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Glen Redpath (pre Badwater)

Transcript of interview with Glen Redpath during Episode 11 (July 8, 2013):

redpath

C259: Glen Redpath, welcome to the Cloud.

Glen: Hey guys, thanks for having me.

C259: Thanks so much for joining us, Glen. First off, we understand that in training for this you’ve been spending a lot of time in the sauna.

Glen: Yeah, it’s part of the heat training. When I looked at the temperatures last year, I just realized that I’ve got to do more training in the sauna. I’ve done well in the heat in the past. In New York, in late June and early July it’s been really hot here, so it’s easy just to get out and experience the heat, but you have to let your body adapt, and it takes a good three to four weeks to really acclimate to the heat.  

C259: Last year at the Spartathlon, temperatures were in the 90s, now the forecast has the temps in the 120s for Badwater. How do you prepare for that? Are you spending an hour a day in the sauna, after a run? What does the training look like for something like this?

Glen: For Spartathlon last year it was really humid, and I don’t think I was as prepared because they typically had been getting in the 80s, so when it hit the mid to high 90s it was kind of a fluke and it caught a lot of people off guard. The Spartathlon last year there was over 350 starters and only 72  people finished, so it was quite a low finishing rate. This year, with Badwater, it’s dry, it’s a different kind of heat. It’s more typical of a sauna, a sauna is typically drier. In the early part of May and June I actually started my training by doing Bikram Yoga. The Bikram Yoga was just so humid in there, I was really struggling. The Bikram Yoga classes are 90 minutes, so you’re in there, and you’re doing these poses, and you’re there for 90 minutes. I would drip drip drip, and I had a liter of water with me and I would sip on it from time to time and that got me started on my heat training for Badwater. After my 30-day membership ran out I decided not to renew it and I decided to put more time and effort into sauna training. Pretty much I’ve been going every day, and I’ve been maxing out at 40 minutes. I don’t think I need more than that because at the end of 40 minutes I’m dripping pretty good. I’m not really doing anything in the sauna other than stretching. I see people jogging in the sauna – not here at the sauna where I go to – but I’ve heard of other people jogging in saunas or taking their treadmills in saunas or bikes, and you know, stretching is fine for me.

C259: Are you going right from a run into the sauna, or running right after the sauna, or does that not matter?

Glen: In the beginning I was doing that, but as it goes on I try to do the run in the morning and the sauna in the evening. I try to mix it up.

C259: And how about mileage? This is something I’ve never been able to wrap my head around, how you prepare to run a race of over 100 miles. Elite marathoners run, say, 120-140+ miles a week, but an elite ultramarathoner?

Glen: I’ve been maxing out at 100. In past years I’ve done more than 100, but with all the other things I’m trying to incorporate like the sauna training, it’s taking time away from my running. I’m only getting maximum 100 miles a week, and I’m pretty much getting a lot of it on the weekends. During the week from Monday to Friday I’ve been trying to get in 10 or so a day and then on the weekends, get more. Funny thing, I haven’t seen you guys for awhile because I’ve been avoiding the Central Park workouts, just because I felt the speed was too much for me. I’ve backed off the speed and tried to slow it down, which is a hard thing to do, but the winners of Badwater are running about 12 minutes a mile for all 135.

C259: What’s the longest run you’ve done in preparation for this one?

Glen: Well the other thing I incorporate is hikes. I do a lot of fast packing, where I hike fast. This past weekend I was out at the Delaware Water Gap and I did a 41 miler. There was a small group of us, we started at High Point in New Jersey and we hiked all the way to the Delaware Water Gap on the AT. There’s a few hills there, so I get some hill training in there. I’m just walking really fast, trying to move. This weekend it was probably 88 or 89 degrees out there and fairly humid, so I’m not just moving fast on my feet, I’m also acclimating somewhat to the heat.

C259: You do a long hike on Saturday and try going long on Sunday as well?

