Podcaster Meet Up! Joint Episode with C Tolle Run

In this episode we bring you a special joint episode with Olympic runner and podcaster Carrie Tollefson from the C Tolle Run. And in the quick tip segment, Angie will explain how to communicate expectations with your running partner before you race together.

Carrie Tollefson is a middle distance runner from Minnesota. She represented the US in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in the 1500 meters. She does regular media coverage for the New York Road Runners including the NYC Marathon and the NYC Half Marathon. Carrie has done commentary for the Twin Cities Marathon, Boston Marathon, and Tokyo Marathon. She hosts a weekly podcast called C Tolle Run.

It’s been fun to meet and collaborate with other podcasters through the years. We kept the agenda loose on this episode -the goal was to have a fun conversation. We ended up talking about some important topics, like pregnancy and running, time management, elite runner Gabriele “Gabe” Grunewald -a fellow Minnesota runner and friend of Carrie’s who lost her battle with cancer on June 11th. We also share our top picks for small town marathons.


About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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Race Recap + How to Keep Pushing in a Marathon

The first main stop on our 2019 camping trip out West (which Trevor is calling our Ultramarathon Sufferfest Extravaganza) was the beautiful Charlevoix Marathon along the shores of lake Michigan.

This was my 58th marathon, 45th state, and 4th fastest marathon.

The day went better than I expected and I managed to squeak out a BQ and 1st place in my age group.

Let me tell you all about it . . .

The 13th annual Charlevoix Marathon was held on Saturday, June 22nd, 2019. They also hosted a half marathon, 10k and 5k the same day.


Packet pick up was available on Friday afternoon and early race morning. The packet pick up and race finishing area was held at Bridge Park in historic downtown Charlevoix, adjacent to the famous draw bridge. Traffic into downtown Charlevoix was very slow but once we got there getting my bib, shirt, and reusable race bag was very easy. One thing I loved about the race was how small the bib was

Angie and Trev in Charlavoix

After scoping out the race area and getting my bib we strolled around the beautiful lakefront and then headed to our campsite which was located about 15 miles away. I spent the rest of the day taking it easy and getting my race kit put together.

Race Morning:

Since the marathon start time was at 6:30am and I like to be early we decided that I would drive myself to the race. So, if you’re envisioning Trevor and the kids out on the course cheering me on or waiting at the finish line, that didn’t happen.

Look at this tiny race bib!

There was plenty of free downtown parking on race morning. I got there around 45 minutes before the race started and had my choice of spots. There was also plenty of time to use the port-a-pots and head over to the start area. A listener named Mike who was there for the half marathon found me and we had a nice chat and got a picture. He mentioned that he might find me out on the course later and run a couple miles with me. I also saw MTA member Heidi at the start. She and her sister were doing the 10k which started at 7:15am.

The half marathon started a half hour after the marathon.
The race had a good announcer and sound system and they solicited a volunteer from the crowd to sing the National Anthem (since their scheduled person called in sick). The weather was clear and mid-50’s at the start and the early morning light was beautiful. I lined up just behind the 3:45 pace group and waited for the starting gun. I felt excited to be there with just the right amount of pre-race anticipation.

The Course:

The start line is on Bridge Street just beyond the draw bridge which opens every 30 minutes. Lake Michigan was visible just to the left and Round Lake to the right. For the first three miles we went through some nice shady neighborhoods before winding out of town on a paved bike/walk path.

The course is an out and back so that makes it more predictable than point to point courses. You know anything that goes up on the way out will be down on the way back and vise versa. The course is mostly flat with a few rolling hills. There was one hill in the earlier miles that I briefly walked because I didn’t want to elevate my heart rate too much at that point. There were also some downhill sections that I let my legs fly on a little bit. A couple times I looked down at my pace and it made me hopeful that I wouldn’t blow up later.

The course ventures around the local ski mountain Mount McSauba, down tree lined roads, along the lakeshore, and then the turn around point was at Little Traverse Bay. There were a couple miles of the course on a wooden bridge that was a nice change on the legs. I can see why Runner’s World Magzine named the Charlevoix Marathon as one of the best “small town marathons” in the United States.

The course stayed nice and wide throughout and there was plenty of room to run. This felt like a big contrast from previously running the London Marathon where it was crowded the whole way. There were stretches that I wasn’t running around anyone but there were also plenty of sections where I leap frogged other runners who were around the same pace. Toward the last 10 miles there were some half marathon walkers out on the course as well. The course is advertized as fast and flat (unless you’re from Florida says the race info). They also advertize a high rate of BQ’s on the course. In 2018 19.6% of marathoners BQ’d and this year 16.4% BQ’d.

The weather warmed up to the high 60’s and it felt warm out in the sun. However, there were also frequent shady sections which were helpful. Several times the course opened up with great views of Lake Michigan which was beautiful. The fire department had a hose sprinkler set up around mile 23 for runners to cool off if they needed to.

Aid Stations:

There weren’t many spectators out on the course so it was nice to see the friendly people at the aid stations. The aid stations were located approximately every 1.5 miles and had water and sports drink. A few locations also had extras like candy and there was even a bacon stop. Since the course was out and back the bacon stop was located at mile 3 and 23 and I didn’t feel like testing my body with it at that point. For my fueling I used Generation Ucan snack bars (one 30 minutes before) and ½ bar every 5 miles. I also took some electrolyte capsules. I was also drinking a cup of water at each aid station and dumping one on myself to stay cool.

Use the promo code “MTABQ” to save 15% off your order. Or is you’re new to UCAN, save 25% on your first order with code MTA25”.

Finish Line:

During the marathon my mantra was “keep pushing.” This kept me from getting comfortable at a pace and slacking off (and also helped keep my mindset strong). My legs felt strong although I did have some glute soreness which I took as a good sign that they were doing their job (and not giving me hamstring pain).

At mile 24 I was surprised to see Mike, who I’d met earlier, show up to pace and encourage me. It was great to have his company and that helped me push up a final hill and finish mile 26 with a 7:58 pace. I had a strong finishing kick the final 0.2 miles to cross the finish line in 3:39:25. This was my 58th marathon and 45th state and 4th fastest marathon (haven’t run faster for 5 years). My split for the first half was 1:48:40 and 2nd half split was 1:51:06. Overall, I was 88/364 and the 21/168 female. In addition to squeaking out a BQ (my qualifying time is 3:40).

The finish line was located back in historic Charlevoix. There were a good number of spectators cheering runners to a strong finish.

Winners: The men’s winner for the marathon was Leo Foley with a time of 2:42:46. The female marathon champion was Rachel Whipple with a time of 3:07:30. For the HM the male champion was Will Schrantz with a time of 1:13:44 and the female HM winner was Shelby Kelsh with a time of 1:23:27. The marathon had a total of 364 finishers, the HM had 719, the 10k had 279 and the 5k had 359 finishers. The finisher’s medal was large and had a beautiful design.

The post race area was past the bridge in the downtown area where they’d hosted packet pickup. For food and drink options they had water, chocolate milk, licorice, fruit snacks, bananas, apples, chips, popcorn, pizza, and rice krispie bars. Runners reclined on the grass out in the sun to eat their food, wait for family members, and to participate in the post-race award ceremony.

