0
0
Subtotal: $0.00

No products in the cart.

0
0
Subtotal: $0.00

No products in the cart.

From two packs a day to a marathon

Subscribe to The Common Scents Podcast
Love the Podcast?

window.RTP_CONFIG = {link: 'tamar', mode: 'button'};

Carl Johnson was once truly living the unhealthy life. But then he made a 180° turn and now is working with a laser focus on marathons. We discuss his transformation.

TAMAR:
Hey, everybody, I am super excited to introduce Carl Johnson. I met him in a really interesting for him and I’m going to introduce that first just because I’ve been kind of really compelled by this story and in meeting some amazing people. I met him on Facebook through the David Goggins community. David Goggins is a Navy Seal, retired now, I believe, he has a book called Can’t Hurt Me. And it’s literally the scariest thing that you might ever read. In some ways. There’s some things there that you just don’t ever want to, I guess, ever want to read. But like, it’s this guy who basically has done these insane, insurmountable human feats. And yet, he’s been able to do them, like running a marathon on broken legs kind of things. So there’s a community of followers. And that’s where I met Carl. And so thank you so much for coming and joining us.

Carl Johnson:
Oh, no problem at all. How are you doing today?

TAMAR:
I’m doing all right. I’m surviving. We’re trying to make do, 2021, trying to make it all happen. Where are you in the planet? Tell me what you what you do, what you’re up to, how you’re surviving? How are you doing?

Carl Johnson:
I am in Baltimore, Maryland. I am a bower general.  I’ve been there for a long, long time. Now, I am a store manager.

TAMAR:
I don’t know if you have a crazy career story. But it’s not always it’s not always the main focus of the podcast. Of course. I think a lot of us, especially in the, you know, the David Goggins community, have these stories where we’ve have overcome insane adversity. I mean, in David’s story, he has multiple elements of that. That was really kind of like, if you will, the criteria of where I was coming from in recruiting you for the podcast. So tell me a little bit about your story on that front, if you unless it was something else. I don’t know that it was necessarily overcoming adversity, but it was, it was making a major lifestyle change later than a lot of people make it.

Carl Johnson:
When I was 51 years old, I’m I’m 57. Right now, when I was 51 years old, I weighed almost 270 pounds, I was smoking two packs a day, and I was I was headed for an early hole in the ground. I went to a grocery store one day, and when a when they had one of those Do It Yourself blood pressure monitors. So when uh, when I, you know, tested myself, and I was right, you know, it says different levels. You know, the first level is you’re fine. The second level is today, you’re a little tired for a little concern here. And third level is is, you know, you you should you need to see a doctor and get on medication. The fourth level is is you need to go to the emergency room. I was at the third level. At that point, that was that was in in August, I came to the conclusion that I was going to quit smoking and you set a date. That’s the best way to do it. You tell everybody you set a date. And that’s what I did. And when September 1, I quit smoking. two packs a day cold turkey. No, no, no, no patch no nothing. I’m about two weeks later the stress was just getting to the if you know anybody’s quit smoking. It’s it’s not a fun experience. I wouldn’t wish
that two weeks later, I needed something to do to get you know, just work off the stress. It’s so I started running. I’m still [doing it] to this day, I’m not sure why I started running but I did. My very first run I ran about a quarter mile and I seriously thought I was dying. I literally thought I was dying. For whatever the reason, I stuck with short runs every day, for the first first couple of weeks, and you go forward, you know to about 14 months later I ran my first marathon. So I went from two packs a day to running marathons I still run to this day. It’s something that I I can’t even imagine not being a runner at this point. So it wasn’t necessarily overcoming adversity, it was more of a major of dealing with transformation.

TAMAR:
And that’s always the story. The transformation story is a big focus. So that’s fantastic. I don’t think I could do that. It’s, it’s interesting, because I started running on December 24, 2018. And it was sort of the same thing. Like I tried to do it. Probably in September of 2018 I tried to do the couch to 5K [program]. And I was I was running too fast. And I became very, very—and this was on a treadmill. I don’t even remember what speed I was running on—but I became very demotivated to the point that I was like, I couldn’t even do day one (week one, day one). And that’s like 30 seconds in running intervals, or was it 30/60 seconds when I couldn’t do that. And I started picking up again, in December of 2018, where I was running three miles an hour, and I’m like, “Oh, I could do it. Yay.”

TAMAR:
But I ended up going, I ended up going faster, I ended up like going to Orangetheory fitness, I went to gyms and I also ran five K’s. But in November of 2020, I was watching how a lot of these people online were running these, the New York Road Runners marat—the virtual marathon. And I was like, oh, people are doing it. And they can do to 24 hours, let me be able to do that too. The most I have ever run was a 10K, and that was like mostly walking. [But I thought] okay, let me try it. Now, obviously, if anyone knows the difference, a 10k is what? A 10K is is six miles. So a half marathon is 13.1 miles. It’s basically four times as much to do a full marathon. It’s like it’s sort of like your cold turkey thing. It’s like going cold turkey to like run a marathon without any experience. I ended up deciding that day to do it. But I ended up doing like a 13.1 in in about four and a half hours and I walked most of it. And I will tell you: walking is a lot harder than running at that point. I don’t think I could do a marathon. I think in my mind that I can. It’s amazing that you were able to do it like in such a short period of time from like nothing to like something. I don’t know, mentally if I can do it. And it’s funny because it’s so it’s so this is so against the Goggins ethos, because he’s like, “just get it done.” You just put yourself through your, what’s the word that he uses? There’s a lot of like [of phrases], he uses that word like “generator.” I don’t know what it was. But there that word that he taught? He uses a lot of phrases for all these things like the “cookie cutter mentality.” But to  just push past past these these things that are holding you back and to believe that you can?

