Train for a Marathon and Face Life's Obstacles with Angie and Trevor Spencer

Are you facing an obstacle that you fear you can’t overcome, or a milestone you can’t seem to reach? Don’t let this emotion trap you; everyone experiences difficulties when starting something new. Face the challenge head-on! Conquering will make you stronger. And what better way to challenge yourself than by running a marathon?  

This week, Angie and Trevor Spencer from the Marathon Training Academy join us for a conversation on all things marathon running. They share their experiences about their running journey and the marathoning community they created. Angie discusses how she got into marathoning and how it led to their podcast. They also recount their most memorable marathons and the lessons that they learned along the way. Finally, we learn the value of facing challenges, staying in the present, and paying attention to our overall health. 

f you want to overcome life's obstacles and know how to train for a marathon, this episode is for you.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn more about Marathon Training Academy and how Angie and Trevor can help you train for a marathon. 
  2. Discover how you can keep challenging yourself. 
  3. Understand that we’re all built differently. 

Resources

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Episode Highlights

[05:43] About Marathon Training Academy

Inspired by Angie's experiences with marathons, Angie and Trevor started Marathon Training Academy back in 2010. Marathon Training Academy helps people learn how to train for a marathon. They also provide tips, strategies, and principles on how to run marathons well. To date, the show has over 10.8 million downloads. 

[08:15] Angie’s Marathon Training Career

Angie shares that we need to be careful about comparing our accomplishments to others. At first, she started running to lose weight. After giving birth to her second child, Angie signed up for her first 5k race. Then, she decided she needed a bigger challenge, so she signed up for her first marathon. 

Although the experience itself was miserable, Angie knew that she wanted to experience the feeling of finishing a marathon again. Her personal experiences paved the way for Marathon Training Academy. She wanted to teach others how to train for a marathon so that they won’t get injured. 

[14:19] Learning How to Train for a Marathon to Avoid Mistakes

Many runners think they don’t need coaches, but it’s essential to have guidance.  Seeking good advice on how to train for a marathon can dramatically reduce injuries. In addition, being part of a community can also help you avoid costly mistakes.  

[16:14] Marathon Training Academy’s Growth

Marathon Training Academy started in 2010, around the second wave of podcasting. Back then, many people were still not aware of what podcasts are. We’re now in the fourth wave of podcasting, where even news agencies and TV shows have podcasts. 

Trevor shared that connecting with their audience helped build the community from the start. So, they would do shout-outs during their episodes. They are also active on social media.  

Angie and Trevor also recognise the value of their audience’s time. So, they try to keep their episodes short while giving out as much valuable information as possible.

[20:31] Angie’s Journey Towards 50 Marathons in 50 States

Angie first heard about running challenges when she encountered the Marathon Maniacs. You can get into this club if you do two races in two weeks or three in 90 days. At first, she thought that she wasn’t up to the challenge, but she proved herself wrong.

We often make excuses about not being able to do something. If you surround yourself with people taking on these big challenges, you push yourself as well. 

She then challenged herself to run 50 races in 50 states. This endeavour took 12 years. Trevor shares that Angie ran her 50th marathon the fastest. This achievement only proves that age can’t stop you from challenging yourself.  

[24:47] We’re All Different

We’re all built differently, so don’t feel pressured to do back-to-back marathons. Find what works best for you and your health. Don’t be caught up in the misconception that running marathons can slim you down. Also, don't compare yourself to others — focus on yourself and your progress. 

[29:10] Angie and Trevor’s Most Memorable Races

Trevor’s favourite race was the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland because of the views. He talks more about the experience in the full episode. Meanwhile, Angie loves the Loch Ness Marathon in Scotland. She also enjoys several other races in the US. 

Trevor shares that his toughest race was a 50k race in Montana. He admits that he wasn't able to train for it. On the other hand, Angie’s toughest race is the Leadville Trail Marathon. Located in Colorado, this race starts at 10,000 feet and continues to go up. 

[34:23] Lessons Learned from Running Marathons

Marathons can teach you a lot about life. As people, we're continuously changing and evolving. In line with this, running accomplishments are also good. However, you need to take care of your overall health as you train for a marathon. 

We also have to learn how to appreciate the present and the challenges that come with it. Doing hard things prepares you for the struggles ahead. Marathoning teaches you to have a singular focus to reach your goals.

[38:50] How Running Marathons Builds Resilience

When you do hard things, it becomes easier to push through life's obstacles. This idea is called obstacle immunity. It’s important to acknowledge difficult situations, but don’t let that stop you. Instead, use these emotions to fuel you. Once you overcome a challenge, your horizon expands. You see the other battles you can overcome. 

[43:59] How Angie and Trevor Balances Life

Angie shares that being self-employed helps them find the time to run and train for a marathon. They also try to include their children in the marathoning journey. 

7 Powerful Quotes from This Episode

‘Running is putting one step in front of the other and then being open to learning.’

‘I think doing things in community makes it so much richer.’

‘A lot of times we make excuses why we can't do something and sometimes, it seems very valid at the moment. But it's all a matter of priorities.’

‘For most of us, it is about you versus you. I think that's the beautiful thing about this sport. That we can all do this together but it's actually each of our journeys.’

