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Ruel’s Running Podcast

Welcome to Ruel's Running Podcast!

Podcast host and creator Ruel Abadam is a recreational ultrarunner, health enthusiast, family guy, tester and designer who talks about Health, running, lifestyle, family, and play. 

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Jul 15, 2015

Badwater Tony Portera to me is the "real deal." While I fantasize doing big runs, Tony is out there making it happen. You'll hear him say he's not anybody special, but I beg to differ. He's fun to talk to, has a great story about his journey into running, has great things to say about running ultramarathons, someone I see as a wonderful ambassador of the ultra community, he's super encouraging, and even offers some advice to help improve on the next ultra. This is Part 1.

Tony Facts:

  • White Plains New York
  • Husband and father of two.
  • Lawyer in commercial real estate
  • Dabbler of ultra running and has ran and continues to run prestigious events such like the Badwater 135, Jackpot 100, and Umstead 100.
  • He has participated in the Badwater 135 six times. 2015 will be seventh.

Running Background:

  • Tony got into ultras by stumbling on it and deciding to try it.
  • Started out soccer in high school, college, and after in law school with local club teams.
  • After graduating from law school, life happened, and at one point weighed 210 pounds. Out of shape, drinking a lot of beer, and watching football and other sports.
  • Got together with some guys who convinced him to do a local 4 miler or 5k. He said “Running is stupid!”
  • He did more of these types of runs and was eventually persuaded to do a marathon. He said “This is stupid. If running 4 miles is stupid, this is even dumber!”
  • His first marathon was the 2004 Twin Cities Marathon. Completed it in over 4 hours and told himself he’d never do another one again. But 25 marathons later, he kept trying to convince himself to stop running.
  • His biggest mistake, was after reading Dean Karnazes’ book Ultramarathon Man where he learned about ultra marathons. He was blown away and said “If 4 miles is stupid, and running a marathon is even more stupid. Then ultra runners gotta be idiots!” And Tony convinced himself to do a 60k.

Loving the Sport & Better Health

  • In ultras marathon, Tony loved that he was able to show up to the start late, finished up on the same day, and head back to your car without a hassle. This plus getting in better shape made it more appealing.
  • Eventually dropped 50-60 lbs lighter from his former weight in 2001.
  • He enjoys the runs and loves the community, but still sometimes tells himself that “He’ll never do it again.”
  • He uses these events as a way to learn more about himself. To find out what he can and can’t do.
  • "You’ll never run the same race twice. You’ll experience different things and thoughts each time.”

Tony’s Preparation:

  • Work on nutrition on a regular basis.
  • Prepare nutritionally, mentally, put in the work in training runs. Roughly 80-90 miles a week including the speed training and long runs.

Typical Training Week (To build miles and speed. Doing about 74 miles of training).

Monday a.m. - 25 miles.
Tuesday - 8 miles.
Wednesday - 10 mile tempo, 3 mile warm up. 4 miles at 6:55 pace.
Thursday - 8 miles easy recovery.
Friday - 12 miles interval: 3 mile warm up. 2 miles at 7:10 pace. recover 1 mile, six 400 mile repeats, and recover jog.
Saturday - Off.
Sunday - 12 miles.

Long run may increase over time. This is a week typically to Tony and should not be used as a template for everybody else. Everybody is different.

On Getting Coached:
Tony is currently working with Zach Bitter on training and nutrition and has also worked with Ray Zahab. Recommends getting a coach for endurance events.

Film: Running on the Sun

More Tony:

  • Tony loves to help see folks enter into the ultra community for the first time.
  • The Vermont 50 mile race was his first 50.
  • Loves seeing people go out there.
  • Thinks 50 miles is a great distance to get done in one day and it is very challenging
  • Believer in drawing from others, especially folks who have experienced what you are trying to do.
  • Fueling and hydration advice:
    Drinking to thirst.
    Keep trying different things. Learn something is always a success.

"People may go out there and try and have a negative impression in their mind, but there are so many positives to take whether perceived negative or not. It’s often times the 2nd or 3rd try that you start to understand what you’re doing and love it more." ~ Tony Portera


Ray Zahab, founder of  Impossible To Possible (aka I2P) tells Tony “Ultra running is 90% mental. The other 10% is all in your head.”

"Our best moments are found when we are at our weakest.”

Catch Tony Portera If You Can:


Visit to learn about Vinnie Tortorich’s NSNG Lifestyle.

Visit for great healthy gluten-free recipes.

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Music of:

  • Luzius Stone/Fire In The Sky,
  • Jimmy Buffett/Change In Lattitudes Changes In Attitudes,
  • Cool & The Gang/Get Down On It.