Weakness is the absence of strength

These actions are those that the mentally strong avoid, and that we should consider adapting as our own:

1. Dwelling On The Past

Mentally strong individuals focus on the present moment and on the near future. They understand that the past is out of our control and the far future is about as predictable as the weather this winter.

2. Remaining In Their Comfort Zone

The comfort zone is a dangerous place, a dark abyss where anyone who remains there for too long loses his or herself entirely. Staying within your comfort zone is giving up on life.

3. Not Listening To The Opinions Of Others

Only the foolish believe themselves to be sufficient in all regards. When it comes to brainstorming, ideas can’t so much be forced as they can be caught. A good idea is a good idea, regardless of whether or not you came up with it. Don’t let your ego get the better of you; if someone has great advice to give, take it.

4. Avoiding Change

What the mentally strong understand that the mentally weak do not is that change is unavoidable. Trying to avoid the inevitable is pointless. Therefore, trying to avoid change is pointless; it’s a mere waste of time and energy.

5. Keeping A Closed Mind

You don’t know everything. Even the things you believe yourself to know are likely to not be entirely true. If you keep a closed mind, you are preventing yourself from learning new material. If you stop learning, you stop living.

6. Letting Others Make Decisions For Them

Only you should be making your own decisions; you can’t allow others to make them for you. All this does is shift the responsibility from you to someone else, but the only person failing in the end is you. If you don’t have the courage to fail, then you don’t have the courage to succeed.

7. Getting Jealous Over The Successes Of Others

When others succeed, you should be happy. If they can do it, so can you. The success of others does not, in any way, lessen the chances of you succeeding. If anything, it should motivate you to keep pushing forward.

8. Thinking About The High Possibility Of Failure

Our thoughts control our perspective; our perspective controls our results. The mentally strong understand this and use this to their advantage. There’s always the chance you may fail, but as long as there is the chance you may succeed, it’s worth trying.

9. Feeling Sorry For Themselves

Sh*t happens. Life can be hard. People get hurt; others die. Life isn’t all roses and butterflies. You will fall off that horse again and again and again. The question is, are you strong enough to keep getting back on it?

10. Focusing On Their Weaknesses

Although working on our weaknesses does have its benefits, it’s more important to focus on banking on our strengths. The most well-rounded person is not the person that gets the furthest in life. Being average in all regards makes you average. However, mastering a certain skillset or trait will allow you to beat the competition with less effort.

11. Trying To Please People

A job well done is a job well done, no matter who is judging the final product. You can’t please everybody, but you can always manage to do your very best.

12. Blaming Themselves For Things Outside Their Control

The mentally strong know the things they can control, understand the things they cannot control, and avoid even thinking about that which is completely out of their hands.

13. Being Impatient

Patience isn’t just a virtue; it is the virtue. Most people don’t fail because they aren’t good enough, or aren’t capable of winning or succeeding. Most people fail because they are impatient and give up before their time has come.

14. Being Misunderstood

Communication is key in any properly functioning system. When it comes to people, things get a bit more complicated. Simply stating information is never enough; if the receiving party misunderstands you, your message is not being properly relayed. The mentally strong do their best to be understood and have the patience to clear up misunderstandings.

15. Feeling Like You’re Owed

You aren’t owed anything in life. You were born; the rest is up to you. Life doesn’t owe you anything. Others don’t owe you anything. If you want something in life, you only owe it to yourself to go out and get it. In life, there are no handouts.

16. Repeating Mistakes

Make a mistake once, okay. Make a mistake twice… not so okay. Make the same mistake a third time, you may need to consider giving up alcohol and drugs. You’re either stupid or permanently high.

17. Giving Into Their Fears

The world can be a scary place. Some things frighten us with good cause, but most of our fears are illogical. If you know that you want to try something, try it. If you’re scared, then understand that being scared of failing must mean that succeeding means a whole lot to you.

18. Acting Without Calculating

The mentally strong know better than to act before completely understanding the situation at hand. If you have time to ponder over something and cover all your bases, then do so. Not doing so is pure laziness.

19. Refusing Help From Others

You’re not Superman; you can’t do it all. Even if you can, why should you? If others are offering to help, let them help. Be social. Listen to their ideas and watch how they do things. You may learn something. If not, then you can teach them something and do what humans are meant to do: socialize.

20. Throwing In The Towel

The biggest weakness in all of humanity is giving up — calling it quits, throwing in the towel. The mentally strong go about things in such a way. Only do things if they are important to you; forget the things that aren’t important to you. If they’re important to you, then pursue them until you succeed. No exceptions, ever.

from elitedaily


trail |trāl| camping |ˈkampiNG|

walk into the wilderness, sleep on ground

I bought this backpack a while ago hoping to do some hike-in camping. My failure to actually do so for the past several years always went something like this...

Somewhere between packing up gear, driving to the trailhead and hiking to a campsite decide that it would be more enjoyable to either run and then sleep in my own bed or drive to a campsite with fire wood and toilets. This weekend started out in a similar state of indecision. I was halfway up icehouse canyon trail wearing my full camping pack still telling myself that I probably would just go home. The excuses are endless: better rest in your own bed, better food in your own kitchen, better fun in front of the tv. Clearly none of these reasons out-weigh spending a night in the wild. And unfortunately for my weak side I have ample amounts of practical tenacity for every possible inconvenience of camping. You forgot a flashlight - if you stop taking pictures with your phone it will provide enough light. I didn't bring enough food - you are a fatadapted ultra runner and will survive till morning. I only have 48ounces of water - drink, fill up at the spring on the way, conserve. I pride myself in trail efficiency and this was a good time to test my abilities. The biggest problem was that the sun was setting. I didn't reach Cucamonga peak until the last orange hues in the sky were slipping over the horizon. The only thing that kept me trekking up there despite my doubts about actually wanting to camp was that I have for so long had this specific trail camping experience in the back of my mind. If I didn't do it now, would it ever happen? I told myself that I could always get to the peak and turn around. I'd been down icehouse in the dark several times before. And things were looking good. The moon which was less then a half sliver was actually casting shadows. Enough so that I set up my tent without the use of any artificial light. Well none except the sea of lights from the inland empire that can be viewed from the peak. Stretching all the way from the coastline to the west, towards the desert in the east. Like shimmering water it fills every level expanse, it's sparkling tentecles jutting into canyons circumnavigating dark spaces where mountains sleep. I chilled quickly as the wind whipping 5000' up the escarpment ceaselessly stole any body heat I could produce despite wearing everything I had brought. I enjoyed it for a time then crawled in for the night. To make a very long and uncomfortable story short, especially if you've ever camped before, it was a long night. But come the dawn did and with the first light I was up packing my things. I finished just as the sun rose and oh a thousand words cannot describe this sunrise perched above the empire looking out with the wilderness waking up around me.

This was the exclusive experience I had bought. A five billion star, exclusive sunrise membership that trumps any 5 star first class establishment hands down. Despite a clear discovery that I'm not a fan of hiking with heavy packs, a completely unnatural state, it was worth every step.


opportunity creates doubt

Old men aren't plagued with indecision. They aren't bothered that some great and new thing will elude them. They KNOW what they want from years of experience and so do just what they like. The biggest decisions of their life have already passed. Dreams come and gone. I envy the calmness in such a state. As a young man today life is full of potential regret. Every option is perceivably at our fingertips both large and small. There are a multitude of choices one must navigate just to get through the day much less what to do with careers and relationships. Access to information abounds, more products than anyone needs or wants are battling for attention, and the mobility of our lives is unmatched in the history of the world. From the food we eat to the technology we use, we can essentially live the same life almost anywhere in the world. In such an environment it takes extreme conviction to block out the noise and move purposefully in a direction. Failure to do so results in a kind of paralysis, wandering aimlessly like a blind horse through the field. Without choice, you don't question yourself. Without money you don't worry that you will waste it. Without access to endless info-tainment you focus with more clarity on what surrounds you. The path traveled through life then constitutes a more natural, almost 'excusable' existence. This is the great fallacy of our current society. Not to say that mankind was better off living in caves thinking only of his next meal, but is it not so out of the question?

