Podcast: Episode 9 with Rich Roll

By Mario Fraioli

“When I was 31, that was when I was in rehab. I had a career in the dark belly of alcoholism and at 31 I got sober in a treatment center in Oregon for 100 days, so I think if I had to characterize myself at 31, I was very confused. I was really unsure about who I was and what I wanted to do with myself. I was a pretty broken individual at that point of my life. And up to that point I thought I had been making good decisions but essentially my best thinking had me in this mental institution, for a lack of a better phrase. So I don’t think that I had very much clarity on myself or what made me function and what led me to that dark place. The last 20 years have been about trying to answer that question for myself and also trying to learn from tools that were first introduced me during that experience and build on them and compound them to progressively continue to grow, not just emotionally, but mentally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.”

Incredibly honored to welcome Rich Roll to the podcast. The 51-year-old is a husband, father, and champion ultra-endurance athlete, in addition to being a best-selling author, sought-after speaker, and host of a top-ranked podcast. But life hasn’t always been so grand. At 31 years old, Rich found himself committed to a treatment center in Oregon, battling an alcohol addiction that had consumed his life.


Remembering Sir Roger Bannister

By Mario Fraioli

I was saddened to wake up to the news of Sir Roger Bannister’s passing at the age of 88 two Sundays ago, and found myself at a bit of a loss while sipping my morning coffee and scrolling through the mini memorials in my Twitter feed. Eventually I decided to put on my running shoes and head over to the local high school track to honor his legacy with a hard mile of my own. It just seemed the appropriate thing to do. Bannister, the first human to run under 4 minutes for the distance, inspired a generation with his performance on May 6, 1954. He made the impossible possible and showed that barriers largely exist in our minds. (more…)

What I’m Listening To This Week:

By Mario Fraioli

Cal Fussman on The James Altucher Show

I don’t know how many times I’ve mentioned Fussman in this newsletter but this certainly isn’t the first and it likely won’t be the last. Fussman, a longtime columnist for Esquire who has interviewed hundreds of world leaders, famous athletes, and award-winning musicians—you name it—is reinventing himself at 61 years of age. I’ve mentioned his relatively new podcast a few times now, but on this occasion he’s the guest and provides a good glimpse into his path as a writer and interviewer, while also explaining why learning how to ask good questions can set you apart, regardless of your field.

“Now just about any question you have, you can put it into Google, or Quora, and you’re going to get an answer,” Fussman says. “If you’re looking at the laws of supply and demand, the supply of answers is filled. We got answers up the gazoo, but how many great questions do we have? How many people who ask great questions are left?”

Alex Honnold on The Rich Roll Podcast

Honnold is a badass climber, Roll is an incredible interviewer, and this is just an amazing conversation about risk taking, death, preparation, curiosity, adventure, and a whole lot more. “For me, the hard part was constantly thinking you’re going to die,” Honnold said of a recent expedition to Antarctica.

“While I was there, each day was pretty stressful because you’re making so many little decisions that you think is the right decision, and it’s probably the right call,” Honnold explains. “But there were a lot of times where if Cedar and I just wound up dead at the base of the wall, people would have said ‘well, that’s what happens when you’re repelling big mountains like that that nobody’s ever been on.’ Stuff happens.”

Tristan Harris on The Ezra Klein Show

Important conversation about technology, social media, and why it’s bringing out the worst in us, as well as a discussion on how to take back control of your time.

“This is the thing that needs to change. This is why I was working on this for so long,” explains Harris, a former Googler who who recently co-founded the Center for Humane Technology. “We actually have to change the thing that we are exporting to the world, which is distraction, outrage, slot machine-style rewards, constant stimulation, social validation, making it harder for people to tell what’s true.”

Thievery Corporation and Willie Watson

Total opposite ends of the musical spectrum, but I’ve been bouncing back and forth of late between Thievery Corporation, an electronic/reggae/hip hop/Brazilian mashup of sounds I’ve enjoyed live four or five times, and folksinger Willie Watson, whose rendition of Gallows Pole is quite good. Check ’em both out if your tastes are as eclectic as my own.

Podcast: Episode 8 with Lou Serafini

By Mario Fraioli
Photo: Justin Britton

“Running is all relative, you know? Everyone has their own goals and is trying to accomplish their own thing, whether it’s to break 4 in the mile, or to qualify for Boston, or just to simply finish their first marathon. Those runners gave me more support than I’ve ever gotten in my life. Having 30 people show up to a random hill workout on a Wednesday night and ask me about my training and what I’m training for and what I’m doing, and having that many random people interested, definitely got me motivated to train hard. And then hearing about their successes, and having people come to me and say that they PR’d in the 5K by two minutes or something like that, or that they were training for their first marathon, really inspired me to kind of take it to the next level.”

Super excited to welcome Lou Serafini to the podcast. Two weekends ago, Serafini became the 514th American to break 4 minutes in the mile, running 3:59.33 at the Boston University Last Chance meet. The self-described blue-collar runner works full-time as the community manager at Boston-based Tracksmith and has established himself as one of the most recognizable figures on the local scene. The 26-year-old Serafini isn’t just known for his wheels, however; he has an infectious enthusiasm for the sport and has demonstrated an uncanny knack for connecting with runners of all levels.  (more…)

Podcast: Episode 7 with Shalane Flanagan

By Mario Fraioli

“It’s addicting to have a great performance. You always want another one. That’s why I considered stopping after New York because it was like, ‘How can I top this?’ And then only thing that can top this or be on the same level, is winning in Boston because of what the people and the city mean to me. There’s just as much fire but I definitely feel at peace, which is actually a good thing. I feel very calm and calculated with my approach and I feel very confident that I know how to get the most out of myself now.”

Absolutely thrilled to welcome four-time Olympian and reigning New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan to the podcast. She joined me last week from her altitude training base in Woodland Park, Colorado and we covered a wide range of subjects, from her preparation for April’s Boston Marathon, which has included training with Olympic triathlon gold medalist turned aspiring marathoner Gwen Jorgensen (“This woman is a beast,” Flanagan said of Jorgensen. “She is all-in and wants to be really great.”), to how coach Jerry Schumacher has modified recent marathon buildups for herself and teammate Amy Cragg, what’s different for her going into Boston this time around after winning last fall in New York, as well as why—and how—she convinced her coach to bring more women into the Bowerman Track Club training group a few years ago. (more…)

Gwen Jorgensen’s Got Some Wheels

By Mario Fraioli

Reigning Olympic triathlon gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen hadn’t raced since before giving birth to her son Stanley last August, and she hadn’t competed in a straight-up track contest since 2009, but in case there were any questions—yes, this woman can flat out run. Jorgensen went 15:15 for 5,000 meters—a 37-second personal best—at the Husky Classic in Seattle two weekends ago, telling Flotrack afterward, “I felt like I could run that but it’s also really exciting when you can run a fast time.” (more…)



Mario Fraioli
Mario Fraioli is a writer and running coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.