Tuesday, December 30, 2008
As you well know, I commit my life to you. It doesn't always turn out the way we plan but the goal is always the same. I want you to live your life, choose your path and go after it! My job is to help you find the path and to help you realize it. You always hear me talk about the rules of life. Respect your mother, do the right thing, make the hard choices etc. Every once in awhile I find new things and it's important to let you in on them. They aren't really new to the world we live in, just new to our conversations.
The picture above fittingly is one you took. My goal is to enjoy as many sunrises as possible in life and this one was spectacular. The mountains of Slovenia offered the setting but the Sun gave us the color and my gosh what color. By the way you are only 10 and you took this picture. That's a great eye for beauty and just a stunning picture.
Rules to Live by
A coach named Gordo Byrn wrote these down. The are extremely simple and good rules to follow:
1. Spend less than you make
2. Tell the Truth
3. Train Daily
4. Control your desires (Candy, TV and more as you grow)
Spend Less Than you Make
You've heard Mom and I talk about this at length. We are a bit extreme when it comes to this idea or so our financial advisor tells us, but it's really clear, if you want to reach your dreams you can't do it in heavy debt.
Tell the Truth
That one is simple and it's so much easier that trying to keep up with a lie. Let's say I told someone I did my best Ironman in Hawaii in 9:08 in 1997. It's possible because people less fit than me have gone that fast but I didn't do it. But now the lie is started and that someone told someone else. I'd have to work to remember who I told this lie to and what the lie was in the first place. It's so much easier to say my best is 9:57 and I did that in Florida where hills don't exist.
Because I run, bike and swim this one seems easy but it's not. Yes, I believe you and everyone else should get their body moving on a daily basis. Right now as a 10 year old kid this is not an issue. We generally have to slow you down. But, you know the world is fat and there is not enough training going on. Daily training is not just the body, you have to continue to train your mind. Just look at Papi. He's 75 years old and is in the Gym each morning, but he his a heavy reader of good stuff just like you. Reading good stuff is one of the best ways to train your brain. You can read Jarhead (when you are old enough) as long as you read mind bending good stuff too.
Control your Desire
Desire is good, too much is bad. Triathletes who live, sleep and breath triathlon have no life. Nobody including triathletes want to be around them. Too much TV will make your eye's freeze open. Too much candy will make your teeth fall out. It's simple, don't squash your desire, just control it.
Dream - Son, Dream big dreams and keep doing it the rest of your life. Write them down and go after them.
Life is not measured in how many breaths you will take, it should be measured by how many times it takes your breath away - Don't be surprised if I ask you what you did today to take your breath away?
Marco, I love you!
It's a good life....
I must thank Gordo Byrn, Chuckie V, and Bree Wee for the content of this letter. My inspiration comes from reading what others have to say and these three tend to say a great deal.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Pork - I've made my statement. When I finally leave Germany I may never eat Pork again! My gosh do the Germans eat Pork. The Grocery store meat department is probably 70% Pork products. The Organic meat section is 90% Pork. The main meat at Stripes (adidas cafeteria), Pork. I guess when you're famous for your schnitzel and your Bratwurst you better be good at preparing Pork. Pork is everyday here.
Goals are my recovery. Goals to be a better husband, father, son and Man. Goals that keep us financially secure for life. Goals to improve on my not so gifted talent to swim, ride and run and goals to relax. Goals make mud easier. Goals make living ego free easier. Goals make life good even when all around is worth ranting about.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
A quick snack, change of clothes (for mom and I) and it was time for the 5K. The plan for Mary was to run with him as far as he could go and walk if he needed. Not my kid, he ran the entire way. His first 5K after already running 1250. It makes a Dad proud.
My 10K was a good steady effort. I'm roughly 3 weeks into training and I'm a bit tired of the work so a 10K effort was a good change. In roughly 3 weeks I improved my average pace by 10 seconds so I'm happy with that. It's going to take time to achieve my goals and today was not a test for goal just a test for progress. All is good!
Marco getting ready for the race. Camo was the choice for the day. Number 23 is a good number. It was my football jearsey (yes, I played football - Not very well I might add) number. All smiles at 11:00am.
Monday, November 24, 2008
We've lived here for roughly 18 months and this is the first real snow. If we are going to live in Germany we should live in Germany and that should include snow and all that goes with it. Today we woke up to this. Beautiful, quiet snow. These pictures are from my commute to work on my mountain bike. It's days like this that make the commute fun.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
It's just running shoes!
This small picture above (couldn't quite figure out how to enlarge it) is of me and my budddy and long time Asics Rep Mike Matranga. In my 12 years at Road Runner Sports Mike and I built a substantial Asics Business and RRS business. We did it through great focus on the goals and on marketing trial and sometimes error. You can't do that unless there is trust in the relationship. I always trusted Mike to represent RRS to the folks at Asics and it was my job to represent Asics back to RRS. It sounds rather simple but when millions of dollars are on the line along with pressure from individuals in each of the organizations it makes for a rather dyamic relationship. Beyond the work though Mike and I developed a friendship that will last a lifetime. Virtually every meeting and every phone call started or ended with family. Many times the subject came up but it was always there, "This is just Running Shoes." I think that perspective helped build the business to what it was. Yes, the decisions were worth money but it was really just running shoes.