MTA Meet Up:

I drove back to our camper and was able to get a shower before we headed back to Charlevoix for the MTA meet up at The Villager Pub. It was awesome to get to meet Dan Beard from MI who ran the marathon, Heidi from MD (who was coming off an injury that prevented her from doing the marathon and walked the 10k and her sister Wendy who walked her first 10k, and sisters Karen and Beth from MI who did the half marathon as part of their training for an upcoming marathon.

MTA Meet Up

After the race I met up with another MTA listener from the Traverse City area named Amy. She’d run and did great in the 5k and it was fun to talk with her. Since my phone died she graciously became my personal photographer. I went and checked my time and was shocked to see that I finished first in my AG (40-44). However I wasn’t able to stick around for the award ceremony because I needed to get back to Trevor and the boys. I also met up with listener Tina and her husband Mike (who was a great at cheering out on the course). Tina also finished 1st in her AG and BQ’d.

I mentioned that I started the marathon around the 3:45 pace group but quickly passed the group because there was too much talking and it was hard for me to focus. I guess I just wasn’t in the head space for being around a group the whole marathon (maybe because I’d basically had no privacy or alone time in the previous 5 days as we traveled with the camper). I put on an audiobook (which I find helps keep my mind engaged without the adrenaline spikes that music can provide) and listened to that until my phone died around mile 15.

My strategy going into the race was to run as strong as possible and leave it all there. That was one reason why I kept a fairly aggressive pace in the beginning.

I had just come off reading the book Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins and that really helped me be in a good place mentally. For those who aren’t familiar with him, he came from a very rough background of poverty and abuse and went on to become a Navy Seal and general bad ass.

He’s a very extreme personality who is driven to find the limits physically and mentally (he also went through Army Ranger training, set the pull up record for 4,230 pull ups in 24 hours, has run the Badwater 135 numerous times, etc.) While I don’t endorse his way of training because he absolutely trashes his body, he shares a lot of great mindset strategies and tips. In fact he starts out the book with a solo mission that goes like this:

“Situation: You are in danger of living a life so comfortable and soft that you will die without ever realizing your true potential. Mission: To unshackle your mind. Ditch the victim’s mentality forever. Own all aspects of your life completely. Build an unbreakable foundation. Execution: Read this cover to cover. Study the techniques within, accept all ten challenges. Repeat. Repetition will callous your mind. If you do your job to the best of your ability, this will hurt. This mission is not about making yourself feel better. This mission is about being better and having a greater impact on the world. Don’t stop when you are tired. Stop when you are done.” -David Goggins

There’s a lot of language in the book but it’s also fascinating and a great way to dial in a stronger mental game.

My Training

“Please share your goals, pacing strategy, and any adjustments you made during the race.” -Peter

My goal going into this marathon was to have a strong race and finish as sub-4 as possible. I had a lot of confidence coming off the London Marathon 7 weeks ago that I could at least do that time (3:59) or better. After London I took 2-3 weeks for easy running and didn’t do any runs over 90 minutes during that time. Then I had time to do a 17 mile (2:30) long run and 20 mile (3:05) long run before doing a 3 week taper before this marathon. Both long runs were run in fairly warm conditions on a hilly course and I averaged around a 9:35 pace. So this didn’t give me a lot of information on how my body would do on a flatter marathon course. I’d lost about 6 more pounds since the London Marathon so I knew this would also be a factor in my favor.

Are you still using the Hanson’s Marathon Training Method? -Debbie

When we did the episode about how we were training for the London Marathon I mentioned that I was loosely basing my training off the Hanson’s Training Method. So, I need to clarify that I never strictly followed this method. But I did take some features and incorporate them into my training. That would include running more days per week, going into my long run with my legs somewhat fatigued, and capping my longest run at 3 hours.

Since the London Marathon I’ve been doing most of my shorter training runs on the treadmill because my allergies have been so bad. I also find that it’s easier to keep my pace slower for easy runs on the TM because there isn’t the variation in terrain. I’ve been keeping up my schedule of core and lower body strength training, getting regular massage, and getting lots of sleep.

My Pacing Strategy

I can’t say that I had much of a pacing strategy going in to the Charlevoix Marathon. I wanted to keep my effort level fairly steady in the first 20 miles so that it was challenging but not exhausting. From experience I know that I can usually muster a few strong finishing miles so I had the mental confidence going in that I can be strong after mile 20.

One of my go-to mantras is “I’m stronger after mile 20.” I’ve also heard some coaches say that the first half of a marathon is through mile 20 and the second half is the final 10k. I started just behind the 3:45 pacing group thinking that it would be a nice stretch goal. However, like I mentioned, I decided early on to pass that group because it felt too wearing to listen to the constant chatter. I figured at some point that I might end up seeing them again.

I tried to take advantage of certain features of the course like opening up my pace a bit on downhill sections. A couple times I glanced down to see my pace, saw it was pretty fast for the early miles, did a body scan (breathing, muscles, etc), and hoped I wouldn’t regret that pace later. I think every marathoner worries occasionally about a fast first half coming back to bite them. I’ve certainly blown up plenty of times later in a marathon. But I knew that my energy felt solid and the cool morning was working to my advantage so I wanted to capitalize on that as much as possible too.

Mentally I tried to maintain a balance of being focused but not obsessing over the little things. It’s a temptation during a marathon to fall back to the pace of least resistance and I was determined to fight that. My mantra every time I felt any negativity or doubt creep in was “you’re okay, stay hard.” I also kept telling myself, “keep pushing.”

I was able to reel in a couple runners who had gotten ahead of me during the race and that felt good. It’s okay to let a bit of competition creep in as long as you’re careful to keep the big picture in mind. Most of us aren’t racing for 1st place so it’s important to not let your ego get the better of you by racing people mid-race.

Around mile 20 I was trying to do some calculations in my head and figured that if I could keep sub-9:00 miles to the finish I would finish around 3:40. But math is hard during a marathon so I didn’t obsess over my pace and just kept pushing. With 3 miles left I realized that I had a good chance of finishing sub 3:40 which would be a BQ if I kept up my pace. But I never allow myself to get overconfident until I’ve actually crossed the finish line.

At mile 24 MTA listener Mike showed up to run the last couple miles with me. He figured out what my pace was and stayed just ahead of me with his orange shirt. One thought I had was “I can’t let him see me whimp out in the last couple of miles.” Despite pushing hard up a final hill around this point I still had enough in me to have a good finishing kick for the last 0.2 miles. It was almost unbelievable to look down and see sub 3:40 on my watch. I got the biggest post-marathon high feeling so happy and grateful for such a strong marathon. When I got over to the timing table and saw my official time of 3:39:25 along with the news that I was first in my age group it was icing on the cake.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

CEP Compression -Check out the latest tall compression sock from CEP, the 3.0 with an updated look, upgraded fit and feel thanks to a blend of 16 yarns, with the same best in class graduated compression, now just a little easier to put on. Use the code “Marathon” for 15% off from now till August 31st.

