Running LA

Hi guys,
Back from the West Coast of the USA and still with goosebumps of how much I like that IMG_5670area. Even not being a big fan of LA, I´ve to admit that this time it was treating me great.

Touchdown in LA by Saturday 5th, so 5 de Mayo!, and the party, coronitas and nachos, were served.
People riding bikes with music, drinks and costumes, under a shiny sun and a sparkling crispy water.
I stayed in Hermosa Beach,
just 5´away from the pier.
After checking in, it was time to explore the area and get some tan. The pier, as mentioned above, was full, making the running more a zig-zag exercise rather than a proper run. Nevertheless, perfect conditions to stretch the legs after 13 hours of travel.
Finishing 15k and directly taking a dip in the Pacific. Priceless.

IMG_5688As I try to do everytime I travel for business, the morning call is set up pretty early. Winning the morning is winning the day, no doubt.
Yet, the jet lag always helps to keep you awake, so it was not such a big effort in this occasion.
To make the best out of my 2,5 days in LA, I decided to hit 3 practices, without any pace nor length in the plan, but to ensure a wonderful run along the beach. No hurries, no pressure.
My takeaways are simple:

  • I love the sunrise.
  • I miss the beach.
  • Doesn´t matter how busy is your agenda, you can squeeze a training. Wake up earlier, go to bed later, up to you.
  • Running is always a perfect activity to explore cities and get inspired.

Leaving LA with 46k running in the belt. And several sunrises.
Where next? On my way to Portland, Oregon.
So buckle up, there are more miles to come, and describe.
Bye bye, Hollywood Hills I´m gonna miss you!
IMG_5681

PS: If you have not visited the LAFC stadium yet, pay a visit, is marvellous!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

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Building self-awareness

Hi guys,
Some months ago (I just realized it was by 2017!), I wrote a post about trying different stuff such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga or long fasting.
Well, I have tested some bit and pieces of those goals, but I´ve not dug deeper to share some clear conclusions with you.

Meditation is probably the biggest learning so far.
Coming from a position of “I´m drastically failing in it” or “I can´t do it, this is not for me” to engage with other people much savvier than I in the topic and understanding, yet believing, that practising meditations is already a success itself. I´ve still not found a regular rhythm, but things are moving in the right direction.

Fasting is definitely the one I am more constant.
Educating my body to hold long times of fasting, without feeling foolish.
Even I don´t think this is the healthiest way, I sometimes like to feel emptiness.
Take in account I combine it with a sports practice, usually a long run, but I would recommend building a foundation before trying it.

Plant Based is my very last acquisition.
I´m not an advocator of any diet, nor detractor.
Yet, I´ve never done a diet in my life, but to follow common sense.
So, why is this new thing with a Plant-Based test?
Excellent question, let me dissect it.

  • Self-awareness:
    How is my body reacting to the lack of meat?
    Am I sleeping better or worse? Where´s the trigger?
    Is my clarity while thinking affected?
    And my relationships and mood?
  • Challenging the status quo:
    This one is self-explanatory: Change before you have to change!
    Am I performing better, worse or the same?
    Can I hack the process and improve it?
  • Inspiring:
    Can anyone, either from my inner circle or beyond, get inspired by it?
    Why go out of the comfort area in great times, both personal and career wise?
    As the London 2012 Olympics statements, “inspire a generation”. That would be amazing.
  • Meaningfulness:
    I´m the first one that says I respect the environment, I want to create an impact in the society and contribute to have a better world.
    Am I doing it? Is this a vehicle to build in that direction?
    How is the Plant-Based diet affecting to diabetes and how can I learn to improve peoples lives?

These are some of the thoughts that are spinning around my head currently.
That said, I´m not a Plant-Based strict guy, nor vegan or so.
I still believe and defend, that common sense and being far away to any extreme, is the key to happiness and a better life.

So how do I do?

  • I started by decreasing the dose of meat, from daily to a Meatless Monday and from there to 2 per week. I´m now with 1x every two weeks. Therefore, don´t try to run a marathon before you have under your belt some 10k, half marathons etc.
  • I have involved my wife. A team is always more powerful than an individual.
  • I have set some time to analyze how my body is reacting. Positives and negatives. Also some rewards such ice cream on Sundays.
  • I´m still full of common sense, not avoiding a steak when my body asks for it, or I´m in a dinner with friends and this is the main dish.
  • Finally, I´ve not deducted all the food, keeping the one that makes sense to me. Those ones are as follows: Eggs, salmon and tuna. Those 3 have an important source of protein that I believe is necessary, so I try to intake one every other day.