‘It is important to have goals and everything, but I think it's also important to just look at your overall health.’

‘If I can't be happy now, I'm not going to be happy in the future. If I accomplish these goals, there's always going to be something else to chase.’

‘Having done hard things in the past prepares you for those challenges that you never wanted to take on in the first place.’

About Angie and Trevor

Angie and Trevor Spencer started the Marathon Training Academy Podcast in 2010 to empower and inspire people to achieve better health with marathons. The show shares simple and actionable tips on how to train for a marathon. 

Angie delved into the world of marathons after having her second child. However, she was plagued by training injuries. So, she was determined to find a better way to train for a marathon. Thus, the Marathon Training Academy was born. 

She has since run 66 marathons with a PR of 3:19:55. She is also a Registered Nurse and a USATF Level 1 and RRCA Level 2 certified running coach. Meanwhile, Trevor is the manager and producer of the Marathon Training Academy. He has completed 17 marathons, one 50k, 21 half-marathons, and a Spartan Trifecta.

Want to learn more about Marathon Training Academy? Check out their website and listen to their episodes on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify

You can also reach out to them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.      

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To pushing the limits,

Lisa

Transcript

Welcome to Pushing the Limits, the show that helps you reach your full potential with your host Lisa Tamati, brought to you by lisatamati.com

Lisa Tamati: Hi, everyone. Lisa Tamati here at Pushing the Limits. Welcome back to the show. Today, I have Trevor and Angie from the Marathon Training Academy in the United States, really well-known podcasters and run coaches. So our equivalent, over in the States. But these guys have been going for a long time and doing fantastic things. I heard their podcast when I was looking for information on my friend Dean Karnazes's latest book and listened to the podcast. I thought these guys are really rock stars, so I reached out to them. I have them on the show today so really exciting. They're in Montana in the United States, and they’ve got some great ideas and great information for you. This is one for the runners out there, and we get into all sorts of topics as well. Really, really exciting. 

Before we head on over to the show, just want to let about our epigenetics program. We'd love you to come and do our flagship program about epigenetics to help you understand your genetics and how to optimise. This is really the future of personalised health is understanding what your genes are doing. All your health professionals should be personalising everything to your own genetics, and this information is pretty damn valuable. If you want to have a user manual for your own body, understand what food you should have, what types of exercise you'll benefit mostly from, your mood and behaviour, your hormones, what predispositions you have, all this fantastic information that you'll get about yourself when you go through this program. 

Then, we can help you actually put it into place so how do you actually... Because it's great to get information and reports. A lot of the DNA reports that you get, you basically get 'Oh, that's nice' and it's a report and you stick it in your top drawer because you don't know what to do with it. But that's what we help you with. It's really powerful information that can really change your life. It certainly changed mine and changed my approach to different areas in what I do, what I eat, what times I do things, the way I set up my entire day, all of these things are affected. Head on over to lisatamati.com, hit the 'Work with Us' button and you'll see our Peak Epigenetics Program there. 

We've also got BOOSTCAMP coming up on the first of September. You'll be listening to this after that so this round will have already started but we will be running this eight-week live webinar program again. We'd love you to come and check it out if you want to upgrade your life in all areas, understand how your biology works, understand everything that can help you achieve high performance, help you with health journeys, a really intimate small group of people who are wanting to upgrade their lives. Make sure you check that out. You can go to peakwellness.co.nz. I'll say that again, peakwellness.co.nz/boostcamp

Lastly, before we head to the show, don't forget our NMN supplements. nmnbio.nz is where you'll find out all the information about this longevity and anti-aging supplement by Dr Elena Seranova, a molecular biologist, really powerful supplement that has been doing some amazing things for me, and my life, and my family's health, and turning back the clock, basically. It's up-regulating your sirtuin genes, which are your longevity genes, helping with the NAD levels in your cells which are... Every single cell needs NAD and these deplete as we get older, so check out the science behind it, check out the information. There's two podcast episodes that I've done with Dr Elena also on Pushing the Limits, go and check those out if you want to do a deep dive into it. Head on over to nmnbio.nz. 

Right. Now, just before we head over to the show, I want you also to maybe follow us on Twitter, on Instagram, on YouTube. Especially our YouTube channel. If you can go and subscribe to our YouTube channel, that really supports the show. All of the shows are actually put up on YouTube. Just, if you search for Lisa Tamati when you go to YouTube, you'll come up with my channel and make sure you subscribe. There's a ton of videos on there. We've got about 600, I think, including all my documentaries as well. Make sure you check that out and we'll head on over to the show with Trevor and Angie. 

Hi, everyone and welcome back to Pushing the Limits. This week, I have Trevor and Angie from the Marathon Training Academy. It's super exciting to have you guys. Welcome to the show. 

Angie: Thanks so much, Lisa. It's great to be here. 

Trevor: Yeah, we're excited about this. 

Lisa: Yeah, well, I found you actually through a mutual friend, Dean Karnazes, who I know you've had on the show a couple of times. Dean's been a huge influence in my life as you can possibly imagine. I owe him so much both as a role model and as a friend. He's done lots of things for us. He's a wonderful guy, so shout out to Dean, who I think has just got out of lockdown in Australia. He was intending to run around Australia and that's been curtailed because of the bloody COVID thing. Yeah, shout out to Dean. Thanks for introducing us. I just loved your show so I thought, 'Well, I got to have you guys on.' 