Generation Ucan -the revolutionary new way for runners to fuel. UCAN keeps your blood sugar stable and allows your body to burn fat. Use the promo code “MTABQ” to save 15% off your order. Or is you’re new to UCAN, save 25% on your first order with code MTA25”.

MetPro -Using Metabolic Profiling, MetPro analyzes your metabolism and provides you with an individualized strategy to obtain your weight or body composition goals.

DripDrop O.R.S. 0an electrolyte powder developed by a doctor to treat dehydration. Go to dripdrop.com/mta to get 20% off any purchase.

VARIDESK -the world’s leading standing desk solution, converting any desk into a standing desk so you can maintain a healthy active lifestyle in the office or at home.

Love Beets – Love Beets offers fun flavors and simple beet products for beet lovers and beet newbies alike! Use code MTA at checkout for 20% off online orders

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Marathon Success Story with Dr. Jon Lepley

In this episode we bring you a marathon success story with Academy member Jon Lepley who after a life-long struggle with addiction decided to run a marathon at the age of 40 and well . . . you will just have to hear what happened next!

And in the quick tip segment, Angie will explain how to intelligently gauge your response to training so you know if what you’re doing is working.

Jon Lepley is a long time listener to the podcast and Academy member from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is the Medical Director at Eagleville Hospital -a large inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility with a long legacy of treating underserved and stigmatized people. Before this he was the doctor at the Philadelphia Jail where he started an addiction treatment program that has now been studied by other correctional systems around the country. Last year alone he was able to treat 1200 people entering the Philadelphia jail addicted to heroin.

This interview was inspired by an email that Jon sent us back in April. His story is a powerful illustration of how running can help turn one’s life around.

Here is the email.

Hi Trevor and Angie,

I’ve been meaning to reach out for a few months now. I didn’t really make time to contribute to your episode 262 last year, and I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the role your podcast played in my life these past few years.

I spent many years of my life addicted to various drugs and alcohol. There’s no real cause for that, it’s just how I’m put together. I had been able to achieve a lot of things despite these addictions…finishing college, getting in to medical school, becoming a doctor, getting married…or perhaps partly because of it. Most of these endeavors were largely undertaken in attempt to “fix” myself. However, by age 30, my use of drugs and alcohol was simply not sustainable. I found myself in a ton of debt and out of work and in a psychiatric hospital…just lucky to be alive.

I did receive addiction treatment at age 30, and a second chance at a career. I figured out how to go through life without using drugs and alcohol for the sake of retaining a medical license, but I definitely did not figure out how to be content in life. In the years that followed, I found myself on a downward spiral of different sorts. By age 37 I had totally lost my way and reached even lower depths without the aid of addictive substances. From a career standpoint, I decided to quit my job and work nearly 90 miles from my home as a doctor in the Philadelphia Jail system. Truth be told, I just wanted to hide from the world. A relatively massive big city jail system seemed like a good place to do that.

It was in that bleak setting that I found your podcast. I just turned 40 years old and was working as a jail doctor 90 miles from my family. In some ways, I did thrive in that jail environment. I learned how to be a good doctor and how to genuinely care for people while setting healthy boundaries. But a familiar boredom was setting in and I aspired to nothing in particular. The idea of running a marathon at age 40 popped in to my head, and gave me a spark. I clung to that as something to give me purpose.

From July until November of 2015, I probably listened to every one of your back podcasts as I joined MTA and committed to running a marathon. To this day, whenever I hear the opening of your podcast, it still reminds me of that time almost 4 years ago. So many mornings of getting up before dawn, and strapping lights on to my knuckles, and (no matter how tired I felt) running whatever number of miles were on the training plan that day.

I can see now that I was on a path back then. I didn’t believe in God back then, but he definitely put me on that starting line of the marathon that day. To this day, after years of being involved in MTA and running many marathons and half marathons, I still have never run so many miles as I did in the 3 months preparing for that first marathon. These days, I seemingly am always injuring something anytime I exceed 20 miles per week. But not back then. Not before that first marathon. I ran hundreds of miles…hundreds of thousands of individual steps…without so much as a twisted ankle or pulled muscle in 2015.

After all of those miles, the importance of that marathon seemed to dwarf everything else that was going on in my life. I was filled with fear and that fear functioned as a form of anesthesia on race day. I felt good for the first 10 miles and so I ran way too fast. By mile 13, fear was only taking me so far and I realized that I felt way more tired than I should feel for only being half way done. At mile 18, everything fell apart. I felt tired and defeated and certain that I could not finish. I still remember how badly I felt in that moment, knowing that I worked so hard and that I was about to fail anyway despite all of it. Not knowing how else to cope, I simply started to find reasons to be grateful.

Everything about that day changed for me once I decided to just be grateful. I suddenly saw things as they really were. I could see how unimportant being able to run 26.2 miles on that particular day really was in the grand scheme of things. Truly important things in life came in to focus. I was able to see how far I had come as an athlete and a human being. I could see how much I loved my job at the jail, and that I was a father to an amazing daughter, and that people whom cared about me would be waiting for me at the Finish Line. I found myself able to keep pushing forward, always finding some reason to be grateful as a way to cope with my fatigue and pain. I was different person from the one who started when I crossed the Finish Line that day.

It wasn’t sheer guts and determination that got me through those last 8 miles. For me, it was gratitude. Gratitude is definitely a theme in all of your podcasts and that’s surely no coincidence that it’s what got me to the finish line that day.

The success in my career and my marriage that followed after that first marathon are also no coincidence. I learned so many things from that process that I couldn’t possibly fit it all in one email. I have since started one of the largest medication assisted treatment programs in the country at the Philadelphia jail. I was able to treat over 1200 people entering the Philadelphia jail addicted to heroin last year alone. In January of this year, I left that job on good terms in order to take a job as Medical Director at Eagleville Hospital, which is a large inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility with a long legacy of treating underserved and stigmatized people. Eagleville Hospital is much closer to my home and allows me to see my family every day (whether they like it or not).

So thank you for coming in to my life with your podcast and with Marathon Training Academy. You truly helped me to change my life.

Jon Lepley, DO

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Soar Running -They’re giving away a SOAR Summer Training Bundle to 2 lucky winners: each bundle includes a pair of shorts or bottoms, a T-shirt or vest and a Lightweight Cap. Simply head over to www.soarrunning.com/mta to enter and for your chance to win.

VARIDESK -the world’s leading standing desk solution, converting any desk into a standing desk so you can maintain a healthy active lifestyle in the office or at home.

Love Beets -offers ready-to-eat beet products, perfect for beet lovers and beet newbies alike! Find their products at most major retailers nationwide, like Kroger, Whole Foods, Costco, and more. Check out lovebeets.com and use code MTA at checkout for 20% off online orders.

The Runner’s Toolbox for injury prevention. Eight inexpensive items to keep at home.

About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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Weight Loss Tips for Marathoners

In this podcast episode we bring you a special conversation with our nutrition coach, Natalie Mason, about how marathoners can lose weight and still maintain energy to do what they love.

And in the quick tip segment I’ll share how you can incorporate lower body strength training into your routine and never skip leg day!

