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Launching a Podcast

Well, after many years of considering it, and actually recording one in 2015 but never putting it out... I have decided to launch a podcast. I have some good interviews recorded with guests and a balance of solo episodes too. I am hoping it is enjoyable, informative and has a little bit of everything. In order to make things more accessible, I will be posting the transcripts of the interviews and the podcast on here too... just because I want more work.

Anyways, here is the transcript of the first episode:

Podcast Episode 1: Cocodona and more

Well, I pooped on my hand today, I'm camping out before Cocodona 250, and it is pretty hot here in the desert. I did this thing where I tried to lay in bed, and I made it until, like 7:30, and then I was sweating so much that now I'm having to spend extra time at this campsite a few miles north of Phoenix to let the sleeping bags dry out from the buckets of sweat that were inside. So I have this 250-mile race looming in a couple days and I thought I would just launch this podcast before thinking about it. I've been thinking about it. Well, I have been thinking about it for a long, long time. but I think I just have not been that stoked on putting something else out into the world and getting more feedback. I think the whole pretend you don't care and that the feedback doesn't bother you is really the general style, but you know, between putting out a movie.

The movie is now actually available to stream for free on Tubi if anyone's interested. So putting out that, having a book, just burped. And then social media, seems like all you do is put stuff out there and get negative feedback. Well, there's positive feedback too, but all you focus on is the negative feedback. So I've been hesitant to put that out there, but I figured I'll be running from like Tuesday to Wednesday.

Pretty much straight 250 miles. So I figured what better time to release an episode than now. So you guys can listen to it with and have your opinions and hopefully I won't see them for a few days. So we'll see how that goes. I have actually interviewed like 10 guests since November maybe, maybe even October. Pretty cool interviews with some of the top thru -hikers, FKT people.

Trail runners everything that kind of bridges that gap because there's really not that much difference in the sports and the interesting thing is and why I kind of do all of them is I Couldn't really see myself continuing to do these eight-month or nine month through hikes like a calendar Triple Crown was awesome I was 25 when I did that finished two years later did the Great Western Loop and that was like nine more months. I didn't own a car for multiple years. I didn't even have an address for like two years. So that really blew up my 20s. I didn't really date a lot. I didn't have a lot of interpersonal relationships. So I started having to find some balance.

I got more into the FKT world because you could get these things done a lot quicker. Actually, my intro into it was I did this route called Nolan's 14, which is an ultra runner challenge where you hit 14 different 14 ,000 foot peaks. I did it in the middle of the Great Western Loop. The route's like a hundred miles and you can connect it so that it seamlessly fits into the already distinguished Continental Divide Trail.

So I did that, and the ultrarunner challenge is to do it in under 60 hours, and I was able to do it in 59 hours and some change. And change, by change I mean a little bit over 59 hours but less than 60. So that kind of opened my eyes that I could probably move a little bit quicker and I might as well just go shoot my shot and go after some FKTs. So in the midst of still not having an address, I didn't have an address or a car from April of 2018.

Until January of 2020. So that's a pretty good run. And then COVID kind of brought me back to where I am now, which is where I've lived, where I live for longer than I've lived anywhere. That's kind of wild. So back to where we were at and why we were there. So, I figured out that FKTs were this way to still get out on the trail sort of.

through hiker backpacker style, especially in the training and then also not commit an entire year to an adventure and miss out on all that. So I moved to Tahoe. I spent a little bit of time there in 2019 through the winter, skied like a hundred days, got close to finishing my book.

And then decided to do the Arizona Trail and go for the record. So how I trained for it, and actually the most joyful part of all this is the training is I went down there and did really immersive through -hiker style training. So I started, I flew in, no, incorrect. I drove down to Tucson, returned the rental car, and then I hitchhiked to the Arizona trail from there.

I couldn't get a ride. So a cop picked me up. I got in the back of his cop car, and he drove me to, I think it's called Oracle. It's maybe like 300 miles into the Arizona trail. And from there I had all my gear that I was going to FKT with. And my plan was to literally through hiker style, hoof it 300 miles south to the border, and then start from there. So that was my training plan. I also ran all winter at altitude. I've always mixed in running into things like that, but we'll get to that in a second, I guess.

