Podcast: Episode 9 with Rich Roll

By Mario Fraioli

“When I was 31, that was when I was in rehab. I had a career in the dark belly of alcoholism and at 31 I got sober in a treatment center in Oregon for 100 days, so I think if I had to characterize myself at 31, I was very confused. I was really unsure about who I was and what I wanted to do with myself. I was a pretty broken individual at that point of my life. And up to that point I thought I had been making good decisions but essentially my best thinking had me in this mental institution, for a lack of a better phrase. So I don’t think that I had very much clarity on myself or what made me function and what led me to that dark place. The last 20 years have been about trying to answer that question for myself and also trying to learn from tools that were first introduced me during that experience and build on them and compound them to progressively continue to grow, not just emotionally, but mentally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.”

Incredibly honored to welcome Rich Roll to the podcast. The 51-year-old is a husband, father, and champion ultra-endurance athlete, in addition to being a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and host of a top-ranked podcast. But life hasn’t always been so grand. At 31 years old, Rich found himself committed to a treatment center in Oregon, battling an alcohol addiction that had consumed his life.


Podcast: Episode 8 with Lou Serafini

By Mario Fraioli
Photo: Justin Britton

“Running is all relative, you know? Everyone has their own goals and is trying to accomplish their own thing, whether it’s to break 4 in the mile, or to qualify for Boston, or just to simply finish their first marathon. Those runners gave me more support than I’ve ever gotten in my life. Having 30 people show up to a random hill workout on a Wednesday night and ask me about my training and what I’m training for and what I’m doing, and having that many random people interested, definitely got me motivated to train hard. And then hearing about their successes, and having people come to me and say that they PR’d in the 5K by two minutes or something like that, or that they were training for their first marathon, really inspired me to kind of take it to the next level.”

Super excited to welcome Lou Serafini to the podcast. Two weekends ago, Serafini became the 514th American to break 4 minutes in the mile, running 3:59.33 at the Boston University Last Chance meet. The self-described blue-collar runner works full-time as the community manager at Boston-based Tracksmith and has established himself as one of the most recognizable figures on the local scene. The 26-year-old Serafini isn’t just known for his wheels, however; he has an infectious enthusiasm for the sport and has demonstrated an uncanny knack for connecting with runners of all levels.  (more…)

Podcast: Episode 7 with Shalane Flanagan

By Mario Fraioli

“It’s addicting to have a great performance. You always want another one. That’s why I considered stopping after New York because it was like, ‘How can I top this?’ And then only thing that can top this or be on the same level, is winning in Boston because of what the people and the city mean to me. There’s just as much fire but I definitely feel at peace, which is actually a good thing. I feel very calm and calculated with my approach and I feel very confident that I know how to get the most out of myself now.”

Absolutely thrilled to welcome four-time Olympian and reigning New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan to the podcast. She joined me last week from her altitude training base in Woodland Park, Colorado and we covered a wide range of subjects, from her preparation for April’s Boston Marathon, which has included training with Olympic triathlon gold medalist turned aspiring marathoner Gwen Jorgensen (“This woman is a beast,” Flanagan said of Jorgensen. “She is all-in and wants to be really great.”), to how coach Jerry Schumacher has modified recent marathon buildups for herself and teammate Amy Cragg, what’s different for her going into Boston this time around after winning last fall in New York, as well as why—and how—she convinced her coach to bring more women into the Bowerman Track Club training group a few years ago. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 6 with Dathan Ritzenhein

By Mario Fraioli

“I’m happy with what I did on the track, what I did at shorter distances. I’m good with that. I’m good with who I am, with where I’ve been, all of those things, mistakes I’ve made along the way—I’m OK with that. In the marathon though, I just know that my back is against the wall and I feel like I still have something to prove to myself still. These last two marathons aren’t going to define what I’ve done—the rest of my career, I’m happy with that, I can put that in my back pocket—but I want to make that fourth Olympic team.”

Three-time Olympian and former American 5,000m record holder Dathan Ritzenhein comes on the podcast to discuss a wide range of topics, including the upcoming Boston Marathon, training with the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, the changes he’s made to his training in order to stay healthy at 35 years of age, and why he’s still competing despite dozens of injuries over the years, including 15 stress fractures, three surgeries, a ruptured plantar fascia, and myriad other issues. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 5 with Nick Symmonds

By Mario Fraioli

“I’m a gamer. And anyone who trained with me in my 12-year [professional] career would laugh when I say that I’m really bad in workouts. Because they used to say, ‘I would kick your ass every single Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, but I can’t beat you in a race.’ And it’s true. I was really lazy in workouts but when it came time to race, especially if something mattered, I just could take it to that next level. Some sports psychologists would argue that that was my secret weapon—that I only dug deep maybe four or five times a season. I could give you a 90-percent effort, maybe even a 95-percent effort, but I really only dug deep the few times that it actually mattered, and that saved me both mentally and physically, and allowed me to have a much longer career.”

