Like a Bigfoot

Motivation, Mindset, Positivity, Endurance, Adventure, Perseverance, and Possibility

Month: October 2016

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #9: Brandon Swett

This week’s episode was absolutely fascinating to me.  When I heard that my buddy Brandon Swett went to a 10 day silent meditation retreat, my first response was “He did WHAT??”  Brandon had never come across to me as the kind of person who would participate in something so outside the box.  Over the past two years he has completely challenged his old mindset and is studying meditation on his way to a greater self awareness.  The retreat played a huge role in his life.

Many people have dabbled into meditation, me included, but very few have experienced the intensity of a 10 day silent retreat. And damn did it sound intense!

I was curious to hear all about the power of Brandon’s adventure, the physical, emotional, and mental journey completely eliminating distractions for 10 days took him on, and the life lessons he has welcomed into his life.

I’m so happy Brandon was willing to open up, share and really get raw about the ups and downs he has experienced.  This one goes deep.  In fact, this is probably the deepest conversation Brandon and I have ever had; one of the many reasons I am enjoying doing this podcast every week.

Enjoy!

 

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #8: Ryan Esdohr

How to become Superhuman, the importance of pursuing new ideas, the mindset of a hard-worker, and, of course, surviving a multi-day Go Ruck challenge (the HCL) while profusely bleeding from your leg.  AND SO MUCH MORE!!

Ryan Esdohr, co-owner of  Superhuman Lab , is a deep thinking student of fitness who is constantly exploring ways to broaden the way we think of performance.  Through his company he explores mobility, recovery, and self care in order to discover how athletes can elevate what they are capable of.

I met Ryan three years ago when he owned “Iowa Powered Yoga” in Urbandale.  After attending one class, based off of my wife’s recommendation, I quickly realized that I had found my favorite yoga teacher.  He was personable, well informed, funny and led a KILLER workout.  Over the past three years, I have frequently practiced his yoga lessons from youtube.  In fact, I would say that he’s one of the main reasons I have become a proponent for doing brief yoga sessions every single day.

As Iowa Powered Yoga developed into Superhuman Lab, I was curious to reach out and hear his story (and to solicit free athletic advice).  I’m so grateful I did because this conversation has become one of my favorites!

Ryan has a wonderful outlook and philosophy when it comes to hard work, masochistic endurance events, and how to live a worthwhile life.

Hope you enjoy listening to this as much as I enjoyed talking to him!

My favorite thing to do during a recovery day

Subscribe to Superhuman Lab Youtube

 

Fear of different Perspectives

“Joe…we spotted one east of Richard’s farm.”  The message came through the old timey CB radio.

“Alright, we’ll be there.”

My grandpa Joe reached under his bed and grab his gun.  Yeah, it was probably loaded…not the epitome of safety.  Especially around an 8 year old who spent the majority of his days pretending to be Indiana Jones.  But after proper instruction and numerous warnings from my dad, “do NOT touch grandpa’s guns or it will not END WELL FOR YOU”, I was pretty much never going glance, let alone touch one of the rifles.

“Come on, Chris.”

We stepped out the door of his small, four room farm home, walked past the run-down “hound house”, next to the pasture’s handful of cows, and into his old brown pickup truck.  You know, the ones with the bench seat, the stick shift, and a hint of cigarette smoke.  Nothing fancy, just enough to get by doing what needed to get done.

And this afternoon, there was one thing that needed to get done.  Kill the coyote that keeps terrorizing Richard’s farm.

I slid into the seat next to my 80 plus year old grandpa and watched as he shifted the truck into gear and pulled on down the road.

He seemed grizzled.  A man who survived the depression hopping trains, hunting for his food, and getting by through the means of HARD WORK.  Work so hard that I probably couldn’t even wrap my pampered mind around it.  Road construction all day, every day.  Road construction that eventual led to a small south pacific island during World War II…but that’s another story for another time.

Fact of the matter…grandpa was tough.  He was hardened, maybe a little cantankerous, definitely opinionated, and all the while a loving gentle soul committed to his family, friends and town.