So that was my first intro into FKT's. It was pretty good push. It was my first time with real poignant, I don't know, is that how you use that word? Who cares? Really cool hallucinations. I was doing it during the full moon and there were like witches sweeping me up and stuff like that. And I just really dirtbagged it. I mean, I basically...

Seeing witch hallucinations on the Arizona Trail backpacking FKT
Hallucinations of witches on the Arizona Trail FKT

thru hike 300 miles resupply turned around and went all the way north and set the FKT actually like two days from the end. My friend John, who was who I was staying with in LA when I actually decided I wanted to do FKTs. I was texting him like two days out from the end of finishing.

And I asked him how I was going to get from the end to a city.

(sound of cars driving by)

There's cars driving by because I'm like literally in the middle of nowhere. You look around, and I can see prickly pear cacti. Well, I thought I was going to be listing a lot more cactuses. I will not be because I do not really know. I don't really see any more cactuses. But anyway, that was my start to FKTs. And then from there,

Went on to set a few more that year. I'm sure I can tell those stories later if this podcast keeps going. And by the way, just to help it out, you know, just need all those positive comments, five star reviews and everything. And so did like the long trail. And then what did I do? And Hody trail. I did. I tried for a couple mountainous set records near Portland.

like Mount St. Helens and stuff like that. I miss them by like one or two minutes every time. They're only like three or four miles, but they're like 2000 or 3000 feet. So that was pretty, pretty tough. So why am I just going through my life right now? All right. Let's, let's go back to how these are all related.

So I always use running to be in shape for a thru hike, or I would use thru hiking to be ready for an FKT. Or I still use like hiking and climbing in ultra running. For some reason they call it power hiking, but it's literally just hiking. There's no way to make hiking more powerful. It's just walking. So I still use it to prepare for ultra marathons, and kind of as I transitioned, I had to...

Maintain more income and left my parents Health insurance and stuff like that. I had to make slightly more money so I moved into this thing where I Could commit less days to being on trail but still wanting to get the full-encompassing experience and that raw experience I sort of landed on FKT's and trail running, and so that brings me to trail running.

How the heck did that even start? How did I become a backpacker that trail ran? Well, if anyone has read any of my book, actually, you probably have to read all of it to get this part of it. So I started through hiking in 2011. I was 20 years old in the middle of college not having the time of my life because I didn't really know what I wanted to do. So I was living a life without purpose, which is a pretty tough life to live.

So as any normal person would do. I quit. I had a full-time or about a part-time job with the Department of Defense, quit that and quit college, and decided I was going to backpack the Pacific Crest Trail. Didn't really know anything about it. Had a 55 pound external frame pack. So I just loaded that sucker up, flew down to San Diego. A friend I'd met in college drove me to the border and

I started hiking. My pack was something right out of the seventies. It did not really fit in on the trail. I didn't really know what I was doing or how it was all going either. Or like how I was going to piece it together. Resupplies were tough. When I started out, I had like 20 pounds of food, which you do not need down there. In 70 miles, you can resupply. I didn't resupply in Julian because I didn't need to. I still had like 15 pounds of food left. I remember it was like mile 79.

I camped at mile 79, I think it was 79 .3 one night. And I was, this was the start to my writing and everything too. I was blogging every day about what was happening on the trail. I've continued this through all my adventures and mile 79 .3, and I just rounded up to 80 because I was so embarrassed and frustrated with myself and my ability that I couldn't cover 20 miles per day on average, which is kind of crazy to think like 55.

pound pack that I would be sad or think it mattered that I couldn't cover 20 miles a day. And that is really a good illustration that no matter how big your audience, no matter who's reading anything, it's really you to you that you're trying to impress. Like no one actually cares about anything. Like no one over in a different country or the other 7 billion people in the world genuinely care how we're doing at these things, but we put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

So. That is sort of the genesis of the thru -hiking. Where was I even going with this? I need notes or something, but instead I'm just rambling. But the thru -hiking and the outdoors opened the door. I grew up running, doing all the sports. I didn't love running. It was actually a punishment in my era. Yeah, I'm in my mid -30s now. I don't know. Does 33 count as mid -30s? Maybe.

