Jack’s Go To Songs for Week of 1/18/2016

Going to start a new posting series with my top songs of the week I’ve been running to. Here are this week’s songs!

1. Avicii – Broken Arrows (Upbeat and fun) – iTunes Link

2. Bon Iver – Heavenly Father (Much more mellow and relaxing)

3. Mumford and Sons – Believe (Upbeat and good lyrics) – iTunes Link

Enjoy and feel free to comment on what you have been listening to!

Inspired by YouTube and Podcasts

When I was working my soul-sucking corporate job, I would spend hours listening to YouTube, sometimes the same video many times over to motivate myself to get out and do what I really wanted to. One of the most inspiring videos that had the biggest effect on me is a dialogue between Joe Rogan and Bryan Callen. The conversation takes place during an episode on the Joe Rogan Experience, a podcast I have since become addicted to. Check it out below, it certainly changed my life and took it down a far better path than I was trending towards. The biggest thing that it made me think about was not living up to potential and as Bryan Callen puts it:

“I know I have something in me and I’m not living up to it.”

“I gotta taste some of that, I gotta gave some of that, I gotta get the fuck outta here, that’s what you need man. Go to TED.com, find it, it’s out there.”

“You can open your mind to a whole world out there.”

These are just a few of the gems. Listen to the whole thing. Over and over. It’s worth it.

Always in Stride,

Jack

Downfalls of Motivation

I absolutely love motivation of all kinds, as if you couldn’t already tell that by the name of this website. It pushes me to do things that I couldn’t before and also teaches me to believe in myself. I find strength in other’s success, words, experiences, etc. I find it fascinating, I’m amazed at the impact it can have on me and others. Heck, lately I’ve even found the Home Depot “Let’s Do This” commercials to be motivating and I don’t even own a home or live in an apartment that requires maintenance. Still, I’m rearing and ready to install a new floor for some reason?!

Recently though, I heard an interesting take on the detrimental side of motivation, something I hadn’t quite considered. I’m unsure of who the quote belongs to, but it goes something along the lines of: “It’s like going to school to study to be a lawyer, going through all the classes but failing the bar, therefore you can’t practice what you’ve learned. If you don’t apply it, what are you doing?” I really like this perspective and it opened my eyes up a bit.

You can spend all day watching motivational videos, listening to motivating music, getting yourself pumped up, but if you don’t actually act on it, there was no point and all you did was waste time. It is essentially a form of high tech procrastination. Les Brown says “judge a tree by the fruit it bears, not the fruit it talks about”. Your results and actions are all that matters. Sure, the prep work leading up to it has a part to play, but it is meaningless if you don’t actually follow through. It’s important to have an end game to the motivation and also have the drive to act on it.

Just some food for thought. Now get off the computer, put away your phone, and go do something.

Always in Stride,

Jack

Run Into Your Grave: Stanislaw Kowalski

If you’re a runner and you’ve been on Facebook in the last week, you’ve more than likely seen the viral video about the 104-year-old Stanislaw Kowalski breaking a record in the 100m dash as the oldest to do so. Rather remarkable if you compare it to the general 90+ population and what they do on a regular basis (Jeopardy anyone?). It makes one question what makes this possible? How can you defy old age and continue doing what you love?

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Now, if you type in to google age-defying, or how to beat old age, etc there are plenty of so-called miracle cures, tips, and advice. Some have merit, others are most likely snake oil. I personally believe it comes from mentality and patterns.

Let’s look at the first aspect, mentality. Abraham Lincoln once said “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I think this is pretty spot on in happiness and in a lot of cases, physical ability. Timothy Noakes has done a lot on the topic of  the central governor and the brain being able to control how long we can go at what speeds for endurance running. I believe that the central governor translates over to aging as well. You can be as active as you make your mind up to be. Yes, there are limitations and medical issues do come up, but in general, the responsibility is on each individual to keep themselves moving. The CEO of a company I used to work for said he “wants to run into his grave”. This is the perfect mentality for any runner and leads to entering old age in good physical shape with a quick mind. If you don’t use it you lose it to atrophy, which makes getting active again that much harder. It’s a slippery slope.

