The Limits of DIY

The Limits of DIY


Posted By on Apr 25, 2014

I’m an extremely DIY (do it yourself) kind of guy—almost to a fault. I like figuring stuff out, and learning to do things that I know absolutely nothing about. One of my most recent DIY projects has been “designing” and maintaining my various blogs and websites.   When I decided to start blogging and to market my business online, I decided to start a number of websites each covering a different topic, and each having their own purpose. The blog urbantrailrunner.net was supposed to be about urban trail running, I had another site that was supposed to be about self-growth, another that was going to solely focus on my acupuncture practice and Chinese medicine, and another that was a personal blog as a way to practice writing and mindlessly ramble about any topic of interest to me at the time.   Essentially I was trying to maintain, and think of separate topics, web design, etc. for four different websites. This would be challenging to do well even with a team of people helping me. I have minimal programming skills, minimal design skills, and minimal skills maintaining websites. But, as I mentioned above, I like to figure this stuff out, and manage to do OK with the help of the oracle (i.e. Google), and a few decent ebooks on the subject. However, the amount of time it takes me to do all this myself is time I could be spend writing, running, reading, or spending time with friends and family.   So, in order to greatly simplify my life in this area I have decided to combine all of these websites into one website: www.jasonroberg.com. Simple!   Starting this week urbantrailrunner.net will no longer exist as an updated site. If you are subscribed to urbantrailrunner.net you will still receive all of my wonderful blog posts, now from jasonroberg.com. My acupuncture site www.jasonleelac.com will now exist only as a simple informational site for people who receive my business card, and I will now have more information about my views on health on jasonroberg.com. The subject matter of the blog posts will for the most part stay exactly the same as my more recent posts on urbantrailrunner.net.   If you head over to jasonroberg.com you will notice that the design is much simpler than urbantrailrunner.net. I decided to use a very simple free theme—almost overly simple in fact. This theme is extremely easy for me to work with, especially with my limited programming skills, so I can “design” and maintain it with much less effort  on my own. It also looks much better when reading it from a mobile device compared to...

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Oriflamme 50k

Oriflamme 50k


Posted By on Apr 10, 2014

This weekend I crossed an important threshold in my life. For years I have been talking about running an ultra marathon, and this past weekend I finally crossed that 26.2 mile marathon barrier and completed my very first ultra marathon, the Oriflamme 50k in Anza Borrego state park.   Although this was only the first of three that I have planned for 2014, the first one felt like a huge personal accomplishment for me. Not only because it was a friggin’ ultra marathon! But also because it was a difficult ultra for this distance. With over 3,985 ft of elevation gain, crazy wind gusts, and a number of miles running uphill in sand, I felt significantly challenged for the entire 31 miles in the desert.   The morning started off a bit rough. I typically try to wake up well before the start of my races to make a nice breakfast, stretch, mobilize my joints, make coffee, do my morning routine etc. I intended to wake up at 3:45am to allow plenty of time to get ready and to leave the house at 5:15am for the hour plus drive to the race start.   Instead I woke up at 5:10am! The battery on my iPad (my current alarm clock) went dead because my cover did not put my iPad into sleep mode. I probably should have plugged it in, especially for such an important event, but usually I have plenty of juice if my iPad is put into sleep mode. Thankfully, because I live with a one year old, I am accustomed to waking up very early and was able to wake up on my own around the time I needed to leave.   I managed to get out the door at 5:30am to notice that it was raining. What! The weather forecast said nothing about rain! I ran back in to grab a waterproof shell and ran back out the door completely forgetting my coffee (not a good thing considering my now pretty extreme caffeine addiction).   Then to add a bit of extra craziness to the morning, the address I typed into my iPhone GPS took me on a closed road—I just couldn’t rely on my Apple products this morning. I kind of knew where I was, so I was able to retrace back to a route I knew would get me there, even if it did take me a bit out of the way.   I arrived at the start area at 6:47am, 13 minutes before the start of the race. Luckily other people were still checking in as well, so I was a bit relieved...