Carl Johnson:
Yep.

TAMAR:
And I don’t think I can! I still am trying. I try to ignore the pain. But like, I don’t know how—it’s just amazing. I’m just, I’m just blown away by like you and people like him are because, I don’t know, I think a woman needs to write this where they’re coming from. But of course everybody has that story. But of course everybody has that story. It’s not an issue of—I don’t think it’s a gender story.

Carl Johnson:
Yeah, I will say this about myself, I am lucky enough that I actually love to run. I just do. I mean, I discovered that very late in life, but I absolutely love it. Andit’s running a marathon. Even if you love running it, the first time you run a marathon [is hard]. I ran the Baltimore marathon. That was my first marathon. And there is this unbelievable hill at mile 25 a great pass to Howard Street Bridge. And I remember running up that hill about at the Charles Street Bridge thinking myself there is no way I can make it’s not it’s it’s even if you love running a marathon is just an amazing experience; it is one of the things even if you don’t even if you’re if you are a runner, or it’s something you should try to do once because even the training and everything is just a completely amazing experience. But yeah, I’m lucky enough that I I absolutely love it. I just like I said, I can’t even imagine my life now without running. I really can’t. Even in COVID I mean, it’s, it’s a little one of the things that you see in a log of running forums. Now as you know, a lot of people were really itching to get the in-person races started, not just the virtual ones, but you you have to take a certain amount of precaution. You know, you want things to be okay. But I can certainly understand people wanting [to run]. You know, it’s like, “let’s get back. Let’s get back. Let’s get back. Let’s get back to it.” So, my goal, I haven’t done this yet. I figure I got one or two shots left to try and qualify for Boston. That’s my next goal. I’m either gonna do it this fall or next fall. So I’m not sure you know what, what races are going to be what qualifying races that could be run this this year. So it might be a goal for next year, but either way, that’s my next goal. That’s what I wanted to do. Did you see the David Goggins, what is it, 4x4x48? Did you see that?

TAMAR:
Which one? No, I didn’t. Is it a video? What is it?

Carl Johnson:
It’s a challenge that he put up. It’s called four by four by 48. You basically run four miles, every four hours for 48 hours. Now that to me, is nuts. [laughs]

TAMAR:
That is nuts. He is nuts. He’s absolutely nuts.

Carl Johnson:
I mean, I’ve never run an ultra and and he’s  run Leadville, which, to me,  that’s the epitome of [running], that’s the one I don’t know if you’re familiar with or not. That’s the ultra marathon through Death Valley.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah. He talks about that. To just qualify for that [race] is insane. So we probably should give some context. Because like I said, this guy’s insane. And he talks about, in chapter two, that that one story about that kid in the school bus, it still plays in my mind [editor’s note: no spoilers here, it’s brutal]. And that like, might be the one defining thing there. As a child, [Goggins] went through a lot. And as an adult, he pushes himself beyond fathomable limits. And that’s what’s crazy. Just to think about the four by four by four, yeah, no, I don’t even run four miles right now. I mean, that’s not true. I’ve run you know, I usually run between three and five. But yeah, it would take me about—these days, it takes me about an hour to run for miles, like I’m still like, I had the virus, so I don’t think I have the speed that I used to have. But yeah, so it’s like, it’s like one one hour, there’s three hours of rest, then I have to do it again. And then like sleeping [and running too], this guy is insane. Like, that’s insane.

Carl Johnson:
Yeah, you’re running. You’re almost running two marathons in two days. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s it’s one of those things, I think to myself, I could probably do it. But there’s a fairly decent chance I would hurt myself pretty badly, because I’m not used to that type of mileage. So you know, that could that could mess me up pretty good. So yeah.

TAMAR:
People are talking in the group about 75 hard, which is still pretty difficult. 75 hard is, let me just look that up and pull it up. I’m sure you’re familiar that it’s the challenge that you you two 45 minutes of workouts. One of them has to be outside. You have to follow a diet, zero cheat meals for 75 days. This is all consecutive stuff. Drink a gallon of water per day, read 10 pages of a nonfiction entrepreneur book, and take a progress pic every single day. I could do a lot of that. But I still think that it’s difficult, especially for me outside right now. It’s melting now but we had like 20 inches of snow last week. It’s gonna snow tomorrow. And yeah, none of my neighbors plowed their driveway. So I couldn’t even I can’t even walk like two feet outside without slipping. Like, that’s how bad it is lately. So it’s like all of a sudden weather has been prohibitive for me. I’ve been going on a treadmill for like pretty much everything. I [already] do two workouts like that already. There’s always like something out there that eventually pushes things about.