Week #1 went quite well. I executed my 5K test on Tuesday. Some Bike testing this week and my targets and training levels are set. I wasn't fast in the least on Tuesday. That doesn't mean I bagged it, it just means that the effort was hard (as hard as I could go) and the results were surprisingly slow. As I said last week I'm changing things up this winter. Typically I would have jumped into some sort of high volume low effort training to build an endurance base. With some help from the folks at Endurance Nation I am doing much less volume at a much higher effort. For instance I ran 5 times this week. Only 1 of those runs was at an "easy" pace and it was 20 minutes long. My longest run was 45 minutes and each of the runs had some sort of 5K (from the test) efforts. The reasoning behind this is rather simple now that I've had time to think about it. Time in the winter is short so it's better to use that short time to the maximum and get faster.
It's a good life.....
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The quote/headline for the post today comes from a little plaque sitting on our bookcase. I was looking at it yesterday and thought wow, it's been looking me right in the face.
This week marks the start of a new training chapter for me. I have my goals set and it's time to get to them. They say the measure of insanity is to do the same thing over and over expecting different results. I think that sums up the last two years of my athletic world. Other than a short stint last year with a body strength focus I've been doing just about the same things and not having many results. Now, my measure of result is to race and I haven't done much of that either but it will change. For now I focus on the training aspect. So this week I embark on something totally new to me. It goes against the conventional thinking of Long Slow Distance in the winter and focuses more on quality. I start on Tuesday with a 5K time trial and I see down the schedule that I have more of those to come. I'll report improvements or even lack of as they come. To start with I'm crushing the couch right now at a whopping 153lbs. When I was really competitive I weighed 135. Two years ago when I had a blast and lots of race success with it I was 142lbs. I have no goal where I'll end up but 153 doesn't feel right. The other benefit I see of this new training cycle is effort. I've always said the best way to clear my mind of the ills that cloud it is to run, ride or swim hard. You can't think much of anything when you go hard. The training program has enough of going hard that my mind will be clear for at least an hour a day and I'm excited by that thought.
A shout out to my big Sister Cyndi. As I sit here in the warmth of my home here in Germany my big sister Cyndi is living the nightmare that is taking care of a parent with Alzeimers who doesn't want any help. Not only is Cyndi taking care of Mom but this is her second stint with the disease in less than a year. She and her husband Mike went through this situation last Spring with Mike's mother. So Cyndi, I bow to you today and every day. You are stronger than I would be. You are a saint!
Until next week when I will be full of new found energy....
It's a good life.....
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Cross Country is the best High School sport there is. It's full of individual drama and team drama. Sure the winners of these races will go on to run in college but their favorite moment will most likely be winning this race. As for the team, the fifth place runner on the team is just as important as the first runner on the team. For most in the race it's the team competition that counts.
When I was in Highschool Elmwood was this 5 house town with a football team. Brimfield had 6 houses and generally had a better football team. For Cross Country they band together to create Elmwood/Brimfield. Their team colors are Elmwood colors of black and orange. The boys team had won 5 state titles and were amoung the favorites to win a 6th. Midway through the race it looks like they are in charge of their destiny when one of their runners Jared Harkness is disqualified for throwing an elbow. A coach from another team saw the incident and said there was no foul but in Cross Country a call sticks. There is no turning back. Instantly Elmwood Brimfield goes from leader to 3rd place. It's all on 6th man Doug Vrchota now. Doug guts it out for a 64th placing in the race. He out sprinted a couple guys at the finish. Remember he's sprinting for 64th place. That sprint saved the team. His 64th place put the Elmwood/Brimfield top 5 runners in first place and team title #6 was in the bag. Who's the hero on this day? A kid nobody but team and family know, Doug Vrchota.
On the girls side the race was tight. There was not a clear favorite amoung the teams and there were 6 teams who had a shot at the title. Remember Elmwood/Brimfield wears Black and Orange. The Orange is their top and it stands out. For a little trickery, the Elwood girls all agree to wear Black on Black. They did not want other runners or other teams keying on thier bright orange tops. The trickery worked. They finished a surprizing third place in the team competition.
Cross Country Rules!
It's a good life....
PS, Thanks to everyone who asked about my mother. My sister Cyndi and I got a great deal done on her behalf last week. She will be in a good happy place fairly soon.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
First Thing: Vote
Fuel your American Pride
My wife Mary and I don't agree on everything. One thing we are crystal clear on is our love for the USA. We both got to it differently but we love it for the same reasons. But we are not immune to bashing the country from time to time. So we make it a point to fuel our love on a regular basis. I suggest if you are feeling down about the country especially after this long and hard election year, go learn something new about the country. Now our absolute favorite place to fuel the love is Washington DC. It is truly inspiring. It may be expensive to get there but once there, it's not expensive. Just about everything to do with being an American in D.C. is Free. The Bill of Rights, Smithsonian and so much more is Free. One of the other things we like to do is visit the US Cemeteries. The Omaha Beach Cemetery was just an incredibly moving experience. If you live in San Diego, there is one on Point Loma. You sit there for an hour with the US Navy and America's Finest City as the back drop and you can't help be proud to be American. Finally a non-military way to be wowed by the USA is visit a National Park. It's one of my goals to visit all of them. Each one it unique and each one represents what is great about the USA. We obviously did not create that beauty but we preserved it and they are just unreal.
