I don’t always recover, but when I do I recover well.



It’s marathon season and for a lot of us around Columbus that means Louisville in 5 sleeps!  I don’t taper but a little bit.  I drop my volume down maybe 15% and keep the intensity high.  Including today where I did 7 miles of alternating tempo between MP and HMP.  So the importance of recovery is paramount.  I’m diving back into a few nutritionbookfood books to freshen up on a few things and hope to post something related to nutrition/fueling every Monday.  Today’s post will discuss one of my favorite recipes of all time, the Recovery Grilled Cheese, taken out of The Feed Zone Cookbook written by Biju Thomas & Allen Kim of Skratch Labs.  Here is what they say about it in the book:

“This is your basic grilled cheese sandwich with a whole lot of love added.  Start with the basic recipe and then add whatever sounds interesting.  Because this sandwich has more fat and dairy than most, save it for mid to-late-season recovery meal when your body can use more calories.”

Here are some of the stats( 1 servings):

Energy – 686cal

Fat – 38g

Sodium – 1,033mg

Carbs – 58gbookpan

Fiber – 6g

Protein – 32g

Ingredients: 1tbs. softened cream cheese, 2 thick slices of bread, dash of ground nutmeg, 4 thin slices Swiss cheese, 2 ounces canned roasted red peppers, olive oil.

Optional ingredients: grilled asparagus, cooked bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, truffle oil, spinach.

This took Courtney literally 10 minutes to make which is what the book estimates as well.

Here is the cooking instructions:

1. Spread cream cheese onto 2 slices of bread (these are the sides that will be matched together).

2. Sprinkle ground nutmeg on top of the cream cheese, then top with slices of Swiss cheese and a few pieces of roasted rep pepper.bookpan

3. Put sandwich together, brush olive oil on the outsides, and grill in a hot sauté pan until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown on both sides.

4. Serve!

Try this in the next few weeks leading up to your spring marathon/half marathon, after Track Tuesday or after your own workout.

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Track Tuesday Workouts thru August 5th.


We will be meeting mostly at Northside’s Track every Tuesday night at 6pm.  For more up to date information (weather, change of venue/workout, etc.) like the Quaff On Racing Facebook Page and if anything changes it will be posted there or on my FB page.


Although we’ve been meeting most Tuesday’s now these workouts don’t begin until April 22nd as shown.  Don’t let that keep you from coming out sooner and if you are training for the Indy Mini or another race that takes place after April 22nd you can still come out later in the month of May.

These workouts are designed to get more specific and help you reach your peak through the month of July and August when a bulk of great 5k races are taking place both abroad and the CrossRoads of Indiana Racing Series.

If you aren’t training for a 5k or 10k, I would still consider this.  I plan to do most of these workouts through July before I transfer to more specific marathon training for a fall marathon.  Being in great 5k shape goes a long way to helping you prepare and run fast in a half/full marathon in the fall.

What to do in conjunction with these workouts.  For April/May once or twice a week I’d add hill sprints at the end of easy runs.  These will develop general strength which transfers to general speed.  Start out with 4-5 and progress up each week until 8-10 is reached.  The convert that strength to sprint speed.  So after you’ve had a few weeks at 8-10 hill sprints go to flat sprints on the track or grass after easy runs.  Start at :15s and get up to 100meters.  This will prepare you well from easy runs and endurance training to the track and a lot faster paces.


Each of these workouts are very structured so come with a current idea of what your 5k race pace is either by using a time from a 5k race in the previous weeks or a time trial, or we can guess.  From there either you or I could plug that time into McMillan Calculator to get paces from the marathon down to half mile.  Once you have these, look up what paces you have to run on each Tuesday in advance and write them down, bring those with you so you know what pace to run.  Most paces are from 1 mile race pace to 5k.

For example, if you just ran a 5k in 25:00, plug that into the calculator.  You will see that is 8:03 a mile pace.  That is your 5k pace.  Scroll down you will see “Show All”, click on that to get more target paces.  From there you will see 800m, mile, 2mile times that you could run based off your 5k race.  Depending on the workout, you will need these paces.  If you race and run another 5k faster, you can recalculate your paces.

Workouts each week:

April 22 – Continuous Run alternating 800s@10k pace& steady effort for 3- miles.