Glen: Yeah, so the next day I did a 20 miler, just real easy, and when I say easy I mean 8.5/9 minutes a mile. That’s my comfort zone, I think my body really likes running 8.5/9 minutes per mile. When I’ve done that on tired legs, when I do 100, it’s a lot easier when I’ve actually rested, so I can put lots of miles back-to-back-to-back at nine minute pace.

C259: This kind of training is very different from marathon training, would you say that’s true?

Glen: Well, the other thing is that we’re talking time on feet, so you have to adapt to eating and drinking. You have to learn how to take in calories while you are moving. When you’re running a marathon, it’s all about speed and getting your mile splits down and trying to be as light as possible. Whereas sometimes I’m trying to be a little heavy going into a longer run because I know I’m going to be depleted as I go on.

C259: But in this race you are going to have a crew, you don’t have to take everything on your back.

Glen: No, exactly. That’s what’s unique about this. It’s in a national park, it’s beautiful, it’s Death Valley, but it happens to be hot. There are no aid stations. There are six checkpoints where they check your time, but there is no aid. You provide your own. So you have to have a minimum of two and a maximum of six. And you’re allowed up to two vehicles, so if you have some people who want to go off and sleep, they can go off. Basically, your crew travels along and meets you every mile or two down the road. They are never that far away from you, so they can always check you out. Really, the hardest part of this race is the first 42 miles because it’s all in that Death Valley lowland. After 42 miles you are going uphill and you are getting out of the valley and you are getting into another area of the park. Once you are at altitude, temperatures can drop down to 85.

C259: So once you’re done with the first 42 miles, the next 90 is just a piece of cake (laughter). Legend has it that runners use the white line of the road because it’s a little less hot than the dark parts of the road.

Glen: The pavement or the asphalt can be 10 or 20 degrees hotter than when they are taking the temperature underneath the trees. It’s actually hotter on the road, and if you are running right on the black asphalt, you can melt the back of your calves, because when it’s 120 it can be 140. You’re gonna see a lot of people wear the white suits, a lot of people wearing calf sleeves up their calves just trying to protect them from any kind of blistering or sunburn. So yeah, running on the white line, if that can reduce some of the temperature on your lower extremities that’s probably what I’ll be doing as well.

C259: Have you run any of the course before?

Glen: I drove it. I was out in San Diego for a conference in February, and I met up with my brother and we drove the course. We drove all the way to the Whitney Road, to Whitney Portal, and the last four miles were closed, because of snow. So we stopped the car and we ran to the finish in the snow.

C259: What were your impressions from driving it?

Glen: It’s really flat. In the beginning it’s really flat. It’s so stunning, it’s such a beautiful area. The sand dunes are pretty. The Alabama Hills are all red before you hit the Whitney section. It’s just stunning, it’s a really pretty area, and it’s really not a place to go in the summer, but in the winter I think it’s stunning, I think everybody should take a trip out to Death Valley at some point. It’s a unique landscape. The course itself it’s on a road. I much prefer a trail, I’m more of a trail specialist than a road specialist, but  I’m happy to be out doing something that’s long and that’s interesting. It’ll be a good experience I think all around.

C259: We talked a bit about a crew, 2-6 people. Tell us a bit about your crew. Who are you bringing, and are you bringing one or two cars?

Glen: I actually had a lot of different people interested in helping me out. It was really hard to figure out what I wanted to do as far as a makeup of a crew. In the end I thought you know what, I’m going out there and I want it to be as focused as possible. I really wanted a tight, small crew, so I cut it down to four. My brother has crewed for me before at Western States. And a good friend of mine Karl Hugland has also paced me at Western States. A friend of his, Kim Dunbar, she’s legendary actually, she actually once was pacing my friend Karl during the last seven miles at Western States, and it was a section that got dark. There was a bear on the trail, and Kim actually ran the bear off the trail and scared the bear up a tree. When I hear that story, I’m like “You’re on my team, you’re gonna be my crew chief.” So I’ve got those three, and then I thought I’d pull in the ace in the hole. I got a call from Ian Sharman, and he wanted to pace for me, and I said you know what, sure, I’d love to have you. If you don’t know who Ian Sharman is, he’s a younger fellow, he’s run 100 miler in twelve hours and forty minutes, and he was fourth this year at Western States, a real fast guy, I’m just happy to have him.

