Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas


Well I'm sitting here with the family at the San Diego Airport. We're on a 2.5hour flight delay and won't make our connection. I thought another Blog post was in order.
Among the many Christmas traditions we have in the family we reserve one no matter where we are and that one is to get outside and be active. Last year that meant cross country skiing in Slovenia. This year at home in Cardiff it means running. Below are pictures from the run.
I had some time to reflect while on the run. My thoughts jumped around from:
1. This is the first time in 45 years I haven't talked to Dad on Christmas Day. I'm not sure that is going to get any easier.
2. I thought a great deal about the people who aren't with their families or in their homes on this day. Mostly about those in Iraq and the Hindu Kush who are afraid every day for their lives. I hope they can find joy on this day.
3. I thought about my wonderful family. This run is called the Wedding Park Run. It has special meaning to us.
4. I'll let the pictures do the talking on the rest.

The view from the our Wedding Park. Not to bad.
This is the running path. To the right tracks and Pacific.
Christmas morning along the Pacific.
The Surf isn't big but why not just hang out there!
Chesterfield Hill. It will work you.
The view from the top of Chesterfield. If you think to turn around.
The View from the top of our street. Blue water in the back.

Merry Christmas to all.

It's a good life....
Dave

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Let's do it again!

In this time of Holiday Cheer, Dad is on my mind often. This was his time. Without fail he would travel the country visiting all his grandkids making it home in time to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with Cathy. He loved the entire effort that goes into making Christmas special. I think we all miss that right now.

I was going to continue my countdown of top 10 learnings/observations this year but I'm done. I've decided to focus on one and only one. To know my Dad was to know a guy that was on his game all the time. Only in the early morning hours before coffee was he not on his game. His game was good. He could be talking world Politics with one person and instantly change to talk to a 2 year old grand child at their level. He simply loved the interaction with people and he was outstanding at it. Asking more questions than giving answers. During the funeral something came up about him that I didn't know. It makes all the sense now and I think it's worth everything I've ever written about life. The story goes like this: Every night his head would hit the pillow with a thud, a sigh and an "I'm so tired" Pause and then like a kid he would say "I can't wait to wake up and do it again".
Let that sink in. I think it's the ultimate Win the Day effort. If you really put your best out there every day you should be able to hit the pillow so tired that sleeping is easy. But the sense that you want to get up and do it again before you ever go to sleep is special. You could look at it as though "Man, I'm never done" or you can simply look at it like Dad did. "That was a great day, I want to do it again". I think that's better than Win the day. That's Win The Day and be totally satisfied with the effort. That's Win The Day and wanting to do it again. That is something I want to strive for every day for the rest of my life. Thanks Dad, I love you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!

It's a good life....
Dave

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Top 10 from 2009 take #1

Sunset in the Great Central Valley, California

I was watching 60 minutes tonight. Probably the first time in 3 years I've actually watched it. All I can say is I'm darn lucky I have a job. When you work in my industry you don't notice as much just how bad it is out there in the job market. Darn lucky I am.

I thought I'd spend a bit of time this week reflecting on the last year. I looked through all the posts I made on this blog and am listing what I think are the most important things I had to say. Today I look at the first 6 months of 2009 and give you my top 5 things:

1. Win the Day - I think sometimes we spend too much time trying to win tomorrow. If we can concentrate on what we are doing today and doing it the best we can, tomorrow can happen. If we screw up today we probably will screw up tomorrow. Small victories strung together can add up to something big. Small victories make failure easier to take. Going for the one big win and failing can be devastating. So I say focus on today and Win the Day.

2. Dream Big - How do you ever get there if you don't Dream Big. Set those dreams high and then back it out to a day to day effort. If you win the day and the day is focused on the Dream, Big Dreams can happen.

3. Opportunity Management - I hear people over and over talking about Risk Management. There is no risk in business only opportunity. If you manage risk you'll hit mediocrity every time. If you manage opportunity you can do special things.

4. Leading Life - I find times in my life where life is leading me. I sit around and let things happen. I ask everyone who reads this to kick me in the butt if you feel I'm letting life lead me. If I'm not out there Leading my Life let me know it. You won't offend me.

5. I'm a pro Triathlete - This probably doesn't belong on such an insightful list but it's been a topic for me all year and belongs here. You are not a pro triathlete unless you are making a living off your winnings. If you are not winning you are not racing enough. Many of us would kill to have that talent. Time and time again those who race the most make the most and tend to succeed more often then those who try to cherry pick and make it big without doing the work. Hell that's true to being a professional in any field. You have to give more than you get to get more.

The next 5 later in the week.