Two-time Olympian, six-time national champion, and 2013 world championships 800m silver medalist Nick Symmonds comes on the podcast for a candid conversation covering a wide range of topics. We discuss his retirement from track and field, his recent foray into marathon training and racing, and the similarities and differences that exist between the two pursuits. We also talk about entrepreneurship, the origin and mission of his company, Run Gum, reflect on his progression from decent college runner to world-class athlete, and dive into how he has dealt with pressure and overcoming nerves throughout his career.


Podcast: Episode 4 with Amelia Boone

By Mario Fraioli

“You are so much more than just your race results. When I think about people that I know in the obstacle racing world, in the ultra world, I don’t remember where they finished in races. It doesn’t really matter to me. It’s being involved and engaged in the community [that matters most].” 

From late 2011 through the early part of 2016, there was virtually no stopping Amelia Boone. She tore up the obstacle-racing scene, winning the Spartan Race World Championship in 2013 and the World’s Toughest Mudder, a.k.a. “the most extreme, insane, imposing, pulse-pounding, heart-stopping 24-hour obstacle course challenge on the planet,” three times—one of those triumphs just eight weeks after knee surgery. In 2015, she started experimenting on obstacle-free trails, finishing third in her first ultramarathon at the Georgia Death Race. The following year, she finished second at the Sean O’Brien 100K, qualifying for the Western States 100. If an event involved some combination of dirt and prolonged suffering, Boone seemed to excel at it. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 3 with Des Linden

By Mario Fraioli

Photo: Steve Godwin

“I’m comfortable saying I’m a marathoner and everything feeds into the next marathon and making sure that’s great. So if that means being a little out of shape for some summer racing or some off-season racing, that’s OK. I think you kind of check your ego when it comes to that stuff and know that it’s playing into the bigger picture.”

Two-time Olympian Des Linden comes on the podcast and discusses a wide range of topics, including her pre-run coffee habits, how she pulled herself out of a slump last fall, what it’s like to live with a triathlete, how she’s approaching this year’s Boston Marathon, and the importance of being open and honest about her journey as an athlete. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 2 with Tim Ritchie

By Mario Fraioli

Photo courtesy of Sean Dulaney/Cal International Marathon.

“I just tried to be the best I could be in the situation I was in—and as that expanded and grew, and as the competition expanded and grew, so did my goals.”

Newly minted U.S. marathon champion Tim Ritchie comes on the podcast to discuss growing up in Worcester, Massachusetts (00:32), how he went from a running a 4:34 high school mile in 2005 to winning a national title two weekends ago (1:20), and what he’s learned from coaching both collegiate and age-group athletes (22:30).

“I’ve learned that the gap between elite and collegiate runners and people who are just trying to run a PB at their local 5K is not as big as people think it is,” Ritchie told me. “I’ve learned that when you can get an athlete to be passionate about running, to be passionate about their health and fitness, to be excited about getting out the door, to enjoy the sport, it’s just a natural thing that that leads into formalized training and goal setting and all of that. It’s just been cool for me to see the things that I’m feeling when I’m on the start line of a race is the same thing that an athlete of mine who is trying to run a 25-minute 5K is feeling. And that was something that I maybe wasn’t expecting but something that I’ve been really impressed by when it comes to my individual athletes.”

In this episode, the 30-year-old resident of New Haven, Connecticut also explains why he stinks at social media (25:35), the changes he made to his training and nutrition that helped him finish the final 10K of CIM stronger than his previous two marathons (32:05), the importance of developing athleticism as a runner (45:55), what he’s been up to since his big win (47:50), and much, much more. (more…)

Podcast: Episode 1 with Scott Fauble

By Mario Fraioli

“That understanding—that you have to create your own value—is something that was weird to me at first, because I thought that I had value, but I didn’t. I was a 28:40 [10K] guy out of college, and had been All-American a few times, but there’s like 40 guys who do that every single year, so why would anyone take an extra interest in me? So that would be my advice to anyone who is trying to be a professional runner: really sit down and really think about where your niche is, and look at people who have created their own niches…because there are only so many spots on an Olympic team or a world team or a podium, you know?”

Burrito connoisseur and 2:12 marathoner Scott Fauble comes on the podcast to discuss the movement he’s trying to create around his favorite food (1:20), the business of being a professional runner (9:00), the launch of a new project he’s calling “Off Course” and the parallels between running and writing (25:45), training for, racing, and recovering from his first marathon (39:35), and so much more. (more…)



Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.