes so long to give blood now is because they have to ask you 5 times whether you have AIDS or have had sex with anyone who has AIDS or have recently visited a zoo in Cameroon where the monkeys have HIV or have eaten raw meat with mad-cow disease in it…etc. For me, as boring as I am, I am just mystified by all this stuff, but it’s wonderful that they are protecting the blood supply. Now I know you say I never tell you anything personal about myself, but today I will share with you something very personal…I’m O+…Yup, that’s right the Rosetta Stone of Western European blood types. They like my blood.
But this is not the good part of the story. There’s more. They finally get me up on the table and the nurse is looking for a vein. I say, “Is there a problem?” She’s responds with “Well because your athletic the muscles get in the way and it’s hard to isolate the veins.” Well…That’s nice, isn’t it?
They get the needle in and start the red vinny vin vino flowing. This next part just blew me away. She says to me as the bag starts to fill up, quite enthusiastic; “You’ve got wonderful blood! Look at the color!”
I’m a bit befuddled by this. I say “What color is it supposed to be?”
She says, “Oh I can see that you’re an athlete it’s wonderfully rich in color, you can tell the difference.”
Huh. Well now. That’s nice.
I finish up and she’s giving me the instructions. “Now don’t do anything strenuous for 24 hours…it’s like you’ve just run a marathon.”
Seriously? I don’t think so. A pint of blood is only a pound. I typically lose 8 – 10 pounds in a marathon. And, yeah I’m going running tonight, because my wonderful body can make up some more wonderful blood, I’ll be fine. I did and I was.
This is an amusing vignette from my otherwise dull life, but what’s the message? When we run and bike and swim and workout we think in terms of muscles and tendons. It’s more than that. It’s the connection of the mind to the heart. It’s the tension in the fascia covering our renal systems. It’s the oxygen-rich healthy blood that fills our veins. The whole system is lifted and improved.
That’s why we live longer better lives as endurance athletes. Our entire system is supercharged and bubbling with healthy energy and life. It’s not just the muscles and the heart and the lungs it’s everything. That, my friends is the windfall that you are receiving from this investment you have made.
And somewhere out there this holiday season some unlucky person is going slide off the icy country roads of Boston. They are going to be med-evac-ed to a fine hospital in the hub and maybe, just maybe their life will be saved by the infusion of my energetic, wonderful-looking blood brewed up over the many miles and many years.
Have a safe holiday – I’ll see you out there,
Music to take you out, from Music Alley, is homespun-better_take_a_holiday, It’s just under 4 minutes long so see if you can pick it up and close the deal. Head up, lean at the ankles, push your hips forward, land on your forefoot and snap those heels up behind you.
Cyktrussell At gmail and twitter and facebook and youtube
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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.
Email me at cyktrussell at Gmail dot com
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