Well, to be honest, he ran with more than just me. It was my AustinFit pace group. And I happened to walk by him after his motivational talk to the entire AustinFit group as he was asking where the Yellow Pace Group was. I let him know that I was part of that group and pointed out Coach Pat, our fearless Yellow Group Leader. And the next thing I know, he is running with our 9:15-9:30 pace group. Cool. I couldn't have planned that better if I had tried.
His talk was amazing. He told of one of his memorable marathons where he just randomly saw the numbers 2 0 9 three times in the day or so before the race. And his finish time was 2 0 9. I often see "matching" numbers appear randomly in every day life and think there might be meaning in it. He saw numbers that foreshadowed his finish time. Pretty amazing.
He is very positive, funny, motivational (for sure!) and very approachable. He definitely has used and still uses his head to push himself to amazing accomplishments. And that was the main message of his talk.
Check out these Youtube videos:
The Boston Marathon duel between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley
Dick's commentary on the race finish
And he has a foundation website with more info about him at:
Questions that I asked him while we were running and afterwards:
Question 1: It seems to be hard for runners to back off on pace. You described doing that in your races. How did you train for that?
His Answer: My strength is being able to throw down the hammer multiple times in a race. Good runners can do it once. Great runners can do it several times, when needed. I can do it multiple times and it is my strength. On my long runs (20+ miles), I am constantly changing pace, doing fartleks, surges, intervals. It not only trains me for being able to throw down the hammer but it keeps the runs more interesting. Otherwise I would get bored!
My Comments: Even though I specifically asked him about "backing off on pace", something that most runners have trouble doing, he talked more about "throwing down the hammer". He is a fierce competitor so surging is more what he likes to do rather than backing off. A fierce competitor with an always present smile. And his comment about possibly getting bored on long runs; that is something we don't have in common. I do not get bored on long runs!
Question 2: Do you cross train?
His Answer: No. It would probably be good for me but I just don't want to. When I have the time to cross train, I find that I would just rather go out for another run.
My Comments: This I can relate to. It is so refreshing when winter comes and the weather so nicely encourages letting go of biking and swimming. It is so nice to just run and run and run. No bike to mess with. No chlorine to dry out my skin. It is so nice to just run!
Question 3: Who is your coach?
His Answer: I coach myself. But, I use the training program and workouts that I learned from years of being coached by Bill Squiers.
My Comments: This makes me feel better about coaching myself!
Question 4: What style runner are you (POSE, Chi, traditional, barefoot, etc.)? What muscle is most sore after your races?
His Answer: I have a forefoot strike. I could lop off my heels and be just fine. They never touch the ground. Because of my forefoot strike, my post knee replacement recovery has been easier. My doctors would not have been as supportive of my running if my foot strike were different such that it was harder on my knees. And after a race, my quads are the muscles that are the most sore.
My Comments: Me, too. My running is a combination of running styles. My foot strike is a little more mid foot than his. But, my quads are also the mucles most sore after a long, hard race. Cool!
Question 5: What time goal do you have for the Boston Marathon this next spring?
His Answer: 2:42 (I believe that is what he said!). Under 3 hours for sure. (He is 56 years old. And has had both knees replaced.)
My Comments: I hope I remembered the numbers right! But, I will definitely be interested to see how he does. I will be "athlete stalking" him next spring. I hope he is pleased with his race.
He did say one thing in his talk that I disagreed with. He said that injury is a part of running. I do not agree. I do not think that it has to be. But, who am I to disagree with him? He is certainly more of an expert that I am!! So, maybe he is right? Actually, I think we are both right. He is willing to risk injury (and therefore has had his share of injuries) for the sake of competition. I choose not to go that far. My rule for me is that I will run as fast as I can comfortably and safely, with little risk of injury. The way I train and the way I race is always with respect for my body and not risking breakage. It is my choice to have that rule. It is his choice to not have that rule. We are both right! Which approach do you choose? Neither is right or wrong. But, I encourage runners to consciously choose. Know what you are choosing. And know that you have a choice.
After the run, I did some research and found several interesting YouTube videos; the race footage from his infamous Boston finish with Alberto Salazar and several talks he has given about that race and others. He has had quite the life and quite the challenges to overcome. As I heard him speak on Saturday, I couldn't help but wonder if he really loves running just to run or if he just is really good at it and enjoys competing with others. A kind of intrinsic versus extrinsic analysis. In one of the YouTube videos, he talked about the famous Boston finish and that towards the end, when it looked like Alberto had the race won, he thought about just walking in. He knew that they were far enough ahead that second place was pretty much his whatever he decided to do at that point. But, he decided that even if second was the best he could do, he wanted to finish the race knowing that he had given it his all. So, he pushed hard and caught up to Alberto, making Alberto work for his first place finish and making it an incredible push to the finish line for both of them. Amazing. He used Alberto to dig as deep as he could to pull out his best performance possible. He finished second. And he was ok with that, knowing he had given it his all. What a complex web of intrinsic versus extrinsic competition. Fascinating! He did comment that both of them had raced to a point such that neither one of them ever raced as well again. It seems he thought it was worth it. I hope he thought it was worth it.
What an awesome experience! Thank you, Dick Beardsley! Thank you, AustinFit! Thank you, Luke's Locker!