September 19, 2017

Impossible Goal Achieved: Finished Diablo Trails 50k

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On April 20th, 2013, I completed my latest impossible goal — a 50k ultra-marathon.

I did it in 7:32:36 — not exactly blazing fast (it’s about 15 minute per mile) but my goal was not to set a record but to simply finish.

Of course, I had to choose one of the hardest ones out there — the Diablo Trails 50k that benefits Save Mount Diablo.

Save Mount Diablo’s mission is to preserve the wilderness around Mount Diablo so that generation after generation can enjoy it’s beauty. They have been doing this since 1971. I’m glad they are preserving this beautiful place because the picture below is the view from one of the breathtaking vistas.

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A 50k That Feels Like 50 Miles

A 50k is exactly 31.0686 miles but if you’re doing the Diablo Trails 50k, those 31.0686 miles feel like 50.

The reason is simple — hills, hills and more hills.

My calves started to burn early and it only got worst. Lung wise, I faired pretty well but my legs were screaming for mercy which resulted in a combination of light jogging and walking — thus the 15 minute pace.

Mount Diablo is a Devil of a Course

I’m going to sound a little like my dad (who used to tell me he would walk to school, in the snow, both ways up hill), when I say that the Diablo Trails 50k is literally all up hill.

The elevation gain is well over 7,500 feet with a lot of single track trails through meadows, along ridges, tree lined valleys and cow pastures.

The natural beauty of Mount Diablo makes it worth the pain and suffering.

Well, I would not really call in pain and suffering per se rather just embracing the suck and getting the job done!

Train to Finish Not to Set Any Records

My training schedule was not that crazy. I really did not do anything different than what normally do for a Tri or a Goruck except I did a lot more long runs.

What I mean by long runs is anything over 2.5 hours. I typically train for time and not distance since that makes scheduling my world a whole lot easier.

I feel that trail running is the ultimate type of running. You just never know what will be around the next turn, up the next hill, down the next valley or the obstacles you might have to cross (a couple of times, we actually had to hop some locked gates and ran into the occasional cow that was curious about what was going on).

One counter intuitive training method I would do is to go for a ruck.

Rucking is putting on a ruck sack full of bricks and hiking around. It’s really good for both cardio and leg strength as well as getting used to being uncomfortable.

Romans Must Have Had Pretty Toes

As most of you know, I run Roman Style (e.g. In Teva sandals). Running in sandals allows my feet to breath, swell and stay cool while I run. I have been running Roman for the better part of 2 years and it’s worked out well for me.

One of the upsides for running in sandals is that you don’t get the black and blue toenails that pretty much every endurance athlete seems to get.

Black and blue toenails (and the eventual complete loss of them) occurs because when your feet swell, they bump up against the front of your shoes. This bumping literally smashes your toenails so that they start to fill with blood.

Eventually, the toenail lifts off and falls off. It’s ugly and painful.

With sandals, no bumping or grinding against your shoes, so no ugly toes.

So every time some passes me (or I pass them), they usually say:

1) Wow, I can’t believe you are running in sandals and 2) Man, your toes look so pretty :).

Race Assessment

I came into the Diablo Trails 50k knowing that I was not fully prepared to run fast. My whole goal was to finish and not get hurt which I accomplished.

The hill runs I did to train were great and more of that would definitely improve my time.

More distance (the longest run I did was something like 15 miles) would also help out a lot.

Nutrition and hydration were critical to finishing. I must have consumed like 8 liters of fluids (the temperature topped out at 85 F) and ate something at every rest stop (Payday’s are my new go to energy food. Salty, sugarery and pure bliss).

For my next 50k (or longer distance), I’ll definitely get more miles in but I think I’ll also do some speed work as well. I experimented with that his time and it seemed to help getting up the hills.

In summary, this is what I learned from my first 50k:

  • Hydrate early and often

  • Eat even when you don’t feel like it

  • Train on the trails if it’s a trail run

  • Stop at every rest stop

  • Smile, wave and chat with other runners

  • Enjoy the view

What’s Next?

I have not yet decided what’s next for me. Maybe another 50k on some flat terrain or maybe a Goruck Heavy. Whatever it is, my training approach will be exactly the same — cross train, remember to eat and drink, embrace the suck and always have fun!

Those Who Try to Tear us Down will Only Strengthen our Resolve to Endure

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We touched a little bit about negativity in Our Negative Perceptions About Ourselves Create our Biggest Barriers. Now, we’ll deal with how the negativity of others can get in our way and why it should strengthen our resolve to endure past the barriers we face.

