Ep19: From Rehab to Running Ultra Marathons | with Wes Plate

Wes Plate is no stranger to adversity. On the surface it may appear that he is incredibly successful having founded the software company Automatic Duck, as well as worked for companies such as Adobe and Pinnacle, not to mention years of editing commercials and main title sequences for network television shows. On top of all that Wes is currently a product designer for a little tiny tech startup you may have heard of called Apple.

Beyond Wes’ professional success is his personal achievements. If you scan through Wes’ Facebook or Instagram profiles you’ll see numerous pictures of him holding medals for marathons and ultra-marathons like they’re no big thing. But the story that you won’t see on Wes’ social media pages or on his website’s about page are the years of living with obesity, eating garbage, and worst of all living with alcoholism that not only almost cost him his family but also his life.

In this episode we discuss how Wes went from a high school athlete to being hospitalized for alcohol abuse in his early 30’s, to then running his first Ultra Marathon (50K) with many half-marathons in between. His amazing journey will inspire you to find the strength to achieve your own health and wellness goals, regardless of the obstacles in your way.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • Wes’ early career as an offline editor at an advertising agency
  • Why Wes started Automatic Duck and how they became the “Switzerland” of the app world
  • How going between different apps has changed in the last 15 years (…it hasn’t)
  • Wes discusses how some of the bad habits he developed early in his career helped lead him down a path to alcoholism
  • The turning point in Wes’ life: Christmas of 2007
  • Why he decided it was time to go to rehab
  • How a combination of tracking his weight and quitting alcohol motivated him to lose 40 lbs right after rehab
  • We discuss how breaking your goal into much smaller pieces (GO FAR framework) can help you succeed
  • We discuss overcoming mental barriers and how positive change can happen if you believe in yourself and your abilities
  • We discuss Wes’ “why” and the goal of becoming a responsible father and better role model

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Wes Plate’s Site

Wes’ blog on overcoming alcohol abuse

Strava Cycling and Running App

Garmin GPS watch

Hal Higdon Training Programs

Tony Horton

Our Generous Sponsors:

This episode is made possible by Ergodriven, the makers of the Topo Mat, my #1 recommendation for anyone interested in moving more at their height-adjustable workstation. Listen, standing desks are only great if you’re standing well, otherwise you’re constantly fighting fatigue and chronic pain. Not like any other anti-fatigue mat, the Topo is scientifically proven to help you move more throughout the day which helps reduce discomfort and also increase your focus and productivity. And they’re really fun and a great conversation starter.

Guest Bio:


Wes Plate worked in Seattle as an offline editor at Pinnacle as well as freelance in the late 90s and early 2000s.

In 2001 he co-founded Automatic Duck, a software company that became well-known for making timeline translation plug-ins for Avid, FCP and AE users. Today he works at Apple as a Product Designer in the Pro Apps group.

Wes also edits with select clients on commercials, main title sequences and other short form projects.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Jakin Rintelman. Special thanks to Krystle Penhall and Sarah Furie for helping to spread the love!

The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).

Note: I believe in 100% transparency, so please note that I receive a small commission if you purchase products from some of the links on this page (at no additional cost to you). Your support is what helps keep this program alive. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor & producer (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, an American Ninja Warrior, and the creator of Optimize Yourself. He believes we all deserve to love what we do for a living...but not at the expense of our health, our relationships, or our sanity. He provides the education, motivation, and inspiration to help ambitious creative professionals DO better and BE better. “Doing” better means learning how to more effectively manage your time and creative energy so you can produce higher quality work in less time. “Being” better means doing all of the above while still prioritizing the most important people and passions in your life…all without burning out in the process. Click to download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”