Video of my time at Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, MO. The park is nice but it is more a historical site than an expanse of wilderness. This visit was all about the people. I had 14 people join me for some or all of the run. They were all wonderful and engaging and proud of their city. I really appreciated the company and wish I could have stayed longer. They made the run special and fun for me. Thanks so much!
I was very fortunate to have Josh Helmuth from KSDK come out and cover my marathon, #52, at Gateway Arch National Park. Check out the article and video here - https://www.ksdk.com/article/sports/meet-the-man-who-ran-262-miles-around-the-arch-this-weekend/63-567141511
Short video from my marathon run at Redwood National Park. I only used my iPhone during the run but I got my GoPro to shoot a little after the marathon. There was actually a small forest fire near the Tall Trees Grove. The area was still under record drought conditions and fires caught and grew rapidly. Luckily the fire brigade spotted the it before the fire damaged any of the real big trees.
Here's a recording of the talk I gave at Natural Grocers in Golden, CO on March 21, 2018. I talk a little about mindset, a bunch about nutrition and what happened.
I don’t usually buy firewood. This was the first time on the trip. Since I don’t use it to cook, it seems an unnecessary expense, a luxury. I was feeling a little depressed and lonely so I sprung for a $7 bundle from the Lemolo Lake Campground shop. No one was there. I just took the wood. Paid in the morning.
Lemolo Lake is 15 miles from the north entrance of Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. I was there for marathon number 15. I decided to stay at Lemolo Lake instead of in the park because the campground has showers. It was cold, falling to the low 30s at night. There was no chance for precipitation then but you know it is coming. Fall is short. The park headquarters at Crater Lake gets on average 43 feet of snow a year. Lemolo Lake, at a lower elevation, gets less but still an impressive amount. The campground had already made the turn toward the off-season. Maybe a few more weekends of fisherman but then quiet until the snowmobiles invade.
The fire lifted my spirits much more than I ever thought it would. I sat next to it reading my Kindle periodically turning my chair to warm my other side. I felt good there.
Bob covered his bald head with a cap. He wore his glasses like they were part of him. His salt and pepper beard closely trimmed even after several days camping. He stopped by to be friendly; say hello. I offered him a beer. He went to his space and came back with a camp chair.
He was there to do some fishing before it got too cold. He came up on his own. He was planning to retire in two weeks. He and his wife were going to travel and live full time in a large RV.
He told me about his life working with glass. I listened to details of types of glass, methods of cutting and installation. He had many jobs in the industry over the years. He admitted many of the years were lean but he made it through. He even owned his own business for a while but decided management wasn’t for him. He enjoyed working with his hands too much. He swears he can outwork a man half his age. While not an imposing figure, I don’t doubt him.
He told me that his body is wrecked. He is moving around well but for all rights shouldn’t be. He crushed three vertebrae, had two knee surgeries and several other significant injuries. He said watching his body deteriorate with age is like a Stephen King novel.
He attributes recovery from all his injuries and professional challenges to his positive attitude. He doesn’t complain. He works hard. And he is proud of his work.
We talked that night and then around his fire the next. I told him about my project, why I decided to change and what I thought I might get from my trip.
I told him all about sitting at a desk in New York City which sounded appalling to him. I told him about marathoning which also sounded appalling. It was like talking to a old friend to which time and circumstance has made the discussion like new.
Bob sprinkled words of wisdom throughout. Some recommendations I had heard before like don’t wait until you are older or retired to life your life. He made sure to tell me that even at my age of 45 I was still young enough with enough vitality to be able to accomplish many things. He lamented that there can be physical limits you hit once you get over 60 especially if you’ve had a tough profession.
He encouraged me to write a book about my trip. He said “What happens to you is important. People want to hear your story. People like human interest stories.” I’m not sure which was brighter in the Oregon night, his positive attitude or our campfire. It was like he was trying to draw the light out of me one simple honest phrase at a time.
One of the last things he said to me before we parted on the last evening was emphatic: “As you go through life be aware not of what you are but of who you are.” In the context of our discussion he was really trying to drive home to not get caught up in the distractions of the world so much you lose track of yourself, your reason for being, your joy for life. His phrase has stuck with me.
Before my trip my job, apartment and city were my persona. These made up what I was not who I was. The time on the project allowed me to explore this aspect of myself. I continue to explore it every day. It sounds cliche but it is a journey. The more it becomes more concrete, the more it changes. For me I am growing past the professional title, the car, fancy home. I am growing into myself.