Our Guest on This Episode

Natalie Mason is a Managing Dietitian at MetPro -a company that provides concierge nutrition and fitness coaching. She has a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition & Food Science and Masters of Science in Nutrition Sciences. She’s a Registered Dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

In this conversation will you hear why marathon training doesn’t automatically lead to weight loss, the most common mistakes runners make with their diet, how the principle of “contrast” through “up adjusting” and “down adjusting” leads to metabolic proficiency, and the shocking number of runners who do zero strength training.

How This Interview Came About

In late 2015 I started inexplicably gaining weight despite keeping up my marathon training schedule (I ran 10 marathons and ultras that year) and eating as healthy as I knew how. The weight continued to pile on.

I finally realized that I was dealing with a hormonal imbalance -probably due to a combination of stress and other factors. I began working with a functional medicine doctor who put me on thyroid medicine for 1 year until my hormones balanced. Thankfully, I was able to go off all medications but I the extra weight (about 35 pounds) did not budge.

I encourage people to appreciate their bodies no matter what they weigh, but as a runner the extra weight impacts your joints and can effect your marathon times. For me it was like carrying around an extra 35 pound weight on all of my runs.

I started working with Natalie from MetPro in November of 2018 and have lost 26 pounds at we recorded this podcast episode. I was initially skeptical at first but MetPro has been and amazing system for for helping me reduce fat and keep my energy levels high for doing what I love . . . which is running marathons! And Natalie is a wonderful coach as you will hear in our interview.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

MetPro -Using Metabolic Profiling, MetPro analyzes your metabolism and provides you with an individualized strategy to obtain your weight or body composition goals.

NuNee -designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Use code MTA10 for a 10% discount.

High Performance Lifting -Strength Training Program for Runners –

Love Beets -ready-to-eat beet products, perfect for beet lovers and beet newbies alike! Use code MTA at checkout for 20% off online orders.

Varidesk -converts any desk into a standing desk and is designed with durable, best-in-class materials that fit in any environment or workspace.

About Angie Spencer

Angie is a registered nurse and running coach who empowers new runners to conquer the marathon, run faster, and take their health and fitness to the next level. Join the Academy

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Run And Become: Interview with Sanjay Rawal

In this episode we bring you a fascinating conversation with runner and filmmaker Sanjay Rawal about indigenous running cultures around the world, running as an act of meditation, and the world’s longest certified footrace –The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race in New York City!

Sanjay Rawal worked in the human rights and international development sectors for 15 years and in over 40 countries before focusing his love for photography and storytelling onto filmmaking. A lifelong runner, Sanjay was happy to lose the pounds he gained eating Mexican food in farmworker towns and take on a project about running. His new film, 3100: Run and Become, opened in theaters in fall 2018. He has a daily meditation practice for 27 years and was a middle-distance runner in high-school and college and runs an average of 50 miles.

Navajo runner

“Marathon Monks” of Japan

African Bushman subsistence hunters

Ashprihanal Aalto from Finland holds the course record at the 3100

The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race will start on June 16th 2019. Eight runners have entered the race this year including Ashprihanal for the 15th time.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Link to the movie website: 3100 Run and Become

Link to the race: The Self-Transcendence 3100

Races we are signed up for this summer: view our itenerary page.

NuNee -designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Use code MTA10 for a 20% discount.

MetPro -Using Metabolic Profiling, MetPro analyzes your metabolism and provides you with an individualized strategy to obtain your goals.

Tigerbalm Active -a non-sticky gel with a cool-to-warm sensation that helps with muscle fatigue and recovery. Pick up Tiger Balm Active today at your local CVS or Rite Aid store

Varidesk -converts any desk into a standing desk and is designed with durable, best-in-class materials that fit in any environment or workspace.

About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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Interview with Alexi Pappas -Olympic Runner and Filmmaker

In this episode we bring you an interview with Alexi Pappas, Greek-American distance runner, Olympian, actor and filmmaker. And in the quick tip segment, we discus a study that claims that walking boosts creativity.

Alexi Pappas represented Greece in the 2016 Summer Olympics Women’s 10k event. She set a new national record for her country running 31:36:16. She has moved up to the marathon distance with an eye toward representing Greece in the 2020 games. She ran 2:43:38 at the Chicago Marathon last year. She also starred in the movies Tracktown and Olympic Dreams.

photo credits: www.alexipappas.com/

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Alexi Pappas on the web: Website, Instagram, Facebook

Generation Ucan -keeps your blood sugar stable and allows your body to burn fat. Use the promo code “MTAALEXI” to save 15% off your order.

Lactigo -a topical gel that improves athletic performance and recovery. LactiGo is an effective, fast-acting topical gel with menthol and carnosine that helps people maximize their athletic performance and speed muscle recovery. Applied directly to the skin above the desired muscles for targeted relief. Use the code MTA for a 10% discount!

Varidesk– converts any desk into a standing desk and is designed with durable, best-in-class materials that fit in any environment or workspace.

Biolite 330 -Transform your lowlight runs with BioLite HeadLamp 330, an ultra-thin, no-bounce headlamp that is so comfortable, you’ll forget you’re wearing it! Use code MTA at checkout for 15% off your order.

Ted TalkHow Walking Can Make You More Creative by Marily Oppezzo

University of Bristol Study -tracked 200 students and faculty and found that those who performed aerobic exercise at the beginning of the day were 23% more productive than those who did not.

About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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The London Marathon Race Recap

In this podcast episode we bring you the long awaited race recap of the 2019 London Marathon. We’ll tell you all about our trip to the U.K. and what it was like to run this amazing race. This is a beast of an episode so kick back and enjoy!

The 39th edition of the London Marathon was held on 28 April, 2019. This marathon has been continually operating since 1981 and this year there were a record of 42,906 starters (414,168 tried for a ballot place) and 42,549 finishers on The Mall. Hugh Brasher is the race director and the marathon has raised 1.3 billion dollars for charity since it started. Their tag line this year was “thanks a billion.”(3) After several years of not getting in through the lottery system we were very excited to get charity spots with the UK based John Muir Trust and to raise money to plant trees on a property they manage in Scotland.


Trevor’s dad flew out from WA state to watch the boys while we were gone and we’re so grateful to him. However, our trip got off to a slightly rough start when I came down with the flu 12 hours before our flight went out. One of our kids also had the stomach flu the day before. Fortunately my stomach was fully recovered by two days before the marathon and sickness didn’t slow us down on our site seeing. Here are some of the things we did while in London…took walking tour of London, toured Westminister Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, The Tower of London, and the National Museum. We also went all over using public transportation including riding the Emirates Cable Car which went over the Thames River.

The Race Expo (aka The London Marathon Running Show)

The Running Show was located at the ExCel building in East London. They were open to runners and the public from Wednesday through Saturday before the marathon. You were required to pick up your bib using ID and the email bar code sent to you and to test out your timing chip. If needed you could designate another person to pick up your bib. There are three colors of bibs with three corresponding starts (red-charity, blue, green) and the zone that you line up into before the marathon.

