Episode 007: Alex Hutchinson - Author (Endure)

I interview Alex Hutchinson, author of the newly released book Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance (Click here to check it out).  

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What is your writing Experience? I am a National Magazine Award-winning science journalist focusing on endurance sports.  I currently write the Sweat Science column for Outside, and was a former columnist for Runner’s World. My writing also appears regularly in a variety of other publications, including the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the Globe and Mail. I’m written three books, the latest of which (published by HarperCollins in February 2018) is ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.

What is your experience with sport?  I competed as a middle- and long-distance runner through high school and university, and then for the Canadian national team in track, cross-country, road racing, and mountain running.

How were you inspired to begin writing about sport?  I actually started out as a physicist. I did a Ph.D. in Britain, then worked for the U.S. National Security Agency as a postdoctoral researcher for a few years. In my late 20s, I made a switch to journalism, and one of my key motivations was wanting the opportunity to spend more time being involved in the things I was passionate about—like sports. Since I had a science background, writing about the science of sport seemed like an obvious route to stay involved in that world.

What is your favorite article that you have written (other than this book)?  This is a tough one. If I skip the various sports science articles I’ve written in the course of reporting my new book over the past seven or eight years, my favorite is probably this one about how navigating with GPS may be changing our brains.

Alex Hutchinson

Favorite Quote:  “A book is like a mirror. If an ass peers in, you can’t expect an apostle to peer out.” (Georg Christoph Lichtenberg) That’s what I plan to say to anyone who doesn’t like my book. :)

Fun fact:  My best 1,500 meter run was 3:42.43—which, unfortunately, is just slightly slower than the equivalent of a four-minute mile. According to the IAAF tables, it’s worth about 4:00.03. That still hurts.

Episode 006: Sandy Stiner - Long Distance Runner

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I interview Sandy Stiner, a long distance runner.  In December 2017, she completed running all 300 miles of Rochester Hills road, every road in the city.  (See article in the Rochester Hills Gazette)

Types of races you compete have completed: I’ve run 74 races of marathon distance or longer, 1/3 of them were ultra marathons (distances from 50K to 100 miles)  I’ve done my fair share of the shorter stuff, but I like the long distance stuff better. 

I’m working on running a marathon or longer in every state.  I will have 40 states done as of January 2018.  

Favorite races: 

  • Vermont 50K- it was a beautiful, hilly and challenging course.

  • Marquette Marathon- it’s my hometown and the scenery is beautiful and the course is slightly downhill.

How did you get into running:  I ran a little track in high school, but started getting into distance running after high school when I enlisted in the Army.  We had a two mile physical fitness test and I ran so I could get a higher score on it.  I started getting into longer distances when we did our long (double digit) road marches (in Army boots and full uniform.)

What is your favorite quote:  Relentless Forward Progress.”  It is the title of a book that is commonly known as the ultra runner bible.  (Written by Bryon Powell).  I love the quote so much I had it tattooed on my calf.  It reminds me that every step forward is progress and gets you closer to the goal.

Fun Fact:  I’m not really fast but I once won a marathon.  It was the Great Allegheny Passage Marathon in Maryland.  Not sure how it happened but I guess all the fast people stayed home.  I finished first place for the women and fifth place overall.

Episode 005: Todd Buckingham - Triathlon

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Interview with Todd Buckingham, an endurance athlete specializing in the Olympic Distance Triathlon.

Title/Current Job:  Ph.D. Candidate in Kinesiology at Michigan State University.

What sport(s) do you compete in:  Primarily focused on Olympic Distance triathlon.  Also compete in other distance triathlons including sprint and half-iron, duathlon, and running events from the 5k to marathon distance.

What are some notable races that you have competed in? 

  • 2015-2017 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championship
  • 2016 and 2017 Boston Marathon
  • 2016 ITU World Championship

Major challenge or race you are looking to conquer? 3-peat the USAT Age Group National Championship for the 25-29 AG

What is one piece of advice you would give people training for their first race? One workout won't make or break your race. A good workout, bad workout, missing a workout; one time doesn't really matter. It's the consistency that's important. If you consistently put in the work, it will pay off come race day.

Favorite Quote: Go the distance

Fun fact about you: I received a full tuition scholarship to SVSU (in part) because I can do the "water drop" noise. Ask me about it. It's a fun story :)

Episode 004: Cameron Rowland -Volleyball Coach

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I interview Cameron Rowland about his experience as a coach teaching the mental game at the college and youth level.

Where are you currently coaching:  I am currently the Director of Volleyball Operations Western Michigan University.  I also coach for the Dead Frog/ Far Out (DFFO) Volleyball Club as the 13 Black Head Coach and the 13s and 14s Master Coach.

How long have you been coaching?  7 years, actually listed as a coach on a roster and sat on my mom's bench since the age of 5.

How you got into coaching:  I got into coaching by watching my mom build Lakewood High School's volleyball program into a yearly state title contender. I was in the gym everyday surrounded by the sport and simply fall in love with it. I always knew that volleyball was my passion but did not realize I wanted to coach until my sophomore year of college when I was asked by the club director at DFFO to be his assistant coach for the 18 Black team that season. Once I was in the gym everyday once again surround by elite level female athletes I knew that I had to pursue a coaching career. I just could not see myself doing something that did not involve volleyball everyday.

Memorable match/moment as a coach:  The most memorable match for me as a coach was watching my mom's team win the 2012 state championship. This match will forever be the best day of my life (11/17/2012). My mom had been so close so many times over her career to grabbing a title but could never quite get over the hump. Once they finally were able to win it all, everything we sacrificed as a family for the Lakewood Volleyball program felt worth it. Also to see so many alumni and their families celebrate the title as if it was their own truly showed the family that was built by Lakewood Volleyball. I have been around many high school programs through my involvement with DFFO and can honestly say that nothing compares to the culture and community that Lakewood Volleyball has created. The 2012 State Championship victory made everything Lakewood Volleyball stands for come to light for all individuals involved in the program. 

Fun Fact:  Although I love coaching and it is my passion, my dream job is to be the Executive Director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).

Episode 003 - Scott Kohen - 1000 Days Running

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Interview with Scott Kohen, who has run an average of 3 miles or more a day for 1,000 days.  His goal is to eventually reach 10,000 miles run as well as someday qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Started Journey: Began running 1,000 days on May 1, 2013

Memorable Record: Finishing first half (2013 Ann Arbor Half Marathon) and a full marathon (2013 Chicago Marathon)

Fun Fact: Running 4:31 at the 2014 Ann Arbor Marathon is a time I am proud of because of the many hills involved in the race

Last Race: The 2014 Chicago Marathon (Scott has run 4 marathons total at this point)

Next Race: Kalamazoo Marathon on may 3, 2016