Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 19 - Stephanie Howe Violett - Manage Your Ego - Part 3 of 3

This is a curiosity from kind of the professional side for me. I was actually out on a run, I met my friend Pat the other day, there's a trail near my house. And my friend Pat did not grow up really running, but he does ultras now. And so at my company, we do skincare products for athletes.

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JESSE: This is a curiosity from kind of the professional side for me. I was actually out on a run, I met my friend Pat the other day, there's a trail near my house. And my friend Pat did not grow up really running, but he does ultras now. And so at my company, we do skincare products for athletes. He was do you have any anti-chafing stuff? He's like I need some really bad. I kind of think about any of that, this is not really a product question for you. But just any of those products seems like they're going to come off after amount of time. Like how do you deal with not being completely chased at the end of a race? STEPH: Oh, I use, this is actually great. I use Squirrel’s Nut Butter, which is a product that is out of Flagstaff and developed by an ultra runner. It's amazing. It's like mostly like coconut butter, but it works like a charm. So, one, I want gear that fits me really well. I've got my own signature pack that fits female body so it doesn't rub weird. But then I use that, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, and it is amazing.I get maybe a little chasing, but not really. So, you need to try it. JESSE: So, is it made for anti-chafing or is it a food? It sounds like a food. STEPH: Yeah, I know. It's a product made for chafing. Yeah, check it out, Squirrel’s Nut Butter. They have like different like little-- they almost look like deodorant sticks to just like apply. They have like little tins you can carry with you when you're running. But it works so well. JESSE: Okay. So, I guess it's just one of those-- I haven't gotten into try and develop that kind of product just because it's super competitive and I'm not really sure how you differentiate it. But I hadn't heard about that. You know, everybody uses Body Glide, but I think it's only so good. STEPH: Yeah, I used to use Body Glide, I'm a convert, so. JESSE: Yeah, so I'll have to check it out to see what they're doing. STEPH: Yeah, Chris Thornley is the guy. JESSE: Okay. take all my notes here. So, I kinda want to jump back for you. I saw, so growing up, you did softball, and then somehow reluctantly found yourself in cross country. So, how did you make the transition? Are you glad you made the transition considering how things turned out? STEPH: Well, I always was good at running and I just didn't really like it because all my friends and the popular girls did team sports and I kind of wanted to do that. So, it was my junior year in high school and I had done cross country skiing for the first time that winter. And I was really successful and starting to think about college and running, I was good at it. And so it was like a really hard thing for me to give up softball, but like when I did, I was oh, this is the right decision. So, my senior year in high school, I actually didn't play softball, I ran track for a year. That was the only time I'd ever run track. And then I got a scholarship to ski, cross country ski in college. And skiing is similar to running like we spend a lot of time on the trails and it was just kind of a natural progression from there. But yeah, it took a while to give up the softball. JESSE: Do you use that as cross-training now? ?? 3:47> your Achilles, could you go out in ski, assuming there's snow, could you go out and ski...? STEPH: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, I ski all winter, totally. Yeah, I cross country ski and alpine ski and - country ski so yeah. JESSE: Okay. Do you use that as part of your-- Say, you're getting ready for UTMB or whatever, in your 12-month plan, do you say okay, we're going to cross-train and ski over the winter as part of training or do you do give it up? STEPH: Yeah, definitely. And to me I don't think of it as like cross-training, it's one of the things I do. Running takes up the majority of like if I were to split it up. But to me like biking and skiing, I don't see that as like cross-training. I see that as outdoor activities I enjoy and during that time of year running - is not fun. There's snow, there's ice and I don't really want to just like go run in that every day. So, skiing is much more appealing. And I mean I'll alpine ski. This year I alpine skied a bunch, which a lot of people might not classify as exercise, but it's fun. And I think training or activity should be fun. So, I definitely I like to dabble in a lot of things. JESSE: Yeah, well, that kind of theme about fun, that's what it seem to get across. I talk to a lot of people and I'm like why do we do this? It's so dumb, really especially for people that do ultras, it’s like-- Looking at it objectively, what's the point of going out and running like 100 miles or like and I think the theme that keeps coming back to is I have fun doing it. I enjoy it for whatever reason. There's some kind of enjoyment or bliss to be found. STEPH: Yeah, I enjoy pushing my body. And in 100 mile race, I mean, the thing that's really cool is you become vulnerable at some point like you're stripped down to just, you’re - and then like you're faced with, yeah, kind of sounds really, really morbid. But just like trying to finish is a tough thing to do. And I haven't found that feeling in any other sport I've done. I'm sure it's there, but I just love that when you just get to the point where it's like very simple like you're just trying to move forward. Nothing else matters. And I love that challenge. I wouldn't say it's like blissful all the time. Most of the time racing is not blissful...that feeling of accomplishment and my best races, I guess the races I'm most proud of have not been my best races. I finished Western States one year, it was awful. I had to lay down for like two hours early on, and I thought there was no way I can finish, but I made it happen. And I'm super proud of that race despite not conditioning that well. It was pretty cool. JESSE: Have you ever gotten to the point where like-- STEPH: ?? 