The race was good about sending out pre-race emails and there’s a ton of information about logistics over on the website. They allow ballot and age qualifiers to defer their entry one year before the deadline if needed (this is not the case with charity spots). They also have an app so that you’re able to track family, friends, or celebrity times that you’re interested in.

They had a variety of games, motivational posters you could sign, and a treadmill set at world record pace (to see if anyone can run that fast for 400 meters). You can view the video above.

MTA Meet Up:

We had our MTA meet up near the expo on Saturday for an afternoon British tea which consisted of tea, sandwiches, and a variety of deserts and scones. Had a great turnout…list names, sound-bites… Thanks to everyone who came out to meet us! In fact, the MTA podcast was dubbed “The People’s Podcast for Running” by Phil Shin, one of the runners at the meet up.

MTA Meet Up

Race Morning

The London Underground offers free transportation on race day when you show your bib, which is a very nice touch. One thing to be aware of is that not all underground locations are open on race day so you want to carefully plan how to get to your particular start line (for us it was in Greenwich Park).

Riding the train to Greenwich Station on marathon morning

It took us an hour and a half to get from the hotel we were staying at to the start area via public transportation. There was also nearly a mile walk to get to the corral area. You also want to allow for time to get your drop bag to the appropriate location (they provide specific clear plastic drop bags), use the port-a-loos (long lines, bring your own toilet paper), and get into your assigned starting corral by the time limit (although some volunteers were letting people into their assigned corral after the deadline.

Many run in costumes in support of their charities

Race morning logistics can be a bit more challenging at large marathons, especially since at London there are three separate start areas. The baggage drop was efficient. Another thing to remember depending which coral you are in is that it could be up to an hour or so after the official start before you cross the start line. This is important to consider when it comes to ditching throw away clothing and doing last minute nutrition/hydration.

The Course

The London Marathon is known as a flat and fast, point to point course. It has blue lines painted on the course which would be the exact marathon distance if you were able to follow it directly (the tangent). However the reality is that you’ll end up weaving around other runners a lot of going further than 42.2 km/26.2 miles. The course was clearly marked with both kilometers and miles and there was a timing mat every 5k.

Pace Teams: According to the website there were 65 pacers from the Runner’s World x New Balance Pace Team, ranging from 3:00 hour to 7:30 pace. Pacers were carrying large flags displaying their times and were available in each of the three starting areas. However, I noticed that the 4:00 pacer for the red start disappeared at mile 5. Trevor finished before the 4:30 pacer (in 4:38).

The first 3km of the marathon are spent heading east from Greenwich Park and this is a good time to go with the flow and watch your feet with the large pack of runners around you. It can be crowded for the first 5 or 6 miles since all three starts merge at the 5k mark. This is the section of the course with the most noticeable downhill so you might notice faster splits during this beginning section.

At around the 10k mark the course goes by the Cutty Sark (a British clipper ship built in the late 1860’s) and this area has a ton of spectators (which narrows the course a bit).

The Cutty Sark

Crowd support is amazing through the whole marathon but it quiets down a bit until 20-22km where there are more crowds and where runners cross the Tower Bridge and hit the halfway mark. It was here that there was approximately a mile section where we could see faster runners who were at the 22 mile point. One thing that struck me is that most of them looked like they were in a lot of discomfort.

Tower Bridge

Later on there’s the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf section of the course which is a bit quieter. The crowds pick up again around 35km at Shadwell and the final 5k passes some amazing landmarks including Big Ben and Buckingham Palace before turning into the finish line area at The Mall.

Aid Stations:
There were 19 aid stations on the route situated as follows: 13 had water in 250 ml bottles with a flip-top lid. They requested that you drain theses before discarding so that they can be recycled. Sports drink was available at 5 locations (2 with compostable cups) and at mile 23 the Ooho sachets which are 25 ml seaweed capsules filled with sports drink. They are edible and biodegradable, vegan and allergen free. You were supposed to consume them like a cherry tomato.

I really enjoyed having the small bottles of water because I was able to hang onto it and consume it as needed. I didn’t use any of the sports drinks, gels, or other food on the course. I brought UCAN bars with me and ate half a bar every 5 miles. Since the start time was later I was able to have a normal breakfast that morning and then just started on my fueling strategy during the race.


The finish line area was exciting with the crowds and the announcer as you cross the final timing mats. They gave out a nice medal with several of London’s landmarks on one side and the course on the other, the finishers shirt, and a bag of food at the end (included in the bag was sports drink, a variety of different snack foods, and a heat sheet). Then there was the gear check pickup followed by the meet and greet area which had letters of the alphabet in order to meet friends/family.

Trevor saw MTA listener Simon Wright at the finish


There was an incredibly strong elite line-up for both men and women going into the race. One interesting thing is that the London Marathon pays for pace rabbits for the elites for the first half of the marathon (you’ll see them dressed in the black and white stripped singlets). The regular pacing for the first half is one reason why there’s often fast times coming out of London.

Elite Men:

  • 1st: Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) – 2:02:37 (4th time winning London, beat his own course record and set the 2nd fastest time ever). He told a reporter with the BBC “I’m happy to win on the streets of London for the fourth time and to make history. The crowd in London is wonderful, and that spirit pushed me.”(6)
  • 2nd: Mosinet Geremew (Ethiopia) – 2:02:55
  • 3rd: Mule Wasihun (Ethiopia) – 2:03:16
  • 5th- Sir Mo Farah (GB)- 2:05:39
  • Elite Women:
  • 1st: Brigid Kosgei (Kenya) – 2:18:20, she ran a PB; “I am over the moon with that,” she said. “I always promise myself in the last mile that I would never run another step. But this is not my retirement.”
  • 2nd: Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya) – 2:20:14
  • 3rd: Roza Dereje Bekele (Ethiopia) – 2:20:51
  • 6th- Emily Sisson (US) 2:23:08, made her marathon debut running the 6th fastest American time on an eligible course

Men’s Elite WC:

  • 1st: Daniel Romanchuk (US) – 1:33:38
  • Marcel Hug (Switzerland)- 1:33:42
  • 3rd: Tomoki Suzuki (Japan) – 1:33:51
  • Women’s Elite WC:
  • 1st: Manuela Schar (Switzerland) – 1:44:09
  • 2nd: Tatyana McFadden (US)- 1:49:42
  • 3rd: Madison de Rozario (Australia)- 1:49:43

Ever Presents

The Ever Presents are a group of 11 runners who have completed every London Marathon since 1981 (this was the 39th year). We saw a feature on TV pre-race about the oldest Ever Present, Kenneth Jones, age 84. He talked a bit about his training and goal of making it to 40 years in a row. He finished this year in 7:40. Another Ever Present, Chris Finill age 60, clocked a time of 2:59:46, breaking the three-hour barrier for the 38th time in 39 races. There will be 10 Ever Presents running London in 2020 as one didn’t finish this year. (7)

Slower runners treated badly:

The London Marathon is currently investigating reports that back of the pack runners were insulted (called fat and slow) while the course was being torn down around them. There are even reports of water stations closing before runners arrived and the clean-up crews spraying runners with cleaning fluid used to clean the streets. One woman reportedly came away with chemical burns. Elizabeth Ayres, one of the official pacers (of the 7:30 group) told reporters that the attitude and lack of support was the most disappointing part. She said, “The whole marathon was just horrible. I had runners that were crying.” She also said that she had encountered a number of issues, such as no water stations being available after the third mile, clean-up operations starting while she was still running and officials insulting competitors. She heard comments from event workers including: “If you weren’t so fat you could run faster,” and “it’s a race not a walk.” Ayres has done a total of five marathons has also run the London Marathon previously, which she said usually has an up-beat, “party” atmosphere. She was expecting that again when she set off on Sunday, but told CNN that “after about a mile, we didn’t have anything, apart from vehicles trying to knock us off the road,” and people telling the runners to “get a move on.”

