New Year!

Ultra Running Update

When was the last time you physically challenged yourself? Like, want to pass out on the side of the hill your on, but know you still have miles to go regardless? Your body screaming you should quit – all those lackadaisical moments glistening in your vision like a mirage? Your brain saying “we don’t have to do this there is a car, uber, rescue choppers even”.

When your brain is actively throwing out alternatives to continued torture… well you know you’ve found the right spot :).

When I first started this journey running a few miles every other day was Peak Ben. 3 days in a row was territory for questioning life choices, yet in the past 3 weeks I’ve put in 126 miles. I’m no where near where i need to be to run an ultra (I could probably limp through one though). The difference is I can see the path there. My body is at the point where I can pound out 5-8 miles a day now without soreness, much tiredness, or longing for a donuts.

I’ve treated this journey, as I do most of my journey’s, through a continually shifting perspective of what I understand, what I am experiencing, and what I am learning.

Some of my broader takeaways:

Consistency is key. Our bodies are a system of cycles built upon cycles with governing rhythms – a biologic symphony of sorts. When we listen to beautiful music it has a flow to it which appeals to and resonates with our inner symphony and if there is something discordant or off about the music it stands out, often atrociously. Building upon this idea with the concept of hermetic stress (what doesn’t kill you often makes your stronger), and the psychology that it takes two to three weeks to build up a routine that your body dials into I found a nice foundational view on this idea. It is inherent in the word often associated – training. We’re training our bodies constantly – programming it through out thoughts, actions, and feelings and our bodies & minds learn best through repetition. Interrupting the the song with something discordant is just like interrupting the training with a cheat day, off day, etc. Keep the flow going.

Interestingly a series of discordant interruptions can form a new pleasing sound in a song. This is in essence what breaking old routines, patterns, and even behaviors is like for our system. It runs counter to what all experience up til that point had prepared us for. When we are attempting form these new programs, especially ones that interfere with long standing behaviors, is where we encounter the largest resistance internally. It is also the signpost that a change is occurring.

Alignment is probably the root of most pain. Weird twinges, dull throbs, sharp ticks have all cropped up in runs. Sometimes they go away just as wistfully as they arrived other times its groans, oohs and ahhs, until I figure out how to re-align the structure around the pain. This has been the very scientific approach of looking or imagining the internal structure and then yanking, twisting, poking, and rotating things until “pop” and the pain stops. Knee, shoulder, toes, calf, quad, hips, lower back – my oh my how our bodies crumple in the sedentary life. I’ve managed to re-align parts of my body that previously in life were ‘injuries’ that put me down for long periods of time.

Nutrition is the grease for the engine – that includes hydration and electrolyte balance and in general not eating the entire fridge. Your body, which has been taught to keep those fat stores, wont let go of them easy. He knows a guy in the gut who knows a guy in the brain and there is a conspiracy afoot against the new regime. Quelling this rebellion is your first task in your new role as super fit leader dude. For me, intermittent fasting has proved to be the ticket. Eating in an 8 hour window accomplishes a couple of things and even if you splurge and go hard in the paint for that window you are still in good graces with your bodies metabolism which is regulating not just the processing of that glorious food, but also the repairing of parts of the body in the other hours its running. How much and what you eat is a tuning process and running daily allows you to get a feel for what foods affect you positively and negatively pretty quick.

Now i’m doing a weekly 50 mile challenge for running (walking works too!). The intent is this is the next step to 100 miles a week. If I can get that life upgrade i’m pretty sure I can tackle these ultra dreams.

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No Absolutes

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