And that´s it!
I´m keen on analyzing how all this evolve, how my body reacts to it and what can I learn as a best practice.
It may become an habit at some point, or just help me to identify types of food that are not making my body to perform as it should.

Any advice or suggestion?

Cheers,
Dani Juan

 

Winter sports weekend I

Hi guys,
I’m back from the mountains after an amazing time outdoors, practising some winter sports in Inzell and Rupholding.

On Saturday, we chose Ski Touring, going all the way up to Kampenwand.
In the beginning, we were pretty impressed with the lack of snow, having to walk with the skis on the shoulder and the comfy boots on (I can’t be more sarcastic).
After almost half an hour by feet, we found the first sign of snow.
Skiis on and up we go!
The snow quality is not the best one, but good enough to enjoy. As much as we gain elevation, the landscape is getting more beautiful and the views, outstanding: The Bayerish Meer, more typically known as the Chiemsee is sparkling on the horizon. And that deserves a photo.

The summit is not far away and we arrived without any complexity. At the top, an Alm awaits and we decided to take a drink to refuel. I love the way the Alms are setup in the Alps.

Skins off and skiing mode on! The way down is fantastic. The slopes are literally empty and we have the whole playground for us. The weather is fastly changing and some drops are already on us, but the visibility and fun remain untouched.

After a great practice outdoors, we head to Inzell to taste some Bayerish treats, drink a good beer and enjoy a last walk before shutting down. What a day!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

Abel Tasman Trail, New Zealand

Guys, I don’t want to exaggerate, but Abel Tasman trail is one of my favorite trails ever.
I can’t barely describe with words how beautiful it is, the quality of the ground for enjoying an absolutely great running practice and the number of views that you’ll meet during the session.

The trail is easily accessible, and you can either park by the entrance or run from the base camp, in case you are overnight. In our case, we arrived the night before, to take a walk along the beach and have a drink with the ocean as a witness. Amazing!

I’m waking up early and preparing my coffee (grind, heating water, french press, pour over, wait, enjoy). With the first sip, I like to wake Nicki up. She slowly opens her eyes and I know she wants to sleep a bit more, so I give to her two more sips, while I’m staring at the first lights of the day and enjoying my favorite time of the day. After the grace period, I open the doors and Nicki jump out.

We normally don’t like to have breakfast before the 1st practice of the day, so it’s quite straightforward for us: Clothes and runners on, water intake and we’re ready to go.
Disclaimer: I’m aware that taking long training sessions in fasting could not be good. We do because we are used to, but we do know it’s may not the best approach. Find your way.

Starting out from the base camp and hitting the trail after 1,5km. From there, prepare yourself to enjoy a trail I bet you’ll not be disappointed. The conditions of the ground are simply perfect, with a wide path that allows you to run fast and with a great grip. The panorama is unbelievable, with the sea all the way up on your right and a forest that plays drawing a zig-zag across bridges and falls. Open your eyes, because you’ll find several spots to go down to beaches that are not accessible by car, and the water is crystal clear. In our way back, we can’t resist anymore temptation, so we turn the engines off and we are in our way down to the beach. And it’s pay off! A rock access to a white sand beach, with an incredible turquoise water that is calling us to try it out.

After spending some minutes there, we start again to run back, and this time the traffic is terrific. The people have started to do the trail and the solitude is gone. Rather, the run itself is a challenge to avoid crashes, since the people (and I don’t blame them for that) is enjoying an amazing walk with family and friends.

To wrap up and give some facts, we did around 22k in two ways, but you can easily extend to something around 26 to 30k. The trail is allowing you to push as much as you want, and the only negative point can be the traffic, so I recommend to start early to have a fresh track.
Beautiful trail, amazing training and unforgettable views, I hope to hit it again!

Cheers,
Dani

Alex Knob Trail, New Zealand

During our honeymoon across New Zealand and, after almost 2.000km of driving, we stopped over in the Franz Josef Glacier. It’s amazingly sad to stare how the Glacier is getting smaller year by year, mostly because of the climate change. Still, it’s quite impressive to see such a natural phenomenon and stare for some minutes realizing how small we are.

After walking across the natural park, we headed up to the town and enjoyed some bribes, with a burger and some French fries to share. During the dinner, we were researching for the next day hiking route and eventually decided for the Alex Knob.

Day D arrives and we are ready to go.
After grinding some coffee beans with the manual grinder (what a great investment!) I prepare a French press and pour the coffee over a titanium mug from Snowpeak that Nicki has giving to me as a present. The process of the coffee preparation is a habit I’ve, a routine that I love to do every morning.

