The Running4Soles Podcast

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An Interview With Meg Landymore - Fastest Woman to Ever Complete the Double SCAR

Shortly after I completed my 37 mile Georgia Jewel ultramarathon, I read a post Meg Landymore shared on the race Facebook page. Meg actually won the female division of the 50-mile race. She wrote this:

"On Chasing Your Ghost"

I thought I was ready to face my prior self head on, I thought I'd prepped for this race. What I didn't know was what it would actually feel like to chase myself and watch myself fade into the distance because...well, you can't chase a ghost. The feeling of losing the battle with yourself from a different time but in the exact same place. That, I was not prepared for.

I wasn't prepared to be raw as I silently spewed my reality and/or excuses on the empty dark trail, "I'm a mom of two now" "I opened a business" "I had surgery" "covid".... But they fall on deaf heightened nerve endings in the mind where the resounding "you're not even close to the athlete you were that day " reverberates through my body with every step....With every misstep and near fall the memory of how I some how didn't trip at all in the first 20 miles of the Georgia jewel 100 in 2018...

The lesson from 2018 though was to be positive, to be kind (to myself) and it worked. So in between constantly tripping in 2020 I'd remind myself to ignore the ghost and focus on this moment, just as I had in 2018. So you see now how 2020 continued to remind me of 2018... But it wasn't and is not. I'm not the same. I am Better.

My race in 2018- the Golden moment or 21 hrs of moments -were that of magical concoction of pure love, grit, hard effort and a whole Lot of Luck, amazing volunteers, crew and pacing. The truth is, I don't know how I ran so well that day... But I continue to hold onto the lessons I learned.

1. Be positive, be kind to yourself - most of the struggles of ultra running is in fact in your head.
2. nutrition really is Key... My race fell apart in 2018... Thank goodness I ran such a killer first 74 miles because the last 26 were a mixed bag of naive mistakes- the same ones I always used to make ...mostly that I hadn't eaten anything since the three bites of veggie burger atop John's mountain- where I swore to my crew I'd eat because I'd failed to at dry creek for hours prior.
3. All the moments matter when you look back. I'm type A...I tear myself apart for each moment that I walked too slow or mentally caved in. In the moments of "weakness" I would tell myself "it's OK to rest a bit, it's OK to fail" but then when I crossed the finish line with any doubt in my mind I'd spend weeks analyzing why I let myself down... How I'd "failed" to give it my all

So fast forward to 2020... Where my baseline speed is slower, my baseline chronic pain level is higher and I add up what I am, as an athlete after a very well put together 50 mile race (and a handful of good ones since 2018).

I have finally learned:

I now know exactly how to manage my nutrition through to the very end. I can run hard at the end of a race.

I now know how to talk to myself to stay focused even when I'm chasing my own ghost and feeling fairly low and tripping left and right.

I now know how to be certain that when I look back on my race I can be proud of it, no matter where I landed in the field because I gave it everything I had. No Regrets.

I am a better athlete than I've ever been, and has nothing to do with speed and everything to do with heart.

I was moved by Meg's words, so I reached out and asked if I could interview her. She said yes, and here is our discussion. 

You can download this discussion at the Running4Soles podcast on podbean or itunes - you can also listen to it on Spotify.


You can read Meg's double SCAR race recap here: Run the Ride


Their first ultramarathon at the Georgia Jewel - an interview with David and Mary Ann Kauffman

I wasn't far into my recent Georgia Jewel race when I heard footsteps coming up from behind me. Then I heard a voice, "are you Mr. Keith?"

Hearing myself referred to as "Mr. Keith" made me instantly feel like an old man. When I turned and saw how young the man was from where those words came, I felt like I should probably be spending the day in a nursing home and not out on the trails of the Georgia Jewel.

The young man was David Kauffman. It turns out he and his wife Mary Ann were running their first ultramarathon. David told me that in preparing for their race he had listened to my podcast conversations about the Jewel. He specifically pointed out how inspired he was by the one I recorded about my Georgia Jewel failure.

Hey kid - that's not the pep talk I need today!!