C259: So they allow pacing at the race?

Glen: Yeah, and you know what? Mule-ing is allowed. You don’t have to carry your bottles and stuff. You can have your pacer or crew carry your bottle and hand it back to you as you are moving along. At Western States, you are allowed to have a pacer for the last 38 miles, so from mile 62 to the finish you can have a pacer. At Badwater, you can have a pacer from mile 17 to the finish. Nobody really is going to run with another runner for that long. The pacers usually go for a mile or two, stop, and then throw in another runner for a mile or two, and then they stop. So there is some switching back and forth. When they’re not pacing they’re in the vehicle, in the air conditioning, drinking their Gatorade or their Slurpees.

C259: These pacers, are they there to set a pace or just to talk to? I imagine one way ultras differ from marathons is that you’re having more conversations, right?

Glen: Moral support, but also to keep you cool. A lot of people carry plant sprayers filled with ice, and they are just squirting you. You really need to keep your body temperature down. If your heart rate starts to go up too high, you’re gonna bonk at some point, and you really need to take time off. It’s all about being able to run at a lower cadence for a long time. To do that you gotta keep your core cool, and the way to keep it cool is ice, ice water, and just keep damp. I feel like I’m going to be pouring a lot of water over my head just to stay cool and to keep moving. In any ultra, there is always highs and always lows.

C259: The concerned mother in me wonders is there a temperature at which you would not run this race?

Glen: Well, the sauna training I’ve been doing is 190-200 [degrees]. Every time I go in there it’s 190-200. The world record is 134. I’m thinking if it’s starting to approach 130, there’s not going to be a reason to do this, but if it’s in the 120s, it’s been in the 120s in previous years.

C259: So it is actually close to the line at which you might not do it.

Glen: Yeah, but I think the race director would make that choice.

C259: And call off the race? Has that ever happened before?

Glen: Not at Badwater, but I’ve heard of road marathons that are cancelled just because the temperature reaches 90 or 100.

C259: I think there was one last year at Green Bay that was called off, something like 40 degrees colder than what you’ll be running in.  

Glen: But honestly these athletes that are running Badwater, they’ve all trained for this. They’ve all put the time and effort in. They’ve all done their crazy turned on all the heat in their car, wear their winter clothes in the summer, trying to acclimate. People have done all kinds of different training methods to prepare for this, and I don’t think the average runner would do that for a marathon. We all know what we are signing up for is what I’m trying to say.

C259: In the documentary “Running on the Sun,” there’s a woman who hauls around a truck tire tied to her waist, and there’s a guy who goes into his basement – I think he lives in the northern U.S. where it’s not hot at all – and takes the duct out of his clothes dryer and sprays it on himself while he’s in his treadmill in his basement to get hot air. Have you been in touch with a lot of other competitors besides your team, sharing tips with the Badwater community?

Glen: Oh, totally. Everybody is pretty generous. There have been others that have shared tips. There’s actually a young guy, Jonathan Gunderson, he’s a 5-time finisher. He sent me a nice little link with a bunch of suggestions. One year when he was running and he was going up a hill, the temperature dropped at night to 46. I though oh my gosh, I didn’t think about bringing a long-sleeve shirt or gloves or something because it actually would be cool, I’d been thinking of the heat the whole time. Another thing he said is there can be a sandstorm, and it can get really windy, and sand can just blow right off the dunes and onto the road where you are running, so if you don’t have any kind of mask, you could be running straight into sandstorms. So just little things like that that I hadn’t thought of. I’ve got a mask now, I’ve got some warmer clothing. So I think all those little tips are going to help me be prepared, because I don’t think my crew might have thought of those things, I’ve got to be the one on top of all those little, little things.