You guys are running coaches, and you have three kids. Let's start there. Tell us a little bit about your training academy, and what you do, and your podcast, and all that sort of good stuff.

Trevor: Yeah, awesome. Well, thanks for the opportunity to be on the podcast here. I'll introduce myself. This is Trevor. I am America's most okay-est runner. 

Angie: I thought you were gonna say laziest. 

Trevor: Laziest? No. 

Lisa: That’s me. 

Trevor: Angie is my better half. She's actually the running coach. I'm more like the business guy behind the scenes. We started in 2010. We launched the Marathon Training Academy podcast because we figured, 'Hey, maybe Angie had some knowledge and experience running a couple marathons, maybe people would benefit from learning how to do it.' We launched it and have been pretty much releasing content consistently for the last 11 years. It is not easy, as you know. 

Lisa: No it is not. It is so, so impressive to keep going for that long. We've been going five and a half years, and I thought I was ancient and the podcast basically. So amazing. You've got a huge following and a huge... You're telling me some of your download stats and I'm like, 'I'm embarrassed.' You guys are rock stars. 

Trevor: I guess we've been fortunate in the beginning when we've launched. I don't think there was a lot of competition for what we were talking about there. At least in the US, on iTunes, there was podcasts where people would carry a recorder out when they ran and they would just dictate breathing really heavy into the mic and stuff. There wasn't a whole lot of prescriptive training advice, which is what we tried to do. When we tell stories and we do race recaps and take people with us as we go racing around the country. But we try to be prescriptive: sharing lots of tips and strategies and principles. 

Angie’s also a registered nurse as well as being a running coach, so that appealed to people. It just took off in the beginning. We got lucky. I guess it was dumb luck. I don't know, but we started connecting with people right away. Folks would email us from all over the world. We just had a great audience ever since. I just checked the numbers today. Our show’s been downloaded 10.8 million times since we started. 

Lisa: That is insane. I got a long way to go to catch up to you guys. You guys are rock stars. Angie, you are a legend in the running space. You've already done 50 marathons in 50 states, for one thing. Tell us a bit about your career. 

Angie: Well, I definitely don't feel like a legend. I guess that's when you are the person who is doing it all you always kind of feel like, 'Wow.' I kind of feel there’s still so much that could be accomplished. There's always that comparison trap we can fit ourselves into. There's always someone who can run faster unless you're Eliud Kipchoge. There's always somebody who's done more crazy challenges. I think that's a dangerous field to start comparing yourself to other people, but I will say that I started running off and on when I was a teenager. I didn't have a great motivation. It was more about trying to lose weight. When I didn't see instant results, then I would kind of give it up and be like, 'Oh, this isn't working.' 

But I do feel I really finally became a runner in my late 20s. We'd moved across the country. It was a move that I really didn't want to make. It was for work, and I had two little kids at home. I just felt I was stuck, and I needed a new challenge. Kind of on a whim, I signed up for a 5k race and they say the 5k is the gateway drug to long-distance running. In my case, it was. It was a completely miserable race. It was hot and humid and I'm not a good hot weather runner, but I felt there was a spark inside me. This is something that really fired me up. It wasn't about beating other people. In fact, I had a very, very average time but I just kind of felt like, 'Wow, I bet you I can get better at this.' 

I'd never considered myself an athlete before. I never played any sports, so running was something, it was just kind of me against me. I decided I need a bigger challenge, so I signed up for my first marathon. At the time, I didn't have any friends who are runners. They probably would have advised me against it, actually. I don't know anyone who had ever done a marathon before. In fact, at the time, we were so poor that I could either afford the race registration or a new pair of shoes. My mom actually paid for my race registration, so I consider her my first official sponsor. 

I'm training for this marathon on my own. Long story short, I do everything wrong. I just run. I don't do any kind of recovery or cross-training or strength training. I'm getting injured, dealing with back pain, and IT band pain, and all the things, but I was stubborn enough that I kept going and was able to finish the marathon. Although it felt completely gruelling at times, just when I crossed the finish line, it really... I was like, 'Wow, I know I'm going to do this again.' That kind of just started my journey. I actually, after that first marathon, had to take three months off of running because my IT band was so bad. Had knee pain. The whole nine yards. 

That's when I started doing yoga and kind of discovered like, 'Wow, I can really start to learn more about my body, not ignore these signals that it's sending me.' There are some areas that need to be strengthened and I think that kind of sowed the seeds for what became Marathon Training Academy. Because I wanted to help people have a better experience than I did the first time: have the knowledge, have the information to not get injured and not have to do things the hard way. 

I went on to run my second marathon training much smarter and was able to break four hours for the first time, which was a huge goal of mine. I think that's kind of when Trevor mentioned wanting to start a podcast about marathon training. I was like, 'I don't feel like I know enough. Who's going to listen to us? We're just sitting in our living room recording this thing.' I had very low aspirations for where it was going to go, but he had the vision. We stuck with it and just have had a very wonderful, gracious audience. We’ve just been able to meet so many amazing people throughout the years. I think that's been the most rewarding part of it. 