Hopefully this very sad experience can be used so that slower runners aren’t treated this way ever again. If you advertize a certain course time limit then you need to keep full course support open during that entire time. It’s challenging enough to be out on a marathon course for over seven hours but to do it without support and that kind of negative pressure would be horrible. (5)


On a more positive note the London Marathon is known for lots of costumes. On the way to the race we talked to a runner who was carrying an ostrich costume in a bag. I later saw him at the start line. Other costumes viewed along the way included rhinos, a 2 person dragon, a 2 person dog, trees, a sleeping bag, a tent, a flip flop, a running shoe, a Mrs. Doubtfire looking old lady, a banana….

There were 38 official Guinness World Records set out of 78 attempts. The Guinness World Records has worked with the London Marathon for the last 12 years with on the finish line verification. This inspires some fun and creative costumes. We all know it’s challenging enough to run a marathon while not in costume so mad respect to anyone who attempts this.

The fastest marathon dressed as a love heart, run by Thomas Brockwell in 3:05:32. He was quoted as saying, “The last 800m were hell when I saw just how close it was. The legs are now fully dead.”

A married couple set the record for fastest marathon with two runners handcuffed together in an impressive time of 3:43:17.Rebecca, the wife, said: “We were alright until 20 miles and then my husband got a bit tired, so it was quite difficult at the end to be in sync and for me to motivate him. The chains were pulling.” Her husband said: “My legs were gone; my back had a spasm!”

Lukas Bates dressed as Big Ben to run the marathon hoping to run the fastest time for the Guinness World Record dressed as a landmark. The video of him trying to cross the finish line in the costume went viral (if you haven’t seen it do yourself a favor, stop everything and go watch it now). He was running for the UK Alzheimer’s Society and raised 5,000 pounds. Unfortunately his time of 3:54 wasn’t enough to break the record of 3:34:34. Then his day got much worse when his costume was stolen post-race when he stopped to get a drink at a pub. There’s been a reward offered for the costume’s safe return. (1)

My Experiences:

As I mentioned earlier the week didn’t get off to the best start with my bout of stomach flu. Fortunately I was feeling normal by two days before the marathon but I didn’t run for five days pre-marathon. We ended up doing so much walking around London that I decided to give my body extra rest and call it good. I also tried hard to get as much sleep before the race as possible (which can sometimes be challenging in a different time zone).

One of the things that I always get super nervous about (especially during large marathons) is logistics. It can be a challenge to know how much time to leave to get to the start area. By the time we had arrived at Greenwich Park and had walked to the bag drop area I had basically 20 minutes to get into my corral. And of course I needed to use the toilet quite badly due to the amount of water and tea I’d consumed earlier in the morning. I decided that using the bathroom trumped getting into my corral on time. One thing I noticed was that it was difficult to hear any of the announcements in the bathroom lines. Thankfully I finished in the bathroom with two minutes to spare and hustled over to Zone 2 of the red start (charity runners). I noticed later that they were letting people in even after the deadline.

The starting area atmosphere was exciting with lots of nervous chatter and the noise of announcers coming through the speakers. One thing they did in Berlin that would have been nice in London was having big screens in every Zone so that we could see what was going on. There was one screen closer to the start line that was showing each wave start as well as drone footage panning the huge crowds. There were runners packed in as far as the eye could see in front and back.

Finally they released my wave and we officially crossed the start line to the cheers of crowds lining the starting area. It was exciting and a bit surreal to be running such an amazing marathon. And no matter how many marathons a person has done there’s always that looming question mark about how the race is going to go. Thankfully the weather was perfect for a marathon. It was overcast most of the day and cool in the morning (mid 40’s to high 50’s). There were a couple times when it started raining lightly during the race but it didn’t last long. I wore a throw away jacket to the start line, discarded it there, and quickly warmed up by mile 2. My John Muir Trust singlet and running skirt were just perfect for the weather.

I found the first few miles to be pretty congested and had to stay mentally focused to keep on pace especially around the aid stations and anytime the road would narrow. Plus, there were spectators along nearly the whole route which always keeps me from zoning out. Despite the amount of runners I posted fairly fast 5k and 10k splits which made me a little nervous. On one hand I was feeling mostly good but I was afraid that I’d get handed a piano later in the race. The British expression, “Keep calm and carry on” came to mind.

By the 10 mile mark my right hamstring was making a few protests and I started dealing with some negative thinking. Here are some of the things going through my mind (among many): How will I ever keep up this pace? If I’m hurting now, it will probably only get worse. How hard do I want to work/suffer to go sub-4? I really had to work hard to bring my thoughts into a more positive space and enjoy the experience and scenery around me. There were a lot of costumes and the crowds were yelling the names of runners who had put them on their shirts. I thought I kept hearing my name until I realized that there was an Andrew running around me. I realized that I was thankful that I didn’t have my name on my shirt because I find it distracting to get called out like that (but many people find it motivating so know what works for you).

Around mile 18 my stomach started feeling a little off (sort of like a rerun of my stomach flu feeling) and that had me worried. I decided to find a port-a-loo to stop at because you may have heard the advice, “never trust a fart after mile 18.” I stopped at the bathroom and everything was fine but it did cost me around 3 minutes as peeling sweaty layers down and up can be a challenge (I also managed to drop my phone on the ground).

Like I mentioned before the London course is fairly flat and the small hills were quickly followed by a downhill section which really made me feel like I’d achieved something. On the up-hills sections I reminded myself that I’d trained on much more challenging hills which felt like a mental boost.

I started looking forward to getting past the 20 mile mark and decided that my mantra would be “I’m stronger after mile 20.” I knew that with my marathon experience I could more easily push through the challenges and pain than many newer marathoners out there. I also started paying more attention to my mile splits and realized that I needed to keep my pace sub-9:30 if I was going to finish in under four hours. Chanting my “I’m stronger” mantra under my breath I really did feel strong the last 10k. In fact, there were many runners who would abruptly start walking in the middle of the course which made those final miles feel a bit congested. I had to do a fair amount of weaving around people to stay on pace.