It is the availability of excess that causes subconscious anxiety. We are biologically hard-wired to find and take advantage of opportunity, a characteristic that has become completely useless in the condition of abundance which mass production has allowed. Freedom lacks a certain kind of gravity and we are left with the terrible decision of how to define ourselves, or in which way our lives should flow. It has been impressed upon us, under the guise of raising up individual freedom no less, that each of us is a blank slate ‘free’ of gender, ethnicity, class and anything that separates or otherwise hinders us. ‘Free’ of the very things that define us ‘free’ of our differences and ‘free’ of our individuality. The directions to go from here are vast. We find ourselves in a hallway of seemingly endless half-open doors. Behind each one is a trail that leads to a different peak. The desire to choose so overwhelming that, in my opinion, many of us never leave. Or have at the very least never climbed a mountain, having turned back partway after realizing that it might be better to spend our efforts on some different endeavor while time lasts. This resembles stagnation rather than progress. Again, it is not my view that we are worse off now than in the past or that a young wealthy student has a harder life than someone more disadvantaged. Rather, it is my view that we find ourselves in an increasingly paramount position of responsibility. That if we are to be fulfilled by the changes or so called 'advancements' of our species we must be intentional and thoughtfully motivated in our actions and choices. We risk not only purposelessness but slavery to the entities that recruit education and technology to take advantage of this mass state of indecision. The battle for control has always been. You must understand this if you are to truly chase your own freedom.


Chimera 100

Like all good ultra marathon stories it begins at mile 75, in the middle of the night on the side of a mountain. A volunteer was helping me refill my water bottle inside a warm tent perched high on the ridge of the Saddleback mountains overlooking the twinkling lights of Orange county to the west and lake Elsinore to the east. I drank a cup of hot broth preparing for the next grueling 7 mile descent to the desert floor below, before turning around to climb back up. Grueling because after 15,000' of climbing and descending over rocky, tumbling, crunchiness this was going to hurt.

As soon as I got my bottle and grabbed a few snacks for the trip I took off like any fool-hardy ultra runner would... I ran till I couldn't run, then I ran some more. I had to keep up a consistent pace downhill in order to make up the time it would inevitably take to get back up. I broke up the endless spiraling dirt road with occasional songs. Even though it seems endless at times, the distance is fixed and every step is getting you closer, you must simply keep going and eventually you will get there. Don't worry if it's around the next corner or on the other side of a mountain.

(( The Corona aid station at the bottom of the hill is the last place to see your crew and/or pick up a pacer. I wasn't going to be getting either because I had told them at mile 50 to go get some rest. Back then I was just beginning to feel the deep muscle ache, more a feeling of heaviness then pain, that comes halfway through a 100mile ultra, as the slow boiling physical pain subtly fatigues the mind, my brother asked if I wanted him to pace me in. I refused him, belying my building anxiety of getting through what lay ahead. Despite the increasingly attractive idea of having something to look forward to later in the night, i told him that i wasn't going to expect anyone until the finish. It was pertinent at that moment to have an unambiguous plan and not open the door to subconscious anticipation, potential disappointment or doubt, and other wasteful expenditures of mental energy. After all, the only person that can get your legs to the finish is you. ))



As I neared the bottom, the idea of climbing back up this monster had become less than appealing accept for the fact that I would rather have done anything besides more downhill at that point. So I made a quick turn around and began the trudge back up. To say I ran would be a lie. I walked. And as I walked, another runner walked past me. I was reminded of a moment on my training run over the 7 summits of baldy when I was standing at the bottom of the sixth peak feeling totally incapable of continuing. I let my feet take a step without deciding what to do and then continued doing so until I reached the the top. It's profound what happens psychologically to your belief after getting to the other side of impossible. As I marched up towards the ridge I knew that the other side existed and wanted to go there. I tried to run, or at least look like I was running when other runners came down the hill. I planned on having a snack to break up the climb but when I took inventory and realized that there was only 4 almonds left to eat I knew things were only going to get worse before they got better. I shuffled and grunted and counted out my steps until at last I was back on the ridge road.

The volunteers told me it was now 3:15 in the morning. Less than 3 hours left to cover the remaining 8 miles over rough terrain and get back to blue Jay if I wanted a silver and gold belt buckle reading 'Chimera 100 - 24 hours', instead of 'Chimera 100 - 30 hours'. The ridge road traverses across hideously rock invested dusty roads that four wheel drives find difficult to navigate. A place I have trained many times leading up to the race where every steep climb and quad-trashing, ankle-rolling downhill is followed by another and another.

I pictured every turn of the course ahead. I pictured the finish with my family and the race director. I pictured a 24 hour belt buckle. Then I pushed all of these thoughts out of my head and focused on the stars in the sky, the lights of the city shimmering up through the fog below. I asked myself over and over, "how bad do you want that buckle?" And the answer was always the same -- another step. Then ten more steps. Then suddenly I was moving across the mountain running through the night. It doesn't take strength, it doesn't take speed, all it takes is stubbornness. I refused to let go. The wind careening up the slopes violently whipped up dust storms blinding me momentarily pushing me back. I yelled into the air, BRING. IT. OOOOON!

Descending towards Blue Jay campground at last I took deep breaths to make sure I had enough to push all the way to the finish. I imagined missing the 24 hours by a minute. I imagined regretting not giving everything I could at the finish. And I ran from the heart. I hit the tarmac and felt like collapsing but pushed the thought out of my mind with the relief that the Chimera 100 would soon be over. After a year of planning, moving to the area to train on the course, and 9 weeks of focused build up this was the victory lap I felt light and swift being carried towards home. I entered the trees below the campsite and soon saw the lights of the finish. I howled and my family waiting for me howled back. I wanted to enjoy it, to laugh and weep at the same time. Such immense relief.

I told Steve Harvey the race director that I wanted the 24 hour buckle so bad. "well now you got it" he said.

(23:24) 20k' gain






RISK - definition of black swans and anti-frgility

The cost of insuring against B is too small compared to the potential risk.

B. A cataclysmic event taking place(e.g. earthquake destroying home)

The risks of doing A is too great compared to the potential gain.

A. Something to avoid perceived vulnerability (e.g. taking medication for headache)



I have always felt that missing things is pointless. Pointless because it has no effect on our tangible experience. But I miss you. I miss the light that was there in the absence of everything. It was like a dream then. It's like a dream now.



On my run today I thought about information and how we acquire it. How it takes years of learning to master a particular subject or school of thought. Not just through mote repetition and memorization of facts but by exposure to this data from multiple perspectives. At first like shining a dim light in the dark we recognize outlines and familiar shapes. An edge here a corner there. The next time we are exposed each line becomes more clear and familiar. Some of the shapes join together to form an image. Then we may overhear someone speaking about the topic or read an article about something different that somehow relates. This begins to add color to the image like painting over a sketch. The new information gives the image form and dimension. We continue like this gaining knowledge and linking it as the picture evolves. Some might say that in this analogy it naturally follows that eventually the image would become an indistinguishable mess of color and shapes like a modern work of art. But in truth at this point the real mastery has occurred. To the uninitiated eye it may seem like a meaningless blur but to the artist who created it the layers of information from the very first details are all recognizable still. It is effectively without thought that the mind now reflects. It is more of a feeling that contains the subtleties of that particular topic within it. This frees the mind to work more efficiently and solve other deeper more complex questions.

Extreme endurance training is about forming a relationship with yourself. It sounds a little strange. What does it mean to trust yourself? When the body is tested to exhaustion and experiencing pain beyond anything it has previously encountered, the way you 'interact' with yourself is paramount to the reactions you make and the ability to calmly push forward in such situations. The purpose then of training is to build confidence in your own abilities. When you get back from a run, or more aptly after a couple days to weeks of training, you should look back at the more difficult moments that you got through as moments of truth. These tangible 'tests' allow you to gauge wether you have it in yourself to get through the difficult race or adventure you are preparing for. Not only does it help build confidence in knowing how strong you are, but on the easy days when you allow your body to recover you begin to have confidence in the goals you have set out. As you begin to trust the decisions you are making, there is a calm manner of respect about you. If you make rash decisions like never going easy how can you trust yourself to train properly and arrive on game day prepared? Your development both mental and physical will reflect this and you will be defeated long before the starting line. It takes confidence to both push when you need to push and to back off when it is appropriate. Knowing when to do this is just another aspect of trust that must be fostered within yourself.

The body is extremely adaptable, but there are some us that want to know what it can do under prime conditions. Dare to take yourself seriously, so that you can capitalize on the advantage you already have. Celebrate good choices. Only you have the control over your own decisions.