Lisa: That's amazing. Trevor, your wife's bit of a superstar, from what it sounds, but she's very humble. 

Trevor: She's amazing. She puts me to shame. She does everything that you're supposed to do, that your coach tells you, that you see on your training plan, doesn't miss a day, doesn't miss a workout. I do 25% of my training plan.

Lisa: That's brilliant though. But I love the fact that you... Like me, when I started running, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I just put one foot in front of the other. I was hopeless, and I was slow. I'm still slow 25 years later. Genetically speaking, not the most gifted person in the world but very, very stubborn. That's all you need with running. I love that you are all about the everyday runner. We have a running coaching arm of our company as well,  and we are very much into that holistic approach to running too, with the strengths, and the immobility, and the mindset, and the nutrition, and all of that sort of stuff. 

I had no idea about that back in the day and I just bumbled along, running long because that's what you did, isn't it? If you're going to run long, you run long. What the hell is strength training? What do I need that for? I think we know we've both bumbled into the space and this is the key thing, I think, from your story. That when you just keep going, and keep going, and keep going, you suddenly find yourself looking back on, 'Holy heck, I've done a lot. I've done some pretty amazing things.' 

It's just like running is putting one step in front of the other and then being open to learning, getting good coaching so that you... because I like what you said, Angie, about making mistakes and then not wanting other people to make them. That is just the motivation for what we do too because I reinvented the entire wheel, and you don't need to. Do you find a lot of runners come and they don't think they need a coach for starters? Most people only come to you when they're injured. Is that happens to you guys as well? 

Angie: Yeah, I think often, there is part of human nature, and I think certain personality types who are more driven to like, 'I'm going to do this myself and I'm stubborn. I'm going to see this through.' Yeah, maybe they've tried a few times to hit a specific time goal that they have, and they realise, 'Wow, it's not going in the direction that I thought it should be going or the injury issues.’ 

I think people's knowledge and information, it's better now. There's so much more out there that a lot of people who are probably smarter than I was are like, 'Hey, I can probably cut out the injury part, and I can get good advice and good help in the beginning and make this so much a better journey.' I think also for me, I went alone for the first few years. Just being part of the community makes it so much more special, and I think the running community is just amazing. You meet the best people and have conversations with people like you. I think doing things in community makes it so much richer. 

Lisa: Oh, man. I could learn so much from you guys. I think you've got a really good approach to it. Trevor, looking back into podcast space, because you say you're the businessman behind the amazing lady, got any tips for a podcaster? Because obviously you guys are doing something right. You started off in this space like... You've grown this massively. I know what goes into it. When you come to it a bit later, it's been a bit harder, for sure. What have you learned on that journey from a community-building point of view? Because I feel we've still got work to do in that space, and I'm always keen to learn from people who are so successful. 

Trevor: Well, one thing, when Angie was talking and she was telling the story of when I pitched the podcast idea to her, one thing she didn't tell you was her first response was, because this was 2010, actually '09 when I pitched the idea. Her first response was, 'What's a podcast?' 

Angie: Totally ignorant. 

Lisa: Yeah, we still get people not knowing what the hell a podcast is. 

Trevor: Yeah, so I think getting in early, obviously, was a big help to us. Kind of to be on the front end of a trend. We actually started in what was called the second wave of podcasting. Podcasting got going in earnest around '06, so they say that was the first wave. And then around 2010 was the second wave. There's a lot more shows starting and now, we might be in the fourth wave of podcasting now where almost every major company has a podcast, every news agency and every late-night TV show host. 

It's definitely a more crowded space. But on the other hand, there are still people, like you said, who'd never heard of a podcast. More and more people are coming to the medium, downloading shows. Podcasts is becoming more mainstream. I know here, at least in the US, it's not unusual to hear people on TV talking about podcasts, just in anywhere you look, you can see subscribe to my podcast. It's cool to see the cultural awareness rise since we've started. 

But I think in terms of tips on growing the show and community, one thing that helped us in the beginning, and still helps us, is hearing from listeners, featuring their stories. At the top of our show, every episode, we do shout outs where kind of like a virtual high five. People are, like all of us, people like to hear their name in a podcast. It just makes them feel... Yeah, lights them up. It puts a smile on their face, and we try to do that a lot where we engage the audience that way. Then, the off-podcast stuff too is also important like our social media stuff and all that. Yeah, building community.

Angie: We also kind of try to keep in top of mind like, 'What's in it for the listener?' Because at the end of the day, people only have so much brain space and time. They're going to keep listening to shows that they feel you're giving them good value and that they connect to you in some way. I think just keeping that listener focus and stuff. No one wants to hear about a dissertation of what we've been doing for the last week in-depth. They want to get to know us a little bit, but they also want to know that we care about their needs and everything and what's top of mind. I think that's been helpful as well. 

Trevor: Yeah, I edit our show judiciously. Oh, yeah. I spend way too much time. I'm just a perfectionist with it. I haven't been able to outsource that yet, so I edit our show and I'm like, I don't know what the word is, I'm just a stickler when it comes to audio quality. Also like Angie said, I know people's time is important, so if we go down a certain path in the conversation that I think is not pertinent enough, I'll just cut it. I'll take that one-hour episode then maybe sometimes cut it down to 40 minutes. 

