Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Episode 57: Paralympian Jaleen Roberts, On The Tokyo Games, Track & Field, and Life!

"Episode 57 of Running Anthropologist" drops September 22nd, 2021 and is available on most podcast apps, including Google, Apple, Spotify and Anchor!

Did you know that over 4,400 paralympians competed in the Tokyo games, with over 1,800 female athletes across 22 sports and 23 disciplines? And that this was the biggest field ever for women in the Paralympics as well? It also saw the introduction of the 4x100 Universal Relay in track and field, which symbolizes the true diversity of athletic abilities at the games. Team USA has participated in every Summer and Winter Paralympic Games since 1960 and is currently first on the all-time medal table. A whopping 60% of the medals brought home this year at the Olympic games were from women...  

Jaleen Roberts, post-100m run that won silver in Tokyo!

Twenty two-year-old Jaleen Roberts, our guest today, brought home medals in two track and field events, specifically the long jump and 100m silver medals. She also boasts multiple World Championship medals in 2017 and 2019, including a gold in the universal relay, mentioned above, at its international debut. She is originally from Washington state and began para competition late in her high school career, where she "took a chance" and followed the advice of her coaches when someone from the local para-sports club reached out to her. She went on to attend college at Eastern Wash State University in physical/health education, where she continued training with the Spokane-based ParaSport club and international competitions. 

Posing with double-silver, in 100m and long jump in division T-37.

We caught up with Jaleen for this interview took place just over a week after her return home and move to San Diego, where she is completing her student teaching and starting a new life as an independent athlete, and training with a new club soon. She reflects on her racing and jumping origins/roots (which involved wrestling), and the culture around those who want to have the highest level of competition but also have a disability. Jaleen was born with cerebral palsy, but was always competitive among all fully-abled athletes growing up. She enjoys sharing the origins of competing and how she found the sports she has now mastered, running and long jump. And many other events and sports in between that led her to this, learning the dedication it takes to succeed, from soccer to wrestling to basketball, to name a few.

One thing is clear from our conversation: Just "doing life" can be difficult for an Olympian or Paralympian who are not paid like other professional athletes, as she relates how she juggles work/school commitments, student teaching and training. Jaleen also shares what it was like to compete in Tokyo during Covid restrictions, and what magic the Olympic village held in terms of connecting to her Team USA, Japanese and Chinese fellow competitors especially. She also explains some of the different categories of paralympic competition (see more here), and how she fits into these classifications based upon ability level for ambulatory disability. She also shares the transition from Paralympics to Olympic Games in general, and how much she desires to be a role model as her primary job, even above being an athlete.

How do we succeed in life and in running?  Well, in closing, she shares her mantra as an athlete since high school, to be willing to get out of your comfort zone and "take a chance" on something new!

Please share your corner of running culture by tagging us @runninganthropologist on Instagram or Facebook, or send us a DM, we'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Episode 56: Reflecting on the Olympics, with USATF Coach Gary Aldrich

 Episode 56,"Reflecting on the Olympics with Coach Gary Aldrich" is available on most podcast apps, including Google, Anchor, Apple, Spotify and Anchor!

In this episode, we interview Coach Gary Aldrich about his international coaching career spanning decades, and what it was like to coach with USATF, Team USA Track and Field in the Olympics. Coach Aldrich was specifically responsible for the throwing: javelin, shot put, discus! You know, the things flying around on the infield. We don't get into the technical aspects of the different events, but rather focus on what the Olympic environment was like, the events and the Olympic village spirit. We also discuss the friendly rivalries and the joy of competition.

At several points in the podcast, coach Aldrich gives advice to younger track and field athletes, about post-high school and post-college life. He asserts that the love and joy of sport should be what carries us, despite our level of competition or ability to turn running or field events into a professional career. While it may be a narrow slice of individuals that ever compete or coach at the Olympics, Coach Aldrich demonstrates that one doesn't have to have an elite attitude, but rather an attitude of flexibility and hard work- and most of all willingness to be dedicated and train through difficult periods. To keep dedicated to a sport when even the Olympics was in question was certainly difficult for many athletes, and we commend them for their strength and stick-to-it-iveness to make to to Tokyo and celebrate this international exhibition of sport together. We were proud to watch and even more grateful to share some of the Olympic spirit in this episode with an outstanding coach!  