C259: Have you got goals for the race in terms of time you want to run or place you want to finish?

Glen: The time cutoff is 48 hours, so my first goal is to finish, and my second goal is to break 30 hours. There are other runners in the race that I’ve either run with or been ahead of in 100 milers, so I feel like I have that ability to be either with them or ahead of them, and they’re in that sub-30-hour range. I think there’s only going to be about 10 runners who can break 30 hours.

C259: Yeah, exactly, in last year’s race 12 out of 96 broke 30. In fact, at 29 hours and 57 minutes was Dean Karnazes.

Glen: Ah ha ha, there we go.

C259: Go get him, Glen! Why don’t you just sit on his shoulder for 134.9 miles and then…

Glen: Wait until he sits for a slice of pizza. Yeah, it’s not that kind of a race. It’s all about having a good day and making sure that everything goes smoothly. If everything goes smoothly and I’m sub-30, then I should be in the top ten and probably ahead of Dean.

C259: I noticed in your Spartathlon write-up, you really worked your way through the field. There were a lot of dropouts but it seemed that you also passed a lot of runners along the way. If not a negative split in time, at least in runners passed, you worked your way through the race. Is that how you usually run these things, are you usually picking people off?

Glen: Oh definitely. Someone like me who’s been running and racing for so many years, it’s ingrained in me. It’s all about running smart. There’s no need to run somebody else’s race. You’ve just have to run your own race and take care of yourself. Make sure you are getting your nutrition and your hydration needs met, and you are just moving along, and good things happen.

C259: You also wrote that you ran the first 10 miles of the Spartathlon at 8 minute pace. Was the start really fast because temperatures were cool and it was the time of day to run fast, or what was going on there?

Glen: Oh definitely. People were super excited. We were starting at the Pantheon right there in the center of Athens. It was actually a bit of a downhill. People were just so rested, they all just wanted to go out. For me, eight minutes was really comfortable. If I had gone any slower than that, it might have been uncomfortable.  So it was really comfortable, it was cool, and I just got into a nice groove. But as soon as we got around the bay and got closer to the water and the heat started to rise and the humidity started to rise, that’s when everybody started to slow down big time. That’s not going to happen at Badwater. We start at 10 AM, it’s already going to be 100, 107. I think a comfortable 8:30-9 minute pace is probably what we are going to start out at. I looked at Mike Morton’s time last year and he was amazing. He went out at seven minute pace, and I think he held that all the way to 42. Basically the first 42 is fairly flat, and then you turn out of Stovepipe Wells and it’s literally 17 miles, with 5,000 feet of uphill, so you are gaining 5,000 feet over 17 miles up to Town’s Pass, and then at Town’s Pass you start to head downhill and you are in the second canyon.

C259: But you are looking forward to the climb because it will cool you off.

Glen: Cool you off, and I think I’m actually more of a climber, if that makes any sense.

C259: Sure. Have you run with the guy who finished second last year, Oswaldo Lopez?

Glen: I ran a 50K against him almost ten years ago. We battled, we duked it out. We got beat, some other young guy beat us. Oswaldo was second, I was third. There was a bear on the course. I remember the bear. It was near Sequoia National Park. Before I moved to New York I lived in San Francisco, so I would go south and get some of those Southern California runners.

C259: So the bear didn’t frighten you at all.

Glen: No, but Oswaldo is definitely the favorite this year, having done the race so many times.

C259: It seems looking from the times from last year that he’d be the heavy favorite. Do you agree with that?

Glen: There’s a few other darkhorses that people aren’t talking about. There’s a kid from Brazil who won the Brazil 135 this last January [Eduardo Calisto]. He’s in the race. There’s just a handful of people who if they have a good race they can run close to 24 hours, and I think that’s what it’s going to take to win. Like we were talking about, there’s probably only going to be ten runners under 30 hours.