Angie: He has to edit out all my ‘likes’ and ‘you knows’, all my verbal clutter. It takes about half of the content away.

Lisa: It's so much work. It's just so much work but I love that you do that, and you're a perfectionist. I'm technically completely disabled. I have a team of people behind me doing a lot of stuff, but we can still improve and get better. I love the meandering type of conversations that we have. Let's go and talk a little bit about... For start, Angie, I do have to ask you about your 50 marathons in 50 states, like our friend Dean. How did that come about and when did this become a challenge? 

Angie: Well, sometimes things just kind of sneak up on you. I think it was my fourth marathon and it was before the race. I was sitting around talking to a couple ladies and they had these shirts on that said: 'Marathon Maniacs.' I was like, 'What do those shirts mean? What's a marathon maniac?' They're like, 'Oh, it's a club where you have to run a certain number of marathons to be able to get in.’ I was like, 'Oh, how many?' They said, 'Well, you have to do two in two weeks or three in ninety days.' I was like, 'What?' That's crazy. That's a maniac.' I was like, 'I could never do that.' I said that I could never do that, and they're like, 'Oh, you could if you really wanted to.' 

That just kind of stuck with me. I was like, a lot of times we make excuses why we can't do something, and sometimes, it seems very valid at the moment. But it's all a matter of priorities. That stuck with me. I'm like, 'Could I do that?' Later that fall, I did end up doing three marathons in that 90-day space, and I became a marathon maniac. When you surround yourself with people who are doing all these big challenges... I would joke that I was like a baby maniac because there was people who had done three, four, five hundred marathons in the club that you would see at these races. 

Then, of course, I heard about the 50 state club. People who run a marathon in each of the 50 states. I thought, 'Wow, that would be cool. I already have a few states under my belt. Why not?’ It doesn't have to be anything like Dean Karnazes doing it in 50 days. No one cares how long it takes and everything. Both Trevor and I love to travel. It seemed like a really great way to be able to explore our very diverse country and see all these amazing places, get to run. It just kind of started that way, and it took me 12 years to finish all 50 states. But it's about the journey and not the destination. 

Lisa: Absolutely and that is a really... It rolls off the tongue really beautifully. Yeah. I’ve done a marathon in every state, 50 states. 

Trevor: Here's what's cool, Lisa. I don't know if Angie is going to tell you this but she actually ran her last marathon fastest. That was her fastest marathon. That's what's so cool about our sport: that even though you get older, you can still improve in so many ways. Her very 50th state was in Hawaii. She ran 319, qualified for Boston by 20 minutes and that was at age 41. She was 10 years older but ran an hour faster than when she started. 

Lisa: I love it. Go, the oldie. I'm way older than you, so I can say that. I totally agree. Endurance is one of those things. I read a statistic once said a 19-year-old and a 64-year-old are on the same level of endurance or something. You peak around 48 as far as endurance goes and I'm like, 'Yeah, amen to that.' I have similar stories. I did my best performances in my 42, 43, around that age were my peak performances. I'm way after that now, so things have slid off a little bit. Of course, it's what's going on in your life. I've had a few other dramas in my life. There's reasons for things slipping off, but I love that. 319 is an incredible time. That's just amazing.

Angie: I still can't believe I did that. Was that me? I don't know. It was just one of those days where everything comes together, and you can never predict that. 

Trevor: In Hawaii to boot. 

Lisa: Yeah, isn't it really hot in Hawaii? Isn't that really difficult to do? 

Angie: It was January so it was cooler, but it was hot compared to what I was used to.

Lisa: Amazing. Trevor, how many did you do of those states? You did a few of them? 

Trevor: I have. I think I'm up to 17 marathons. I'm actually doing my 18th in about 10 days from now. 

Angie: But he's done a lot of half marathons. A lot of the time where I'd be doing a marathon, he would do the half marathon so he's probably run in most of those states as well. 

Lisa: I study genetics, right? We have a epigenetics and functional genomics arm to our business. Everybody is genetically different. When people listen to you and go, 'My god. She's amazing. She’s run 50 marathons in 50 states.' I want people to not take away from that that they should be doing back-to-back marathons because even though yeah, that's really cool to have these challenges, we're not all genetically set up for that. We need to respect that sometimes. It's been fascinating, this journey of learning about genetics. 

When I did my genetics, it came back... Actually, I'm really not suited to the super long-distance running. I was like, 'What? Is that why I've got all these health problems?' Actually, my body is more set up... That doesn't mean I can't ever do an ultramarathon again, but it does mean if that if I want to have longevity and health for a long time which I do now, because I'm 50 so I want to make sure that I stay on top of things, then I shouldn't be doing back to back ultras.  That my body is much more suited to doing shorter and high-intensity sort of workouts and lots of yoga and Pilates and things as well. 

I just want people to take away from there, everybody is different. For some people like my husband, he can run super super long, and it's genetically good for him to do that. For me, not so much. One of the other things that I've found within our running coaching, and we get a lot of ladies, we're probably about 70% ladies in our run coaching community. A lot of them are in their 30s, 40s, 50s. It's not the best weight loss thing, is it? 

Angie: I could gain weight while running marathons and even watching what I'm eating so yeah, it is definitely. It's tricky. 

