Minute 1: Defying death
Of the 33,000 participants in Sunday’s New York City Marathon, perhaps no one has had a more inspiring journey to the start line than ultramarathoner, Tommy “Rivs” Puzey. Last summer, Rivs was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer, Primary Pulmonary NK T-Cell Lymphoma. After spending months in a coma and undergoing countless treatments and procedures, Tommy was not able to walk, let alone run. Thanks to a relentless attitude, Tommy took his first steps, 1 year ago today. Now in remission and with lungs that function at only a fraction of their usual strength, Rivs has captivated the running community through a series of brutally genuine Instagram posts about the arduous journey of a world class endurance athlete regaining his strength to run again. For many, this Sunday will be the culmination of months of hard training and a dream finally realized. For Rivs, it’s a message to the masses who have been following his journey: “Keep Moving.” Trail Runner just came out with a moving piece written by a friend of Rivs: “Leaving Home to Find It Again.”
Minute 2: The best way to drink fluids during a race
Do you have a drinking problem? When you’re competing in a race and you grab a cup of water or Gatorade, does most of it pour onto the ground or your shirt rather than into your mouth? Just in time for Sunday’s NYC Marathon, Runner’s World did a test of different methods and concluded that the best water station technique is to stick your index finger right into the liquid and then pinch the walls of the cup around that finger. The goal is to close off most of the top of the cup, leaving just a small opening which prevents the problem of sloshing as you run. All the details are here: “RW+ Exclusive: We Tested the Best Way to Grab a Cup of Water” (subscription required). Of course some runners skip the water stations altogether and prefer to supply their own hydration strapped to their waists. There are pros and cons to this technique that you can learn about in: “Bringing Your Own Water vs. Using Water Stops When Running a Race.” Our opinion is that unless you have a particular energy drink concoction that you can’t live without, it is better to get used to the option provided by the race. That should be part of your training for a marathon. #DrinksOnMe
Minute 3: 2 runners, 1 liver in the NYC Marathon
Many runners gain entry to marathons by raising money for a charity. Every major race allots some of its bibs to non-profits who then distribute them to runners -- as long as they agree to raise money for the charity. Sometimes the runner cares deeply about the cause, while other runners are mostly in it for the bib. Nothing against the folks raising money in the latter category, but we have special admiration for 2 runners in Sunday’s NYC Marathon who most definitely belong in the former category. Four years ago, Dave Kane was battling liver cancer with a dire prognosis. That’s when his friend and fellow runner, Sara Kate Gillingham stepped up and donated 60% of her own liver to save Kane’s life. To celebrate their experience and to encourage other organ donors, the pair will run the NYC Marathon together this weekend, raising money for the American Liver Foundation. Gillingham described her message this way: “It's totally possible to make a bigger impact on the world than you think is possible by doing this — digging deep in yourself to give something that is very scary." A video of the pair in training and telling their story is here.
Minute 4: What does the best marathoner in the world eat?
Olympic champion and marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge is enjoying a well-earned respite from marathons this fall. Although the speedy Kenyan will not be running the NYC Marathon this weekend, amateurs can still use him as a role model. No, you can’t run at his pace or handle his training loads, but you can at least mimic him at the kitchen table. This new story details his fuel intake: “11 Foods Eliud Kipchoge Eats.” His breakfast of champions is typically rice, although he did eat oatmeal before breaking the 2-hour mark in an unofficial race. Kipchoge eats about 2,300 calories per day, which doesn’t sound like a lot compared to the 10,000 that Michael Phelps ate during his peak training. Because Kipchoge eats primarily whole foods, his 2,300 calories sustain him for a long time. One nutritional supplement company, Maurten, is closely associated with Kipchoge and has been all over the NYC Marathon expo this week, along with several other expos this fall. Kipchoge swears by the stuff and when he broke the world record at the Berlin Marathon in 2018, Maurten became the “it” sports drink. The claim is that their drink has a high concentration of maltodextrin and fructose which converts to hydrogel in the acid of the stomach. This enables easier absorption of carbs and lower risk of an upset tummy. At least according to the company. There is some skepticism out there, however, including this piece: “The World’s Hottest Sports Drink Faces the Evidence.”
Minute 5: Quick Intervals
Your local specialty run shop may have just gotten a lot more national this week. Fleet Feet announced that it has acquired JackRabbit which creates a specialty run shop giant with 250 storefronts and a very large ecommerce presence. JackRabbit has grown over the years through an aggressive acquisition strategy and owns some iconic shops like the Boulder Running Company. Fleet Feet, on the other hand, has pursued more of a steady organic build strategy by growing its franchisees across the country. By empowering local franchisees, Fleet Feet has been able to maintain the best of both worlds -- national purchasing power coupled with the authenticity of a local business.
Our friend Brian Metzler has an insightful new story out on the bronze medal winner from Tokyo: “The Simple Training Shift That Made Molly Seidel a Marathoner.” As she transitioned from a 10,000M specialist to the marathon, at first Seidel had trouble letting go of her favorite track and speed workouts. With the help of new coach Jonathan Green in 2019, she cut back on intensity and focused instead on big mileage. She went from 80-100 miles per week up to 100-115 miles. While those mileage totals don’t apply to most of our readers, the theme is worth considering. We see lots more injuries among our friends during intense workouts than slower distance runs.
We recently posted a job opening for Six Minute Mile and were frustrated by the results from an online job site. Most of the applicants just didn’t “get” the endurance athletes who read our newsletter. If you’re an athlete who also has some digital marketing chops, we’d love to hear from you. We are looking for someone with 3-5 years of experience in areas like email marketing, SEO, Google Ads, affiliate marketing, website content and social media engagement. We have a slight preference for someone based in Boston, but honestly the job can be performed from a converted van or coffee shop anywhere in the world. Comp is commensurate with experience. If you’re interested, just reply to this email with a brief description of your experience.
Minute 6: Daily Inspiration
As we mentioned in Minute 1, we will be following the story of Rivs very closely this weekend as he completes his journey from an ICU bed to the finish line of the NYC Marathon. When no one knew whether he would survive his battle with a brutal form of cancer, some friends produced this moving video that expressed the pain of the running community. It’s a little easier to watch now that we know that Rivs made a miraculous comeback, but it’s tough stuff nonetheless. If you’d like a happier tale to get you out the door this weekend, check out a newer version of the video tale below, entitled “Tommy Rivers in Remission.”