i'm not the ugly ameroeuro who says, 'football' and suddenly wears pointy shoes; but we americans are f-a-t fat! - Paul Astorino
I can't help to think my boss is making fun of me because I call Soccer, Football in Europe. But I don't care. The real part of the quote is the we Americans are F-A-T. Those of us who live in Europe get a unique view every time we travel back to the USA. The first real sense you get is when you head through Customs. As you know there is an American Citizen line and then an everyone else line. If you took a random sampling of 100 people from each line you would be shocked. I'm going to guess an average of 40 lbs heavier on the American Side. And that 40lbs is all Fat. You can visibly see the difference. But I'm not telling you something you don't already know. We all know it. I think it's time we all take it on as a challenge. Heck, that is what endorphin fanatics is about anyway.
My view of the weight issue we have is this: Rarely do you ever hear that someone died because they were fat. They died of Cancer, Heart Disease etc. Those are real diseases that kill millions. I'm going to go out on a limb without any medical research and say that many of the diseases can be reduced if we cut out the Fat. Heck said another way, what if they started keeping the statistics of death by Fat. We would really do something wouldn't we.
On this Election day one of the major topics is Health care. Something all of you pay into. Your premiums are high and will continue to increase because of Fat. So as healthy obsessive Triathletes, Runners etc. we have to band together to change the tide. Choose your reason, more room on the plane, smaller cars on the freeway, you actually care about the people around you or simply your health care budget.
My initial take is this, everyone in the US knows someone who is Fat. Maybe it's your brother, your neighbor, your coworker, your kids best Friend. Everyone knows someone and it's here where we need to start. We need to use all the knowledge we have about our bodies and our drive and share it with others. That doesn't mean we want to turn people into athletes. What it means is we have to start with something and using our know how, there is something we can do to support the effort. I started a short list of some things we can be involved in and I'll give some examples. The List
Reasons for Being Fat What needs to happen
No Activity More Activity
Driving Everywhere Self Powered
Fast Food Natural Food
Soft Drinks Natural Drinks
1. Work on your family members with soft drinks. You know one won't kill you but 3 or 4 in a day may. I did this with my brother. He would drink 4 Mountain Dew's a day. He switched to Diet Mountain Dew but when I told him his body does not know the difference between regular and diet he was a bit shocked. So somehow through discussions and some pleading he is down to one a day.
2. No Activity - The next time you are standing at the elevator with your co-worker challenge them in a nice non-I'll kick your ass challenge to meet you their every morning for two weeks to take the stairs. Show them some small victories. You know as well as I do after two weeks the stairs won't seem so daunting. Small victory.
Send me your ideas or success stories. I'll post them on this Blog. Again I feel it's our American Duty to change the makeup of our country. It's our duty at athletes to take a stand and show America the way.
It's a good life....
DaveOne other note, it's good to be in the USA. For some reason Google can't spell check in Germany so I know my blog is full of errors. Now that I'm back in the US for a time my spelling will improve.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
One of my goals is to learn something totatlly new with Marco. I have some ideas but they have to wait until the Spring thaw. Those ideas are hobbie type things we can learn together and continue to do them. Recently as you know the three of us traveled to Normandy to tour the sites of the D Day invasion. For 3 full days we talked D Day. If we knew the answers to Marco's questions we would answer. If we didn't we would try to find out. Walking through museum after museum answered a number of questions. It also created a great deal more. The point is for 3 days we were totally engaged in the one topic. From learning about the role of the Canadians to the building of the Atlantic wall. We were emmersed in WWII.
Saturday Mary, Marco and one of his buddies went to the movies. On the way to the cinima (it's 25 minutes from home) Marco talked. That's not rare for him but his topic surprised us. He told his freind Patrick all about D Day. Yes the details weren't exactly right but he was animated and excited telling the story. Mary and I couldn't help but smile about it.
One thing I highly suggest to everyone is watch the movie "The Longest Day". The three of us watched it back in May. Mary and Marco watched it again just before our trip. It's a great movie to watch and it is even better to watch it then go to the actual place.
Off to Peoria Illinois. I guess one of the cool things is I'll be in the US on election day. Tomorrow we elect a new President. Finally!
It's a good life...
