#060 – Marketer, runner, and Inspire to Run Podcast host, Richard Conner, shares his reflection on the ups and downs of 2022, key takeaways to help guide plans for 2023, and a new resource to help you kickstart your fitness in 2023.
Successful relaunch of the podcast and reason behind the rebrand
Amazing, yet emotional racing season with Spartan OCR and road races
The importance of volunteer work and supporting causes
A new resource to help you kickstart your fitness in 2023
Richard is a strategic marketing professional with experience in B2B marketing. Richard is the founder of Inspire to Run and is passionate about helping others reach their goals. He is a Connecticut native, a husband, dad, writer, Star Wars fan, and of course – runner! Richard recently discovered obstacle course racing and has fully embraced this new obsession.
Welcome to Episode 60. We are marching through the holidays towards the end of 2022. And typically this is a time of reflection for the year and also thinking about what our goals and plans will be for the following year for 2023. So, in this episode, you’ll hear directly from me on my own reflection for the year, but also what I’m really excited about that we’re going to bring you and 2023 as you start to think about your fitness journey and your plans in the new year. Hope you enjoy.
Welcome to Inspire to run podcast. Here you will find inspiration, whether you’re looking to take control of your health and fitness or you’re a seasoned runner, looking for community and some extra motivation, you will hear inspiring stories from amazing runners, along with helpful tips from fitness experts. Now here’s your host, Richard Conner.
Richard Conner 0:58
Hi, everyone, welcome to inspire to run podcast, I’m so excited to have this last episode of the year, talking about reflection for 2022. And also a little bit about what to expect and what to look forward to in 2023. And, you know, as I think about 2022, it’s really easy to get caught up in all of the negative things that have happened. I mean, my gosh, everything that’s happened this year, externally between the inflation and between, you know, some of the geopolitical issues, and lingering pandemic, so on and so forth, the list just goes on, it’s so easy to get caught up in the negative. And what I want to do is share my reflection, the good things that happened this year, but also be realistic about the things that didn’t go well, and how I’m thinking about incorporating that into my plan for next year to make next year, an even better year. So the three things that I want to talk about in this episode today is first around the podcast and community and kind of the changes there. Second part of the reflection is my own personal running journey, which I tend to share time to time, but not as much with a lot of the guests interviews. So this gives me an opportunity to share directly about what’s kind of going on in my personal running journey. And then I want to wrap up with a little bit around the causes that I’ve been involved in this year is, you know, during this time, it’s a time of giving back. So just want to share a little bit about some of the work that I’ve been fortunate to be able to do this year, and share that with you. And then after the reflection really move into what we’re excited about to bring to you as you’re thinking about your plan and your goals for 2023. So, you know, let’s just go ahead and jump into it. Starting off with the podcasting community. This has just been an amazing year for the podcast. For those of you have been with us for a while, you know that we rebranded and relaunched, we went from inspire virtual ones to inspire to Ron. And it’s a nuance, I guess, in the name change. But there was a very important change I felt to make. So I talked a little bit about this before, but I’ll talk about it again. When we kicked off the podcast a couple of years ago, there was more of an emphasis on the virtual part of the name. And it was really more about virtual community, but also virtual races. And over the last couple of years, through a number of the interviews and engagement with the community, I realized that the focus was less on virtual and more on Inspire. What we’re looking to do is inspire you to run take control of your health and fitness through running, which is what I know and love. So that’s what I like to talk about, but really in any way that makes you happy. And that helps you get to your your goals, your health and fitness goals. So we dropped the virtual part and made it inspired to run. But it doesn’t mean that virtual is completely gone, right. So virtual is still part of our community, we have a Facebook group, that’s a virtual community. And we also encourage runners to run virtual races. And there are a lot of great reasons why you may want to run a virtual race, whether it’s for convenience, because you can run the race, whatever you want. You could run it wherever you want. If you just want to be able to do something on your own versus having the large crowds. There’s a lot of reasons why you may want to run virtual race. So we still talk about a little bit, but it’s not really the main focus of what we’re talking about here. It’s to inspire you to run, give you the tools and resources to do so and share stories of other runners who quite frankly, have just made transformations in their lives through running. And obviously they’re doing other things around nutrition and around mindset. But the running pieces played a big part and their transformations and those are the guests that I’m bringing on the show to share their stories with you to show you that it’s possible these things that we may not think is possible For sure as possible. So that is just a positive reflection for me this year was being able to rebrand and relaunch in a way that best serves all of you and really having a name that reflects that. Now, what is my takeaway from that? My takeaway from that reflection is, I saw something that wasn’t entirely working in the way that I wanted to, it wasn’t entirely serving me in the community in the way that I wanted to. And I took a moment to make a change. I wanted to make a change to help others get to where they want it to be, as you’re thinking about your reflection for 2022, or even as you’re thinking about 2023, what are those things that are not serving you today? What are those things that are not helping you get to your goals or helping you reach your purpose? And what kind of changes can you make in your life, whether they’re big or small to help you get there. And that’s an A really important takeaway, because we all you know, we usually think about the negative. But here, I took something that wasn’t going in the direction that I really wanted to, and then made a change to get it to where, where it needed to be. And I wish