That Will Never Work

Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) is one of the oldest Venture Capitalist (VC) firms in the country (Full disclosure: I actually pitched a company to them. They said no ):).

What I like about BVP is that they are straight-forward-tell-it-like-it-is and keep track of an anti-portfolio of all the companies they passed on.

The list is pretty impressive!

Apple, Google, eBay and FedEx are among the companies that the smart guys at BVP rejected. Just think if Steve, Sergey or Larry listened to BVP and stopped trying.

BVP’s anti-portfolio makes the point perfectly — even smart, in the know people, can get it wrong.

If we want to be successful then sometimes we have to take the criticisms, rejections, setbacks and disappoints and use them to fuel our endurance to prove people wrong. We maybe the only person who believes in what we are doing and sometimes that’s all we get.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Learn from criticism: Every bit of feedback can be constructive — even criticism. Learn from criticism but don’t let criticism get in your way.

  2. Believe deeply: Belief is a powerful thing. If we deeply believe in what we are doing, then it will be easy to endure through rejections and setbacks.

  3. Constantly find new ways: Just because we get a concept or idea does not mean that others will. Seek out new ways to explain or model your idea or endeavor. Sometimes concepts get lost in translation.

  4. Don’t take it personal: No matter what people say, it’s never personal even when it might feel that way. We are the only ones that can make it personal. Learn to take the feedback with grace and move on.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

We Set Our Own Pace when Overcoming Barriers. Forward Progress is all that Matters

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It seems to me that there is a lot of pressure to make things happen quickly. Our fast paced world wants every problem, project or priority to be number 1. It can be down right maddening to feel all that anxiety to get everything done right away when you hit a barrier.

The Power of Perspective

This “get it done yesterday” mentality can be healthily if it instill a sense of urgency and not panic. It’s great to feel the urgency of solving problems or getting a project done. The problem occurs when that urgency turns into panic. Once panic sets in, all bets are off.

Having perspective about a barrier is of paramount important because not all barriers are created equal. Some questions to ask yourself when confronted with a barrier include:

  • How important is it to solve right away? Sometimes delaying resolving barriers will resolve themselves especially if it’s a dynamic environment where the barrier might be down one of many avenues to explore.

  • Is there a way around it? It’s better to bypass a barrier if possible because it takes less energy. Always look for alternatives.

  • What happens if you don’t remove the barrier? Some barriers are not that important or can be mitigated. Explore what would happen if the barrier was present and not dealt with.

  • Can the barrier be ignored for now? Akin to the first question but with a little more emphasis that the barrier will probably not go away. If this is the case, can you delay action until you either have the resources or energy to deal with it.

Answering these questions can reduce the level of panic while still maintaing urgency. Many a project, team and individual has cratered themselves because the urge to break through a barrier caused so much panic that they lost perspective on both priorities and how important the barrier really was.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Urgency not panic: Always have a sense of urgency but never panic. Panic will just make the situation worst.

  2. Set the tone: Don’t assume every barrier has to be dealt with right away. If it’s your barrier, then you need to set the tone to overcome it.

  3. Understand expectations: Sometimes the expectations are progress needs to be made quickly while other times, no one really cares. Make sure you understand what is expected — it will help a lot in setting proprieties.

  4. Communicate status: Even if progress is slow, make sure that whomever needs to know about progress, knows. Most of the time, that’s all that takes to quell the anxiety about overcoming the barrier.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Our Negative Perceptions About Ourselves Create our Biggest Barriers

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Let’s face it. A lot of us are just plan negative.

Yeah, I said it.

You, me and our friends tend towards the negative instead of the positive even though we know that negative perceptions do us know good. It’s like we can’t help it.

Actually, It’s Hard to Remain Positive

We talked about this very topic in Our Only Real Barrier is our Negative Attitude Towards Them. In that aha, we explored our attitudes about barriers. In this one, we will dig a little deeper into how our perceptions about ourselves contribute to the barriers we put up.

We Are Our Biggest Critic

Our perceptions about ourselves tend to focus on our shortfalls instead of what we are good at. Sure, there are some among us that think they can do no wrong but those people are just sociopaths.

For the rest of us, our biggest critics are ourselves. We tend to beat ourselves up about some of the silliest things that most people don’t even notice.

For example, do you think that people who really care about you care that you have a big zit on your forehead, or that your hair may be a little messy or that your car is dirty.

Chances are, they don’t even notice nor care — they are just happy that you are around.

Success Starts With Us

The harsh reality is that no one and I mean no one, is looking out for your best interest except you. Yeah, I know, that’s a little harsh, but the truth is harsh.

