Conquering 40 Spartan Races a Year in his 50's with Chris Smith
Today, we're thrilled to be joined by the Big Dog Chris Smith! Chris was a highly regarded track and field athlete and a college football player.
He is an accomplished APE instructor for special needs students and personal trainer.
But it wasn’t until his forties when a run changed his identity. In this episode, we talk about Chris’s physical gifts, what drives him during his 30-mile obstacle course events, how a marathon changed his life, and of the 40 Spartan races, he ran last year, which one he recommends the most. We also talk about his work teaching APE to special education students - and how he incorporates the kids with his races.
During this discussion, we talk about
- 1:31 - How Chris got into fitness and how he found the sports that he excelled at
- 11:16 - The difference between the “doers” and the “wanters”
- 14:53 - Success stories Chris has witnessed in his clients and how he achieved them
- 21:00 - What changed for Chris when he became a father
- 32:18 - How Chris trains and how that has changed has he has gotten older
- 39:52 - What Chris does to persevere when he wants to stop
- 46:50 - Chris’s work with special needs physical education
- 50:25 - The race that changed Chris’s life
- 1:11:30 - Chris’s dedication to mental health and giving back through challenges
- 1:17:03 - Which race Chris recommends for someone new to Spartan races
Links mentioned during the discussion
Get in touch with Chris - [email protected]
Podcast TranscriptionThe following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.
Kevin Chang: [00:00:00]
we're so excited to welcome the big dog himself, mr. Chris Smith to the program. Welcome Chris. Thanks guys for having me. Appreciate it. Awesome. We like to give our guests, a little bit of a chance to introduce themselves, how they got into fitness. So give us a little background, give us a little history, a little story.
Chris Smith: [00:00:20]
Well, , I've been active my entire life. It all started with just, first of all, just having very active parents growing up around a household where it wasn't TV's and a generation to where it wasn't TVs and internet and phones and social media. I mean, we went out there and we played, so I was.
Active parents had, athletic parents who instilled that in me at a very young age. And it just kind of, it grew, , I was always participating in my first sport I ever did was soccer, , competitive soccer. And then it was dinner was T-ball and then a pop Warner football and so on. So it just, , I've been active pretty much entire life, but I, I got that athletic gene as like, say from my parents, I would say.
Bertrand Newson: [00:01:03]
I mean, active is a statement. This, everybody listeners, please. This is that dude. So we all were in school with somebody who you knew when they walked through the hallway. That man that's
that's Chris Smith, Chris
crushed the football game. The night before that dude scored five touchdowns. This is not like.
wise stuff. He was that guy more than just being the athlete of athletes. He was always very humble, very approachable, always a man of the people, always willing to share his knowledge. And I've known Chris since, junior high high school all the way. Now we're in our early fifties and this dude has been putting in work every single day, always in shape.
Always, and has been an inspiration to so many, both on the athletic field, but also just as a working professional, and your educator, , personal trainer, accomplished and well-rounded in so many areas. and we're just very excited to hear your story and how you just find that drive day in and day out.
Chris Smith: [00:02:13]
Thank you. Thank you. Well, it just, you know, it just starts with, Fundamentals just having, you know, having goals, setting goals, achieving goals, being, as I always say, being the best person I can be. It's never really me competing against anybody else, but being me, you know, obviously I participated in a variety of teams sports, so it's always been team.
First and then individual second. but also I enjoy competing in individual sports, you know, track and field as an individual sport. I always like to do that because it, you know, you get out of basically what work you put in, you know, when you have a team sport, you know, you can kind of feed off. You may not be the best athlete on your team, but your team may be very good.
, so it doesn't mean you have to really give it your all, you may not, you know, reach your full potential because you have, Other pieces in the puzzle, other teammates that help , help, you know, build that team. But those individual sports Burt, those individual sports, you know, track and field is a.
It was one where, Hey, you know what, it's kind of like suit up and boot up or shut up. You know, it's one of those things where, you know, you really get to see exactly how good you really are when you line it up, but get somebody who's putting in the exact, you know, are putting in work or not putting in work.
And then, you know, after that particular race or jump, you know, you go back and you, you know, given your, your. Place in that particular event, you know, you're going to go back and you're going to reassess and to be like, Hey, you know, I need to work on this. I need to work on that or that work or that didn't work.
So, so the drive has always been there, but it's really about being the best person I can be. It's never, ever about me competing against anybody else. Because at the end of the day, only person I can control is myself. And you know, my outcome on whatever it is in life, kind of take that same approach. It's, it's never me about competing.
It's always encouraging, but never, a competition with somebody it's usually just being the best person. I can be the best athlete, the best father, the best teacher, the best trainer, the best person, you know, that I can be. So that's kinda. Kind of how I see life take life.
Bertrand Newson: [00:04:19]
Okay. And Chris, earlier, you mentioned you played a lot of different sports.
at what point were the sports starting to speak to you where you felt you excelled at one or two or three in particular that really resonated with you and stuck with you continue those sports and or junior high high school and college careers.
Chris Smith: [00:04:37]
I think, you know, again, I started off with soccer and tee ball and, but track has always been there and then eventually pop Warner football.
So eventually I switched over, I think for baseball, when I got hit in the throat with the ball, I was playing center field and I coming up where a ground ball and right up the, where the infield and outfield meeting, you know, a fine chopper came up and hit me in the throat. And I was like, you know what?
I don't think I'm going to do any more baseball. You know, it was one of those things. And then it was also at the same time when I was doing track. So I kind of had to make a decision, but I think that one day I'll never forget it was in pony league. At, in Monterey at Jack's park and that ball came up and it hit that, hit that ground and it came up and hit me and threw us it.
Nah, I think I'm done with baseball. So, so, you know, and then football is just kinda been, you know, starting off in flag football there locally in town rec rec, flag football, and then, you know, went for recreation, flag football to, to a pop Warner and then pop Warner to obviously high school and it's on.
So, yeah, anything that I can use my gifted. Speed. I think that was something that, that really helped me out, you know, being, being, you know, relatively fast. those were sports that I excelled in and those are sports that I tend to, to focus on later on in life, primarily in, in, in high school and on in college.
Kevin Chang: [00:05:55]
Yep. And which events in track were you competing at and,
Chris Smith: [00:06:01]
Oh, well, I did the, I did all the jumps. You know, I did a long jump, triple jump, high jump. And then I did, and then I did all the relay. So I did the, the, four 40 and then the mile relay, you can only do four events. So I mean, it's, sometimes we are, we kind of mix mix and match wherever they needed us time.
So it usually was, I would do a jump. And really we'd go by points. So wherever we need to points, I would do, you know, if we were going against our Spartans, well, Spartans and everything, and, you know, there were certain, bits, there were certain events that we knew we weren't, we're going to win. And so we focus on, you know, obviously it's, whoever has the most points at the end of the, at the end of the match wins.
So, you know, I, I have my specialties and, they have their specialties and so I would just kinda mix and match, but I would usually do the jumps and then I would, do both realize.
Kevin Chang: [00:06:49]
Chris Smith: [00:06:51]
which college I went to Cal poly SLO. And then I just, yeah, so then I just did jumps there. I was really, I really ran track to, to focus on football. We had a lot of football guys out as well. And then we also had a, we had the Olympic coach that was there. So we had a lot of world class athletes that.
You know, train there year round. And so to be able to work out with them, man, it was a, it was an honor and it was also a humbling eye opener, you know, to actually run against. I remember at the time Butch Reynolds was, was training there and he was the a 400 meter record holder. And, you know, to see that guy, you know, go, you know, to find out there was a different.
Gear than what you were actually running, you know, it was, it was really impressive and amazing and very, very humbling. It's this kind of like, okay, that's, that's, what's world-class looks like, you know, you're a to go in one speed and all of a sudden he's just like, there's like a sixth and seventh gear and, but they would, you know, great, great, great experience and really helped me out as far as, playing football, being conditioned.
Kevin Chang: [00:07:50]
What do you remember about training, your training program and training regimen? what was that like in college?
Chris Smith: [00:07:57]
Oh, man, it was, it was easy because I had the found foundation at home. You know, I had, I had a great group. We've had our peninsula is just so rich in athletes and, you know, former athletes present athletes, we have professionals.
I mean, we have a, it was easy for me to. Get all that I needed as far as the drive and push, because I had, you know, guys who were older than me, who were just out there that would, you know, I trained with them every year, you know, in the off season. So, and then also we live close to the beach, you know, that's one of the blessings there to live on the central coast.
They're in such a beautiful place. I mean, and I lived right across the street from, a Sandhill right there on, on Delmonte. So it was great for me to. I'd use that Sandhill and I, I, you know, all summer long and I used the beach all summer long. And then, you know, I had the fellow, again, fellow former athletes who, who were just, we just, man, we just, we just push each other.
We just constantly fed off each other. Again, it wasn't. Us racing each other, but you saw them going all out and you want it. You know, you knew that. I knew that I could do it as well. And it was, so it was easy. You know, the training was easy because the, the, the word ethic was always, you know, was there and it was instilled at a young age.