that for you. So that’s, that’s the first reflection. The second one is a little bit of a longer story, and it’s around my personal running journey. So again, if you’ve been following the podcast for a while, and my running story for a while, I started running Spartan Races, probably about four years ago. And after my first race, my immediate reaction was, I want to do this again. And I know I could do this better. So my focus was really just working on Spartan sprints, which is the 5k race with about 20 or so obstacles. So I got a coach and I really started training, specifically to perform better in the Spartan Races. And as you may know, to overcome fears that I’ve had of climbing and heights, and basically anything, I’m afraid of everything. So this was helping me overcome my fears. And as time went on, my coach was really encouraging me to do more and more and more, but with the Spartan Races, so go to the higher levels, a super, which is a 10k, and a beast, which is half marathon distance, and I’m like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, anything more than a 5k is way beyond my reach. And that’s not something I want to do. I run five K’s. And I’m going to learn how to do obstacles. And I’m really satisfied and happy with that. And then at some point, I made the decision that I was going to do the Spartan Trifecta and tackle not only the sprint, but also the super beast get to the half marathon distance. And then the pandemic happens. So I pivoted, and I went virtual, which is great for that year, but I wanted to come back and do it in person when I felt comfortable kind of being out in person. And when things opened up again. So 2022 was that year, where things opened back up again, as like, you know what, this is my opportunity to do the Spartan Trifecta in person, just you know, just as I had done it virtually or made the commitment to do it. So that’s a big part of my running journey this year has been preparing mentally and physically for that Spartan Race, getting up to the half marathon distance, which I had done previously, virtually, but now doing doing it in person with the obstacles, and then also training in a way that helps me get there. And I would say that I had mixed results this year, with the Spartan Races, I would say my sprint, I felt very good about I even believe I PRT and I was able to do certain obstacles successfully that I hadn’t done before. But I failed some other ones that I had been able to do successfully before. So mixed results. But all in all, I felt pretty good about the sprint. And then I moved on to the super again, pass some obstacles successfully failed some other obstacles, but some of which I had never done before. So I felt okay with it right, first time trying it. And it was just overall a long race, but really good race. And then that leads me to the beast and the race is exactly as it sounds, it really is a beast and you need grit. And you need to prepare, you just need a lot to get through it, which I commend those that go out to do a Spartan Race for the first time and they choose the beast to do it because that was not me. I wanted to be fully prepared and wanted to know what I was getting into. So hats off to anybody who’s done that. But so I did the beasts I that was one of my last big races of the year. And I just I’ll tell you, the race was not ideal. The conditions weren’t ideal because it was raining. It was a little cold, not terrible, but a little cold. And it was on a mountain which I don’t hike. I don’t really spend a lot of time on my mountains. I didn’t train to be on a mountain and it was just an incredible experience to be there and be part of that and the energy and overcome the difficulties. But my gosh, was that a hard race for me. And I went through the first half of the race, I’d say pretty successfully the pace, I wanted to go through passing obstacles. At the rate that I would expect, some obstacles are still challenging for me, which is fine. And it all kind of fell apart for me halfway through the race. So I did something that, you know, tweaked my back a little bit, it was pure mistake on my part, I’m still kicking myself for it. But it made the the last part of the race not as an enjoyable experience as I really wanted. But I worked through it one step at a time, one obstacle at a time. And I had some really good successes, again, on obstacles I’d never done before, or ones that I had done before. I did the Olympic rings successfully for the first time, one of my biggest wins for that race was being able to do that. And it was truly a wonderful, a memorable experience being able to do that. And then I continued the race, and I finished it, which was great. So at the end of the day, I finished the race, I got the Spartan trifecta, I did what I set out to do. But that was a hard race, it almost broke me. And that was kind of the not so great part of the year of kind of having that feeling. When I finished it was like, Alright, great, I finished but I didn’t really finish in a way that that I really wanted to. So I started to reflect on that, like what was really important to me, and I’ll share with you. So what was really important to me, and number one was to be able to do the some obstacles that I had never been able to do successfully. That was really, really important to me, number two was being able to get over my fears. So not to say that I wasn’t afraid, because I’m still afraid of heights, and I’m still afraid to climbing and doing those things. But the more and more I do it, I’m finding myself doing it faster, and doing it with more confidence even though the fear is still there. So that was tremendous. That was a big win. And then, you know, being able to, to do this trifecta with the underdog family, just being there with a group of like minded people who are there to do either run the race, or they’re to spectate and cheer and volunteer and support others. And, honestly, that really made this year special. So as I don’t say, as bad as the race went, but as some of the negative things that happened in the race, having that team there really made the difference and really made that race special. So I feel great about getting the trifecta, I feel great about really accomplishing what I set out to do. But it also caused me to think differently about well, what do I want to do next, right, if I didn’t get as much joy from it as I really wanted to, is that something that I want to do again, or should I think about doing something different as the next step in my health and fitness journey, which again, I think it’s okay for us to kind of go through the seasons, and think about what is best gonna serve me and what I’m looking to accomplish. But overall positive message with, you know, finishing that race, then the next part of my running journey was the half marathon.
