Broken and Couch to Buckle
Nope. I’m not broken, nor have I become a couch potato. What I have become is involved in a project whose goal is to take two such individuals and get them fit enough to run 100 miles in approximately 8-10 weeks from said state of brokenness/couch potato-i-ness.
The characters in question are none other than Bob Crowley and Don Freeman. And why me?
I’ve had the privilege of calling Bob my friend since 2014, and coaching him beginning early 2019. His running resumé is rich, having begun in this sport in 1986. He is the head and one of the founders Trail Animals Running Club (TARC) in New England (7000+ strong) and newly elected president of the International Trail Running Association (ITRA). His major accomplishments are more than a dozen 100 mile finishes (Western States and Hardrock among them), and more recently and noteworthy, a finish at the rigorous Tor des Geants, 300 km mountain race in Italy. Besides running, his life is enriched by his lovely bride of 40 years, Marcy, 2 sons, Drew and Patrick, and one grandson, PJ. He is an entrepreneur and business investor extraordinaire, yet still finds time for hobbies including (but not limited to) singing and playing musical instruments, historical research, alpine skiing and gardening.
Bob is the “Broken” character in this project, having torn his left patellar tendon with 50k to go in Tor des Geants causing him to hobble to the finish. The resulting change in his gait to protect the injury, locked up his left hip and he has been in PT and recovery 8 months.
I’ve gotten to know Don since my move to California in 2013, having been a guest on his well known podcast Trail Runner Nation (TRN) a few times. He started running ultras in 2003, and completed his first 100 in the following year. When the new ultra distance events of 200+ miles came onto the scene, he was quick to join, finishing the Triple Crown 200 (Bigfoot, Tahoe, and Moab 200 mile races) in 2017, the races all being one month apart.
Besides being the co-host for TRN since 2012, Don is a Marine. He has been a chiropractor for 22 years, an owner/operator of a construction company, and more recently, the founder of Occumetric, a hardware/software innovation to pre-qualify strength and endurance of workforce. He has two beautiful grown daughters.
Don is the self proclaimed “Couch Potato” of this project. Life had become so busy that running was falling on his priority list (GASP!). He has lost fitness and with it, motivation. This project, with the help of Bob’s gentle prodding, has motivated him to reengage with his body and the sport of ultra running.
We are of course in the midst of very new territory when it comes to training for 100 mile events. Covid 19 has put a bit of a damper on trail running given quarantine guidelines. The solution of choice? They will do nearly ALL of their training indoors on a particularly interesting piece of gym equipment called TrueForm – an unique-self powered treadmill! In coming posts in I’ll explore it and share the research conducted so far. I’ll add video of the boys working out on it as well.
As I guide these two runners in the weeks building up to their ultimate goal – to run 100 miles of trail – I will be sharing their progress here!