It's a good life....
Dave

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A New Bike

Ordered my New Bike today. Well not the total Bike. Just the Frame, Fork and Seat Post. Next up will be the rest of the bike. It's my first new Tri bike in 9 years. Yes, I've been racing on a 9 year old bike. Imagine how fast I'll go on a new full Carbon speed demon. Pictures to Come!

It's a good life.....
Dave

Monday, December 14, 2009

Priceless

- 4 Months of Running
- Listening to the words "I can't do this Dad, it's too hard"
-Flying Home from Germany
-Driving 10 hours the following day
-Driving down Donner Pass at night in a blizzard
-Watching Marco Run in the National Cross Country Championships
Priceless!

It's a good life....
Dave

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Change

I think anytime there is a change in life, things need to change. With the passing of my father I've been thinking a great deal about my life. I'm not fully ready to leap into change but there are some things to consider.

1. I love my wife and now she's the one when there were two.
2. My own business
3. I'm beginning again to hate meat.
4. I'm questioning my faith. What exactly does it mean? Who is the best person to turn too? Please don't give me the obvious answer.
5. I've created a list of the most influential loving people in my life. If you are on that list you will know it just by my contact with you.
6. I watched my father for 45 years, work with other people. I watched his relationship with his wife of 25 years. I want that!
7. I have got to find a way to sleep. Since his passing I don't sleep. I think has something to do with the challenges above.
8. I want to run like Marco. I'm know he doesn't see it and maybe he won't ever care enough to put it all together (I would like to see him do it but I really only want him happy) but to watch him run is absolute beauty. The only way I can describe it is float. While other kids grind he just floats. I want to float.

It's a good life....
Dave

Thursday, November 26, 2009

3 Days

Day #1 -5:30 pm Warm Up - 4 x 1600 meters - 2 min rest 2 mile cool down.
Day #2 - 5:30 pm - Warm up - 6 x (600 + 2 x 200) all at slightly faster than last race pace.
Day #3 - 8:00am - Turkey Trot 5K

Now many could read that and say wow Dave, you sure are running a bunch. But this wasn't my workout schedule, this is the schedule for Marco the 11 year old USA National Cross Country qualifier.

It's a good life...
Dave

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Dad

I love you Dad. You will always be a part of my life. The following was the message I delivered at the service for my Dad. I'm sure I'm going to talk more in the future.


The Hand Shake

Growing up Dad taught me how to shake hands with people. By the time I was 12 I think I shook more hands than most people will shake in a lifetime. I’m sure for the first 1000 or 2000 times I was the kid who put my head down in embarrassment and shook the hand. In time though through an unending stream of people I learned to look a person in the eye when I shook their hand. I didn’t understand at age 12 what that meant. I’m not really sure when it hit me but I know now that everyone in this room other than a few family members started their relationship with my Dad with a simple hand shake. There wasn’t anything simple about that handshake though. When you first met him maybe you didn’t even realize it. That Hand Shake meant the world to him. It was his word to do his best for you. It was everything to him.

In the late 60’s Dad and the family were sent by Caterpillar Tractor Company to Brasil. They asked him to build the distribution of CAT products in Latin America. So he got in his VW Bug and started driving. Stopping to shake hands and build relationships at every Cat Dealer in Brasil, Argentina, Venezuela and more. He didn’t speak their language yet, and didn’t really know their business yet but he new he could give them his best. I’m proud to say when you travel through Latin America today and look at Construction sights you see CAT Tractors.

When my wife Mary was a fairly new teacher in the Barrio of San Diego, she asked Dad to come talk to her class. He brought his clubs and all his swing perfection gadgets, his handshake and got these kids moving. He had Miss Jewell doing the Hoola Hoop thing in front her 8th graders. That was the clincher on the relationship with them. His message was simple, find something you really have a passion for and then give it your best. Good things will come. For months after that session the kids were regularly asking when Mr. Jewell was coming back.

As most of you know we spent a couple years in Germany. Dad came to visit about a year after we moved there. This was pre joint replacement surgery. Tired, stiff and obviously jet lagged he new our son Marco was super excited to share his new language. For 6 hours they sat on the floor and played Monopoly in German. This morning Marco told me that Papi taught him how to shake hands.

25+ years ago my Dad asked me to shake the hand of Cathy Mundy. I’m sure their relationship started with a handshake. That one handshake changed the lives of so many. Virtually everyone in this room is a product of that bond. 6 marriages still going strong. 12 grand children who have a unique relationship with Ani and Papi. I know for sure as I that my life, and my relationship with my Dad grew to what it is today because of that one hand shake.


