Finding Ultra by Rich Roll

A few years ago, Kindle was the hot thing. Maybe the Kindle still is, but mine fell out of favor a while ago. Recently, I rediscovered my Kindle and charged it back up. And, there “sitting” on my bookshelf was Finding Ultra by Rich Roll. I am not positive, but I believe it is one of those books that I downloaded during a beach vacation and may (or may not of) ever finished — right along with some new age spy novel.

I’m glad I found Finding Ultra and read it critically this time through.

Finding Ultra is the biography of Rich Roll — and, in particular, his transformation in mid-life from an out- of-shape recovering alcoholic to one of the best ultrarunners and ultraracers of his day. There is a huge emphasis in the book on the role of a plant-based diet in that transition. But, there is a lot more to this book than just eating better.

Overall, Finding Ultra is an easy flowing read — much like its laid back author. (I have never met Rich, but that’s impression from watching his YouTube Channel and listening to his podcasts). Unlike similar books, it is not full of machoism or ego. It is carefree and meanders more like a soft stream through the mountains that so often serve as the book’s setting. It is a great nightstand or beach vacation book (just make sure you read it!)

Inside the chapters are captivating stories of extreme endurance adventures, many of which have not been publicized outside the niche world of ultrarunning. One of my favorites is about the EPIC 5 —- Rich and his buddy’s quest to complete 5 Ironman Distance Triathlon on the 5 Hawaiian Islands in 5 consecutive days. The preparation for and completion of this event could easily muster enough material for a book. Fortunately for the reader, EPIC 5 is only one of many great stories in this book.

The book is also very human and personable.  As I approach my forties, I found myself relating to Rich’s own struggles with mid-life, which were precipitated by the choices throughout his twenties and thirties.

I did not grow-up in a family of healthy eaters. We ate and some members of my family ate a lot. But, I was active, so excess weight or health concerns were never issue in my teens. In my twenties, I ate horribly in college and at work causing me to balloon to 30 pounds heavier than my current weight. In my thirties, I found running and have returned to my early twenties weight.

Like Rich, I see the next frontier for me as nutrition. I certainly eat better now than I did a well ago. And, it’s mainly from awareness of how to eat. Lacking great role models growing up, I have had to slowly piece together a better meal plan and supplementation routine. (Indeed, this experimentation led me to design the PEREGRUNE line of Runner Nutrition — Odds are Rich has it right. The plant based lifestyle makes a lot of sense and it has gotten results. And, as I have added more fruits and vegetables (especially vegetables) to my diet, my performance, mood, and health have gotten better. But, I still like and find value in meat.

In summary, Rich’s transcendental view on life makes this book very readable. Its words are humble, inspiring, and relaxed. There’s calmness to the book’s stories despite their extreme settings.

Calm under stress — that’s probably why Rich is such a great athlete.

Benjamin Franklin Biography

Walter Isaacson’s biography Benjamin Franklin. An American Life is critically claimed as one of the best on Franklin. Having just finished, I can see why. At over 400 pages, it is a long book like most encompassing biographies on great historical figures. However, the book is chronological, which makes it easy to skip to the “fun” sections. 

If you like history and biographies, give this book a read. It is factual, yet opinionated. It is dull where it should be dull. And, clever in unsuspected places. The read will not fly by, but it will be easy to pick-off where you left. In the end, you’ll most certainly learn something you did not know about the history of America along with one of its greatest sons.

Personally, I read this book for two reasons (well, three). First, biographies and histories are my favorite book genres. I enjoy reading about the past as a road-map for my life and understanding for the society in which I live. Second, Benjamin Franklin is interesting because his life was so multifaceted: Tradesman, Businessman, Inventor, Scientist, Diplomat, Rebel, among numerous others. Who exactly was he?!? (Third, I too need a break from reading book about Running once in awhile.)

There’s a lot of wisdom in this this book. Here are a few of my highlights:

Benjamin Franklin’s (and his fictional Poor Richard’s) advice was to have a core “trade” to financially support yourself. For Franklin, that was Printing. He argues that if you have a trade, you can most always provide your services to support yourself and family. Then, from that solid financial base, you can build: Scale the enterprise, participate in community activities, hold political office, invest time in interests and hobbies, or whatever else you would like to do. This makes sense to me. I started down this path with a Chemical Engineering Degree. If I had stayed that course, Engineering (especially with a Professional Engineer Certificate) is trade that can be reasonably relied on to provide services in the market. Eventually, I transitioned to Marketing and Business Management. This too — bringing products to the market and managing an enterprise — is a skill set that can be developed and relied upon. In Franklin’s era, perhaps this skill set would have been Shop Owner, Inn Keeper, or Merchant. In any case, good practical advice, especially for those starting out in life. What you did mattered less than at least doing something. 

