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Jack’s Go To Songs for the Week of 1/25/16

Hope you enjoy this week’s songs! Here they are for 1/25/16:

  1. Lord Huron – Time to Run – iTunes Link – Favorite band of all time with fun, upbeat running lyrics.

2. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Nightsweats – S.O.B. – iTunes Link – Super fun song with hilarious lyrics that will get you running.

3. Josh Ritter – Homecoming. – iTunes Link – A little more mellow but has good pickups. Nice speed play song with a good beat.

Enjoy and feel free to share what you are running with this week!

Jack

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

Songs of the Week 2/16/15

Hello All!

Enjoy your songs of the week! Great mix of some good house beats, some pop music, and a few others.

Songs of the Week 2/16/15

ArtistSongiTunes LinkAmazon Link
AviciiThe NightsiTunes LinkAmazon Link
One RepublicI LivediTunes LinkAmazon Link
David GuettaLovers On the SuniTunes LinkAmazon Link
Mr. ProbzWavesiTunes LinkAmazon Link
Jose GonzalezStep OutiTunes LinkAmazon Link

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

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.

javelina

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

 

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

What the Body Craves

The human body is remarkably adaptable and proved over millions of years how it can evolve. Evolution is occurring on a daily basis, though not as drastic as going from ape to human. I still remember when I first started running competitively in 7th grade. I couldn’t stand it. I ran because it was a social activity and because I had been cut from the baseball team that year. I longed for runs that were out of the coach’s eye so my friends and I could goof off. Running was not a top priority to say the least.

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However, over the years an evolution took place. Running became a passion and a necessity. Little by little the addiction grew until running became one of the most important things in my life. I am now at the point where I crave running. I have tuned my body with nutrition and training to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. In return, it expects to be tested on a daily basis.

I feel it in the core of my being if I don’t get a workout in during the day. My body longs to be in motion, doing what it is made to do and what I have tuned it to do (check out the YouTube video for a great commercial talking about this). This is rooted in evolution, given that if you didn’t move during the day to get your food, you most likely died. Even on days when I don’t feel my best, I still desire to be in motion.
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Today, I wasn’t feeling so great after a long weekend of partaking in some delicious adult beverages with a best friend from high school. The day was winding down and I still had yet to get in a workout. I attempted to take a nap but my body wasn’t having it. Even in a less than ideal state, my body craved an intense workout. I summoned some motivation and laced up my shoes. That 8 mile run was one of my best in recent weeks followed by a killer 15 minutes of abs. My body ate it up and loved it. I was left feeling far better than if I had stayed in for a nap and resorting to laziness.

What have you taught your body to crave?

Always in Stride,

Jack

Top 10 Running Books & Novels for Inspiration

After 14 years of running, you could say I’m a bit of a running junkie. To add to it, I’m also a big motivation junkie if you couldn’t tell by the name of this website. I don’t care if it’s cheesy, I’m a bit of a cheese ball myself. In my spare time, I enjoy reading books on running that inspire me and motivate me. This list is my top 10 favorite motivational books. Feel free to comment with your own personal favorites as this is obviously not an exhaustive list.

1. Once a Runner – John L. Parker

There is no book out there that spoke to me the way that Once a Runner by John L. Parker did. The book is phenomenal. It is a fiction piece that focuses on the protagonist, Quenton Cassidy and his struggles with training, school, girls, and life. I first read this book in college and felt as if the story was about me (as I’m sure most guys my age did). Quenton puts himself through the “Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials” via grueling 400m repeats and a host of other tortuous workouts. Following Quenton is inspiring and exhilarating. Once a Runner will always have a special place in my heart as my favorite running novel.

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2. To Be A Runner – Martin Dugard

To Be A Runner is a very close second to Once A Runner. Martin Dugard’s book is a personal account of his relationship with running over the years. Dugard is very honest about his experience and delves into personal details that every runner can relate to. He highlights the high highs and the low lows. He lets you know that it is okay to have those off days, but gives you the motivation to get back out there. When reading To Be A Runner, I could hardly set it down it was so good. I highly recommend that you pick it up.

