Tag Archives: Attitude

Get the book!

Everything you want to know about running across the USA, twice! If you want to do something amazing like this yourself, or if you are just curious and want to know all about it, this book is for you!

Hi, I´m Milton Miller and in December of 2010 I started my first run across the USA, from Miami to Los Angeles. Then, on January 1st of 2014, I started a second run, this time from Los Angeles to Miami. In this book I write about all the surprising, often amazing stories about what happened during these two great journeys.

The book everyone is asking about!

I get asked about it a lot! Yes, I wrote a book about this run and the first, done in 2011. It is available now! Click here to open the FREE eBook

You can also save it in your computer. Share with your friends! It’s free!

What this book is about:

  • What makes a couch potato any previous running experience suddenly get up and decide to run across the USA?
  • How do I pay for these adventures. What are the possibilities for someone who wants to do something similar.
  • How a drinking club (with a running problem) became my main support group.
  • Mistakes, miscalculations, and many things that didn’t go as planned.
  • What gear I used and solutions I found for many problems without having to fulfill any contract with a sponsor. I can write about what really works and what doesn’t.
  • How I chose my routes and how I planned for each part of the adventure.
  • All about camping in the wild, gear, techniques, and experiences.
  • How I can find peace and tranquility along the journey. How to keep my mind occupied.
  • The overall compassion of people I never met before and how, while hearing my story and about my journey they opened their homes and businesses to me.
  • The battles that happen inside one’s mind during such a long struggle: the doubts, disappointments, and what gave me strength to persevere.
  • How these runs changed me, the way I think, how I treat people, and how people treat me. What I used to believe before, and what I believe now.
  • Interesting statistics about performance, weight loss, and much more!

But there is more!

The free online book is PG-13, and only the printed book has an extra chapter called “Sex, drugs and violence”, so it is R-rated! imageGet ready for some crazy stuff!

  • Transcontinental runners don’t have groupies and yet a lot can happen over thousands of miles. I will tell it all! Out of respect for the privacy of people I interacted with, I may have to change some names, times or locations.
  • Guns, guns everywhere! You will be amazed about the gun talk, the cultural significance, the dangerous situations and the times when violence became very real during my journeys.
  • An honest conversation about drugs. From alcohol to weed and prescriptions. The runners that run high and the runners that get high after running. The near pitfalls and the astounding great stories.
  • The funny and the scary tales about encounters with apparently insane people or with homeless, white supremacists, indians, fugitives and other kind of people that you don’t see so much “in society”.
  • And finally, you may understand why I call it “madness”.

Thank you!

Autograph

Areté

ancient-greek-olympicIn the recent hit movie and book “The Hunger Games,” young heroine Katniss is tossed out into a computer-enhanced, forest-like setting and left to defend herself against the elements, as well as other young people intent on killing her. In her attempts to survive, Katniss uses a bow and arrow both to defend herself, and to kill animals for food. She cleverly charms and forms alliances with those who might help her. She escapes computer-generated brushfires and man-eating beasts alike. I’d hazard a guess that the Greek poet Homer would have concluded that Katniss was woman of “areté,” which to him described a person of the highest effectiveness, using all of his or her faculties (strength, bravery, wit, and deceptiveness), to achieve real results.

The word areté refers to a concept defined somewhat differently by various sources throughout time. Many would say areté means, quite simply, excellence. According to dictionary.com, this word of Greek origin is “the aggregate of qualities, as valor and virtue, making up good character.” Aristotle used the term as a measure of how well something or someone fulfills its intended use. Yet he also admitted that the definition of areté is not something that can be easily agreed-upon. Finally, in his book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” author Robert Pirsig uses areté as a synonym for “Quality.”

Personally, I equate the concept of areté to reaching your highest potential as a human being. In his book Way of the Peaceful Warrior, author Dan Millmann wrote a quote that while simple, says it all. When Socrates is talking to Dan about how lousy he is in many aspects of his life while being great at gymnastics, Socrates says “Do you know what’s the difference between me and you? You practice gymnastics, I practice everything!”

It is my opinion that far too many people in this life don’t strive for areté, but rather settle for mediocrity. They live in a world where “just okay,” is good enough. If they have a job that pays the bills, and if their basic needs are met, they are happy. But why not strive for more?

We live in a world that still values the specialists and experts and considers them more valuable. However, those people are also marked by patterns of partial-completeness. I was a specialist and my life took a new focus: Find out those gaps and holes in my culture and now I am filling them up one at a time.

