Episode 94- Constantin Le Fou: Saying What is True

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Episode 94- Constantin Le Fou: Saying What is True

"We've lost so much of ourselves, we've lost track. In nature, if you are in balance, then nature will give you what you need, we need to be better."

-Constantin Le Fou

At the time of the recording of this episode (early-September) I was in a very different place in life. I recorded this episode with Vegan Club founder Constantin Le Fou a few days before I left for college, fear filled my heart. I did not know what college would be like and I could not imagine leaving my family. My family and I are a tribe, but I had to leave them to go study something I wasn't even excited about. I was lost.

Now more than a month later I am again in a very different place. I have begun the process of changing my major to Journalism, something that I am passionate about. In addition, I have fallen in love with the process and built my own routine of peace and adventure. While there is a dichotomy between now and then, this conversation in the heart of Downtown LA gave me a peaceful respite during those weeks of nerves.

I have seen Constantin's work all around Los Angeles, but never knew who was behind Vegan Club, until now. His ability to utilize famous vegans and influencers to begin a conversation on what it means to be vegan is unique. Through street art, apparel, stickers, and more Constantin's graphic designs have shaped the face of Los Angeles and the world. Today's conversation is about conversation. About what it takes to begin conversations that enact lasting, positive change. We delve deep into Constantin's story, his thoughts on meditation, on art, on creativity, and on how we can shape ourselves and those around us for our betters.

Gratefully,
Jarod Contreras

VegNews Article: vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=10103&catId=5

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Episode 93- Emotion: A Progression

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Episode 93- Emotion: A Progression

The ramblings of thought can sometimes seem interconnected and yet random. Over the past few weeks, beginning my journey here in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I have had many forms of thoughts and musings. I have thought a lot about my past and a lot about my future, but I have realized that to truly make the most of this adventure I must live in the moment. I have been sad and I have been happy. Inherent in this adventure is an emotional roller coaster of everything from tearfully missing my family to roaringly loving a run. One theme constant throughout this beginning is that I have taken my life, my routine, and my journey into my own hands. I have been and am building a life centered on truth to who I am. We are all on a journey and I am grateful for mine.

Gratefully,
Jarod Contreras

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Episode 92- Lucy Bartholomew: The Young Gun's Steps

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Episode 92- Lucy Bartholomew: The Young Gun's Steps

"Even in the darkest of times you've just got to take a step back and be really, really grateful for where you are and what you're doing."

-Lucy Bartholomew

When we look out at our world we can see so many things. We can see death and destruction; we can see laughter and life. Our view of the world is shaped by our own life, whatever that story may be. With so many violent events that have happened recently we wrongfully resort to the exclamation of, "This world is terrible, because it is that persons fault or that persons fault." We get to caught up in pointing fingers that we fail to point the finger at the biggest culprit of all, ourselves.

Lucy Bartholomew has embodied the message that to truly change our world we must positively change ourselves. She is following her truest path. A path that she realized at a very young age, at only 14. I feel a deep camaraderie and connection with Lucy and her story, because there are many parallels. She found running through her dad and he has greatly shaped her life, she began running very young, she is vegan, and she is living truthfully. I hope that you can enjoy this conversation between two very connected souls. In today's we discuss Lucy's story, from feeling lost with an eating disorder to living intentionally through ultrarunning and veganism. We also discuss her relationship with her father, what her training looks like, how we can apply the lessons learned on the trails to everyday life (whether you are a runner or not), living the vegan lifestyle, and more. So whether you have run forever or have never run a foot, this conversation is for everyone, because we are all on our own trail.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

lucybartholomew.info

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Episode 91- Brother Phap Luu: Freedom is Possible

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Episode 91- Brother Phap Luu: Freedom is Possible

"People tend to look at compassion as something very weak, but compassion is very strong. In fact, violence is weak. Real compassion is very powerful, it is like the mountains, it is that solid."

