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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

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. 

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V80-gPkpH6M]

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).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwusaZX6ofs]

 

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

What Do Your Actions Say About You?

Everyday is a Vote

Every second of the day, you have the opportunity to vote. You get to vote for what you want your life to be, how you want to spend your time, and who you are with. Think about it. When you get home at the end of a long work day, you have a plethora of choices before you. All of them say something about what really matters to you and how much willpower you have.

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Simple Patterns or Goal Chasing, You Choose

Let’s look at the choice to watch reality TV. By making that choice, you are saying to yourself that reality TV is more important than any of your goals. More important than working on a six-pack, a Boston Qualifier, writing a book, catching up with an old friend, working towards financial independence, or being adventurous. Yes, it may seem dramatic, but how you choose to spend your time will determine your future. You can’t write a book by watching reality TV all night, every night. It requires you to sit down, write, and hammer out that book.

Remaining Conscious

This isn’t to say that every time you watch reality TV you’re an awful person and that you don’t care about any of your goals. It’s more to call attention to the importance of each decision and how it determines the trajectory of your life. We all could be more conscious during the day, thinking of how our decisions are shaping our lives.

It is difficult to be conscious of our decisions, but there are ways to hack our programming. Most humans have a tendency to fall into repeated patterns of action that are simple such as: watching TV, playing on a cellphone, or browsing the web. These activities are mindless and familiar.

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Hack Your Mind

To hack these patterns, write down what you want to accomplish each day in a notebook and keep to it. Plan out your day the night before, detailing what you want to do, hour by hour and stick to it. Writing something down is a promise to yourself, always keep those.

So what are your actions saying about you and your goals? Are you taking steps each day to achieve your goals or are you just fooling yourself and repeating patterns? Check out this YouTube video for some great motivation on the topic:)

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfLamzgWPf4″]

Quote – “Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.” – Tony Robbins

Always in Stride,

Jack

Every Runner, A Motivation Source

The Nature of Motivation

Motivation has the tendency to come in unique forms and vehicles. We are never quite sure when it will show up and why we find it motivating. The important part is that it does motivate us and push us to become a better version of ourselves. Every day when I wake up, I start with a motivational YouTube video to get me inspired to take on the day.

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The Journey of the Everyday Man

One thing I find disheartening about motivation though, is how many people do not see themselves as motivating. They assume that to be motivating, you have to be an athlete, a strong leader, or someone “important”. This is not the case. I am in love and obsessed with the Ironman recap videos that NBC Sports puts out every year. They put on an hour to hour and a half recap of the Ironman World Championship documenting the journey of the pros as well as the average person. I watch the video, not to see how the pros did, but to hear the stories of the every day man such as Brain Boyle (below).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65ugopJ5S4A]

Being Relatable is Motivational

Hearing the struggles that the common man endures is relatable. We can see ourselves in that struggle far better than we can see it in the elite athletes of the world. They know our pain, struggle, and despair. They are training day in and day out with kids, spouses, mortgages, day jobs, and diseases. They are paying their own way to the race and doing it for their own self-satisfaction. They may think that no one is watching them, but they are wrong.

Passion is Fuel for Others

I love being in the cheering section in the final miles of a race. There is so much drama and human emotion during the tail end of the race. I vividly remember athletes slowing to a walk as the weight of the distance comes down upon them. What I find most motivating is watching them feed off the energy of the crowd and finding a way to turn their walk, back into a run. You can see the determination in their face and eyes. Their passion burns brightly and the surrounding people feed off that energy. The crowd surges with the quickening pace of the runner and all inhibition of human emotion is lost. It is pure and it is real. These are the moments I remember most.

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You Motivate Someone Every Day You Run

Keep this in mind, every day you go for a run. Often people are too shy to dole out compliments, but I can guarantee you someone you don’t know is inspired by your run. You are a motivator, a hero, and a leader just because you get out there each day and go for a run. Never underestimate yourself and always push on. You are a motivation source to many. (This means you too Mom:)

Always in Stride,

Jack

Why Do You Do What You Do?

The question the title poses is simple and straightforward. What is your motivation for doing what you do? Are you doing it so you can look good for someone else, doing it for status, doing it to be recognized, doing it for a promotion, doing it to fit in, or any other myriad of reasons? In my opinion, there is only one true reason to do something and that is because you believe in your heart it is the right thing to do and it aligns with your passion.

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When you do something because it aligns with your passion, it shines through and others feed off of that. Too often you see people making purchases to “keep up with the Joneses” or to impress someone else around them. Perhaps a workout routine was started only because you wanted to impress that cute girl or guy in class and not for because you enjoy how it makes you feel?

I find some aspects of our society rather gross with how some people will go into debt just to make it look like they have “made it”. I also find it gross when companies are doing something simply because it is profitable and will do whatever it takes to ensure it stays profitable. I find it far nobler to pursue something because it is what you believe to be the correct thing to do.

This is part of the reason I love running so much, because it most often comes from a very pure place. It is a pursuit of consciousness, of being, and of self growth. At it’s most basic form there is no profit involved except what you personally get from your run. It costs nothings and offers smiles, relaxation, enjoyment, and endorphins.

Think about it with all the decisions you are going to make today and also with all the purchases you are going to be making soon. Is it because it is truly aligned with who you are or are you fooling yourself and attempting to fool everyone around you? Why do you exist, what is your purpose, what do you believe in, what inspires you?