David was the first of three runners I encountered that day who commented on my podcasting. I'd never met any of them before. I've said my prayer that day was for God to make his presence known to me every step of the way. By the end of the race, I felt like one of the things God was telling me while we hung out was I needed to get back to recording these podcasts, since I'd been on a bit of a break from it.

I tried to talk myself out of it. I'm busy with work and with other pursuits. Podcasting takes time I don't have. But God just kept putting that on my heart.

So I reached out to David and Mary Ann. I asked if I could interview them about their Jewel experience.

We scheduled the interview for last night. Prior to the interview, I reached out and asked if there was any part of their story they'd like to make sure we got out there. If so, I'd ask questions to lead us there. Never in a million years did I see what came next.

Mary Ann responded to my question.

She said she didn't know how far back I'd traced her story on Facebook, but she'd been married before. She was a 19 year-old newlywed - pregnant with her first child. She and her husband Marcus were returning home from a Thanksgiving trip. Arriving home, they saw what appeared to be a disabled car. Marcus took Mary Ann to a friend's house while he went back to help them. When he got there, though, he discovered the occupants of the car were robbing their house. The robbers shot Marcus in the head. Some time later he died.

I say all the time, the reason I love interviewing runners is because they all have stories that are deeper than a runner trying to win a race or achieve some running milestone. Stories that speak to me. But I'm not sure I've ever discovered a running story quite this deep.

In this interview I start by telling Mary Ann how hard it had been for me to process her story. I told her I have a son who will be 14 soon - not much younger than that 19 year-old mom and wife. I asked her, how on earth does a "kid" handle that kind of event?

Her answer was simple: God.

Mary went on to describe a faith I can't always comprehend. One thing she said to me stuck out in that faith. She said she was grateful she never had to deal with forgiveness. She said she forgave her husband's killers from the beginning. Mary Ann said everything else she had to deal with was hard enough; she's thankful she didn't have to battle bitterness on top of it.

In that moment, before my running podcast ever got to talking about running, I knew why God had me in the middle of that conversation. It was like God was staring at me, looking for my reaction as Mary Ann talked about how thankful she was she didn't have to battle bitterness.

When Mary was done telling her story, I could hear God ask, shall we talk about your bitterness now? Uhm, not right now God - I have to finish this interview.

I asked David, Mary Ann's husband of five years now, how he came into Mary Ann's life. David said, I don't have a big story like Mary Ann's - I feel like I just walked through a door God opened in my life.

It wasn't lost on me that's why I was in that conversation with two of the most beautiful people I've ever met. God opened a door with "hey, are you Mr. Keith?" - and God was asking me if I was going to walk through it.

I'm grateful to share this interview. I can't wait for you to hear what I discovered on the other side of that door. Yes, our conversation was heavy to start, but man did we have some fun too. It might be one of the most fun interviews I've ever done.

I wonder how many open doors I walk by every day. I wonder how many life changing moments I miss when I do. Today I'm full of gratitude that I walked through this one.

The Georgia Jewel Trail Race

Mary Ann Kauffman asks for people to not hate her husband's killers

An Interview With Stephanie Northway

As one of the precautionary measures during the Covid-19 pandemic, all running events have been cancelled. This is the story of a young lady, who in partnership with her 7 year old son, created her own races. Together they ran and they taught and they learned and they inspired. They did this 100 miles at a time, in their back yard and in their house and going up and down the stairs in that house - thousands of times.

You can read more about this interview here: Stephanie Northway Podcast Interview Blog Post

An Interview With Soles4Souls CEO Buddy Teaster

Back in November of 2018, I interviewed Soles4Souls CEO, Buddy Teaster. It was one of the most influential interviews I've ever conducted. Listen to that conversation here: An Interview with Buddy Teaster.

Our conversation impacted my running journey. Buddy is an ultra runner. Listening to him describe a running journey that went from a few miles here in the tiny town of Ashland, Virginia where I live, to 100 mile races all over the country, inspired me to want to run longer in my own journey. 

