My guest on the show today is no stranger to figuring out how to get as much accomplished as possible each day, both with his running and in the rest of his life.
Between being an ultra runner, father, husband, race director, and neurosurgeon his life is busy, to say the least.
I am going a few easy miles with Richard Schlenk and hope to find out how he makes the time to do it all.
Striving For Balance
Richard never considered running until he was in his early 40’s.
His path to becoming a neurosurgeon kept him focused on his career and not much else.
His work life balance had tipped largely in favor of work.
Richard was determined to start making some changes to achieve a better balance.
After working out in a gym for a couple years his friend introduced him to Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).
He found that he was good at the obstacles, but not so great at running.
In an effort to improve at running he attempted a 24-hour race a few months after his first OCR.
Richard dropped from the race at 20 miles but was motivated to redeem himself.
A New Lifestyle
The year that followed Richard’s failed 24-hour attempt he was introduced to the trail running community.
His lifestyle began to morph into one that included running.
A career as a neurosurgeon and training for ultras meant that he had to maximize all the hours in his day.
Richard will be the first to admit that running to and from work may not work for most people.
For the past few years, Richard has been run commuting the 5 miles to and from work regardless of the weather.
It was during these commutes that he discovered some technical trails that he fell in love with.
The discovery of the trails led to Richard creating the Doan Creek Trail Race which was first held in 2014 with about 40 participants.
The race has steadily grown in popularity and benefits local charities.
Running Forward And Giving Back
The success of the Doan Creek Trail Race led to Richard wanting to give back even more to the community and other charities in need.
Richard got together with other local race directors and decided to join forces to make a bigger impact.
The result was that they formed a non-profit organization that currently includes 9 races in the running series.
Each race supports different charities, but they all share the same philosophy.
Their mission is to, “support runners, our precious parks, and local individuals or small organizations who require a helping hand.”
Above all else, Richard wants to introduce people of all abilities and backgrounds to trail running.
Running Strengthens More Than The Body
As a neurosurgeon, Richard is keenly aware of the connection between the mind and exercise.
Though not a lot of studies have been done on the connection, it is clear to those that are active.
Physically active people typically have fewer changes in the vessels that go to the brain.
There are likely some neurologically protective benefits that come with exercising.
Studies have been done to prove that even small amounts of activity can have a positive effect on depression and mood.
Richard is a firm believer that the legs, heart, and brain are integrally connected.
Mentioned In This Episode:
Stay connected with Richard by checking out his website, Running Forward and Giving Back.
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