Like a Bigfoot

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

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Like a Bigfoot #49: Shane Dowty 2 — Life Lessons Learned From Climbing the Coaching Ladder

This week we are continuing the tale of Shane Dowty’s quest to coach in the world of college football.

Over the course of starting this podcast my unofficial theme song has become “It’s a Long Way to the Top, If You Wanna Rock n’ Roll”.  The idea to accept that anything worth wanting in life is not instantaneous, instead taking patient consistent hard work to achieve. Shane’s journey fascinates me because it is the embodiment of that philosophy.   And really, when you start from the bottom, embracing the journey and becoming a sponge absorbing knowledge from various mentors is absolutely key.

In 2009 Shane had the opportunity to work as a student assistant for the Iowa Hawkeyes, an experience that set him down this path.  (Going to the Orange Bowl probably had something to do with hooking him!)

In this episode we hear about the lessons Shane learned from his time spent at the absolute bottom of the coaching food chain, how he embraced the stoicism philosophy of legendary coach Kirk Ferentz, why you should be conscious of your principles and always be in alignment with your integrity, and a lot more!

Shane was out here live in studio (aka my porch) and I just had the best time chatting with him.

He currently is about to start his second season as an assistant coach for the Division 2 Missouri S & T Miners and I wish him the absolute best this year!

More from Shane:

Previous LABF Episode:

Follow Him on Twitter:

Missouri S & T Bio:

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Like a Bigfoot Podcast #48: Caroline Paul — Author of “The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure”

A few months ago I watched a TED Talk from today’s guest, Caroline Paul.  It was called “To Raise Brave Girls, Encourage Adventure” and, as a father of two daughters, to say it connected with me is not a strong enough sentiment.  Her talk was not just something I watched thinking “huh…that was interesting”, rather it made me fully self assess what I was doing as a parent, how we are unintentionally nurturing fear in our girls, and what strategies we can use to change fear into bravery.  It’s my favorite TED Talk EVER!

Because let’s be honest, we all want our daughters (and sons) to grow up to be courageous, happy, brave members of society who are confident in their decisions.  We want them to experience life and all that it has to offer, to go out and embrace their own adventures, and use those adventures to develop self understanding and realize just what they are capable of.

Caroline has embraced a “jack of all trades” attitude and has spent her time throwing herself into all sorts of experiences.   Just to mention a few adventures: she had an entire career as a San Francisco firefighter, was on the national Luge team (think sledding down an ice tunnel at speeds over 50mph), guided whitewater rafting, flew paragliders, and now flies experimental airplanes.

In this conversation Caroline shares stories from her life of epic adventure, discusses what we can do as parents to raise brave daughters, and how to encourage “risky play”, amongst much more.

Caroline’s book “Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure” is a book that empowers all girls to have adventures, face adversity and be brave.  In fact, I would honestly encourage everyone to check it out.  So if you’re reading this and you have daughters or nieces, this is something I would highly recommend gifting.  As I prepare my 7th grade classroom for the upcoming school year I’m envisioning an “Adventure Book Shelf” where kids can check out various books that help encourage positivity and multiple copies of “Gutsy Girl” will definitely be available to each and every one of my students.

I honestly think Caroline’s mission of empowerment and advice is one of the more important messages we have had the opportunity to share, so I hope you enjoy today’s episode and receive as many takeaways as I did.  Humongous thanks to Caroline for chatting with me!  You are definitely beyond inspiring and I wish you nothing but luck in the future!

Thanks for listening! Go out and have your own adventure this week!

More from Caroline Paul:

Caroline’s website:

Gutsy Girl website:

Order “Gutsy Girl”:

NY Times article “Why do we Teach Girls that it’s Cute to be Scared?”:

TED Talk “To raise brave girls, encourage adventure”:

More Like a Bigfoot:

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Like a Bigfoot #47: Ryan Chukuske — Running and Writing About the Bigfoot 200

This week we welcome ultra endurance athlete and writer Ryan Chukuske to the podcast!

Ryan is in the middle of training for one of the premier endurance events in the country, the ultimate challenge, the Bigfoot 200.

Since starting this podcast I’ve been utterly fascinated with each conversation I’ve had about these insane ultra runs (see the episodes with Melissa Sinclair and race director Candice Burt).  Chatting with Ryan was no different.  A 200 mile race is so mindblowingly crazy and I love hearing about various training strategies, mental and emotional preparation, and the stories that led these athletes to stepping up to the plate of one of the biggest challenges the sport of ultrarunning has to offer.