Knowing that, we need to be our own best friend and cheerleader to ensure that we accomplish what we want to accomplish. All that starts with changing our negative attitudes about ourselves to positive ones.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Praise yourself: I know this may sound a little corny but pat yourself on the back. Tell yourself what a good job you do.

  2. Challenge your perceptions: Perceptions can be reality if we let them. Make sure to challenge the perceptions you have about yourself so that they are realistic.

  3. Don’t get sucked in: It’s really easy to get sucked into negativity. Try not to succumb to the negativity that’s bound to be around you by not participating nor feeling the pressure to be negative.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Goruck Challenge Class 449 Event Report — March 9th 2013

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Photo Credit: April Palugod Cioni

I finished my second Goruck challenge on International Goruck Challenge Day.

Yup, you heard me right, International Goruck Challenge Day.

The Board of Supervisors in the City and County of San Francisco declared March 9th, 2013 (see the picture below) as International Goruck Challenge Day.

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What a fitting day to do my second challenge!

A Twisted Way to Start

Our night of Good Livin’ kicked off on Lombard and Hyde with Cadre Beaux and Cadre Michael. For those of you who don’t know where that is, you can click here.

Lombard is the famed “Crookedest Street in the World”. Thankfully, we did not have to bear crawl down it or anything like that. I think they picked it for the fantastic views or maybe just to mess with our minds.

Welcome to Embracing the Suck Again

I don’t think I’ll ever get comfortable with the Goruck welcoming PT. It’s a shock to the system that you hope to get used to but never seems to feel right with.

Cadre Michel (Bravo team) put us through the paces with some truly miserable PT. Push-ups, bodybuilders, jumping jack and squats (and a bunch I choose to forget). Of course, this is all done in mid-shin deep San Francisco Bay water (aquatic park to be precise).

The welcome party is a gut check.

It gets the blood flowing and breaks down any illusion that this is going to be easy.

A Goruck Challenge is never easy and I don’t think they will get any easier. Even the additional training I did (mostly running, weights, rucking and some crossfit) does not fully prepare you for the challenge of doing all those things with 6 bricks on your back.

Even training with weight does not fully prepare you for what might happen. Sure, it helps but after two challenges, you really can’t predict what kind of PT you will be doing except for maybe push-ups and flutter kicks in cold, sandy water.

Sage Advice From Lieutenant Dan

I’m sure most of your remember the movie Forrest Gump. If not, definitely go check it out.

Lieutenant Dan’s advice to Forrest and Bubba rings true for any challenge — Take Care of Your Feet.

Anytime you have the chance to put dry socks on, remove sand, massage them or just let them dry out, do it. Your feet (along with other body parts) will take a beating but sore feet is just miserable and will make embracing the suck a lot harder.

My friend Dan found that out at Selection when he had to drop because his feet were really torn up. If you are having foot problems, let the Cadre or your fellow team mates know. I know that someone will either have extra socks or something that will help you out. Thankfully, mine held up okay but there were times when I was glad I toughen them up.

Some Simple Ways to Toughen Your Feet

Tough feet will make finishing a Goruck challenge a lot easier. My regime is a little bit odd but it works for me.

I’m an avid Roman Style runner (Teva Hurricane XLT is my preferred sandel). I have also done barefoot running (with Vibram’s 5 fingers) and routinely wear minimalist shoes as much as I can (I do my challenges in Merrell Trail Gloves. Doing this helps me toughen my feet so that they can handle the punishment.

Some of the other things I do to strengthen and take care of my feet include:

 

  • Proper toe nail care: It’s critical that you take care of your toe nails and make sure they are trimmed and not digging into your other toes. Believe me when I tell you, you don’t want any part of them removed for being ingrown.

  • Be barefoot as much as possible: Walking barefoot will allow you to toughen your feet but it also helps you understand how you walk.

  • Compete with what you train with: Always compete with what you train with. Break in new shoes or boots at least a month before you use them. New shoes or boots will be murder on your feet during a challenge.

  • Figure out your swelling factor: Feet swell during long endurance events. Once they swell, they will tend to rub more on shoes and boots. If you know your swell factor you can get a half size or bigger shoes and use socks to make them fit when not swelled.

  • Use glove type socks: Glove type socks really help keep your toes from rubbing against each other.

  • Duct tape works great for blisters: If you do get a blister, try some duct tape to prevent more rubbing.

  • Pop those blisters: Make sure to pop those blisters when they appear or it will just get worst and worst.

 

Zen and the Art of Carrying Logs

No Goruck challenge is complete without dealing with some sort of large log. This challenge was no exception.