So this workout will flow like this.  Warm-up at 5:50-5:55pm with mile on track.  Stretch, etc. Run 4-5 miles on track alternating every 2 laps between your 10k pace and steady pace.  Steady pace to me is just below threshold pace or basically a little quicker than half marathon pace.  Depending on how you feel and your weekly mileage, you will do between 3-5 miles worth.  Cooldown, Quaff.

April 29 – 1-3 sets of (4x400m) with :30s rest & 3-4 minutes between sets; 400s at 5k pace.

Flow of workout – So based on the example above your 5k pace is 8:03/m so each 400(1lap) is basically 2:00.  That is your pace within :05 either way.  These workouts aren’t meant to be run all out.  So you will run a 2:00 400, standing rest for :30, repeat for 4 reps then rest for 3-4 minutes depending on how you feel.  That is 1 set.  You will do between 1-3, maybe 4.

May 6 – 1-2 sets of (2k, 400, 1200, 400, 1k, 400) w/ 2:00 rest after long intervals & 4:00 after 400s. LI’s @ 10k pace & 400s at mile pace.

May 13 – Fartlek on track. 1-2 sets (6:00,3,5,2,4,1) w/2:00 easy jog between. + 1:00 in middle of each interval at 5k pace.

May 20– 2-4sets of (400, 200m jog, 200) @5k cutdown to 2 mile pace w/ 200m jog between sets.

May 27 – 3-5sets alternating 400m@5k 800 steady effort.

June 3 – 5×400, 5mins rest, 4×400, 5mins rest, 3×400 all @5k pace w/:40s between reps.

June 10 – 2-3 sets of (600, 400, 600) w/40s rest all @ 5k pace. 3-4mins between sets.

June 17 – 2-3 sets of (500m@5k, 300m@2m, 200m@1m) w/1min between reps, 4mins between sets.

June 24 – 3-5 sets of (300m@2m/200m@1m) w/ 200m jog between reps.

July 1 – 1m@5k, 400@1m, 1200m@5k, 300m@1m, 600(300@5k,300sprint) 2:00 between intervals.

July 8 – 9-12x300m(alternating 2m and 1m pace) w/100m jog rest

July 15 – 2-3 sets of (800,800,400 all@5kpace) w :45s rest, 3-4mins between sets.

July 22 – 2-3 sets of (800,1k,400@5kpace) w/1:30-1:45 rest, 4:00 between sets.

July 29 – Continuous Run alternating 800@5k, 400@steady) 4-5 sets

August 5– 800m@5k, 300m jog, 2×400, 2×200@5k cutdown to 1m pace w/200jog

All levels of fitness and experience are welcomed.  The more the marrier.  These workouts will make you better no doubt.  They are tough but not exhausting.  And they are so much more fun and beneficial if run with a group even if run by yourself.  Invite your friends, we are there to help find a pace and, if enough people come, group for all to run with.  It’s a great atmosphere and opportunity to learn about running and how to improve your 5k time and fitness as well as socialize.

Direct questions to my FB page, Crossroads of Indiana FB page, or Quaff On Racing’s FB page.

Happy Miles!

Danny Fisher


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Assessment & Development of the Athlete Within.

Every coach out there has some type of performance plan for YOUR “engine”.  You can find out what your fitness level is by using recent race splits or time trials.  Thus, providing reference points on your cardio system adaptations and fitness.  Based on this info you can set long and short term goals to keep you focused and on track.  So on and so forth.  While this is a great way to determine the type of physiological stress you need to improve in training, it ignores the biomechanical factors that affect you as a runner.

Stats show that 82% of runners will get injured at some point in their life.  Don’t we wish we could find out the specifics of our running “chassis”(bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons) adaptations to ensure we can successfully apply our horsepower (those physio adaptations mentioned earlier) and reduce our injury risk?

“Train for what you don’t know.”

We can’t forecast every challenge facing each one of us but we can know MORE by looking for answers.  By looking at each individual’s limitations and strengths in both mobility and stability to answer questions of compensations in your running form and how it negatively affects tissue load.