Carl Johnson:
And you got to be really careful in the snow and the ice because you have to alter your gait, your running gait, in order to run in it, and you can hurt yourself. I actually strained my calf running in the freezing rain. So it’s scary.

TAMAR:
It’s extremely scary. I can’t imagine that. Like why do they have to I mean [do this so early in the year?]. I guess this is a, we’re in the middle of February now. But I guess people want to start this up as their new year’s resolution. It’s more practical to do it on January 1 and not June 1 but for me June 1 would be better because the weather is a lot more conducive to this kind of workout.

Carl Johnson:
Ah, well, tell you what? I am one of those people and and nobody quite understands it, including my including my primary [doctor]. I will be outside running in general. shorts, no shirt down to about 10 degrees. I just love the cold weather. You say running in June and I’m like, “Ah, it’s hot and humid.”

TAMAR:
I agree with you. The thing is I agree with you. I feel like my ideal time for running is like, I don’t know, 60 to 75. But right now it’s 30 ish. And it’s still it’s just so slippery. I mean, I was very, we were very lucky yesterday, we had like a 50 degree weather and everything was basically melting. But now we’re down to 20s. Again, it’s just like, it’s such a weird. It’s like, I don’t know, it’s like 2020 is still here. Something’s got to mess with us in some way.

Carl Johnson:
Yeah. And I follow with another winter storm warning from Thursday through Thursday and Friday in the Baltimore area. So yeah, it looks like, we haven’t really had a lot of snow in the last couple years ago. It looks like it’s all catching up at the same time.

TAMAR:
I mean, we see what’s happening in Texas, they don’t have power, because they never ever had anything like this before. Yep.

Carl Johnson:
I used to live in South Carolina. And I remember it snowed there once and everybody was just looking at each other. Like, what is that funny words flowing out of the sky? So? Yeah, absolutely.

TAMAR:
I am from Florida myself. It was very pleasant for the first couple of years when I didn’t have to drive anywhere and relied on public transit to take advantage of the snow and playing it like a kid in my 20s, but now that I have kids of my own, and the driving pick them up from school, otherwise, I work remotely. It’s scary. It’s very scary. I cling to my my car just to get into my house because it’s that scary. Yeah.

Carl Johnson: 
Yeah. So are the kids back in school?

TAMAR:
Aare you asking in the context of Coronavirus?

Carl Johnson:
Yes, I am.

TAMAR:
Yeah. So last year, we were the first community in the country that had the outbreak. Our school shut down on March 3, and we had no school the entire academic year, but the school was closed very, very early. The administration was very [much] in contact with the governor’s office. I guess because of that, I don’t know if it was because of that, in spite of that, whatever, they said, “this year, we’re going to make sure we do everything very, very carefully. If anybody gets sick, that class is quarantined for two weeks.” So they did start school and they did have some quarantines like that over the past couple months. They are back in school. But if a child has a runny nose or a cough, they basically need a doctor’s note or a COVID test of a negative results before they can go back to school, and that includes the entire family. For the month of January, my kids were in school, but then my kid wakes up one morning and has a cough. We’re in the middle of February, we’re almost at the end of February. And we had a break. We had winter break in last week. The week before, my kid had a cold. So my whole family was home when they were homeschooling. So it’s really been an up and down interesting experience. It’s kind of nice to not having to pick them up from school. There’s always that, but at the same time, it’s a lot quieter [when they’re at school]. And I get to podcasts when they’re not here. If they are here, I have to reschedule: “Oh, my kids are in the background screaming.” It’s an interesting dynamic.

Carl Johnson:
Yeah, we’re we’re still not back in school in Maryland, talking about the beginning of March. It’s been a very very…

TAMAR:
I think it depends on certain schools right now. So my kids aren’t in the public school system. They’re in the private school system. So right now, the public schools are off for break, but we had it last week. My kids do things are in that system. It’s challenging, because the systems are not reconciled. I see a lot of the conversations on Nextdoor and sometimes on Facebook about, “I want them to get back in school.” And I know that there’s like limited days. They come in on alternating days. People have said, “I don’t know what the point of that is, because you have Monday, you know, it’s like COVID doesn’t discriminate against days of the week. I understand it.”

Carl Johnson:
Honestly, it’s it’s March now. I mean, just wait until the rest of the year and start fresh in the fall. That’s my personal opinion. I mean, what why go back in March, you know what I’m saying?