Saturday, November 1, 2008
We had a great trip. As good Americans we drove from home to Normandy then up to Amsterdam and then home again. The Germans just laugh that we are willing to drive that far. Who knows how long it was. Anyway, the three of us had a great trip. We stayed in Nomandy in a great Bed and Breakfast for 3 nights. It was or base camp for seeing the sites. Day 1 we spent on the Canadian and Bristh side of the Invasion. You rarely hear the Canadians were even involved in WWII and here they are with a beach with their name on it. We visited a museum that is the only WWII Canadian museum. It was a great way to start our discovery. Day 2 was spent on the American side of the Invasion. As a kid, you know the names Omaha and Utah beach. You have only seen them in Black and White that helps set the tone. I think all three of us were a bit in awe of what we saw. First in Omaha with the US Cemetary and a great Cemetary Museum. In that museum they tell personal stories of men who lived and some that died on the beach below. As I told Marco, there were Heroes that day who just the day before might have been simply a face in a crowd. Just an awe inspiring experience I wish every American could see. Late in the day we went to Saint Merie Eglisse. One of the sights of the Airborne invasion. There we saw a movie that showed us the love the town has for the Soldiers that landed in thier town and kicked out the bad guys. Just an increadible story. On our third day we got back in the car and headed north. We stopped off in Southern Belgium to see a WWI trench system. Marco has this great book on WWI and II. We had been reading about the trench warfare and it was good to see one. Marco learned all the key phrases like trenchfoot and no man's land. He has a great sense of adventure with any trip we take but Normandy and the Trenches will probably stay with him forever. Finally we headed to Amsterdam for a couple nights. We stayed on a Houseboat that was a one room B & B. Crazy that Mary finds these places. She does it all with an eye on the interesting and an eye on the pocket. For instance the Houseboat saved us 30 euro a night and was just a cool experience. The highlight for sure in Amsterdam was the Van Gogh museum. We all really enjoyed the story and the paintings. We did get totally lost in the City and ended up in the Red Light district. Every corner we turned it seemed we ran into a wall of windows. Luckily we got out of there. To ground Marco back into sanity we went to the Anne Frank house. A rather sobering experience. Most people have read the book but seeing it, makes it all more real.
I put the Omaha beach picture at the start for a reason. Normandy and this beach in particular will forever be linked to D-Day. Any story you have heard about French people being rude, I give you Normandy. Everyone was warm and smiling. The guy on the beach walking his dog was genuinly excited that we would travel so far just to see the area. Just about every inch of the area has some reference to June 6, 1944. Every road sign, every village sign just about everything. My thoughts as we we were walking down Omaha beach were "Man, this is one great beach." The sand is just great, the beach is relatively flat and there is some surf. This would be a great beach to spend the day. So the thought occured to me, does anyone spend a day at that beach just beaching it? It's possible if you slept through the drive, you could walk that beach and never know that it was the sight of death and victory. It's just a big beach with one concrete slab (used to stop tanks) that looks like nothing. You could spend an entire day there not knowing 10,000 soldiers are burried above on the bluff. I wonder if anyone actually does that.
It's a good life....
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The quote in the title comes from Chuckie V. Read his Blog, it's really funny some times. More on the quote below. The picture comes from Running Central in Peoria, IL. I think I used this picture before. I post it because that is my final destination on this next trip. First up it's Mary, Marco and I heading to Normandy. I am ready to be completely humbled by that experience. From Normandy I head to NY where I will resume my on line chatter. NYC is all about running, running shoes and runners. Not in that order of course. It's always about runners first. Then finally to Peoria to visit Mom and hopefully show her some totally cool places to live.
The quote "Wherever ego, I go" is timely. If you read my 2009 goals you know ego plays a big roll. Ego as in I don't want it. That simple statement is so true and can get you in so much trouble. Chuckie refers to your ego and pacing. In generaly ego pace is much faster than your ability and eventually you fail. That is true in life. The big egos normally fail. I don't think the way of the big ego is sustainable. So why go with it in the first place. Easier said then done I know.
Normandy, here we come!
It's a good life....
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
When people ask me how far I ran, I usually come back with an answer that sounds like around 45 minutes. It's always got something to do with time. Here in Germany hanging around all the runner's I am struck by the facination with distance. "Which loop did you do, the 12K loop?" So recently, in my own geeky way I've been running with folks and then listening (then going on google and measuring). Did you know most runners actually run less than they think. I know it probably comes as a shock to you but when you hear someone say I did my 9 mile loop, it may not really be 9 miles. Understand, it's 9 miles in their head. Now yes there are some runners that actually do measure and know that their loop is actually 9 miles. Most others are guessing based on times when they knew it was exactly 9 miles. So something like 8 years ago I had this 9 mile loop and I'd do it in 55 minutes. I ran 55 minutes today so it was 9 miles. The problem in all of that is age. Unless you are a freak of nature, you slow as you age. So 55 minutes today may only be 8.5 miles. My point is not to pick on the runners or not even care that thier 9 mile loop is 8.5. I just find it interesting the way we age. I wonder when that loop will finally become the 8 mile loop measured? When do we accept the age we are and the speed we run. Do we ever accept it?
It's a good life...
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I used to marvel at my Dad. Every time I would travel somewhere with him, Bogota, Miami, Toronto and more, there would be someone who treated him like a brother. I thought he just had this huge group of friends and it was impressive to me. They always greeted hime with a warm smile and a firm hand shake. You could tell it wasn't fake buddy, buddy stuff.
Just recently I myself ran into a need and I called on Friends. Three of the most notorious guys in the crazy sport I love. An Agent, A tycoon and an inventor. Just about everyone in the sport of triathlon knows them or knows of them. So I needed some help and emailed them individually with some questions. I figured I should tap into wide knowledge so I emailed them different questions. In less then a week the three of them have answered my questions and given me more than I asked for. Sure I work for a big brand and they stand to make money if the Big Brand plays in the little sport. But I don't think they answered from their pocket. They answered because of 20 years of relationship building with them. When you have suffered on a Bike ride for hours with each of them you tend to trust each other. That trust and friendship came back 20 years later 3000 miles apart from each other.