Consider the idea of today’s average man: He goes to work every day for a large corporation that sees him not as a person, but as a number. He comes home and flips on the television, and watches whatever news stories Channel 4 or 7 or 12 has deemed relevant. He goes back out and eats dinner at whatever restaurant the television commercials steered him towards. Perhaps he plays softball with his drinking buddies, or maybe he takes his son to a movie. The next days he gets up and does it all again.

Now contrast this with a description from H.D.F. Kitto’s book “The Greeks,” referenced by Robert Persig in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” in a chapter about men pursuing excellence:

“The hero of the Odyssey is a great fighter, a wily schemer, a ready speaker, a man of stout heart and broad wisdom…. He can both build and sail a boat, drive a furrow as straight as anyone, beat a young braggart at throwing the discus, challenge the Pheacian youth at boxing, wrestling or running; flay, skin, cut up and cook an ox, and be moved to tears by a song. He is in fact an excellent all-rounder; he has surpassing areté.

“Areté implies a respect for the wholeness or oneness of life, and a consequent dislike of specialization. It implies a contempt for efficiency… or rather a much higher idea of efficiency, an efficiency which exists not in one department of life but in life itself.”

Rise and shine!

http://youtu.be/YyYV0TBY3rU

Rise and Shine!

6 am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you that it’s too early, too dark and too cold to get out of bed.
Aching muscles lie still in rebellion pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move.
A legion of voices are shouting their unanimous permission for you to hit the snooze button.

Go back to dreamland!

But you didn’t ask their opinion.
The voice you’ve chosen to listen to is one of defiance!
The voice that said there was a reason that you set that alarm in the first place.

So sit up.

Put your feet on the floor and don’t look back because we’ve got work to do.

Welcome to the grind!

For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way.
10,000 streams span out like a River Delta before you
each one promising the path of least resistance.
The thing is you’re headed upstream and when you make that choice
when you decide to turn your back on what’s comfortable, what’s safe and what some would call common sense.

Well that’s Day 1.

From there is only gets tougher!
So just make sure this is something that you want.
Because the easy way out will always be there.
Ready to wash you away!

All you have to do is pick up your feet.

But you aren’t going to are you?

With each step comes the decision to take another.
You’re on your way now, but this is no time to dwell on how far you have come.
You’re in a fight against an opponent you can’t see, but oh you can feel him on your heels can’t ya.
Feel him breathing down your neck.
You know what that is?

That’s you.

Your fears, your doubts, your insecurities all lined up like a firing squad ready to shoot you out of the sky.

But don’t lose heart.

While they are not easily defeated, they are far from invincible.
Remember, this is the grind, the Battle Royale between you and your mind.
Your body and the devil on your shoulders who is telling you that

This is just a game.
This is just a waste of time.
Your opponents are stronger than you.

Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heartbeat!
Burn away your self doubt with the fire beneath you.
Remember what we are fighting for and never forget that momentum is a cruel mistress.

She can turn on a dime with the smallest mistake.
She is ever searching for the weak place in your armour.
That one tiny feeling that you forgot to prepare for.
So as long as the devil is hiding the details, the question remains.

Is that all you’ve got?
Are you sure?

When the answer is yes, you’ve done all you can to prepare yourself for battle, then it’s time to go forth and boldly face your enemy.

The enemy within!
Only now you must take that fight into the open.
Into hostile territory.

You are a lion in a field of lions, all hunting the same elusive prey with a desperate starvation that says victory is the only thing that can keep you alive.

So believe that voice that says you can run a little faster
and you can throw a little harder, and that for you the laws of physics are merely a suggestion.

Luck is the last dying wish of those who want to believe that winning can happen by accident.
Sweat on the other hand is for those who know it’s a choice.
So decide now because destiny waits for no man.

And when your time comes and a thousand different voices are trying to tell you
that you’re not ready for it,
listen instead to that lone voice of descent,
that one voice that says:

“you are ready”
“you are prepared”.

It’s all up to you now!

So Rise and shine!

Enjoy the silence

silence-2After reading about the story of John Francis and about monks that observe vows of silence, and seeing about that in the movie Eat Pray Love, I was intrigued and interested in the idea of not speaking. However I realized reading those same stories that it would impose a burden on those trying to communicate with me, and take patience and willingness required to understand signs and hints. It is not necessary.

Looking at a painting recently I was observing how the blank spaces, where you could actually see the blank canvas, devoid of any paint in it, helped form the resulting image. The same way, silence is not just space between ideas, silence itself is part of the communication and there is much that can be conveyed using silence.