But it was like a punishment. And then I'm like the nerd who I did a lot of AP classes and all that stuff. I think people think I'm an idiot, but according to IQ tests, relatively smart compared to the average bear. Bears are not very smart anyways. But I joined cross country because I had basketball in the winter. I had baseball in the fall. No, I'm stupid. I had.

That's weird, I just said I was smart. Okay, I had basketball in the winter, I had baseball in the spring, and I'm not one of those people who's just a two -sport athlete, that's stupid. So I was like, I need a sport for the fall. I played football for one year in middle school, didn't like it. That was not gonna be my choice. So it was really between tennis and cross country, and I went with cross country. First year went okay, I was on varsity as a freshman. And...

Second the sophomores would like bully me and they actually pants me in the cafeteria So just a little Jeffrey was hanging out for all to see that was pretty embarrassing and traumatic and probably why I'm in therapy Yep, this is not brought to you by better help, but I am in therapy and it's not through better help but...

Then, sophomore year, I went back, and they were juniors then, and the bullying got worse, and I hated it. I became withdrawn after a couple of meets. I wasn't on varsity anymore. I was running way worse. In looking back, it was affecting me a lot. So I quit and went on to tennis and was like all district. I don't know if we went to state, not really sure, but did really well in tennis. That was my other pivot.

I didn't really have a lot of friends in high school, probably because I'm so weird. Which, I think people confuse weird and stupid. I'll take weird, but stupid feels a little mean and probably not correct.

So the start of running was in high school. So now we're bridging the gap. Is this podcast all about me? I don't know. But fast forward in college, I went to Oregon State. I did end up graduating after, it wasn't even a gap year. It was like a gap term because I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail fast enough to go back to school. Got a major in business. I did engineering for a while, but I didn't, I'm not a big person on going to class.

I really would rather just learn all the things and then go prove I learned them from a test and then be done. So that's what I did. And in business, you could do that. In engineering, you couldn't. You had to go to like four hour long labs. And all I wanted to do was play basketball in the rec center. So that didn't gel. And then once a year, there was the Corvallis half marathon out there and my aunt would pay for my entry fee actually. So every year I signed up.

And I would party until two or three AM the night before show up and run like, I don't know, usually around an hour and 40 minutes or something and go back to partying by the end of college. Actually, I was doing triathlons and did half Ironman and stuff before I realized I really hated the biking part. So why would I keep doing triathlons if a lot of it's biking? All right. We have really talked about my whole history. I'm not sure why.

Will this be entertaining? Probably not, but we'll see. All right. Fast forward to today. Today is a Saturday staring out over a very hot and expansive Arizona desert that I'll be running through. So I think I was trying to get to the history of me and ultra running.

So that was kind of running and in 2017 this would have been after the calendar year triple crown but before I'd written a book about it and become in the really high level influencer that I am now actually I call myself an influencer trying not to be an influencer who makes fun of influencers but 2017 I ran a 50k it was atrocious it's called devil on the divide it was I think almost all above 10,000 feet.

Maybe even higher than that. And I didn't really know the gear or the style in doing something like that. Excuse me. so I entered it just because I needed something to do that was competitive because I was doing these long days. I'd already done all the Colorado 14ers and spent a lot of time outside, but I was missing that competitive drive. And even in through hiking, I could compete with myself. Like, I wonder if I could do.

50 mile dull, how many miles is this week going to be? How much food could I eat at this all? You can eat buffet. There's those little types of competitions with yourself. But I was missing that. At this point in my life, I was pretty depressed looking back, undiagnosed depression until like two and a half years later. But, you know, came a long ways. So I signed up for this race, didn't know anything about it.

I didn't even know I was a trail runner. I thought to be a trail runner, you had to literally run every step of every outing.