Bertrand Newson: [00:09:08]
Hmm. And see Chris being, Exposed to people like mine and some cases, if they were older athletes. So they had experience in some cases, may, they may have been a little bit stronger in their willingness to share you just being able to see their work ethic, but also, you know, you're
a personal trainer.
So you you've had a lot of athletes that you've worked with, that you've trained with or have trained and work ethic. With you. I mean, I can just look in the dictionary and see where the see work ethic. And I'd see a picture of the big dog, Chris Smith. Everybody has good intentions. Everybody wants to put in the work.
Everybody, most cases wants to get stronger or wants to lose some weight, wants to do something, but with the people that you've worked
is it where you see the people who were doers and the people who are wanders, and the people who are, who are about it, or the people who just like for whatever reason, find a way or something happens where, you know what I was going to come to the training session, but, you know, or, you know, I got in the go halfway or, but, or I'll see you at the track next week, coach and it's track day, and you're waiting there.
All set up and that person or people don't show through what is about those individuals versus the people who regardless are still able to find a way to put in the work like the Chris Smith.
Chris Smith: [00:10:31]
I think it comes down to just commitment. Number one is you have to commit to something and, and it's a longterm process.
It's not something, I think the people who, who failed to kind of get on the same page as some of us. And I'll just say it the same page as myself. Is that, first of all, they don't even understand the commitment and the work that I've already put in. You know, that there's a foundation that's been there since, since high school pretty much it's it's there, you know what I mean?
So it's easier for me because it's, I've made it a part of my life. And, you know, after you put enough time in you, you know, it's only natural that you, you are going to get some, some type of results. So the people that I'm running that I'm, that I'm encountering more. In life, you know, either in a personal training or even a lot with these, these younger athletes in high school that I'm seeing and it's, they just don't have the focus there's so much going on in their life.
And, and, and it isn't a priority like it is when we were growing up where it's not a priority to them and, you know, and then they don't, you know, either it's not a priority, there's a lot of other things going on. There's, there's very little commitment. And they're afraid to get out of their comfort zone.
I think that's the biggest thing. and a lot of people in life are like that, you know, it's results require work, you know, that's the bottom line. And a lot of people don't want to put in the work because there's a, there is a level of, of fear and there's a level of, of, You know, not, not reaching that goal, getting out of your comfort zone, but those are where the gains happen.
Those are where the, those are where the moments later on when you, when he knows somewhere in life, when you were uncovered and you work through that, it just, you know, you're able to get over the hump and a lot of young people and just people, you know, people in general, they're afraid to be.
Uncomfortable, you know, and they're afraid they're very comfortable being, being comfortable, but with, to get ahead and whatever you want to do, you, there is gonna be some type of commitment, sacrifice and being uncomfortable, whatever it is that you're doing. So, the difference is just, and then two making sure that it's, it's a longterm commitment.
It's not it's, For me, it's a lifestyle, you know what I mean? It's not work, you know, it's, you know, it just, I think that I enjoy doing, because I know that, you know, it's, it's, you know, it's keeping me fit. It's keeping me healthy. There's a wellness part to it. There's a physical part to it because I could physically see the results.
And then it's, it's easier for me because of the longevity that even if I'm. Out of shape, I'm always in shape. You know what I mean? If I'm not, if I'm not working out, it doesn't take long for me to get right back on because I put the work in and it's just the commitment, really the commitment. And, you know, a lot of people just, they want it, but they don't want to work for it.
Bertrand Newson: [00:13:23]
And there are no shortcuts, you know, no shortcuts, not nothing in sustaining wellness and health and fund it. So, yep.
Kevin Chang: [00:13:33]
Talk to us about a couple of success stories. you know, cause you told us, okay, if you don't commit, you might fall off the wagon. You might not make it there, but I could see in your eyes, you've had it a couple of clients that I'm hard early on.
Look like they're going to fall off the wagon and just stuck with it a little bit longer. So
Chris Smith: [00:13:50]
yeah, I think too, money helps people, you know, when you're doing personal training, it's, it's, it's a, you know, it's a service. So, you know, money is always, is always there. It's set up to do things. And once they, and what I usually do, how I do my services, they pay it all upfront for the whole month.
So that way it's like, okay, let's get the money part out the way and let's get to training. And I'm going to be honest with you. I do it for free. I just want a commitment, you know, and, but a lot of times when there's nothing to lose, There is no commitment. You know what I mean? So money is a, is a good goodness for people to do it.
So I've had clients that have, you know, that been overweight that have been, you know, it had very little muscle tone, very little muscular strength and over I've had clients that I've had for, for three and four years. And the transformation from. When we first started, you know, to, you know, three years later, four years later, five years later, where, you know, they have not only, transformed, you know, their body and their, and their, their lifestyle and their wellness, but they're also educated and they're able to help others because it's not just me.
Commit it it's more it's it's education, it's educating it's on, on, you know, nutrition on body mechanics, on everything so that they can go out and do this because the information is there. It's just, you know, a lot of people just don't know it. So, again, I've had clients that I've worked with for many, many years, and it's just, It's been a great experience.
I've become part of family. I've worked them, I've trained their kids, you know, I'm family, you know what I mean? And then obviously, you know, you get referrals and things like that, but again, I do it for free, but it's just, you know, it's nice to get paid, but I do it for free.
Kevin Chang: [00:15:40]
Yeah. Well, I mean, I think it is so surprising how important having that money there.
How big of a motivating factor that actually is for people. And I think that's one of the reasons why we keep saying, Oh, you need to sign up for a race. You need to sign up for something to have a goal, because once the money's out there, once it's put out there, now you have motivation. Now you have to
Bertrand Newson: [00:15:59]
Kevin Chang: [00:16:01]
Absolutely. To go, go attack it, go chase after it. Yeah. And that's probably the best money that you're going to spend because now you're spending money on your health.
Bertrand Newson: [00:16:08]
Kevin Chang: [00:16:09]
Absolutely. Just getting there. It's not on other stuff that you might go to waste, but it's also it's it's on you, which is, which I think is fantastic.
Thanks. Talk to us a little bit about, okay, you get a new client, somebody who's maybe overweight or out of shape. What's the first thing that you have them do. How do you, how do you ease them into training with Chris Smith?
Chris Smith: [00:16:30]
Usually what I do is, you know, time is, is I don't, you know, like a lot of the trainers, they, you know, you may have an hour, an hour time slot.
I don't have a certain timeslot. when we're done, we're done. So usually what I try to grab the clients do, you know, they're doing all. I want them to do all their cardio. Before we get started. So by the time I get there to the gym or to the track, they're already warmed up and we can get right. So it's usually a, you know, the cardio all I have to do on their own.
and then we're getting into the muscle and beginning, whatever the goals are, obviously there's going to be some flexibility there. It's going to be some core training. There is going to be, obviously a combination of, body weight training with, with resistance, meaning weights or bands or, or dumbbells or things of that nature.
And then it's, you know, identical down. So it's, it's, it's a warmup on their own. And then we hit that core. And then after we hit that core, then we get into whatever's, you know, as far as, depending on how many days they're going to work out, I'll usually have them, do you know? probably most clients are doing about three days, three to four days.
So when I'm doing three to four days, I'm making sure I hit every body part at least twice. You know, we're not, we're not doing arms every day. We're not doing legs every day. We're doing, we're doing everything and we're doing a variety of different things and it's just keeping them. Guessing at all times, keeping there, keeping that you never know what we're going to do because they'll never know.
All they need to do is just show up. And, but that's just me just making sure I'm prepared, making sure I'm educating, make sure, keeping them safe because obviously once who were overweight, there's, you know, it's a different type of, of training regimen that you do in a different type different type of philosophy because you know, a lot of things have to be non-weightbearing because, you know, they're not going to be running.
You know what I mean? They're not going to be jogging. They're going to be using the bicycle elliptical, you know, swimming, things like that. So, so it's, it's, it's educating them. It's under letting them. Educating them to let them know that, Hey, listen, it's a lifestyle. It's a whole, pack is that you need to work on and change lifestyle.
It's not just us coming into gym and working out it's, it's your nutrition. It's, you know, your water intake it's, you know, and then, and then also, you know, on top of that dentist, the strength training and cardio and things like that. But one without the other just doesn't work. Yep. Yep.
Kevin Chang: [00:18:50]
And I love what you mentioned because you know, when you are overweight, you do have to build up that base.
You can't expect somebody to just have to want to work cardio and jump right into running. Right. We have to build the muscular definition. We have to build the tendons and make sure that they're able to support that weight, whatever exercise we're doing. And we have to build that up slowly.
And there's no shortcuts to any of that. You can't just jump in and, and be ready to, to run a long race and, and having somebody guide you and, and know, and understand for your body type for your level of fitness, where you should be going, what you should be doing next. I think that's, that's amazing.