Franklin was a terrific and prolific writer. He developed his writing style early as a young printing apprentice where he wrote some of his most famous articles (e.g. Silence Dogood Letters). And, the last public address of his life (see below paragraph) is a masterpiece. As a printer, Franklin spent a large part of his life building and publishing newspapers. Franklin understood the power of the written word. How it can be precise, rationale, and distributed rapidly to far more places than you could travel on your own.  By mastering the written world, Franklin learned how to influence millions without ever being there at all — influence that continues with the present generation. 

A list of Franklin’s friends reads like the Who’s Who list of 18th century Europe and America. He seemed to know everyone. He exchanged ideas with the top philosophers, scientists, and politicians of his generation. However, in my reading, Franklin was foremost interested in sharing ideas as opposed to collecting business cards. This pursuit and his own contributions to science and politics eventually put Franklin in the same circles with history’s great characters.  All of this despite beginning life as a poor, runaway teenager. Franklin was excellent at networking and this network ultimately helped him (and America) throughout life.

Back to writing, if you could only read one letter from Benjamin Franklin, I would make a strong case to read his last public address to the Continental Congress before the signing of the U.S. Constitution. Transcribed below from the notes of James Madison: 

Mr. President:

I confess that I do not entirely approve of this Constitution at present, but Sir, I am not sure I shall never approve it: For having lived long, I have experienced many Instances of being oblig’d, by better Information or fuller Consideration, to change Opinions even on important Subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow the more apt I am to doubt my own Judgment, and to pay more Respect to the Judgment of others. Most Men indeed as well as most Sects in Religion, think themselves in Possession of all Truth, and that wherever others differ from them it is so far Error. Steele, a Protestant in a Dedication tells the Pope, that the only Difference between our two Churches in their Opinions of the Certainty of their Doctrine, is, the Romish Church is infallible, and the Church of England is never in the Wrong. But tho’ many private Persons think almost as highly of their own Infallibility, as of that of their Sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French Lady, who in a little Dispute with her Sister, said, I don’t know how it happens, Sister, but I meet with nobody but myself that’s always in the right.

In these Sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its Faults, if they are such; because I think a General Government necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a Course of Years, and can only end in Despotism as other Forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution: For when you assemble a Number of Men to have the Advantage of their joint Wisdom, you inevitably assemble with those Men all their Prejudices, their Passions, their Errors of Opinion, their local Interests, and their selfish Views. From such an Assembly can a perfect Production be expected? It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this System approaching so near to Perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our Enemies, who are waiting with Confidence to hear that our Councils are confounded, like those of the Builders of Babel, and that our States are on the Point of Separation, only to meet hereafter for the Purpose of cutting one another’s throats. Thus I consent, Sir, to this Constitution because I expect no better, and because I am not sure that it is not the best.

The Opinions I have had of its Errors, I sacrifice to the Public Good. I have never whispered a Syllable of them abroad. Within these Walls they were born, and here they shall die. If every one of us in returning to our Constituents were to report the Objections he has had to it, and use his Influence to gain Partisan in support of them, we might prevent its being generally received, and thereby lose all the salutary Effects and great Advantages resulting naturally in our favour among foreign Nations, as well as among ourselves, from our real or apparent Unanimity. Much of the Strength and Efficiency of any Government, in procuring and securing Happiness to the People depends on Opinion, on the general Opinion of the Goodness of that Government as well as of the Wisdom and Integrity of its Governors. I hope therefore that for our own Sakes, as a Part of the People, and for the sake of our Posterity, we shall act heartily and unanimously in recommending this Constitution, wherever our Influence may extend, and turn our future Thoughts and Endeavours to the Means of having it well administered.

On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a Wish, that every Member of the Convention, who may still have Objections to it, would with me on this Occasion doubt a little of his own Infallibility, and to make manifest our Unanimity, put his Name to this instrument.