So if you fix the factors driving your problem, but not only help your current problem, you also decrease the risk of getting another injury related to the same cause, but haven’t felt the affects of yet.  Imbalances that take our body away from its norm cause problems, and these problems are usually present well before you have pain.  Don’t wait until you get hurt.  Get rid of the weak links, build a better athlete, and bring better ingredients to the table.

If you really are seeking to improve your performance and send running injuries the other direction, your body needs to be able to run as a mobile, strong and stable spring (think slingshot).  To do this we need certain physical attributes that aren’t negotiable.

1. Enough mobility to get the leg behind you in stance, good hip extension.

2. Stability of the core, hips, and foot to maintain posture and optimize transfer of energy.  Think firing a cannon from a canoe.

3. Strength and power from the glute to drive the body up and forward.

I have a few time slots open at TLAC beginning in the next week or two for the next few months, mostly lunchtime, or early evening on certain days, where we can meet 1 on 1 and we can run through a specific battery of tests and assessments that define limitations in mobility and tissue length and uncover neuromuscular coordination deficits, muscle dominance patterns, and strength limitations.  Based on your results you will be sent home with a specific set of exercises to do for the following 8 weeks and beyond.  This assessment and list of exercises will take less than an hour of your time and cost you $50.  No more than an early bird entry fee for your next half marathon.  If you are interested and want more information or to set up a time, shoot me an email ONLY at danielleefisher@gmail.com.

Remember, get in and correct problems before they become bigger problems.  Hope to be working with a lot of you soon!

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Pre-Race Routine

If you’re like me you’ve spent days, weeks, and months training hard to funnel all your training into one small block of time or, maybe just one race.  It’s a lot of trial and error in what to do the days leading up to a big race weekend.  The final two days are very important.  They won’t make you but they can break you.  The final meals, workouts, equipment checks, mental preparations and logistics you do in this window have a major impact on how race days pans out.  Here is my countdown checklist of things to do in the final two days to ensure I get the most out of the hard training I’ve done the past 6 months.

48:00 – Complete my run with 6-8x100meter strides

Your two days out so your run should be relatively easy not to carry lingering fatigue over to race morning.  However, it should include a dash of speed to keep the nervous system sharp for competition.  There are numerous ways to do this.  My example works for me.  Some of my runners like to do 1:00 on 1:00 off through their run to sprinkle in some speed.  The strides shouldn’t be taxing, just enough to increase heart and breathing rate a bit.  Most likely it’s the same speed you’d use to cross a crosswalk when oncoming traffic is getting the green light.

47:00 – Begin carb-loading

According to what I’ve researched the overwhelming conclusion is that one day of very high carbohydrate intake is sufficient enough to maximize muscle glycogen stores.  It takes some time and work to consume the amount of carbs to maximize glycogen stores.  Most would say its 4.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight.  Therefore, I like to spread it out over two days and the best time to start is in the short window right after your workout when your muscles are most receptive to glucose.  To get in 4.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight be sure to consume high-carb foods and beverages at every meal.  Some of my go-to’s are oatmeal and O.J., Slim-Fast, Ensure, and any type of pasta.

47:00-39:00 – Relax, recovery, stay off your feet

I actually plan this out.  Nap, catch up on some reading, and go over your race-day itinerary.  Avoid any unnecessary time on your feet today.  For a lot of people this day will be spent in the car or plane traveling.  Save the sight-seeing for afterwards.  This is a business trip until the finish line then you can let your hair down.  Hot or cold event doesn’t matter, stay hydrated.  Doesn’t mean you have to chug water bottle after water bottle.  Just have it wherever you go and sip on it all day.

31:00 – Get a good night’s sleep

Growing up, in high school, I used to take Nyquil to put me to sleep the night before a race because I was so hyped up.  I had it all backwards!  Two nights out is the most important night of rest.  Getting adequate sleep is critical to endurance performance all the time but even more important the final few days leading up to a big race.  My rule of thumb – a week out from the race try to get into bed 10 minutes earlier than I did the night before.  Six days later you’re in bed an hour earlier.  Giving you an extra hour of rest.  Don’t worry about getting eight hours of shuteye the night before.  Being nervous is okay.  You’re fit and ready to roll, if you aren’t nervous something is wrong with you.