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah. Socially, the children need it. And that’s sort of where we were coming from, that it’s extraordinarily important for these kids to connect socially. My son was like, “I want to be in remote school.” He likes zoom school, he likes Fortnite, of course he wants to sit by a computer all day. But I said, you have to go to school, this is so important for you. They don’t realize that. And I come from—my adversity story has come from a lot of different places, but a lot of it was socially. At the age of 12, I was gifted a computer. This was before social media was really a thing. But I fell in love with interacting with people online. And I ended up withdrawing socially, in that personal context. It robbed me of a lot of my childhood. I didn’t know how to interrelate with people in a real social context, which ended up blowing back on me decades later.  I know that right now, every child is basically online. So it’s not the same situation as me, as a 12 year old. [Back then], literally all my friends were like 30somethings who had their own problems, like crap to deal with. So I was literally burdened because I was so mature for 12 year old, [listening to] the phrases that they use, they’re like, “I forget that you’re 12.” They would be telling me about drugs and sex and lies, and all those things that you don’t usually hear [as a preteen]. It’s such a crazy situation. I dealt with that kind of stuff. I don’t know if that affected me socially, but my son at 11 years old, sitting there and his computer, he has his friends, it’s not the same, but it totally killed me. I can’t let my child not have that. So it’s so important.

Carl Johnson:
No, I completely understand. There is social interaction, but it’s a very different type of social interaction. I’m not sure it’s necessarily communicating, learning important social skills that you really, it’s just like you said. You miss a childhood being deprived of that interaction. So I can certainly understand that.

TAMAR:
Yeah, yeah, it’s so hard, I really do believe and I really hope that that we get ahead of these vaccinations, and everybody just gets back into the reality of connecting again, because I think socially mentally, we have some sort of connection. But we do need that physical connection. It’s so important. And and I say that, as somebody who like thrives working remotely, and thrives in being distant that I actually like it. I actually felt felt better in the beginning of the pandemic, because in a way, I was like, “people are gonna understand how I’ve worked.” It’s, it’s sort of like, it was important, and yet at the same time, it’s not survivable. It’s not a practical way to live.

Carl Johnson:
I was talking with somebody from France the other day, and and he said that the suicide rate over there because of the quarantine is still really, really high. You don’t realize, you know, I mean, me and my wife have both been lucky. We have jobs where we’re out. You can say that there’s a certain amount of risk involved, but neither one of us have been quarantined for a single minute, we never stopped working. Neither one of us came down with it, which is lucky in a lot of ways, I suppose. We have never realized how being isolated being quarantined, has really had a negative impact on a lot of people. Sometimes it’s hard for me to realize that. I’m one of the few people, me and my wife, both of us were two of the few people that it really didn’t affect us at all. Not in the slightest. And we’re very, very lucky in that regard. Because we were just talking about a lot of kids not going to school. It’s been a challenge for a lot of people. A lot of people long for the normalcy of your 2019 and I can certainly understand that. As minor and unimportant as it is in the grand scheme of things, but [a lot of people want to] get back to races. There are a lot of people that want to get back to their lives, and forget something as trivial as as running around and running a race. You know, a lot of people haven’t had a life in a year now almost.

TAMAR:
I haven’t seen my parents since 2019. It’s insane to think about; they’re in Florida, I’m New York. It’s crazy. And yet suicide is real. I was gonna say that. It’s not even about the people in France and elsewhere. I mean, it’s happening. It’s happening on our on our turf, too. I think that in all types of environments, there are some people who culturally understand the importance, and acknowledged the magnitude of really having to maintain social distance. And then there are other people in the same communities who are sort of in denial that the problem exists. They go out and about and on their trips, and they post photos on Facebook, and then there’s always a judgment call. This morning, somebody posted about 30 women who went out to dinner in Florida, and someone’s like, “you guys do not realize there’s a pandemic?” so the admin kicked her out of the group. I’m like, “don’t post photos like that, because it’s just begging for this type of [thing].” There’s such a, a spectrum of the philosophical approach toward this pandemic, and unfortunately, I think in families where the children are unable to have any of that, that’s where we’re going. But I think the parents are doing the right thing, though [in keeping kids distanced]. So it’s very difficult. It’s very difficult to reconcile emotionally how you like these kids needs to have some of their needs met. How do you do it?

Carl Johnson:
It’s a very, very divisive topic. There’s a lot of things these days, unfortunately. But yeah, there are people who just won’t follow and you’re only putting everybody else in danger by doing that. I’m not a fan of it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m gonna wear my mask out. I mean, I get criticized because I won’t run out with a mask. I’ve never been closer than ten feet. Yeah, I mean, I can, I can. But still, there are some people [muffled]. Yeah, different degrees for different people. But yeah, if you’re out in public, absolutely. Aside from running, if I’m out if I’m out at the grocery store, of course you’re gonna wear a mask you know, I mean, we all want this to end.

TAMAR:
Yeah,  I hear you. It’s not easy to run with a mask and the fact that some gyms here in New York require it, it’s just [hard]. I can barely do my workouts today without a mask, let alone going into a gym and wearing a mask. I get it. I remember when I got the virus in early March of last year, and the last thing I did in person was run outside and and then, after this whole thing happened, to Department of Health which was going by whatever was going out in the world, they were basically like, “you can’t even go for a run.” So I would do my 5Ks in my driveway, just running around my driveway, because I still wanted to maintain the momentum that I had. I had the virus but I didn’t have the virus [badly]. I was able to do a 5K but it was just a very slow 5k just to know that I can. I wanted to maintain that. I didn’t have a really bad virus. I would go outside I where I will wear the mask sometimes. Sometimes I won’t. Sometimes I’ll cover my face when I see somebody running by, but people do judge and you can see that and it’s crazy.

