Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Podcast Pandemonium

When there's pandemonium in your life, go to the woods and play like a child fence-climbing in Brooklyn...or listen to a podcast! Photo by my brother Allen Taylor Jr. Runkit: Capris, shoes, and top by Merrell. Socks by Swiftwick. Pack by Camelback, Shades by Walmart. 

In the last almost two years, I've had many incredible opportunities to share my running and fitness story with really cool people on a variety of podcasts. In this post, I've put them all on one page so if you ever want to have some company on a run, while you're cooking, or while you're driving that interminable drive home (or to a race), here's a start!

The latest podcast was the Runner's World Show with David Willey, who I got to meet IRL at the Runner's World 50th Anniversary Party in NYC. It's episode #42 and is called Breaking the Mold. 
What a heady experience it was to talk to the Editor in Chief of Runner's World Magazine! I also got to meet Bart Yasso that night too...whew!

My friend and chill as hell RD AKA Run Bum, Sean Blanton, and Ryan Ploeckelman interviewed me for the East Coast Trail and Ultra podcast. It was a hilarious interview with some F-bombs just in case you're concerned about that.

CEO of Skirt Sports, and former pro-athlete, Nicole DeBoom and I had a great conversation about the Health at Every Size Movement on her Run This World Podcast a few months ago in December. Listening to her podcast, I always appreciate her incredible insight and incisive commentary about well, everything. Even though the folks on her show are typically all athletes of some sort, the show really hones in on different aspects of being great and owning your greatness, spreading nuggets of wisdom on living life in a big way, giving back to our respective communities and paying it forward, and generally being good humans with the best mental, emotional and physical health we can have. I've been obsessed lately with Nicole's eclectic and highly interesting mix of folks from all walks of life. Once you start listening, you won't want to stop.

I also had the chance to chat with Martinus Evans of the 300 Pounds and Running Podcast. His podcast is interesting in that he asks about weight loss but doesn't focus the entire narrative on it. His guests talk about running, training, issues related specifically to being heavier runners, and the the lessons learned from being on the running journey. Definitely worth a listen!
Lana Simmons of the Size Human Podcast that is focused on body positivity and Health at Every Size, interviewed me, and we talked about a range of things! Here's that show.

This podcast with Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell of Another Mother Runner was the second podcast I did after the Runner's World piece on me and my running life was published in the summer of 2015. That July, both RW and Women's Running Magazine featured larger runners and the world responded!

The very first podcast I did was with the guys over at Connect Run Club Podcast. I was so nervous (my mother told me as much, as she listened to the Skype interview from her bedroom because she's nosy...) but it ended up being really fun, and I got my first glimpse of what a busy year of interviews it would be!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Let's Talk About My Epic Weekend, Tough Mudders and All!

The body is really an incredible machine, but we already knew that right?
Well, this weekend, mine proved that it is several times over.

Let's backtrack to last weekend, when I did back to back long runs --18 trail miles with almost 2700 feet of elevation on Saturday (on a trail that was mistakenly labeled as having 350 feet of elevation)--yeah, I'm still mad) and Sunday with 10 road miles. Tuesday I did trail hill repeats with friends, Thursday I ran three "easy" miles, and the next day was Friday.


I drove down to the Tough Mudder Atlanta venue at Bouckaert Farms in Fairburn, Georgia. The I85 highway collapse didn't pose much of a problem getting there, surprisingly. I know, right?

Met up with Sue Harvey Brown, director of Sports Marketing at Merrell, who is amazing not only at her job, but at doing Tough Mudders. (This weekend she ran two fulls, one right after the other, worked all day, and then crewed for someone during Toughest Mudder from 12am until who knows when. Then she worked a full day the next day. ) We convened with Coach T. Mud and a phenomenal film crew to shoot an episode of Coachified! Remember the one from last year? Here it is, in case you forgot! That was hard enough, especially since we had just done an almost two hour workout beforehand!

Let's revisit this craziness from Friday. 