Lisa: Yeah, it's not. For people to understand, if you're wanting to do a weight loss program, that would be a completely different program that I'd set you than if you're wanting to do marathons for the challenge of doing a marathon. Because there is this misconception that yeah, 'I run a marathon and I get really thin and slim.' No. I got fatter doing marathons. When I ran through New Zealand, I put on weight, and I was running 70-odd kilometres a day. Then, I put on my... I'm like, 'The hell is this about?' Everybody is different. Respect your genes. Respect your body. And as Angie said at the beginning of this podcast, compare yourself only to yourself. Unless you're in the Olympics, then, you probably compare yourself to the others. But for most of us, it is about you versus you. I think that's the beautiful thing about this sport. That we can all do this together but it's actually each of our journeys. 

Just interrupting the program briefly to let you know that we have a new patron program for the podcast. Now, if you enjoy Pushing the Limits, if you get great value out of it, we would love you to come and join our patron membership program. We've been doing this now for five and a half years and we need your help to keep it on air. It's been a public service free for everybody, and we want to keep it that way. But to do that we need like-minded souls who are on this mission with us to help us out. So if you're interested in becoming a patron for Pushing the Limits podcast, then check out everything on patron.lisatamati.com. That's patron.lisatamati.com.

We have two patron levels to choose from. You can do it for as little as 7 dollars a month, New Zealand, or 15 dollars a month if you really want to support us. We are grateful if you do. There are so many membership benefits you're going to get if you join us: everything from workbooks for all the podcasts, the strength guide for runners, the power to vote on future episodes, webinars that we're going to be holding, all of my documentaries, and much, much more. So check out all the details: patron.lisatamati.com. And thanks very much for joining us. 

Lisa: Trevor, what was your favourite race that you've done? 

Trevor: Oh, thanks for asking. There's this marathon I love to talk about. You've probably heard of it. It's the Jungfrau Marathon in Switzerland. That's such a beautiful place. It's almost unreal. Otherworldly how beautiful it is. 

Angie: Probably like New Zealand actually. Really beautiful. 

Trevor: I've heard it's nice there too. Well, I haven't been in New Zealand yet, unfortunately. As of right now, Switzerland is my favourite place that I've run. They say that when, for those Lord of the Rings nerds who might be listening, when Tolkien, after World War I, was marching through the Lauterbrunnen Valley in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. He sees this amazing place and that was the inspiration for Rivendale in the book, in the movies. 

Lisa: They did it there first.

Trevor: Yep, exactly.

Lisa: Then, we came to New Zealand to film it ‘cause it was even better. 

Trevor: What's cool about that marathon is it's just pretty much all up this mountain until you get to this 7,000 feet elevation. It's pretty much a lot of power hiking. Yeah, exactly. It's pretty much a thousand... It's pretty much a lot of power hiking after the second half, which is fine because I felt like I was still making progress. But people were throwing up on the side of the trail, and I was fine because I was just I'm just power hiking. I was kind of used to it. That's been my favourite marathon thus far. Plus I had the Alps horns, Swiss Alps horns and stuff. Very transcendent. 

Lisa: It was so special. I lived in Austria for 13 years and would go over to Switzerland regularly. Austria and Switzerland are very similar. And just absolutely beautiful. I really miss the beauty of the place, and the culture, and the traditions, and the cool boating. All of those sorts of things. Yeah, it's pretty special. What about you Angie? What's your favourite race? 

Angie: I don't know. It's hard to hard to pick one. I would say my favourite international race was the Loch Ness marathon in Scotland. Just going around Loch Ness the lake and just incredibly beautiful. Just the chance to be able to be there and be in the country and see so many amazing things. But I don't know. There's a lot of races that I love here in the US as well. Boston is a very iconic special race. The Marine Corps marathon is really moving. Yeah, Washington, DC. Then, my home state is Montana. I've gotten to do a couple marathons there. Of course, I'm a little biased, but I love the mountains there.

Lisa: Absolutely. For both of you, what was your toughest race? Have you ever not made the finish line? 

Trevor: Thankfully, no. 

Angie: Actually that one race that they closed the finish line.

Trevor: Oh, yeah. I remember the marathon in... That was an Austria fact in 2019. They had to shut the course down because of the weather. I think that for me, the toughest race was 50k in Montana. I was probably undertrained because I'm so lazy, and I ended up taking lots of breaks.

Angie: Like laying on the ground.

Trevor: But I finished before the cut off and I wasn't dead last.

Lisa: You take whatever you can get when you go to the bottom of the barrel. That's not much... If you get across the finish line...

Trevor: Exactly. It was on the Continental Divide Trail so there's a lot of elevation. How about you, Angie?

Angie: There have been a lot of marathons where I finished feeling, or even ultras, that was dragging a body part behind me but I was too stubborn to quit kind of thing. But I think, probably the most difficult one was the Leadville Trail Marathon in Leadville, Colorado because it starts at 10,000 feet and it just goes up from there. There was a section, a one-mile section to get up to Hope Pass, which was the highest point, and it took me 30 minutes to go a mile. I would just walk a few feet, just breathe, gasp for air, pretend like you're taking a picture because you're embarrassed at your pace. That was very challenging because I was not... We were living in sea level basically. To go and do that not being acclimated, it was challenging. Then, to look to the side of the trail and like, 'If I make a misstep, I'm going to fall off this mountain and die.' One of those where I finished and I was just like, 'So thankful to be alive.' 