It’s a simple gesture but not quite so simple when it was followed up with

“I’m Bob Jewell”

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Book Review

I had to do it. There was too much chatter on the internet not to read this book. My thoughts random as they may be are what follows:

Running – The stories of running in this book are priceless. The feeling that is running is one that you can’t match in anything. It is pure, it never disappoints and it will make your day better even if you thought you were in a good way to begin with. The story of the two young runners without a care in the world getting lost struck home. I remember fondly a run in the Rocky Mountains that was scheduled to be 90 minutes and ended up 3.5 hours. I had no water, no food, no ID and no idea where I was. Mary was not too happy with that run. Ever since I have to give fairly detailed descriptions of where I’m going. We never did find out if anything happened to those two young runners. They drank out of a mud puddle in Mexico. Did they ever get sick?

The Race – I really wish there was more detail on the race. If Scott Jurek was really there, where is the race from his eyes? A reporter should have gotten into the heads of the runners. What was their account of the race? To devote what seemed like 30 pages to the study of man chasing his food and 10 pages to the epic race seemed cheating. OK, I get it, before we had tools to kill or capture food, we ran it down. I don’t need t know how the scientists spent their life proving it. It’s still not 100% clear to me that this is how it was done. At least the 30 pages didn’t convince me. When Jurek turned up the heat in the last 2 miles what was the pace. Did he leave everything out there or did he give it up to the local?

Running Barefoot – The bulk of the chatter on the web is regarding barefoot running and how bad the shoe companies are. I’ll address the shoe companies next. I wonder if Mr. McDougall put the 3 rules of barefoot chapter in before or after he got his “deal” with Vibram 5 fingers. It doesn’t really matter. What Mr. McDougall summarizes is what I wrote more than 6 years ago. It wasn’t my idea either so I’m not taking claim to it. The point is, if you want to really stay injury free in running, have strong feet. The way to get strong feet is get them out of shoes and make them work. That doesn’t mean run barefoot although doing so won’t kill you. What it means is no shoes on in the house. Pick up marbles with your toes, roll your foot over a tennis ball regularly and just regularly treat your feet well. Stronger feet are happier feet. Happy feet make happy people and oh by the way, happy runners.

Athletes – Mr. McDougall makes a good point. You need to be more than a runner; you need to be an athlete. Make your entire body strong and you stand a better chance at running for the rest of your life. That’s why you see Triathletes kicking ass at 65. Because they are tri-athletes. They do more than just run and therefore stay relatively injury free. By the way Mr. McDougall comparing Anne Trason to Lance Armstrong and saying she’s the “better athlete” is not really fair. Anne a great athlete was an Ultra Runner. Although the competition is stiff it’s not cycling. Anne didn’t have kids growing up in Europe with the goal of becoming Western States Champion. For many in Europe and now in the US, becoming Tour de France champion is it. Millions try only one does it each year. There aren’t millions of runners running 100 miles. Maybe some day but not just yet.

Shoe Companies – Not really making friends here Mr. McDougall To say that a Nike designer told you Nike makes a new Pegasus each year to get runners to stock up on the previous version is a bit crazy. Yes, in the marketing and sales world it’s a proven fact, sales dip if a shoe isn’t refreshed each year. Keep the shoe new and fresh keeps the masses coming. But back there in an office in Beaverton there is a group that is constantly trying to make that Pegasus a better running shoe. They don’t care about revenue; they care as much about running as you do. Most of the cool new stuff in running comes from talking to runners. Listening to what they say and then trying to solve a problem. If that solution becomes the latest marketing campaign that’s not on the original group solving the problem. That’s on the money hungry company. But isn’t that the American way, make as much money as you can? If not why does that brand you now endorse have a Running catalog. They weren’t even doing running shoes in the first place. Their line of “Running” shoes has more than tripled and they will update them regularly.

I will point out that the studies on running shoes reflected in this book were done in the 80’s. One such study said that you are twice as likely to be injured in a shoe over $95 than you are in a shoe under $40. That study was completed in 1989. Prior to 1989 there were very few shoes over the price of $95. In fact there were probably a total of 5 or 6 total. Asics, Nike and New Balance each had one. Not too many others that’s for sure. The point is that study is not valid today. Not even remotely valid. Mr. McDougall would argue I believe that injuries haven’t changed in fact they’ve gotten worse. I would turn that around and say Mr. McDougall look around you. In 1989 there was no Team n Training. There was no Rock n Roll Marathon. Boston did not sell out. I argue that instead of looking at injuries, let’s look at runners. There are more runners today, crossing a finish line successfully than ever before. Let’s celebrate runners not bash Running shoe companies.

