Kurtz’s Stronger Than Iron

Stronger Than Iron: Not Finishing Was Not An Option
Wayne Kurtz and Stefan Zetterstrom

There are endurance events, like a marathon, or even a half marathon. And then there are ultra endurance events, like 50 milers and hundred milers, and, I’d argue, ironmans. But then there is shit that is just so crazy that’s its hard to even fathom. These kind of events are often lumped into the category of “multi-day” or extreme ultra endurance. They include things like the 200 mile foot races, double ironmans, and things like what this book is about – a triple DECA ironman. Or three x ten times the distance of a standard ironman.

 

For those counting at home, that’s 72-miles swimming, 3,360-miles biking, and 786-miles running.

 

Yeah, a lot more than a half marathon.

 

This is a self published book about the exploits of the very unique brand of athelete who has the drive, time, and means to engage in this sort of craziness. It focused on a single event that occurred in Italy where a number of the top athletes in this world of ultra endurance ironmans tried to take it to the next level.

 

I’m not gonna lie, this isn’t very well written, in fact, its pretty bad. But if you need a dose of inspiration to get out the door for a 5k, it can be inspiring to read about these everyday people who do incredible things.

 

Recommended for the enthusiast.

Walker’s Why We Sleep

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams
Matthew Walker, Phd.

A truly terrifying book about the long term health consequences of cutting your sleep short. Especially if, like me, you’re the parent of young children, who drinks coffee and alcohol.

Its all around a grim scene, increased risk of all cause morbidity, increase likelihood of alzheimer’s, increased likelihood of obesity. There’s basically no good news. While the book covers a lot of ground (why we sleep, why we dream sleep in children and adolescents, etc.) it was the warnings about consuming caffeine and alcohol (short answer – don’t) and the tips for high quality sleep (shut off the damn phone) that really resonated with me.

Time to cut back on the wine and coffee and shut the light off earlier – I want to live for a long time to come.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

Matthew Walker, Author of Why We Sleep

Matthew Walker, Author of Why We Sleep

Bonne’s New Rules for Wine

New Rules for Wine: A Genuinely Helpful Guide to Everything You Need to Know
John Bonne

Widely thought of as one of the best books on wine in the last decade, this one does not disappoint. A clear, concise, and approachable guide to drinking wine today. Filled with insights and tips that will be helpful for first time wine buyers and those with a bit more experience.

We’re in a real golden age of wine right now, with more small producers that ever doing more and more unusual and interesting things. The days of the Robert Parker fruit bomb are over, and nothing tastes the same. If you’re interested in exploring what its like to drink wine today, Bonne’s wonderfully illustrated little guide is an invaluable resource.

Recommended.

John Bonne

Wrights Why Buddhism is True


Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment.

Robert Wright
This book is about much, much more than the truth of Buddhism. Yes, it convincingly makes the argument that the central tenet of Buddhism (i.e. there is no “you”) is true but it does so by marshalling the best that cognitive psychology and behavioral science has to offer. It’s as much a tour of how the mind works as it is a book about Buddhism.

Perhaps most interesting for this struggling meditator is Wrights deep look into how the brain betrays us when we try to focus, and why it does so. Perhaps it isn’t a surprise that thousands and thousands of years of subsistence farming in small communities hasn’t prepared us for the world of social media, mass interaction with strangers, and, perhaps most disturbingly, the type of “deep work” so often praised these days.

We are hard wired to be easily distracted by the shiny object. That’s how we survived. But we aren’t wired to routinely interact with strangers, that’s why we’re anxious. Addressing, and ameliorating the negative aspects of these facts of modern life is what Buddhism (or, perhaps even just secular mindfulness) can help us with.

Wright tells this story with the light confidence of someone who deeply knows the research, and he weaves in enough personal anecdotes to keep it from seeing dry. Its all in all an excellent book. In terms of my own mental health and well being, this is probably the best book I read this year. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Recommended.

Robert Wright

Milo and the Calf Hits 250,000: Top 25 Post and Pages

So this trusty old website just went over 250,000 hits. That’s nothing in the world of big internet, but for little old me and my eccentric tastes, it’s a lot. As has become my tradition, I figured I’d take a moment here to say thanks to everyone who has stopped by, and to note the twenty five most popular pages on this here thing.

  1. The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire: The Stories of Those Who’ve Qualified for the Boston Marathon

No surprise that the most popular part of this website remains on top. I’ve interviewed over 250 runners as part of this project and there’s no end in sight.*

Boston Qualifier Questionnaire Art

  1. About

A page explaining what the fuck is going on here remains popular with the confused and curious.

 

  1. Data Analysis of the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire

When the BQ(Q) project hit 200 entries I did some basic statistical analysis. This is really where you should start if you’re interested in qualifying for Boston.

 

  1. David Goggins Inspired Bodyweight Work Outs

A quick page collecting some body weight based works outs shared by the inspiring David Goggins. Helpful if you’re looking to spice up you pull up bar work.

 

  1. Fitness Habits of Disgraced Generals

Year after year people google the fitness habits of generals Generals McCrystal and Patreus.  This appears to be where they end up.

