This week’s conversation is with Katie Arnold, a longtime journalist and an elite ultra runner.

Katie was the 2018 Leadville Trail 100 Run champion.

For those of you unfamiliar with Leadville, it’s an Ultramarathon held annually on rugged trails and dirt roads near Leadville, Colorado, through the heart of the Rocky Mountains.

The race course climbs and descends 15,600 feet, with elevations ranging from 9,200-12,620 feet – the elevation and terrain makes this an incredibly difficult course.

Katie is also a contributing Editor at Outside Magazine and has written for many well respected publications including: The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, ESPN: The Magazine, Elle, and many others.

She recently published a new book called: Running Home: A Memoir.

Running is the through line, but her book and this conversation are about more than running – we discuss the power of observation, expression, and mindfulness.

Running is just Katie’s way through those things, but anytime she references running, you could scratch that out and say your thing, and the message is the same.

I, for one, am not a big runner but this conversation hit home for me – it’s about understanding your path and where you’re headed next.

“Anxiety creates indecision and a lack of clarity, but coming back to my values always cuts through that uncertainty.”

In This Episode:

  • Father was a National Geographic photographer, taught her to pay attention to the moments that often times slip by
  • That insight from her father helped her realize the power of observation
  • How her parents divorce shaped her
  • Her relationship with nature
  • What she’s searching for … connection
  • What was key to winning the Leadville 100? (100-mile Ultra in Colorado)
  • Why she’s a big proponent of approaching things with a “beginner’s mind”
  • Her gratitude practice
  • What she loves about racing and why she embraces a competitive environment
  • How she gets in her way… self-doubt
  • What habits are important to her? Movement, being in nature, and consistently writing in her notebooks
  • Her meditation practice… sitting in silence
  • Her purpose in life: expression, to express the essence of something, the truth
  • Her guiding values: adventure, family/community, expression


Listen via: Apple Podcasts | Android | SpotifyStitcher | Pocket Casts |  RSS



“Ultra is such a great metaphor for life. There’s so many variables and factors you can’t predict in one race – terrain, elevation, weather, and technical trails. You really have to let go of any preconceived notion and be open to what will be.”

“When I move my body, I move my mind, and I move that imagination, and that is integral to how I write and how I do my work as a journalist and a writer.”

“It’s not about emptying your mind of thoughts. The thoughts are going to be there, but it just helps me to think: They’re coming and I see them, but let them pass like clouds. A cloud will come over, and then it just goes by. I don’t grip onto it.”

“I’ve always been running towards something, which is my true self and my expression as a human being. I think from an early age, I recognized that being outside in motion was a way to feel closer to who I am, beyond all the external variables and circumstances.”


Related Episodes:

  • Finding Mastery 178: Matthew Futterman, NY Times Deputy Sports Editor, on Using Running to Be a Better Human
  • Finding Mastery 171: Julie Foudy, U.S. National Soccer Hall of Famer, on Choosing to Matter
  • Finding Mastery 127: Des Linden, 2018 Boston Marathon Winner, on Persistence and Mental Fortitude




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Author at Running Home |

Katie Arnold is the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir, Running Home, a longtime journalist, and an elite ultra runner.