22:00 – Day before easy workout

This goes without saying that this is a short and easy workout.  Sometimes I’ll still do a few strides just to wake up the nervous system and body.  Especially if I traveled that morning or didn’t get in until late the night before.  This workout usually relieves mental and physical tension.

21:00-10:00 – Don’t forget to continue carbo-loading

Maintain your high carb diet throughout the day.  Always choose foods you’ve had before.  Now is not the time to try a new type of pasta or sauce just because you are in Dallas and heard about the great reviews.  It could come back to haunt you!  What works for me is a late lunch for my last big plate of pasta and then a nice walk around town or through the expo and the something light that night for supper.  I’ve always thought pasta for supper left me feeling heavy the next morning.  Just remember, don’t experiment!

20:00 – Go through your checklist and get your race day bag together

Ever show up at a race and forget your shoes?  I have!  Most racers have.  This is why I usually plan my race day bag at home and don’t touch it again until race morning.  I do go through it when I check into my hotel room, usually midday the day before, to double check things and put my race number on my jersey.  If I did forget something, going through it midday allows me enough time to go back to expo or local running store to buy whatever it was that I forgot.  I still use a race day checklist when I put my race day bag together.

Don’t wait until race morning to check it.  Race morning logistics can be a pain, especially if you aren’t prepared.  I worry about enough as is.  By making a solid race morning plan that includes wakeup call and routine, breakfast, a car/walking route to start line and who’s taking my gear, I minimize the hassle and anxiety that comes with race mornings.

9:00 – Visualize your race

I think this is huge and it shouldn’t start the night before.  If it’s my “A” of “A” races I’ve been thinking about how the race unfolds for months now, every day, every run.  Mental visualization is a powerful tool of psychological preparation for a race.  If you get anxious thinking about the race I recommend doing this in the afternoon.  I like to do it after tucking away into bed.  It’s quite, I can close my eyes.  Visualize how you want the race to go, feeling springy, sharp, fast, and the effortlessness you’ve experienced in some of your workouts.  Block negative thoughts.  Think about getting out fast and comfortable, challenging sections of the course, running tangents, when you begin to push for the finish, passing people, the list goes on.  Don’t complete your mental rehearsal race free of fatigue, that’s dreaming not visualization.  Rather see yourself fighting through the fatigue and discomfort and reaching a new level.

3:00 – Wake up early

Sometimes my schedule only allows me to get up early and run at 4am and I feel awful every time.  Because of the relationship between your circadian rhythm and exercise it is nearly impossible to reach a state of optimal performance within a couple hours of waking up.  So allow time for your body to get up to speed.  I typically wake up, shower and sit on the end of my bed tapping my foot, watching TV, wondering why I got up so early anyways. Which leads me into my next topic.

2:45-2:30 – Eat your pre-race meal

Your pre-race nutrition is more important than sleep at this point, so your high-carb pre-race breakfast is another reason to wake up early, allowing you time to consume and digest it before the gun goes off.  Just to be sure and top off the glycogen stores try to down 75-100 grams of carbohydrates between 2:30 and 3:00 out or half of that within two hours of race start.

2:15 – Got all your gear, still?

Things happen.  Before you leave the home or hotel, go through your gear checklist again.  You might have most of it on at this point.  Don’t forget your jersey or your bib number.  Do you have trainers and racing flats, gels, water bottle, and your watch?  Might as well pee one last time before leaving your personal bathroom.  The Port-a-Potty line is notorious for being long at the starting line.

0:30 – Warm up thoroughly

Depending on what you’re racing distance is will determine how long you warm-up.  Obviously a 5k warm-up should be different than a marathon warm-up.  My rule of thumb is the shorter the race, the longer the warm-up.  Be sure to start with some easy jogging, go through your dynamic stretches and then, if you have them, put on your racing shoes and get a few short runs in at race pace.

0:00 – Toe the Line

Feel relaxed and ready.  Go after it!

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Running Thoughts this Week

Since it’s been so cold throughout Indiana this week I’ve had plenty of time to follow-up on some of my thoughts and contact people with more educated opinions than mine regarding a few topics – running form, ice bathing, and compression gear.

These conclusions will be brief and to the point because I’m typing these as I’m supposed to be watching my 1-year-old daughter who is curious and likes to get into anything she can within a house that is not “baby proofed” yet.