Turns out people do trail running. I'm looking for my coffee. Well, I think I'm just dumb. Maybe I lost it. All right. Well, turns out trail running, you can literally hike the uphills. And that's basically why it's the same sport as FKTs. But people pretend that they do power hiking and not hiking. found my coffee.

So I didn't even think I was a trail runner. I was just going to be a hiker doing a trail running event. I thought that you needed like the gear, just like a FKT or a thru hike. So I packed poles and I didn't know nutrition strategy or about gels or anything. And I actually thought they all sucked and didn't taste good. Gels sponsor me. I promise I'll lie and say they're great. Spring, so many carbs, not.

Inside joke or outside joke depends on if you know I guess. so I just had two ham sandwiches, and I had two in my vest, and I packed two more. She gave me my drop bag at mile 15 because, for some reason, I thought once I got 15 miles into a race, the magical elixir, the greatest food was going to be ham sandwiches. Not one, but two of them. Everything didn't really go well. I got, we had a bus to the start. It was point to point.

No one else had poles, at least not many people. I ran way too fast up the hill with my poles and heavy pack. I think I bought a running pack at a thrift store, something I didn't have do any electrolytes. I didn't know about that or salt or nothing like that. And I ate so much bacon at the first aid station. It was just like, I treated it like trail magic. So I think it was like a f -

three or four thousand foot climb over a few miles to start the race and get up to the aid station and they have like these big tables laid out with food and everything and everyone else is just grabbing something quick and keeps going and that's what I would do now because I'm old and wise but back then I thought it was like whoo trail magic let's get some baking some gummy bears fill up my pockets with anything and everything. chips better have some of those. So this is like mile five. So do that. Then, of course, overeating and then trying to push. Soon my stomach goes. Went really fast too. I pooped three times on that course and you better believe I did consume those ham sandwiches. Finished the race. I was in like the top quarter. I think I got like 20th overall. So pretty solid. I mean, considering I didn't think I was a trail runner or have any expectations.

No, it didn't work out to do any more trail races or anything for the next few years. So that was my like one and done. I, from there, I went out and backpacked 8 ,000 miles doing the, the great Western loop originated by like Ryan Jordan and Andrew Skurka. And from there, I went into FKTs. Then I moved to Costa Rica for a little bit. COVID hit. I actually got, okay.

I got into the Barkley Marathons, COVID hit, the race was postponed. It was a, COVID hit like a week before the Barkley Marathons was going to happen. We all had like our travel plans and stuff. And then it COVID was one of those things. If you don't remember, it was a pretty big thing that shut down a lot of things. It's a contentious time. A lot of people lost their lives, and pouring some coffee out for them.

And sipping some, but it was canceled. And so it was actually pretty depressing. This is when I started going to therapy, but I had trained and worked for probably four or five years of doing FKGs, building a resume, applying, figuring out how to apply, whatever to get into the race. First, they got into the wait list in like 2018 and then moved up the wait list and got into the main field in 2020 and trained really hard that whole winter.

To be ready to give it my best shot at finishing. I was doing like hill repeats on this thousand mile straight uphill with, it was like a thousand feet of gain in half a mile. And I would go at like 10 or 11 at night. So I get that night practice. And then, when Barkley was canceled, it kind of shattered everything. Cause I'd put so much into this. I ended up getting a job at a grocery store, had a college degree and could have done like taxes or something.

But I'd done that for five years when I lived in Denver in the middle of all these adventures. And by the time I finally quit and sold my car in 2018, I vowed I would not be going back and doing that anymore because it was just so soul sucking and against what every fiber of my being wanted to do. So COVID hit, Barkley canceled, dropped at a grocery store. I guess you're just getting a good introduction to me. I'm not sure where it'll go, but I think I'll enter, I'll release some stuff.

Interviews with others. But back to the story. I guess it's just the story of me. That's a great next book title. Huh, maybe I'll do that. So COVID canceled. I had just moved in with my girlfriend at the time. And COVID, working at a grocery store, running in Bozeman, literally have no friends there. I just moved there in January. I moved there. I was running. I was on a run.

