Frederick Runners of the Month: Ryan & Lori Cooper (October 2014)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A couple weeks ago several of us local runners gathered together at the Frederick Steeplechasers Annual Membership meeting. This meeting was an opportunity for members and non-club members to learn more about FSRC. Many of us were really looking forward to hearing from the guest speakers that evening, Ryan and Lori Cooper. 

The Colorado natives, ultra-runners, parents, friends to many and coach to some did not disappoint. Listening to the couple tell their story about how running has not only changed their lives but become their life captivated everyone in the room. The couple combined has finished over 75 ultras, including several 100 mile races. To listen to their insight about running was not only an honor but a privilege. I think everyone in the room would agree the Cooper’s definitely know a thing or two about running.

The opportunity to speak was cut short due to the limited time the room was scheduled. The two of them still had SO much more to share. It was obvious we all went home that evening feeling inspired but, left on the edge of our seat. So, ITSF could think of no one better to showcase as October’s Runner or should I say Couple of the Month.

We share with you their words and insight on What running teaches us about life?

Their short and brief answer to this question is EVERYTHING!


  • Every day is different, but to set goals and achieve them, you must have discipline. When you run when you don’t want you are practicing discipline

  • We all know that in life, we must have discipline:  Jobs, raising our children, playing other sports, to achieve goals in running and in life we must have discipline


  • We live in a society of immediate gratification, in the running game there are no shortcuts, you cannot purchase improvement packages without getting the work done

  • The investment we make daily with little immediate return is practicing   patience.  Everyone could benefit from a lesson or two on patience.

Let it be

  • Sometimes the most difficult thing is letting things “go” or be

  • Countless examples of runs, even races where runs were subpar, pace way off, just feeling off, injury, sickness

  • If we can let things be.. Injuries will heal, runs will improve, we learn this is a valuable tool we can use in many other aspects of our life


  • As a runner we can become hyper sensitive (almost to a fault) to what we put in our bodies, measuring everything how well it “helps’ or ‘hurts’ our running performance

  • Running teaches what our individual bodies need to perform optimally, not only for running but in life

Pride Vs Confidence

Prideful person – never wrong, goes alone, recognition for own work

  • Confident person – weighs input from other, realizes they cannot
    do it alone, knows who they are, works to build others up

  • The prideful runner, always right, going alone, going for personal
    gain only will not be a successful ultra runner

  • The confident runner, accepting wisdom from others, knowing they
    need others to complete their goals, understands their limits, motivates
    others is going to be successful

  • Running can show us pride really does come before a ‘fall” 


  • “a strong liking or desire or devotion to some activity, object or concept”

  • Being devoted to an activity is a demonstration of passion… want to feel more passionate about life, replicate what you do with running in other aspects of life… let it be an example… 


  • Just watching the start of ULTRA’s gets my heart rate up, my blood flowing and I feel jittery… how cool that we are physically moved by the simple act of watching others run… 

  • Ok.. we are all inspired by the top athletes, that is easy, but I think this sport allows us to better find inspiration elsewhere… 

  • 2 Examples of women struck by disease but continue to fight the battle with natural body movement, walking.  

  • Use that inspiration for the good ….go inspire someone with your contagious inspiration.


  • What do you think about while running?

  • Running is a great way to shut off the mind and just focus on you (form, cadence, speed, emotions, feelings, nothing….)

  • During a 1200m on the track… I bet you could find 60 sec with your mind pretty empty

  • We all need to do more of our world of constant stimulation and multi-tasking, and running is teaching you this tool… 

Healthy Role Models for our kids and community

  • Don’t bombard them unhealthy body images
    or talk

  • Don’t demonstrate that shopping& makeup is what life is all about

  • Don’t let them think that drugs / alcohol are the only ways to have fun

  • Don’t allow video games to show them that violence and physical mastery are the ‘in things’

  • Lets show them DAILY how to be strong, healthy, passionate… list goes on… and what that can offer to life


  • There is something about toeing the starting line with a group of individual who by choice are all deciding to put themselves thru the trials of the ‘run’

  • Even better to have support during races, be it a 5K, Marathon or Ultra

  • Even better in ultras to support one another as pacers, crew, or just lend a helping hand to a fellow runner


  • At mile 60 it just was not happening.. Both at Western states and Leadville take 2.  For the first time in my life, I got to experience the DNF initials after my name 

  • Admit, this is not real disappointment or horrific life event, but in perspective,
    it is failure

  • Somehow we figure out how to go on, run again, become motivated again 

  • Maybe we can use the tools we learn from these running disappointments when other life disappointment hits

Icky threshold 

  • I thought this would be fun

  • Sweat, stinky shoes, crusted salt, socks that stand on their own, prerace bathrooms, bath rooming on the run in the woods with no TP, snot, changing after a race (do we really have decency issues?), chafing, applying anti chafing goop, the puke, 

  • This is completely relevant to life with children or dogs…. Just increases our tolerance to life goop


  • If we can make feeling blisters pop on your toe, cramps, queasy with fatigue and heaving with breathe, pure exhaustion fun…. 

  • Cant we make sitting down with our precious family at the dinner table a little bit more “FUN”… too

  • Message—- you can learn to make things FUN….you do it with running, do it more with the everyday


  • Kids, Family, work, running, errands, cooking, laundry, weights, cleaning, showering, bills, email, play time, friends, ah yes sleep…. 

  • Just the things that matter in the LONG term… 

Perseverance / Resilience

  • “I get knocked down, but I get up again, no your never going to keep me down “

  • Preserving in the face of fear

  • Digger deeper than ever have


More stuff running can show us about life….


We are all human

Engineering, Problem solving, Math

Motivation creation

Adaptation – 

Fine balance – injury + life

Giving back / helping others 

Whole person- health, family 

Seasons of life – rest , life changes (kids)

How to handle stress/injury

How to manage difficult situations

Know limits – 

Setting goals – 




Photos Credit: Mike O’Grady


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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