Running Form

There is no PERFECT running form.  Everybody runs differently, made up of different parts.  That are different lengths and have different amounts of mobility and tension within them.  So studying Galen Rupp’s or Chrissie Wellington’s running technique and trying to duplicate that will lead you nowhere, maybe even injured.  Research indicates that if you try to run with more “textbook” form will lead to a higher energy cost, meaning you’re using more energy to run at the same pace.  “No reputable source claims that, at any one instant, significantly altering your form from what your body is used to will make you faster.”

However, as a kid we learn to run and assume that’s the correct way for us.  That doesn’t mean we should conclude that the form our body naturally gravitates towards is what will make us the fastest.  It’s not terrible for us, but there is a difference between doing something reasonably well and maximizing performance.

Sometimes our “natural” for works against us.   Seasoned runners actually suffer from the body’s ability to become efficient.  After years of endurance training, your body becomes so efficient at running that you begin to recruit fewer muscle fibers to propel you forward.  Once you begin to use fewer muscle fibers you start to get a bit weaker.  This puts more stress on the muscle fibers you are still using, ultimately leading to muscle imbalance injuries like Achilles and calf strains, hamstring knots, etc.

Follow the people who are where you want to go!  We have a sport where people don’t always listen to what the top people are doing.  They’re far more interested in what seems to be the easier route rather than what the NOP or McMillan Running Group is doing.  All top runners work to improve their form but they don’t do CrossFit or P90X.  It’s not needed.  They do enough to keep them injury free, strong and balanced.  They run to get more fit, specifically.

Nobody can just look at you and say whether or not your running economy is good or bad.  Have you ever seen the women’s marathon world record holder Paula Radcliff run?  Dear Lord!  But it works for her.

I digress.  There are some basic elements to better form that we all can take away.

1.  Somebody comes to me and asked, “I think I need a gait analysis because I feel I’m over-striding.”  Fair enough.  The first thing I tell them to focus on during their next run is counting steps per minute without telling them they should be as close to 180 as possible.  Most recreational runners are closer to 150-160 than 180 and that is most likely caused due to over-striding.  Runners have always heard, “lengthen your stride,” but that is the opposite of what you should be doing.  Focus on a “light feet” and turnover.  Shoot for 180 steps a minute and having your foot land under your center of gravity, your hips.  That’s a great starting point.

2.  Minimal lateral rotation and movement.  So getting them in the gym and doing side planks, hip presses, squats, etc.  One overlooked part of running is balance training.  The shorter amount of time your foot spends on the ground figuring out which way to direct its energy the faster, more powerful and direct it will toe off, propelling you forward.

Those are the first two I go to.  A few more in short:

1. Leaning forward from waist.

2. Not being relaxed.  Run tall with confidence, jaw, shoulders, hands relaxed.

Ice Bathing

I do believe icing is good immediately post workout, say within 15 minutes of finishing.  If you’re like me your bones just ache after a long run sometimes.  The only remedy I’ve found is icing in a tub and reading Danielle Steele books.  Running is an impact sport so it causes focused stress and swelling to the same joints and it’s components repeatedly.  As soon as you finish a workout your priority should be on recovery which means fresh blood with fresh nutrients to the swollen areas.  If this swelling blocks or significantly reduces its own blood sources then optimal recovery does not take place.  ” Ice baths should constrict vessels and prevent pooling of fluids, as well as flush out accumulated metabolites and change the muscle PH making it less acidic (enhance lactate clearing).”  Long story short, get recovered and your body back to homeostasis.  After that immediate window however ice can have a negative impact.  The body’s natural warning sign to injury is swelling and swelling of a joint is the first thing your body does to repair itself.  Why stop that?  If ice reduces blood flow by constricting blood vessels then you are not allowing your body to heal itself.  Inflammation is a good thing!