C259: So that’s a pretty elite time barrier, it seems, thirty hours. So what is the equivalent of a three hour marathon for Badwater?

Glen: Finishing.

C259: So 48 hours?

Glen: I think there’s probably a group of runners who think they can run thirty, and everyone else is pretty much going for 48. They are thinking they want to break 40, but if they are not having the kind of day they want, at least they can get under 48 and get a finish. Nobody wants a DNF. No one wants to get pulled off the course because of the time cutoff.

C259: So we’ll call it 48 then. A three-hour marathon at Badwater is a 48. Gregg, we’re going to have to call this Cloud 47:59. Give us ten years to warm up to this idea. This is out of my range right now.

Glen: Brenn, you’ve got to grow into these ultras. Earlier you guys were talking about how there has been a huge influx into the ultra world. A lot of people are running a marathon and turning around and going, “oh I can run a 50 miler.” They probably can, but the body needs to adapt into these longer distances. You need to grow into running a 50k, 50 miler, 100k, 100 miler. I probably have 20 hundred milers under my belt, and now this is just my second or third attempt at a longer race that is well into that distance. If you want to be successful and have a longer career, which I think I’ve had, it helps to be able to grow into these events. Just jumping up into those events for the sake of doing them, you can really have nerve damage and muscle damage, all kinds of things, and a really short career.

C259: Wise advice, I have no problem putting it back another ten years. Glen is there a single race that you are most proud of?

Glen: Well, I think I really fell in love with the whole Western States, because I was living in California and the first year I was out there I went out and helped pace one runner and helped this one woman who ended up winning the race, and she ended up being one of my training partners. She was a real inspiration and that was Ann Trason. Just being around somebody who was that fast and who had won the race that many times was an eye-opener and it was like, wow, this is a race that is really important because she keeps coming back year after year. A lot of races don’t have that ability to draw you back again and again. That early love with Western States really drew me to running ultras and running ultras on trails. I’ve had varied levels of success there. Some years I’ve been able to break through and get top 10. Other years I’ve just, you know. It’s such fun because it’s such a stacked field. They try to bring in international runners and everything. I really like the event. You are sort of asking for one performance, which is really hard to narrow down with a career that is so long. Actually, here it is, here it is, Brenn. State high school championships cross country, 1982. I came from behind, I ran down three runners, and I was the Manitoba provincial champion for 5000 meters. I was not the favorite, I was one of the underdogs.

C259: You had already run marathons by then. You ran a marathon at age 13, tell us about that.

Glen: I had an uncle who was a runner. He had run cross country and he had run half marathons, I don’t think he ran a marathon, but he was a distance runner and I had someone to look up to. Where I was living at the time, it was the first year that they had this marathon, and everybody was talking about it and entering it as more fun than anything. My mother drove to mile 10, and waited for me and thought I was just going to stop at mile 10. I got to mile 10 and I said well no, I’m going to go the whole way, and I just kept going. It was really hard, but I was really young and really naïve and I didn’t know any better. After I did it I said well I think I can do better next year, let’s do it next year, so I came back the next year and ran it again.

C259: What were your times?

Glen: I knew that was coming.

C259: Of course!

Glen: At 13, I ran 3:57.

C259: Wow!

Glen: And at 14, I did 3:20.

C259: No kidding. Wow.

Glen: So I brought it down. It was just a weird thing. When I got into high school I was told or kind of coerced into getting away from that. So I got away from it and got more into cross country and a few road races, and track, I got more into track.

C259: Those marathons, they were in Manitoba?

Glen: Yeah, the Manitoba Marathon in Winnipeg. Yeah, and I didn’t get back into marathoning until I got out of college. Once you are out of college there is not a lot of track running or cross-country running, it’s really hard, so there’s a whole road running scene. Trail running was not a thing at all back in the late 1980s. That whole trail running thing just started to boom. I really got into trail running when I moved to San Francisco. San Francisco was sort of the Mecca for trail running. Do you guys know the famous Dipsea race?