This doesn’t mean slacking. This doesn’t mean sitting in a cave muttering to you yourself. This doesn’t mean forgoing a corporate job. This doesn’t mean letting your responsibilities or relationships flap and sputter. It doesn’t mean being unsuccessful financially.
It does mean finding something that engages you. It does mean exploring. It does mean taking time amidst all the chatter, professional and family responsibilities to make sure to feed your spirit. It does mean growing every day. Not being fulfilled takes away the best you can be from the world.
None of this is easy but you don’t need to take a year off from work or engage in some extreme sport. It can start with a few minutes each day. Write down the questions below and put them near your bed. Read them every morning before you start your day. Don’t spend more than one to two minutes thinking about them (while brushing your teeth perhaps). This is not a deep introspective exercise. This is priming. With the questions top of mind they will either cause stress throughout the day signaling that you you are out of alignment with your true desires or they will reinforce that you are on the right path.
- How are my daily activities in alignment with my personal values?
- How do I serve others in a way that best uses my talents?
- How will I grow today?
An old glass worker told me and I share with you, be aware not of what you are but of who you are, and make that person better every day.
The first big snowstorm of 2018 (really the winter)! Around a foot of snow in Golden. I went for a four mile trail run while it was still coming down. Running in the snow is hard.
We got out for almost 10 miles around Golden during his tour stop in Denver. If he's passing through your town make sure to get out and listen to his friendly grumble and powerful lyrics. You will find something that touches you.
My friend and host of the Like a Bigfoot Podcast Chris Ward decided he wanted to see if he could complete all the half Ironman stages in one day. That is a 1.2 mile swim which he did in the pool in the early morning, a 56 mile bike ride he did on the trainer in the late morning and a 13.1 mile run with me at 2pm.
We ran the distance at Van Bibber Park in Aurora, CO in 18 degree weather in 2-3 inches of snow.
Why? Watch the video to find out.
Take Chris' lead:
- Challenge yourself
- Do something just because
- Get other people to join you and
- Have fun!
I decided not to listen to the radio. The drive was about an hour from where I was staying in Moab, Utah to the trailhead in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park where I was going to run my marathon. The 6am air was in the 20s. Will make for a cold run I thought. I turned right and started on the two-lane highway leading into the park. I have only seen a handful of cars this morning and in none in the last half-hour.
I’m motoring along around 50 miles per hour admiring the rocky terrain. Some movement catches my eye on the right. There are three deer off the shoulder but heading for the road. I’m up on them too fast to stop completely before they are on the blacktop. I slow down and swerve into the oncoming lane.
The front of my car is past the lead buck when he decides to leap forward instead standing still or backing away. He throws a perfect shoulder block into the right front of my car.
The impact sounds like a single bass note from a blown speaker at high-volume.
I pull over and look back. Dumb ass deer and his buddies are gone. I get out and inspect the damage.
The right front of the car between the headlight and the passenger door is smashed in. I look under the car for leaks. None. I look for bent steering linkages for damage to the wheel. All seems okay. There’s no impact to the front door which opens and closes fine. No broken lights. This shot is later after pushing a few of the dents out.
I don’t remember seeing any repair shops for gas stations for over 20 miles. I’m only a few miles from the trailhead so I continue on slowly, listening for signs I’m scraping metal or plastic. I figure if I do have a problem there should be a few people at the trailhead or the campground who may be able to help.
So far, no scraping. I zig-zag act back and forth on the road checking to see if the steering is okay. Seems fine. I get up to 40, then 50 and 55. All still seems good.
I park at the trailhead and take another look under the car. No visible damage other than sheet metal. I decide well, I’m here. I might as well run.
Canyonlands was one of my favorite parks. It is truly a runner’s playground. I enjoyed every single park I went to up to that point but this was one of the first parks where I had the active thought that I need to come back here with a group of runners and explore.
This post is about luck. Many would say I was unlucky to have been hit by the deer. I say no. It was very lucky. I was happy that the deer hit me. Seems a strange thing to say since my car got all bent up. Why?
Had the deer been faster I would have hit it head on damaging the front of the car and possibly having the deer slide up and crash against the windshield. Had the deer been larger it could have damaged my steering or front wheel. Had the deer been slower it would have crashed into my passenger front door possibly impacting its ability to open and close and maybe even breaking the window. Any one of these scenarios would have put damper on my project as well as potentially caused me injury. If you are going to have a deer hit you, that was the way to do it.