I get now what my Dad was doing. It helps to make Friends along the way.
One other note about the three. They are really hard on the outside. They are actually individually totally cool guys. The hard exterior is all a front.
It's a good life...
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
One thing my Dad pointed out to me in my goals is that I should use spell check. He's right, I'm a terrible speller. It's not a lack of knowlege, it's a lack of detail. I'll put that as one of my short term fix it goals. Spell Check!
The first week into goals is usually fairly easy. They were set based on things going on in my life so there should be work towards them. I'll touch on a few. Next week Mary, Marco and I are heading to Normandy. Over the weekend they watched the Longest Day in preperation for our trip. We can't wait to share that new experience together. I'll be the tag along there. Those two history buffs will be crazy excited. Straight from there, I actually leave from Amsterdam, I head to New Yor for a few days and then to Peoria. The plan in Peoria is to take my mom to a few of the nursing facilities that have open space in the near future. The ultimate goal is to show her that they are not the nursing homes she has in her mind. She can have all her stuff and live her life, just with someone close if she needs it. We'll see what happens though she may not even let me in her house after the car stealing incident.
The other goals are in progress as well but not super defined.
One note on Global Warming. It's obviously a factor. This time of year in Germany used to bring Snow. Last year we received only two days of measurable snow and it was gone in less then one day. I bring this up because this past weekend was great in a warm way. Each day started below freezing but warmed up into the 50's. Our backyard is wide open and the Sun sits on it all day. Both Saturday and Sunday Marco and I spent at least an hour in the back passing the Soccer ball to each other. He's working on trapping and hard crisp passing. It was great to be in the back in shorts and a t-shirt and to be sweating. Seriously though I hope for Snow for Germany. It's better for the land and better for the people. They love the snow and miss it dearly.
It's a good life....
Saturday, October 18, 2008
1. Put Mom in a happy place - My mother is mentally sick. She currently lives in her own house by herself and she struggles to care for herself. That puts huge burden on my sister Cyndi. The process of getting paper in order has started. Now we have to convince Mom that it's the right thing for her. The real goal for me is to step up and take care of Mom they way she sacrificed to take care of me.
2. Marco - Marco and I are going to learn to do something new together. Maybe it will be riding BMX ramps or Quantum Physics but it will be something.
3. Mary - I want two trips to new places with her and her alone. We have so much fun when we do it.
1. At the start of each quarter I will determine a relationship that needs work and I'll focus efffort to building it better.
2. I will drop the ego and get back to the basics of true leadership through Love, Energy, Audacity and Proof - Leap
3. I will ask for more responsibility when the time is right.
1. We will accept taking additional hits from our mistakes on the move.
2. I will cut frivolous spending - I will only sign up for events I know I'll do. I lost 1000 euros not doing events I signed up for. I will take my own lunch to work and more.
3. I will support Mary in her drive to get back to her passion.
1. I will win my agegroup in a triathlon
2. I will finally write that entire song
3. I will be ego free.
1. I will volunteer somewhere
2. I will be ego free
3. I will continue my spiritual education process through reading.
It's a good life......
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Grade - C+
Although in total we had a good year as a family, traveling through our part of Europe, Holidays in the Canary Islands and Summer trips to the Alps and Panama, I don't feel like I was as good with the family as I have been. Besides Panama the trips were all planned by Mary. Mostly because it wasn't easy I did not get involved in Marcos school work. I let Mary do it all. I was a good Dad and I'm sure Marco wouldn't complain but I wasn't great. I was a good husband but I wasn't great and I should be great at this. We have our challenges in the coming year and the majority of my goals will surrond one of the big family challenges but in general I want to raise my level with my immediate family. My final point on the family is the Election. I let my Dads party line politics get to me and I spit my own non-party buisness out through email. It's generally not me and I don't know what got into me.
Grade - B
In genearl the work I am doing is at a high level. My business like most is a relationship business and I've worked really well on that front. I am pleased with the work in Latin America. I think our shoes are getting better and the relationship work to get the shoes better is very rewarding. What I'm not real proud of is letting the big Egos in the business get into my blood. I feel like I became one of the big brand egos. I also need to work on daily motivation. I used to manage 18 people and be one of the go to people in my old company. Now I manage one and I'm just another person on the floor. I tend to lose focus easily.
Grade - C
Almost everyone except the big time opportunists could probably rate thier Financial system a C. Few people are immune to the woes of the current market. But my average grade goes deaper. We made some errors in our move here and they are costing us. The great thing is we have been so good with our finances over the last 12 years that we could afford a subpar year. We can't afford two of them.
Grade - C
I'll just put it this way. Big ego and a spriritual giving soul don't mesh well. Fix the ego and work spiritually and this can be reversed.