Cadre Michael initially picked a real massive one that we could not even hoist to hip level. Thankfully, we settled on one that was a little more manageable — albeit still a monster.

Carrying logs is usually the de facto team building experience since a massive piece of wood cannot ever be lifted individually — it takes a coordinated team effort.

One thing that’s always challenging about log carrying is that the shape makes a huge difference. Odd shaped logs, with branches, curves, breaks and the like, pose an interesting dilemma – where to position people.

Team Bravo’s log had a fat end, a dip, several branches and was waterlogged. That made it just miserable to carry and to figure out positioning. Several attempts at “thinking about it” just led to failure after failure after failure.

With logs, the best method seems to be to just do it. Don’t overthink it. Don’t try to make it any easier. Just assess the situation and go for it.

Of course, this is easier said than done when you are tired and cold but overthinking did not help us one bit.

Another valuable lesson is to coordinate putting the log down. It’s vital to not abandon your log station no matter how much it hurts until the command is given. It’s really dangerous and can injury your fellow teammates. One of our teammates,Nick, got a chunk of log to his head. Thankfully, he was not hurt (he has a pretty hard head).

Challenge Assessment

As I talked about in my last challenge report, upper body strength was my big performance gap. For this challenge, I decided to focus more on Cross-fit style exercises and just long runs since my next event is the Diablo Trails 50k.

It worked out pretty well but I’m still deficient in upper and lower body strength (those 50 bodybuilders in Aquatic park just about broke me).

I’m going to up my weight training and do more cross fit to get make myself stronger. I will say that having more strength did help out a lot

Everyone’s Challenge Will Be Different

When you show up to a challenge, you have no idea who will be there with you. Each and every person that shows up is doing it for one reason or another.

What’s clear is that everyone that does show up wants to learn something about themselves.

A Goruck Challenge is going to push you beyond what you think you can endure. Even if you never carry a log, you will have to carry someone elses ruck, the team weight, maybe food or literally someone (usually a sniper or Zombie causality).

What’s fascinating about the types of people that show up is that they bring with them skills that they don’t know they have. Team leadership, endurance, encouraging others, navigation or just a positive attitude. Whatever it is, everyone’s challenge will be different and unique.

Everyone in class 449 made it and their unique experience will follow them forever. Congratulations Class 449!

 


 

If you are interested in doing your own Goruck Challenge, check out the site here. Ten dollars from the entry fee goes to The Green Beret Foundation to help our wounded, ill and injured special forces soldiers. Here’s to Good Livin’!

141 Ways To Build More Endurance Starting Today

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Photo Courtesy of Troy Angrignon

Each and every one of us was born to endure.

We have several physical features that make us ideal endurance athletes like your Achilles tendon, your ability to take multiple breaths per stride and your big brain to strategize with.

These physical features also benefit your mental abilities. The more you endure physically, the smarter you become. In fact, we are the result of thousands of generations of ever increasing brain power due to your ancestors ability to endure and thus pass on their smarter and stronger genes.

So why can’t most of us focus longer than 7 minutes or hit our goals or walk around the block or start a new project or not get distracted on the Internet. The answer is simple: we have lost our inherited endurance.

Why Endurance is Important

Endurance, like it’s partner Resilience, allows us to push through hardship and struggles that our primitive brain throws at us. This primitive or lizard brain, is the part that tells us to fight or flight. It’s extremely good at telling us to stop doing something uncomfortable or scary because way back when, those types of things got us killed.

Nowadays, we live in a relatively safe world but our fight and flight responses are still in hyperdrive and that prevents us from quitting our jobs, speaking in public, finishing a painting, writing a novel, running a marathon or asking for a promotion.

The reason the lizard brain dominates us in modern times is because we lost our endurance. Most of us no longer have to hunt for food, strategize about how to survive a winter, build a house, clear a forrest or even evade a sabertooth tiger.

With the loss of endurance comes the inability to push through all our non-lethal hardships and struggles required to meet our goals.

Our World View Meets Marshmallows

Our lizard brain is a powerful force within us but it can be tamed if we train ourselves to accept what the lizard brain is telling us and counteract it by changing our behavior.

In a revisitation of the classic Marshmallow experiment performed in the 1970’s, researchers wanted to see how conditioning children can help or hurt their ability to endure the temptation of eating a Marshmallow.

The results were astonishing.

When children were conditioned to have different world views related to the reliability of specific rewards, they drastically changed how long they could hold out for more Marshmallows.

The more reliable the World View (e.g. I have art supplies and stickers and I’ll give them to you), the longer they held out. The more unreliable the World View (e.g. I promised art supplies but did not deliver), the shorter the hold out (almost 50% less).