It was all about trail running, and boy did we trail run, and meadow-run and--wait for it...LET's DO SOME HILL REPEATS! Yeah! Hill repeats!

Hill repeats? Ya'll know I just did hill repeats on Tuesday? Like a million of them the other day, right? That was all in my head of course, because I was going to do what they asked me to do, ponder the sanity of it all silently, and wonder when my legs were finally going to fail.

It was also blazing hot--like a furnace with an occasional breeze. And one of the crew members found a dried up antler. Hmmm...how did it get there? Don't want to know.

We ran up and down a beautiful meadow, with a billion dollar drone following us. I tried not to gasp as if I were dying, attempting my very best air of nonchalance while running with Coach T. Mud--yeah, I'm cool---but I can't breathe, but I'm gonna keep acting like I can until I pass out...

We bantered and chatted and went back and forth, and after a thousand takes, Weston, head creative film genius of the Coachified series was finally satisfied. Action! Take 20. Action! Cut! Take 40!

So back to the hill repeats. Although I was terrified I wouldn't be able to actually do multiple runs up that very long hill to the Balls to the Wall Obstacle, I was pleasantly surprised that I was. My legs and lungs were burning to holy hell, but they performed as asked again and again. The body is incredible.
It took a few hours of shooting to get it done (for a TWO MINUTE VIDEO--how do people do this for a living???). I find myself in awe of people who do this day after day. I was exhausted after five hours! So cool to be involved in such a neat project.

So that was Friday. Saturday was the big day!


My friends drove down from North Georgia to join me for the Tough Mudder Full, along with some filming and photos for Merrell. We had a blast in the blasting heat. We got dirty. I failed at Everest and Balls to the Wall AGAIN, and was disappointed but such is life. My friends blasted their way through some pretty difficult obstacles and were truly tough women. It was awesome to witness the sheer strength of body and will that allows people to get through challenges both mental and physical. I'm so proud of my friends! It took us a long time, but all of us finished and received our coveted headbands. I even did (King of the Swingers for a fifth time, even though each time I see the obstacle coming up, I get really nauseous and lightheaded, and my life flashes before me.)

Sue, Merrell marvel and Tough Mudder addict somehow convinced me that I needed to do a SECOND Tough Mudder on Sunday so I could get my back to back training in. In my head, I was like-"Um, is she crazy? Does she know that my legs probably won't work? Or my entire body after Saturday?" I had planned to push through Saturday anyway, what with the adrenaline of the whole shebang, but Sunday was an entirely different question. To her, I said, "Maybe I will" and "We'll see" and "Probably just the half" and "Yeah, ok if you think so..."
I went to bed like dis

But like a dutiful runner training for a BIG, HUGE, GIGANTIC, SCARY race in August (TransRockies 6 Day), I knew that I had to get the training in, provided I wasn't injured or on the verge of injury. So when I woke up on Sunday morning, I was only sore in my upper body. The legs felt "great" (relatively speaking) and they were ret to go!


So, long story short, I did another Tough Mudder on Sunday,  leaving out the obstacles that might have caused my arms to be pulled out of their sockets. It was incredible. I spent the first few miles easing into a nice pace, helping out here and there, chatting people up, carrying a guy on my back, and carrying a heavy-ass log around a circle by myself. There were a few folks that recognized me from the CW Tough Mudder Special on TV and that was really cool! See the short CW SEED piece here!

The last few miles I spent enjoying Augustus Gloop (my new favorite obstacle, that everyone should do because it's just so damned AWESOME) and joyfully skipping King of the Swingers, Balls, and Funky Monkey because once a week is enough for those.

Here's what I learned this weekend:

The body, MY BODY, is able. I've been discovering that all I have to do is ask, and it will oblige. I just have to get out of my own mental way, and once I do that, my body will do as it was meant.
That, my friends, is the power of training, belief in self (even if it has to come partially from someone else first), and the nature of the human body. It wants to move, and for most of us, it can. We just have to believe it and prepare it to do so.