Grade - B
Early year preperation went well. My goal was Ironman France in June so I had to get humping early. I put on 5lbs of muscle. I put in lots of hours on the bike even in the dark winter days. I had a couple days of 3 hours on the turbo trainer. My swimming was poor but I can usually make it up quickly. So my early season preperation was an A but I did nothing with it. I didn't go to France because I made the right call to take care of our dog (read past blogs). I raced in Switzerland which was a great experience but it was a flat race and I did the Berlin Marathon. That's it.
Total Personal Grade - C+
The great thing about this process is I get to do it again. I have the greatest family I guy could ask for, I try to surrond myself with good folks (thanks to Facebook I still can make this happen) and I control it all so I know it can improve.
It's a good life....
Sunday, October 5, 2008
October is my month to reflect on the year and to set new targets for next year. I use October because the month starts with our wedding anniversary, the Hawaii Ironman takes place and because trees like this one also start new again. They shed the year they've had and start planning the next one. So over the next month I'll reflect a bit on the year that was and set some new targets around:
Have a great week!
It's a good life....
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
60 minutes before the start of the race and we are looking calm and happy. That of course is 60 minutes before the leaders go off. I soon found out what the people who pay the running bills in the industry have to endure. Painlessly Mary and I dropped off our bags and headed to the start. One mistake Mary made on the way to the start line was stopping to pee in the woods and not giving me things to hold. One of her two Power Gel packets fell out of her pocket and we were not going back into the woods to find it. There was a guy very close to the spot Mary had just departed having a problem!
So we lined up in H Block, the last block on the starting grid. It was roughly 15 minutes prior to start. We didn't want to be the last people on the line. The gun goes off promply at 9:00 for Haile and his group. Nobody in front of us moves. We stand and wait. 10 minutes later they start the next group. Nobody in front of us moves. We stand and wait. 5 minutes later they start the next group. Nobody in front of us moves. We stand and wait. Finally some 25 minutes after Haile goes, they releas the hounds. Our group begins to move. From the time our group started it still took Mary and I 6 minutes to cross the starting line. The orignal goal for Mary and I was to get Mary across the finish line. It had been a few years, before the Doctorate, since she had run a marathon. So just running it was the goal. My job was to coach her and since she said I couldn't run with her it was to keep her motivated at the start. At the start line we parted ways. I to run my pace and she to run hers.
For the next 21 killometers I weaved around, side stepped, ran on the sidewalk, ran on the trolly tracks, ran on the ever so narrow curb and even sometimes had an open space on the road. By the way, I like running killometers so much better than miles. More time to adjust pace in my book. My pace for killometer looked something like this: 5:30, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:30, 4:45, 4:05. At the 1/2 way or 21 K mark I was only 6 minutes off my goal pace. My goal pace was 4:30K or 3:10 for the entire race. That pace during training was comfortable. I figured I could run 4:15 for the next 1/2 and easily make up the ground. I also figured that the 1/2 way mark would be the point where the streets thinned out. So Killometer 22 was an easy (feeling) 4:15 and I was on my way. I turned a corner and saw down the road for roughly 3K that there was nothing but people. The weaving would have to continue. My body was ready to do it but My head was dissy. I decided right then and there that I could not hold my pace and tactics any longer. I moved into the crowd and began running their pace. Well that was worse because now it was going to take me longer and for me running slow hurts more. So by the 35 K point I was really hurting. At the 37K point a girl in front of me was tripped up. She took a long slow motion stumble then splat on the pavement. 3 guys passed her by before I got there. Me and another guy stopped and picked her up. We made sure she was ok before we continued on. Finally at the 40 k point you could see the Brandenburg Gate. The most beautiful sight in running. Well at least for that day it was. The last 2K flew by as they always do and boom I was across the fininsh line. 3:40:27
Some Reflections along the way.
- If you have a goal time start in the block with the rest of people aiming for that goal. Running a 3:10 marathon surrounded by people running 4:30 marathon pace is not the best.
- Aide Stations - Pay attention before the race to where the aide stations will be an have a plan. Of the first 6 aid stations I managed to hit one. If you are on the other side of the street as an aid station comes up and there are 500 people between you and the station you are not going to get water.
- Aide Stations - Hit table 3. Most people for some reason go to table 1. By the way, for all of you that run the front of the race, you pick your water up off the table in the back. They do not hand it to you. Anyway, while a crowd gathers around table 1 you can easily get to the open table 3.
- Help Someone - If you you see someone who needs help, Help them. Your race is not that important.
- Spectators - Stay off the course. Yes, I should stay off the curb you are standing on but please do not try to cross the street in the middle of the mass of runners. I know it doesn't look like they are running all that fast but they are still moving.
- Shit happens - Mary by the way finished her marathon. As usual she hit her goal. She did have something totally freaky happen though. There was a guy at some point of the race, on a bike with some kind of pain relieving heat spray. He would ride up to a runner ask if you wanted a spray and then oblige your wishes. Kind of weird if you ask me. Well this guy, on his bike, ducks behind Mary as she is running by. His front wheel and her foot (as it was coming off the ground behind her)hit the same air space at the same time. The tire catches her shoe just right, pulls it off her foot and flings it. Over the guys head it goes and lands under an aide station table. Mary one shoe on and one off stops, freaking out of course, goes to the table, gets down on her hands and knees (you try that in the middle of a marathon next time and see if you can get up) to retrieve her shoe. The guy did say he was sorry but can we please keep the bikes off the course next time.