When you look at places in your life that you could improve. Be it more sleep, more exercise, less stress, etc. It's important to know why you want to change. It will help to frame this change from the correct perspective. And this begins with what you call it. My brother talks about getting up earlier in the morning with regret. He wishes he could get in the habit of running before work, eating healthier meals throughout the day, and incorporating cross training into his race prep. Year after year he doesn't accomplish these things. He repeatedly tells me he thinks he should 'be more disciplined about it'. That he should be 'more disciplined' like I am. But the thing is, I don't see my focus on doing these things as a discipline. A discipline in my view is something you do regardless of why it's done but purely out of, well, discipline. To create a habit or make your existence more efficient. The closest I get to a discipline is that everyday when I wake up the first thing I do is put on running shorts. Even if I don't plan to go running. Why? Because it puts my mind in the right place so that every decision I make throughout the day is structured around improving my running experience. Once I'm in this mindset eating healthy, running early, sleeping a ton and everything else I do to benefit my training comes as naturally as waking up. The mind functions well on repetition and habit after all. If I were to call it anything it would be diligence rather than discipline. Diligence means you are taking care and being intentional about your decisions because you know the outcome will be affected.



A control freak is someone who over emphasizes vulnerability and tries to limit risk. When something goes wrong they do one of 3 things: they freeze up until they figure or something else they should control in order to avoid future risk, they blame someone else/ hire someone else to deal with the problem rather than learning how to deal with the unknown, they copy others who are successful hoping it will lead them to the same success and in the process avoid risk.

A problem solver is someone who isn't afraid to take risk / responsibility on themselves. They accept that vulnerability is part of the natural world and when plans change they are able to adapt, modify and continue. It is not a learned skill or adopted trait - it's an attitude. Ironically, a control freak's approach to becoming a problem solver is to look for the steps or method of adopting the traits of a problem solver.

I met this runner after a long group run talking about how he walks on a treadmill for recovery. No matter how hard the previous effort had been walking was a pure miracle for recovery. The way he was so animated and filled with conviction I immediately thought that I should buy the first treadmill I could get my hands on. Or at least that I should try this whole walking thing in some modified way. It's funny how our brains work like this. We see something working for someone else, and immediately think that if we do the same things we will be as successful as them. This is why nike puts it's logo on athletes, why budweiser has beautiful people having fun in all of it's ads. This false association got me thinking more about that runners solution. He wasn't fired-up on his unique method because he read it in a book or saw someone successful doing it. He believed in it because he discovered it for himself. It's problem solving. Taking the 'problem' of recovery and experimenting, researching, attempting to find your own way through.



I began to wonder if it was going to be a special day when race director Jessica DeLine handed me bib #3. Apparently she thought I was top 5 potential. And who wouldn't want to be lucky number 3? So off we raced under the stars into the 6am darkness of the mountains above lake Elsinore. Immediately the climb up to the ridge begins, dulling the usual race-start enthusiasm. As the road climbed steeper everyone began dropping back and I found myself in 2nd despite not pushing too hard. I followed the sole lead runner's increasingly distant headlamp. Was he a local just going out hard for the hell of it? Or had he run the race before and was going for the course record? Part of me desperately wanted to keep him in sight. While everything else told me to save the racing for later.

Every time I thought the early leader was out of sight I would round a bend and see him up ahead. Meanwhile someone was closing quickly on my tail. Scott passed me on the first steep descent once we reached the ridge road, he was bombing down effortlessly, talking about being 3 minutes off his pace from last year. He disappeared down into Trabuco canyon where I caught up to the guy who had been in the early lead. I tucked in behind him and tried to conserve as we rolled towards holy jim trailhead. I was feeling really good, happy to be running in the mountains. My mind drifted from the trail and in an instant I caught a rock or root with my foot(not sure which). I was thrust violently forward to the ground, my hands out in front taking the brunt of the impact. The shock! The terror! I rolled over onto my back as the adrenaline fueled emergency beacons erupted requesting a status report. Is your head still on? Yes. Is that poison oak you're laying in? Maybe. Can you get up? I think so. Back on my feet and moving I continued the self diagnosis. Right elbow scraped to hell. Left hand stinging all over. A golf ball sized swelling under a nice patch of missing skin quickly protruded from the palm. It was difficult to move those fingers for the rest of the day. I began to wonder how I would open my water bottles to refill them, much less carry two. And the biggest question of all was if it could be broken.

The aid station at the holy jim trailhead was more of a volunteer water stop with some gels. I knew they wouldn't be able to advise me so I managed to refill one bottle and get my ass back up the mountain. I somehow took the lead on the climb as the other two leaders seemed to be settling down significantly. Scott said he didn't feel as good as last year and was giving up on the race. I told him he would be back in it but wanted to put a lead on the switchbacks which are pretty much runnable. After getting some more water at the peak and being spurred on by the crew I made a quick turnaround. On my way down I passed people on the little out and back from the peak who were still on their way up. I saw Madison in second place climbing well and super excited. I knew he had never run more than a 50k race previously so I could only hope that the new distance would stump his youthful speed. Everyone was very supportive at first but soon the attitudes changed from 'nice work dude!' to grunts and grimaces. On the descent from Santiago Peak you have the option of taking a short route back to the finish and dropping down to the 50k distance. If the pain in my hand wasn't subsiding and I hadn't been in the lead this would have been considerably tempting! It turns out that this easy-out got the better of many people.

Floating back down the holy jim trail I tried to balance putting in a good lead with not digging myself into a hole. For the next 20 miles I didn't know how much of a lead I had on the chasers. The mental game would be theirs to win. It was important to forget about the lead and relax letting the chasers worry about wether I was gaining on them or not. If I could stay out of sight and maintain my lead it would be harder and harder for anyone to overcome the mental gap as 50miles of fatigue added up.

I walked every step of the climb back up Horse Thief trail. My legs felt dead, like solid concrete. Breath deep steady breaths, stand up straight, don't stop moving. It's so steep you can see the bottom from the top of the switched backs 1000' up. I managed to run in to the aid station at the ridge being run by Steve Harvey(Chimera race director). I told him I was glad that particular climb isn't a part of the Chimera 100 course and he threatened to add it. I rolled off along the ridge road with it's sudden steep declines and inclines. There's nothing flat but many sections seem runnable. I knew that the chasers would have to run every uphill that i did and faster. So I managed the damage on my body and tried to consolidate the lead meanwhile getting increasingly nauseous from all the sugar.

At all of the aid stations I made sure I appeared fresh, smiling, moving smoothly. If the second place runner asked how I was doing they would get bad news about how good I looked. After summiting Santiago peak a second time I would finally get a feel for how close the chasers were. Descending the out and back however I didn't run into anyone before making the turn off to another trail. With 99% of the climbing done I knew the race was mine to win but the steadily dropping road all the way back to the finish is a severe 7 mile descent. You're always nervous that if you relax someone will come out of nowhere to blow you away. I tried to move swiftly until the downhill ate away at my enthusiasm. My knee started to hurt, my whole body begged for flat ground. My left shoulder/back that had progressively gotten tenser all day became a pinched nerve so painful my body was contorting awkwardly. Like many final miles of a hard run it seemed endless until the road finally flatting out just before rounding a corner and seeing the tents at the finish.

52.5 miles
+12,500' gain





I'm a left handed person. That is to say that I write with me left hand. I kick with my left foot. They say 'left-dominant' brains tend to produce more 'creative-type' people. In my case this pretty much makes sense. My job is something that I once considered a hobby, making videos. I always find the process of creating something where once there was nothing satisfying. And this is why training plans don't work. In fact I have such a low success rate with them that I view them as more of an outline of what I won't do. There's a saying in movie making, a script is pretty much a list of everything that won't make it into the movie. Don't get me wrong I love numbers, and plans. I'm very analytical and reflective too. I also bat and play golf with my right hand. So sitting down and creating 'the perfect' training plan is quite a fun exercise even if it doesn't lead to doing any physical exercise. The problem is motivation. I don't respond to a set of mileage set out for myself two months ago. It doesn't get me out of bed to go run even if I know that there's a race in the near future. I pretty much create a mental block from executing my training plan the minute I write it down. What I have found works better is to give myself broader more general guidelines for a specified amount of time. For example, if I make a goal for the month like climb 10,000ft every week this month, than my creative side gets to take over day to day figuring out the path towards achieving this. Along the way I can geek out on the numbers and check off periodic goals to keep me on track. By keeping my schedule minimal and flexible I greatly increase the odds that I will get more running done. More important than having the perfect training plan is making the act of training fit most efficiently into my life. Simple habits like putting on running shorts first thing everyday and keeping my favorite running shoes right by the door make the process easy.