Bertrand Newson: [00:19:28]
Having that people absolutely game changer. Absolutely. Chris what's changed for you. you know, being a lifelong athlete, mentor, master motivator, when you became a father, you know, what, what, you know, you always have had that, that get it done. No excuse still being humble in the process. I will say that, but always fiercely putting in the work.
but what changed in you? The man and your, your emotional makeup with the birth of your beautiful,
Well, I think first of all, number one is just, you know, the blessing of just being, having a, a child, a healthy child. And, you know, I've waited, you know, I had a child later in life, you know, I have a lot of my friends went back home, you know, their grandpas, grandpas, and grandmas.
So I had a, I had a child later, so she just, you know, having a girl too. Oh my God, I, you know, we, that we're gonna have a boy. And then all of a sudden we got a girl and it just wasn't. It was a blessing and it was a game changer. It softened me, you know, I just had to just, you know, change my approach to just, you know, how I talk to her.
I'll, you know, guys are guys, but she's made me a better person. She's obviously, you know, you know, love her to death. And, you know, I, I tell you she's my, my pride and joy she's, she's everything to me. She really changed, my life.
She made my life whole and complete, you know, and she does every day. And. You know, as Burt knows, you know, and parents are, you know, being parents doesn't mean that you're, that you're a UDA friend. You notice times when, when daddy says no daddy means no. And, you know, and they cry and all that stuff, but you know what, in the end, you know, your dad and, and you're, and you're always going to have their best interests.
Chris Smith: [00:21:13]
And, I'll tell you what her coming. And she just, she just made it, made life complete. She really did. Yeah.
Bertrand Newson: [00:21:18]
the best social media posts and best father-daughter photos you will ever see, see I'm in between Chris and his, his beautiful baby girl, just, just beautiful in Sosa sear in ingenuine. And she's, quite an accomplished, athlete in her own.
Right. You know, Apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.
Chris Smith: [00:21:39]
Yeah, there's a little picture over there. She's doing her little, little and everything. Yeah. She's a dancer and she's found her niche. Like daddy's found his, so, you know, it's great.
Bertrand Newson: [00:21:48]
And let's talk about the evolution of a coach, Chris Smith, as an athlete, you know, youth college athlete, and now in our adulthood, you're still out there, mixing it up and, and, and, pushing, pushing the needle, motivating many people in the process, a very accomplished obstacle course racer.
Just kind of talk about how you got into that. fun world of staying active, tackling obstacles. Like we tackle obstacles in life. some of the parallels and, how that passion of yours has grown, where you've traveled. You know, coast to coast traveled internationally. take us on some of those, wonderful fitness journeys through your love of obstacle course racing, how you got into it.
Chris Smith: [00:22:33]
Well, I mean, it just, you know, and being actively doing something my entire life, when I got done playing. collegiate football. And then I tried out, to play professional, but I had some hamstring injuries. So that, that kinda didn't work out. I just had to find something that was going to keep me active.
I mean, I I'd always hit the gym. The gym was all was as part of my life. So that was never going nowhere. But. The, there was no, no cardio, well, there was no competitions. It was just, okay, I'm not playing ball anymore. I'll get into coaching, I'll get into teaching and I'll just go to the gym and, you know, stay in shape.
And, you know, that was fine, you know, and it, it, it, it feels so the need at the time, but I wanted to find something a little bit more, that was still kind of challenging and competitive. And so, Man, you know, obviously, me and bird got together and, you know, and it was like, Hey, you know, let's do this wire dash.
And you know, I think neither one, one of us knew what at first we, you know, I didn't, he never even heard of it. So it was just kind of like, Hey, let's, let's get, you know, we had a bunch of, friends from back home and you'd get a chance for us to fellowship. And to be honest with you, I didn't care what the race was.
I just was happy to see my friends from back home. You know, so, and, and, and especially them coming down to San Diego today, our first reason is actually out in Lake Elsinore and I lived in Temecula still do so it was only like a 10 minute drive away. And to have them come down here and it'd be in my backyard, I'm like, Hey, this is going to be great.
So we just had a lot of fun. First of all, just go, they're seeing each other connecting again. We bought like birthday, we've always had, a special bond and, and, and friendship and more, a mutual type of respect for one another and everything, even after all these years of not seeing each other. So when we got together, it just was, it was just so natural that we would click, we did the event, we had a wonderful time and then it was just kinda like, okay, what's next?
You know, so it's like, okay, we, we out here and again, like we were talking about, I think the biggest thing was that we committed it wasn't too expensive, but yet you still gotta pay, you know what I mean? So it's out of the commitment yeah. Was there. And I think it was like, and we developed a good little bond and the community and we wanted more.
So it went from the first one was a little three miler, and then we were like, Hey, what else can we do? We've already kind of accomplished that. It really didn't didn't push us physically. It was kind of like, it was, it was just, it was a big party, to be honest with you, a lot of fun out there. So we heard about a tough Mudder, you know, tough border.
We went, we went from three miles to now doing 12 miles. 12 miles. So that's a big jump. So that required, you know, the physical part a was never a problem for me, you know, the obstacles because a lot of them have to do a muscular strength and I'm being a gym guy that was easy for me to do, but the cardio, the distance part.
Is, you know, having the lungs to go that type of distances. And you gotta remember, I was a sprinter in college and high school. So anything that was longer than one lap was never something that I was really looking forward to doing. So we did the tough Mudder. We loved that, you know, one tough motor became two to two tough Mudders two became three, three became four, four became five, and then we kind of conquered the tough Mudder.
So what can we do next? And then Spartan, we heard about Spartan and they had a race back home. And, we just, you know, put the word out there cause we had already established and we meaning bird. Yeah. And some friends from back home, you know, if we'd already established, a little, little community, so to speak.
So it was easy to get tough. When, when Spartan came along, it was like, you know, all we had to, I'm not gonna lie. All I had to do was make a phone call and people would show up from back home and they did our first one that we did back home. We had about. Burton. And we have about, I think we had about 15 people out there, 15 to 20 people.
We had a large group. Now, let me tell you, these are people who have never done any races before at all. And we're going to have them go out there and do a 12 mile race on at Mt. Toro. That was not easy. That was not so good. Imagine going from sitting on the couch. To all of a sudden being out on the course for at least six hours
doing that, these are guys who had not trained, they hadn't trained with you or anything then right out.
So let me tell you, let me tell you a lot of them were one and done, and there was a whole nother appreciation for what I do and what we do after that one. But again, it was a. It was just getting, you know, encouraging people. Cause we're older, you know, we're, you know, we're the we're older generation and getting, you know, and just courage of people to just build a, Hey, listen, you're not too old to come out here and do this.
You're not too old. We're in our forties at the time. Now we're in our fifties and we're still not too old. You know, I run against people who were in the sixties and seventies. You know, easily right next to me. And I'm just kinda like, wow. Some of them beaten me, you know, so though it's pretty impressive.
So it just the journey, when it, when it switched over, it was just so natural for me because it, it, it, again, it was me being the best person I can be. It was never me competing against anybody just going out there, completing your race. And then obviously you're getting an award at the end. You get a nice medal, you get a shirt like I'm wearing here.
And, you know, it just was, it became addicting, you know, And then, to be honest with you, I I've done so many. I know this is what this was about six years ago now. So, you know, it's still, I still get butterflies at the start of a race, you know, and I've done and I've done over a hundred races, but I still get butterflies.
So, for me now, the race is that what drives me? I'm looking for more than to me, physical, because the physical part for me now is relatively easier because of, you know, my, my conditioning year round and the gym and all that stuff. But the mental part. Is just brutal because of the distances, the distances are, you know, we're talking, you know, 20, 30, 35 miles, you know, and you're out there, then you have the elements and then there's a, unlike, with the regular races, there's cutoffs to the cut offs are, are really, a good, a good motivator, a good, a good P you know, they push, they really push because if you don't make the cutoff.
You're out, you're disqualified. You're immediately taken off the course. So that part is a Dick about you've paid, you know, we're talking $300 a race now, you know, talking, you know, $50, you know, from our first race. Now we're talking $300 and we're out there for, you know, 30, 30 plus miles. You have 70 obstacles.
We're in, we're in taught we're in Tahoe. It's snowing. It's raining. It's. 30 degrees, you know, and you know, but the thing is, you're looking to your left and you're seeing guys you're looking to your right and you're seeing women and you know what? Everybody has that same exact drive and they're going to finish the race.
That is what drives me. Everybody else was out there too, of all ages of all body shapes. Don't let the, the, the bodies, Composition for you. You know, that means nothing with these races. I've seen people who have been, who would be categorized as being overweight, but can go out there and do a 30 mile race.
Kevin Chang: [00:29:43]
No problem. So, yeah, no, I mean, no problem. And when it does get tough, do you have mantras? What, what gets you through those tough situations?
Chris Smith: [00:29:54]
really just. You know, and it does get tough. It does. There's there's there's times out there where there's, there are a lot of mental, mental lapses, and really it's just one foot in front of the other.
Just keep moving, you know, and again, I'm not, I'm not reinventing the wheel. You know, we, there was a community that we follow that encourages us as gives us tips. Just like I give tips now, just keep moving. Just keep moving. Just keep moving. Just keep moving, that's it. So, you know, never stop, keep moving one foot in front of the other and you know, that's it.
