The Rundown: Daniel Sapoznick

Marathon runner and psychotherapist Daniel Sapoznick talks travel tips, mushroom hunting, and how he uses exercise to practice mindfulness
August 15, 2019

Welcome to the Rundown. Today we’re catching up with Your Pace Psychotherapy Founder and Chief Listening Officer Daniel Sapoznick. He’s an accomplished marathoner and ultrarunner as well as a licensed clinical social worker. In other words, he’s a man we can all learn from. Read on for Daniel’s hacks for better habits, travel tips, and more on how he incorporates running into his practice.

Daniel Sapoznick

How do you use running in your work?
I take talk therapy (psychotherapy) out of its traditional stuffy context, off the couch, and into local parks and waterfronts. Over the years, I’ve found this approach particularly useful for a variety of people: driven C-suite folks who appreciate the efficiency of doing two things at once, people going through early mid-life crises in their 20s and 30s, tech folks who feel stuck in career ruts, and people who are struggling with a variety of drug-related issues. These categories are more of a Venn diagram than a series of individuals with struggles confined to a single issue

Hack for better habits:
Connect your aspirational habits to your current ones. You’re an excellent crossword puzzle player? Whenever you open the app or sit down with paper and pen, make a point of having that pile of unfolded laundry right next to you. One word, one fold.

If you had $500, how would you blow it on Huckberry?
A Rylo camera would be a sweet addition to any serious outdoor adventuring.

Daniel running

How did you get into running?
According to my parents, when I was a little kid I enjoyed running around in the rain with just my birthday suit and shoes (rural California, circa 1985). I still enjoy a good mud run. Looking back on it now, my childhood running was all about connecting with bliss. Chasing a friend on the schoolyard, or attempting to get lost in the woods to practice orienting to place, direction, and time.

One meal to eat for the rest of your life:
Authentic Japanese ramen from most anywhere in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo.

Netflix recommendation:
Any—preferably all—of Dave Chapelle’s comedies. Chapelle is both hilarious and disturbingly insightful about many aspects of American society. I challenge you to watch one of his shows and not laugh at least half the time and walk away with new insights about other peoples’ experiences. 

Tell us a little bit about your relationship with running.
Running is at times a reflecting pool, sharing aspects of myself that I’ve struggled to stay connected to when I’m busy with work, parenting, and my personal life. Distance runs connect me with everyone else out pounding the pavement or trail. The realization that we are all, at times, moving through states of agony, ecstasy, and tranquility—and that the merit of our work is inadequately measured by time elapsed, or the distance covered.

Favorite Huckberry Purchase:
My Danner boots are unequivocally the best. One old pair (approaching 25 years now) I just had re-soled because everything else on them is fine, even though they are technically antiques now.

Travel Tip:
I’ve traveled from London to Beijing, via the Trans-Siberian rail, with one bag, one pair of shoes, and one fancy electric toothbrush. Choose a very few essential items, and don’t let them out of your sight. And if you’re carrying cash, carry it in clumps in at least three different places on your person. If you get in a tight spot, you’ll be ‘happy’ to hand over a third of your dough in return for your safety.

Favorite new discovery:
Mushroom hunting. Foraging for wild mushrooms is both dorky and so fun. The 2019 season in California is over, but if this coming Winter is good, 2020 will produce another bumper crop of delicious morsels, candy-caps, Black trumpets, and matsus.

Next Huckberry purchase:
Did I mention I’m a hot spring junkie? A bundle of the Onsen ultra-plush towels is sitting in my virtual cart.

How do you train for a marathon or an ultra run?
Slowly. I’m a builder, not a demolitionist. My definition of winning—which has never put me across the finish line first—amounts to pushing my inner gas pedal well enough that I’m in the moment and nowhere else—fully present, and fully committed to the run.

Favorite place you’ve traveled:
The southeastern corner of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Visiting some of the people who live in this beautiful and harsh desert environment refreshed understanding of what I need to live.

Daniel's dog, Rey

Piece of gear that’s changed (or saved) your life:
My Dog. Seriously, never underestimate the safety that your furry companion can bring you in dangerous circumstances. In the city, it’s knowing that the odds of someone approaching us with nefarious intent is next to nil. And in the countryside—I speak from firsthand experience—it’s knowing that bears really don’t want to deal with another critter with a serious mouthful of teeth.

Running Tip:
​​​​​​Take off your headphones, and listen to the music of a raw run. Whether you’re in a park, a forest, or an urban neighborhood, if you run with music, you’re asking your body to do a bunch of work while you distract your mind. Without music you’ll notice stuff like the overall soundscape of your environment: You’re breathing, what I call your Thoughtscape, and of course, your strides. This includes the telltale slapping sound of poor running form if you’re getting tired and your form is melting down. If the idea of this much self-reflective time is anxiety-provoking—and you live in the Bay Area—look me up.

>>Next: The Rundown: Harry Fricker


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