Pattern also plays a major role in how we age. It is pretty easy to fall off the wagon once you stop your healthy patterns. Recently, I took 3 weeks off after a year straight of training and racing to recover and rebuild. The first few days were a struggle and I missed my routines of working out but after 3 weeks I had grown comfortable having extra time in my day, not working out, and letting the diet slip a bit for holidays. The past two weeks have been a struggle getting back on the wagon and getting motivated to work out, however, I’ve started to hit the addiction stage again where I look forward to every run.

Aristotle said “we are what we repeatedly do”. Keep a strong, confident mind and maintain the patterns that are leading you towards health, vitality, and running into your grave one day;)

Cheers Stanislaw Kowalski!

Always in Stride,

Jack

Outsmarting Your Evolutionary Psychology

Evolution plays a major role in how we act and interact on a daily basis. Thousands of years of evolution have led us to where we are now, equipping with us with the tools we need to survive and thrive. However, evolution moves slowly and changes can take a while to be noticeable. Some of the traits that are no longer necessary can take a while to be discarded and made irrelevant.

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Outsmart Your Monkey Mind

I find the fear of failure to be one of the most interesting evolutionary stories. The majority of human beings have a fear of failure that prevents them from trying new things or taking chances. Many believe that this instinct is deeply rooted in the tribal mentality.

Before modern civilization, your tribe was extremely important. All members of the tribe depended upon one another in order to fend off predators, hunt and gather food, and for reproduction. If one was cast away from the tribe, it was almost as severe as being given a death sentence. Surviving as a lone wolf was extremely challenging and rarely ended well.In struggles for power and establishing the alpha positions, fights and struggles would take place. These fights would end with winners and losers. The losers would either end up dead, be cast out from the tribe, or be far less respected within the tribe.

Luckily for us, times have changed. A failure is no longer a death sentence. In fact, it is just another opportunity and a chance to learn something. There is no longer a reason to not take a chance. If you ask yourself what is the worst that can happen, it is almost guaranteed to be better than in the days of our ancestors.

I was inspired to write this post after watching Jim Carrey’s graduation speech at Maharishi University. Surprisingly enough, the comedic actor has many gems of wisdom and information to impart to all of us. I highly recommend you watch it and take in what he has to say.As Carrey puts it, it is important to realize that “you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love”. There is nothing to lose and the repercussions of failure reside only in your head. Don’t be afraid to make your dreams and aspirations come to life. Others will be inspired by you and feed off of your light.

The fear of failure is no longer evolutionary necessary. Put yourself far ahead of the game by basing your decisions on what you truly want. “The decisions we make in this moment are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality.” – Jim Carrey. Make your choices based on love and passion. 

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Always in Stride,

Jack

This Soul Knows Who Needs a Road?

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” – Steve Jobs

As of August 10th, I left the firm I have been working for since graduation from college. The past two years there were “interesting” and it taught me a lot about what I don’t want, not unsimilar to failed relationships. I had come to the point where showing up meant anger, distaste, depression, and the feeling of wasting away, all being key signs that it was time for a change. To put it bluntly, I hated my place in the world.

After 8 months of groundwork and preparation, I find myself here. Jumping off the deep end. I will be going to work for Road Runner Sports as a Fit Expert initially, with a plan in place to be moved up based on expertise and performance.

Many may not see this as a wise career move given the economy and other factors, but for me there was no hesitation. It came back to my personal and company motto “This Soul Knows It Needs to Run”. Many have asked where this phrase comes from and it comes from the Song and Video of the week that was released via a Salomon Trail Running video this past December. My motto came from a misinterpretation of the lyrics which are supposed to be “My Soul Knows Who Needs a Road” as opposed to “This Soul Knows It Needs to Run”. Regardless, my motto was born.