Wow. What a great speech to capstone an amazing life. How fortunate we are to have had these leaders during the formative years of America. Even for today, there is a lot of practical wisdom here:

For when you assemble a Number of Men…with those Men all their Prejudices, their Passions, their Errors of Opinion, their local Interests, and their selfish Views. From such an Assembly can a perfect Production be expected?”

Of course not. How could it ever? Even back in 1787 our founders understood compromise. Practically speaking, it is the only to accomplish anything great and lasting.

“I confess that I do not entirely approve of this Constitution at present, but Sir, I am not sure I shall never approve it: For having lived long, I have experienced many Instances of being oblig’d, by better Information or fuller Consideration, to change Opinions even on important Subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.”

It’s OK to change opinions with better information. In fact, what are the chances all your current positions are right? Are you really infallible? Odds are not. Are you willing to change with new information (and, more importantly, are you willing to listen to new information).

“The Opinions I have had of its Errors…Within these Walls they were born, and here they shall die.”

Make your case and if the group rejects your ideas, move on and join the broader group. That is what it means to be part of a team or organization. 

Lastly, great biographies remind the reader that their subject is in fact human — filled with character flaws and mistakes. Benjamin Franklin was no exception. His relationship with his wife was borderline cruel in my reading. His estrangement from his son (although I understand the source of the distance) seems awfully harsh for any father to persist and carry through to his death. And, because I do read books about running, Franklin was not a good role model for healthy living, despite his advice in Poor Richard’s Almanac. In summary, Benjamin Franklin was human — but an effective one. 

Overall, Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin earns a spot on any history reader’s bookshelf. The challenge is where to categorize this book of such a multidimensional man.

Running Man by Charlie Engle

Here’s a book that will make your life seem boring. This week I finished Running Man by Charlie Engle.
This book is a memoir about the life of Charlie Engle – and what a life! After a decade-long addition to crack cocaine and alcohol, Charlie hits bottom with a near-fatal six-day binge that ended in a hail of bullets. That’s how the book begins. From there, the book painfully recounts Charlie Engle’s journey from addiction to sobriety, prison, and then eventual freedom. The common thread in his journeys is running. The book takes us through the iconic races of ultrarunning including Badwater, Gobi March, and Eco-Challenge. We get a first-person look at Charlie’s run across the Sahara Desert – 4,500 mile journey that was the subject of the documentary Running the Sahara produced by Matt Damon. Although Charlie writes a memoir, this book is also a story of relationships with family, friends, and runners throughout his intense life ordeals.

Running Man is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. It is remarkable that one person could maintain his or her sanity and persistence through these peaks and troughs. Charlie does, which is why this book is worth reading. It is interesting to see how Charlie trades one addiction (drugs and alcohol) for another (running). The book details his near maniacal obsession with running, training, and finding longer and harder events. It seems to be the level of punishment of the event that is more important than the finishing position. As you meet other runners in the book, including David Goggins, you wonder if this obsessiveness is the common characteristic among these uncommon individuals.

There are many ways to read this book. My advice is to sit back and enjoy the ride, especially because you watching not living this one! The book serves as a blueprint on overcoming difficult struggles in life. Read Charlie’s story and then see how hard your life is really. When times are dark and hard, what do you do? Would you survive through drugs, bankruptcy, injury, or prison? Charlie not only survived, he came out higher on the other side — as any roller coaster rider will note defies the laws of physics. This book tells a remarkable story. Now of course, the story is written by Charlie. Perhaps each of these pivot points was fueled with darkness and depression that we may never know. (As a reader, I would hope so. Otherwise it would appear so easy). But, is there anything wrong or unexpected about that? I think no. Charlie manages through the struggles (whether he communicates them to or not) and thrives.

In summary, Engle’s Running Man is worth the read. At a tad under 300 pages, it is light and smooth. Its common sense words are written by a common sense man – one who lives an unordinary life. Make the read and then see what obstacles in your life do not seem as difficult anymore.
See you at the Finish Line,

Book Review: Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Stay Hard! Merry Christmas! If you know anything about David Goggins, then you know what I’m talk about it. If not, then get ready to meet a man who could change your life.

Can’t Hurt Me (364 pages) is the (living) autobiography of David Goggins – and he is having quite a life. But recounting his life accomplishments is not the principle subject of this book. Instead, David focuses on what he had to endure to achieve. From the book’s cover:

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare – poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world’s top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him The Fittest (Real) Man in America.  