This result confirms that our expectations and delivery on those expectations can drive our ability to endure which gives each and every one of us hope that we can regain and build our endurance.

141 Ways to Get Your Inherited Endurance Back

We all have an inherited level of endurance — we just have to tap back into it. Below are 141 ways to tap into your inherited endurance. Try a few or try them all. The point is that having more endurance will make you more successful and happier.

Just remember — you’re living proof of the endurance of your ancestors!

DISCLAIMER: Some of these ways involve physical movement or exercise. Be smart about doing them, always be safe and consult a professional if you have any doubts. Keep Enduring!

 

  1. Focus on what you are doing.

  2. Move at least 20 minutes a day

  3. Mediate daily

  4. Practice harder than you play

  5. Eat smaller meals more often.

  6. Breath in and out through your nose.

  7. Publicly commit to a goal

  8. Eat smaller portions

  9. Take a Cold Shower

  10. Turn down the heat during the winter

  11. Do two (2) more push-ups, sit-ups, squats, pull-ups or whatever per set

  12. Walk/Job/Run 7 more minutes than you are used to

  13. Check email only twice a day

  14. Take a class that scares you

  15. Rely on your training. Don’t second guess your abilities before or during an event.

  16. Go to an open mike night and riff about something

  17. Take the stairs instead of the elevator

  18. Take public transit once a week to work no matter how long it takes

  19. Bike or run to work

  20. Embrace the suck and don’t complain.

  21. Turn down the AC when it’s hot outside

  22. See how long you can hold your hand in ice water

  23. Stand on a street corner for 15 minutes and just observe people

  24. Cut out one indulgence for a day/week/month.

  25. Take a multivitamin daily.

  26. Replace soda (even diet) with water

  27. See how long you can stay outside when it’s cold in just shorts and a t-shirt

  28. Eat Vegetarian once a week.

  29. Cut your meal portions in half

  30. Give 95, 96, 97, 98, 99 then 100%.

  31. Join the Polar Bear Club

  32. Run or Bike at midnight

  33. Do a plank until you can’t hold it anymore

  34. Start a workout routine

  35. Realize you have more to give even when at the brink of exhaustion.

  36. Stand in the rain without a jacket or umbrella

  37. Stare at the wall for as long as you can

  38. Walk barefoot in the snow

  39. Do a completely different workout routine than you are used to

  40. Learn a new sport

  41. Learn a language

  42. Learn to dance

  43. Safely sit in the lotus position for as long as you can

  44. Attend a protest

  45. Sleep 1/2/3 night(s) in the woods

  46. Stay up for 24 hours without stimulates

  47. Jump out of bed in the morning

  48. Wake up 15 minutes earlier than normal

  49. Get plenty of sleep but not too much

  50. Rest your body and mind daily.

  51. Workout outside even when it’s cold, rainy, windy or otherwise miserable

  52. Chop a cord of wood

  53. Use a push mower to mow the lawn.

  54. Do 20x more push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups or squats daily than what you can think you can do.

