Experiencing Deep Play

By Mario Fraioli

Running is my chosen form of prayer, my moment of deep play.

When I lace up my running shoes and shove my ass out the door each day, it represents a choice that I’ve made. I’ve elected to move my body in a meaningful way. I could just as easily plop myself on the couch and eat all the ice cream in the freezer (and sometimes I do) but when I hit the ground running it cultivates a unique sense of freedom, accomplishment and enjoyment. Running is my most consistent ritual. It forces me to test myself on a regular basis. There’s always some element of risk involved. Running helps bring me closer to the earth and also keeps me grounded on an emotional level. It allows me some time to myself and on occasion unites me with other likeminded souls. Some days, running for hours on end can exhaust me to dangerous levels; on others, the same act will energize me like nothing else. But most of all, running forces me to live in the present moment, helps me make sense of my experience as a human being and allows me to better appreciate the world around me. (more…)

September Sponsor: Virgin Sport San Francisco

By Mario Fraioli

Thank you to Virgin Sport San Francisco for sponsoring Issues 95 and 96 of the morning shakeout. As a huge fan of the Virgin brand and a big believer in Mary Wittenberg and her team, I’m super stoked for the launch of this new two-day event, which takes place October 14-15. I’m intrigued by Virgin’s “festival of fitness” concept, which opens with the “hilla hard, hilla fun” Twin Peaks Mile on Saturday, is headlined by a hilly half marathon on Sunday, and includes all sorts of fitness activities, food, music, art and beer(!) as part of the celebration. I’m planning on running both races and would love for you to join me! You can sign up at this link and score 10 bucks off either event with the discount code AMSHAKEOUTLOVE.

Can ‘Proving It’ Hurt Your Training?

By Mario Fraioli

Can Strava, and other socially driven fitness apps for the matter, influence your training? Of course they can. But it’s up to you to decide what you see, how you’re influenced by it, how you react to it, and ultimately whether or not the social network is actually enhancing your experience as an athlete. Like any other social network, Strava is what you make of it—used properly, it can make training fun and motivating, but it can also send you flying off the rails if you’re not careful. Elite athlete are not exempt—in fact, it’s a conversation Tim Tollefson and I had in the weeks leading up to UTMB.


Eliud Kipchoge on Pressure

By Mario Fraioli

Photo: Michiel Jelijs

I’m looking forward to watching Eliud Kipchoge do battle against the rest of the best in the world on September 24 in Berlin. The reigning Olympic gold medalist will trade blows with the likes of Kenenisa Bekele and former marathon world-record holder Wilson Kipsang, amongst a handful of other sub-2:05 men. With so many top-ranked heavyweights in the fight, the current marathon world-record of 2:02:57 is in danger of being obliterated.

This short read on how Kipchoge handles the pressure of expectations was interesting, insightful and humanizing. (more…)

Racing ‘Round The Mountain at UTMB

By Mario Fraioli

Tim Tollefson’s stoke was off the charts as he came back into Chamonix. Photo: Kim Gaylord

There’s a sizable subset of this newsletter’s subscribership that’s interested in the sport of ultramarathoning while the rest could care less or just don’t understand the appeal of running for many, many hours over gnarly mountain terrain, all of which is totally fine. But this past weekend’s Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc festival of races was one of the most exciting endurance events of 2017 and is worth a second look, whether you followed it the first time around or not. (more…)



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