And this is a fun one, because I was able to pick a new place to run that was recommended to me relatively flat along the beach, good time of year. And that was really exciting to me. And what I wanted to do was take my time down. I think my last PR was around an hour and 57 minutes, I’m like, Okay, I want to bring my time down all the way down to an hour and 45 minutes, which is a big jump. And my training was not really prepared me to do that. And I didn’t know it at the time, but I was really feeling pretty good that I can get my time down and have a really huge PR. And basically, the short story is yes, I PR which was great. I got my time down to about an hour and 54 minutes, which is a decent time. But I didn’t get it down to an hour and 45. Like I wanted to I was way off my goal. And again, that made me kind of think like okay, well, I PRT, I ran a good race, I didn’t feel like I was going to die for the entire race, which has happened to me in previous races. So I felt good, that was a good base. What do I need to do differently? And how can I think differently about, you know what I need to do next year? So, you know, my takeaway, again, from my running journey, I would say is it’s two part number one, just really thinking through what my future goals are going to be like, what’s gonna best serve me and my health and fitness journey? And what am I going to find the most joy out of, but also, you know, kind of thinking about what is my training look like? What does my prep look like and setting the right expectations? So when I get to that point of the race, I can feel like yes, not only did I follow a training plan, I followed the right training plan to get me to, to where my goals are. So my training for the last three or four months has been completely different than it ever has been in my time. I have running career and going into 2023, I’m really excited about doing that. I’m going to trust the process and see what my performance looks like in 2023. So those are kind of the two Part A, Part B, takeaways from my, from my running journey. One of the things that I mentioned that didn’t necessarily come up in my races, but it came up in conversations around doing a full marathon. So since I started the podcast, I’ve had a number of guests that went from not running at all, to running marathons or becoming ultra runners, which I think is amazing. I think it’s incredible. And if you’ve never run a 5k, before, and you’re listening to this podcast, or you run a 5k, but never run anything longer than that, you might be thinking, well, that’s a little bit out of my reach, right? You know, I don’t know how it would be able to do a 5k, or I don’t know how to become an ultra runner. And you may look at me say, Well, Richard, you’re a runner? Well, I guess Listen to me, right? If you’re not watching the video, or listening to podcasts, you mean, you’re a runner, right? So of course, you could do these things. And that’s not the case, I’m having the exact same thoughts that you might be having about those distances. And for me, that’s a marathon, Marathon and up is, that’s what I’m thinking about that is out of my reach. I’m not sure it’s something that I really want to do in the future. And over the last few months, as I’m working on working through the races that I’m doing, as I’m training, as I’m changing my training program and plan as I’m improving. I’m wondering, well, what if I could do a marathon? What would that look like? It would be a new accomplishment? For me, it would be something that I’ve never done before, it would be me overcoming fears that I have around during a marathon. What if I could do that? So I haven’t made any commitments yet to anybody. But I’ve had a lot of conversations on the podcast with guests. Well, yeah, maybe I’ll think about it one day. Well, I’m here to say that I’m seriously seriously considering doing a marathon, not for 2023. That won’t be one of my 23 goals. But for 2024. And it’s there’s a little bit of a contingency I would say about doing a marathon and then really kind of depends on my training and my performance in 23. And if I feel like I’m progressing appropriately towards those goals, then in a consider going for 2024 marathon and I already have a race picked out. So you know More to come on that as we get into 2023. But I’m personally excited about that. And looking at, you know, what’s what’s next for me after I reach my goals for 2023. So that is reflection. Number two. And then reflection number three is around the causes. So given the time of year that we’re in right now, it’s a season of giving back. And this is who part of who I am, I am someone who really wants to help others be successful, whether it’s in business, or whether it’s in their personal life, and especially around health and fitness because I truly, truly believe if you’re not focused on your health and fitness, and you don’t have maybe the right habits, it’s going to be harder for you to do other things in your life. Not impossible. I’m not saying that everybody has to be a certain way. Right. But I just know this that if you’re not well, right, if you’re not feeling well, it’s hard to do other things. And I want to help everyone be the best versions of themselves. So and that’s part of who I am as part of my strengths. If you’ve ever done Strength Finders, it’s a it’s a number of my strengths that show up in Strength Finders, but it’s also showing up in my activities and the things that I like to do. And volunteering and supporting others is a big part of what I like to do, whether it’s in business or personal.