C259: I’ve seen pictures of it. There are stairs in the middle?

Glen: Yeah, it’s the second-oldest running event in the USA after the Boston Marathon. It’s in its hundredth year. It’s a 7.1 mile race that starts at Mill Valley, runs up and over Mt. Tamalpais and finishes at Stinson Beach. It’s a handicap race, so if you are a certain age or a woman you get a bigger handicap. If you are a male aged 19-35 you get zero, you are a scratch runner. They start the earlier runners and they let in 1500 runners and they chase each other. It’s a crazy race.

C259: Is it still a mecca or the mecca of trail running, San Francisco?

Glen: Trail running, yeah. There are other pockets of the US where there are good ultra runners, good ultra trail runners. Oregon is having a great boom right now, especially their women, they are so talented. And New England has always had really good trail runners.

C259: You mention Oregon, and one things we’ve looked at a lot on this show is the business side of track and marathons. I noticed that of all the sponsors of Badwater, Nike was not one of them. Can you tell us anything about the business side of ultras? I know it would be a very difficult way of making a living. Are some people making a living through sponsorships, ultra-runners?

Glen: There’s a few, but the few are the ones who’ve gone and written books. You’ve got Dean who’s making a living out of it, and Scott Jurek who is making a living at it, but both of those guys are semi-retired. They aren’t competing at the high end anymore. As far as the high-end runners, I think it’s still really tough. The fella who won Western States last week, Kim Olsen, he’s got a full-time massage-therapy practice going on in Ashland, Oregon. He may be making 20 or 30 thousand a year, but that’s not enough to be a full-time athlete. I think there are races now that are starting to offer prize money. If more of those events come available – but again ultrarunning is not an Olympic sport, so it’s different. The competitive side of ultrarunning is so different. Marathoning is really a competitive world. In ultras, people are really friendly and trying to help each other finish. Finishing is the important thing, not so much winning. It’s just a different thing.

C259: It’s a lifestyle, it seems.

Glen: It really is a lifestyle.

C259: One other question as a non-ultra person I wonder about is how do you have a social life? Is there some kind of tradeoff? Is a lot of your social life is during the race?

Glen: Before, during, and after. It’s really social, and it’s become so. In New York, there’s a group called the Jumpers, at least that’s what I call them. They go to all these races. A lot of them are friends of mine. They are on Facebook all the time, and they are travelling to these different events. They are not competitive, they are just out there doing it, and they love it. I applaud them, because they are going to places that I’ll never get to, and they are racking up two to three races a month, ultras, where they are just constantly on the go. Some of them can’t afford a coach or don’t have a sponsor, but they have a travel agent, and they are off to the next event, whether it’s in Rio de Janeiro or California. The Jumpers are amazing. If you don’t know who they are, there is a New York ultra running group that you can google and you can join, I think there are 800 members already. You’ll find them. They are everywhere in New York, and at all the races.

C259: This fits in with my theory of running that no matter how crazy you are and how much you run, there is always somebody crazier than you who has put in more miles.

Glen: Well, you know the longest race in the entire world is in Queens every year. It’s going on right now.

C259: The run around the block? A park?

Glen:  Yeah, it’s a half mile. A half mile around Queens. It’s the Sri Chinmoy Transcendental  3,100 mile race.

C259: Are you tempted by it Glen?

Glen: I went out and watched. I saw it and know all about it.

C259: First stage, right.

Glen: It’s not for me. It’s a multi-day.

C259: Not quite the scenic vistas that you are used to.

Glen: Yeah, I like the trail. I love point to point events. I actually get a thrill if I can run the event all day and try to finish before dark. There’s something about trying to get in before dark. When you run through the night, if you’ve never run through the night, that first feeling of going through all night, you get so tired, and those wee hours between 1:30 and 5, you’re in another world. To experience that and then to run all day the next day, with the thought of running through the next night with no sleep, it’s tough. Some of these multi-day runners are doing that day after day after day. In April, the Sri Chinmoy has a warm-up race, for their 3,100 miler. They have a 6-day and a 10-day event. That’s another introduction into the longer, longer events.