Carl Johnson:
Well, I’m actually sort of lucky because I think I told you, I’ve run in just shorts in the 15 degree weather. And when you do that people think you’re insane, and they tend to avoid you. But I don’t know, I don’t know that things will ever completely get back to the way they were. Some people say that this is the new normal while I don’t necessarily agree with that, the reality of the situation is probably somewhere between the two.

TAMAR:
Yeah. I think there are things that we can adopt that will help us in a way. But I also have the faith that we will eventually see each other again and have parties and hug people. I watch these TV shows these days [on the treadmill]. The one I’m watching right now is The Expanse. The whole concept is that they’re on a planet, which is these planetary stations or whatever. There are so many people congregating and it’s always cringeworthy because of now it’s the reality is like, we’re nowhere near that. I have to say that I’m looking forward to when we get back to normal.

Carl Johnson:
I think we all are.

TAMAR:
Yeah, so you kind of went into this whole running thing. But we talked self care a little bit. Tell me a little bit about that, beyond what you might have kind of talked about already.

Carl Johnson:
I’ll be a geeky runner for a few minutes. The most important thing about running is, and I learned this the hard way, is you can’t just be a runner, you basically have to have some strength and some core training. So that’s two or three days a week for me, I run four days a week, typically, if I’m training for like a marathon, that’ll jump up to five days a week. But you still need to do other things. If you don’t, if you just run and do nothing else it’s not if you’re gonna get hurt, it’s when and how badly. I winged it for a long time running, I didn’t really follow any plan or anything like that. After my first marathon, and about two months later, I didn’t recover properly. I ended up getting hurt. I have a routine that I follow every day, six days a week. I do believe that one day a week, you completely rest, you do nothing. I’m past [making mistakes]. Like I said, I learned four days a week, I usually strength core train two days a week. I have a 5-10 minute routine that I do every single day. That is, except for the rest day, which is basically composed of planks and squats, because too many runners don’t have their glutes developed, and that’s also a good way to get hurt. I usually do somewhere between 100 and 200 squats a day. Yeah, it’s important, it really is. The other thing is, is quite honestly, you have your eyes, as you get older and you’re trying to maintain running. You do have to pay attention to things a little bit more. And you do have to take care of yourself a little bit more in regards to other things besides just running, of course, like eating right. When I quit smoking, I was also I was also eating horribly as you can imagine with that type of lifestyle. It actually took me about two to three years before I really completely stopped eating garbage in addition to the physical work I was doing, taking care of myself, diet-wise as well. I am a firm believer in meditation. I try to spend half an hour doing that every day. I’m really good mental health wise, as well as running. I always tell people I’ve been fortunate to be involved in two communities where where people have literally been able to give up depression medication. I’ve not one of them, but I know people that have given up depression medication, through meditation and through running. So I’ve been involved in both communities and I’ve seen some really interesting, inspiring stories of people that have been able to leave things like that behind. So I saw something, I can’t remember where I saw it, but it was basically, let me paraphrase, but it was along the lines of “food is the most abused. Food is the most abused.” Ah, I can’t remember. But anyway, it is the most most abused drug, and physical exercise was the most neglected antidepressant medication, something along those lines. I’ve seen plenty of people come back from situations like that. So it’s certainly true. You don’t necessarily think of food, some people just eat automatically without thinking. And with that mindset, you’re in a pretty good place. So that would be what I do.

TAMAR:
So I want to give you a little background about me, because I told you I wanted you to join my podcast, but didn’t really tell you the context of how and why I created that podcast. So my story was I was depressed with postpartum depression. I also just felt more depressed because I became vulnerable to exploitation (in a short version of the story). I was on antidepressants and ADHD medication and anti anxiety pills up the wazoo. I was seeing a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, but a psychiatrist, an MD, twice a week. And I mean, I was being robbed, basically. But one day, I even though I had hit what I would consider my rock bottom, I discovered a vial of perfume in a corner. I think when you’re really in this depressed mode in your life, I usually liken it to like, “when you’re depressed, you don’t care what you look like, you definitely don’t care what you smell like.” You’re not putting it on like most of the world does, to smell good for other people, you don’t care about that external influence, you don’t care about any type of appreciation or acknowledgement, you don’t need any of that. It’s just about the inward approval versus the external. For me, I didn’t really know why I put it on, but it changed my life. All of a sudden, like I’d I woke up. I think part of the depression for me was the fact that maybe all five of my senses were dead, like not all of them were working together. I found that fragrance itself is sort of my meditation, in a way, it brought me out of a depression. I ended up literally moving. I started feeling motivated to do things better in a different context, I started taking up nutrition and taking up reading daily, which is with 75 hard, doing the entrepreneur book [part of it], I’m already doing it. The fitness thing, also, like, I lost about 70 to 90 pounds, depending on where I am, thanks to COVID things are a little hard and vary, but it changed me. I would love to learn a little bit more about these communities because I think I think in a way, fragrance is sort of like a meditation, it’s like your mindfulness. It grounds you to the present. It’s a very “one second, take a whiff, and then just remember who you are and where you are.” So I’m really curious about that. It’s interesting, because sometimes I love/I hate exercise, I think a lot of us hate the process of exercising. The barometer that you need to potentially look at is that if you’ve ever kind of done it, like a mood evaluation, like what your mood is right before you exercise, and then you exercising, like “oh, this sucks”, and you hate it, and then you feel what your mood is after the fact, you will find that it’s substantially elevated. I only realized that. It’s crazy. They say that all the time. I’ve been talking about it in this podcast for over a year because podcasts launched in 2019, late 2019, I only really realized that for me personally like probably in the last like three months, in the month of December last year, I stopped working out for a little bit because I don’t know, something pushed me off the off the deep end or whatever. But now that I started doing it [again], I started realizing that like I feel better before I go to bed I almost can’t sleep because I’m so excited because of like the way of the fact that I just worked out right before and I’m like feeling good about it. I think you need to like do this assessment. It’s really interesting. So yeah, that’s that’s sort of my my little story about like, where where this came from and like where I’ve come from since.