USA Wins Gold and Silver, Ryan Crowser (OR) and Joe Kovacs

US Women relay team Win Gold

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

New Season: "Earth Day: Earth Year: On Healing & Recovery", Walk/Run Therapy & Recovery Caminos! (Episode 55)

In our season's first episode, "Earth Day, Earth Year" (dropping on April 22nd) we will feature ultra trail runner Michael Wardian (about an Earth Day 5K and upcoming 100 miler), Peter Maksimow (on Plogging), and a special interview with writer/music therapist Bob Shea about Recovery Camino(s): ""back to nature for healing and the path(s) of recovery", as potentially found thru a multi-day pilgrimage! In Bob Shea's interview, we approach the purpose of pilgrimage and the importance of connection (to our natural world and fellow pilgrims). As we seek recovery and healing for our planet in 2021, there is a parallel inner journey we can embark upon. Much like multi-day ultras in the running world, a walking pilgrimage is about movement of body-mind-spirit in unison towards a higher or common goal, which presents unexpected difficulties when we meet ourselves and our thoughts full force along "The Way".  Reach out to Bob to learn more or register for free Summer Recovery as Pilgrimage training!

Before then, you can check out Jenni Jalonen's interviewing me for her ULTRA RUNNING COMMUNITY Run with Love, link below...

On a coastal multi-day Pilgrimage

This season, we will feature several running therapists and pilgrims on journeys of recovery, bringing to bare their unique capacity for self-transformation and gifts/insight they have to offer others!

Michael Wardian describes his journey of healing from an injury, and what slowing down during the pandemic has given him time for. He shares his philosophy towards healing, and why he supports the local (and virtual) Earth Day 5K put on by Little Sesame (in cooperation with planting new life by Casey's Trees) every year. Instagram: @mikewardian

Peter Maksimow is the ATRA Outreach Specialist, a mountain runner/skier/walker/hiker and part of the global PLOGGING movement to make a physical/mental effort to notice and respond to our earth while run/walking- by picking up trash and recycling! A former US Distance Trail Running Team silver medalist, he knows trails! He's also the founder of the intense PLOGGING group in the Northwest United States, and shares with us his own philosophy as a trail enthusiast and environmentalist, about the growth of this community. App for checking out companies/scan products to learn their eco-score and background: buycott.com/get Instagram: @petermaksimow  Some of his American Trail Running Assn. sustainability writing: https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/author/petermaksimow/

FLIPPING THE TABLES: I would also like to share this interview (link below) I did with RUN WITH LOVE, an ultra community podcast- which explains the practice of Walk/Running Logotherapy specifically and Running as Therapy in general. In it, I also discuss some of the basics of how walk/running helps with recovery from addictions, trauma and loss, as well as daily reprieve through habit formation (treating anxiety and depression). Building a community of support is key, and 1:1 or small group work with a therapist "moving together towards a common goal" could be a great path forward for many. 


Live Sessions with Community: Lastly, if you would like to build your community of practice with walk/run meditation and some live sessions offered weekly on Tues/Thursdays by me, and everyday by other great teachers, I invite you to join our Insight Timer community with the free App:  insighttimer.com/laneholbert

"The Way" shell marker along the Camino de Santiago

Bob Shea's RECOVERY CAMINO website: www.recoverycamino.com

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Episode 54: Life According to Grandma, featuring Jan Dennis

 Episode 54 is available on most podcast apps, including Google, Spotify, Anchor and Apple...

3 Generations: G-ma (Jan Dennis), her daughter Paula and granddaughter (my sister) Kelsey

This episode is all about G-ma, our family nickname for my late grandmother, Jan Dennis. The interview featured here took place over a year ago, and I actually spoke with her several times about her life stories and running to make it- with many bloopers throughout the process (on me). I remember as a teenager I oohed and ahhed over the crates full of race t-shirts she had accumulated, forming a colorful patchwork of training years and adventures with friends and family over the years. Each t-shirt had a story, which she could recall at a moment's notice, and probably tell you the youth and adult contenders and their stories too! Many of those years in her adult life were marked by training for and traveling to races, and then cheering for the next generation at cross country and track meets. She adopted all of us and encouraged/followed us as if we were her own children, even married-to grandchildren like myself. In this interview, we also discuss what it was like to grow up on a farm and memories of the great depression, and a bit about being a woman in sports and college life shortly after WWII. 

Holidays were always large affairs, squeezing as many of us as possible into Gma's living & sleeping spaces.

Aside from the running though, G-ma was a lifelong endurance athlete: raising 5 children of her own and managing and early-rising bakery, as well as a builder of community and family. She had a knack for knowing everything about each of us, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. As I finished college and started my own career (and completed my first marathon in Detroit International), I recall how I began to recognize her abundant wisdom in dedicating so much time to these few commitments, but making them truly quality ones; Her purpose in life was easy to see as she invested in each of us continually. And I would say it paid off. Speaking for myself, I always felt like I had someone in my corner, and someplace I could escape to if I just needed a break from the hectic world of striving and being tested. Here I was unconditionally accepted (and teased, and taught to remember to laugh at myself). This is probably the greatest skill and lesson I have learned from my "Dennis extended family": if you can laugh at yourself and your mistakes (not take myself and my goals too seriously, which I naturally do), you'll not only have much less stress, but also no one can surprise you by revealing your foolishness and foibles- you already know them! I try to do the same in my life now, not over-extending but asking myself daily what I truly value and committing the lion's share of my time to that. 