More importantly, though, Buddy inspired my love for his organization, Soles4Souls, and the work they are doing to eradicate poverty around the world. In this episode, Buddy talks about the challenges facing their organization in these challenging times, as well as the partners they serve around the world. 

Read more about this episode here: Running4Soles

An Interview With Ultrarunner Greg Armstrong

In this episode, Greg Armstrong says, "It's good for the soul to realize that we are weak, and that our bodies are weak and our minds are weak, and we have limitations. And for me, ultrarunning does that for me."  

This conversation goes in depth about the beauty in the struggle. Both in running and in life. Struggle gives birth to compassion. 

Read more about this episode here: An Interview With Greg Armstrong

The Lions Pride Run - An Interview With Kate Fletcher

On February 17th, 2020, my friend Kate Fletcher ran her 5th Lions Pride Run to raise money for scholarships for underprivileged students in Louisa, Virginia. This years run was a 50 mile run from Louisa to the Virginia capital building in Richmond. 

Some things we talk about in this discussion:

What it means to be a part of a tight knit community like Louisa. 

Why Kate chose, unlike the previous 4 years, to run outside of Louisa this year.

Running as a creative outlet, as a way to construct something bigger in life. 

Running as a way to get into a flow state.

Running as a way to widen and broaden the way we look at the world. 

There is value in getting uncomfortable. Struggle is not something that is in the way - it is the way. 

How a teacher came to better understand her students through the sport of running.

Read more about my interview with Kate here:

JP Caudill - When Your Marathon is Cancelled You Head for the Treadmill

A couple of years ago, I had a chance to interview JP after he completed the World Marathon Challenge - 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 different continents. (Listen to that interview here: JP Caudill Episode 45).

Last weekend I caught up with JP just a week after he'd run his cancelled Shamrock Marathon on a treadmill. Many of us have had our races cancelled in response to the Covid 19 virus. JP made the decision to tackle his cancelled race on the treadmill. 

We talk about that experience. We talk about how running can help us through these challenging times. We talk about how these times are bringing new runners to the sport. 

I truly appreciated this conversation with my friend JP Caudill. 

To see pictures and more resources related to this interview, visit here at the:blog post for this episode.

Louisa High School Teacher Kate Fletcher - The 2019 Lions Pride Run For Scholarships

What you'll hear in this conversation:

Even after you've run 100 miles, a 35 mile run comes with it's own set of fears and doubts. 

Part of our human condition is doubts. And maybe that's why we run, because we love wrestling with doubt. 

Life isn't about training to be comfortable, it's about mastering our approach to life when it gets uncomfortable. 
Runners rarely win a race, they often have setbacks, yet they keep going, doing something that would be much easier to quit.

Is it possible that in a culture that is more comfortable than ever, runners are a group of people seeking discomfort, and possibly because they want the chance to wrestle with failure to see how they'll respond. 

Kate Fletcher is not a runner drawn to "racing." She talks about why it's difficult for her to find a reason to race, but relatively easy to find a reason to run. 

Whether we are running or tackling a career or a relationship, understanding "why" we do it is always the key fulfillment.

Are runners salespeople? What are we trying to sell ourselves and others through our running?

A conversation about the book Born to Run - and this idea that the secret to running is found in our capacity for loving one another. It's found in compassion. 

Maybe running gives us the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with ourselves and others we might not normally have otherwise. 

Contribute to Kate's Lion Pride Scholarship Fund 



Introduction and closing song: One Flame to Burn (Prospect 7)

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The 2019 Land Between the Lakes Ultra Recap

This is the podcast episode number 79. 

From my blog recap of the Land Between the Lakes Ultra

This was not the start I'd anticipated for my attempt at my longest run ever. There was no way to train for these conditions outside of daily runs through a swamp in the middle of a hurricane - neither of which I'd had access to. 

It was clear this day was about me and my heart. No coach was going to drag me through. No inspirational meme was going to coax me on. This day was about the miles I'd put on my feet and legs leading up to this moment, and whatever strength I'd stowed away in my mind. 

​And if I was lucky, this day would be about discovering some new strength along the way. ​

Listen to this podcast for the rest of this running story. 

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