-Brother Phap Luu

We are all on a journey, each and every one of us. We are on our own journeys. A journey that begins from the moment we are born to the moment we die. This is a journey that we can either ignore or follow. It is the journey of our truest, most fulfilling paths. Today's guest is a wonderful wealth of knowledge on the in's and out's of how we can follow our paths. Brother Phap Luu (alternatively Brother Stream) is a Buddhist monk trained by Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) in Plum Village, France. I was connected with Brother Phap Luu through Plum Village, but he was not my original goal. Originally I wanted Thay to sit down and have a conversation with me, but I found out that due to his 2014 stroke he still has not recovered his ability to speak. I truly hope that he can recover soon and was honored that the people at Plum Village took the extra time to connect me with Brother Phap Luu.

Brother Phap Luu comes from an interesting, Ivy-League, yet suffering struck background that provides an excellent platform for our conversation today. A conversation on life. Today's discussion is wide ranging and covers many different aspects of the process. Today please sit back to enjoy a conversation on suffering, desire, the current political climate, how we can peacefully make change, the positive and negative aspects of the current university/college scene, how we can get young people to meditate, practicing compassion, commitment, and of course Brother Phap Luu's story.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

plumvillage.org

wakeupschools.org

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Episode 90- Emotion: A Beginning

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Episode 90- Emotion: A Beginning

For so long my life has been ruled by the act of throwing emotions into a pit and slamming a lid on top of that pit. I have always been known as the "serious" person, the person who smiles a little and frowns a little. In elementary school I was quiet and largely solitary, in middle school I built up a wall of seriousness to combat bullying, and I carried over that serious attitude into high school. Throughout my whole life I have always done my best to keep an even keel on my emotions, believing that that was a positive thing. Up until very recently.

Due to the multitude of emotions that I have had to accept over the past few weeks during the lead up to and execution of my move to college, I have come to a revelation: that emotion is a tool. That similar to how failure is a wise teacher, so to is emotion. That is today's exploration. Enjoy. 

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 89- Jared Simons: Focusing Dedication

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Episode 89- Jared Simons: Focusing Dedication

"Is there anything that I can do more to better myself today?"

-Jared Simons

This past weekend my family drove up to San Luis Obispo Cal Poly, which is where I will be attending college, and I felt a rush of emotions. At dinner I broke down and cried, not for the first time in the past few weeks either, realizing yet again that I have no idea how I am going to do this. My family makes me so happy that I could easily live with them forever. I am scared of what's to come and what I am leaving behind. However, my family helped me to understand that this is a grand new adventure where I can find my independence, grow as a person, and learn. Also they are not that far away. With that confidence and knowledge I hope to better manage the next few weeks.

Speaking of managing I think this week's guest is a perfect compliment. Jared Simons is the chef at No Name, founder of Whitechapel Soap Co., is vegan, and is an Ironman athlete. My dad found Jared on Instagram and we both thought that he would be a great guest on the show. Sadly I couldn't meet Jared in person for dinner before I left, so we had to do the show on Skype so please excuse any weird sounds or glitches. Now Jared is someone who is deeply dedicated to what he does, whether that is cooking, training, or making soap. That is what so intrigues me about him. Today we discuss Ironman, training, how coaching is beneficial, balancing training and cooking, his story, how he failed at putting health as a priority when beginning his career as a chef, how he became vegan, meal recommendations, John Joseph's Positive Mental Attitude, and more. Please enjoy this episode of intrigue into the life of Jared Simons.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

Jared Simons: 

whitechapelsoapco.com

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Episode 88- Anton Krupicka: Edge of Arrogance

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Episode 88- Anton Krupicka: Edge of Arrogance

"I very much read to have that experience of identifying across different perspectives and different cultures, which generally happens through literature. The characters could be people that you would never meet in normal life, but they could be having the same emotions or experiences that I have internally. It reaffirms the universality of the human condition."