This motto applies to me bother literally and figuratively. The literal version being obvious, nothing makes me happier than running. Figuratively, I know I must always be in a state of forward progress working towards my life’s goals. My last job was sending me away from my goals and making me less of a person. It was time to run. I have always lived my life with a forward looking vision as well as paying mind to my past. I came up with my own little rule for working called the 5/95 test. Do what the 5-year-old-you would enjoy and what the 95-year-old-you will be proud of. My most recent position failed these criterion in every sense of the word failure.

My life, well-being, happiness, and financial security are now in my hands and my hands alone. With that comes both benefits as well as consequences. This has led to emotions of joy, exultation, amazement, and promise as well as distress, anxiety, and unknown. I

So now I move forward working for a company I truly believe in and one I believe truly cares about my interests, goals, and life. I do not know where the path will go and if I am even on the correct one yet. All I can know for sure right now, is that it is a far better path than the one I was on before.

Now who needs some coaching or some new running shoes? J

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Song – Sign Post Sound – Who Needs A Road

Video – Road Runner Sports Has a Good Feeling

Salomon Trail Running Team

Javelina Jundred, Don’t You Worry Mother

Don’t you worry mother, don’t you worry now (Yes, I’m a big Swedish House Mafia fan and like to change lyrics to make them fit my circumstances). On March 1st, 2014, the Javelina Jundred 100 Mile Ultramarathon in Fountain Hills, Arizona opened registration. Not long after the opening of registration, I received my email that said I am now registered for the 2014 Javelina Jundred, let the journey begin.

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As many of you know, I have chased adrenaline rushes since graduating college. The 100 mile race is the next step in my adrenaline chasing. I had attempted to get into Western States 100 via the lottery, but was unsuccessful. So, my plan for 2014 turned to finding a qualifying race for Western States 100. The Javelina Jundred fit the bill perfectly.

Runners at Sunrise, Javelina Jundred

I’m sure that as my mother is reading this she is fidgeting and semi-annoyed. She and my family in general have a love-hate relationship with my adrenaline chasing. They love that it brings me happiness and they love sharing in my accomplishment. However, they hate the anxiety that it brings them, especially when they are 3000 miles away watching a computer screen, hoping the blip they are tracking doesn’t stop moving.

In these endurance races it is often memories of families and friends that gets me through as well as the thought of them fretting over my race. I’m positive they worry about it far more than I, as I typically see it as another fun adventure. Last year I had many of my close friends and family members send me songs with memories attached to them. I then uploaded these songs to my iPod Shuffle to listen to during my first 50 mile ultramarathon, Leona Divide. It was amazing. Every song that came on brought with it an emotional memory that helped pull me through.

The most memorable moment was at mile 42 when I was completely spent. I rolled into one of the last aid stations where my sister’s in-laws were awaiting me, my loyal crew. They had huge smiles on their faces and it brought me back to life. What elevated me further was them telling me of well wishes from family far away. As I left the aid station, Be Still by The Killers came on my iPod. My mother immediately came to mind. At that same moment, 3000 miles away a Mumford and Sons song came on and she immediately thought of her baby boy traversing the Pacific Crest Trail. I went from walking/barely jogging to 8:00min/mile pace uphill. I put the song on repeat for the next hour and fifteen minutes and finished just under 10 hours. It was amazing.

I know that Javelina Jundred will hold similar experiences, trials, joys, and tribulations for me. I look forward to embracing the struggle and pain as that is what I cherish the most. It’s never about the finish or the time, it is what I learn about myself that matters most. Javelina Jundred will be another learning experience and way for me to express the joy I find in running. To all my friends, family, and readers, I’d love it if you could send me songs with memories attached to them to keep me going through the night in the Arizona Desert.

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Always in Stride,

Jack

10 Values of Running: Kilian Jornet

By now you all know how much I look up to Kilian Jornet. He is an amazing athlete and an even better person. When writing my Summits of California post I headed over to Kilian’s site to see what was new. There had been some updates since I had last visited, but one stuck out to me automatically. It was his list of values.

Kilian-Jornet

I have always been a huge admirer of Kilian, but this takes it to a whole new level. He is a fantastic athlete and person to aspire to and take some lessons from. Here is his list of values from his page:

1. No one told us what we were. No one told us we should go. No one told us that it would be easy. Someone once said that we are our dreams. If we don’t dream we are no longer alive.

