How far would you go to pursue a dream?
Ultrarunner Michael Ortiz has been proving where there's a will, there's always a way, whether your target is 1 mile, 100 miles, or 10,000 miles away.
I met Michael in March 2018 when he was trying to set a record by running his 18th straight 100+ mile race in as many weeks and different locations (while maintaining a full-time job in NYC). I was asked by a mutual friend to help just a few days before the race. It was like showing up for a blind date.
Strong, patient, and unfailingly positive, Michael was easy to support and impressive to observe. I crewed for him through a pitch-black forest for more than 18 hours and 60-70 miles.
Still, I had no idea what was still to come. He has continued to average a 100+ mile race every week. He just finished #77.
That comes despite being in lockdown for the last nine. The first of those nine was without a treadmill. He did laps on a 40-foot cardboard track for 60 hours in his tiny Brooklyn apartment. (Doubting? He's live-streamed all of them.)
The inspiration for this journey was the death of his 29-year old brother, David, who was struck by a car biking to work. From a recent New York Times article:
As Michael absorbed the sudden loss, he also heard the echo of his brother’s grab-life-by-the-collar advice. At the wake, “The one thing that everyone had to say about him was that he lived his life,” Ortiz recalled. “And I thought, ‘Man, if I die tomorrow, what are people going to say about me? Here’s Mike. Pretty good guy. He worked all the time, even weekends.’”
He's going for 100 straight 100+ mile races. My guess? He's going to make it.
What's holding you back?
(Depending what time you read this, Michael will be appearing on the Today Show on NBC tomorrow (Wednesday) at the 9 am EST hour.)
Knowing Is Half the Battle
I came across this great quote in an article by Dọ́kítà Ayọ̀mídé, "Collecting vs Connecting the Dots."
Let’s call this “The Collector’s Fallacy”. Why fallacy? Because “to know about something” isn’t the same as “knowing something.” Just knowing about a thing is less than superficial since knowing about is merely to be certain of its existence, nothing more. Ultimately, this fake-knowledge is hindering us on our road to true excellence. Until we merge the contents, the information, ideas, and thoughts of other people into our own knowledge, we haven’t really learned a thing. We don’t change ourselves if we don’t learn, so merely filing things away doesn’t lead us anywhere.
What are some ways we can combat this?
Let's actually put out knowledge to work:
- Teach it to someone else.
- Write about it.
- Implement it in your work.
An Interesting Idea...or 50
David Perell tweeted 50 ideas that have changed his life. While high-level, the ideas are thought-provoking.
These are a few of my favorites along with my hot-takes:
1. Inversion: Avoiding stupidity is easier than trying to be brilliant.
So easy, yet, so hard.
7. Mimetic Theory of Conflict: People who are similar are more likely to fight than people who are different. That’s why Civil Wars and family feuds create the worst conflicts.
Is this why opposites attract?
11. The Never-Ending Now: The structure of our social media feeds blinds us to history, as it causes us to live in an endless cycle of ephemeral content consumption. The structure of the Internet pulls people away from age-old wisdom.
Build better filters or ignore the news cycle altogether. Malcolm Gladwell doesn't read his newspaper until the day after it was published.
24. Hock Principle: Simple, clear purpose and principles give rise to complex and intelligent behavior. Complex rules and regulations give rise to simple and stupid behavior.
This is the key behind effective leadership; explain the why and get out of the way. Micromanage at your own risk.
34. Horseshoe Theory: Extreme opposites tend to look the same. For example, a far-right movement and a far-left movement can be equally violent or desire a similar outcome. People on both sides are more similar to each other than they are to people in the center.
Crazies to the left. Crazies to the right. And they're blind to it -- strangely similar to #7, the Mimetic Theory of Conflict. How can we help people to step back and gain perspective?
I'm participating in the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000k (GRVAT). Run approximately ~634 miles (5 miles/day) between May 1 until August 31st.
My legs feel as good as they have in the last two years. Nine straight days of work caught up with me though. I look forward to getting ahead this Memorial Weekend.
Sat: 6.18 (morning run, evening walk)
Sun: 0 (Working all weekend caught up with me)
Mon: 10.02 (run with my brother, walked with the wife)
Total Miles this Week: 32.35 miles
Cumulative Miles: 92.82 miles
+/- from Finishing Pace: -2.18
Quote of the Week
"It’s possible that you no longer need to get better at your craft. That your craft is just fine.
It’s possible that you need to be braver instead."
- Seth Godin, h/t Doc Ayomide (again!)
Until next week, stay safe, sane, and intentional.