And then there's, you know, there's things that, that I, that I, you know, poems that I say to myself, you know, so, that we have in our fraternity, you know, poems, like see it through, you know, and, and, and, you know, life is going to get tough, you know, hold your head up high. To the finish line, see it through, you know, so there's things at times when, you know, I may use a poem, I'm gonna use the saying, but really I'm just going to be honest with you.
It's just one foot in front of the other one foot in front of the other, and eventually you're going to get there, you know, just don't quit and don't stop.
Kevin Chang: [00:30:57]
Chris talked to us a little bit about training. how has training changed or how, how do you now train for, you know, these 30 mile races and, and how has training changed as you've gotten older?
Chris Smith: [00:31:09]
Well, I'm still a gym rat number one. So the hardest thing for me is to, you know, it's, it's, it's, it's a give and take, you know, I'm, I'm still committed to the gym. I love the gym. I love that pump, but I have to put in these miles. Of, of trail running of street running and it's, you know, in doing those miles, there's a, you know, there's, you know, lose some of that muscle mass and that, that body mass and everything.
So, for me, I just try to make sure that I'm doing a combination, like today, this morning, you know, it was a 10 mile run and then I'm going to do another one this afternoon, but, you know, and then try to do the gym. So really with me, Diet is really important, you know, so I've got to eat right now.
My output is more my input, so I have to make sure after these, after these 10 mile runs that I come home home, and then I'm eating and I'm eating healthy. You know, I'm having chicken, I'm having fish, I'm having rice, you know, I may have a protein shake and then, you know, then I'm resting for a little bit and then I'll, I'll hit the gym up in the garage and then, you know, I'll eat again.
And then, you know, when I do some more cardio, I'll eat again. You know what I mean? Cause I don't want to keep, With me, I want to maintain what I have and I'm, and I'm still a combination. I'm kind of a, I call myself a hybrid. So I'm not a, I'm not a, a long distance runner. you know, per se just I am, but I'm not, but I'm still looking an obstacle course.
Cause it's a combination of both. You know what I mean? I still keep a lot of the muscle. There's still a lot of obstacles. There's still a lot of muscle muscular strength and training that I do, but I still need to put in the miles because of the races that I do as well. and we're talking the 30 mile races, the altruist, I have to put the miles in, you know, really what it comes down to.
Kevin Chang: [00:32:46]
Yeah, walk us through a 30 mile race. Are you really running from obstacle to obstacle? Is there a good amount of walking between are and how long does it take to do a 30 mile race?
Chris Smith: [00:32:57]
Well, what it is is it's actually a it's, it's two loops, so it's not a, 30 miles, one way it's, it's basically one loop and then a one 15 mile loop, basically a beast it's called it's called, sprint.
A super a beast and then an ultra. So what an altar is, is it's actually equivalent to two beasts plus what's called an ultra loop. So after the first 15 miles, you know, I've done so many races of that. You can kind of get through that. And then when you get to the, there is an ultra loop, which is really a, a mental mine challenge.
Let's just say that mentally, physically, you know, you're. And it, and it's designed to do that. It's designed to break you and, once you, and that's a part of the first loop and then, the last part would be the last 15 miles of the race.
Kevin Chang: [00:33:51]
it's designed to break you as in it's a it's additional obstacles or it's really?
Chris Smith: [00:33:56]
Yeah. Yeah. You would be, let's just say you would do. The ultra loop would be a no, when you're doing and, and mind you, when we're doing our race, our race starts at four o'clock, four, four or five o'clock in the morning. So we're out there doing the first loop, right. And then the, and then the regular people, we're doing the, their first loop as well, and only doing one loop, their rates to start at seven o'clock.
So by the time we're done with our first lap, People are starting to start their first lap when we've already done 15 miles in. So we see. Yeah. Yeah. So we'll have different shirts. We'll have an ultra shirt on, so there'll be doing lap one. We'll be doing like 15. So we'll be doing the same obstacles that they're, as they're doing twice.
Plus the ultra loop. Now the ultra loop again is, is what makes a difference between people actually finishing it and not finishing it. So the ultra loop would be, I mean, it's brutal, it's usually, you know, and, and, and these races are always in the mountains, so there's always going to be some type of, of incline, you know, our, our inclines, you know, I mean, so to speak.
So, No race that I've done has been completely flat, for an ultra they've always been Healey Tahoe was, was, was brutal. not only was it hilly, it was, again, it was cold. He had all the elements. So an ultra loop would be like, okay, you know, 70 pound a sandbag, you need to carry this for. And it's three miles, so carry this for three
Bertrand Newson: [00:35:22]
Chris Smith: [00:35:27]
you know? So it's, you know, so yeah, so it's, it's when they, and, and it's interesting, cause you'll be doing the race, the first loop, and then you'll see a sign that says the ultra loop this way. And when you know, and when you go, when you get to the ultra loop, it's just kinda like. Okay, take a deep breath because you know that that's going to pretty much be the difference from you making the race or making your time or not making your time, literally how you do in that ultra loop.
Bertrand Newson: [00:35:55]
Right. Well, and,
Kevin Chang: [00:35:56]
and what does, what do the cutoffs look like?
Chris Smith: [00:35:59]
And the cutoff would be, let's just say, if I go out at six in the morning, I, you have six to seven hours to finish 15 miles. Rest for, you know, I would say no longer than 10 minutes.
And then your ride back out again for another 16 miles. Wow. So, yeah. So the longer that you rest, the longer that you rest in that transition, the more your mind starts to play, because believe you, by the time we get we've already got 18 miles in. Okay. Remember it's 15 miles, 15 miles for the first loop, and then we have a three mile ultra loop, and then we've got to go back and do it again.
So the mind does not want to go back. For that second loop. Nobody looks forward to getting back out there the second believe you me. But as soon as you commit to that, and that's what I was talking about, you know, commitment and dedication. Yeah. There's a lot of people that tap out after that first one, so, it's definitely something that you have to earn, which is what makes it for me is what makes it very rewarding because it's a difference between. Going out there and going out there to go out there to finish without a time. And everybody finished and everybody gets a medal are going out there and having checkmarks that I have to, you know, push myself and challenge myself mentally to remember there's a mind game that's going on after, you know, 18, 19, 20 miles in.
You know, I've got to overcome that too. So they're just, they're just unbelievably challenging and unbelievably rewarding when you finish. Let me tell you when you make there's a last cutoff last cutoff time. So the first one would be six hours. So if I go out at six, I gotta be back by one. O'clock the next one?
The next check. A cutoff would be at, to be at this obstacle at maybe three 30. The next one will be at, to be at this one by five 30. And the last one you gotta be done before the sun goes down. You know, remember when you're starting, when I'm starting the race. It's it's it's at night when I'm starting.
So I have a headlamp I'm wearing, so yeah. So, so to start a race in the night and finish a race in the night, you ran for 12 plus hours. It's rewarding and very exhausting. Right? So
Bertrand Newson: [00:38:14]
Chris share and thank you for opening up and taking us deeper into the, the ultra side of obstacle course, running share some of the, maybe one of your tougher experiences where you just made it or those, those voices in your head were like, man, you have.
You're tired. You know, it's been a long week. You've had a long week at work, you know? why don't you just stop where you were able to persevere and you know,
Chris Smith: [00:38:37]
all the time. Yeah. All the time. It's just, you know, I do a lot of visualization, so, you know, I, visualization has always worked for me and visualization to me means that I have already run the race in my head.
Before I've actually physically ran a race. No. What the physical challenges are going to look like the mental challenges. I know what nutrition, I know what my body's going to. I feel like I've already seen that in my head before the race before race day has even happened. So, for me, it's just going out there and actually finishing the race.
And during those times of, let me tell you, there are times when I do want to quit, you know, I mean, it's just. There are they do happen, you know, and that's just, that's, it's, it's going to happen after a certain, you know, you get to a certain mileage or a certain threshold, you just, you know, your body, you know, your brain is just physically just going to be like, Hey, listen, why are we doing this?
You know, let's why are we doing this?
Bertrand Newson: [00:39:38]
with those voices of, of, of doubt, what's the, the counter, is it conversations maybe with you and your father growing up? Are there conversations with teammates? Are there moments where you're drawing on internal strength, maybe where someone has passed on and you're finding the strength on, on taking steps and, and breasts that is fueling your journey, or is that that powerful, as you said, the visualization on seeing yourself.
Cross that finish line and the metal being put around your neck and knowing that you are carrying on the torch of, one foot into the other foot in front of the other, and that's, your students are going to be able to, you know, that this may be a metal that they're eventually going to get, you know, Because obviously there has been no DNFS.
I mean, you are, you are, you're knocking it out. So, again, you know, peeling back the layers of coach Smith, you know,
Chris Smith: [00:40:29]
Bertrand Newson: [00:40:30]
are you drawing on that inner strength?