Carl Johnson:
Yeah, that’s good. You said everybody hates exercise. That’s very true for everybody to a certain extent, even me I and I love to run, but there are days where it’s like miserable and nasty out and I’d be like, “yeah, I don’t feel like running. I don’t feel like running.” But once I get out there, within 10 minutes, I’ll be like, “Oh, this is fantastic.” And the other side of really disliking exercise, don’t put me anywhere near a weight, and I’m like, “no, do I have to?” I don’t enjoy lifting at all. I have to [lift], but I don’t do it. I’ll be the first person to admit that. It’s sometimes actually having the willpower to overcome the “I don’t feel like doing this.” And sometimes it’s “well, you got to do what you got to do.” Yeah, really understand exactly what you’re talking about.

TAMAR:
Yeah, I think people need to realize that. It’s funny because sometimes I will put my workout clothes. I usually just change out of my pajamas to my workout clothes, but sometimes I’ll sit on my couch with my workout clothes. I’ll sit there for like 20 minutes, then I’ll maybe get my leggings on and then I’ll sit there for another 20 minutes and then maybe I’ll give my sports bra on and also sit there for another 20 minutes and then maybe I’ll get my sneakers on and I’ll sit it for another 20 minutes because I don’t want to go down[stairs] right now. My home gym is in my basement, Two hours have passed and then oh yeah, I’ll finally work out. Then you get there and and you know for me, oh it feels great ten minutes later. I don’t always feel that way even though if I always do [after]. I’m starting to to kind of embrace it, but last night, for example, I was halfway through this workout it was a great workout but mentally I was like, “I don’t want to go through this” and I’m also like “I started, I have to finish it” and it sucks sometimes, just the whole process sucks, but when you’re done, it’s obviously worth it.

Carl Johnson: 
Yup, and another thing is, if you ask any runner, we will all tell you the first month just sucks it just does. You’re getting moving, even if you stretched out, it’s kind of like your legs feel [bad] and you feel like oy oy oy. And the thing is, the older you get, the longer that terrible [feeling remains]. Now, for me, the first two miles, I’m like “this is no fun,” and I really don’t hit my stride until like mile five.

TAMAR:
How much do you run, you say you run 4 times a week, so how many miles do you run for day.

Carl Johnson:
Right now I’m about 25.

TAMAR:
25 miles a day?

Carl Johnson:
25 miles a week simply because I’m coming off the winter. I’m more or less in maintenance mode right now. I’m not really training for a race per se. I don’t think there’s going to be that much in spring races so I might just stay in maintenance mode until mid summer. There’s a couple of half marathons, I’ll probably run one in the fall, at least one, probably just one. So, about 3-4 months out, I’ll start going into training mode for a half marathon. I might run a full this fall, I’m starting to doubt it now. I think probably next year is a more likely scenario and if it’s next year, it’s probably going to be next fall because I just like fall marathons the best. I run them in all seasons except summer, I won’t run 26.2 miles in the summer, I just won’t do it. I have this cold thing going, I told you that, and nobody has really been able to explain why. One thing I know for sure is my core body temperature is a degree and a half lower than everybody else, I typically run in the low 97s instead of 98.6 like everyone else, that’s the only explanation I have. But anyway, the technical whatever.

TAMAR: 
Interesting. It’s really interesting. It’s like sleeping. I read the book Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep. He talks about a very very rare group of people, don’t think it’s you, people can survive off of 6 hours of sleep, but it’s usually not. Even though you might be sleeping six hours, that doesn’t mean it’s you. So you’re this rare breed here.

Carl Johnson:
That’s one of the cornerstones of your health. To me, it’s diet, it’s sleep, and it’s exercise.