  55. Use a wheelchair for a day

  56. Push on for 7 minutes more the moment you want to quit.

  57. Pick a landmark and just get there. Once there, pick another one.

  58. Walk or slow down if you feel tired but never stop moving.

  59. Start out slow and get faster as things progress

  60. Turn in something that’s 80% completed.

  61. Create and Tend a Garden

  62. Learn to play a musical instrument

  63. Enter a talent contest

  64. Volunteer at an athletic event

  65. Don’t get consumed by failure. Fail and move on

  66. Never be satisfied with your performance

  67. Knock on doors for a political campaign or charity

  68. Workout at lunch three or more times a week

  69. Count to 10,000 backwards then forwards

  70. Join a team sport

  71. Work the graveyard shift

  72. Go on a police/fire/ambulance ride-a-long on the graveyard shift

  73. Pull an all-nighter

  74. Volunteer in a 3rd World Country

  75. Cook at home more than once a week.

  76. Focus on your form by practicing deep

  77. Don’t use electricity for an entire day/week/month.

  78. Fast

  79. Learn to swim.

  80. Be blind or deaf for an entire day.

  81. Don’t watch TV or surface the Internet for a day/week/month.

  82. Do multi-night backpacking trip

  83. Build and sleep in a snow cave.

  84. Start a fire without matches

  85. Build a shelter in the woods

  86. Hunt for your own food

  87. Swim 20x more than your best distance

  88. Wear a weight vest for an entire day/week/month.

  89. Wear sandals in the snow

  90. Go rock climbing

  91. Go white water rafting

  92. Hold your breath as long as you can then add 10 more seconds.

  93. Read 10 minutes more than you normally do

  94. Cut out caffeine for an entire day/week/month.

  95. Don’t complain about anything for a day/week/month

  96. Be in the now

  97. Complement every single person you meet for an entire day/week/month

  98. When competing, deny your faults. It will keep you focused on what you can achieve.

  99. Tread water for as long as you can.

  100. Swim 10 seconds more underwater than you normally can.

  101. Build Resilience Daily.

  102. Go on an epic trek

  103. Be confident not cocky

  104. Turn a negative into a positive

  105. Don’t obsess about failure, obsess about success

  106. Practice something every day

  107. Surround yourself with people that support you.

  108. Break the impossible into the possible

  109. Do something positive the minute you wake up.

  110. Figure out the odds of success or failure

  111. Have some quality dirt time weekly.

  112. Never worry about the end — push right past the finish line

  113. Eliminate the negative people in your life

  114. Don’t eat before going to bed.

  115. Focus on a single point for 10 minutes

  116. When you hit the fatigue wall, speed up

  117. Don’t be anxious about the start. Be happy.

  118. Learn new ways to do what you already know how to do.

  119. Schedule Rest and Recovery Days to revitalized yourself.

  120. Know your weak spots and work on improving them.

  121. Encourage others around you to succeed

  122. Do or do not. There is no try

  123. Switch Jobs.

  124. Have fun no matter what

  125. Chat it up with others

  126. Build confidence with the little wins and incremental progress

  127. Be more disciplined than motivated

  128. Shut everyone else out and play your game

  129. Don’t over analyze

  130. Aspire to be someone you respect

  131. Take a brief break to center yourself

  132. Image a happy place when you are stressed out.

  133. The more you do, the better you get

  134. Be open to trying something new to improve your skills

  135. Give yourself credit for what you do well

  136. Feel the anxiety and then let it go

  137. Be better than you were yesterday

  138. Worry only about what you can control

  139. Learn to zig and zag around things

  140. Study the masters

  141. Take an Ice Bath


Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Our Only Real Barrier is our Negative Attitude Towards Them

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We live in a negative world. To prove that, just look at the news.

Almost every news cast, report or story focuses on the negatives and hardly ever reports on the positive. Why is that?

Fixation on the Negative

We tend to remember the negative far more than the positive because negative emotions, feelings and experiences are more deeply processed in our brains.

This deep processing of the negative makes it hard to remember our positive experiences. This is why when we hit a barrier, we naturally tend towards the negative.

Breaking this cycle, by changing our attitudes, will allow us to take a more positive approach to barriers — an approach that will lead to quicker barrier removal.

Keep Positive or Remove the Negative

I remember reading some study that measured the affects of negative and positive people. It turns out that the negative has a 3-5 x more  impact (probably because of deep processing above) than the positive.

That means that you need 3-5 x more positive messages or people or attitudes than negative ones.

I think this is what saying “one rotten apple ruins the barrel” must have been eluding too — get rid of the negative and it’s much easier to make progress.

From my experience, this rings true. I can’t count how many times I have been in situations where one negative person saps the energy out of a room. It also seems that managers spend more time dealing with the negative employees than the positive ones.

That’s why it’s critical to remove those negative feelings or attitudes first before applying the positive — it’s just way more efficient and effective that way.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Remove the negative: Negative attitudes get amplified way more than positive ones. Work on removing the negative and the positive will be easier to achieve.

  2. Think of barriers as challenges: Part of removing the negative is to think of a barrier as a challenge which is a much more positive way of looking at them.

  3. Don’t complain: Complaining is negative. Instead, take action and do something about the barrier.

  4. Be positive but realistic: Being too positive does have it’s downsides especially if that positivity leads to actions that will turn out making the situation a net negative.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my http://enduranceleader.com/subscribe/“>FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

My Next Impossible Goal — Diablo Trails 50k

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“Anyone can quit and be defeated – but a winner will never quit and always keep striving for more” — David Goggins

My next impossible goal will be to finish a 50k. That’s a little over 31 miles.

The one I have chosen is the Diablo Trails 50k, which benefits Save Mount Diablo, a non-profit that strives to preserve all of Mount Diablo (presently, only half is a nature preserve). They have been doing this for over 40 years. Funnily enough, they were formed in 1971, the year I was born. How fitting that my first 50k benefits an organization as old as I am :).

A Different Kind of Race

Training for this race will be a lot different than Vineman or the Goruck Challenge (Class #306).