In Can’t Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.

Still not convinced you should this book? Go to YouTube and watch David Goggins.

He has appeared on several top rated YouTube channels and podcasts. If you like what you see, you will like this book. Can’t Hurt Me is a raw account of David’s life and the writing style is a seamless transition from the David you have seen in video.

David is living proof that accomplishing big (or really any) goals is possible through hard work. Based on his background and early life, David should have been a statistic in his words. He grew up with an abusive father in a broken home in a community full of prejudice and poverty. But, you can’t hurt David Goggins. What I like about this book is not only the story of triumph, but also the path forward outlined for the reader. At the end of each chapter are mini-challenges that you can implement today to begin changing your situation and chasing your goals the way David did.

For instance, the Accountability Mirror (#accountabilitymirror) is a tactic used by  David to set and achieve goals. It’s simple: Write your goal on a Post-It note, then put it on your bathroom mirror. Sounds easy, right? Try it; it works, especially if you have others in the house that use this mirror…

Or, try the Cookie Jar (#cookiejar). The Cookie Jar is a physical reminder of how strong you are, especially when you feel weak or depressed. For me, I’m experimenting with an old cookie tin on my desk. As instructed, I’m filling the tin with slips of paper of major obstacles overcome in my life that can be later retrieved to serve as reminders of hardships already surmounted.

David demonstrates that the way to accomplish goals is mental toughness  – something most of us lack. To develop mental toughness, you have to be willingly to work and suffer and, in David’s words, callous your mind. When you understand this idea, the exploits that have made David famous make more sense. Each one was a mini-crucible on his path to fortify his mind and become a better version of his self. And, again, David outlines to the reader how to start acquiring their own mental toughness.

In the end, what makes the book worth reading is David’s ability to tell his stories in a way that makes the reader think “if this guy can do it, maybe I can to it.” Then, he takes one more step forward than most to outline the initial path forward. I guess that should be expected from a man who has always take one more step forward than most.

Stay Hard! See you at the Finish Line,

Book Review: Today We Die a Little!

Today We Die a Little by Richard Askwith is the biography of Emil Zatopek. The book is subtitled The Greatest Olympic Runner of All Time, which is conveniently a good synopsis of its contents.

Emil Zatopek raced at his peak in the decade after the second World War. Among many world records and victories, winning three gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics was perhaps the most notable feat. Emil won gold in the Olympic 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and Marathon (his first marathon ever run) — an impressive accomplishment of running depth that will likely never be repeated in the modern era.

As usual, there are many ways to read this book. It is a great biography of a legendary runner. It is a history of communism and the Eastern European sporting machine after World War II. It is also a great book about running training techniques.

The theme I eventually extracted from the book centers on a quotation from Emil.

Pain is a merciful thing – if it lasts without interruption, it dulls itself. – Emil Zatopek

That’s quite a quotation.

Intuition is that at the onset of pain, you should stop or slow down. Emil, in this quotation, suggests another option — keep going, perhaps even go harder.

How this matters in Running

There is nothing complicated about running. The gear is simple. The venue is simple. The rules are simple. Yet, some people elevate this activity to sport. A rarefied few to a pathway through life.

How do those few do it? There are countless stories of hard-work trumping talent. Emil (although talented) arguably began the era of real hard-work in running. His novel and brutal training tactics — well detailed in this book — created a clear separation from his rivals.

What is the purpose of this hard-work in training? Of course, it conditions the body to endure greater stress, pushing back the perceived envelope of where pain begins.

But, what-if, there is something more that Emil discovered?

Consistent hard-work creates many moments where a runner must face pain or discomfort. In those moments, a runner can learn what happens if he/she continues or stops. Then, when it matters, a runner’s familiarity with pain merely becomes another competitor in the race to be beaten or paced against.

How this matters in Life

The final chapters of this book cover Emil’s post-running political career as an active government employee and private citizen. He was a pro-socialist revolutionary during Soviet-era communism in Czechoslovakia. A lot is covered, but, in the end, it does not turn out well for Emil. He is effectively exiled from his family, friends, and countrymen for over a decade working hard labor in the remote parts of the country. It is worth reading the book just to understand how frightening and totalitarian communism was to its citizens throughout the twentieth century. This is a tough situation for any man to face. But, Emil survived.