TAMAR: 
Yep, that’s what everybody says. It’s amazing to know and see how far you’ve come. Just thinking about what you’re talking about in the beginning that it’s so hard to start. I think also and I’ve noticed this in Facebook groups where people were like “I want to run, but I can’t run.” It’s also that I think people are running and I kind of do the opposite, they’re running at speeds that are too fast for them. For me, I started too slow. 3 miles per hour is walking pace. It’s less than walking pace for some other normal people. I don’t know why I did it, I just was like I could force myself to make a walk into a run. I had no idea where I was coming from. I never thought about miles, I always thought about minutes per mile but I never thought about how that translates to miles per hour. But going to your point, if anyone wants to start and they feel like the first 2 months are hard, maybe you start a little slower and then you slowly slowly incrementally increase your pace. But for a lot of people, they talk about this, it’s endurance more than that. That’s something that’s not to be forgotten.

Carl Johnson:
The move nowadays is almost all coaches and if you subscribe to any sort of training plan or training for rich, the move has been more towards 80% of your runs should be slow, easy runs.

TAMAR:
I read 80/20 Running. It’s definitely a great book. Most people don’t know this. New runners, I’ve been tackling lots of things lately with no preconceived notions about anything, so running was like that, so “3 miles an hour,” might be a running thing. That’s how I tried things we shouldn’t talk about, it’s a good thing, it’s usually a bad thing, there’s no benchmark, no element of comparison, which is a good thing for my mental health but all of the sudden I realize that everything is out of whack.

Carl Johnson:
This is one of the things, I pound this drum because I’ve been there. The main thing I would tell anyone who is new to running is, again, you can’t be just a runner even if you’re not 57, 58, like me, you can’t be a runner or you will get hurt. Again, there’s a lot of resources out there, it’s a pretty easy subject. You’re going to get pretty educated pretty quickly.

TAMAR:
It almost helps to just do it because you want to do it. I always knew I always wanted to run and I didn’t know why. You’re talking about maintenance mode. I feel like I’m in maintenance mode but I don’t have any specific goal. I’m not going to do it it because I ever want to run a marathon. I’ve been thinking about training for a marathon and then I go into those training [programs] where you have to run an interval like the Galloway method where you run for 3 minutes and then you do a [1 minute break] and you do it 15 times and that helps, but then when I have to start increasing that to 4, 5, 6, 7 minutes, with the 2, 1 minute rests between, I’m like “crap, I cant do that” and then I have to go basically back to the beginning, so for me it’s just about knowing that I can maintain some sort of running [regimen] and then like three to five miles, which I haven’t really been doing because I’m on my treadmill and I’m walking these days but I’m walking a lot faster than I used to so I feel like once I get back [to it being warmer], I can go outside, and I’ll be able to maintain it, so there’s an important element of maintenance. But you have some goal, I don’t have it, The first person I ever had for this podcast, her name is Rachel and she ran a marathon and she doesn’t do anything if she doesn’t have anything to train for so she starts completely anew to start running for her marathons, and right now I have more momentum but I don’t have any specific end goal and maybe that’s better for me, maybe it’s just a run for the sake of running, but everybody has to have some sort of goal, you talked about that in the beginning. It’s like people talk about SMART goals, time sensitive goals, realistic, and yet my goal is to keep it up so I don’t know where that fits in the SMART goal sentiment and mentality but it works for me.

Carl Johnson:
And you know, there’s nothing wrong with that at all as far as running. You’re doing it, just because you don’t have a specific goal in mind, you’re doing it for the sake of your continuing health.

TAMAR:
I don’t really know. I don’t love it but sometimes I do. And then going back to December when I wasn’t running at all. I don’t know but I felt like there was something absent and coming back to that, I don’t know. Everybody I talk to has some sort of goal in mind and I’m totally the opposite and yet I feel like I’ve maintained it better than a lot of those other people, so it’s really really interesting, I feel like I need to put myself up for science to kind of figure out where it’s coming from.

TAMAR:
So, I want to ask you a question, if you can give an earlier version of Carl a piece of advice, this is my Common Scents question, what would you tell him?

Carl Johnson:
Most people if you ask them, they’d go like “I wouldn’t do anything different in my life.” I would go back to when I was 12 years old or however years old I was and just smack that cigarette right out my hands. I became healthy late in life. I am very much an advocate of, and boy we can spend another podcast talking about this, I am of the firm belief that tobacco should be made illegal.

TAMAR:
I agree, I’m one of those people who gets addicted to things really quickly, so I won’t even go near it.

Carl Johnson:
There have been people and I’m certainly not one and there are people who have given up both and giving up heroin is easier than giving up cigarettes. It’s that bad. That’s the advice I’d give to my younger self, and I could talk a long time. If you smoke for as long as I did, you try not to, because it’s something you don’t want to think about, but over 30 years, in some states, you’ve bought a small house over that period of time. All you’ve done is made some [poor decisions]. This is just personal opinion, take from it you will,  I believe that people who are the CEOs and the families that run these companies, they’re the closest thing you get to evil in this world today. I’ll get down my soapbox because I can talk a long time about this.

TAMAR: 
I think everybody agrees with it. I think smokers agree with it because it’s so hard to get out and that’s why I couldn’t possibly fathom starting. I couldn’t possibly do it. There are too many things that I would get too latched on to and I could imagine what tobacco would go.

Carl Johnson:
That went into a tangent that I could go on about but what I would tell my younger self, that would be the big one right here.