6:54> here, it’s really funny. JESSE: Have you gotten to the point where your vision’s starting to go black, like everything is starting to close on you? STEPH: Not in an ultra, in a VO2 max test I've had that happen. But no, they intensity usually isn't that high. It's more like the slow wearing of the body. JESSE: Okay. Okay. I was just curious if it happened to me. It’s only happened to me once. It happened to me at a half Ironman event in Santa Cruz, where I just-- The short version is my fueling got messed up, so I didn't have any fuel on the run portion. And just the last five miles became this slow drag it’s like my vision started closing in. I'm trying to finish line and it's kind of scary in one sense because I end up in the medical tent. But on the other hand, I also came away with it in somewhat of a positive sense guy, you made me think about this with your comment about being stripped down to your ?? 8:01> like I didn't know how I would be when there's no possibility of podium anymore, there's no point in continuing in that sense. But it's like what's that inner driving voice? What is that very raw essence going to tell you to do? Is it going to tell you to stop? Or are you going to continue forward? And so I came away with it from like this kind of positive aspect that I knew I was going to keep plodding along until I passed out. Whether that's healthy or not is the other question. STEPH: It's pretty cool. I think it's pretty cool to have that drive and like finish what you started. I mean, to some extent you want to be careful, you don't want to do anything stupid. But yeah, I think that's a pretty cool thing to walk away with. JESSE: Yeah, it's a mixed thing. When I talked to, this is an earlier episode, a guy name Chris Douglas. He said he almost died a race because he got to the point he overheated so bad he passed out like a mile from the finish. I don't know if you saw the news about Sarah True, pro-triathlete, she passed out a mile from the finishing Ironman event. She was getting ready to win because she had just went too hard and like didn't realize it until everything just kind of came down on her. But it's I always I guess I struggle with trying to find the line between, like you said, like with ultras or really any race, it doesn't matter at the end of the day, it matters to us. But it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. So, I struggle with, where's the line between, let's continue and this is dumb, I can hurt myself. STEPH: Yeah. And I think checking in with yourself is important. Last year, I had to take a helicopter off UTMB. I was almost done with the race and it was just I couldn't keep going. And to some extent, you're like man, I can't-- like DNF is awful. But also, I don't want to do that to my body. Yeah, if it's just me tired and I'm going to have a long recovery, that's fine. But if it's no, this could be like permanent damage or set me back years. I think, like asking yourself that tough question in the moment is important. And I see too many people celebrating, finishing with a stress fracture or something. It’s like no...celebrate that. That, to me is like that's pushing that line. JESSE: Yeah, yeah. Well, how do you-- This is something that I think comes with age and experience, as trite as it is to say that, but how do you coach a young athlete to figure out how to check in with themselves so they don't get into that situation? STEPH: Yeah, I think to realize that running or any race is not the end all, say all. It does not define you, it's not that big a deal, it's one thing you do. I think that's really important to instill is that you don't finish at any cost. That's just not healthy. And I mean, yeah, push your body, but know the good kind of hurt and the bad kind. We know that, we know when it's like you're pushing and everything is screaming at you, but it's you're in control of it. When it's pain that you're not in control of or that's getting worse, that's a sign like okay, let's reevaluate where I'm at. And I think just not putting that much emphasis on race results is super important for young and upcoming athletes. JESSE: Yeah, I'm always big on and I come back to this, especially after a painful race. I always tell my coaches I'm not sure I care about racing. I love training. I love the day in day out of training but I don’t know if I care about racing. I like racing when I feel good. I don't like racing when I feel terrible. STEPH: Yeah, I know. It's not fun. JESSE: So, this is a question I'm asking everybody this year. And this is especially ?? 12:25> with you because it encompasses what everybody does. I like to ask if you can only choose one food for recovery for the rest of your life, what do you choose? STEPH: Chocolate milk. JESSE: I think you're the fourth or fifth person to say chocolate milk. STEPH: Well, and I will say okay, nutrition geek, I know it's good for me, but I actually just really like it. I like dairy, I like chocolate. It could be chocolate ice cream too. I'm going to be different, chocolate ice cream is what I pick. JESSE: ?? 13:02> To be fair, the very first person that said it was Dr. Jason Karp, who is one of the authors on the chocolate milk studies. So, it started off with him. STEPH: Yeah, yeah. It just is tasty. So, it's easy to get down. JESSE: Yeah, and available to a lot of people. STEPH: Yes. JESSE: Stephanie, if people want to see what you're doing, get in touch with you, where can they find you? STEPH: Yeah, on my website, or, or on Instagram. I'm pretty active on Instagram, @StephanieMarieViolett. I'll post lots of pictures of the Alps and maybe some of me working too because I do that here too. JESSE: Get a shot by the desk one of these days. STEPH: Yeah, yeah, I’ll have to do that. JESSE: Good deal. Thanks for coming on today, Stephanie. STEPH: Yeah, thanks for having me. It's great to chat. Go to Part 1 Go to Part 2

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