 

  1. S-Town’s John B. Mclemore: A Reading List

I was struck by the life of the man at the center of this ground breaking podcast and did a little post on his reading habits. Apparently other people were interested in this too.

 

  1. 2016: My Year In Books

This was the year I tried to read books that reflected the demographics of the U.S. I recapped all that here.

 

  1. The Runnable Bridges of New York City

I made a map of every bridge in New York City that you can run over. This was probably the most time intensive project I’ve done for Milo. Glad other people are using it.

 

  1. Milo of Croton

A research page of information on our main man, Milo of Croton. I suspect this page has featured in number of hastily written undergrad papers.

Milo and the Wolves

This one, by Maurice Falconet’s is probably my favorite of the lot.

  1. The Egoist on the Fixed Gear

Don’t be an asshole on your bike.

 

  1. 2015: My Year in Books

These year in books pages where I collect my short reviews of the books I’ve read are surprisingly popular.

 

  1. Divine Madness

A page collecting various resources on the so-called “running cult” Divine Madness. Of everything I have published, this page gets the most emails and responses from previous members and, astonishingly, people interested in joining.

 

  1. Running Heroes – The Six Women of the 1972 New York City Marathon

A short piece celebrating the women who disrupted the 72 NYCM and changed running forever.

 

  1. Weight and the Marathoner

A short piece discussing the controversial, but important topic, of the relationship between body weight and long distance running.

 

  1. 2014: My Year in books

Another year, another 52 books.

 

  1. Classical Sources for the Milo Stories

A page collecting the various myths and references to Milo of Croton in ancient sources

 

  1. Some Thoughts On the Early Days of Strength Training

Just what the title say, a brief recap of the very early history of modern strength training.

 

  1. The Hero Brought Low: Representatives of Milo in Art

Some thoughts on what our portrayals of Milo in art say about us.

 

  1. Phil Coppess – Hero of Working Stuff Runners 

An appreciation of the always inspiring Coppess who was a world class talent who also held down a factory job and raised two daughters on his own.

Phil Coppess

Coppess on his way to a 2:10 win

  1. Alex Honnold, Free Soloing and the Viewers Guilt

A page of my thoughts on what it means to be an Alex Honnold fan. This was written years before Free Solo came out, but touches on many of the same issues.

 

  1. How I read 52 Books a Year.

A how-to illustrated with pictures from the Wire, the greatest television show of all time.

 

  1. Reflection on Martin Ginsburg

A short appreciation page for my law school professor, the husband of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 

  1. The Barkley Marathons

A page with some thoughts and ideas on the Barkley Marathons, the worlds most insane foot race.

 

  1. Some Personal Reflections on Revs and New York in the 90s.

An appreciation of the great New York City Street Artists Cost and Revs.

 

  1. Steve Bannon: A Reading List

A page discussing the alleged influences on former Trump consigliere, Steve Bannon. Written back when Bannon was still an important figure (ah, 2017, we were so young)

 

Steve Bannon

Remember when this guy was important?

*A lot of individual BQ(Q) responses also would have made the top 25, but those can all be seen in this list of the Most View Responses to the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire.

Review: Knecht’s Who Is Vera Kelly

Who Is Vera Kelly
Rosalie Knecht

A clever spy novel that doubles as a coming out story, while also being an disection of gender and sexuality in 1950-60s American and is an subtle exposition of the catastrophic effects of U.S. involvement in Latin America. Many spy novelists are ostensibly liberals (LeCarre, Steinhauer come to mind) who use the genre to critique the lies and machinations of Western intelligence agencies. But few, if any spy novels address gender and sexuality, and none that I am aware have used the way the deceptions forced on some by the closets of 1950s America could turn into the skills to be a spy for the CIA.
If you’re a fan of the genre, (and I certainly am) its refreshing to see that you can keep the double crosses and international intrigue, while pushing thing in a new direction staring complex queer and female protagonists.
Recommended for the enthusiast.

Rosalie Knecht

Rosalie Knecht

Review: Holiday’s The Obstacle Is the Way

The Obstacle if the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Ryan Holiday

When I first heard of Ryan Holiday, and his mini-stoicism inspired empire, I figured he was probably an asshole. It was all a bit too Silicon Valley bro-y for me (and I’m someone with a deep interest in stoicism and ancient though in general). But then I heard some interview with him, and was struck by his thoughtfulness and poise, and I began to change my mind. He has something to say.

This book is, at heart, a self-help book. But you know what else is a self-help book? Aurelius’s meditations. This isn’t as poetic as the Mediations, or as brilliant, but it’s still a thoughtful short read on the benefits of viewing the world through the lens of stoic philosophy. Meaning, through a lens, not of avoiding pain, or of silencing our emotions, but of valuing perseverance, and of focusing on that which we can control.

I don’t know that I learned much that was new from this book, but I did appreciate the reminder, and take inspiration from Holidays clear examples and advice on how to live a life of perseverance and reflection.

Recommended for the enthusiast.

ryan20holiday_author20photo_credit20jared20polin

Ryan Holiday