Lisa: Sounds pretty damn scary. What do you think are the biggest learnings from all of these races in this journey that you've been on for however long you've been running for? What what are some of the biggest takeaways? Do you think this crosses over into daily life, and to your businesses, and to the work you do, and stuff like that, and challenges in your home life, and stuff? 

Angie: Yeah, I would say the marathon and any long-distance running is a great metaphor for life because you have to look at the long picture. Like you were saying earlier, we're always changing and evolving as people, and we have to keep that in mind. I've kind of through the years, through some trial and error, my goal is to be a strong healthy runner for life. Being healthy through that lifespan is way more important than any one race for me. I think that it's very important like we see people who are taking on these challenges. 

It is important to have goals and everything but I think it's also important to just look at your overall health. Is your sleep, is your nutrition, is your overall strength, are your relationships good? How is your mental, and your emotional, your spiritual life? All those things go hand in hand. I think that at some point, running accomplishments are only going to be so satisfying if those other things aren’t in place. That's been a big thing for me. I tend to be really goal-oriented person. Always looking to the future like, 'When this happens, I'm going to be happy and be satisfied.' 

I finally came to the realisation that if I can't be happy right now, in the imperfect, the way life is if I can't be happy now, that I'm not going to be happy in the future. If I accomplish these goals, there's always going to be something else to chase. That's been something that I've been thinking about lately of just how to really appreciate the present. I think that really goes into running or whatever people's goals are because there's going to be a lot of the present that is challenging and that we don't want to go through. I think it's important to do hard things, take on hard challenges. But there's going to be a lot of hard things that find us that we don't want to have to deal with, that we're going to be forced to wrestle with. I think that having that long-term goal and having done hard things in the past prepares you for those challenges that you never wanted to take on in the first place. 

Lisa: Yeah, when you've been struggling, going back to the genetics, you probably got a dopamine thing where you have to be chasing dopamine all the time. I know I've got that gene called the DRD2 gene where I don't have a heck of a lot of receptors for dopamine, so I'm always chasing a mission. Just coming to understand that about yourself, it's like, 'Aha. That's why I tend to...' Like my brother said to me once, 'Why are you always on a mission? Why can't you just sit on a beach and enjoy the day?' ‘It's like asking a table not to be flat. That’s who I am. I get up and I'm missioning all day, every day.’ And I'm like you, Angie. I'm trying to change the talk in my head to being present. 

Sometimes, when you are going through challenges and life keeps chucking them at us at the moment, you don't want to be in the now. One of the big things that I really miss because I'm not doing ultras anymore, is having that single focus, one goal. Life was purely about being a selfish athlete who's just got on a mission. I don't have the luxury of that now with things in life. I miss it. I miss it terribly. That simplicity of life where you've got just one big huge goal and you're doing your work and stuff. But this is the one thing, and then when you're actually in the race, that's what I found beautiful about racing, you're not thinking about the mortgage and the what's going on in the family or anything else because you're just like, [imitates heavy breathing], ‘Got to get up this hill.' 

Angie: To the next aid station. 

Lisa: Right in the moment. For so much of my life, I know that I'm in the future or the past and that's really learning to be in the now without having that single singular focus. Really wise words, Angie, I think. Trevor, what would you say that running has bought to your mental resilience and toughness and ability to cope with things? 

Trevor: Well, I know running marathons makes a lot of other stuff seem easier. Yeah. I remember how tough my first half marathon was, and I thought I was going to die because I was pretty much a non-runner previous to meeting Angie. After I did my first full marathon, then a half seemed a walk in the park. It seemed so easy even though they're still challenging, especially if you're trying to race a half marathon. We've had Joe de Sena on our podcast a couple of times. He's the founder of the Spartan Race.

Lisa: Yeah, I've been on his show. Awesome. 

Trevor: Oh, Cool. Yeah. He's a scary guy. I always remember something he talks about in his book, Spartan Up and that's obstacle immunity. When you make yourself do hard things, you become immune to obstacles in life. You can just push through them, hurdle over them. But it's when you're playing it safe, when you're afraid to get out of your comfort zone, sign up for that challenge, that marathon, or whatever your challenges is, it's this when you get more timid and hard things seem harder than they really are. It's all in our heads. 

Lisa: Ah, that's gold. Obstacle immunity. That's going on my Instagram today. Thanks, Joe. Because it is. When somebody or when someone tells you can't do something, that's just for me like, 'Oh, we'll see. I don't agree with you. We'll find out.' That's really served me well. The more that you realise when people tell you can't do something, and then you go and do it, that's just other people's limiting beliefs. This is an all areas, certainly in the medical space and with story with my mum that my listeners know about. If I'd listened to everybody telling me I can't do something, we would never be where we are now. I think you have this mentality. You have, 'Oh, obstacle? How do I get around that? What else can I do?' Rather than, 'Oh, obstacle. I have to stop and sit down and cry and that's it.' I think that mentality is brilliant. Obstacle immunity. Hear, hear. I love it.