Standards of Perfection

people seem to forget that perfection takes total focus and dedication. they come to expect it without sacrifice. there is nothing if there is no struggle. darkness makes light possible. acknowledging this is the first step to realizing your potential. you must not fall prey to their folly and come to expect the impossible out of yourself even though they desire it.

in creative work, all achievements are relative. perfection is just an esoteric idea thrown at a wall of individual experience. this is why you get stuck in a 'loop' if you aim for the absolute best you can be in all areas of life. it's meaningless until you decide what the best looks like.

you cannot associate too closely with a project or you will feel that you also might not be satisfactory in some way. the beauty of life is that we are always becoming. always new. there is no negative for life.

and if being able to completely open yourself to a vision and let it become you is a gift. then use it sparingly and if it does not reveal itself, take peace from it.

the joy of what you do is to create something from nothing. no money or deadline or co-worker can take that away from you. always create.

it's easy to take things to seriously. but you just hafta smile and eat, run, play, work, repeat and pretty soon you might find that ur alive.

live in the moment not for the moment. make the best choice now, knowing that you deserve it later.

drink from ur best glass, eat the best food everyday, and play like you mean it because today might be your last.

Quotes - Wild

I realized I was having a kind of strange, abstract, retrospective fun. In moments among my various agonies

the thing that was so profound to me that summer -- and yet also, like most things, so very simple -- was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the [very] thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay.

The silence was tremendous. The absence felt like a weight ...The sun still stared ruthlessly down on me, not caring one iota whether I lived or died. The parched scrub and scraggly trees still stood indifferently resolute, as the always had and always would.

I felt both uneasy about my situation and astounded by the vast lonesome beauty. should I continue on or turn back? I felt both uneasy about my situation and astounded by the vast lonesome beauty. should I turn back? I wondered, though I knew the answer. I could feel it lodged in my gut: of course I would continue on.


Epic day in the San Gabriels yesterday!

Baldy 10,064', Thunder 8,587’, Telegraph 8,986', Timber 8,303’, Cucamonga 8,858’, Bighorn 8,441’, Ontario 8,693’

At the base of Bighorn I didn't think I had the last two peaks in me. I almost took the trail past the turn off to head back down to my car. I started taking steps very slowly up the unmaintained ridge line trail(nearly cross-country) and pretty soon found myself on the other side of the peak heading towards Ontario. It's a powerful experience to get through moments of disbelief like that. I ran out of water on the way up to Ontario but luckily found the springs down in Icehouse canyon gushing. I drank for a minute at both of them and was still thirsty as the last light of day disappeared in an orange glow against the pine forested slopes. Running down the road back to my car at Baldy village I saw a fox or coyote dash across the street. The sliver of a moon shone brightly in the darkening sky and an owl hooted somewhere in the forest by the road. A perfect way to end an exceptional day in the mountains.

47.5k, 8hrs +11,500




It was 95 in the shade when I started up the cactus to clouds trail from Palm Springs, elevation 465'. As I climbed up the 15% grade trail through a maze of desert rocks and sand the trail was nearly impossible to follow. Heat from a scorching sun reflected off the land and encircled me while the grid lined streets quickly shrunk on the desert floor below.

My body rebelled against every step up, lactic acid coursing through my legs. My back was tense with the 2 liters of water strapped to it. My whole body soaked in sweat despite the dry air.

Vegetation slowly became less sparse as I climbed through the 5 zones this trail encompasses. It appears on a map to be a relatively straight shot up the steep slopes but in reality there are countless switchbacks the entire way.

I caught glimpses of the ariel tram wires to the north and the mountain station where tourists caught rides up the mountain. Once reaching the rocky edge of the escarpment and refilling my water at the ranger station I could carry on to San Jacinto peak 6 miles further up.

I was certainly running out of daylight by this time and could have turned around but the lure of completing the entire trail from desert floor up to 10,800 was unavoidable even if it meant possibly descending the last stretch in the dark.

I past clean pleasant smelling tourists as they meandered through the alpine valley with cameras slung around their necks. I felt like a ghost wisping by their controlled environment through the forest. I probably looked more like a homeless person.The peak was absolutely worth it (www.dermandar.com/p/dDAYvw). One of the best views in the world from the pacific to san gorgonio to salton sea.

The minuscule size of the neighborhoods where my car was parked in palm springs 11000 ft below was intimidating. I was lucky to find a little signal on my phone and texted Steve realizing that I hadn't told anyone where I was. I could have stayed there on the cool mountain top a long time but had too start down quickly chasing the mountains shadow as it stretched east towards Joshua Tree.

I hooted and hollered all the way down to scare away evening wildlife, being the only person on this part of the mountain all day. I past three deer just twenty feet from the trail and as twilight began to fade a loud sudden hiss revealed a rattlesnake beneath a poky cactus coiling up to strike at my legs. It was at least 4' long and tan as the sand. The city lights began to sparkle and stars were now visible. After delaying the use of my tiny emergency led light till the last possible minute I began using it to navigate the rockier terrain. The trail was difficult to follow winding around the rocky mountainside in the dark. At one point I went off the edge towards a valley with several tracks that turned out to be nothing. Instead of forging ahead I backtracked to the shoulder and relocated the main route.

The city lights reflected off the rocks as I began to see cars moving along the grid. Soon enough I was able to hear them and I realized I was sweating again profusely. A warm breeze brought the thick air of a 97 degree desert evening up towards me. By the time I could hear the town I was getting close. It took me an hour more of steady descending to reach the bottom after 10hours on the trail.

48k +11,250'


Quotes - The 4-Hour Body (Timothy Ferriss)

Skeletal muscle is a very effective generator of force. 1kg of it can support 44kg of mass.

RULE #1: AVOID “WHITE” CARBOHYDRATES. Avoid any carbohydrate that is, or can be, white. The following foods are prohibited, except for within 30 minutes of finishing a resistance-training workout like those described in the “From Geek to Freak” or “Occam’s Protocol” chapters: all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading. If you avoid eating the aforementioned foods and anything else white, you’ll be safe. Just for fun, another reason to avoid the whities: chlorine dioxide, one of the chemicals used to bleach flour (even if later made brown again, a common trick), combines with residual protein in most of these foods to form alloxan. Researchers use alloxan in lab rats to induce diabetes. That’s right—it’s used to produce diabetes. This is bad news if you eat anything white or “enriched.”

Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again.
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories.
Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit.
Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts.

1. Ensure that your first meal of the day is not a binge meal. Make it high in protein (at least 30 grams) and insoluble fiber (legumes will handle this).
2. Consume a small quantity of fructose, fruit sugar, in grapefruit juice before the second meal, which is the first crap meal. Even small fructose dosing has an impressive near-flat-lining effect on blood glucose.
3. Use supplements that increase insulin sensitivity (PAGG)
4. Consume citric juices, whether lime juice squeezed into water, lemon juice on food, or a beverage like the citrus kombucha I had.
5. Increase insulin sensitivity before binging by adding some cinnamon to your pastries.

Use caffeine and yerba mate tea, at the most crap-laden meals.
Greens supplement, “Athletic Greens” doesn’t contain caffeine but will also help.

Do 60–90 seconds of funny exercises a few minutes before you eat and, ideally, again about 90 minutes afterward

[ because it brings glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4) to the surface of muscle cells, opening more gates for the calories to flow into. The more muscular gates we have open before insulin triggers the same GLUT-4 on the surface of fat cells, the more we can put in muscle instead of fat. "In conclusion, the present investigation demonstrated that 8 days of HIT lasting only 280 seconds elevated both GLUT-4 content and maximal glucose transport activity in rat skeletal muscle to a level similar to that attained after LIT ('Low-Intensity Training' of six hours a session), which has been considered a tool to increase GLUT-4 content. Compared to a control, GLUT-4 content in the muscle was increased 83% with 280 seconds of HIT vs. 91% with six hours of LIT.]

Policosanol (Nature's Life)

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been proven to regenerate vitamin C and vitamin E; restore levels of intracellular glutathione, an important antioxidant that declines with age; and increase excretion of toxic heavy metals such as mercury.