Chris Smith: [00:40:34]
I'm drawing it from everything that you said birth. It just depends on what's going on in my life first it's it's itself. Number one. And the expectations that I have that I carry myself, Just giving it my all.
And then it's. What others, you know, with me finishing, how am I going to be? How does this going to encourage others to come out here to, you know, either do a race or to try something I've never experienced before to get out of their comfort zone. So at first it starts with me and then it's internal and then it becomes external.
Meaning how can I motivate others to get off the couch, to try something I've never tried before? And then it comes out to everybody, you know, it comes out to my kids getting. Experienced, you know, you know, me bringing that, that metal home to them and them being like, Hey, you can me encouraging them. I also, depending on what's going on in my life, you know, I've, I've done somebody races with, with a heavy heart, you know, and, and I've used motivation there.
You know, I've had, some brothers that have, yeah. I asked away, when I did my, my big serve American Don, I dedicated that to a, to a childhood friend. And let me tell you, you know, I kept his, his, his picture right here with me. And let me tell you, I talk to him a lot. You know, it was, the journey was, I mean, there were many times guys were, you know, there were tears.
Throughout the race and just reflection on life, respect, reflection on the journey, reflection on, wow. I can't believe they're gone. How life, how short life is I'm here, you know, out here being able to do this one, this race and this accomplishment and they've passed on. So I use that. I use whatever I can, to be honest with you.
And sometimes it's. it's easy. And other times it becomes very emotional, especially if I've had a, a loved one, you know, whether it's a family member or, or a childhood friend who was passed away. And I still got to go out and do a race, you know, I I've, I've dedicated a lot of races for childhood friends.
And let me tell you, I I've needed them. During difficult times, like when I did big Sur, it was a big story, probably, you know, even though, LA marathon was my first race and it was most of my most meaningful, my most spiritual race was big Sur marathon because my brother had just passed, not my, my, my blood brother, but my childhood brother had just passed.
And so it was going, you know, doing a race. In, in an area that we grew up, it was our, it was our home, you know, and it was, and let me tell you why I leaned on him a lot, you know, during that race. And again, I had to pull over many times and just reflect and, and cry and, and just, you know, it, wasn't a, well, I worry about how fast I do to race.
I'm going to finish the 26.2 miles brother. It takes me. Four hours, five hours, six hours. I'm going to get you the apprentice line, but I'm going to take my time to enjoy the journey along the way. the journey is more and more meaningful for me than the actual, the end. It's what happens from start to finish, to meet in a race like that.
Not all, not all of them, but most of them are
Kevin Chang: [00:43:32]
what was that finish line? Like when you finished the big Sur marathon?
Chris Smith: [00:43:35]
Oh, man. It was a. It was relaxing. It was kinda like I let everything go out during the race. So when I finished the race, it was like, wow, I did it. You know what I mean? It's like I finished it, but really the journey was from start to finish and not crossing. The finish line to finish line was more of a, of a tribute to, Hey, you know what?
This race is for you. This is for you. . I mean, it's always about others, to be honest with you. I don't, you know, the satisfaction of finishing it.
Yeah. That's great. But you know, I like to share, you know, it's, it's deeper, you know what I mean? It's just not, It's not a me type of thing, even though it's a me doing the event, an individual event. It's not a me accomplishment. When I, when I succeed, everybody succeeds, my family, my friends, you know, the people will fall in strangers, my kids.
So, I love it. I love that type of weight. I love it. It drives me and it keeps me going and it keeps me humble too, because, you know, it's a reminder just how short life is. And, You know, I have kids who will never be able to experience this physically through their challenges, you know, just disabilities and uniqueness.
And then, you know, you have fallen soldiers who were passed on. So I've got, I've got a combination of both going and I use everything that I can to channel my energy to when we get to that. Man. I'm tired, man. I'm sore, man. I, you know, the self-talk so to speak because it's going to happen. It's going to happen.
And what are you going to do? What, how, what type of self talk are you going? Am I going to have when it happens and that self talk again comes in many, many forms, many forms. Sometimes I can just look down at a picture and be like, that's all I need. You know, that's all I need.
Kevin Chang: [00:45:22]
And we haven't gotten into it yet, but, talk to us about your kids, who you're teaching the group?
Chris Smith: [00:45:29]
Oh man. I do for them. So I've been a general GE general education PE teacher for 15 years. So I've done from, from, from kinder all the way to high school. primarily high school. I liked doing the older kids and everything. So I've been doing that for 15 years and, You know, I, I relocated from Los Angeles.
I've just became the job market. And in general, PE became a lot more competitive. You know, when I was in LA I can get a PE job. You know, I had to experience coach. I had a lot to bring, but it was harder for me to get jobs, further down that I got, where it was more competitive and to be making a long story short, PE teachers are a dime a dozen, to be honest with you.
So I just, you know, people, you know, other colleagues kept telling me this, like, Hey, you know what you might want to really consider going into special ed, you know, you might want to really consider doing that. You know, you have longevity, you know, as far as just job, you know, you can work as long as you want.
You don't have to worry about that. Cause you know, that's a field where there's always going to be a need. So I went back and got another credential, authorized to do special ed. And let me tell you, it was the best decision that I've ever made in my life in regards to anything was going back and getting that credential to do special ed, because it's been the most awarded thing I've ever done in life ever, ever, ever, ever.
So it's just, you know, it's, it's not for everybody, you know, again, it's, it's, it takes a certain type of person to be able to work with special needs kids because they are. They bring so much energy and they have some, their uniqueness, uniquenesses are so different, you know, whether it's autism or, you know, and that, that even alone autism, there's a, there's a broad spectrum.
You know, you have, I have nonverbal and verbal. I have high functioning. I have ones that are, you know, functioning like a, you know, two or three love bucks, three year old, gross motor development, cognitive level. And it's just, you know, every day is just man. I, I just, I love what I do. I love what I do. I wake up every day.
I can't wait to go to work. I can't wait to see their faces. They can't wait to see my face. And it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done as far as any decision I ever made. So it's just, you know, so I've been doing that now for about five years and, there's no, there's no going back. She has no go here.
No, I'm just getting started. So,
Kevin Chang: [00:47:45]
and, and how do you involve them in your racing?
Chris Smith: [00:47:48]
you asked that so first, you know, I had, I remembered the first time I brought home the, what was, Oh, the LA marathon race. I brought that one home. And then I brought that to school and, I, you know, show the kids and just seeing how excited they were, you know, to see, Oh shit, what's that race?
think about four years ago. But for, and this is the same one that Bernardo was running his first race and it's right there on that one on the wall. Yeah. So that one, so that one kinda got to start it. To where I started to get them involved. Again, I'd already done Spartan races before and things like that.
But when I got after that first marathon and I brought that, that, that metal to school and to see their faces light up and then I just let them wear it all day. I was like, you know what? I've got to do this more often. So I just, I just dedicate, I said, you know what? You, from there on out every finish your shirt.
They will have. So, the metals again, the metals, I've got a lot of them. Yeah. The generic metals they get and the special two metals I get. So I just, and then after that, then we got, you know, my, he got, we got, a metal, you know, they donated, you know, hundreds of metals for my kids. And, you know, during our special Olympics that we have every year, they get a generic metal and then we give them a specialty metal that.
My brothers and sisters have, have donated over the years for races that they done. Let me tell you those kids, they love it. They love it. They love it. I love it. And they can't wait and I can't wait. We do it every year now.
Kevin Chang: [00:49:19]
Chris. How many, how many races do you average per year?
Chris Smith: [00:49:23]
no. It's, you know, just, you know, I don't gauge it to be an honest with you because it's amazing because. You know, I want to start off just doing one. And then, they had, what's called a trifecta, which is three, you know, and then it went from doing the one and then doing another one, do another one and then earning a trifecta, which would be one of each one.
And then one trifecta and two then three and four and then five, then 10. So every year it seemed like I can double it. And, I don't not for this year. I think my goals have changed. So, I think for me, it's changed. You know, last year I did 40 races and I felt great, this year, I think it was a.
Bertrand Newson: [00:50:08]
Chris Smith: [00:50:13]
four. Or any
Bertrand Newson: [00:50:15]
Chris Smith: [00:50:17]
Bertrand Newson: [00:50:18]
Chris Smith: [00:50:19]
And then we also did, 40 Spartan races and then I did one 50 K right. Whereas 50 K with Bert. And then again, he's my, he's my, my encourage or he's my motivator.
He's the one that, you know, he has, as I was telling you earlier, Kevin, he, he brings out the best in me and he pushes me. He pushes me to levels that I. Never thought were possible because I never envisioned myself wanting to do it. To be honest with you. I mean, these, these pictures on the wall back here, you know, he's in these pictures, they're very meaningful that that raised that first race was, you know, as I was telling you that set
The bar and on so many things in my life, not just the, the, the physical challenges and erases, but my life in general change because of that race right there, because of that man right there, he put me, you know, he, he brought out the best in me. You know what I mean? He truly compliment, man. He, he, he, and he continues to bring out the best of me when I, even, when I think that I've reached a whole new level.