As my friend Tony “Endorphin Dude” Nguyen commented in his Endurance Chronicles interview:

1/2 Marathon and a Full Marathon are all athletics. Anything beyond that is all mental — Tony “Endorphin Dude” Nguyen.

The challenge with the Diablo Trails is that it’s a trail run which means that my normal marathon pace, which hovers around 4 hours, will extend out a bit.

The last time I did a trail run was the Muir Woods Half Marathon, which took me a little over 3 hours to complete.

Training Plan

I’m thinking that the key to finishing Diablo is to pace myself slower than my normal marathon time. To do that, I’m going to focus on longer, slower runs or rucks which conditions my body to sustain movement for long periods of time (like 4+ hours).

I’m also going to be doing another Goruck challenge on March 9th which is usually 12+ hours of Good Livin’ followed by Fight for Air Climb on March 23rd. Both of those will be a good gut check for the April 20th Diablo Trails.

I’ll also throw in some strength and sprint work outs to increase my muscle strength.

What that looks like each week is as follows:

  • Monday — Rest or Stretching

  • Tuesday — Running or Swimming

  • Wednesday — Circuit Training (5 x 5, etc)

  • Thursday — Running

  • Friday — Circuit Training ( 5 x 5, etc) or Swimming

  • Saturday — Circuit Training ( 5 x 5, etc)

  • Sunday — Long run or rucking or sleeping

A Lot of Help And Motivation From Friends

Joel Runyon, over at the Impossible HQ, finished the Chicago Ultra Marathon and wrote a great post about it.

I’m just a little competitive with Joel (I’m not even sure he knows that :)) since we have the same can do, nothing is impossible kind of attitude and he is trying to make a dent in the universe.

I’m also part of Goruck NorCal who are a great bunch of Gorucktards who motivate each other to push hard and play even harder. No one exemplifies Good Livin’ like they do.

What About You?

What races or events are you doing this year? It does not need to be anything extreme to make a difference. Just pick something and do it.

Learn to Zig and Zag and You’ll Find Barriers Few and Far Between

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Adaptability is a good trait to have. Organisms that adapt to their changing environments are far more likely to survive than those who don’t.

Adaptation is at the heart of zigging and zagging around barriers. By adapting to our changing environment, we can overcome barriers before they become barriers.

Be Intellectually Curious

It’s sad when I hear that people have turned off their brains and became comfortable with the dogma they subscribe too. That’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

Why is that a disaster waiting to happen? Because it cuts off your ability to zig and zag.

Impossibly Popular

Joel Runyon runs a fantastic site called ImpossibleHQ which is a collection of sites and services to help us do the Impossible.

Joel likes to set impossible goals for himself and one that ignited his popularity was his post on Obtaining Six Pack Abs.

This single post got more than 500,000 hits in one day and completely crushed his hosting service. Talk about an opportunity to zig and zag.

Not only did Joel overcome the increased traffic barrier by reacting quickly, he used it to increase his reach by guest posting on his experience with going viral.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Continuous learning: We will never know when we’ll have to zig and zag. That means we always have to be ready to react. The best way to do that is to continuously learn about things that might be valuable at some point.

  2. Challenge conventional wisdom: Conventional wisdom hardly ever solves new and complex problems. Only by looking outside conventional wisdom do we find the means to zig and zag around barriers.

  3. Push your limits: If we constantly push our limits then zigging and zagging will be both natural and expected when we encounter barriers.

  4. Look for cross over: Akin to challenging conventional wisdom, learn about other seemingly different areas. This cross over knowledge (e.g. Applying quantum physics to the free market) can make zigging and zagging around barriers a lot easier.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

How to Endure in the Face of Disaster

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A Guest Post by Mark McGuinness

Endurance is never easy, but sometimes the path is straighter than others.

Sometime it’s a case of making a plan and executing on it – step by step, enduring the pain, tackling the obstacles, and staying doggedly on track until you finish.

But sometimes your plans collide head-on with reality, and you’re confronted with a major setback.

If you’re an athlete, you suffer a major injury or a crushing defeat.

If you’re an artist, you’re stung by devastating rejection or criticism of your work, and left demoralized and creatively blocked.

If you’re an entrepreneur, you experience a major public failure – watching a new product flop, your stock price nosedive after an IPO, or even your company going bust.

And so on – whatever your field of endeavor, you can probably imagine a similar nightmare scenario.

Faced with disaster, if you want to endure you will need resilience: the ability to bounce back from adversity just as strong (or even stronger) than before.

Now given the choice, I think most of us would choose the straighter path, with no need for resilience thank you very much.

But developing a Plan B to cope with the worst forces us to dig deep, and discover resources of strength and ingenuity we may never have suspected in ourselves. So long term, developing resilience may even lead to greater success.