TAMAR:
Yeah, I get it. I think it’s an important thing. I like these takeaways to be relevant to listeners too and I think a lot of people  identify with that. there was once someone who shared something and I couldn’t identify at all, and I think all of us sympathize, empathize with this challenge of getting hooked especially when you’re young and you’re impressionable and it’s so much harder, so I will say, it’s amazing that you were able to cold turkey stop. I can only imagine how hard that was.

Carl Johnson:
Yeah, I’m an addictive personality, so tapering myself off wasn’t an option. At the time that I quit, vaping wasn’t a big deal at at ime. The patch, I didn’t do any of that. All you do really besides being miserable for the better part of a month, all you do is just drink a lot of water. That’s the key to it, and finding an outlet for the nervous energy which I was lucky enough to do in running. It’s funny because last night I got into a knock down drag out Facebook argument and it was about this subject, and I contended that while we’re so health conscious, everybody’s concerned about every single life, we should extend that same concern because covid has killed 380k people last year in the US. Tobacco related deaths, that was more than that, 400k people. You opened Pandora’s box, you got me talking about this subject [laughs]. If we could extend this same passion toward ending that, a lot of people would jump in and say that’s a choice (vs covid or not), and I would contend that most smokers go into it at a young age, how much of a choice is it really? I promise, unless you want to talk to it for another show, I will put the subject aside.

TAMAR:
It’s a great conversation, it’s a valid, valid conversation. I think you’re 100% right. A lot kids don’t realize what they’re getting into when they’re doing it, it’s about a cool factor, it’s 100%, I’ll have to look. I have to see if there’s anyone I could recommend you to in more depth because I think it’s so important.

TAMAR:
So let me as, the final question that I would ask, and I know that this is different because I had spoken to people in completely different contexts, but where could people find you if you want to have a conversation about this with other places. You can provide your email address, you don’t have to, there could be lots of people listening. I don’t know what you’re comfortable sharing.

Carl Johnson:
I know, I’m on Facebook, it’s pretty easy to find me there. (link)

TAMAR:
Carl Johnson is a pretty common name.

Carl Johnson:
It’s funny because I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of months now, I havent’ gone around to it yet, not necessarily a podcast, but I’ve been meaning to start a YouTube channel, that’s going to be eventually, sometime in the next couple of months, I’ll probably do that, because we all have something to share. but until that happens, the best email to reach me is yourlittlecorner2020 & gmail com (edited to thwart the bots).

TAMAR:
Well, I really appreciate this, this has been a lot of fun, it’s been a good conversation. I think you’re really spot on and it’s very inspirational to see you doing it. I’m in my early 40s, if you will, these days, and I want to be like you when I grow up and say hopefully in my 50s if not sooner run a marathon.

Carl Johnson:
When you grow up, let me know how that is because I still haven’t done it yet.

TAMAR:
Yeah, I know, right? I just want to say, I want to give myself the buffer room, the 18 years to hopefully achieve that. I keep saying it. I’ve been saying it such a long time that I want to run a marathon, when I did my half I almost died, it was so bad, I could barely move. I was like, “oh, I can do this!” Oh, it’s so much harder than you think.

Carl Johnson:
Have you run a half yet?

TAMAR:
I did, I ran a half. Everybody was doing a virtual [whole] and I was like “oh, let me do a virtual for the sake of doing a virtual and maybe retroactively apply for the virtual whole,” and I couldn’t even do the half. But four hours in, I was fine, at mile 7 or 8, it got really really hard. I’m sitting there and I decided to walk it, but walking is very hard when you’ve already been running. It’s a lot harder to walk when you’ve been running.

Carl Johnson:
Were you following a training plan?

TAMAR:
It was random. All of the sudden one day, I woke up in the morning and I’m like, “I’m going to run a half marathon or a full marathon.” That was part of my mistake.

Carl Johnson: 
Yeah. And there’s a ton of plans out there online, there’s a ton of free plans and plans you can pay for.

TAMAR:
Yeah, I’ve been familiar with the Galloway and the Higdon methods, I’m familiar with them, it’s just a matter of the length, the duration of these things, just the timing, I don’t know I’m making any excuses, I still train, I just don’t run 6 miles a day to run up to that point. Obviously you need to run 6 miles a day to get to 26.2 miles, so it’s sort of my catch 22.

Carl Johnson:
Yeah, that would be my only suggestion to you. If it’s something you’re serious about, and if you don’t, there’s nothing wrong with that at all, but if you do decide to do it, find a plan and just make the determination that “I am going to do it and not only am I going to do it, I’m going to stick to the training plan.” That’s really how you’re going to be able to do it. I know all about winging it, and that would be my only advice. There’s no doubt, talking to you, there’s no doubt in my mind that you could do it. If it’s not a priority, there’s nothing wrong with that either. Not in the slightest.

TAMAR:
It’s true. Awesome. Well thank you, I really appreciate your time and I’m really looking forward to sharing this with the world.

Carl Johnson:
I appreciate your time as well, it was good talking to you.

Join Our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter for goodies, stories, and more feel-good content.
TAMAR.