He brings it to an even higher level and he does it in a way. That's just so it's,
it's not a challenge. It's just like, you know what? I'm here, I'm here. You're, you'll never, you'll never be alone. I'm here with you, you know, we'll we'll, we start together, we finish together and that's pretty much the way it's been every race that we've done and that, that alone to a person like that, man, I can't lose, I can't lose with him on my side.
I can't, I can't lose. Okay.
Kevin Chang: [00:51:53]
Talk about that first race. Talk about, what got you to sign up and. Let's do that first race.
Chris Smith: [00:51:58]
Well, you know, as the group, you know, me coming into our group, starting our group, meaning to legit, you know, there was kind of two sides to the two legit. There was the obstacle side, which was my specialty.
And then there was the, you know, our racers, you know, our, our marathon runners are, are our half marathons or full marathon or ultras are, you know, eraser. So. I wasn't interested in going to that side. I wanted them to come over to my world and I was just kind of like, Oh, let's be in the middle. So, you know, again, LA marathon, Burt put it out there and saying, you know, a group was coming in town, you know, write up right up the street.
I said, Hey, you know what? I'll come up to support. You, but, you know, to support you, you know, chair for your everything, but, you know, as bird does this, like, Hey, you know, well, let's, let's do this. You know, why don't you sign up for it? And again, you know, like I told you before, it was something about pain, you know, that, that commitment, you know, when he put it out there, you know, how am I going to say no?
What am I w H why not just, how, why would I want to say no? I have him supporting me. I have a group of, of, of, of brothers and sisters that are going to be there with me too. So the beyond all it, all it, the only person that was going to prevent me from during the race was me, was me, was me coming up with an excuse all, you know what?
I got my daughter this weekend. I'm not feeling good. My foot hurts. I got sparked race. I didn't want to come up with any excuses. I just wanted to, you know, I, he, he, he raised the bar. He raised the bar even higher than I thought I would want to ever raise it. So I said, yes. And then again, it's one thing to say yes.
And it's another thing to go online and to sign up because I, because you can say yes, and then. You know, and then your brain tell you, man, what are you doing, man? You know, you don't want to do that. You don't know, you don't know, you know, you've only done 50, you've only done 15 miles. This is, this is double that almost.
So it just was the biggest thing I knew once I went online and I signed up and paid, I knew I was in the game. I knew, I knew that. You know, the first to be honest with you, the first thing I did after I signed up, I went on it, you know, because it's not, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. That's the beautiful thing.
People have already done this for, you know, decades. So as soon as I signed up, I just went online. Yeah. You know, and you know, got to Google some information, you know, how to train for your first marathon. So, you know, that was it. And then I just followed that template too. Well, how it fit for my particular fitness level at that particular time.
So I already had a chart. It was like a workout for dummies. All I had to do was just look at it. Okay. I got it ready. Just this one for miles a day, this one of miles this day, you know, and then every week, you know, I put, I gave myself enough time. I think that's the biggest thing I think I committed in. I think it was maybe.
Ooh. I don't know when we commit. Oh, it was in January, January, February. So I gave my, I had at least three months to train, you know what I mean? And I took advantage of those three months. So it gave me somewhat of a base, you know, while it's comfortable enough where it's like, okay, I can, I can do this.
You know, I can do this, but I had him, I had Burt and I had a whole crew there. So not only did I have him believe in me believing that I can do this. I had myself believing that I can do this. And it was a, Ooh, it was rough. It was. Yeah, it was, it was, because I had, it was my first one. And even though I had had the group with me, I didn't know how to pace myself.
You know, I didn't want to get out too quick, get out too slow. You know, you get out there, you got all that adrenaline going and you know, you gotta remember it's 26.2 miles. You know, you may be feeling great at about mile three mile four, but. What I've learned with these marathons erase. Those starts on my 18 and mile 19.
You know, that's, that's, that's when the race actually starts not at, you know, not at the half, but when you get an 18, 19, 20 miles that's okay. So a man that was, that the time I think was, was the most rewarding physically, mentally, emotionally challenging thing I've ever done. None satisfying thing I've ever done in my life.
Just, you know, anything. And it just was, there was so many tears and emotions again, just like when I did my, describe my race, you know, it was a, you know, these pictures back here are so meaningful because we locked up. Alright. You know? Woo.
Bertrand Newson: [00:56:38]
Chris Smith: [00:56:42]
Yes. I mean, these are my brothers. I mean, we literally locked up when we finished. I mean, without these guys, I mean, and it was, and it was also Bernardo's first one, too. I mean, we, it was challenging, you know what I mean? So it just,
Bertrand Newson: [00:56:55]
it made it more than made a sweeter man that made that journey richer, you know,
Chris Smith: [00:57:01]
Bertrand Newson: [00:57:01]
know, the whole experience because.
We've you know, feeling good on the front end, dealing with the some uncertainty and then the adversity, the physical adversity, you know, dealing with the pain and the cumulative fatigue, but seeing, you know what I'm saying, still going to be able to get to the finish line. There are people behind me that are feeling the same way, and some people who've trained may not actually meet the cutoff.
So being able to feel the comradery, knowing that you had brothers and sisters to your left, to your right and the way you. Kept on Bernardo kept on and the other team members, just a wonderful, wonderful journey. And again, when you have those moments where the pain is trying to rule the mind where sometimes you have to take a deep breath and realize, you know, what, I'm still moving forward.
And for you to say, you know, that you, you didn't think you had it in you from where I saw. I saw it a year before I saw it two years before, because what you were doing, you were crushing those and stacking up those obstacle course, KA course, finishes trifecta over trifecta, just amazing. And I'm thinking in a marathon.
There's no swimming obstacle, no climbing obstacle. There is not significant elevation climbing game. And there's, there's none of that. We're just moving forward. Yes. Yeah. True. Very true. But more than it was like it's mine. That
Chris Smith: [00:58:35]
is exactly. Exactly.
you know, again, it's it's every race, every mile was unchartered territory, you know, it was like, like you were telling us, you know, me and Bernardo was like, we were PR and, you know, after.
13 miles. That's the longest I ever ran during an ultra or regular Spartan race. It was PR PR after PR. So the whole last half was all PRS and distance that I've never gone before. And I think what was great, it was that they were so well, he made the group was, but Bert and, and Earl were just like, man, they were, they were just, they were hyping us up, man.
It was just. We couldn't, we couldn't, we couldn't fail with them to be honest with you. We couldn't fail. And we, and we did, we weren't going to, and it just, it was a, it was just one of those things that I'll never forget. You know, something that, I mean, I can look in, I did 40 races last year. None of them come close to that, that, that first one to get it because without that one 40 would have happened.
They've never for 40 wouldn't have happened without. I'll just be. Brute audits with you, 40 would have never happened without that one, because that one put me over the hump in areas that I physically knew I can do, but to have to train for that and just, you know, overcome the mental obstacles and just, you know, the, have something to continue to have a drive, something to work toward instead of just showing up to a race and finishing it just because I can.
That I actually had to train for the race and that those races are, you know, that's where I'm at now. I have to act, you know, due to comment, you know, they'll just show up and just, you know, get a belt buckle. You know, I'm not, you got to train for that, you know, there's, that's what I'm looking for in that, you know, Burt in that first race, instilled that in me.
It truly did. Yeah.
Bertrand Newson: [01:00:28]
Beautiful beautiful time. And it was, you know, kept your, your ears. Must've been rigging Chris because I share it, that story with Kevin, last week. And it was, as emotional. It was when we crossed that finish line, locked in shoulder to shoulder back in March of 2018 with you, my brother, Eric, Earl, my brother Bernardo.
and then sharing that story again with my father and brother yesterday. I'm seeing photos that same photo that you have back there, in your man cave in my father's man cave here in Las Vegas. And he has that photo of us, that we share with him. And I shared it with my mother as well, man, and it's tough at our, you know, at our age and our, you know, when we get into our thirties and forties and fifties to still have significant first moments and where they really.
Touch you emotionally, and there's just like you evolve in a different way and it gives you a level of confidence, that is almost unspoken and to be a part of that day with you and Bernardo and Earl and, and Jackie and Laurie and Fernando and Sylvia and all of our other. Becky and Randy, Eric Sullivan.
Oh, another one of our two legit brothers was there that day as well. Ma'am but to where, and there was a moment, you know, at mile, you know, 16, 17, 18, where the group started to
Chris Smith: [01:01:53]
separate a little bit separate a little bit, of course.
Bertrand Newson: [01:01:56]
But it just was meant to be for, you know, mild, mild 24. We all got back together with eight of us, 25 step four step, walk it out.
Chris Smith: [01:02:09]
Bertrand Newson: [01:02:09]
breath. Gather yourself aid station. He's the Supreme is going to end, you know, okay. Where is, are we in Santa Monica?
Chris Smith: [01:02:20]
Now? You gotta remember those guys that already done that before. So me and Bernardo and a couple other people being our first time, you know, we didn't know what to expect coming around that last mile. And you come around that turn when you come in right along the coast, there. And it was just man, you know, that, that feeling was like, and then seeing, you know, tens of thousands of people out there cheering for you too.