Ensure adequate consumption of B-complex vitamins while using PAGG

Green Tea Flavanols (EGCG) - decaffeinated
Human studies have shown some potential fat-loss with as little as a single dose of 150 milligrams of EGCG.

Garlic extract and its constituent parts have been used for applications ranging from cholesterol management to inhibiting lethal MRSA staph infections.

Science and empirical data have shown that the body needs 4-6 weeks to reset and regain its physiological bearings. The hypothalamus gland controls bodyweight, boyd temperature, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and circadian cycles. The interim phase allows the hypothalamus gland to recalibrate and readjust.

Allowing the body to "forget" exercises in an interim/recovery phase makes the movements feel fresh and new when they are re-instituted and the training effect is profound.

The basic movement patterns are like the 0-9 keys on a calculator. All other numbers, complex movements, in this case, are still combinations of the basics. If you feel strained, you're not using the proper technique. Stop and review rather than persist through the pain and develop bad habits.

So far, two primary strains of bacteria have been found to influence fat absorption, almost regardless of diet: Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. Lean people have more Bacteroidetes and fewer Firmicutes; obese people have more Firmicutes and fewer Bacteroidetes.

Prebiotics are fermentable substrates that help bacteria grow and thrive. In this category, I’ve experimented with organic inulin and fructo-oligosaccharides, commonly referred to as FOS. In the whole-foods realm, garlic, leeks, and chicory are all high in inulin or FOS content.


Grateful Pain

When you're out there struggling and things aren't going your way. You don't know when the suffering will ever end...

Thats when you have to take the pain you're feeling, look it square in the eyes... and smile, embrace it, make it your friend. Because pain is change, pain is growth, pain is what makes you stronger. Anybody that wants to improve but doesn't want to get to know pain is a fool.

Embrace the pain, better yourself. It's that simple.

- Posted from the Road



I love that raw devastated feeling you get in the middle of a long run on a hot dusty day. You know you're giving it everything. The trail is stripping you down to your most essential strengths and weaknesses. You're body feels depleted, yet strangely powerful. Entering a zen-like state of almost supernatural confidence.


What does 'ultra-running' even mean?

The other day I was at a party trying to explain to a group of 'non-runner' friends about 100 mile races. I know I know, first mistake right? I wasn't doing a great job as usual and one of my friends just looked at me astonished... "you run 100 miles in 24 hours without stopping?" I told him that it was in the mountains so you're hiking some of the ups and running down and you have aid stations where you can rest and get food if you want, but it's important to keep moving. "Soooo," he said as the juices in his brain slowly oozed around, "it's mooore like a hike/run thiiing..." While he was technically correct and I wasn't going to argue about a sport so far outside his frame of reference, I said something about how if you want to finish in 24 hours the pace is 14 min/ mile which looks easy until mile 75. I think he was annoyed at everyone for being so amazed with what I did. I think in his brain he was fighting the idea that we do what most reasonable people feel is impossible. The same way I reacted when I first heard about ultras. I was scared, I was skeptical, I wanted to find the missing link that unveiled what was apparently magic. Okay not magic but something close to the edge of impossibility. I do think that it may seem a bit deceptive to call what we do ultra-'running' when we rarely finish a race without hiking some portion however small. To the uninformed it could look as though we conveniently leave out that detail to impress people. It's probably just easier than saying, "yea I ran/walked/stopped to pee & eat quesadillas for 100 miles". In my view calling it a run/hike also gives the wrong impression. Shouldn't we be allowed to call it running when the whole point is to get from A to B as quickly as possible? We run every step and only when we absolutely cannot run anymore, or when it's more efficient not to, we power hike up a mountain side. That seems like it warrants us to go around claiming we ran a 'hundred'. Maybe for a lot of racers it's not about time or running as much as possible. Maybe the running is just done to avoid cutoffs while spending a magnificent day in the wilderness. But for me, it's running. It's the joy of movement and the challenge of speed and efficiency across vast distances. Having been challenged to better describe my experiences to the uninformed has helped me discover what doing ultras is really about personally. While I don't think most people have a problem with us calling it ultra- running, I'll probably try to call it 'racing' 100 miles in the future.


Another kind of bi-polar

On one side there is my mom saying don't take yourself too seriously. On the other side is my dad's personality striving for perfection.
Him and I were building a bird cage one time when I was a kid. After giving me permission to do it and agreeing to take me to the lumber store to get wood for the frame, he sat down and began re-drawing my roughly sketched blueprint, this time including each detail of the structure complete with notched grooves that made the wood flush wherever two pieces met. These were particularly complex to make, especially compared to just getting all the pieces nailing them together as I had pictured it. In my head the goal was the end result and the process was just an inevitable adventure standing in between. Wether from experiences like this or wether it's hard-wired in me, I do also enjoy and take pride in perfection. I often live in the details of a creative project that no one who observes the work would recognize let alone give two penny's for. Not to say that they're unimportant. It's the part of me that holds myself to a higher standard. The one that asks if I can turn my Bs and Cs into As instead of being happy they're not Fs as my dad did once.
While my tendency is to be goal oriented I view myself as being perfectly split down the middle with regard to these opposing perspectives. Often caught between the details and the bigger picture.

- Posted from the Road


Better yourself

When your out there struggling. And things aren't going your way. And you don't know if the suffering will ever end. That's when you have to take the pain you're experiencing, look it square in the eyes, and embrace it. Make it your friend. Give it a big ol' hug. Because pain is growth. Pain is change. Pain is what makes you stronger. Anybody that wants to better themselves but doesn't want to get to know pain is a fool. Embrace the pain. Better yourself. It's that simple.


Thoughts on addiction

Life is made up of simple things. Eating, drinking, and communing with others. There's not much to it. Once we have mastered that part of life most of us search for elevated experiences beyond the basic. Trying to be more happy whatever that means for each of us. We listen to a song, we kiss a girl, we take drugs, we stay up all night. Diving deeper into endurance sports and refining my diet and lifestyle around training I find myself drifting from the norms of my friends and my past lifestyle. Alcohol and late nights out don't bring about the same wild and reckless elevated experiences as they once did. You could say that I don't party anymore. But in truth i still party. The new 'high' comes from movement. My favorite kind being on trails in the mountains. Even exploring a new corner of town has a particular thrill to it. Movement of any kind allows us to have new experiences and that's what feeds me. Coupled with pushing myself towards my own capacity for endurance, this is the new extreme. I seek camaraderie in the wilderness rather than under the neon lights. Sometimes it's less tangible than a cold bottle in your hands, other times the view is piercingly clear and brings the same pulsing rush as center stage.

- Posted from the Road



1824 'calorie' is invented to quantify energy through combustion
1840 food is classified into calories from carbohydrates, proteins, fats
1920 vitamins are discovered
1992 amid high food prices USDA creates food pyramid with cheap agricultural carbs at the base, veggies fats and proteins as supplemental nutrients

The brain and the body need a constant supply of energy to function. Glucose (metabolized from carbohydrates) and Ketones (metabolized from fats) are the only fuels that the brain and muscles can use. The body stores a limited amount of glucose as glycogen (hours worth) within muscle cells. When this runs out you BONK. Because it is the quickest form of energy to digest, the brain is consistently signaling your body to find carbs and replace glycogen stores. When you eat refined carbohydrates the body releases insulin which removes the resulting sugar from the blood where it is toxic, then converts and stores the sugar as fat, expending vital minerals in the process*. The release of insulin halts fat metabolism creating a cycle of dependance on carbohydrates. Reducing carbohydrate intake immediately effects your ability to metabolize fat and is recommended for maintaining optimum health. However, to fully unlock the bodies ability to efficiently utilize fat for energy requires further adaptation. On a ketogenic diet the aim is to convince the body to burn fat as a primary source for fuel by reducing the intake of carbohydrates and the resulting presence of insulin.

* when refined carbohydrates and/or simple sugars are consumed, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron are mobilized to bind with and remove toxic levels of glucose being released into the blood. This chemical transmutation produces neutralizing acids which attempt to return the acid/alkaline balance within the blood to normal. This not only uses up valuable mineral stores but prevents absorption of minerals in the digestive tract. High levels of refined fructose are particularly damaging to the liver which is responsible for filtering toxins from the blood.