As happens during nearly every marathon sometimes the last few miles of a race can feel like a bit of a blur. I remember going through a couple tunnels, running down the Royal Mile, and hearing the announcer at the finish line and the cheering crowds. I had a good burst of final speed to cross the finish line in 3:59:30 which made me surprisingly emotional. I didn’t realize it would feel so good to meet my goal and finish my first sub-4 marathon in over three years. I felt so incredibly grateful for my strong, healthy body and the good training cycle I’d had. It was great to get that medal put around my neck and be able to finish my 57th marathon (and 4th World Marathon Major). I collected my swag/food bag, got my checked bag, used the bathroom and tried to find the underground stop to get me back to our hotel. We had decided pre-race not to wait for each other at the finish. As I was walking I noticed a bunch of bicycle taxis and asked a driver how much it would cost to get me to my address. I decided to take the stress off myself of getting back to the room and enjoyed riding instead (which is quite the experience in London traffic). Plus, one benefit of marathons is the chance to support the local economy.

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To Be A Runner -Interview with Martin Dugard

In this podcast episode we speak with Martin Dugard author of the book To Be A Runner -How Racing Up Mountains, Running with the Bulls, or Just Taking On a 5-K Makes You a Better Person (and the World a Better Place).

Martin Dugard is the author of the memoir To Be A Runner, a series of essays which takes the reader around the world as he recounts his personal journey through the world of distance running.

He has written books on famous explorers like David Livingston, Christopher Columbus, and Captain James Cook, and his writing has appeared in Esquire, Outside, Sports Illustrated, and GQ.

He is also a NYT Best Selling author and co-author with Bill O’Riley of the Killing Series, which has sold over 15 million books.

He lives in Orange County, CA and coaches a local high school cross-country team.

About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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Inspiring Stories from This Year’s Boston Marathon

In this podcast episode we bring you inspiring stories from this year’s Boston Marathon. Plus we will give you a run-down of the final results and soundbites from race weekend. And in the quick tip segment, Angie answers a question about what officially counts as a marathon or half marathon.

2019 was the 123rd edition of the Boston Marathon. There are around 500,000 spectators who come out every year to cheer on the 30,000 runners. This provides a nearly 200 million dollar boost to the local economy.

The BAA reserves around 3,000 spots (of 30,000) for its charity runners. Participants who ran on behalf of more than 260 non-profit organizations raised $36.6 million for charity at the 2018 Boston Marathon.

Marathon Monday
The marathon wasn’t always on a Monday. Up until 1969 the race was always on April 19th, Patriot’s Day, a civic holiday commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution. In 1969 officials changed the race to always be the third Monday in April which is known as Marathon Monday.

Boston Strong
The mantra “Boston Strong” came about after two bombs exploded at the finish line in 2013 which killed two people and injured 260 others. The city of Boston responded by more than a million spectators coming out to support the 2014 race in which Meb Keflezhighi wrote the names of the victims on his bib and went on to win the race. (2)

Qualifying Times
It continues to get more challenging to get into Boston with a qualifying time. A total of 30,458 applications were received period for qualifiers, a significant increase from recent years. 7,384 qualifiers were unable to be accepted due to field size limitations. Qualifiers who were four minutes, 52 seconds (4:52) or faster than the qualifying time for their age group and gender were accepted into the 2019 race. Qualifying standards will be five minutes faster for all age groups, starting with the 2020 Boston Marathon.

2019 Winners

The men’s pack stayed together until around mile 21 when Geoffrey Kirui dropped the pace from 5:06 to 4:31 and the lead pack dropped down to five. Then there was an exciting sprint finish down the length of Boylston St. for the 3rd closest men’s race ever.

  • 1st- Lawrence Cherono (Kenya) in 2:07:57 (he said,” I was so focused because I’ve never won a major marathon”),
  • 2nd- Lelisa Desisa (Ethiopia) in 2:07:59 (who said that this was the first time he’s ever been outsprinted),
  • 3rd- Kenneth Kipkemoi (Kenya) 2:08:07. 4th- Felix Kandie (Kenya) 2:08:54, 5th Geoffrey Kirui (Kenya) 2:08:55.
  • The first American was Scott Fauble in seventh with 2:09:09 and Jared Ward, who finished eighth in 2:09:25 with a PR.

Worknish Degefa of Ethiopia took the lead around mile 4 and would go on to expand this lead to 3 minutes by mile 18.

  • 1st- Worknish Degefa winning time was 2:23:31
  • 2nd- Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, 2:24:13.
  • 3rd-American Jordan Hasay posted a time of 2:25:20.
  • Des Linden the defending champion finished 5th in 2:27:00

Men’s wheelchair:

  • 1st- Daniel Romanchuk (USA) 1:21:36
  • 2nd- Masazumi Soejima (Japan) 1:24:30
  • 3rd- Marcel Hug (Switzerland) 1:26:42

Women’s wheelchair:

  • 1st- Manuela Schar (Switzerland) 1:34:19
  • 2nd- Tatyana McFadden (USA) 1:42:35 (at one point she tipped over in her WC)
  • 3rd- Madison de Rozario (Australia) 1:41:36

Notable and Inspiring Finishers

Joan Samuelson
Joan Samuelson, age 61, finished in 3:04. She made history 40 years ago with a 2:35:15 Boston finish, enough to win Boston and break the course record. This year, to celebrate the 40th anniversary, she planned to run within 40 minutes of her record-breaking time. She did better and finished within 30 minutes of that goal.

Gene Dykes
Glen Dykes, age 71, broke his own age-group record, posting the fastest course time for a 70-to-74-year-old with a time of 2:58:50. This is after some pretty huge races earlier in the year like the Arches Ultra 50 Miler in Moab in late January, and then the 200-mile Delirious Western Endurance Scenic Trail race in Australia three weeks later. That one took him 101 hours to complete, including five encounters with venomous snakes. “At one point, I spotted a Tiger snake below me when I was in mid-stride,” he recalls. “I had to twist my body and throw myself into the underbrush to avoid it. But these ultra distance adventure runs are great fun, especially when they include sleep deprivation. You get flashbacks afterwards—the good kind.” (3)

Adrianne Haslet
Adrianne Haslet a survivor who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon finish line bombings had been training to run this year’s marathon, but she was struck by a car while in a crosswalk in January. She persevered, and ran the BAA 5K, her first race back. “I wanted to run this race so badly. I may have walked, but I never gave up.” (4)

Ben Beach
Ben Beach is one of the Boston Marathon Legacy runners and ran his first Boston Marathon at age 18 in 1968. He is now 69 and suffers from a rare neurological disorder that sends his left leg gyrating awkwardly, the lower leg extended sideways and nearly parallel to the ground with each stride. “I’ve made my peace with that. This is what running is like for me now.” His Boston personal best of 2:27:26 was set in 1981. He finished this year in just over 6 hours after dealing with cramping for more than half the race.

“I feel good about the streak,” he said. “And I don’t want it to end. I’m struck by how adaptive human beings are. Runners know that the even slightest imbalance will almost guarantee an injury, but here I am, still bumbling along. The way my body has adjusted – it amazes me. I intend to be back in Hopkinton next April and to make up for this lackluster performance,” (5)

Marko Cheseto
Marko Cheseto is a double amputee who lost both his legs about six inches below the knee to frostbite in 2011. Originally from Kenya, he had come to study at the University of Alaska in Anchorage. In his senior year, deeply upset over the suicide of another UAA runner from Kenya, Cheseto overdosed on prescription pills and disappeared into the woods around the UAA campus. He was the subject of a massive, two-day search. On the third day he stumbled into a hotel near campus, his shoes frozen to his feet.  Cheseto remained in Anchorage, graduated with a degree in nutrition, got married, had three children, and has become an American citizen. Eighteen months after losing his feet, he resumed running once he was fitted with a pair of running blades.