Perhaps this is the best testament to G-ma: All of her grandchildren and great grandchildren adore her and I daresay even listen to her (actions more than words), venerating her "ancient" values of honesty, hard work and keeping commitments. I saw this in small ways that spoke loudly: when she/grandpa would drive hours to attend one of my important races or games throughout high school and college, or more recently make it to my wedding in her later years despite not driving (thanks to my uncle), as she suffered from macular degeneration. She also showed us true resilience and strength when my grandfather passed suddenly in the late 90s, rallying and connecting even more with extended family and friends. She was a member of "The Red Hat Society", and loved to share life in big and small ways with others. This also led her to take countless trips to national parks and historic places on bus trips with friends after my grandfather passed away, as she just loved learning and sharing journeys with others. Her faith life was also simple: full of fellowship and concern for others but never preaching. She would never criticize or rest in things of the past when you admitted some avoidable blunder to her or demonstrated bad judgement, she just let you know you could do better and nudged you to re-think it next time: Experience is the best teacher. Bumps in the road were always just that, signposts along the route to improvement. I know her love will be carried on by all of us in the future roads we travel, and for me her spirit will carry on as a gentle voice of encouragement and stable compass in this often confusing and unpredictable world. I couldn't be happier to share this interview with you, and would love to hear more stories about everything and from everyone - please feel free to leave some in the COMMENTS section below! www.runninganthropologist.com

Me with nephew and G-ma, recent visit "up north"

You can also message us on Instagram/Facebook @RunningAnthropologist  


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Episode 53: Conscious Running in 2021, with Functional Movement/Performance Specialist LISAH HAMILTON

 Happy New Year!  Episode 53 is available on most podcast apps, including Google, Apple, Spotify and Anchor!

Lisah after a recent race, with her father back on the island of St. Croix

Lisah Hamilton is interested in helping us be more conscious of our movements and mental approach to running, as well as how we see ourselves. Her perspective on gives us insight into the emerging culture of conscious running, and is yet another example of the incredible diversity of that serves to make our distance running community better: holistic and more sustainable. 

Among others, she also sees some promise and opportunity arising from our Covid-changed world, and what we as runners have/have not been able to do during this past year. It might be a time of reorientation and being conscious of our training, our routines. In our first episode of 2021, she talks about how she sees the culture of running changing to be more inward-looking, and what we can do to join this process. 

She has been helping runners for 20 years as "The Conscious Runner", to recondition and re-frame, prevent injury and meet individual goals- but mostly empowering others to fully enjoy movement and running again! She herself has been a competitive distance runner for over 25 years, and working in the field of functional movement / performance specialist. 

Finally, Lisah offers the perspective of "an outsider" as a competitive swimmer from her beginnings, who came to the mainland US from the Virgin Islands, of St. Croix at 18 years of age. Her alternative perspective on body-mind-spirit connectivity thus give us insight as well, and adds to endurance athletics more knowledge of our movement and overall health. She also knows there is much more to be done, and wants to make us a part of it, thus she provides some training for free around these methods (or options to have more in-depth 1:1 services at a cost).  Please find her at www.consciousrunner.com and reach out with any questions about her practice!

Lisah at Chasing the Unicorn Marathon

Please subscribe and share with others!  You can also leave us a message here in the blog comments, or via our Instagram/Facebook page, @RunningAnthropolgist

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Episode 52: Light Emerges from Darkness, and Our 2020 Run-Down

Episode 52 can be heard on most podcast apps, including Google, Spotify, Apple and Anchor!
Mark and Meghan, in Monorail transit with daughter in Disney Running Volunteer Gear

In our last episode of 2020, we look for the light of hope just around the next bend, amidst great suffering and a year of global reckoning with the pandemic… none of us are immune and we all need an outlet. This has given the outdoor/trail and distance running community a unique perspective, if not a bitter-sweet boost. Today, Meghan and Mark discuss the theme of “emerging light from darkness” (winter solstice) across cultural traditions from around the globe, and throughout history, in the first half of the episode. In the second half of the episode, we interview Fr./Brother Anthony Aarons, a Franciscan by training and dedicated distance runner, who hails from Jamaica and applies his unique insight to his job as a chaplain. We ask him about where his drive and wisdom arise from, and to share some of his go-to sources of inspiration when encountering trials. For example, he posts Bob Marley songs at Thanksgiving and had this to say recently in his Advent message (a season of preparation for Christmas): "Advent is here! One of our Advent hymns reminds us: The Lord will come and not be slow, His footsteps cannot err. This is a good message not only for us runners (as) during Advent we want to make sure that our footsteps do not err and that we keep on the right path. Let us not procrastinate..."
Fr. Anthony Aarons, pictured after his most recent Sunday Long Run
At the Running Anthropologist project and in our 2020 recap specifically, we try to take a reflective look at the cultures and peoples representing the diversity of our human experience, and then hone in on running and what these practices mean to us. Many of us have faced ourselves with a more sobering clarity in 2020, forced to slow down and look deeply at all our practices, often isolated from a community of support- we’ve learned much and have much to learn! We begin by considering ancient Egypt and the Nile River valley, and move to practices in the near east, Persia and Jewish practices such as Yalda and Hanukkah. We then examine the role of light festivals in pushing away darkness or leading us to a good cause, such as remarkably similar Laternfests in Germany and China, which arose completely separately from one another. Lastly, we talk about Diwali on the Indian subcontinent, and the role of a guiding light or "the light of the world" coming to join humanity in our Christmas celebrations prevalent in the West.