I made a little experiment by talking less for a couple of days. Much less. While not talking all the time I could for the first time listen to the voice and internal conversations in my mind. Most of our adult lives we don’t really listen very well. We only listen long enough to determine weather the speaker’s ideas match our own. And when they do not, we stop listening and the mind would rush to construct an argument against what we believe the opposing opinion to be. The same when talking to myself! The mind races with thousands of ideas and little conversations and only when you notice you can silence those as well.

Listen fully

By not talking much I give myself permission to listen more, not to attack other’s ideas even when I don’t agree with them…. or perhaps especially when I don’t agree with them. By listening fully the speaker also feels free to speak fully their idea or position without fear of rebuttal in a way that I could not have imagined.

Not speaking much precludes any argument and makes me listen more. By talking less I make every word I say much more valuable and meaningful. There is also a direct correlation between how much I talk and how much I am willing to listen to.

It was quite disturbing to notice how much chatter kept going on in my head after everyone stopped talking. Being more silent on the outside allowed me to notice how noisy I am on the inside. Drowning down this chatter will probably take a long time and may become one of the most rewarding changes in my life.

Silence is a bullshit filter

My whole life I’ve made a concerted effort to give people a fair shake and understand different points of view because I felt that everyone had something valuable to offer, but it turns out most of what they had to offer was complete bullshit. I was recently struck by the grim realization that I squandered a significant portion of my life listening to everyone’s bullshit. Until this point I regarded my willingness to hear out the opinions of others as a worthwhile quality, and the result is that I probably wasted a few years of my existence being open to people’s half-formed thoughts, asinine suggestions, and pointless, dumbfuck stories.

By not talking garbage I allow myself to not listen to garbage as well.

So from now on, if I keep behaving like I have been doing during the last week or so, you won’t catch me pissing away my finite time on earth listening to grossly uninformed political opinions, nonsense about celebrity couples, how good or bad certain cars are, and why a particular sports team might have a chance this year. You won’t retain my attention by talking about the weather, or how bad allergy season is going to be. I will not longer be talking about the current news that I believe are pointless anyway, or reviews of products I have no intention to have.

More rich patterns of communication

If you just try to answer each question of comment without using words, and then use words when necessary, that change alone is enough to impact radically the way you communicate. It will be a much richer way to talk (or not talk) to everyone. You learn to use your eyes a lot more, you smile a lot more as well, gestures become more varied and sophisticated, and sometimes even simple silence itself becomes a powerful answer.

You know you are an ultra-runner when…

ultrarunner

  • …you know exactly where one mile is from your front door… in every direction.
  • …you separate your laundry in whites, colors, and tech.
  • …you see another person running and get jealous.
  • …when you see a sign on the highway telling how many miles an exit is and you think “I could run that”
  • …a marathon is a training run.
  • …26.2 sounds like an aid station.
  • …instead of memorizing what street you need to turn right on, you need to remember what city the street is in.
  • …half of the dishes you take out of your dishwasher are water bottles.
  • …when you substitute (in conversation) hours ran, instead of miles ran…..
  • …when you Change your Garmin to a Suunto because the Garmin only lasts 8 hours.
  • …when duct tape becomes an option!
  • …you spend three hours listening to a podcast about ultra running…entirely while running…and it wasn’t even your long run.
  • …when you have to repeat the distance of your next race to everyone !
  • …your long run involves a train ride to get home.
  • …peeing in a toilet seems … unnatural.
  • …when a dark moment lasts 20k or more and you’re fine with it.
  • …you have more shoes than your girlfriend.
  • …when you decide running dusk till dawn is a great idea.
  • …when you apply super glue to your blisters so you can keep running.
  • …you utter the words “only a 50″!
  • …3-4 hour runs are recovery runs.
  • …when you DNF at 83miles.
  • …when you have to go to work for a rest.
  • …when the gear for your training runs have to include toilet paper.
  • …when you reply to the question “Are you insane?” with an unhesitating but casual “yes”.
  • …you finish on a different day to the winner.
  • …during the week you run to work. Work. Then run home from work… and the mileage is equal to or greater than a full marathon.
  • …when you go for a run with an injury that would send a “normal” runner screaming for a doctor. You assume it will loosen up in 5 to 10 miles.
  • …when a head lamp and extra batteries are part of you race gear, but the race starts at 8 am……
  • …when you start your race shaved and when you finish you need to shave.
  • …when you always prefix the word “marathon” with “only a”. As in:
    “I was starting to get tired but there was only a marathon to go.”
    “My preparation for the race didn’t go too well, in fact my longest training run was only a marathon.”
    “I would have entered the race but it didn’t seem worth the hassle as it was only a marathon.”
  • …when the morning papers have the results of a race that you are still running in!