“One thing I just told myself was the condition that I have is just a phenomenon that happened in my life,” Cheseto said on Marathon Monday. “It does not define who I am. I still have my inner power.” He finished in 2:42. His goal is to run a sub-2:10 marathon. (6)

Michael Herndon
Michael Herndon, age 31, a Marine veteran from Ohio was the picture of determination. His legs locked out near mile 22 forcing the Afghanistan veteran to get on his hands and knees. He refused to give up, drawing inspiration from three fellow comrades who didn’t survive a bombing attack overseas. Herndon’s fellow Marines Matthew Ballard and Mark Juarez and British journalist Rupert Hamer died in 2010 from an improvised explosive device’s blast in Afghanistan. When his Achilles tendon starting giving him trouble on Monday and his legs “gave up” near the end of the race, Herndon chanted his fallen comrades’ names aloud to help himself focus on finishing.

Once Herndon crossed the finish line, he was lifted into a wheelchair to receive medical attention. This was his first marathon and even though he didn’t get the time he wanted he’s determined this won’t be his last. He finished in 3:38. He said this about his inspiration, “They are not here anymore. I am here, and I am able. I am lucky to still have all my limbs. I can still be active. I find fuel in the simple idea that I can run. Some cannot.” (8)

Dave McGillivray
It has become tradition that each year after Dave McGillivray completes his duties as race director for the Boston Marathon, he makes the trek back out to Hopkinton from the finish line to run the race himself. He’s run the Boston Marathon for 46 consecutive years (16 years as a regular runner and 30 years after the race as the race director), and, on Monday, he brought it up to 47, just six months after he underwent triple bypass surgery. He’s run 157 marathons in total.

“I would definitely put it up there as the toughest one and the most challenging,” McGillivray told Boston.com on Tuesday. “But it probably was the most special, given that I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.” The 64-year-old ran Boston this year for Team Big Heart, the marathon running team for the Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation, surpassing his goal of raising $100,000. McGillivray said his goal was to give back and create awareness about heart illness, and along the way he befriended Jack Middlemiss and his family. Jack was born with cardiomyopathy, the same illness that his brother, Joseph, died from at age 6. Jack underwent a heart transplant when he was 5.

McGillivray said the boy became his “inspiration,” and they became “heart warriors” together. “My mission now in life is to create an awareness that just because you’re fit, doesn’t mean you’re healthy, and that if you feel something, do something about it,” he said. “There were times in my life when I thought I was invincible, and I never thought they were warning pains. I just thought they were challenging pains. And now I realize there are warning pains out there, and you have to really recognize the difference and act on them. That’s what I did, and, as a result, I gave myself a second chance.” (9)

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Generation UCAN -the revolutionary new way for runners to fuel. UCAN keeps your blood sugar stable and allows your body to burn fat. Use the promo code “MTABOSTON” to save 15% off your order.”

On Running– The shoe Angie is wearing at the London Marathon. Try a pair of On’s for yourself for 30 days and put them to the test – that means actually running in them before you decide to keep.

VARIDESK -the world’s leading standing desk solution, converting any desk into a standing desk so you can maintain a healthy active lifestyle in the office or at home.

NuNee -designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Use code MTA20 for a 20% discount.

Lactigo -a topical gel that improves athletic performance and recovery. LactiGo is an effective, fast-acting topical gel with menthol and carnosine that helps people maximize their athletic performance and speed muscle recovery. Use the code MTA for a 10% discount.

Biolite -headlamp that runs for up to 40 hours on a single charge, it’s super bright, you can tilt it with one hand, and it’s so comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing it. Use the code MTA at checkout for 15% off your order.

Trevor’s Boston Trip

Trevor had a chance to go and cheers on the runners this year. The highlight of his trip was meeting up with listeners to the podcast. Big thanks to Coach Steve Waldon, Mitch Goldstein, Tom and Cari Hardin, Henry Howard and his wife Manju and mother-in-law Karen, Logan Collier and her friend Rachel, Mike Emmerling and his son Mike, Randy Mays, Beck Straley, Karima Modjadidi, Ingrid Sell-Boccelli, and Lena Katharina for coming to the MTA Meet Up!


Trevor with Ryan Hall and Tom Hardin

Trevor with MTA Coach Steve Waldon

Trevor with ultra runner Stephanie Howe Violett

With fellow podcaster Tina Muir

With Tim Hadzima of Abbot World Marathon Majors

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Run the Mile You’re In! Interview with Ryan Hall

In this episode we speak with Ryan Hall -2x Olympian, American record holder, and author of the book Run the Mile You’re In. And in the quick tip segment, we answer a listener question about how to deal with chafing.

Ryan Hall set the U.S. record in the half marathon when he ran 59:43 at the Houston Half Marathon in 2007- the first American to break one hour barrier. He placed 10th at the Olympic Marathon in Beijing. He’s the only American to run sub-2:05 (2:04:58 at Boston). His wife Sara Hall is also an elite runner. In this episode we walk through the big themes of his new book Run the Mile You’re In. His wife Sarah is an elite runner and they have four adopted daughters from Ethiopia.

In this interview Ryan shares . . .

  • What it means to run the mile you’re in
  • Identity and the ability to not take your failures personally
  • How the African runners process failure
  • Goals of the heart
  • The comparison trap
  • Dealing with pain
  • Having a healthy body image

Mental toughness isn’t something you either have or don’t have. Mental toughness starts with the belief that you are mentally tough, and it is nurtured through positive declarations.

Competing out of love results in superior strength. The next time you find yourself in a painful situation, find a way outside of yourself. Think about your love for God, your family, your friends, those you are helping. There is more strength inside of you than you can imagine when you fix your eyes on Jesus All you have to do is stay close and stay in love, and you can endure incredible pain.

Also Mentioned in This Episode

Ryan Hall’s website: https://ryanandsarahall.com

NuNee Device -designed specifically to relieve that dreaded Runner’s Knee pain. Use code MTA20 for a 20% discount.

On Running Shoes – clean and minimalistic design as well as its sole technology gives you the sensation of running on clouds. Try a pair of On’s for yourself for 30 days and put them to the test – that means actually running in them before you decide to keep.

BioLite Headlamp 330 -ultra-thin, super bright, NO-BOUNCE headlamp that’s so comfortable, you’ll actually forget you’re wearing it. Use code MTA at checkout for 15%

MetPro -Using Metabolic Profiling, MetPro analyzes your metabolism and provides you with an individualized strategy to obtain your goals.

The John Muir Trust -help us plant 262 trees!

Resurrected Runner -creator of parody songs for runners

About Trevor Spencer

Trevor Spencer is the producer of the Marathon Training Academy Podcast. He loves to inspire people to take action in their fitness and life.

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