-Anton Krupicka

We choose how we interpret the world, as such we can interpret positive things as negative or vice versa. Today I am honored to sit down and converse with Anton Krupicka. A name that holds many stereotypes and preconceptions associated with it. Arrogance might be a strong word to even associate with this name, but Anton is someone who is confident in his abilities. The adventures he pursues through that confidence can be perceived as arrogant or dancing to far to one side on a knife's edge of safety and caution. Over the years people have perceived and been, either negatively or positively, shaped by Anton's actions. However, if Anton is anything, he is nothing but truthful. That truthfulness combined with his adventures has been the basis for many an assumption and opinion of Anton Krupicka.

In today's episode I sought to transcend the stereotype, preconceptions, and associations related to Anton Krupicka. This conversation is more than just about running or even the mountains. Today Anton and I delve into a subject that has been rarely discussed with him, reading. We explore his motivations for his voracious reading, how he has been shaped by books, the importance of reading, how reading connects you with our world, and much more. The mountains may fuel Anton's day, but he begins each of those days with a book. The simplicity in routine and dedication are beautiful things, so let's explore those and more today with Anton Krupicka.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 87- Dr. Neal Barnard: Opening Hearts

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Episode 87- Dr. Neal Barnard: Opening Hearts

"It doesn't take a lot to open a person's heart to these facts."

-Dr. Neal Barnard

Increasing our knowledge is a potent way to increase our ability to follow our truest path. Part of following our paths, whoever we may be, is to not poison our bodies. The way to not poison our bodies is to live and eat vegan. Today I am honored to sit down and speak with Dr. Neal Barnard about everything vegan. Today we are not only increasing our knowledge, but also following our path.

Dr. Barnard has led numerous studies on the relation between diet and health/sickness and is president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. At the PCRM he leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research. Dr. Barnard has shared his extensive knowledge through numerous books and articles. Today he shares even more of his knowledge as we discuss how to adopt a vegan lifestyle, why it is a lifestyle and not simply a diet, and about his new book, The Cheese Trap. We delve into how much this movement has spread, but also how we can reach more people, especially those who are vehemently against this way of live. We also discuss the health benefits of eating vegan and how it can revolutionize the athletic ability of any athlete.

So whether you are vegan or not, be open. I strongly believe that today's episode will greatly benefit you to optimize and revolutionize the way that you live your life. Enjoy.

Gratefully,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 86- Rickey Gates: Sage of Connection

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Episode 86- Rickey Gates: Sage of Connection

"We're all just trying to make sense of everything in the larger context than the simple act of doing it, but I'm coming back to wanting those moments to simply be the moment that it is."

-Rickey Gates

Over the past few weeks I have been putting a targeted focus on enjoying the simple routine of being at home with my family, because I know that that routine will be turned upside down when I head to college soon. Part of this relaxation has been interviewing some incredible people, one of those people is Rickey Gates. Rickey is truly an adventurer at heart, someone who desires to better understand himself and our world. He recently completed a journey of his own design, TransAmericana, where he ran across America. Yes, all 3,657 miles of it and in 152 days.

I am honored to have been able to have sat down with Rickey and have a wonderful discussion. Today's discussion is about more than just TransAmericana. We of course discuss the before, during, and after of that journey, but we also delve deep into his life and evolution as an athlete. Discussing how he tells stories and the importance of storytelling. We also examine his journey into meditation, its impact on his day to day life, and the importance of staying present. One common theme amongst our discussion is the value and importance of connecting with our world, the cultures, the countries, and the people within it. I truly hope you enjoy today's discussion and that we can all learn something from Rickey's words.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

rickeygates.com

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Episode 85- Tommy Caldwell: The Dynamic of Spirit

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Episode 85- Tommy Caldwell: The Dynamic of Spirit

"I approached it the exact same way that I do a climbing objective, I started at the bottom."