In other words, I’m curious to find out if these 200 mile participants are simply out of their freaking minds!

Ryan has added another twist into his story: he’s an author who is planning on telling the story of this year’s Bigfoot 200 from his perspective along with the perspective of other runners, crew members, and Candice, the race director.  Pretty lofty goals that I’m excited to see play out!

You can check out his past books “100 Miles of Thought: Finding Success Through Failure” and his sequel “Into the Darkness: A Runner’s Revenge” on Amazon.

Throughout this episode we really hear how Ryan discovered ultrarunning.  He is also has a lot of experience running various races around the Midwest so we geek out about some lesser known events in Iowa and Minnesota (I’m looking at you Booneville Backroards Ultra south of Des Moines and Arrowhead 135 in International Falls on the Minnesota-Canada border)

His upcoming book is called “Bigfoot 200: Because, You Know, Why the #@&% Not?” and I will definitely keep you guys updated on Ryan’s race and when he plans on releasing the book.

Huge thanks to Ryan for sharing all his adventures, training strategies and ambitions with us and HUMONGOUS (trying to think of a word bigger than huge….writing blogs about authors is intimidating….) shout of “Best of Luck” to him during the race in August.  You rock!

More from Ryan Chukuske

Order “100 Miles of Thought”:

Order “Into the Darkness: A Runner’s Revenge”:

ABC News Article:

Past Interviews about 200 Mile Races:

Melissa Sinclair – How to Survive the Tahoe 200:

Candice Burt – Race Director of the Tahoe, Moab and Bigfoot 200:

More Like a Bigfoot:

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Questions? Comments? Stories?

Let us know in the comment section!

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #46: Bill Sycalik — Running the Parks, National Parks Marathon Project

Photo by Nick Danielson

Taking the leap to chase a massive goal, uprooting your life and heading out into the wilderness, and running through the most beautiful places in the United States.  This week’s episode has it all!

About a year ago, Bill Sycalik quit his comfy job in New York City and hit the road, starting his quest to run a marathon in every National Park in the country.

Flash forward to now and he’s through number 47 and has adapted to his new nomadic life, exploring new places every single week.

In this episode Bill shares stories from his adventures through various National Parks, describes what it takes to step completely outside of your norm to follow your dreams, explains how he plans each and every marathon, and discusses his plans for the big events in his future (aka- the 8 REMOTE parks in ALASKA!!)

Hope you guys enjoy listening to Bill as much as I did.  Really a ridiculously inspiring dude who had a great since of humor and drive.

From his website:

One Nation

National Parks are our antidote to the seeming divisive country in which we live. In a National Park there is equality. The mountains, the trees, the animals set forth no judgment of man nor care about man’s judgment. On the grounds of a National Park everyone enjoys the same land, air and water; the same experience regardless of gender, orientation, age, education or economic background.

We are one Nation in a National Park.

Go plan a trip to one of our National Parks! You will find a peaceful respect for our natural places, step outside of your normal routine, and maybe, just maybe, reconnect with that inner Bigfoot!

More from Bill:

National Parks Marathon Project Website:

Facebook Page:


Sponsor Bill:–2

Support the National Parks Conservation Association:

Support Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:

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Questions? Comments? Stories?

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Like a Bigfoot Podcast #45: Susan Nowell 2 — How to Prevent and Manage Common Running Injuries

This week we are honored to welcome Susan Nowell back to the show!

Susan is an accomplished endurance athlete, a lifelong runner and adventurer, and a physical therapist in Northern California.  She is also my cousin and is someone whose fearlessness and discipline I’ve looked up to since I was a kid.

She is a wonderful resource for all of us athletes who are concerned about injury prevention and pain management.

In this episode we discuss the four most common running injuries.  How do you prevent them?  How do you rehab them?  We also talk about how she found success at the recent Carrara de Baja stage race and how she is going about training for an Ironman later this summer.

Hope you guys enjoy and hope you learn something!

More from Susan:

Stage race article she wrote for Trail Runner Magazine:

Last time she was on the podcast:

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Facebook Group:


Questions? Comments? Stories?

Let us know in the comment section!


Like a Bigfoot Podcast #44: Andy & John Anderson — Iowans for Everest, Summiting North Side of Everest

A few weeks ago cousins Andy and John Anderson became the first Iowans to summit Everest from the North Side.  I was honored to chat with them only a few days removed from the top of the world.

On this week’s show they share their journey, the experience of summit day, their purpose and preparation.

