Podcast: Episode 26 with Mauricio Díaz

By Mario Fraioli |

“And then at that same point, I was running and I found out that running was just the best vehicle and the best way and medium to know a place—and eventually, also [to] get to know yourself.”

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Really enjoyed sitting down with Mauricio Díaz this week for a conversation that had nothing to do with training, racing, or current issues that exist within the sport. Instead, we talked about running as it relates to adventure and exploration while serving as a cultural common denominator around the world.

Díaz is the VP of marketing for Aire Libre, a company out of Mexico City he accidentally co-founded with a couple of his friends that creates immersive weeklong running experiences that are partly athletic, but mostly cultural, extremely educational, and undoubtedly transformative.

In this episode, we talked about the importance of culture and storytelling, and how those two elements are at the center of everything Aire Libre does, from the content they create to the experiences they cultivate. Díaz describes the group’s initial adventure—56 miles through the Sonoran Desert in northwestern Mexico—along with some of the other culturally focused and socially conscious follow-ups he’s led, such as running along the Arizona-Mexico border to explore the land of the Tohono O’odham nation, and many other stories that I think will pique your interest and may even get you to view running through a slightly different lens. (more…)

2020 Olympic Trials: Eugene’s Gain is Track & Field’s Loss

By Mario Fraioli |
Hayward Field, shown here in 2015, is currently a construction zone. Photo: Mario Fraioli

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials are heading (back) to Hayward Field. In a move that should surprise exactly no one, USA Track & Field awarded the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in track and field to the University of Nike, I mean Oregon, after taking it away from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California.

“No domestic event is more important to athletes and fans than the Olympic Trials,” said USA Track & Field chairman of the board Steve Miller, a former director of global sports marketing for The Swoosh and former adjunct professor at the University of Oregon Warsaw School of Sports Marketing. “The 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials is even more critical because it will lead off an unprecedented opportunity to elevate track & field in this country.” (more…)

Podcast: Episode 25 with YiOu Wang

By Mario Fraioli |

“I think that if you maintain good relationships with people, if you act in a way that is helpful to others, that is kind, that is giving, and you just hold yourself to a high standard, then opportunities will appear before you—and [when they do], just say yes.”

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Super excited to welcome YiOu Wang to the podcast this week! YiOu is the reigning U.S. 50K trail champion, two-time winner of the Lake Sonoma 50, and an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier with a personal best of 2:38:46, in addition to being an Under Armour and Camlebak-sponsored athlete. Full disclosure: I coach YiOu—we’ve been working together for the past 2-1/2 years—and this episode marks the first time I’ve interviewed one of my own athletes for the podcast.

We covered a lot of ground in this 90-minute conversation, including YiOu’s recent year-long trip around the world—she and her husband were working as teachers—where she visited (and ran in!) numerous countries, experienced many different cultures, and stuck to a training schedule despite being in a new place every few days. We also talked about immigrating to the U.S. as a young child, “almost failing P.E. because I couldn’t run the mile,” what inspired her to take up running in college, chopping nearly an hour off of her marathon personal best over the course of seven years, transitioning to (and training for) trail and ultra running, where her competitiveness comes from, and much, much more. (more…)

Blast From The Past: Bill Rodgers and The 1977 Boston Marathon

By Mario Fraioli |

If you like distance running, appreciate our sport’s history, and love the Boston Marathon as much as I do, here’s 20 minutes of awesomeness to brighten your day. Granted I was still a few years in the making when this was produced in 1977, the scene and people felt familiar to me and so much about it made me smile, especially Bill Squires’ accent and Bill Rodgers’ honest post-race interview. “There was no sense in me continuing any further,” Rodgers explains after dropping out of the race. “I’m sure I could have finished 200th, 300th, but that doesn’t inspire me. I want to run well or else—maybe some people will look on that poorly but that’s the way I am.” (more…)

Learn How To Move It, Move It

By Mario Fraioli |

What can you learn from watching the world’s best distance runners, sprinters, jumpers, and throwers compete? In short: a lot. Outside’s Alex Hutchinson took a close look at a biomechanics study at last summer’s world championships in London led by researchers from Leeds University. Here’s a link to the full report if you want to geek out over it. The main takeaway?

If you want to tweak your own biomechanics, the first step is to collect a bunch of baseline data to make sure you understand what’s normal for you. Then make changes slowly and cautiously, allowing plenty of time to see if it’s having the effect you’d hoped and watching for any undesired side effects.

Podcast: Episode 24 with Magdalena Boulet

By Mario Fraioli |
Photo: Chad Riley

“My first run ever, I remember just having the feeling of so much joy. I said, “Wow, how come I’ve never experienced this before in the pool? This is so cool.” And it was more about just the fact that I had this feeling of being competitive that never really clicked in swimming.” 

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And the rest, as they say, is history. It’s a huge honor to have Magdalena Boulet as my guest on the podcast this week. Magda is one of the most incredible athletes—and human beings—that I’ve ever had the fortune of getting to know. The 44-year-old Boulet, who grew up in Poland and moved to Germany before immigrating to the United States as a teenager, made the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in the marathon (and owns a personal best of 2:26:22 for the distance), has qualified for numerous national teams, and, over the last five years, has established herself as a top international ultramarathon runner, winning the prestigious Western States Endurance Run in 2015 and, most recently, the grueling Marathon des Sables, a six-day, 250-ish kilometer stage race through the Sahara Desert.

Boulet, who works at GU Energy Labs in Berkeley, California as the VP of Innovation, Research, and Development, has called the Bay Area home for over two decades. She’s married to former elite miler, Richie Boulet, and the couple has a young son, Owen.

We covered a lot of ground in the course of this hour-long conversation and I felt like we barely scratched the surface of Magda’s story, what she’s accomplished at various distances and disciplines throughout her competitive career, and how she’s able to juggle competing at an elite level with being a wife, mom, and executive, amognst other things, so we’ll just have to schedule a Round 2 for another time. (more…)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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