C259: So what’s on your bucket list? Obviously Badwater is a huge accomplishment, very prestigious. Is there anything else you’d like to do overseas or anything else that you haven’t done yet?

Glen: I actually got invited to do the Grand Raid on the Reunion Islands off of Madagascar. That’s in October. It’s a 100 mile race, and it’s over three mountains. I’m not sure I’m going to do it yet because I need to come up with airfare. It’s about $2100 to fly to the Reunion Islands. That’s one race that sort of interests me. I’d love to do the Tour de Mont Blanc. I haven’t been able to find time because it’s always at the end of August and that’s my busiest time at work. I don’t really have a lot of bucket list races. I’ve done Leadville, I’ve done Vermont, I’ve done Western States, I’ve done a lot of the 100s here in North America. I like the travel events. The Brazil 135 kind of interests me because it’s in another country and I get to see other things. I’ve really been able to travel a lot because of my running, and I think that’s something unique that not all runners have. Last year as you were saying earlier I was in Greece for Spartathlon, the year before that I was over in Ireland and I did a race in the Connemara. I take advantage of those opportunities. They don’t come very often, and I’m sure they’ll be another event that will come my way.

C259: Just to bring it back to distances that we’re more accustomed to, you ran a 2:45 at New York, is that your marathon PR?

Glen: I’ve run faster, back when I was younger. I ran the Sacramento International Marathon, I ran a 2:35. The marathon training is really different than ultra training or trail running. I never thought I never thought my marathon time was as good as it could have been. I never lived in Albuquerque or Santa Fe or Boulder where it seems that all the best marathoners were running at the time.

C259: What do you think was missing from your training? Altitude? Was there another aspect that you think you didn’t do effectively?

Glen: I don’t know if my body was as strong. I think you need to have a strong core and all that, but so much of it is about doing repetitive fast miles. If you want to run 2:35, you’ve got to run sub-6 minute pace a lot. And if you want to run sub 2:20 you’ve got to a lot of 5:20 a mile. Your body has to be strong and you’ve got to be able to do speed, so it’s a really tricky balance. People who are running their PRs and their faster times, they are doing them in their late 20s, early 20s to late 20s. You need a program, you need a coach, and you need other fast runners to train with. It’s a whole combination of things. You’re not seeing one-offs just coming out of nowhere.

C259: Do you have any desire to run another marathon?

Glen: I think when I hit 50. I had this little thing in my head, I’m like, well wait a minute, I might be one of the few people ever who could run marathon in their teens, in their twenties, in their thirties, in their forties, in their fifties, in their sixties, in their seventies. I’m gonna do it. I’m going to run one every ten years.

C259: And what’s that marathon going to be when you are 50?

Glen: Probably New York because it’s right here. There are a lot of interesting marathoners out there who have interesting stories. Just a shout-out to my friend Alan Ruben, the guy’s run 25 straight New York City marathons, and Brenn and I train with him so that’s pretty cool. Whether he can put another 25 together I don’t know.   

C259: He’s run them all fast, too. If he could do another 25 at sub-3 that would be really something.

Glen: Even if they are all just sub-4, that would still be impressive.  

C259: He’s a class act. Glen, we’ve got to ask you this. We’ve peppered you with this question at practice, but never before our studio audience of thousands of listeners here. We want to get sub-3, as do a lot of people listening. We have gotten advice from some Olympians and some really great athletes. We want to get one piece of advice from you. How are you going to get Gregg and me sub-3 in the marathon? 2:59 would do.

Glen: I’m going to steal right from the playbook of [Central Park Track Club coach] Tony Ruiz: 10-10-10.

C259: Spell it out.