I mean, I can't even tell you, man. It was like, I felt like it was, it was my, it was my Superbowl. It learned it literally Superbowl and you know, I felt like, wow, you know what? I did it, you know? And it just, it made it's again, all the metals that I have. I mean, it's. You know, it's the, most, it raised the bar.
I put something in, put a fire inside of me. That that is just it's. It has no vote. No, you know, it's just not going to go away. It just really just set the bar to be honest with you. And it just, again, after doing that one, and then, you know, him being right there again with me, for the. For the first 50 K again, another reason another race.
I was like, Hey, you know what I've been doing? You know, so many Spartan races I needed to up my game and, you know, become an ultra, you know, guy. And I'm like, you know, wow, that's 30 miles, you know? So what do I do? Like, I just, like I did for the regular marathon is like, you got to go back to training and you know, the bird that'd be ready for that one again, you know, we did our first, we did a Quicksilver and that one was a.
That was another, another tear jerker because that, you know, I'm going even further than the 26.2 now, you know, and exactly. Yeah. And again, my brother is right there with me and, and then my, and then my family, my extended family is waiting for me to finish line, you know, and again, these guys are, are seasoned, you know, racers, but yet.
I've got the love. And I mean, I, I B I'm family and I just embrace me as it, you know, it just, it just, man, I can't even put it into words. It just, it just felt good. It felt right. It felt memorable. It's something that, again, I will never, ever, ever forget, you know, that, that comradery, that friendship, that brotherhood, that sisterhood, that, that encouragement.
I just, you know, it just gives me goosebumps just thinking about it as if you did it. It's
Bertrand Newson: [01:04:39]
true. You did a true big dog style. And what I mean by that in let me kind of pencil in between the lines, Chris originates from the Monterey peninsula, he drove up and now he lives in Southern. The almost the most Southern part of Southern California drove up the night before for the 50 K wow.
Finished the race. And drove
Chris Smith: [01:05:00]
back and drove home. And some of that was a pretty crazy, you know, I, I make it pretty hard on myself, you know, I'm a commuter, you know, I don't mind driving, but someone knows. I wish I could do it again till I could just be like, could I have a day of just relaxing at home instead of.
You know, I suddenly raised that to drive straight to the venue. No lie, man, go from here, drive all night long, right. To the finish line. And I did that with a couple of ultras. I went right to the finish line, you know, and then, and then raced and then got in the car and drove right back home. It just, yeah.
I mean, it just, you know, I, you know, again, it's just, you know, it's just determination, you know what I mean? You know what, you know, what you gotta do. And it's just, Hey, you know, just get it done. Just get it done, get it done. You know, why you know what you there or leave nothing on the table. Get it done once one foot in front of the other.
Bertrand Newson: [01:05:59]
Man. I would be in a, let's see if I were one of your students, I would love it, or I would hate it. I would love it because I knew I would have the best motivator, you know, who, someone who was certainly walked the walk and talking the talk would be there for you. From start to finish, but also knew that I would have no damn excuses for never turn in my homework or to go on and take care of the PE or do anything
Chris Smith: [01:06:26]
Bertrand Newson: [01:06:26]
because you can say you do timeout, youngster.
Chris Smith: [01:06:29]
Do you know how, what,
Bertrand Newson: [01:06:32]
what toughness is? because you, you, you, you put in the work, man. you have the passion, the determination, the tenacity just. Totally inspiring men. And especially what you do for a living as an educator, you know, I'm just a heart of gold man in so many levels, just a very profound and been looking at your, your, accomplishments behind you on the wall.
There is just a small token of so much. You've given back to so many people, you know?
Chris Smith: [01:07:04]
Yes, you got a view on the wall there. Wow, you got a few memorable things, but Hey, you know, These are all as adults. These are all, as you know, these are Christmas, the athlete, you know, the high school football player or the college.
These are all Chris Smith, the 40 year old man, Christmas, the 50 year old man. I think that's why, you know, this man. Okay. Was so much more meaningful because in most of these, it will, all of these achievements are as a 50 year old, 50 plus, Oh man. You know, it's just, they're they, they hold so much more weight.
Because of just, you know, age is nothing but a number, but then again, I mean we're half a century old, you know, and we're competing at such a high level, you know? And when I say we I'm saying that man too, he's not as old as I am, but still, you know
Bertrand Newson: [01:07:55]
Chris Smith: [01:07:56]
Right there. Yeah, yeah. Right there, you know, it's, it's, it's more meaningful.
It really is. It's more meaningful. It, it. To me, it shows the, it shows lifelong commitment, lifelong health and wellness, a lifelong, just being active. That's what it's showing to me. And that's why, you know, I love this room and love to have a man-cave like this because it just it's humbling. But yet it keeps me going.
It's like, Hey, I remember that. I remember that. I remember that. And you know, it's something that you did not share with my kids and family and things like that. But. You know, it's, it's, it's, there's more room on the walls. There's always, there's always more room, you know, I
Bertrand Newson: [01:08:39]
could challenge you in the midst of right now, Kristen, in bringing awareness to mental health and suicide awareness for our nation's heroes.
Chris Smith: [01:08:49]
Yeah. So there was a brother of mine, childhood brother who, and again, there's, there's. Multiple challenges that are out there that people are doing to, to, you know, deal with this social distance thing and COVID and all that stuff. And, and some of them are, are, are a little bit more meaningful than others.
This one was presented to me. well actually saw another brother doing it. And, it was something that, you know, is, is something that definitely needs to be brought to our attention. You know, our veterans are, are struggling when they come back from service and, you know, they're dealing with a lot of mental health issues.
PTSD and things of that nature and, and, with that, and just how to, how they're treated when they come back, you know, not having, you know, coming back to, a country that's embracing them. And, and you know, this, I guess the statistics right now are there's about 20. 20, veterans that are committing suicide daily.
And, so anything with that, any type of, any type of recognition and acknowledgement that I can do, man, on a physical, you know, I, I, you know, I can, I would donate money, but when you say a physical challenge, that's easy, you know what I mean? These, you know, push ups, sit ups, race, you know, we also do another one.
there's a Murphy race that we do once a year for a fallen soldier. And so, you know, that. That, you know, a brother from back home challenged me to do that, you know? And so honestly I love challenges and it was one that was very meaningful. So I accepted the challenge and then, you know, I put my, my spin on it and, and I, you know, it was presented to me.
And then I presented to my, my world into. All of the people who, who I associated with as well. And so it's just all about sharing. It's all about reach warrants. Each one, give, you know, if somebody's embracing each other, feeding off each other and servicing humanity, you know, it's what it's all about.
Kevin Chang: [01:10:35]
What is that Murph challenge look like?
Chris Smith: [01:10:38]
Oh, well the Murph challenge is, would a 40 pound vest. It's a, a one mile run, 100. Setups ask you the 100 pull-ups 300, squats and 200 pushups and all you got to wear a 40 pound vest. So that that's it. So that's a CrossFit one, that's a CrossFit one that I've heard about many years and always, you know, it's just kind of like everything else.
Oh, I heard about it, but do I really want to do it? You know what I mean? It wasn't something, you know, I knew I could do it. I knew it would be challenging because it's something I've never done before, but that's kind of my, my thing. It's like, Hey, you know what? I've never done it before I have to respect it.
Because it's something new, but I've trained for it because it's still requiring a lot of upper body strength. And, you know, the biggest thing was just to be able to do it all with the best, you know, the best that
Kevin Chang: [01:11:32]
I think RX is supposed to be 20 pound vest. So whoever told you 40 pound vest is a, was messing with you.
Chris Smith: [01:11:40]
That's all I have. That's all I have. So I'm like, Hey, that's why I'm the big dog.
20 pounds, you know, you gotta do a little extra, a little extra. Yeah. So we're doing a type of, so it's just kinda like, you know, we're doing a 20 to 20 pushups, 22 pushup challenge, 22 pushups for 22 days. And you know, so I got brothers that are doing it and you know, this is what we do, you know, we encourage one another.
It's never a competition ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever a competition. We're always, but what it is is it's hold each other accountable. Yeah. For something that you started, don't start, don't invite us to something, but yet, you know, you're not accountable. So as we, as I call it iron sharpens, iron. Iron sharp is arms.
We will feed off of one another. We will get it done. We will hold each other accountable and we'll finish together. It doesn't matter if you know, one day you, you, you know, you had a long day and you couldn't get those pushups in that day, then it means you gotta do it. No two more the next day, you know, but at the end of the day, you still will be 20 to 22 days of pushups, you know, so it's just holding each other accountable and making it fun.
And, and, I just called it, another way to, to fellowship with my brothers and sisters. You know, I call it, I can get them involved in my life and something, you know, the fitness to have the health and wellness, things like that. And it's just another way to extend out to my extended family. You know, people who are dear to me, extend out to them and, you know, ask some fun.