At Christmas at my parents house and I ran by this Ford Explorer that said $400 runs good for sale. It was a for sale sign. And so I thought that that for sale sign would be a sale that I would like to take up. So I contacted them and pretty much immediately bought a $400 car. And that is how the my two years without a car ended. I drove it out to Bozeman, Montana, and moved directly in to live with a girl I had never met. And I lived there for a year and a half. And then I still live in Bozeman. And so the Barclay getting canceled, crashed everything. I ended up getting approached to do this TV show actually. I should go into this on a different episode because it's wild. But like Wined and Dine in Vegas pitched the idea. They actually bought a bus. They hired a bunch of people, shot me doing an FKT. There's a lot of pressure, but I sent the FKT. That was ridiculous. That was stupid. Then the whole thing kind of fell apart because they weren't treating people right. And I've never been a money guy. And so he kept trying to dangle money out to make it better and that these people didn't matter. And I was just like, well, if you're going to treat them like that then I don't want to work with you. So that fell apart. And three weeks later, we shot the movie on breaking the record on the Colorado show as like a, well, he screwed everyone over. So let's do this ourselves and maybe we can make some money. Jokes on me because now I'm still like five fingers in the hole or five figures. Not, five fingers, five figures in the hole on the cost of that documentary, but still pretty cool opportunity. Not often you get to shoot a FKT documentary like that. Okay, so we're in probably let's call it October 2020. I've turned 30 on a destination birthday party with friends and family in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Probably also a story for another episode.

So remind me in the comments, which of these aspects you want me to further explore in this podcast because I'm willing to do any of them. I just have lived the craziest life of just choosing or being like, yes, man. Like I wrote a book because someone was like, you should write a book about the calendar triple crown. And I was like, okay. And so I wrote one. So yeah, let me know which of these you'd like to do like a full episode on. I don't even know what the point of this individual episode is, but here it is. So I've just turned 30.

And the Barklay Marathons is going to happen in 2021. Fast forward, train for it. This is the first time I've had a coach. Doesn't really go well. I'm still straddling that line of not wanting to conform to anything, but also wanting to improve and do well at the Barklay. I don't know anything about trail running yet. And attempt the Barklay, miserable weather.

This has got to be a whole nother episode. I think I've just like talked myself into 10 episodes of different things so far, but it doesn't go well. No one, two people finished three loops, but they're timed out on even going out for a fourth. So we have two fun runners. Everyone else didn't make it, mostly because it was a year with really heavy on the virgins, which is a weird line, really heavy with people who've never done it before.

Because of the international travel restrictions that were still in effect. So I was really pleased with myself that I navigated the whole course, got all the pages, but I was just too slow. Like time just bleeds away every time you make a wrong turn or don't see something or hunting for a book and finding them all as a virgin alone on the course for the first time was really cool, but just so slow that couldn't really have a chance to get too far into the race and it seemed like that was the same with everybody. So that happened. Jamil Curry, who is the owner of a trail running company, puts on a bunch of races, was at the race and he asked me if I wanted to do Cocadona 250. And so that race is from Phoenix to Flagstaff down here in Arizona, where I'm at now, foreshadowing it's in two days and I'm doing it again.

But he asked if I wanted to do it and I said, yeah. So how it went is I came down, I think I drove down. I did the Black Canyon Trail, which is right next to the course falls the Black Canyon Trail a little bit. So I did that very thru hiker, FKT, fast packers style to train for it because that's my blood in my background. And then I showed up.

The morning of the race. So I'm going to do a 250-mile race. I don't really know anything how I'm going to do it. I show up at the start line camp the night before don't know anyone. I'm just like keeping to myself and then wake up 4am race starts at five walk over to the drop bag section with two big duffel bags that I'd put together myself that I thought were going to follow me down the course. Cause in the runner's guide it says like drop bag A drop bag B.