Glen: When you are in that race and you know you are ready, the first ten miles you’ve got to be able to look at the runner beside you. You gotta be able to say hey, you are looking pretty good, you’ve got to be able to have a conversation, and then you are going to bring it in. Your focus is, you can see everything for the first ten miles, the second ten miles your focus is a little more narrow, you’re starting to get into your groove. The last 10K, you’ve got blinders on. All you can see is the road in front of you and you are just hammering it out. So it’s the wide, middle, and the really narrow. If you are running too fast too early, and you are focused too early, you are going to hit a bad patch. So you’ve got to do that 10-10-10. Tony is always preaching that, and he always has his workouts set up for that. I think you’ve got to believe it, and you’ve got to execute it. You’ve got to do the work. If you are not doing the work, then it’s not going to happen.

C259: Right.

Glen: I think Brenn isn’t doing enough mileage. You have the speed. You have the speed.  

C259: So I’ve heard.

Glen: It’s not that you’ve got to do more speed work. You’ve got to do a longer, faster tempo run, or you’ve just got to do more mileage.

C259: How much mileage Glen? Give me a program.

Glen: Eighty. Seventy or eighty miles, you’ve got to build up to that.

C259: Okay, alright that was the plan, that was the plan. We are 16 weeks out, I’m in the 50s, I’m building.

Glen: If you could hire Alberto Salazar, that might help too. I heard P-Diddy did that once.  

C259: I’m sure it would. I’m sure it would.  

Glen: And if you’re not doing any core work, core work would help too. If you can get in there and do some core work. I know Shalane Flanagan had a pretty intensive core workout routine. It really comes down to the little things, when you’re that close to breaking it.

C259: Core work, gotta do it, okay okay okay. Glen, thank you so much for joining us. It’s been interesting, and again, the mother in me – be careful. If you’re feeling really horrible, slow down. We’re totally going to be rooting for you, of course, and monitoring you. I noticed the badwater.com site has some good resources to track your runners.

Glen: Like I said there are six different points throughout the race. I think they’ll have updates as we cross those little mats so that you can see where we are.  

C259: That’s good. Last question. What is the most upside-down you’ve been in a race? What’s the worst feeling you’ve had?

Glen: Whoa.

C259: We’re trying to end on a happy note here. I want a test here, I want to see whether you can achieve this at Badwater, whether you can fend it off.

Glen: When I was younger I had food poisoning the night before and I didn’t know, and it came out during the race.

C259: During the race, have you ever been in one of these 100 mile races and thought, do I go on or not?

Glen: Oh yeah, I’ve had that. I had that at Western States one year. One year it was a really low finishing rate. I hit 55, and I was done. I sat down. My feet were done. I had blisters. My crew was there. My crew kept me going. They gave me salt tablets. They gave me a turkey sandwich. My mother was there. She took my shoes off, she took my socks off, she popped my blisters. She taped them up, she put new socks, new shoes. I was probably there for eight minutes, but it felt like an eternity. I left there walking, hobbling, and after two miles of walking I started to get a little bit of energy, and by the time I got seven miles down the trail I was on again, and I couldn’t believe it. I think it was just I hit a real low point. Mile 55 at Western States is Michigan Bluff, and you are just coming through the last canyon. I was depleted and I just needed moral support. Having a crew really helps in those harder events. If you are just running loops or stuff around a park it is not as difficult, but when you are doing these big point to point, having the moral support. I’ve run 100-mile races with no crew and no pacers, and done really well. I think it’s the ones that have the elements, whether it’s the heat or the snow or the altitude.  

C259: Well, I’m glad that you’ve got a crack crew with you and you’ll know when to say when. I’m sure you’ll push through and get it done.

Glen: They are going to look into my eyes and they are going to tell me whether I’m done or not. If they see that I’m just off in another world, they’re going to pull me. They have the smarts to do that.

C259: Or they’ll say get up, here comes Dean.

Glen: He’s eating pizza.


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