THE BENEFITS (after 2-3 weeks adaptation)
Low carb diet is anti-inflammatory
Provides access to limitless energy
No more carb cravings, mood/energy swings
Muscle protein is no longer a backup fuel source

Carb restriction (30g-100g/day)
Eat more fat (65-80% of diet)*
Fast for 12-16 HRS (between dinner and breakfast)

Any stressor that elevates blood sugar will have a detrimental effect on fat adaptation.
- WORK: Cortisol(released during physical and psychological exertion) raises blood sugar
- STIMULANTS: Caffein raises blood sugar
- EXCERCISE: Aerobic training and endurance sports improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar
- REST: Reduced sleep leads to impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, increased appetite through changes in leptin and ghrelin levels, and reduced energy expenditure. Perturbations of the internal clock system and chronic poor sleep are associated with metabolic dysfunction.

Most foods contain several types of fatty acids which the body uses as energy and building blocks for DNA. They also help absorb nutrients and as messengers that help proteins do their job. More and more the scientists and chefs and wellness nuts are agreeing: the fats we’ve been told to eat for the past 50 years – the poly-unsaturated, so-called “vegetable” ones – are, in fact, the worst stuff we can put in our bodies. And the fats we’ve been told to never touch – the saturated ones – are actually the healthiest, safest and, in fact, are the least “fattening” (if you’re not eating a sugar and carb-heavy diet while also eating fat). Consuming fat with carbohydrate, such as olive oil on potatoes, has some controlling effect on the blood sugar and insulin spike that comes with high glycemic foods.

Human adipose tissue cell

*Using the healthiest fats is important. Just as a tomato grown in sterile soil, picked before repining, and sprayed with toxic pesticides & preservatives does not provide nutritional benefit to the body, so to a fat from a poorly produced source, that has been overly processed, and sat on the shelf for years is not ideal. Margarine and other PUFA forms of hydrogenated, homogenized, highly refined vegetable oils are particularly unstable, toxic, inflammatory, and immune suppressing. Yet you will find them in most packaged products.

Energy - Monounsaturated Fats + Short and Medium chain SFAs (coconut oil, olive oil) are a good source of energy as they do not need to be emulsified by bile salts but are absorbed directly from the small intestine to the liver where they are converted to ketones rather than being stored.
Balance - Omega 3s (fish and flax oils) are anti-inflammatory. Omega 6s consumed in great quantity can be inflammatory. Getting fat from multiple sources ensures that all necessary variations will be available to the body.
Oils - Use only expeller pressed, unrefined, unbleached, non-hydrogenated, non-trans, no solvent(hexane free) fats and oils.
Dairy - The truth is beginning to spread about the benefits of healthy saturated fats like whole milk and butter. The fat soluble minerals obtained from these sources are essential for the absorption of nutrients, vitamin A and calcium in particular. Try to use only free-range organic & raw - butter, milk, cheese, and eggs. Fat from livestock with a factory diet (grain, soy, etc.) lacks vital nutrients and a balanced fat composition.

-- There are essential amino acids(proteins) and essential fatty acids(fats) but there are no essential carbs. --

Low carb fruits: Berries, Tomatoes, Avocados, Lemons, Limes
Low carb veggies: Asparagus, Brocolli, Cucumber, Cauliflower, Dark Leafy Greens, Eggplant, Green Beans, Kale, Mushrooms, Onions, Peppers, Summer Squash

glycemic load comparison (approx)

It is only recommended to eat a moderate amount with the ketogenic diet (1g per lb lean body mass) because it is partially turned into glucose in the body. It is important for vegan athletes to have a dependable complete protein source for all essential amino acids such as microalgae(spirulina), Goji berries, hemp seed, raw cacao, quinoa, amaranth, spirulina and bee pollen. Some argue that the B12 in these foods is not absorbed by the body. Other good but incomplete sources include seeds(chia), beans(kidney), tree nuts(6g/oz), and other nuts(4g/oz).

In the context of a high carbohydrate diet the body retains water and sodium in the kidneys. When carbohydrates are severely reduced the kidneys kick out sodium and water and blood volume is reduced. This can cause symptoms of light headedness, fatigue, and poor heat resistance. It also decreases potassium levels in the body. Replacing this sodium is essential to thriving on a low carbohydrate diet.

Sodium : up to 2grams of salt supplementation may be required. Particularly before training especially in hot conditions.
Potassium : Meat broth is the best source of all essential minerals. Although raw leafy greens (especially spinach) and other vegetables have good mineral content, they can interfere with absorption because of the oxalic acid they contain. raw, unsprouted nuts have phytic acid and other enzyme inhbitors that can also prevent proper digestion.

Adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) is the chemical energy that fuels your body processes including muscle contraction. ATP is not stored in the body. We must break down either fat or carbohydrate to synthesize it. When we exercise ATP demand rapidly increases causing the body to produce ATP. "How the body chooses the proportion of carb and fat for fuel is complex, but one factor that has a consistent and profound effect is the availability of carbohydrate." (The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance) The very presence of carbohydrates in the diet suppresses fat metabolism.

Glucose is metabolized directly into ATP thus making it the 'go to' fuel that the body breaks down. Whenever it is available fat metabolism will be essentially shut down. Glucose cannot be stored in large amounts in the body(400-500g). Your glycogen stores max out at 2000kcal (1g = 4kcal).

Fat is converted into ATP in muscle cells by mitochondria. The body has a vast capacity to store fatty acids both in Adipose tissue as lipid droplets and in muscle cells as fatty acids. Even a fit, skinny athlete will hold fat stores upwards of 40,000kcal (1g = 9kcal).

Endurance training has the potential to increase the ability of muscles to both store and metabolize fat. An athlete can in theory eat a higher percentage of well timed carbs while remaining in a state of keto-genesis.

- Most efficient fat oxidation takes place at 65-75% effort (VO2)
- Fueling is not necessary up to 2-3 hours of aerobic running
- Consume by feel and consider sources with fat in them such as avo, coconut milk

When transitioning away from carbohydrate dependance, many will experience symptoms of 'withdrawal' as the body begins searching for a new source of energy. During this period it is important to avoid satisfying the sugar fix which will disrupt the process altogether.

In ketosis your body will produce an increased number of the Beta-Hydroxybutyrate keytone which supplies the heart and brain with energy. Blood ketone levels (measured in milomar units) is the most accurate form of testing. Home glucometers with ketone strips are available. Ketone levels will be lowest in the morning. Not everyone reacts the same way to diet changes. Insulin monitoring may help by informing you what foods you are especially sensitive to. A DXA scan gives a reading of body fat composition.

Extra References
The Metabolic Winter Hypothesis

Fat intake and Athletic Performance

Which Fats should I be Eating?

Proteolytic Enzymes and recovery

Why you don't Have a Six Pack

The Complexity of Reducing Calorie Intake


actually, its a big fucking world

This girl Alex that i met at jfk. We split a cab into manhattan but she lives in LA. She's an Australian poet and likes to run in Topanga canyon. She just finished a 250 page manuscript for a poem about progress. She wore a black ball cap and saucony shoes.

This guy Rob is a special operations forces team leader in Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia. He always says, "yea man its too easy". Like, "hey rob can we get a hui to fly us out to the country side and drop off water filters to a school?" "Yea man its too easy." And just like that it gets done.

This girl Juliet that i met on a plane from Heathrow to LA. Calls herself a cloud in the sky. Has a tatoo that means 'know yourself' on her side, one that means 'remember' on her wrist, and her mothers initials behind her ear. Says the worst thing that can happen to her already did when her mom died. So everything else is vanilla. Says you gotta take all the ashes of your burned down self and make something new.

This guy Jon Rose who traveled 500,000 miles last year doing clean water missions all over the world. He wants to solve the world water crises. Doesnt see why any child should suffer from basic water borne illness when solutions exist that can eliminate it.

This 22 year old girl Molly from Texas who lives and takes care of an orphanage in the Liberian countryside below mt barclay. She has the outline of Africa tattoo'd on her wrist. Wants to take the time to invest in the lives of the people and truly make a difference. She's got the fire, the hunger, the drive.

This guy Aamyon who grew up in Hawaii. Has American Indian heritage. Believes that his soul animal is a hawk. His dad fed him raw aloe cactus and coconut oil as a kid. He built his house out of hemp-crete and bamboo. Grows all his fresh produce in his backyard.