To Be A Runner

3. PRE America’s Greatest Running Legend – Tom Jordan

No running book list would be complete without a book that looks at the beautiful life of Steve Prefontaine. As the title says it, “America’s greatest running legend” taken too early from us, before his full potential could be realized. Cross country and track runners grow up on the lore of Prefontaine and strive to emulate that powerful passion and drive. Even many years after his death, Pre continues to inspire us to see our sport as an art form.

PRE

4. Run or Die – Kilian Jornet

In the steroid-era of sports, so many heroes have come and gone. They reach the pinnacle of the sport, only for us to find out it was a farce and that we have been duped. At this point, I only have one athlete I look up to: Kilian Jornet. In my opinion he is the most pure, amazing athlete that has walked the earth. Period. I love his spirit, enthusiasm, and passion. He simply loves trail running, mountaineering, exploring, and living life to the fullest. He has inspired me to embark on many of my own journeys because of what he has accomplished. Run or Die is a phenomenal read, especially the Skyrunner’s Motto which now hangs in my apartment. Pick this book up ASAP.

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5. Running with the Buffaloes – Chris Lear

Ever hear of Kara Goucher? Well, she has a ridiculously fast husband by the name of Adam Goucher who ran for the University of Colorado at Boulder not too long ago. Running with the Buffaloes is the story of his team’s championship season and the trials they endured to emerge as champions. If you have ever run on a cross-country team before, this book is a must. The bond developed between teammates is hard to explain, but Lear does a pretty good job at capturing that magical season for the Buffaloes. Read Running with the Buffaloes before your XC season and you’ll be rearing and ready to go.

Runningwiththebuffaloes

6. Bowerman and the Men of Oregon – Kenny Moore

You can’t have a list with Pre in it and leave out legendary coach Bill Bowerman. Bowerman is arguably the greatest running coach of all time. He was a student of the sport, pioneer, and one hell of a manly man. Moore’s Bowerman and the Men of Oregon gives insight into Bowerman’s childhood and what molded him. He was a modern-day pioneer and just might be “the most interesting man in the world”. This book was gripping each and every page and I loved it. A fantastic account on the life of Bill Bowerman.

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7. Running & Being – George Sheehan

When I first picked up Running & Being in college, I will have to admit that I wasn’t a fan. To be honest, it was a little too “hippy-trippy” for my 20-year-old brain and I wasn’t quite ready to process the wisdom that Sheehan can give. Five years later, I absolutely loved Sheehan’s masterpiece of Running & Being. Sheehan is an amazing running philosopher and eloquently expresses the true meaning of running in ways many of us are incapable of. I now gift this book to friends and family, it is that good of a read.

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8. Why We Run – Bernd Heinrich

I did not discover Bernd until a Salomon Running YouTube video called “Why We Run“. Salomon Running and their videos have changed my life in so many ways and this video was no different. It led me to Heinrich’s book of Why We Run which is the perfect blend of running stories, evolutionary biology, science, and passion. With all those things combined it is pretty easy to strike a chord with me. He’s a brilliant man with a huge heart, definitely give Why We Run a read.

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9. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami

This book takes the cake for the worst titled book on the list, but don’t let that fool you! Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a great read, dipping into the psychology of runners and what makes us tick. He chronicles the highs and lows of his own running, my favorite part being the chapters about his ultra marathon where he found strength he did not know he had. I love books like this because I can relate to them so well and it just makes me happy to read them.

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10. Going Long – David Willey

Going Long is a running novel put out by Runner’s World that is a collection of running stories that all of us can relate to. These stories will move you and motivate you and some will even bring you near to tears. Running is such an emotional activity and this book does a good job at providing a variety of running stories to tug at our heart strings.

Going Long

 

Remember, this is not meant to be an exhaustive, end-all list of running books. Please share your favorites so I have more reading material!

Always in Stride,

Jack