The fall from greatness would seemingly crush most. Emil certainly seemed to have bent, but he did not break. Perhaps, it takes having climbed to greatness to survive such a fall. To succeed in running, Emil had learned about hard-work and enduring pain. How to keep going when things got tough. How any uncomfortable situation in life can eventually become manageable if you just keep going.

I do not know if I could have survived what Emil went through. No one really does until they are put into that situation.

However, on a smaller scale, sometimes the daily routine of running or life is draining. Even the prospect of a future race or near-term goal can lack motivation in those times.  On those days, maybe it is worth re-framing why you train or even just get up everyday. As Emil learned, maybe it is about learning how to endure when pain arises — to keep going instead of stopping — no matter where it appears in life.

Running is a simple activity. You can only cross the finish line if you do not stop.

–  George

Book Review: Like Father, Like Son. My story on running, coaching, and parenting.

I finished reading Like Father, Like Son. My story on running, coaching, and parenting by Matthew Centrowitz (Sr.).

It’s a great book. But, don’t expect flowing prose and vivid sentences of filled with imagery. Matthew Centrowitz Sr. is runner, not a writer. And, that is exactly why this book is so good. It’s raw. It’s authentic. It’s a book that anyone – including you – could aspire to write.

The book’s title is a solid synopsis of its content. This is a book on running, coaching, and parenting. What gives it depth is that it is a book on running at the University of Oregon during it’s heyday, on coaching from one of the top collegiate coaches, and on parenting to the reigning 1500m Olympic Gold Medalist.

This book is a great history – similar to many of the books I enjoy. It recounts stories of running for Bill Bowerman and Bill Dellinger (“Just call me Bill”) at the University of Oregon. The cast of characters include legends such as Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, and Steve Prefontaine. These were the contemporaries of Centrowitz Sr.. Written from the point-of-view of the author, these stories are fresh even if the facts will be known to most readers. There are flashes of youthful bravado, which the seasoned reader (ahem, older like me) can relate too and find humor.

But, I’d ask you to consider reading this book differently. Consider reading it as a book on parenting and raising children.

In the final chapters of the book, Matthew Centrowitz Sr. focuses on his role as a parent. He is the dad to a daughter (an accomplished athlete) and son – Matthew Centrowitz Jr. the reigning 1500m Olympic Gold Medalist and one of the best middle distance runners in the sport today. Given his elite running background, you would think that Centrowitz Sr. would be heavily involved in the daily coaching on his son. You might even think that from the book’s title; however, the reader will find this is not the case.

Centrowitz Sr. had a bad dad growing up who vanished from his life at an early age. For many, this situation creates a recurring cycle of deadbeat dad to their kids. Role models are powerful – even deadbeat ones. Fortunately, Centrowtiz Sr. breaks this cycle. He spends much of his teenage and young adult years filling the father-figure void left by the absence of his own dad.

When Centrowitz Sr. has his own children, he behaves differently as the reader will discover. By all accounts, Centrowitz Sr. becomes a great dad who applied the same discipline to parenting as he applied to running – showing up on the hard days, logging the miles, managing pain/disappointment, and listening/learning/getting better every day.

There’s a quotation in the book that Centrowtiz Sr. receives from an early coach.

“When you become a dad, put your medals away in a drawer.”

Makes you think. Let your children measure up to themselves and their goals – not chase yours or even your unfinished dreams. Like most great advice, this is hard to do. Maybe that’s why it takes a runner to pull it off.



Book Review: Bowerman and The Men of Oregon by Kenny Moore

My uncle passed away yesterday. It was tragic, too soon, and unfair. He was a good man who lived a good life — and I, my wife, and my boys will celebrate him as such.

It’s moments like this that remind you how ephemeral life is. You cannot waste time because you don’t know how much you have left — but, it is certain that number is finite.

I like reading books. I liked reading books about running. And, I like writing about these books because I think people should read them. Not only because they recount stories of running, but also because they impart lessons for how to live life.

BOWERMAN AND THE MEN OF OREGON by Kenny Moore is one such book. At its surface, the book is the story of the University of Oregon’s legendary Track & Field Coach and Nike’s (yes, that Nike®) co-founder. At its core, however, this book illustrates a model for how to live life.