Quotes - Lying

Quotes - Wild

I’d spent the past six months imagining this moment, but now that it was here it seemed less vivid than it had in my imaginings, as if I were in a dream, my every thought liquid slow, propelled by will rather than instinct.

each day was an eternity, one stacked up on the other, a cold clarity inside of a deep haze

Your feelings are not facts. You feel terrible but that doesnt mean you are terrible. You feel empty, but that doesnt mean you are empty. Feel your feelings and let them go.

I am asking you to enter the confusion with me, to gve up the ground with me, because sometimes that frightening floaty place is really the truest of all.

...the cellular phenomenon called consciousness is so much more than a blip of energy; it’s a blue light, a flame we can feel but cannot find; it’s mystery and love.

Secretly each and every one of us longs to fall, and knows in a deep wise place in our brains that surrender is the means by which we gain, not lose, our lives. We know this, and that is why we have bad backs and pulled necks and throbbing pain between our shoulder blades. We want to go down, and it hurts to fight the force of gravity...
William James talks about two kinds of will. Will A and Will B, I call it. Will A is what we all learn, the hold your head high, stuff it down, swallow your sobs, work hard kind of will. Will B, while it seems a slacker thing, is actually harder to have. It’s a willingness instead of a willfulness, an ability to take life on life’s terms as opposed to putting up a big fight. It’s about being bendable, not brittle, a person who is brave enough to try to ride the waves instead of trying to stop them. Will B is what you need in order to learn to fall. It’s the kind of will my mother never taught me, and yours probably never taught you either. It’s a secret greater than sex; it’s a spiritual thing. Will B is not passive. It means an active acceptance, a say yes, and you have to have a voice and courage if you want to learn it. If you know will be you know your life. You know what my mother never learned. That it is only by entering emptiness and ugliness, not by covering it up with feathers and sprays, that you find a balance so true, no one can take it away.

Like any good book it did not teach me something new, but drew out the wisdom that was already there, inside me.

Ride the wave, harness the energy of your opponent.

I stood there with the other mourners and tried to look sad, but i wasnt sad. I was nothing.

The brain is essential to life - I want my brain to act calmly and normally - I will do everything i can to help my brain act calmly and normally

Take a deep breath and let yourself go.

...she touched my head gently now, like it was hot, like it was cold, like it was warm, like it was whatever she was not, a wild and totally true world in there, a place she had forsaken for artifice, etiquette, marriage, mediocre love, and which I had returned to her.

It hurts and you have to push yourself. You have to push yourself first to go out in the cold, and then to walk over a place where, right beneath, sharks and whales are waiting for you, and then to leap against your better judgment, when your whole self is longing just to nap.

I don't like it he said but you could tell, anyone could tell, he didn't know how to stand up to her. I hate to say it. Its so politically incorrect, but i think if he'd been brutish, my father, she may have learned to love him.

Somewhere in the world, if you pressed the right keys, or the right combination of keys, there would be thunder and Mozart, and more; there would be all you’d craved but been too clenched to take... If you knew the right chords, but she did not.

The smells live, and though doctors claim they are purely physiological phenomena, without mental meaning, I cannot help but think the smells have significance; we smell what we want, or cannot allow ourselves to want; we smell our own stink, we smell our sin, we smell the tang of an unspoken hope.

Take to the skies

Nairobi. It was there, that feeling i hadn't had in days or maybe years, i couldn't remember which, as i sat on a plane to somewhere else. France. A scent, a hue, a scratch on your fingertip. Tanzania. an avalanche of chemical sensations, the cocktail of a feeling. London. she sat down next to me and splashed water on my face. Morocco. a cloud in the sky. Afghanistan. Instant crushing panic. Bosnia. Chasing stars. Brazil. A reckless engagement. North Korea If you squeeze it'll hurt. Liberia. A view from the top and the edge and the center of it all. Mexico. Another distant memory, nothing more.

- Posted from the Road


Places ive been

i thought i had been a lot of places till i realized there are 196 countries...

Czech Rep.

South Africa

North Korea



Running Mantras

Drink it in
But dont eat it

More please.

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

If it hurts to run then walk.
If it hurts to run & walk... then RUN.

Speed kills

The greatest distance you have to cover is the 12 inches between your ears.

more miles = more fun

Taking Home With You

I feel stuck in my job because the longer i work for this company (and i should mention that i don't see myself working for them for the rest of my life) the less in touch i feel with la and the freelance work i used to do. Which is my only other serious option unless i go back to school. But the company and life keep giving me things to look forward to and delay my ability to concentrate on figuring out what the next move is. I keep thinking ill take a minute after the next big thing. But its been almost more a year since i have had a breather for more than a day. Last year when i lived in la it was all about the build up to running big 100 mile summer races while commuting to work in costa mesa. Then i moved and spent six months in a cabin training for a winter project on mt kenya while completing the biggest freelance side project of my career and still commuting to the day job. After this i trained for a race in florida while becoming excessively busy at my day job in the new year. Then i had to house hunt and move out of the cabin to a place closer to work just before a trip to Liberia swearing that on my return i would settle into the new apartment and town. But as fate would have it on the way back i met a girl on the plane going to school in la. So i spent the next two months driving BACK to la to see her and basically try not to fall in love while training for a race the weekend after i helped her pack up, said goodbye and she left for the world. I didn't end up doing the race because they sent me to Bosnia for work. As i sit on another nine hour flight away from home i start to experience a recurring anxiety coupled with a helplessness like i have no control over the situation at home or my life in general. Clearly its been one 'marathon' after the next and my excessive 'panic attacks' are not unwarranted. I have been on the move unable to take advantage of the benefits that come from daily repetition and consistency. Where the familiarity of being at 'home' for a stretch of time changes your brain waves(at least i think it does). You can organize thoughts and ideas and a view of the future out of a literal and physical starting point. The trick i suppose is to foster and create a mobile version of this familiar 'environment' around yourself as you travel. Even if it is just in your mind. For example i tell myself that i will try and see the sun every morning. Or i will write down my thoughts each night. These habitual exercises can keep you cognitively plugged into your 'original' psyche at least for a time. Maybe its just coping and surviving the road, but it helps. And i have experienced growth by being cornered in situations that required calm and reason on the run i have discovered the essence of freedom and joy. Ive learned not to cling to life or grasp at it. Ive learned that good things do happen when we let go of our fear. living a life of control, bad things still happen. But the universe brings such amazing opportunities if you open yourself up and let the things you are clinging onto go.



Recently i have realized that i am an emotional person. And that this requires an immense amounts of energy. When i am tired i have exaggerated highs and lows. For example if someone coming down the trail does not return my greeting i will turn around and flick them off(behind their back) or mumble some insult (hoping they will hear me). On the other hand if someone says good morning i will become elated with a sense that it is going to be a great day and people are good and the world is spinning in my favor. Of course men are blamed for being too un-emotional and not sharing their feelings. Possibly because since the first time we set foot on a playground any displayed emotion was a weakness and would be exploited by the next guy. Its darwinistic in that way. What happens is that we don't learn how to properly handle emotions throughout life. Ive known so many girls who break up from 'serious' relationships only to meet a guy and get married a year or two after. Whereas I've known just as many dudes that couldn't get over 'that one' girl for years. Not that this is an excuse for guys to shun emotional conversation or blow up and physically abuse people. But its good to know that i can give myself a break and try to rest more instead of fixating on 'that one' girl or lack thereof.



What are we to do? How are we to find out the answers? Just keep fighting. Thats how. Find something to stand for and play to win. There aint much more out there.

- Posted from the Road


My Food Table (by color) Top to Bottom

GREEN - Kale, Spinach, Broccoli, Spirulina, Kelp, Herbs
***oregeno has more antioxidants than blueberries!

RED/ORANGE - Peppers, Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Squash
***betacarotene is better absorbed if eaten with soluble fat

BLUE/PURPLE - Berries, Grapes
***frozen blueberries are picked fresher and retain nutrition

BROWN - Beans, Whole Grains

WHITE - Bananas, Apples, Corn, Bread


Finding what works for you

People love to give me shit about my nutrition plan or the way i workout. I think its because they need to find a hole in my theorys to make themselves feel better about not being willing to attempt it. Whereas i was willing to try anything and thats how i found something that really works for me.