We’ll fight for our dreams, we’ll pursue our passions, because we believe that the meaning of life is not following anyone else’s path. The meaning is in forging our own paths towards what we love. And despite the difficulties, every fall teaches us how to carry on.

2. We walk in the footsteps of instinct leading us into the unknown.

Taking a risk isn’t gambling, it’s evolving, it’s changing the people we are. Being free is being ourselves, not following anyone. It’s making our own decisions. It’s choosing. Choosing whether to start a family, whether to climb a mountain, which career you want. On the mountain, we’re the ones who choose our path, we’re the ones who decide whether or not to go down into a gorge, whether to tackle one summit or another. Sometimes we’re right and sometimes we’re not, but either way we’re breaking trail in a place where there are no paths.

3. We don’t look at the obstacles we’ve overcome, but at those we’ve got ahead of us.

We learn from the past without having lived it, take the experience we’ve gained and add respect and fear to build a solid future. The past isn’t the life we’ve lived. What we do today gives no guarantees for tomorrow. We live every instant in the present, facing what’s in front of us.

4. It’s not about being faster, stronger or bigger. It’s about being ourselves.

Walter Bonatti wanted to know the extent to which extreme difficulties justify extreme
measures. Humankind has shown that with technology we can build whatever we set
our minds to. But does it make sense? We have to learn to live with less, with what we need to be as human as possible, as well adapted to our environment, to nature, as we can be. Our strength is in our feet, our legs and our bodies; it’s in our minds.

5. We’re not runners, alpinists or skiers…we’re not only sportspeople…we’re people.

Emotions shared aren’t simply piled one on top of another, they’re multiplied. A summit isn’t a geographical point, a fact or a stopwatch. A summit is memories, it’s emotions stored within us, it’s the people who come with us or who await us at the bottom. We ourselves are all the people we love and admire, who are with us even when they’re not.

6. We can’t be sure we’ll find it, but we’re going in search of happiness.

Failing is not trying. Failing is not enjoying every step along the way. Failing is not feeling. There will be punches, there will be pain and goals far from met, but in no way can we fail if we make our own path, even if it doesn’t reach the top.

7. With simplicity.

We’ll go to the mountains without others, without assistance, without external help, with humility, without wanting to dominate the mountain, because we know that it’s much stronger than we are and it will take us where it wants us to go. We’ll learn to  coexist with the real world, the world of rocks, of plants, ice, the world beneath the cement. With what was here before us and will be here long after we’re gone.

8. In silence.

We’ll tread softly, unnoticed, respecting our environment, leaving nothing more than our footprints to be erased by the wind. Real life is what we carry inside us and only in silence can we truly explore ourselves.

9. Responsibly.

Because on the mountain there’s no helping hand when we’re in danger, we can’t lose our way because there is no set way, but there’s also nobody to congratulate us when we achieve what we’ve set out to do. Because the mountain is far from hypocrisy, because the mountain is honest. We’re responsible for all our actions good or bad.

10. What are we after? Might it be life?

What is the ultimate objective of all enterprise? Of all adventure? Of life? Is it achieving goals or moving towards them? Is it reaching the horizon or discovering the landscapes we cross to get there? Is life crossing the finish line or the emotions and feelings inside ourselves? We are people forged from dreams, emotions and feelings.

I hope you enjoy Kilian’s values as much as I do. He is a remarkable athlete. If you want more of Kilian, check out his book or movie:

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Always in Stride,

Jack

 

Summits of California: Feeding the Soul

Since graduating college, I have not competed in any one event consistently. I have chased adrenaline rushes and just followed what makes me excited and happy. This has taken me to the 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ironman, and Ultra Marathon. So what’s next in my adrenaline chasing life?

I’m going to take a page out of the book of one of my favorite athletes of all time: Kilian Jornet. He is the only professional runner I admire these days. By age 25, he had won every major event that he had set out to. These events included top ultra marathons like Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Western States 100, and many more. He is one of the most decorated trail runners ever. So after he won every race he set out to, people asked: “are you going to stay on the circuit and keep winning?” His answer was simple: “Why?”