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Reframing Failure

Reframing Failure


Posted By on Mar 31, 2014

Distance running is an extremely mental sport. If you don’t believe me try an experiment right now. Pick a distance that is uncomfortable for you to run. Then go run that distance at an uncomfortable pace, and throw in some steep hills for good measure.   Your legs will most likely get sore and heavy. Your back might ache a little. Your feet may hurt. Your lungs may burn, and you may huff and puff a bit.   But I would be willing to bet that as you get farther into the run the hardest part is not the physical pain you are experiencing. It may seem so, but I can assure you that it is not. The hardest part is your mind. Your mind saying “stop now, this hurts too much,” or “you can’t keep going, its ok to walk the rest of the way,” or warping time to make you believe that it will take an eternity to run the next mile.   Two Sundays ago I had a horrible mental experience on a test run for my next race, the Oriflamme 50k. I was running the following part of the course so I knew what to expect on race day: My mind was not with me on that day. It kept telling me to quit, to give up. It was an extremely challenging run, but even once the challenging part of the run was over, I was still struggling to keep going. I was literally walking at a slow pace on terrain that I can usually run with ease, even after that many miles.   Physically, I mostly felt ok, a little weak sure, but nothing out of the ordinary. It was mostly mental; my mind was telling me to quit, and my body was listening and slowing me to a walking pace despite having no real obvious physical reason to slow down. It was pure mental fuckery, and on that day I was completely unequipped to deal with it.   If this was a normal run I could probably just let it go and move on. But this Saturday I have to run 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) on this course. So what do I intend to do to keep my mind from taking over like this on race day? How do I intend to reframe this experience and turn it into fuel for success, instead of disaster?   Here are the steps I have chosen to do to help me get over this particular failure, so I can have a much  better mental experience on race day:   1) Reframe the experience. I went...

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Dream Big!

Dream Big!


Posted By on Mar 20, 2014

I’ve been in a remarkable place lately. If you have been following my blog at all you have probably noticed that there is a recurring theme around struggle, and overcoming obstacles. It’s kind of funny to me, this blog was supposed to be about less complicated things like my love for trail running and my thoughts on training; but apparently deep down I had other plans in mind. Apparently the goals I set for myself were far bigger than I had imagined when I set out to accomplish them.   When we dream big it is amazing how much change it creates. There is so much growth, and so many of those “oh shit, what did I get myself into!?” kind of moments. In my opinion that is a good litmus test to tell whether or not your dreams are big enough.   One of my favorite quotes lately is a quote I found on Instagram…or maybe Pinterest, one of those social media platforms––I know it wasn’t Vine (by the way what is the deal with Vine? I don’t get it, maybe I am just getting old). Anyway, I saw this quote and it immediately resonated with me:   “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” -Ellen Johnson Sirleaf   When I think about all of the dreams and goals I have right now, they all scare me.   The dream that started me off on this rash of big dreams and change was undoubtedly my dream to finally run the Leadville 100. While I knew this would be a challenging task, what I didn’t expect when I signed up was the huge amount of introspection that comes along with training for such a race, and the amount of change it inspired me to make in other areas of my life.   Dreaming big has caused me to change my life in so many ways, and has created so many challenges that are leading me to a much better life. While it can be scary, and challenging, and even frustrating at times, I know that it is worth it because I can see the growth and change on a daily basis.   When you dream big, no matter how scary it may seem, there is always treasure to be found. That treasure may not look exactly like you had imagined but it is always there, and the impact on your life is always much bigger than you could ever imagine.   Dream big my friends! Amazing things will happen when you do.   Now a scene from one of my favorite movies. I’m giving this speech...

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Eating an Elephant

Eating an Elephant


Posted By on Mar 13, 2014

There is an often cited quote originally attributed to General Creighton Abrams (you may have heard of the Abrams tank before, that tank is named after General Abrams) that goes: “When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.” This quote continues to be used both in the military and by motivational speakers to this day where the question “how do you eat an elephant?” is asked whenever one is stuck with a large, daunting, and seemingly impossible task.   Often on my longer trail runs I find this piece of motivational gold entering my head-space as I panic about how much farther I still have to go.   On a recent 24 mile run on an unseasonably hot day I found that I was asking myself this question over and over again: “how do you eat an elephant Jason?” I found myself parsing each mile post, each tree, each step even, into bites of the elephant. On a day that I easily could have quit early I was able to persevere by breaking down a large, difficult task into small chunks to get me through it.   While this analogy is easy to see and understand when doing physical exercise or work––just make it to the next rep, the next mile, just lift the next stone, etc.––I sometimes forget how useful this mindset can also be for accomplishing the large daunting tasks in life.   I will admit that I can be a huge procrastinator. I am getting much better at not procrastinating, but often big tasks that require lots of steps and require huge steps out of my comfort zone still stop me dead in my tracks. Not because I see them as unattainable, but because I try to eat the whole elephant all at once, or at least think of eating it all at once, instead of focusing on the next bite. I doubt I am the only one who does this; and I doubt I am the only person who encounters a whole lot of frustration with this.   So what do you do when this happens? How can you avoid falling into the pit of despair that occurs when you realize that you can’t eat the entire elephant in one bite?   It’s simple, and all it really takes is a simple shift in mindset from the start of a new project, and that is to just pick a bite and take it. Don’t worry too much about which bite to take, just pick a bite. Often when you do this, when you take one little step (one little bite) toward the realization...

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