At +400 pages, BOWERMAN is a seemingly daunting read that somehow floats by once you get going — almost like a great middle distance runner. The book is filled with captivating stories – some that seem hard to believe that one man could have been involved in them all. Some of my favorites include:

  • Early Years: The book devotes several chapters to the early coaching years of Bill Bowerman at smaller educational institutes. It’s here that you begin seeing Bill’s character and philosophy materialize. It’s also here that Bill’s life takes a detour when he serves in World War II. His experience in war and as a leader are both somber and somewhat hilarious with the benefit of hindsight  (noteworthy the story of demanding the surrender of the Italian army in person).
  • 1972 Munich Olympic Games: The infamous Olympic games where Israeli athletes were taken hostage and sadly murdered by a faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Bill Bowerman was there as the USA Head Coach and, in my interpretation, saved the lives of his American athletes when the Olympic Village was raided. Read the book and see if you reach the same conclusion.
  • Pre – One of the world’s most memorable middle distance runners. This book offers rare accounts of what it was like to coach and raise Steve Prefontaine in his era of PR crushing performances followed by his untimely death.
  • Bill Hayward – The man for whom the University of Oregon’s track is named. Prior to this book, I never fully appreciated that the legacy of Bill Hayward extended beyond his own accomplishments to the legion of men he coached and mentored to do extraordinary things on their own. Read about the man, who arguably, plucked and started Bill Bowerman on his journey in life.
  • Lasting Legacy – Bowerman was an excellent coach who built men on and OFF the track. Many of his athletes achieved their greatest accomplishments after running for Bowerman — becoming accomplished lawyers, accountants, public servants, and businessmen (beyond Phil Knight the other co-found of Nike). Bill’s ability to see that life extended beyond running and college was a great gift to his athletes.
  • Quarks – Bowerman was an inventor and tinkerer. Perhaps not the image of your typical High School or College Track Coach. Aside from experimenting with running shoes, Bill genetically bred chickens, practiced international diplomacy, drew architecture plans, innovated track surfaces, and was an accomplished non-profit fundraiser. A modern day Benjamin Franklin! Bill is proof that a life can be full, interesting, and varied — a true Renaissance man. Indeed, it turns out that the name Bowerman means BUILDERMAN.

In short, Bill was a man that put himself into the arena of life. As a result, he experienced life and was constantly in the center of action. And this perhaps is my biggest takeaway from the book and the life of Bill Bowerman:

Do Something. Do it to the best of your ability. Then, encourage others to do it better. When it’s over, do something else. Do more. Do you.

Or, more succinctly: JUST DO IT.

Take the time, read the book. I’d encourage you not to read the book as a lesson on how the empire of Nike was built. There are other books for that. Instead, read the book as a lesson on how to build yourself into your best version. Who knows, you might just make your own empire in the process.

See you at the Finish Line,


Book Review: The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb

Histories and biographies (not autobiographies) are my favorite genre of books.

The PERFECT MILE by Neal Bascomb recounts the 1950’s epic chase across 3 continents by 3 remarkable runners of the once presumed impossible 4 minute mile.

There are many ways to read this book — history, Roger Bannister’s training methods, mental fortitude,, amateur athletics crazy rules, etc. All are good and credible reads.

However, in this book review, I read the book as a template for CHARACTER — notably, the character of the secondary protagonist John Landy.

No matter how your read this book — READ IT. This is a highly recommended history that will not disappoint.

See you at the Finish Line,


VLOG Book Review: Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei

There’s a lot of way to find new books to read. In today’s world, does a great job suggesting new titles for you based on your past searches. But, sometimes its fun to find books the old-fashioned way.

This week’s book I obtained from the list of sources in last week’s book: Eat & Run by Scott Jurek.

The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei is a documentation of a sect of Tendai Buddhist monks in the mountains outside Kyoto, Japan. Unique within their journey of personal enlightenment is the incorporation 100-days or 1,000-days of consecutive marathon distance (40-80km) pilgrimages through their mountain homes. The endurance, persistence, and consistency of these Marathon Monks is mind-blowing — clearly the wrong sentiment for a group undergoing a journey of enlightenment, but, nonetheless captures my raw enthusiasm for their feats.

The Marathon Monks of Mt. Hiei IS NOT for everyone. It’s a detailed, almost scholarly study with a tangential association to running or ultrarunning. I recommend some quick internet research first on the Marathon Monks.

If then still interested, this book is an EXCELLENT further study.

See you at the Finish Line,


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