“I talk about why I had success in Boston—it’s a 26.2-mile race that this year felt like 30, right? You add in the wind, and the conditions, and it suddenly feels longer, which is part of why I have this advantage in my mind. And so why not test that theory out in the actual distance? I think I can finish a marathon feeling like I can probably go another 10 miles, I just couldn’t go a lick faster, so let’s see how far we can extend that. I think those are all intriguing to me.”
I’m super excited to welcome my first returning guest back to the show: 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden. Linden and I last spoke on Episode 3 in late January, a couple months before she won the race that changed her life. A lot has transpired since she broke the tape on Boylston Street in mid-April, including the launch of Linden & True Coffee, a coaching change, more media appearances than she can remember, and a sixth-place finish at the New York City Marathon a little over a month ago.
Linden and I caught up recently at The Running Event in Austin, Texas and talked about all of those things in great detail and then some, including where her scrappiness and competitiveness come from, why her win in Boston was so validating, the importance of having confidence, trust, and faith in yourself on race day, the advantages of training in a group versus training alone, how her training has changed since leaving the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, what the rest of her competitive marathon career looks like and why ultra-distance races appeal to her, what’s exciting her in running right now, why it’s important to tell your story, and a lot more.
At the end of last year I made a commitment to go all-in on the Boston Marathon and CIM in 2018. I signed up for the latter the day after spectating at the 2017 edition, inspired by what I saw transpiring on the course around me, and committed right then and there to seeing if I could finally get an 11-year-old personal best off my back. (more…)
Research shows that sustainable progress, in everything from diet to fitness to creativity, isn’t about being consistently great; it’s about being great at being consistent. It’s about being good enough over and over again.
This one hit home. Despite the fact that I tell my athletes all the time they should approach their training like baseball—i.e., you don’t need to knock every workout out of the park, so to speak, you just need to make good contact and consistently get on base—I often need to remind myself of the same principle when it comes to various pursuits in my own life. Case in point: my newsletter and podcast, where the deep-rooted desire to make every issue and episode great, rather than “good enough” week in and week out, more often than not causes me hours of lost sleep, decreased enjoyment in the process itself, and unnecessary stress and anxiety.
I don’t know why we’re not seeing more movies about runners or amateur runners or even the extraordinary people who are running professionally and doing really, really well. One of the weird things about our sport is that unlike every other sport I can think of, we runners tend not to venerate the people who are really good at it.
At some point, I’ll get Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s Wait Wait and author of The Incomplete Book of Running to join me on the podcast, but until then, listen to this awesome bit from the 1A and let it whet your appetite for a bit.
As in running as in life, structure isn’t something that binds us and oppresses us, but rather it’s the framework within which we’re able to thrive, test our limits and make sense of the world. Whether you’re a writer or a runner, the imposition of structure is often what ultimately sets you free. If you can nail the existentialist quest for structure within postmarathonism, half the battle is won.
I loved this essay on what Waterman calls “postmarathonism” and the yearning for a return to the structure and routine running brings to his life. It’s essential re-reading now that CIM is in my rearview. After a few days of relatively routine (and running)-free living, structure is something I’m already starting to crave again—but not as much as the chocolate chip cookie I just started munching on.
“I think my purpose is to share peoples’ stories, share my story, share any stories that will impact peoples’ lives. And I love the idea of the content that I create living beyond me, I do. I try not to get too wrapped up in legacy and all that crap but when I do allow myself to take a step back and look at the work that I’m creating, to have it impact people, beyond just the small circle of runners, to actually create runners—people who have told me that they started running, not necessarily 100 milers, but marathons, 5Ks, because they’ve seen a film of mine—man, you can’t put a price on that.”
I really enjoyed sitting down with my friend Billy Yang for this week’s episode of the podcast. Billy has been one of my most requested guests since I started the show a year ago and I was finally able to pin him down for an hour last week at The Running Event in Austin, Texas. (Spoiler alert: An hour wasn’t nearly enough time to cover all the things I wanted to cover, so I’m going to have to have Billy back for a round 2 at some point. And with any luck, it won’t take another year for that to happen.)
For those of you who don’t know, Billy is one of the preeminent filmmakers—and now podcasters—in the trail and ultra running space. If you’re not familiar with his work, I recommend checking some of it out for yourself at billyyangfilms.com or The Billy Yang Podcast wherever you like to listen to audio content. It’s inspired me on many different levels and I can guarantee you that it will move in some way.
Billy and I touched on a number of different topics in this conversation, including how we got our respective starts in the storytelling business and why we do what we do, when he picked up his first video camera and realized it was something he wanted to play around with and eventually pursue, and how losing his dad spurred a lifestyle change that led to him quit smoking and take up running. We also talked about struggling with low self-esteem throughout his life and how he’s worked through those times, self-consciousness and dealing with outside opinions, embracing the journey and living the life that’s authentic to him, what he sees as his personal purpose, and so much more.