-Tommy Caldwell

Whether you know only a little about rock climbing, have just barely dipped your toe into its world, or are a dedicated climber then you have heard of Tommy Caldwell. Tommy has been heralded as one of the best rock climbers in the world with impressive first ascents and first free ascents all across the world. He has built a life around climbing since he was a young kid in Colorado and has transformed himself into a machine able to conquer the hardest routes.

Everyone wants to know about Tommy's life 'chapters' like being taken captive by rebels in Kyrgyzstan, losing his left index finger in a table saw accident, or free climbing the Dawn Wall with Kevin Jorgeson in 2015. These are topics that everyone covers with Tommy, along with his life story, if you want to learn more about those topics then buy his book. Today, however, Tommy and I delve deep into his headspace and his drive. We discuss how suffering can shape and teach us, how choosing a life of adventure is supremely fulfilling, how pushing to the edge of what's possible and beyond gives you a deep sense of awe. Today we converse on the importance of family and how living your truest life can be made possible. Specifically today we chat about the father/son relationship. On how that relationship, when forged by discomfort in the outdoors, is forged into one of the strongest and enduring bonds. Both of our fathers have played a vital role in our evolutions as adventurers, so we delve into the father and son's dynamic of spirit. Enjoy.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 84- Chris 'Tarzan' Clemens: Swingin' amongst Adventures!

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Episode 84- Chris 'Tarzan' Clemens: Swingin' amongst Adventures!

"My soul was getting antsy again, I had to make a change."

-Chris 'Tarzan' Clemens

Whether it's waking up in his 1985 VW Westfalia camper or along the Appalachian Trail Chris 'Tarzan' Clemens knows how to find adventure. Chris is someone that I have been following for awhile now and have always been fascinated by his ability to seemingly live so simply and yet have so many awesome adventures. Chris lives out of his camper van, he is an ultrarunner, a thru-hiker, an adventurer, a world traveler, a freelancer and someone who has forged their truest life. Chris has driven all around the US and Canada, bike toured through Chile and Argentina, backpacked in Ecuador and Peru, ran ultras, hiked the AT, and so much more.

But, regardless of how much I regale you with his exploits you need to hear about them from the man himself. That very same man gets out into our world and understands that if you go through life completely comfortable you're never going to grow, which breeds his idea of AntiComfortable. This episode is about getting rid of the junk, of simplifying, of seeing the beauty in the basics. Everyday Chris lives the basics in his camper and lives in the present, not hindered by superfluous possessions. Listen in as we discuss how to be minimal, how to live truly, how to endure, how to get out of your comfort zone, and how to find yourself. Enjoy.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 83- Ted Winters: Twinkle in His Eyes

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Episode 83- Ted Winters: Twinkle in His Eyes

"I don't know, I just enjoyed doing it, it was something to do. I mean it's a little bit different, a little bit out of the ordinary."

-Ted Winters

When we look back on our lives we should look back with a smile and a twinkle in our eyes. Life is the adventure we make it and Ted Winters understands this. Now you might be wondering who Ted is, well Ted is someone that I hold very near and dear to my heart. Ted is my neighbor and he is an ultrarunner. He ran ultras when they were in their infancy and has witnessed their evolution. From Angeles Crest to Western States, Ted knows what it means to suffer and what it means to overcome.

Ted is someone who allows us all to see what a life truly lived is. This episode of the podcast is one for the history books and an honor to hear. Today we are privileged to listen to Ted's life story. His ups and downs, his successes and failures, his time in the army during the Cuban Missile Crisis and his rock 'n roll days, and of course his tales of trails. Please allow your ears to work around the not optimal audio (I did my best) and absorb this story, for it is truly one told from love. Let us all sit back, relax, and enjoy the story of how Ted forged a life that truly fulfilled him.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

Ted's Buckles!

Ted's Buckles!