I’m driving at 6.30am from the base camp. I’m a really bad sleeper, I recognize that. As soon as I’m excited due to an upcoming activity, my body travels to my childhood and I only hope that the night goes fast.
We hit the starting point before 7.00am, ensuring that we are kicking the trail off and avoiding traffic.

We’re discussing in front of the billboard with the Alex Knob trail details, where is written that we will need around 8h to complete the hike. As we know by experience that they overexaggerate the timings and we, as usual, are planning to run as much as possible, the forecast is dropping down from something around 4h30’ to 5h.

The day was grey and a bit rainy, which on the one hand make the weather delicious and perfect to run with one layer. The opposite side of the coin is that the lookouts are covered with fog, and we can’t see anything below us.

In terms of describing the trail, I would say is a great track to enjoy a combination of running and hiking. The route has many parts runnable, and it’s not getting super step until the last kilometers. The trails are well maintained, which make you comfortable and safe during the whole thing.
The length is around 17km, with an altitude of 1.200m and took us around 3h25’ .
The price is, basically,  the 2 lookouts you’ll find during your way up (when clear weather), the forest track where you have to pass under trees and little climbs and finally the lookout to the Franz Josef Glacier (that we were not able to see at all due to the conditions).

To sum up, a great morning to explore outdoors, take a moderate physical activity and breathe fresh air.

Our very last tip about it: Prepare beforehand some picnic and park the camper/car at the entrance of the park, just in one side of the river. Take your breakfast/lunch there and enjoy the views!

Cheers,
Dani Juan

Running NYC before the dawn

Hi there,
Fresh landed from NYC and already missing the city.

It was my second time in the big apple and it was quite different on this occasion.
In my first visit, it was a one-day stop before heading up to Wildwood, to spend a summer as a lifeguard at a waterpark.
This time, I was going with business purposes, meeting key stakeholders and witnessing the launch of the unique Predator. Big time!

But before suiting up for meetings, a group of bold Adidas people was ready to hit the streets of New York. 6.30am at the main entrance of our hotel in Lower Manhattan and off to the Hudson Bay.
It was amazing to run for 6 days in a row along this route, crossing a bunch of people that were winning the morning by putting its shoes on and embracing the dawn.
I love this kind of cities where doesn´t matter the time you go out for a run, you always find extraordinary normal people having a physical activity before breakfast. The motivation of seeing them, at least for me, priceless.

Special mention to an uplifting catch up with Rafa Olivera and César Villalba, two amazing designers, outstanding athletes (sub 2h30′ marathon for Rafa and Ironman 70.3 Worl Championship slot for the last 3 years for César) and inspiring guys.
Let´s do it again soon!

The bottom line is clear: Wherever you go, take your shoes and explore the city, I can´t imagine a better way to discover a place.

As the photo says: NYC, City of Dreams.

Cheers,
Dani Juan

Running Hacks or How to make the best out of a practice

Hi guys,
I’m currently adding a bunch of miles to my running and not everytime is easy to overcome a practice. It may come from tiredness, both physical o mental, soreness in some specific muscle or just a mind hurdle.

What I’m using and hopefully you can get benefit of, it’s a battery of hacks to cheat my body and mind on those days that I’m not feeling like to run:

  • Before going off:
    • Watching a video that motivates you
    • Reading an uplifting article
    • Listening a song that boost your ass out
  • During the practice:
    • Use 2 differenciate parts in your listening:
      • 1st part, I use to play a podcast of a topic that I’m interesting
      • 2nd part, I play a music playlist with old songs, trying to stimulate my brain to think in where I was at that time. Prepare to be surprise about how many great times come over!
    • Play with Fear: For me, I set a goal that people is not overtaking me.
      To start, you can define a number a try to stick to it
    • Guilt: A great negative incentive linked with something unhealthy you’ve eating in the last day/hours
    • Rewards: Here I love two approaches
      • If I achieve the goal, the reward will be the breakfast, lunch or dinner
      • If I excel the goal or I’m struggling and I force myself to keep on moving, I add something else on top. Normally, a McFlurry is such a yummy motivation to push further
  • Post running:
    • Stick to the rewards you have achieved, or next time your brain may reject to collaborate that much
    • Write down the ideas you have generated during the running
    • Relax and switch gears, you’ve reset your body and mind

I hope this post is helping you to run farther, faster or just to run!

Cheers,
Dani Juan