It is said that the core of man’s spirit comes from new experience. Kilian understands this well. After all these accomplishments he set off on a project called “Summits of My Life”. The point of the project being to summit and descend major mountains around the world at world record times. This year, I’m planning on doing something similar in California (most likely not at world record pace).

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My project is a spin-off, Summits of California. By this point, we all know how obsessed and in love with California I am. This project will give me the opportunity to further explore this majestic state and see her beauty in many forms. I have picked 5 major mountains in the state of California to ascend and descend as quickly as I can. There will be a YouTube Series, Blog Series, and book tied to this as well.

The five mountains are:

1. Mt. Shasta (14,179 ft)

Mount Shasta

2. Mt. San Jacinto (10,834 ft)

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3. Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft)

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4. Mammoth Mountain (11,059 ft)

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5. Matterhorn Peak (12,285 ft)

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These peaks range from the highest peaks in California to some more mild peaks. I have reasons for each of these choices that I will detail in later blog posts.

Happy 26th Birthday to me, 26 will be the best year ever, yet again.

“I am not afraid to fail, to get lost, to dream, to be myself, to find. I am not afraid to live.” – Kilian Jornet

Always in Stride,

Jack

Runners! 5 Tips to Act Like an Athlete

Yes, you read that correctly. You, reading this now, are an athlete. An athlete is defined as a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina. So by definition, you are an athlete. That also means that you should start acting like one as well.

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What Does This Mean?

You have finally recognized your status as an athlete, but what does that mean? It means that you are dedicated to your sport and furthering your education on the topic. You are seeking to improve yourself in some way as well as to keep up a status that you have achieved. Even if it is your first day of running, you have achieved the status of runner and must work to maintain and improve that.

So How Does One Act Like an Athlete?

One of my qualms about runners is that they do not treat themselves like athletes and often neglect logic when it comes to the sport. For example, someone who is into lifting weights knows and realizes that you cannot lift the same way, every day, and expect results. However, runners practice a form of this by running the same pace, on the same route, in the same way, every day. They also neglect things like trigger point therapy, functional footwear, rest days, and recovery. They don’t see the whole picture and assume that running is not like other sports. Running is seen as an anomaly with its own set of rules that defy all logic. It is almost comical to watch.

5 Tips to Act Like an Athlete

1. Be a Student of the Sport

6648625-student-running-on-a-running-trackWork to learn as much as you can about your sport and what can make you better. The technology and information changes daily. Stay on top of it and find out what works best for you. Also develop your ability to separate what is marketing and what is true science when it comes to products. 

2. Look at the Body Holistically

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Running injuries typically aren’t a result of what ends up hurting. Often, the injury is the pain that is felt because of an inefficiency or weakness up or down the kinematic chain. Also take into account your nutrition, sleep, and other external factors that will affect your running.

3. Allow the Body to Recover

Give yourself the gold standard in recovery. Massage! Unfortunately most of us can’t afford a personal masseuse, but you can do self massage via Trigger Point Therapy. There is nothing better to keep you loose, limber, and ready to go for that next workout. Also make sure you have rest days worked into your training plan, your body needs these to build muscle.

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4. Maximize the Body’s Abilities

The body is complex and every part of the body plays a role in your running. Work to maximize these abilities such as range of motion, strength, length, energy delivery systems, and more. All of them combine to make for a better running experience. Athletes in other sports do a variety of drills to maximize their potential. You should do the same.

5. Start With a Strong Base

We all know that your first training run should not be a 22 miler. You need to build a strong base and build up to higher mileage and stresses. Similar to weightlifting, you have to start small, to get big.

Start Today

You may not have always seen yourself as an athlete, but start today. Start with the simple tasks of eating right, listening to your body, and massage before and after runs. You’ll be amazed at the quality of your workouts when you treat yourself like an athlete. I know some of these tips may not seem like rocket science, but it’s amazing how many runners don’t follow simple logic like these tips.

Always in Stride,

Jack