And today this loving, gentle soul was driving down main street of Milton, Iowa (pop. 60) with the intent of blasting a pesky coyote.

The next ten minutes were filled with static crackles from the CB as our truck was joined by at least six or seven other almost identical trucks.  A community of people determined to help their neighbor.

“We spotted him heading north on Sunset Drive.”

“Above Harrison Street?  By the new pond?”

“Yessir.”

“Over and out.”

The trucks pulled up, parked in a giant circle.

The coyote was in the middle, surrounded.  No escape.

They stepped out of the truck, decided who would shoot, someone raised their gun, fired, and down went the coyote.  Grandpa stepped forward with his knife, skinned it for the fur, got back in his truck and we took off down the road, back to his house.

Pest gone.  Pelt collected.  Regular day in Milton.

REFLECTIONS

How did you feel reading that story?  Did you feel resistance?  Was it unfair to the coyote?  Cruel?  Or did you think it sounded like a good ole time?  Could you see the necessity of killing the pest?  Could you see the perspective from the farmer, just trying to stop a pest from disrupting his livelihood?

Or did you stop reading halfway through?

This goes against my beliefs.  I refuse to even acknowledge that this kind of MURDEROUS activity goes on!

I would be lying if I told you, as an 8 year old, I was not conflicted by this experience.  This was a complicated day that obviously still sticks out in my mind.

I really did not enjoy the idea of ganging up on, surrounding and shooting an animal.  But, at the same time, I respected my grandpa and had an understanding of his way of life.

Looking back, the one thing that I am beyond grateful for is that grandpa exposed me to a new perspective: the small town Iowa experience.

PERSPECTIVES

Most people react poorly when meeting a person who has a different view of the world.  CONFLICTIONS OCCUR.  Country folk conflict with city slickers, vegans conflict with hunters, Crossfit people conflict with Yogis, Christians conflict with Muslims, teenagers conflict against adults, fans of the cubs conflict with fans of the cardinals.

No one gives credence to anything the other side has to say, do or think.  I don’t wanna hear it!

And, lord almighty, have we all experienced perspectives refusing to acknowledge each other during what I’ve been calling “longest. election.  ever.”  The bizarre combination of mass media, corporate interest, social media posts, and “team” politics has brought this problem front and center in every moment of our lives.  Don’t believe me?  Just check your Facebook……see what I mean?

If someone disagrees with us the temptations is to completely shut them out, dismissing them as idiotic, backwards, or just plain evil.

And it’s EASY to block them or tune them out and seek out information that solely is molded to our own “correct” opinions.  It has never been easier to shut out someone else’s view.

Why are we so willing to ignore perspectives that conflict against our own?  Why do we shy away from experiences outside of our norm?

Do we not see the benefits to be gained by exposing ourselves to someone else’s perspective? How much more fully-formed can we become if we are actively to experiencing, observing, and considering something that might make us uncomfortable?

The way I see things is simply this:

The world is FULL of various perspectives (in fact, about 7 billion of them).  If I shut myself out to anything and everything I disagree with, surrounding myself with people who think, speak, and look like me, then I am guaranteed the ABSOLUTE minimum the world has to offer.  

By exposing myself to new ideas, fresh adventures, and new people I am able to become a more well-rounded, educated human being.  I will have gained the ability to form experienced, intelligent decisions based in the notion of empathy for others and their varying perspectives.   

So escape from your box.  Step outside your comfort zone.  Talk to someone who you would normally just completely ignore, travel somewhere completely outside of your norm, listen to a conflicting opinion, experience life as if you were a different person.  Be uncomfortable for a little bit.

By doing this you will create a new norm in your life.  You will become more fleshed out; a more complete person.

And…you might just gain the tiniest bit of understanding of this crazy, complex world.

 

 

 

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #7: Susan Nowell

Nepal Treks, Ultramarathons, running miles and miles in the Sahara Desert, Iceland stage races, all on this week’s episode!  Hope that got your attention…

Do you remember meeting your first adventurer?  The first person who expanded your mind making you understand that the world is HUGE and filled with endless possibilities for adventure?

