February 14 Six Minute Mile

Minute 1: Trail runner kills mountain lion in self defense

We knew that trail runners were tough. They live with black toenails, steep hills, and frigid stream crossings. But we didn’t know they were “kill a mountain lion with your bare hands” tough. That’s what happened last week when a man in his thirties was running on a popular trail outside Fort Collins, CO. A young mountain lion jumped him from behind and bit his face, neck and wrist. The runner was aware of mountain lion threats and according to the Colorado Wildlife authorities, he did everything right in the encounter. He made noise, waved his arms to appear bigger and didn’t turn his back on the cat.

That didn’t scare away the 70-pound mountain lion, however, so the runner eventually strangled it to death despite his wounds. You can learn more details about the incredible self-rescue here and here. (We have written before about the growing number of mountain lion attacks in the back country.) Understandably, the runner asked for time to “decompress” after the incident, but will finally share the details of his story later today. The Colorado authorities will live stream his press conference.


Minute 2: If you ain’t first, you’re last

Jimmie Johnson was definitely the fastest guy in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon last weekend. He didn’t win the running race, but he was the only person in the field to drive 200 MPH later that day and win a NASCAR race on the fabled Daytona track. Johnson ran the half marathon in a very impressive 1:34 which put him first in his age group and made his sponsor, Gatorade, very happy. Someone clever at the running race gave Johnson bib #48 to match the number on his Chevy. His PR team put together videos, Instagram posts and a good account of his running race that you can check out here.  

Johnson, a 7-time overall NASCAR Cup winner, rested up after the half marathon and went on to win the stock car race later that day, weaving through a huge crash. (Some say the hard charging Johnson caused the crash.) Next up for Johnson’s running career – the Boston Marathon in April. The multi-tasking athlete will race his car in Richmond on Saturday and then run Boston two days later. He explains why he’s always wanted to run Boston.

Minute 3: Diet Coke increases stroke risk

Swigging 2 or more Diet Cokes per day can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease by 29% and her risk of a stroke by 31%. The bad news for Diet Coke lovers comes in a new study just released by the American Heart Association. The effects vary by race and by body mass index. Diet Coke has enjoyed a turnaround this year as they have courted millennials with new flavors and packaging. It remains one of the 4 Best-Selling Sodas of 2018 and is still more popular than fizzy water drinks, although water sales are growing faster. Diet soda also made the list of the 25 Worst Foods for Your Heart, according to a survey by Prevention magazine. These drinks made with unpronounceable chemicals can alter the balance of bacteria in your gut and usually just mean you’ll replace the sugar calories with something else.


Minute 4: What to eat when climbing 78,000 feet in 24 hours

The most accomplished mountain runner in the world just set a new record by hiking nearly 80,000 vertical feet on skis in a 24-hour period. Killian Jornet went non-stop to set the record which meant that he had to not only figure out pacing and gear, but also his diet. We were fascinated by his account of how he fueled the remarkable effort.  In addition to a steady drip of Spring energy gels, his 6,000 calories included cinnamon buns, pizza, chocolate, mashed potatoes and coffee. His Strava stats are here.


Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • We reported last week on the new record set by Susannah Gill while running 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. Now that she has recovered from her odyssey, she shared details about how she trained for and raced the event while working a challenging job in London.
  • An important part of any athlete’s career involves setting goals, whether it’s to hit an Olympic qualifying standard or to lose 10 pounds. (Check out these 5 Reasons Why  Goal Setting Works.) We were particularly inspired this week by this: What Exactly Is a Worthy Goal, Anyway? It suggests that even when someone sets a goal, they are typically too modest and are based on things you know you can already do. Instead, the author lays out a case to pursue C-Type goals that start as fantasy and end in reality.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

This video will have you reaching for the Kleenex and swearing to never text and drive again. Phil LaVallee was an accomplished teenaged distance runner whose early successes included a 4:00.64 1,500 meter PR. He was killed while out for a training run by a distracted driver, fooling around with her mobile phone. The 3-minute video provides an uplifting view of what might have been and includes touching interviews with his parents.

We’re glad to see you’re interested in our content. Check out the Six Minute Mile home page or subscribe.

Get faster, get stronger, get inspired.