This week I’m re-sharing a conversation that I had in 2018 with Deena Kastor, which we recorded at her kitchen table in Mammoth Lakes, California. I’m bringing this one back not only because I was in Mammoth Lakes this past weekend but because Deena just ran 2:45:12 at the Berlin Marathon—at the age of 49, no less!—to earn the Abbott World Marathon Majors Six Star Medal for completing all six Major marathons: Berlin, London, New York, Chicago, Boston, and Tokyo. I look back fondly at this chat from a few years ago, in which we covered a lot of topics, from the importance of surrounding yourself with a great team, both in running and in life, to using disappointment as a means to fuel the next big breakthrough. We also discussed how coach Joe Vigil influenced her and helped shape her life philosophy, how training for and racing cross-country “feeds her soul” and helps her become a better racer on the track and on the roads, and so much more.
I’m traveling this week and don’t have a new episode of the podcast for you but I want to take this opportunity to re-run one of my favorite conversations that I’ve ever had for the show. It’s with Diljeet Taylor, who is the head women’s cross-country coach and the Associate Director of Track and Field and field at BYU, which is one of the top collegiate programs in the country. We recorded this episode nearly two years ago when we were in the thick of the pandemic and it’s a great one to revisit or maybe check out for the first time. In this conversation, which is really a masterclass is coaching and team building, Coach Taylor talked to me about the culture she’s helped build at BYU, why gratitude is so important to the strength of that culture, the importance of investing in people and not performances, and so, so much more.
This week, I’m bringing back an incredible conversation I had a little over three years ago with Katie Arnold. Katie is mom, a heck of an ultrarunner, and a great writer, whose memoir, Running Home, really spoke to me on a number of levels. In it, we talked about “smile” and “flow” and why those words are important to her when she races, reverse goal-setting and how this strategy sets her up for success, and balancing competitive running with the rest of her life. We also discussed the importance of observation and paying attention, how death can wake us up to the powerful realization that everything is changing all the time, and how her book came to be and what she hopes readers take away from it.
This week’s re-run episode is an incredibly special one to me. It’s with my college cross country and track coach, Karen Boen, who is someone that’s had a profound and lasting impact on my life. Coach saw qualities and abilities in me 20 years ago that I didn’t know I had, and she helped me to not only become a better runner, but she taught me a lot about hard work, leadership, caring for other people, and what it means to be a good teammate and human being. A lot of how I think about training, and coaching, and life in general is due to her influence and I am incredibly grateful to have run for her during my time at Stonehill College.
I do not have a new conversation to share with you this week but I am going to re-run a previous episode of the podcast with Lindsay Flanagan that was recorded in early 2020, just a few weeks before the Olympic Trials Marathon, where she ended up finishing 12th. Since that day in Atlanta, Lindsay has made some huge breakthroughs in the marathon and as a fan, it’s been super fun to watch. This past April she was 11th at the Paris Marathon in a personal best 2:26:54, and then, just a few months later in July, she won the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia, breaking the tape in a new course record, and another personal best, 2:24:43. It was fun to revisit this conversation and hear Lindsay’s thoughts on the marathon and what she’s learned from it over the years, dealing with injuries throughout her career and navigating periods of time when she couldn’t run, what she’s learned as a coach of age-group athletes, and a lot more.
Sanjay Rawal is a New York City-based runner and filmmaker. At the time of this conversation in 2018 he had just released a film called 3100: Run and Become, which takes an intimate look at one of the most unique foot races on the planet, The Sri Chinmoy 3100-Mile Self-Transcendence Race. In this episode, we talked about the 3100 film, of course, but also about the idea of running as a spiritual practice throughout history, the connection between competition and spirituality, running as a cultural connector, and a lot more. Whether you’re a competitive athlete or recreational runner, a miler or an ultramarathoner, this conversation will change the way you look at running and the role it plays in your life.
Mario Mendoza is a five-time national champion on the trails, a four-time USATF trail runner of the year, he’s won races all over the globe, finished top-10 twice at world championships, set world records on the treadmill, and accomplished all kinds of things on the competitive side of the sport. Beyond that, however, he’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met, we really connected over this conversation, and have kept in close touch ever since.