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Episode 82- Let's Eat: Dispelling the Myth that Eating Vegan is Bland

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Episode 82- Let's Eat: Dispelling the Myth that Eating Vegan is Bland

There are times in our lives when certain things take over our every thought and desire, but in a society that is culturally obsessed with food an addiction to the immediate gratification provided by processed sugars, grains, carbohydrates, and chemicals is commonplace. This world is addicted to food. That same food we are addicted to is largely pointlessly simplistic and bland. However I have been asked many times, "Isn't that whole vegan thing super bland and boring?"

This is a gross misconception and one that, in today's episode, I work to dispel. A vegan lifestyle is filled with spontaneous creativity and flavor. The flavors, nutrients, colors, and depth of any vegan meal far surpass anything I ate before I was vegan. Before I was vegan it was a piece of chicken and rice, now it is kale lentil curry soup. The lifestyle I now lead is free of the obsession with poisonous foods that I once had and allows me to be the most creative and engaged version of myself. This week let's talk about how lively vegan meals are, how hard this whole college thing will be for me, what experiencing new cultures can bring for you, and more. Please enjoy.

Graciously,

Jarod Contreras

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Episode 81- Youth

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Episode 81- Youth

Each generation is called upon to 'change the world,' but hardly anyone does. Why? Because, the 'change' they speak about or try to enact stems from lies. The lies that are the foundation for our society of immediate gratification and material success. Youth are the ones who desire to change the world, because they have a unique perspective on life. They transcend childhood and adulthood, but any change they try to enact usually fails because of its basis. To truly change the world you must be at peace within yourself first. To change yourself you must look within and be at peace there. Fulfillment does not come from without, but from within.

The youth of our world, my generation, are fueled by the material. Most begin a tailspin that leads them right into their graves, because from birth they begin to build walls around who they truly are and never see it. Catching that tailspin early or before it starts is vital, begin breaking down those walls before they are built. In reality whatever age you are at you must begin living your truest life. A fulfilling, well-rounded, peaceful, and healthy life is what we all desire, but we must find it within.

Enjoy.

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Episode 80- Revolution Equal

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Episode 80- Revolution Equal

For some of us when faced with a society that seems to be against our own values or that seems to ignore our voices we begin to consider change, drastic if necessary. We begin to think on revolution and equality, which are two ideas that seem to disparate, but are not. When I say revolution I do not mean war, I mean change on a societal level. But, in this society the only change we consider is the change to a bigger house or newer car. Our obsession with identity has led us down many dark paths. In this culture that identity is sought after through the material. Through money, houses, cars, jobs, and more, but they are all inherently impermanent. This impermanence scares us, causing us to seek evermore after eternity. Our lives are fueled by falsehoods, but to make real change there has to be truth right?

To truly change a society or to find equality amongst all you must look within. You are not your bank account. You are yourself, but you have built walls around who you truly are. The truest form of revolution is to change yourself. Remember that in our quest for meaningful change. I hope you enjoy.

Gracias.

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Episode 79- Eric Schranz: The Voice on the Trails

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Episode 79- Eric Schranz: The Voice on the Trails

"Trying to make sure that I have balance."

-Eric Schranz

If you have dipped your toe into ultrarunning then you have heard his voice, Eric Schranz is the host of Ultrarunner Podcast and a true "super-fan" of the sport. Eric tells the story each week on his show of the world of ultrarunning, with great guests and conversations. But, Eric is more than just a voice, he is someone who truly understands what it means to build your most fulfilling life. Today's episode is not simply about running far, it is about living truthfully, persevering through challenges, family, relationships, finding balance, daring adventure, and staying true to the trail. Enjoy.

Also remember that anyone can run long distance or meditate! You make your own reality.

ultrarunnerpodcast.com

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Episode 78- Gina Lucrezi: Keepin' Smiles

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Episode 78- Gina Lucrezi: Keepin' Smiles

"You stress yourself out that much worrying abut things your body can feel it, you feel more tired and exhausted, because you've been putting yourself through all that mental anguish."