How did they train for such an endeavor in the (relatively) flat state of Iowa?  How is the North Side experience different than summiting from the South?  Why forming a community and being clear on a purpose is so important in life?  What must your mindset be to handle the intensity of seeing a dead body on the mountain?  How will this experience influence their lives going forward?

The higher purpose of Iowans for Everest is to positively influence the lives of veterans by reintroducing them to the tight bonds of a community.  In this case, getting them involved in the climbing community and solidifying those bonds by taking them on hiking and climbing trips around the country.  If you feel the need to support them, please do so at

Frankly, I was just incredibly pumped because I’ve been geeking out over Everest stories for YEARS and these guys were the first people I’ve ever chatted with who had summited…..and their from one of the greatest places in the world!! Double bonus!

Hope you guys enjoy this week’s episode and that you are finding purpose in the pursuit of your own Everest- whatever that may be!

For more from Andy and John:

Donate to their veteran trips:

Facebook page:

Excellent news article:

For more Like a Bigfoot:

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Questions? Comments? Stories?

Let us know in the comment section!

Like a Bigfoot #43: Adam Casey 2 — Managing Extreme Adversity, Tao of Pooh Discussion

This week we send out a huge welcome back to our friend Adam Casey.

In this episode Adam continues his story and explains the next period of his life as a U.S. Marine officer which leads into the absolute brutal day that unexpectedly knocked him onto a whole different path.

We also discuss why he reads the “Tao of Pooh” once every 6 months.  The book explains the essentials of Taoism using examples from Winnie the Pooh.  Based off of Adam’s suggestion I am currently in the middle of it and it is absolutely wonderful.

This conversation has brought up some really important questions in my life and I hope it helps you consider some of them too.

How can you use the concept of being the “Uncarved Block” to navigate your life?  How do you respond when life sends you the ultimate curveball?  What drives/motivates you and are you letting that completely define you?  How do you view obstacles- do they stop you or are they necessary at getting you to where you are today?

When you are at your absolute lowest moment, how do you find the strength to barrel forward?

Thanks guys for checking out the podcast! I’m gonna be in Canada for a week so I probably won’t be able to respond to any emails until I’m back.  Expect another podcast early next week though!

More From Adam:

His nonprofit:

Our first episode:

Ted Talk:

More Like a Bigfoot:

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Archives on Soundcloud:

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #42: A Guide to Climb Your First 14er — Scott Stark and Sean Furlong

Every single person, at least once in their life, should climb a mountain.

As we quickly approach mountain climbing season out here in Colorado, my inner mountain geek is beginning to get antsy.  To appease my own restlessness, I decided to put together a podcast that essentially could be the “intro to climbing a mountain.”  Specifically a 14er, the biggest mountains in Colorado (though the info could be applied to any mountain I suppose).

In essence, if you have never before stepped foot on a mountain, what are the basics that you absolutely should know in order to have a safe, fun experience?  If you think summiting a big peak is an absolute impossible task, you are wrong.  There are plenty of easier “beginner” peaks that, while still requiring hard work to get up, lack exposure (cliffs) and technical skills (using your hands and actually…climbing).

Though easier and less dangerous, there still are plenty of things you should understand going into these hikes as you are above treeline and still in remote wilderness.

So I brought in two guests.

First up is Scott Stark, last year at this time Scott had only summited one 14er.  In the midst of a crazy summer, he spent an insane amount of time above treeline and has now finished over 50 mountains (and 20 some 14ers) ranging from easy (Mt. Elbert) to some of the more difficult (Pyramid Peak).

Next is Sean Furlong.  Recently Sean has moved from Chicago where he jokingly claimed that he “didn’t step foot on grass for 8 years”.  In this podcast, he’s our “newbie”.  He’s excited to take on some big hikes and get up into the mountains this summer, and we put Mt of the Holy Cross on the schedule for July.

So we basically fill Sean in on some of the basic information he needs to know in order to have a fun and amazing BUT SAFE experience.

In this episode we cover “above treeline concerns”, good beginner mountains, what unexpected challenges may arise (aka crappy trailhead roads), how to train and prepare, and a bunch more.

NOTE: Take this for what it is…a guide.  Scott and I are nowhere near “experts” and are simply sharing our knowledge for what has worked (and not worked) for us in the past.  We, of course, are still in the pursuit of knowledge and experience when it comes to big time mountains.

NOTE 2: Also, I wanted to record outside because it was a super nice day….and I didn’t realize that the wind was hitting the mic every so often. It doesn’t screw up the audio too much but you will probably notice it every so often…you live and you learn!