Turns out that's not exactly how it goes. Why would the drop bags follow you down the course? It's not like when you're done, your private driver's gonna drive it to the next location. For some reason in my mind, I thought that might be occurring, but maybe that just shows how special I think I am sometimes. Just kidding, depression and therapy, pretty much the opposite. So I show up at the truck that's gonna take the drop bags, and they ask, where are these going? And it was like, I don't know.

So I took him back to my car, looked at the race manual, race guide, and just picked out Mingus Mountain, I think was one, and one other location that seemed like it might be good to have some stuff. Then I grabbed an extra pair of socks, put it in my running pack, and went to the start line and we were off. It was brutal. The first 37 miles is very hot. It was like in the 90s that year. It has like 10 or 11 ,000 feet of gain. And it's...

I think I said 37 miles or something. Yeah, everyone was dying. Everyone ran out of water. Mike McKnight, who won the whole race last year, he ended up in the hospital the first year. It was not so good. People were puking. I was puking and dying. And it was just a battle to get through that year. Aerobipa, the race company that puts on the race, was unprepared, didn't really know how rough it was. None of the runners did. But we got through it. So get through that and then...

just like chugging along. This is my first ultra marathon over 30 miles because I guess we count 50 kids as ultra marathons, although it just feels like a marathon where they mismeasured where the finish line is. And so I just sort of kept going and my friend Dylan helped me out, him and his wife. Maybe they might've been engaged at the time. Who cares?

They helped me out by bringing like some cold weather stuff out. And then I texted my other friend Bryce, who lives in Phoenix to see if he wanted to pace or help out in any way. But his house had literally just burned down the week before. So, this was not ideal for basically anything going on. Luckily he was able to get away. He drove out to Jerome or something and joined me, and we went together for like 40 or 50 miles, and then he hitchhiked back to his car. He actually had to pay the guy who gave him a ride because it was like an hour plus hitchhike to get back to his car. So I totally threw HikerStyle piece this 250-mile race together. He, Bryce came out, back out and paced me the last like 30 or 40 miles at the end to I finished. No one was up. It was like 3 a but did it in 90 something hours, proved that I could.

I don't know, I was like 15th or 17th or 19th or something like that that year. But it was a big moment of realizing that maybe this is when I realized that was actually a trail runner. It's like, all these trail runners, it's not this intimidating. It's so fast. No one can ever do a type of thing. And pretty, pretty possible to move it a really solid through hiker style efficiency and do okay.

With no experience, no idea, not even the right gear, no crew. One Pacer who just was able to come out, he didn't know much about trail running either at the time, came out and it all came together. I was so efficient because I didn't even use the sleep stations that are on the course because I knew it would just take longer. So I would just do dirt naps on the side of the road. It's kind of my MO anyways, and that's the plan for this year. So if you made it this far in the episode,

Put a pin, remind me some of these things in the comments. Give me five star reviews. Subscribe, unsubscribe, and subscribe. Subscribe on your mom's device, your sister's device, your cousin's device. We need to bump these numbers up, even if they're artificial. And, let me know what stories you want to hear more of.

And at this time, I'm probably suffering in the middle of climbing up to crown king in the brutal cocadona 250 this year. I've come a long way as I've done. I did like 10 trail races last year. So I've learned a lot about this. I became a coach and I got my own coach so that I wouldn't have to worry about my training. And I love coaching trail running and bringing this whole efficiency thing because some of the best trail runners in the world are really, they're good runners, but they also spend like 10 or 12 minutes at eight stations for an entire hundred mile or so.

There's a sufficiency aspect in the specificity thing that is really the thing that I love bringing to coaching. Like how can we make your training as specific to the race as possible as we get closer to it? Blah, blah, blah. Come a long ways. Wanted to really get this race right and hopefully this is the year. So five star comment, five star review. Can you like and comment? Don't really know. Well, thanks for listening.

Let me know if you like this, if it's entertaining, and if it's boring, just DM that to me so that my heart can sink, but don't write it in the comments and don't give me a review that's less than five stars because we're really only looking for five stars here. All right, thanks for listening. Hopefully I can figure out how to put out this podcast in time.

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