That's some fun, you know, this was all about
Bertrand Newson: [01:13:22]
Kevin and bled. Well, as you pointed out the, you know, the, the, the protocol, the Murph challenge is a 25, 20 pound vest and big dog. Chris is running with 40 on the same note. Chris mentioned early in our conversation where he might've been initially a little reluctant to take on the marathon challenge, but this is the same gentlemen who traveled to Greece and completed a Spartan race, Spartan, maybe a Spartan trifecta.
Hmm. In Greece. And in that same trip completed a marathon, ran a marathon in Greece. Come on, man.
Chris Smith: [01:14:00]
Okay. And that was another one that was another one. I'm one of many, many accomplishment as well. I mean, don't get me wrong. That was special because it was Reese. It still doesn't top, you know, that first race we did.
But again, you know, with me, I always liked to do, to raise the bar in myself again, not to compete against others or not to brag or boast. It's just all about, Hey, you know what? Life's short. If you got a chance to do something, do it. You know, I I've been going to Greece for the last couple of years, you know, it was a Spartan race over there.
And I think, you know, something that I had heard about that they were going to have, you know, I was doing races here in the States and then they said they were going to have a race in Sparta, Greece, you know, Spartan, Sparta up like, Whoa, you know what I mean? I was like, I got it. I got it. You know, and that, you know, so, you know, again, the commitment.
You know, getting the, getting my passport updated, you know, paying cause it wasn't cheap, you know? And then just the commitment. And then I had a young guy the first year I went, I had a young guy who, at a young Greek guy, he went out there, he did a trifecta weekend with me. And then he said, Hey, he's going to stay an additional week.
Cause they have the Athens marathon. I'm like, what's that? He said the original marathon. And I'm like, well, I gotta try that. So the next year I said, I'm doing it. And, and the next year I did it
Kevin Chang: [01:15:21]
well now, with all of these races under your belt, which one would you recommend for somebody trying Spartan for the first time?
Chris Smith: [01:15:28]
I would recommend , You know, just, just go out there and, you know, spark is not everybody. So what I would recommend that she would do is just do the simplest one, which would be a spread. The spread is only, it's a three mile race.
what about a destination race? What about a destination Spartan race?
Bertrand Newson: [01:15:44]
Chris Smith: [01:15:44]
wants to travel to a Spartan race. Well, the ones that you've been to, what are your fears? Well, Reese is a, it's a, it's a trifecta championship. So you have to qualify for GRI. So if there would do a, a destination, one, Hawaii was, was my, was my favorite, but why? It was my favorite one that had killed or killed lower ramps were, basically address apart.
That was the, the, the one, if they'd give, if somebody, if you had that to do one a destination, that would be the one to do. Absolutely beautiful, beautiful chats. Yeah. Two legit last race, mob, a destination race in our future. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're talking about, we're talking about, we're talking about that.
And again, it's, it's, it's planning and, you know, You know, that's a good one. Towel is tiles is a tough one tiles, a little bit further distance, but if it was any destination, obviously Hawaii would be, you know, would be it. And then, you know, go from there. I mean, it averages all over the world. I think it really just depends on a person's imagination and obviously budget and, you know, just what it is that they can, you know, how much time they can get away and yeah, and actually make a little vacation out of it.
But I try to least. You know, stayed a weekend. If possible. Sometimes I have to get, you know, I get there on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Sunday. I want to play him back home. You know, that's just, you gotta do what you gotta do. I'm there, I'm there for the buckle. I'm there for the race, you know? So, you know, it just depends on where it's at, but Hawaii is always a great one.
Bertrand Newson: [01:17:14]
are there any, and I'm kind of planted some seeds here a little bit, so not a complete surprise, bucket list. Endeavors adventures that are things you may want to accomplish in the future. whether it be race, you know, marathon, obstacle, course race, here state side, or maybe even traveling to a, a country or continent that you'd never been on before.
Chris Smith: [01:17:39]
Well, number one unit, you mean, you know, my number one, one. Bucket list. Why would he even call it a bucket list? I'll just call it journey that that's just going and just needs to happen. , but, you know, Kilimanjaro mom, Kilimanjaro was always had a. Special place for me and my heart at a very young age, you know?
And it's something that, you know, I never had a, a dream, a dream to, to climb mountains, Everest but what could I do? What, what would come close to that type of. You for feeling that I could, you know, go to a place and do something that is so much so spiritual, you know, that's a spiritual journey and in the continent of our ancestors, you know, my ancestors and to be on sacred ground.
So, you know, number one for me right now would be Kilimanjaro. You know, that was something that, and again, you know, you can, that's not a journey that I tell too many people . But that guy right there. and, you know, we talked about this. I mean, you know, I'm talking, you know, for a long time, you know, for at least
Bertrand Newson: [01:18:42]
Chris Smith: [01:18:43]
10, 10 years has been. And let me tell you, it was, it was a vision, but you know, 10 years ago, obviously, you know, it's an, a very expensive, you know, quest and, you know, 10 years ago I was in the position to do that.
So, you know, it just. But the drive and the passion somewhere inside, still here, it still needs, needs needed, and still needs to happen. Right. And now I'm blessed to be in a position where financially it can happen. And now it's just all about like, with everything else in life, what people tend to do, what's going to be your excuse for it, not to happen.
You know, if you can make it happen, you know, and you have the means to do it. What excuse are you going to have then to not do it? If it means something to you that much, why wouldn't you want to do it? So I know what it's going to mean to us sort of mean to me and Anne Burke, but that's what I'm going to say.
It's going to mean to us, like my, our first marathon together, our first 50 K together, you know, Our first quarter K together week, week, it's going to make it, it's going to mean the same thing because this guy here is, I mean, he's been there with me. He has that, you know, he has that same vision. He has that, that same purpose.
And if he gets it, he gets it. So, Kyla majora will be number one. I did have a lot of races planned this year. You know, we were talking about 40, I have a lot of, ultras that were playing. I think I had about 20 ultra raisins plan. Oh, wow.
Bertrand Newson: [01:20:12]
Chris Smith: [01:20:13]
So, and already and already about five of them have been canceled.
Philippines. I was supposed to be going to Philippines that paid for that canceled. I was supposed to go to Andorra, which is between Spain and France, that was canceled. and then we had a San Luis Obispo. There's a new one up there that was canceled. big bear was canceled and it was a couple more, never canceled, but I'm hoping on the back end, you know, You know, we'll see, we'll see what happens and see what happens with Cobra and see, you know, obviously people's safety is number one, my safety everybody's safe.
He's number one, a racist. He, as much as I miss them, I do want to live. So, you know, if it happen, it doesn't happen this year, but it happens to you. It's going to happen next year. The break, the race is always going to be there. You're always going to be there, you know, as far as not going nowhere and, we just have to postpone it.
But until the meantime, let's. Let's stay busy. Let's find, you know, let's, let's do this, you know, 500 mile, you know, Katelyn for Nikos challenge, you know, and do something to what my brothers, that's going to keep me seasoned and tuned up. So when the Sparta season happens, whenever it is, whether it's this year, next year, I'm already fine tune.
You know, I'm already fine tuned. I just, I can just transfer, transition over into the obstacle course racing because I've been doing the road work and I've been doing the gym work at home. And, you know, those combinations. I mean, you, you stay ready, you stay ready,
Bertrand Newson: [01:21:37]
so you don't have to get ready.
Chris Smith: [01:21:39]
Kevin Chang: [01:21:40]
where can people find you if they're looking for you online or how can they reach out to you just.
Chris Smith: [01:21:46]
Easy to find my why. I'm very common name. If you look up Chris Smith, Chris Smith, you probably won't find that like a million of those though. I would say, the easiest way to get me obviously, would be, [email protected]. That's The school school's got that I work with, . you know, people at Burton, all those people, you know, they. Talk is cheap. You know, it's one thing I get it that, you know, I peaked the interest and I get it that, you know, at some point in life, you have to just be like, you know what, I'm just going to do it.
Just commit, just do it. I'm just, I'm just going to do it and how I do it. I don't know yet, but I'm going to do it. And I know I'm not going to be alone and that's, and I've never left anybody alone. And neither is he.
Bertrand Newson: [01:22:38]
Yeah. Thank you, man. Hey, this, this is the same dude. When we had the, let's see, annual two legit fitness, awards night, holiday party.
Again, Chris lives in Southern California. This event happens. It happened on, in the San Jose area. Chris drove up the day of partied. Destroyed
Chris Smith: [01:23:00]
the dance floor in the best way. Possible
Bertrand Newson: [01:23:04]
2019 male member of the year. Congratulations, by the way.
Chris Smith: [01:23:09]
Thank you. Appreciate it. The party
Bertrand Newson: [01:23:13]
drove back home to Southern County
Chris Smith: [01:23:15]
Bertrand Newson: [01:23:17]
You know, so, and
Chris Smith: [01:23:20]
what I do B yep. Yep. Yep. Yep.
Bertrand Newson: [01:23:23]
So wonderful conversation.
Chris Smith: [01:23:25]
Thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you for having me. Thank you for having me. Thank you. My pleasure. Anything you need? Let me know.