“The more you inspire, the more people will inspire you.” ~Simon Sinek

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0HIF3SfI4]

Always in Stride,

Jack

Earmuffs and The Beauty of the Irrational

The airwaves have been dead for a while. The muse and wit to write have not come to visit lately, though that is not to say I haven’t had a few ideas. The time has come to fire it back up and proceed with the next stages to come. It’s about to be a very interesting ride with many unknowns, so might as well jump right in.

Beauty of the Irrational

This past year was my biggest year in endurance racing: Leona Divide 50 Mile Ultra Marathon, Ironman Coeur d’Alene, and Ironman Lake Tahoe. It was the most I have ever trained/raced over the course of a year and afforded me a variety of rewarding and enriching experiences. However, it was simply not enough, nor will it ever be. I am full of wanderlust and am a vagabond soul. My sights will always be set on what is next and exploring how far the human body can go.

I have had talks with some people about what is to come and for the most part it has been a negative response. This has led me to question my desires and coming challenges. Not surprisingly, my conclusion is to pull on the earmuffs and pursue the passion as I always have. My gut has never led me astray to and I am not about to ignore it now. Endurance racing is one of my greatest gifts I have to offer and gives me immense amounts of joy. Only a fool would turn away from that.

Ryan Sandes’ quote from a video called The Beauty of the Irrational is my fuel to keep going: “This is more just kind of feeding my soul. I don’t have ten reasons why I should run, it’s just I want to run and it’s something that excites me. I think generally we always question ourselves, we always feel like we have to be rational about things instead of just actually doing it for pure enjoyment, our gut feeling, and the sake of doing it.”
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Stay tuned for the 2014 race schedule, it’s going to be epic,

Always in Stride,

Jack

I’ve Never Used Cocaine, I’ve Never Given Birth

“I’ve never used cocaine, I’ve never given birth but these experiences I think are like that. Where everyday is like the day you experience the birth of your first child and then your child dies in your hands. Every day is so vivid and so colorful and so emotional. To live in those experiences is a powerful thing, it’s an addiction.” – Charlie Wittmack

I am often questioned why I choose to enter extreme endurance events such as the marathon, Ironman, ultra marathons, and more. People want to know the mentality behind the madness and where it comes from. It is an inner drive I have had in me since going to college. I am an addict. I am intensely addicted to the rush and adrenaline that comes with pushing the limits of the human body. For those within the sport, they understand the bliss and truth that are attained through these feats.

It is both an addiction and a fear. I have a fear of living a life that I might deem mediocre and uninteresting. The perfect way to combat this fear for me is to enter into these events that allow me to experience the whole range of human emotion and all the world has to offer. For me, life becomes so vivid and so beautiful when I am in these events and when I am outside of the comfort zone. As Krakauer once said “The core of man’s spirit comes from new experience.”

The next level of my addiction will be my first Ultra Marathon, The Leona Divide 50 Miler in Lake Hughes, California on April 27th. I am anxious to see what the race will teach me about myself and to enjoy the beauty of my beloved California.

 

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As with all my events, this one will only be another beginning. Greater goals await in the distance. It is my goal to one day complete the World Triathlon that is shown in the video of the week. Swim 275 Miles (Including crossing the English Channel). Bike 9000 miles. Run 950 Miles (Including scaling Mt. Everest). If history has anything to say about it, I won’t stop there. Why would I? Life is for the living. 

The World Triathlon Course

The World Triathlon Course

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Song – Feel Again – One Republic

Quote – “I’ve never used cocaine, I’ve never given birth but these experiences I think are like that. Where everyday is like the day you experience the birth of your first child and then your child dies in your hands. Every day is so vivid and so colorful and so emotional. To live in those experiences is a powerful thing, it’s an addiction.” – Charlie Wittmack

Video – [youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahz0nMmwAbY”]

Kill Your Heroes

Most every person reading this has some type of hero that they look up to; someone that they are in some way striving to become or attempting to emulate. Heroes can serve to give us hope and teach us to hold on just a few moments longer. A hero sets an example for others to live by, grounded firmly in sound morals and values. At times, heroes transcend humanity and become almost godlike.

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The moment a hero becomes godlike is the moment I disdain the hero motif. I stand in a different corner when it comes to heroes. I see heroes as a tool but also as a limitation. Too often heroes are put on a pedestal as someone who is super human and capable of things that nobody else is. As soon as you buy into this notion of the godlike hero, you have set your own limitations of how far you can go. Heroes are just as human as you and I. Heroes will fall and it now happens far more often than we would like in today’s information age. Take a look at Lance Armstrong, Marion Jones, A-Rod, Barry Bonds, the list goes on and always will.

Heroes are imperfect. You must never believe that it is impossible to surpass your hero in at least some way. Perhaps it’s being better at your job, or as a parent, or at a certain race distance, or any other countless measures. With each and every person you meet, you are better than them in some way and they are better than you in some way. You should seek to learn from them, as they should seek to learn from you. Push each other to evolve, the most basic aspect of human nature.

You must evolve to become the hero of your own life. You must figuratively kill your heroes in your mind and realize that you can be better than them in many ways. You need to quit playing the role of victim hoping to be saved and take control of your own life. As our song of the week puts it: “Never let your fear decide your fate. I say you kill your heroes and fly, fly baby.” The way I see it from where I am sitting: Game On World, Game On.

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Song – Kill Your Heroes – AWOLNATION

Quote – “We need a hero. Courageous, sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero, people line up for ’em, cheer for them, scream their names, and years later tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who told them to HOLD ON a second longer. I believe there is a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble. And finally gets us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the thing we want most.”

Video – [youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8U8w9AzLvnM”]