Hope you guys enjoy and I really hope this episode inspires some of you to go out and conquer some mountains this summer!

More Info– the absolute hands down best information on 14ers out there.  This is a necessity for ALL the information you need about the peak you are planning on summiting.

“Colorado 14ers from Hikes to Climbs” by Gerry Roach – Maps, detailed info on routes, trailheads, etc.  Another piece of information that is a “must have”

More Like a Bigfoot

Subscribe and Review on iTunes:

Archives on Soundcloud:

Other Episodes about 14ers

Calvin Johannsen 14ers Project Part 1:

Calvin Johannsen 14ers Project Part 2:

Will Seeber Winter 14er Quest:

George Kittle Climbing 14ers with his Dad:

Scott Morris Mountain Biking up 14ers:

Like a Bigfoot Podcast #41: Alan Kay — Alone, Wilderness Survival, Mindset of Isolation

“All profound things are preceded and attended by Silence.” – Herman Melville

This week on the podcast we are honored to bring you wilderness survival expert Alan Kay.

Alan was the season one winner of Alone on the History Channel, which is probably the best (aka least reality showish) demonstration of wilderness survival on TV.  Ten people were dropped off in separate locations on northern Vancouver Island with minimal supplies, they could quit whenever they wanted, and whoever outlasted the rest was the winner.

After 56 days of remote survival; foraging for food, filtering water, building shelter and creating fire in one of more soggy and untamed wildernesses in North America, Alan was declared the winner.  More impressive than the physical aspect, he also managed to stave off loneliness as he faced what is a rarity for most of society these days, complete and utter isolation.

In this episode, Alan shares how to prioritize your needs in a survival situation, what his mindset was going into the challenge and how focusing only on what he could control led to his success.  We also spend a lot of time diving deep into the mindset of isolation.  This was a fascinating topic because most of us will never experience complete solitude, especially not for the length of time Alan did.

Alan is an educator in wilderness survival, so this podcast also covers various topics such as shelter construction for warmth, how to stay safe in mountain lion country, skills you should learn from previous generations and strategies to stay dry and warm in the wilderness.

I really want to thank Alan for chatting with me.  It was a fascinating conversation that I’m excited to share with you guys.  Also just wanted to give him props for being so open and raw about his experience.

How to contact Alan:

If you want to book Alan for a survival clinic you can reach him at his website or on Facebook at  He teaches everyone from beginners to more advanced wilderness folks.  I truly believe that the skills he promotes are essential skills every single person should have at least a basic understanding of.  Booking a class is something I am definitely interested in pursuing in the future.

More Like a Bigfoot Podcast

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Like a Bigfoot Podcast #40: Scott Morris — Bikepacking, Mountain Biking 14ers, Nomadic Living

This week is all about long distance mountain biking as we chat with Scott Morris.  Scott and his girlfriend Eszter Horanyi live nomadically on public lands and spend their days working remotely and exploring beautiful areas on their mountain bikes.

Growing up in Utah he fell in love with mountain biking.  As his rides got longer and longer and he overcame the “limits of daylight”, he began “bikepacking”.

What in the world is bikepacking (besides a word that keeps trying to autocorrect….)???

Simple- It’s backpacking with a mountain bike…..or mountain biking with a backpack.

Essentially, you ride your mountain bike all day and then at night you throw out a sleeping bag and set up camp.  The next morning, you set back out down the trail on your bike.

Scott’s bikepacked the Continental Divide Trail (the parts he was allowed to), explored the “bikeable 14ers”, and started the first single track bikepacking event on the Arizona Trail, a journey from Mexico to Utah with a brief jaunt down and up some little geologic feature called the Grand Canyon.

In this episode we explore a bunch of different topics.  How did he get into this fringe sport, how did the AZT bikepacking race evolve, what life is like living nomadically from his camper van, how his GPS tracking software works (mentioned in episode #37 with Candice Burt), why public lands are so dang important, and which 14ers you can actually mountain bike up.

Oh yeah….we also have the same uncle but aren’t related.  How this math equation works is beyond my tiny brain…..  (My Uncle Joel Bown’s episode:

Enjoy guys! If one person out there listens to this episode and tries bikepacking I will count it as a victory!!

Learn More About Scott:

“Diary of Scott Morris”:

Bikepacking Resource he started:

Arizona Trail Race Info:

Topofusion GPS software:

Trackleaders SPOT tracking software:

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