So, it was lucky. None of the car’s systems were damaged. I was able to continue my travels uninterrupted and I learned a new perspective on luck. I try to see the good aspects of what might seem to be an unlucky event. I try to feel fortunate even when bad things happen. I try to feel a sense of gratitude that it wasn’t worse.
How do you look at events that happen around you? Do you see them straight up as lucky or unlucky?
Try to take a moment the next time something negative happens. See what part of that was lucky. Luck is there. Good fortune is there. Feelings of gratitude are there. Finding those feelings, even for a moment, makes that unlucky situation seem just a little bit brighter.
#runningtheparks is not just about National Parks. It is about getting outside and enjoying any of our public lands. It is about getting outside and feeling what nature can do for you. It is about getting outside! My friend Jack and I went out for a run on New Years Eve 2017 into New Years Eve 2018. When I told him I was going to do it he said "why not". Why not? It was 10 degrees in Golden, Colorado! But it is so much better than a packed bar or standard issue party. We were investing in our health and well-being rather than doing what everyone else was doing.
Get out in 2018 and do something new, something that excites you, something unexpected. Welcome to 2018! May this year be the best of your life and may they only get better.
One of my favorite parks is Lassen Volcanic. This was the park where I sustained the worst injury of my trip. This video shows you what it is like to run in the park plus how hard it can be on the body. I am so tired and sore that it shows during the monologue at the end. Hope you enjoy!
I was honored to be one of the first guests on my friends Stephanie and Juan Pena's podcast The Pena Show. It was recorded a little while ago when I was about halfway through the parks in the lower 48 states. It was originally going to be audio only but they held on to the recording until they were ready to include it on their TV show. Yes, TV show! The Pena Show is broadcast every week on local TV in Brooklyn. They created a really nice montage of photos from the National Parks to accompany our discussion. We talked about the project, making a change, minimalism and running. It is fun to know that the discussion was broadcast on TV for all of NYC to see. Thanks Stephanie and Juan for the opportunity and good luck on building the show and your multimedia empire.
You can watch The Pena Show Saturdays at 1:30pm in NYC on Verizon Fios channel 42 or live online on the Brooklyn Free Speech Channel 1.
There is also an audio only podcast version. You can listen via iTunes here. Be sure to subscribe. They get fascinating guests with wide ranging wellness related topics.
Here is the video version. Thanks for watching!
Short video of my time running a marathon at Crater Lake National Park on September 17, 2016. It happened to be Ride the Rim weekend. This is an annual event where they close 25 miles of the rim road to cars and open it to walkers, runners and mostly cyclists. I didn't plan it that way but it surely worked out. It was about 98% on the road with a short trail section just for fun. It was cloudy, windy, hilly and full of friendly cyclists. I even sing a bit. I just wish I knew all the words.
Video captured during my run at North Cascades National Park in Washington on August 27, 2016. I did a 13.1 mile out and back on the Cascade Pass Trail and Stehekin Valley Trail. This was one of my favorite parks. Angular mountains, dense forest, pumping waterfalls, quiet.
Video mash up of my marathon run at Badlands National Park back on July 26, 2017. I was joined for half of the run my "America's Marathon Man" Jerry Dunn. In addition to being in such a stunning place I had running royalty with me. Jerry set several running endurance records in his life and he was training for a fundraising event to run 70 kilometers for his 70th birthday (which he did). He's a wonderful example of the power of positivity.
I also tell a rattlesnake story and sing a bit. Please sing along.
Watch a video about Jerry. He was running long before running long was cool.
On my second day (July 24, 2016) at Badlands National Park I met up with my new friend Nick Cross. Nick and I connected on Instagram and he and his family just happened to be camping in the park the same time I was there. I'm glad he reached out as we got in a really awesome trail run on the rock formations at the park. This is what my project is about - people getting together and experiencing our National Parks on foot. Whether you run, hike or walk our feet are the best way to get up close to nature and feel like you are part of it. I'm grateful to have met Nick and thankful he reached out to run.
I had the opportunity to stick my GoPro Hero4 Silver out the window as I was driven through Badlands National Park back on July 27, 2016. The scenery seems drastic but it is so much more inviting and interesting once you get out of the car. Consider this your driving tour. Now get out on foot and see our National Parks!
On my first day at Badlands National Park I couldn't resist going out for a short joy run on the rock formations. It is like nature's parkour. I can see how you could become lost very, very easily. There are not many established trails and no water. Be careful. Back on July 23, 2016.