Compression Gear

I feel compression gear, again, is a marketing ploy.  One of the goals of compression gear is to warm/keep warm the muscles and joints during activity.  However, research says one of the ways to keep a joint or muscle warm is through “localized circulation” – circulation within the joint or muscle.  However, compression gear decreases the ability to do this because it is also designed to restrict blood flow.  There are studies that show even the slightest of blood flow restriction to working muscles significantly impairs fatigue resistant muscles and the time it takes to get to exhaustion.  Second, if you wear compression or “recovery” gear after workouts keep it to a minimal.  If the compression gear, socks, “boots” are made to flush out the waste product most likely it isn’t designed to allow blood flow in therefore not allowing fresh blood in with nutrients to begin the repairing process.  I’ve spent many hours in recovery socks, shorts, etc.  without a noticeable change.  Still felt terrible the next day.  Plus I participated as a lab rat at IU in a study that concluded that performance was not improved by wearing compression socks.  In fact, is decreased performance.  As stated above.

What are your thoughts?  Leave them in the comments box below.

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Creating a Mindset

Having the right mindset is just as important, if not more important, then having the right skill set.  With my clients, whether it be at the gym, on the bike, in the pool or on the roads, the first step in creating the mindset I think is needed is goal setting.  I do this by asking them what their goal is for their particular situation.  For instance, I currently coach a runner who is somewhat new to running and wants to run the Indy Mini on May 4th.  I ask for some performance goals.  She says she had “written down” that she wanted to run in the ten minutes a mile pace for the half.  I thought that was great!  But I went on to tell her that although writing down goals is good for accountability and reinforcing them but people accomplish tasks everyday without writing anything down.  Just because you write them down doesn’t mean they will happen.

I explained you must have intention behind your goals.  People wake up and come to the gym, pool, track at 4am because they have goals with intention behind them.  Intention
is powerful because it addresses the question of why? Stan Beecham, a sports physiologist said, “You can have intention without a clearly defined goal and accomplish great things,
but if you have a goal without intention behind it, you’ll most likely fall short of your dreams.”

I asked her to give me a performance goal, with intent behind it, about the pace she wanted to run at the Indy Mini that she was 100% sure she could do?

She said, “I’d say 12:15”  Meaning her pace per mile.

I went on to say, “Fair enough.  What pace for the half would you be 90% certain you could accomplish?

She responded with, “11:15 – 11:30?”  Not knowing where I was trying to go.

Then I said, “How about a goal you are only 60% positive you could reach, leaving a 40% chance of failure?”

She said, “10:45”

I finished with, “Perfect.  That is what we will shoot for!”

This is a goal that will get her undivided attention.  When you set goals go big or go home!  Approach the edge and stay there.  As Dr. Beecham says, “Setting a goal with no chance of failure is a waste of time.  It’s nothing more than a pep rally.”

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Progressive Performance Training Plans

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Monk Character

That is the chapter’s name.  The book is Elite Minds written by Dr. Stan Beecham – Sports Psychologist and Leadership Consultant.

He explains in the 2nd chapter that the greatest endurance athletes in the world aren’t even athletes but Buddhist monks living on Mount Hiei in Japan.

They complete 1,000 marathons over the course of 7 years.  The monk’s marathons are completed in 100-day cycles.  In each of the first 3 years, the monks spend 100 consecutive days on the 40k marathon course.  During years 4 and 5, they complete two 100-day marathons.  At year 6, the distance increases to 60k (37 miles).  Year 7, the monks complete 100 consecutive days of 84k (52 miles) marathons.  Twice the distance of what we consider a marathon.  Finally also during the 7th year they complete 100 days of 40k (24.8 miles) marathons.

The monks must follow many rules.  Among them, there is no stopping allowed.  No rest or refreshment, although there is one appointed stop where the monks are allowed to sit during a prayer.

Most monks sleep about 4-5 hours a night during the first few years.  However, during the longer marathons, the monks sleep is limited even more each night.  If for some reason the marathon takes longer than expected, the monks may get no sleep at all before beginning the next day’s marathon.

Once they begin the process, the monks commit to completing the first 100 days or they must take their own life (they view death differently than we do).  To ensure their commitment to complete the marathons, the months carry both a piece of rope (to hang themselves) and a suicide knife.  Along the course there are numerous spots signifying where previous monks have perished along the way to remind them of the severity of their commitment.

There is no complaining as complaining is viewed as a sign of a weak heart.

Adversity and the real possibility of death have a powerful way of introducing one to oneself.  “In great adversity and challenge, a person sees oneself the clearest.  You can fake it when things are going well, but that strategy will surely fail once hope is lost.”

I thought I was tough!

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