Finally, the Berlin Marathon is big. They say something close to 41,000 ran it this year. If you get the chance, run it. Berlin is one of the coolest historical and otherwise cities in the world. Getting the chance to run on the roads through all those historical areas is really fun.
It's a good life....
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I wish I had another three week block like I just had before the marathon. I think I've gotten myself to a respectable place but not where I think I can ultimately go. It felt really good to have a true training focus for 3 weeks. My sleep was better, my nutrition (it's just food anyway) was much better. It's those things that make me want to have another 3 week focus. I hit my goal of 50 plus miles this week. I did that by running faster not just running a super long run. This week my tempo will stay up buy I'll come back down to 45 miles or so. There is no room for a taper nor did I do the volume that deserves a taper. I think it's just going to be consistency into the event and then I'll use experience and my ability to block pain for a long time. Those two things should get me accross the line in one piece.
There is always room to learn or relearn. Yesterday I did my long run a bit differently. I ran out at a comfortable long run pace for 1 hour. I turned around and gradually upped the effort on the way back. It took me 53 minutes to get back which essentially ended up being roughly a minute per mile faster. At about the half way mark on the way back, I had a choice. Shut it down and make it an even 2 hour run or continue to push the tempo. I chose to push the tempo. I was hurting like I haven't hurt in awhile but I kept my head down a pushed. It felt really good. Although I'm very under trained for the up coming marathon, that one run was a huge confidence booster. I'm alive today and feel I could have tacked on more mileage on my day off. As they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I think I'm stronger from pushing it yesterday.
It's a good life....
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
It's a good life....
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
We should all be able to leave this world wagging our tail.
It's a good life.....
Today my big sister and I did something we should have done a couple years ago. Our mother is diagnosed with mental inllness and 4 years ago the Doctors said she shouldn't be driving. Today we finally got the nerve up to steal her car and her license. It was not an easy thing to do. In fact it was one of the sadder moments of my life. Car travel was part of her life. It was how she got out of the house. We took it away. In the long run it was the right thing to do but Karma will strike back. Somewhere down the road probably when I'm 70 years old Karma will strike. Maybe if I can I'll write about it.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Marco and I talk regulary about Passion for life. He is at a stage in his life where he is trying just about everything but not really doing any of it passionately. That's not totally true. One of the the things he is really passionate about is reading and that's really cool. Obviously that passion comes from his mother because it takes me about 2 years to finish a page in a book. Anyway he's taking a shot at Soccer, Track, Basketball, and Skateboarding right now. Can you guess where the above pictures are from? No, it's not track. It's Skateboarding. I have yet to see this up close because this happened while I was on the plane. It looks awfully painfull but his mother tells me he is really proud of the wound. That smells like a bit of passion. For his recent birthday all he wanted was a grinding rail. So on Saturday he and I went to the local Hornbach (Home Depot in German) and purchased the makings of a griding rail. Total bill was 8 euro. We then went home to build it. I'm sure the above wounds were caused by a grinding attemp on the new rail.
On this same day clear across the world, Marco's cousin Elliot was on his skateboard, fell off as often happens and broke his arm.
I've heard somewhere that if you really want something, want it really bad, you do what it takes to get there. I recently read "We might as Well Win" by Johan Bruyneel the team director of the teams Lance was on. The book is all about the thoght if if you're going to do it, you might as well go after it and win! Marco and I'm sure Elliot were all over it. Both were probably trying some trick they had never done before. Trying to win over gravity while keeping a board between their feet and the pavement with nothing but great balance. The pavement won this round but based on their current attitudes, they will win the overall.
It's a good life...
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
I met Chuckie a long time ago at a race. During the late 80's and early 90's he was wildley famous for that Hair Cut. He was used in Gatoraide ads and tracended magazines outside of the world of Triathlon. That was the comercial side of Chuck. The real side was much different than the comercial side. For instance, to make it as a pro triathlete (not the highest paying job back then) Chuckie lived in his car. A Datsun 200sx I believe. Crazy as that sounds it worked for him. He was a darn good athlete winning a number of races including Ironman Canada. He also moved on to Bike racing and ended up racing here in Europe (Again, not the easiest of tasks especially for an American). After retirement, he dissapeared for a time. That time included not one but two hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail. You know, the trail that goes from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. 2,000 plus miles of hiking.
He has since taken up coaching for a living. Like Lucho it's not about how much money he makes it's about the quality of the job and the people he helps. What's best about Chuckie is that he is absolutely entertaining. He shares his views on just about everything, never really takes himself too seriously and you can tell that life around Chuckie is one laugh after another. At the same time, he's a good teacher of life. His posts really make you think about simplificiation. They are really good lessons.
It's a good life.....
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Yes, triathletes write about training. I find most of that really boring. I even find it boring when I write about it. My favorite blogs are not exciting all the time but they are consistent with what they produce. The consistently make me laugh, cry or think and that's why I read them.
So I start this process with Lucho. For the most part the daily posts Lucho makes are rather boring. Ran 9 miles with a HR of 146. But every once in awhile he posts something that is astonishing. Lucho is a former pro triathlete and a stay at home Dad. The post I linked you to is what makes this guy special. He knows what's important to him and he doesn't let things like money get in the way.