Diwali Festival of Lights, National Geographic short:
Hanukkah Festival of Lights, National Geographic short: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXA6TdTdAKk Franciscan Friars Christmas, Documentary Film with Carols: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptGw9G_iSus
While only a tiny fraction of our communal knowledge, we share our “Top of 2020” from Running Anthropologist by category -- Audio Book: "Sacred Economics" by Charles Eisenstein; Print Book: “Epic Runs of the World” by Lonely Planet (again!); App: Insight Timer (world’s largest free meditation app -- search “Lane Holbert” under teachers to find a few of ours produced this year); Races: X-country Marathon, Half Marathon and Ultra (Alafia State Park, Florida), the Publix Atlanta Marathon (Georgia), and the Princess Challenge weekend at Walt Disney World (Meghan). 
Links to all these can be found on our website, we received no sponsorship or advertising credit for anything, just things we liked and we relied upon in 2020. If you have a favorite you'd like to share out that you've found especially helpful, please do so on our Facebook page @RunningAnthropologist, or write a message in the comments here! 
Credit for info sources in the podcast: "The Long Night" by Elizabeth Dias, New York Times Sunday Edition, December 20, 2020 ;  Jewish Virtual Library, "Jewish Holidays: Chanukah", https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/hannukah 
Ancient Egyptian Religion, https://www.ancient.eu/Egyptian_Religion/
One of his most-prized moments, Fr. Anthony Meeting current Pope Francis (aside from everyday service as Chaplain of Catholic Charities)

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Episode 51: Beth Evans, On Wheelchair Racing & The Magic of it All!

Episode 51 can be heard on most podcast apps, including Google, Spotify, Apple and Anchor!
Above: Beth arrives at another victory, Disney confetti greeting as she crosses the tape. Beth is from London, it is hard to race a wheelchair around most streets and even harder during Covid. But she has some wins behind her, and some inspiration in sharing the sport with the next generation. In a few short years, she has made a name for herself in the "most magical of racing locations", that of Disney destination races. For her, it is the entire package and gives her a reason to keep training, something to look forward to around the next bend... Speaking of which, there are many bends on a track when one is training for distance events like the marathon and half marathon, which she has been doing the past year.
Beth shares some of her perspectives on why the sport is growing and so important to people with disabilities and rare diseases like her own that prevent her from running or doing most other sports competitively. She tells the story of her own start, and how others encouraged and inspired her, starting with witness the London 2012 Paralympics which inspired me to get my first racing wheelchair. For Beth, the terms "running", "racing" and "wheeling/wheelchair racing" are interchangeable as she connects with and understands the challenges everyone faces in training for and completing a long distance endurance event. One of her greatest hopes is that she'll be able to help spread awareness and open up events for more young racers on wheels, including smaller and regional races that might not have thought it possible. She consults with many back in Britain and appreciates the opportunity to help, even in small ways.
Above: Showing off recent multiple victories at a Run Disney Weekend She also recalls one of her highlights of being medaled at Buckingham Palace in the interview, as she was born and raised in London. At the age of 16 she started experiencing health problems, and 3 years later was diagnosed with the rare condition of Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. Since she received her first racing chair, she has faced many struggles with training and anxiety around competitions, but has found her niche and now races all over her home country, but mostly participates in "Run Disney" events. In fact, she has now won half marathon titles in 3 different countries and currently has 16 champion titles at Disney alone. A trip down photo lane reveals more medals than can be held up on one neck at a given time! Most of all, she asserts, "I like to share what I have learnt on Instagram at BethsWheels to help new wheelchair racers get in to the sport at an amateur level... and spreading the joy of running at Disney!"
------Outside Buckingham Palace in her home town of London, with other Champs------ Follow her on Instagram @BethsWheels and find out simple ways to support newcomers to the sport! To support us, you can also subscribe, share the episodes you love and like/visit our Facebook page @RunningAnthropologist