Not only that, there’s nothing an audience loves so much as a story of heroic recovery against all the odds – which again, could work to your advantage, if you can inspire people to rally to your cause.

Two Types of Entrepreneurial Endurance

Whatever else you might think about Microsoft, you can’t deny that until recently, they have been relentlessly successful on their own terms. Early on, Bill Gates and his Microsoftees found their market, their business model, their core products and partners, and swept all before them, like well-drilled Roman legions.

Impressive? You bet. Inspiring? Meh.

Apple, on the other hand, is a different story.

Even if you don’t follow the fortunes of tech companies, you’ll know the bare bones of the tale: the humble beginnings in a garage, the charismatic founder who persuaded the world to ‘Think Different’ about computing. That SuperBowl ad.

And then the fall from grace … the  sacking of Steve Jobs from his own company, and the nosedive in Apple’s fortunes, to the point where its demise was widely (and gleefully) predicted.

Finally, the triumphant second act, as Jobs returned to resurrect the company with a series of block-busting, game-changing, category-defining products, each introduced with a flourish by the master presenter, at events that brought an unprecedented sense of theatre to product launches.

What makes the story of Jobs and Apple so compelling is its back-from-the-brink plot, requiring the man and his company to develop apparently superhuman levels of resilience.

Given the choice, I’m sure the younger Jobs would have preferred to avoid losing his company and watching it lose its way. But having gone through the pain and learned the lessons, the older Jobs possessed knowledge, wisdom and achievements that put him in a class of his own.

Compared to all that, the chapters in the Microsoft story look as humdrum as successive iterations of MS Word.

And yet … Microsoft is now the company in (relative) crisis, falling behind tech trends and struggling to play catch-up in a post-PC world. If it is to endure, it will need to develop Apple-eque levels of resilience.

Hopefully you’ll never face disaster on a grand scale. But whenever you have to deal with a setback on the road to achieving your ambitions, here are some pointers to help you build resilience and get back on track as soon as possible.

How to Build Resilience:

#1 Acknowledge the Fall

When a disaster strikes, the worst thing you can do is plough on regardless. Which can be hard if you’ve conditioned yourself to keep going and endure in spite of all the odds.

It can be a fine line. Endurance athletes know all about pushing through the pain barriers – but if the pain is the symptom of a serious injury, you can do more harm than good by pushing on. Too many steps forward could lead to months of going backwards in treatment.

Other times the catastrophe is so obvious there’s no way of avoiding it.

Either way, it’s critical to assess the problem as soon as possible – only once you know the reality of your situation are you in a position to do something about it.

#2 Give Yourself a Break

When you’re hit by a big shock, and once you’ve taken any necessary emergency action, give yourself a break to absorb it.

The football (as in soccer) coach Martin O’Neill once revealed that he gives his teams 48 hours to feel sorry for themselves after a defeat. He wants them to feel the pain, learn the lesson and process it. Then it’s back to training.

Take the time you need to process your feelings and readjust your mindset – so that when you get back to work, its with 100% focus.

#3. Resolve to Learn

When you’re faced with a major setback, you can be defeatist, or rail against it in frustration. Or you can treat it as a learning opportunity and start to become curious about what it can teach you.

No prizes for guessing which option builds more resilience.

#4. Explore Your Options

When you get back to work, it’s worth asking lots of questions to fully understand the challenge and generate options for solving it:

  • What’s the real problem?

  • What caused it?

  • Has anyone else encountered this problem before and solved it? If so, what did they do?

  • Who else might know how to help me with this?

  • What skills or knowledge am I going to need? Where can I learn them?

Don’t just do this alone – talk to your partners, colleagues, team-mates, peers, mentors and anyone else who can help you (a) generate plenty of good options and (b) pick the best ones.

#5. Get Back to Work

Now that you’ve acknowledged the problem, taken time to absorb the shock, determined to learn from it, and generated some options for solving it, it’s time to get back to work.

Going through this process will prepare you for the new challenge, and give you the best shot at overcoming it. When you get going, keep experimenting and adjusting based on feedback.

Once you start to see positive results, you can build momentum using your familiar ‘endurance tools’ – the mindset, habits and actions that have served you well in the past. Using them to work on the challenge of recovery will strengthen your resilience into lasting endurance.

How has resilience helped you endure?

Have you ever had to deal with a major setback?

How did you deal with it? 

What did you learn from the experience?

Mark McGuinness is a coach who helps creatives and entrepreneurs endure the ups and downs of their roller coaster existence, and the author of Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success.