So I’d like to talk about a couple of causes that I supported this year. And I’m sure there are others that I’m not thinking about in the moment. But there’s two in particular I want to talk about the first one is I earlier in the year, it was actually for Superbowl Sunday, I ran a refuge run for refugees 5k, by Iris, the integrated refugees, Immigrant Services, nonprofit organization. I had them on the podcast, gosh, maybe a couple of years ago. And I’ve been running the races since so I did it initially virtually. And then I had the opportunity to do an in person this this past February, which is a lot of fun. And it’s just one of the causes that that’s super important for me to support in any way that I can, as well as for the community. And I just wanted to share that with you. I’ll put the link in the show notes for you to learn more about Iris, but also their race or run for refugees race, because if you’re local, you can certainly run it but they also have a virtual option that you can run coming up in 2023. So I’m already signed up. I’m already ready to go and excited about it. But it’s an important charity that I that I’d like to support through this race. Next is around pancreatic Cancer Awareness is something else that I like to support. And I do this in memory of my mother in law, who passed away from pancreatic cancer a few years ago. And I spent done a lot of work with the with pain can, which is great also had kancan on the podcast and talk a little bit about pancreatic cancer, which is one of the most deadly cancers that unfortunately is not caught early. And a lot of cases is diagnosed in the late stages. So this is an opportunity for me to support the awareness component to it, and support any other way that I could do that. So this year, it was great for me to also do purplestride, which is their annual event that where you walk and in some cases run to raise awareness and raise money for pancreatic cancer awareness. So I’ve done a lot of that work with Panchen and we’ll continue to do so. In addition to that, I was also very fortunate to to learn about another organization, another pancreatic cancer organization called Project purple. And this organization is just really a wonderful organization that, that does similar work in terms of raising awareness for pancreatic cancer, but in slightly different ways. So it’s super nice to be able to support both organizations. And with Project purple, they invited me to be a guest on their show, which was super kind of them. And I’ll also put the link in the show notes. So you can hear a little bit about my interview with Dan about their organization. So those are just some of the causes that I did for this year. And, you know, really, my takeaway here is, in a lot of what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to build in a way for me to help and support others, whether it’s directly or indirectly, that is one of my takeaways that I think you can consider as you’re kind of building out your plans and your goals for for 2023. So those are the three areas that I wanted to touch on in terms of my reflection, the year has been up and down for sure throughout the year, whether it’s business or personal. And what I’m trying to do is find the good and all of that. And how do I build on that where it makes sense. But where do I need to make a change? Where do I need to pivot? Where do I need to do things differently, so I can have an even more successful year end 2023. So I would invite you to really think about that and reflect as you’re building out your plans and goals for 2023. So on the topic of 2023, let’s talk about what I am excited about from an Inspire to run perspective. So all of the interviews and the engagement of the community, what have we been able to do is kind of boiled down into five steps, ways for you to kickstart your fitness. So you’ve heard you know, a number of the episodes on the podcast, you can start to see themes and trends about what’s really helped others be successful in their transformation. Everybody has the ability to become a runner, and no matter where you’re starting from. But there’s there’s a few steps, there’s five steps that I’ve collected into a free resource, a free ebook to share with you that will help you go from not running at all, to running and reaching your health and fitness goals. So really super excited to kind of boil that information down into a simple and easy resource, one of many to come to help you along your journey. So I would encourage you to go to inspire to run.co forward slash kickstart that’s inspire to run.co forward slash kickstart. So you could sign up and get your free guide and resource. And again, this is from the many many interviews that I’ve had with others kind of boiling it down into those key steps that I believe will help you kickstart your fitness. So subscribe, download the ebook, use it, follow the steps and give us feedback. Let us know what really resonates with you. Let us know that you’ve used it. Let us know that it’s helped you get started. And let us know what else we could do to help you along your health and fitness journey because that’s really what we’re here for is to share the stories of others who help inspire you, but also give you the tools and resources that you need to take the next step. So that’s that’s really it. That’s the reflection for 2022 This is what we’re excited about for 2023 this free resource to help you along your journey. And I just want to take this final moments to thank you for listening to the podcast. Thank you for being part of the community. I really really wish you well during this holiday season. And as you’re thinking about your goals and your health and fitness in 2020 Three, I wish you well and planning for that and having a great, great new year. So with that, thank you so much and have a great day.
That’s it for this episode of inspired to run podcast. We hope you are inspired to take control of your health and fitness and take it to the next level. Be sure to click the subscribe button to join our community. And also please rate in review. Thanks for listening