5 reasons i run

Ive been talking to a lot of people lately who hate running. Whenever i tell them about how far i run they cringe. It made me start wondering why i do it. heres what i came up with:
1 self sufficiency, self confidence
2 simplifies things, boils them down to the most basic
3 To find the good waiting on the other side of pain
4 It tires me out
5 to get in touch with my natural more primal side


the THREE things

[ Movement is life ]

Better yourself

Say yes

Theory of influences - surround yourself with the right things

[ having and needing and wanting nothing, to be stripped of all but the most vital ]

Leave room for alpha waves

Avoid (unintentional) black swans

Consistency is king

[ To get lost is to learn the way ]

Fail everyday, learn everyday

There is no conflict outside of yourself.

The only way out, is through


Quotes - what i talk about when i talk about running

I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on it, I’m the type of person who doesn't find it painful to he alone.

Im not the brightest person. Im the kind of person who has to experience something physically, actually touch something, before i have a clear sense of it... Only when im given an actual physical burden and my muscles start to groan does my comprehension meter shoot up and im finally able to grasp something.

Concentration is the process of just holding your breath, endurance is the art of slowly, quietly breathing at the same time you’re storing air in your lungs... Continuing to breathe while you hold your breath.

When we set off to write a novel, when we use writing to create a story, like it or not a kind of toxin that lies deep down in all humanity rises to the surface. All writers have to come face-to-face with this toxin and, aware of the danger involved, discover a way to deal with it, because otherwise no creative activity in the real sense can take place. (Please excuse the strange analogy: with a fugu fish, the tastiest part is the portion near the poison—this might be something similar to what I’m getting at.) No matter how you spin it, this isn’t a healthy activity.... To deal with something unhealthy, a person needs to be as healthy as possible. That’s my motto. In other words, an unhealthy soul requires a healthy body. This might sound paradoxical, but it’s something I’ve felt very keenly ever since I became a professional writer.

Muscles are like work animals that are quick on the uptake. If you carefully increase the load, step by step, they learn to take it. As long as you explain your expectations to them by actually showing them examples of the amount of work they have to endure, your muscles will comply and gradually get stronger. It doesn’t happen overnight, of course. But as long as you take your time and do it in stages, they won’t complain—aside from the occasional long face—and they’ll very patiently and obediently grow stronger.

As I drew near the end of this ultramarathon, I wasn’t really thinking about this. The end of the race is just a temporary marker without much significance. It’s the same with our lives. Just because there’s an end doesn’t mean existence has meaning... It’s very philosophical—not that at this point I’m thinking how philosophical it is. I just vaguely experience this idea, not with words, but as a physical sensation.


Things i learned in liberia

Personality management: there is no conflict with another person, only conflict within yourself.

People in the cities are now afraid to do things that are completely natural.

Nasa got to the moon by imagining they were already there and then imagining how they got there backwards.

Living day to day, meal to meal ur life consists of the essential things. You dont have time to imagine or dream your way into the future.

Everything in moderation, especially moderation.

when so many places feel like home

Hair in the wind with nowhere to go
Just a dirtbag searching for the open road
Got no home got no place to be
The radio playing your heartbeat

Smash your fist up against the wall
Confidence and alcohol
Tears of the sun over my hometown
Take my hand and watch it all burn down

You belong to nothing
You belong to no one
You belong to nowhere
But we belong, tonight

We just met but i forgot your name
You said goodbye but i swear we'll meet again
Ur hearts pounding at 3 am
My failed attempt to be ur friend

My old man this is what he said
If you dont love youd be better off dead
I have a habit of always letting go
Lets get in and get outa control

You belong to nothing
You belong to no one
You belong to nowhere
But we belong, tonight

Quotes - Civilian Warriors: The Story of Blackwater...

"I like being someplace where stupidity can be fatal, because here you work with people who think about their actions." Route Irish, the contractor said, was a far cry from a pampered American society back home that "put warnings on coffee cups".


Quotes - RUN: the mind-body method

"By emotion i understand the affections [changes in state] of the body by which the bodys power of activity is increased or diminished, assisted or checked, together with the ideas of these affections." (Baruch Spinoza)
Consciousness is basically a representation of the state of an organism with respect to both its internal environment and its external environment. (Antonio Damasio) Every thought, including such things as the performance of mathematical calculations, passes through emotional channels within the brain, we cannot think effectively if our emotional faculties are compromised in any way. Often we figure things out emotionally before we figure them out consciously

Many running injuries are partly caused by muscle imbalances by muscle imbalances, most of which develop as consequences of excessive sitting.

Its difficult to imagine that millions of people with different body shapes and sizes and leg lengths and centers of gravity and joint angles could all fit into one single pattern or technique. Rather the passage of time would filter out any flaws for each person. [ie] Individual runners naturally develop the stride pattern that works best for them in the normal course of training... In fact to my knowledge no study has ever demonstrated an improvement in running economy or performance resulting from technique training.... Consciously meddling with your stride may indeed make it less efficient. Research has shown that there is less activity in the brains of skilled performers of all manner of coordinated movements when performing those movements than in the brains of the unskilled... "Executive brain function" costs a lot of energy... Better runners don't have to think as much about running while they run(especially to the limit of speed or endurance), and indeed the very unconsciousness of their running is a major aspect of their superior efficiency... Conscious stride manipulation forces the runner to think about his stride, and as we have seen, thinking is the enemy of movement efficiency... In the real world, the stride improves as the unconscious brain figures out how to sustain desired speeds with less activation of fewer motor units, not by changing where the arms and legs go.

Species living in a stable ecosystem do not evolve rapidly because there is little pressure to evolve...
The most potent stimulus for improvements in running biomechanics is most likely running in a fatigued state... Fatigued running is quality when you have some capacity to resist it.

Goals overwhelm when they are too challenging. The subconcious brain never allows the body to veture too far into unknown territory
During hard running [the brain] monitors the proximity of the various physiological systems to there ultimate limits. As necessary, the brain acts to prevent these limits from being reached by reducing muscle activation and by making the runner feel miserable.

you might expect me to give you a laundry list of pain-coping strategies to use in training and racing but i will not. The only way such techniques work is if you come up with them on your own in the heat of battle.

If it does nothing else, a runner’s training must make him feel prepared, because if he feels prepared he is prepared, and if he doesnt he isnt.

Confidence is not some nonphysical quality snatched from the spiritual dimension and installed in the mind. It is the feeling that arises when the body’s knowledge of itself is in harmony with a person’s dreams.

Following any sensible training plan that adheres to the conventional principles and methods of run training will increase confidence. But what if, instead of following a scripted training plan, the runner asks himself. 'What sorts of training experiences would give me the most confidence about being able to achieve my race goal?'

The surest way for a runner to make the best decisions for improvement is to internalize the intent of building confidence, so that the unconscious reliably supplies hunches about thigs to do to increase confidence and thigs to do to avoid sabotaging confidence.

Only by learning through experience can the individual runner gain proficiency in customizing the approach to training.

Establishing the optimal training cycle duration is an aptitude that improves with experience.

This sort of calculation works best when you are able to accurately judge how close you are to peak fitness in terms of training time. In the end the best you can do is commit to a schedule that seems sensible and make adjustments as you go.

A few planned peak workouts and one peak training week are easy to remember. As with the standard weekly training schedule, there is no need to write them down.

It is somehing that i let happen instead of something i do. Its more like growing a beard than chopping wood.

You can intentionally delay a peak when necassary to avoid overtraining, however, by holding yourself back in your workouts until you reah a point where you can ramp up steadily without a high risk of burnout. Its always easier to slow the pace of your ramp up to prevent burnout than to accelerate it to hasten a peak that seems too slow in coming.


The only reason a nervous system even exists at all in any animal is to enable movement. There is a very primitive species of sea creature with a very primitive nervous system; the creature swims around a bit in the first part of its life and then plants itself and remains stationary for the second part of its life. And as soon as the self-implantation occurs, the creature devours its own brain.

To find out what shape your in go for a run. At the end of the run you will get an idea of how mich more training you can handle and how much more training you need. - me

... Jazz is not entirely freeform. Improvisation takes place within a few basic parameters, such as a tempo, a key, and a refrain (or a core melody). Without such perameters, the music is so chaotic that it is not even music. Improvisational training requires a similar minimal structure.

Enjoyment and suffering are not mutually exclusive.

Running hard is one of my most treasured experiences in life—especially when I’m not doing it!

- Posted from the Road