Billy Yang, an everyday guy who's running ultras. He can connect deeply to most of us and has built a wealth of knowledge in his 38 years and around 8 years of trail running. I tried to absorb some of this knowledge on my first Touching the Trail Podcast interview which I recorded last Saturday. I did absorb this knowledge, but sadly the audio file was corrupted and I could not fix it. So I resorted to writing this interview, to the best of my memory, here. Please enjoy Billy's answers and his experience in our little sport of ultrarunning.
1.) What got you into it?
I started running roads and then went out with friends to the trails and fell in love with it, slowly working my way up to ultras. Because, there is a line between trailrunning and ultrarunning and I had to work up to ultrarunning.
2.) What are you thankful for from 2015?
I am thankful for the opportunities I have had this year. The travel and the people I have met. The friends who have pushed me and supported me and the friends I have been able to support.
3.) What is your drive?
My friends and the people I meet and to live an authentic life. The life that makes me happy and fulfilled, the life that I feel is true to me.
4.)When it gets tough what gets you through it?
It depends on the situation, but overall I have to go back to the people. My friends and this amazing community get me through it.
5.) What is the most important aspect of it? For example, if you had to stop forever what would you miss most?
Again I would miss the people most.
6.) What does an average week look like for you?
I work a lot. Like 70 to 90 hours a week on these running films and my other activities. In terms of running since I'm so busy my schedule is pretty crazy, but I make and effort to get out most days and enjoy the mountains and the peace.
7.) Nutrition on the run?
In terms of races and the like my main fuel is Tailwind and I'll take in solid fuel from the aid stations.
8.) Food and nutrition at home?
My diet is horrible, I'm sorry to say.
9.) What do you do for recovery? Any yoga?
I focus on active recovery, like a light walk on the sand or streets or a swim in the ocean, but no yoga.
I am not a gear geek. So I keep it pretty simple. Just a bottle and a pair of minimalist shoes, like Altras.
11.) I find that being present gives the most back, do you?
Yes, of course. Staying present and enjoying the flow of the trail, without headphones, without any distractions, you come up with some of your best ideas and you really connect. Even my form is based on being present, I just go with the flow and run how I feel naturally. Presence in our life when everything is rushing past is probably one of the most important things we can do for peace of mind and happiness today.
12.) Are you proud of what you've done?
Yes, but I don't like to put a label on what I've done. Just live authentically.
13.) You can convey such deep meaning and truth through your videos, where did that come from?
I simply wanted to document the amazing and inspirational people of our sport. To tell their stories and their adventures and accomplishments.
1.) A book you would like to read this year?
I'm really to busy to read, but I wish I could. I'm just not the most well read.
2.) Do you meditate?
Yes, I use the Headspace app and just try to stay in the moment. But, I need to make it more daily. That's something I would most definitely like to improve upon in 2016.
3.) Would you ever do Barkley?
No! I don't like to say never, but that race is a pretty sure no.
At the end Billy actually had a few questions for me. He was impressed with who I am and asked how I have my sh!t together and how I'd gotten to who I am. I simply answered that I was getting fed up with the stereotypical "high school" experience and the person I was becoming. I wanted to be better, to live authentically, and to push myself. By running, by meditating, by doing yoga, by being vegan, by blogging my thoughts, by having a podcast to talk to inspirational people like Billy I think I am living the life I want to. He also asked me what I hope to do professionally in 10 years and I said that I would want to be a hydrologist.
So I hope you enjoyed this interview with the amazing Billy Yang, sorry for no audio version, yet. I am hopefully going to record again with Billy soon. So just remember to be grateful and be better.