Angie: It doesn't mean that you don't feel those hard feelings as you get over the obstacle. I think it's important to acknowledge that it's hard and take time to feel that frustration or that sadness or that disappointment. But I think also acknowledging those emotions helps you get over the obstacle too because you're not fighting your emotions then. You're using those and using that to fuel your fire or to just do what needs to be done.

Lisa: What I think is beautiful too is when you look back and you've overcome challenges that makes you stronger for the next challenge. You lift your horizon up every time. You get to the end of your first half marathon. For five minutes, you go, 'I never ever want to do that again because that hurts so much.' Then the next day, you're on the internet, 'What is the next one? Where's the next challenge?' You can see runners do this over and over again. I just laugh now when they say 'I'm never doing that again.' Because it's usually until the pain wears off and they're off on the next mission. 

It is like lifting your horizon every time. It's not something that stays out there permanently either, by the way. You build yourself up to marathon, ultramarathon, whatever your goal is. Then if you don't do it for a while, I can tell you as someone who's not doing ultras now, your world starts to shrink back in as to what you are capable of doing. For me, I'm thinking, 'Can I do a half marathon?' That's what I would like at the moment with a load that I've got on, which is a lot, 'Can I get back to that stage?' My focus has been on CrossFit and other things. 

My body's changed considerably, for the better I'd say, but when it comes to going back long, whoa. I've got to push that horizon back out again. It doesn't stay permanent. In other words, it's a constant work battle really to keep it. When you're getting older, you've also got that aspect coming into it too, trying to keep things at bay. I had Dean on the podcast last week and we were talking about that because we're both somewhat north of 40. It's like, 'Yeah, things aren't quite working like they used to do. I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm working on that. I've got all these things for you, Dean.' 'Some great longevity stuff. Come try this and do that.' 

That's sort of an interesting path to go down to because you start to think, 'Well, I can keep my fitness to the best that I can by keeping up with the current research, and the knowledge, and stuff, and doing the best things, and prioritising things like sleep.' You can have a massive impact on your body, and it's not just about the training I think is what I'm... Yeah. Guys, you've also got three kids. Three kids, busy life, running marathons. Most people can’t, I can't do that. How do you find the time? 

Angie: Well, we are very fortunate that now we are self-employed. We kind of can design our own schedules, and I think that's a big advantage to the training because some days, it happens at a certain time. Some days, it has to be pushed around a bit because of appointments, kids, things that we've got going on and everything. We've also tried to include our kids in the journey. Especially when they were young, they would travel with us a lot and they got to go to so many of the states that we travelled to. We tried to expand their horizons as well. 

Now that they're older and everything, sometimes, he travels, he's going to Italy next week. I'll stay home with the kids, and then I'll go somewhere in September. It's just about making it work and making sure the family is supportive. It's not like your family has to be your biggest fans because there's only a certain level that your family is going to get it. Like our kids could pretty much care less that we do marathons. They're like, 'So what?' 

Lisa: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I know. I hear you. 

Angie: 'What are you making for dinner, Mom? I don't care that you just ran a race.' You know that kind of thing?

Lisa: They're very good at bringing you back down to earth, family. I've got brothers and yeah. 'You ran across the Sahara? Oh, yeah. Whatever.' 'Oh, you wrote a book? Oh, that's cool. I'll never read it.' 

Angie: 'What's it about?' 'Okay.' 

Trevor: That's cruel. 

Lisa: But that’s family, that keeps you keeps you grounded. 'Oh, would’ve been nice to get a pat on the back.’ They're not like that at all. Very supportive actually, but when we were younger, that was definitely the case. Probably vice versa because my brother does surfing and I'm always like, 'Oh, yeah, are you just riding 20-foot waves? That's cool.' Now, I'm sort of like, 'Oh, Wow. That's pretty awesome. Go guys.' 

You guys have been epic today. Thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate it. I thank your podcast. And tell everybody where they can find you: Where's the best home to find you on the internet and Instagram and all those sort of good places and how to connect?

Trevor: No problem. Yeah, thank you so much for the opportunity to be on the podcast, and if anybody wants to find this, you can just go to marathontrainingacademy.com. If you are looking for our podcast, if you just type in marathon training, we usually just come up as the first result, but it's called The Marathon Training Academy podcast. We're on Instagram, @MarathonAcademy

Lisa: Wonderful. I will put all those in the show notes. Thank you very much guys for your time today. It's been absolutely wonderful chatting with you. 

Angie: Thank you so much.

Trevor: Likewise. Thank you. 

That's it this week for Pushing the Limits. Be sure to rate, review, and share with your friends, and head over and visit Lisa and her team at lisatamati.com 

Nir: Yeah absolutely. I have a weekly newsletter where I curate articles that I like, kind of like we were talking about earlier. Then I publish an article every week as well. 

Lisa: Oh, wow. So actually directly from you. That's wonderful and super excitable. We'll put all those links down in the show notes for people. nirandfar.com. Go and check it out. Thanks very much, Nir, for your time today. It's been awesome. 

Nir: My pleasure Lisa. 

That's it this week for Pushing the Limits. Be sure to rate, review, and share with your friends, and head over and visit Lisa and her team at lisatamati.com.

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