This post got me thinking about our lives. Mary and I often talk about money. Like most married couples money is a topic. We plan, budget and even sometimes fight about it. But our true belief about it is the same. We don't really care about it. We work not for money but for the love of work. We really like what we do and the money is secondary. Fortunately I guess, we both do work that pays well. And at that point we think we deserve the pay we get. The experiences of what we do far out weighs the paycheck we receive. Read my last post. That kid Mary helped out will pay back to Mary 1 million times more than any paycheck she receives. My goal is to build great shoes for people who love running. If they have great momorable runs in a pair of shoes I worked on than that's really cool to me.
When I was a senior in high school I was working 2 to 3 jobs at any one time. I went to work becuase I liked it and I guess I really liked the money too. I worked at a fish resteraunt and made good money in tips. Basketball season came around and I gave up a great deal of fun time at basketball games to make money at the Fish House. As the season went on the team kept winning. Playoff time came around and I went to the games I could on nights I wasn't working. The team kept winning. They made to the regional tourney (Illionois Basketball) then to the sectional and finally the crazy thing is, they made it to State. Anyone that knows midwest basketball, if you go to state you have hit the big time. As soon as they made state I asked for the time off. I was denied. I pleaded with my boss "This is a once in a lifetime thing" he still said no. The game was Friday night the busiest of nights (the most money) and I made a choice. I called and said I wasn't coming in and I went to the game. We lost the game but it was a blast to be in the University of Illinois Arena, all the lights, all the pagentry. An experience I will not forget. I got fired from that job and financially that hurt and emotionally I got blasted by my girlfriend and her parents. But it didn't matter and it still doesn't. I experienced Illinois State Basketball. Bill Siler at guard, Scott Pierce, Brad Burger, Steve Berg at point and rotations off the bench. Only Bill played college basketball. Scott went to West Point and I don't know but I'm sure Brad is coaching some highschool today. Steve is probalbly CEO of some big company. The point is that the experience watching that group play was much better than a few tips.
It's a good life...
Sunday, June 15, 2008
1992 was the year. The devastating LA Riots were taking place. Mary and I were on the phone like we were almost every night. She lived in Pheonix and I in Encinitas. During this particular phone call Mary was troubled by the Riots. She was sad because this kind of thing could still take place in our great country. She then turned to her own life and said "I'm not doing enough, I want to make a difference in the world" It was during this conversation that Mary decided she would become a teacher, to "make a difference".
A difference she has made and contnues to make. In her first year teaching she turned a badd ass tough talking 9th grader, Zefarina into a student. That student graduated highschool and personally came back to thank Mary for her efforts. This was just the first of year after year, student after student, Mary making a difference. About 6 years ago a similar discussion was taking place. Her students at the time had everything against them. They were brought to the US by there parents and put into the stringent US schooling. They were asked by those same parents to contribute to the family financially. They lived in Gang Central in San Diego. They were going to school but really got no help from family, after all most of the family members hadn't gone past 7th grade and certainly none of them had graducated high school. These same parents because of how they were raised did not really see the benefits of going to school beyond high school. So, Mary and I talked. She wanted to help these kids. She wanted to make a difference in their lives. So she started "First in My Family". A foundation to help kids , who are the first in their family to graduate highschool, go to college.
As you know, foundations don't just happen. Lots of hard work, personal funding and passion goes into creating a foundation. Mary did all of that and more. Becasue funding was weak the first recipients received small amounts $500 or $1000 to pay for books or that first college class. Mary kept plugging away, raising money. Oh yeah, she also had to be mentor, mother and just plain guardian for many of these kids. She made sure they had a safe place to focus on their work so they could graduate.
The first student Mary worked hard with will graduate from San Diego State next Spring.
Two years ago a friend of the family Estela Cohen, had a party to help Mary raise funds for the foundation. That party turned into a Newspaper article. The article turned into a TV inteview. The calls started coming. Cash came in, boats, campers, vans and fund raisers. The foundation (run by the San Diego High) multiplied.
At the party a young man Juan (Highschool sophmore) stood up to a Micorphone and talked about Mary. He was very polished and just a great kid. The bond between he and Mary was visible. It was love, the kind of love a teacher has for a special student and the kind of love a student (in a lonely world) has for his mentor.
The move to Germany was a shock to Juan. He was afraid he couldn't do it without Mary. Mary was also concerned because she new Juan had so much to give if given a chance. Over the past year, Mary and Juan have kept in contact. He emails her when he's having trouble at home or school and she emails him encouragement. It's has not been easy for either of them but they have managed.
On Tuesday of this week, Juan will graduate from Cima at San Diego High. He will graduate at the top of his class. Juan will be the first in his family to ever graduate. On Tuesday Juan will also be handed a certificate from the Foundation. The certificate is scholarship funding of $10,000. In September, Juan will begin classes at San Diego State University. This kid is special, he will go way beyond college and make a difference himself. I think if you ask him today, He would say it wouldn't be possible if it weren't for Mary.
Mary, you are making a difference!
It's a good life....