For me that person was my cousin Susan Nowell.  When I was in elementary school I vividly remember listening as she shared her experience trekking in Nepal.  Her pictures were so exciting and bizarre to me; they showed a brand new world of ginormous mountains and an exotic culture.  Of course I had seen places like this on TV, but I would have never guessed that someone I actually KNEW was basically, in  my eyes, a real life Indiana Jones!

Through the years following, Susan has introduced me to the concept of ultra running,  ran hundreds of miles through the Sahara Desert, became an honorary Italian for awhile, written for Trail Running Magazine, became a proponent for stage races in beautiful parts of the world, helped thousands of people with her physical therapy, and most of all stayed an adventurer and a diligent athlete.

I’m beyond excited whenever I get to discuss all things adventure, running, exercise and recovery with her and am really happy that I started this podcast so I have an excuse to have more conversations with the most empowering people in my life!

Today’s “Holy Moly” Moment

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“Every day, ordinary people are doing extraordinary things.”- Jim Valvano

Not to say Jim Walmsley is ordinary by any means….but this is just a simple reminder that being intentional, working hard, and chasing a goal will lead you to EXTRAORDINARY things.

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #6: Annie Gordon Perkins and Luke Perkins

Have you ever day-dreamed about quitting your job, selling your stuff, minimizing your life and hitting the road in the pursuit of adventure?

To most of us this will forever remain a day-dream, existing in the back of our minds with the rest of the “somedays”.   To Annie and Luke Perkins this has become their reality.   Having set out on the road, they have embraced a nomadic lifestyle adventuring around our beautiful country in their pop-up camper lovingly named “MuleHawk”.

On this episode we discuss how to overcome the fear of “taking the leap” towards a dream,  the day to day routines of camper life, the importance of embracing a wanderlust mindset, and how they maintain a loving relationship while packed in such tight quarters.

To me, Annie and Luke’s story is a reminder that the time to pursue your dreams is NOW…right now.  Not tomorrow…not “when the time is right”, but right now.  Whatever your dream may be.  There will never be the “perfect time”,so ignore the age old adage of “when I have____ then I will ____”, give up the excuses (you will think of PLENTY) and start the pursuit today.

If you are like me and crave daily inspiration then I highly suggest you follow the journey of MuleHawk at www.mulehawk.com, their Facebook page and youtube channel.

How are you spending your energy?

Life is all about energy. (As a science teacher I nerd out over this concept)

And the strange thing is this: we have a finite amount of energy.

You need to be conscious about how you are spending your energy.

I recently (literally 2 minutes ago) heard this quote from filmmaker Kevin Smith:

“In the same time you are wasting s****ing on things on the internet, someone else is spending their energy moving towards their dreams.”

Be aware of how you are spending your energy.

Let’s play a quick game of “would you rather”:

Would you rather criticize, critique, “hate”, rip down something someone else has created OR would you rather use that time to pursue one of your own dreams?

Would you rather be a curmudgeon always blasting people for following their dreams…”that’ll never work”, “just wait, that’ll sure blow up in their face” or would you rather become a support system, assisting people throughout their journeys?

Would you rather be a “why” person (“why the hell would they do that”, “what’s the point”) or a “why not” person?

Would you rather be an armchair quarterback or the guy in the damn game?

Would you rather waste hours upon hours complaining about something out of your control or spend that time doing the things you CAN control (self-improvement, relationship building, adventure seeking)?

I sure know my answers.

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #5: Matt Rackers

This week’s episode is a great one if you are the person who has thinks to yourself “running a half marathon looks super cool, but I’ll never be a runner… so there’s no point of even signing up.”

Matt Rackers is fresh off of finishing his very first half marathon and, while he may currently be limping around like a John Wayne, he’s feeling pretty dang good!  Bucket list item=complete!

In this episode we discuss the guts it takes to take the first step in any goal, running without the classic “runner’s body” (he’s almost 6’6″), learning how to pace yourself, the importance of setting goals, inspiration vs. jealousy, and letting go of your ego as both your wife AND your mom effortlessly run by you during the race.