-Gina Lucrezi

What lives in a van, yet kills it on the trails? Gina Lucrezi is who! This girl is tough, no doubt about it, and she is committed to the lifestyle that truly fulfills her. Her and her boyfriend live in a van they call Ramona the Ram, a Ram Promaster that they built out themselves to live out of. It was an adjustment for sure, but as Gina tells it it has been quite an adventure. Along with her running and unique lifestyle Gina also founded Trail Sisters, a community of like-minded, trail running women. On today's episode of the podcast we dig deep into who Gina is, what makes her tick, how she's evolved, and the stories she has. From the mountains of Colorado to the screen of a computer, Gina has made positive changes in our world, let's listen in to see how we can make some of our own.

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Episode 77- Bryce Canyon 100: A Fire of Change

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Episode 77- Bryce Canyon 100: A Fire of Change

No words can describe it. I just finished my first 100 mile race and it was the hardest thing that I have ever done. On Friday June 16th, 2017 I headed out on the Bryce Canyon 100 to eventually finish on Saturday in 35 hours and 40 minutes, beating the cutoff by 17 minutes. It was a hard fought battle that will shape me for the rest of my life. I had to endure high heat (into the high 90's), cold, technical terrain, altitude, major thirst (my mouth felt like I had sand in it), muscle pain, mental fatigue, lack of sleep, stomach issues, and hallucinations. Today I want you all to listen in as I tell my epic story of what this race and its challenges meant to me, the story of the adventure. Out of the frying pan and into the fire as they say, well this was out of the frying pan and into the furnace.

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Episode 76- Jen Benna: The Mind is Powerful

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Episode 76- Jen Benna: The Mind is Powerful

"It was a culmination of the physical injury, but the mental place that I went to was sort of terrible. I said, 'Oh my gosh what am I doing,' and 'I really need to take a step back here.' The body totally reacted to that and I just didn't really respect it."

-Jen Benna

The mind is powerful, it can build and destroy. You could be running a hundred miles or working a stressful job, either way the mind is what makes or breaks the goal. Many times throughout our lives the mind has broken the goal, but the key is to focus on the times where the mind made the goal happen. Jen Benna understands this which, I believe, is partly why she has not only been such a successful athlete, but such a successful person. Jen lives her life to the fullest and understands that to find happiness you do not need to search for Shangri-La, but search right inside yourself. Happiness comes from living your truest life. This week Jen and I discuss what it means to live your truest life, what her story is, how she overcomes challenges, the misconceptions of our society, and the power of the mind. Please enjoy, I know I did!

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Episode 75- Chris McNamara: Striving Upwards

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Episode 75- Chris McNamara: Striving Upwards

"A big wall climb is much more of a mental game...the whole time your kind of scared and thinking was this even a good idea, should I go down, should I go up, we're going so much slower than we thought, or did we even bring enough food and water. It's not always fun, but then when you actually do get through it it creates this experience that will last with you a really long time."

-Chris McNamara

I, Jarod Contreras, am not a climber, I have dipped my toe into the sport with Boy Scouts and with my family, but I am an ultrarunner first and foremost. That said climbing fascinates me and this coming fall, when I head to college, I will dip more than my toe into climbing. I want to start building a base of knowledge about climbing, so I've been doing research and now I want to talk to people about it.

That is where Chris comes into the picture, I don't really know where I found out about him, but he is the real deal. Chris is a big wall climber, having climbed El Capitan over 70 times and Climbing Magazine estimates that he has spent 3% of his life on El Cap. Chris is also an endurance sport connoisseur, he also mountain bikes and used to BASE jump. To Chris it's about maximizing the time that he can spend outside, he has built a career around that idea. Chris has a wealth of knowledge on all things climbing, but when it comes down to it he does what he loves. That is a maxim that I think our society has forgotten. Listen in this week as Chris and I examine how he does what he loves, what goes into a big wall climb, his entrepreneurship, and a life lived fully. Gracias.

chrismcnamara.com

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