Matt is my youngest cousin and has always been one of my best friends.  Although he may not be a stupendous runner (yet), he’s a tremendous athlete having played college football and is one of the only people I know who can do a full pistol squat.  He spends his days managing his own business, taking care of his two dogs Bella and Bill Murray, and constantly setting the bar of what it means to be a kickass husband to his wife Lauren.  In short, definitely tune in to this one because, as he does for me every time we talk, he will inspire you to be a better person.

(P.S- “Like a John Wayne” was initially a typo…but I loved it so much…look for “likeajohnwayne.com” soon!)

How Driving Across the Country is Exactly Like Running an Ultramarathon

I recently drove from Danville, Virginia to Arvada, Colorado…with my cat.  It was arduous to say the least.  As I was driving through the absolute boredom that is Kansas (sorry Kansasonians) I began to reframe the experience from “this sucks” to “use this to solidify your ultra endurance mindset”.

Ultramarathons, like driving for hours and hours, are mind-numbing and butt-numbing events that only a few people are crazy enough to go through (especially with a cat).  They also are remarkably similiar.

Survival Method: Split Journey into Small Goals

Get to the next aid station…get to the next major city.  In two more miles you can drink a ginger ale…in 150 more miles you can stop at a gas station.

You get the point.  This is the only way to survive such a feat.

You will eventually do battle with mental exhaustion

The miles go on and on and on in both instances.  Staring at the interstate or the trail starts to numb your mind.  You MUST find ways to entertain yourself.  Here are some suggestions:

Talk to someone.  This could be other runners in an ultra or just phoning a friend while you drive.

Rock out to some music

Appreciate the beautiful scenery  (impossible in Kansas…once again I am sorry)

Make up stupid songs

Talk to your cat (probably doesn’t work in a race)

Muscles you didn’t even know you had WILL get sore

At the finish line of any ultra, as I’m sitting enjoying a well-earned beer and pizza, I am always curious to see which muscles ache.  There are the obvious, of course, quads, glutes, calves…but then to your shock and awe you feel the burn in some unnameable muscles.  Woah…I didn’t even know that part of me existed.  

Same thing happened during the drive.  I can’t believe that sitting can cause such crazy muscle pain..but DAMN.  Maybe I’m just not used to it, but I could barely move while trying to stretch my sore self at a gas station.

Places to Refuel are filled with Junk Food

Speaking of gas stations…they are REMARKABLY similar to aid stations.  You appear in the distance beaten, broken, covered in sweat.  You slowly limp towards it, until you realize other people can see you and then you straighten up and try your best to walk normal as if saying I’m all good, no problems here.

You are now faced with the mecca of food choices: candy, chips, any type of beverages you can imagine (including booze).  You spot the bizarre option in the corner…Jalepeno Hotdogs?  Pickle juice? Cake frosting? What the heck?  Let’s roll the dice!  You think grabbing the outlandish food.

Within the next 15 minutes you are saying Hallelujah for the well-timed rest stop, port o potty, or hidden bush.

They have the potential to cause injury weeks later

Obviously, Ultrarunning can cause major issues if you push yourself too hard in the weeks following an event, but I recently found out that long distance driving also has this potential.

While moving I: Loaded up all of our furniture, hang cleaned a love seat into the back of a truck, and heaved heavy boxes of medical books into the moving truck.  Seriously if you want a killer workout, just lift up medical books…those things are as heavy as I imagine cannonballs to be.  Then I drove and immediately carried all that stuff up a flight of stairs.  No issue.  Felt a little sore but otherwise fine.

Then, a week later, I do some stupid ab exercise that I never do and all of a sudden I throw out my back!  What the heck???  I emailed one of my smartest friends, Jake Reed PhD, and this is what he said:

Your injury is most likely related to your hip flexors.  When they are kept short a really long time (driving) and then you do high volume AB work, low back problems will arise.

Lesson of Today: Have smart friends. …wish I would have talked to him directly after the drive!  A few days of focused stretching and the pain is gone.

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