Running Shoes – I’ve posted recently that less is more and I firmly believe it. I believe you start with the barefoot and work your way up, not the other way around. If your foot is ultra strong, you need less shoe. Plain and simple. If your foot is weak you need some help and you need to go with the least amount of help (usually stability) you can get away from. If you come in with week feet and extra weight on your bones you simply need more shoe. Until you loose the weight of course. Even Mr. McDougall was told he couldn’t go barefoot yet; your feet aren’t strong enough.

I’m also a believer that you don’t need all that stuff in your shoe. Let’s start with the shoe itself. Layer upon layer of stuff on your shoe doesn’t make it better. In fact unless it’s done completely correctly it probably means the shoe isn’t that good. Cut one of your old shoes up with a ban saw and look at what you’re paying for. If there are lots of layers in the foam or layers on the upper you probably paid for someone to put those layers there. Now lets look at what you put in your shoe. That insole you are buying to put in your shoe is creating more shoe. Remember you want the least possible so ask the person helping you, is this the least amount of shoe I can get away with.

Running – Again, I wrote about this and even did some videos long before this book came out. Yes, there is a better running form. Yes, it can be learned. If you learn proper running form and build strong feet you can run forever. I suggest build the feet first. Then learn to run proud with a straight back, short strides, high cadence and be light on your feet. That’s proper running form. Practice it over and over and over. Heck every time I go for a long run I watch my form. I try to match my form from start to finish. My heart rate drops dramatically when I concentrate on form.

Mr. McDougall you created quite a stir. I congratulate you on your book and the adventure of a lifetime running in Mexico. A really good read but not revolutionary and may I say a big skewed to your opinion and not pure fact. Thanks for the interest in running. We’ve been doing it for years and love it.

It’s a good life….

Dave

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Slow it Down!

Yesterday I was listening to sports radio. The topic was Football and speed. There was an interview with a San Diego Charger offensive lineman. The line has been playing better football recently and he was asked why. He said, "we've got a couple young guys on the line and it takes a long time to slow the game down" by this he mean's learn the job so well that the intense speed of the game is no longer a factor. At that point the difference is knowing your assignment on the play and executing it.
This made me think about our life right now. I'll speak for myself in saying that I haven't caught up to the speed yet. The speed that is the new job, the speed that is the new pace of life, the speed that is club cross country. It's not that I can't handle it. Just like the NFL linemen, I have all the tools to do it but I'm just not there yet.
Job - It's interesting that I find myself back at the start. When I joined Road Runner Sports is was going backwards. There is just no other way to put it. After years of doubling the business the business hit a snag and was going south. The business was fast and diverse but not really going anywhere. It took 1.5 years to slow it down and then bam the business absolutely took off. It wasn't just my doing, there were 6-8 of us that joined at the same time and grew on the same curve. Now at Zoot I find myself doing the same things. The business is not shrinking it's just new. Much of the things that need to be done are the same as my early days at RRS. I don't think we have 1.5 years to do slow the speed down. Luckily I have a bigger tool box this time around.

Life - When we moved to Germany it was a good 6 months before we matched the speed of life. Everything was different and we weren't up to it at the start. The interesting part about that was that we moved at different times and therefore had to go through it twice. I had to get used to Germany and then I had get used to the speed of Germany with Mary and Marco. Now we move back to California and it's like that underlying pressure to be at speed right now. Why wouldn't we, we lived it before. Not so fast though. We were living at Germany speed. Now only 3 months back in California and we're running into the speed trap. Throw into the trap a fairly intense cross country season and we've totally blown the speed barrier. I give us another 3 months before we slow this life down. Again that does not mean it actually slows down. Just that we get to turn our focus to using the tools we have at executing rather than what I know I'm doing now, chasing the speed.

It's a good life....
Dave

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cross Country

I am blessed for many things in my life. Far and above is the feeling of what I get back from my 11 year old son. I know my job is to lead and guide but I learn more from him than I think he learns from me. Below is all Marco. Grab a tissue and read.

The gun
the bang
all the cheers

the blood pumping in your head
in the heat you go and fly

blurring past everything in your path
the churning and burning of your feet
the sweat dripping out of every pore

in the heat you charge up the hill
the hill cowers in front of you
as you obliterate it

the final stretch is always the hardest
up the last hill
your feet are churning and burning
faster than ever

the cheers from the people
on the side lines
the finish has people begging for shade

the time is good
you are worn out
but you do it again
your shoes are ripping as you get faster

that is a cross country race
Marco Jewell


It's a good life.....
Dave

Sunday, October 25, 2009

2010 Goals

In general, I want to be a better person. That's really what my goals are all about. They are not monumental but they are not easy. Things will happen this year that will get in the way of my goals. So I ask anyone reading this to help me reach them. Keep me straight and moving forward.

Marriage

16 years of marriage. Sometimes I sit back and am amazed we’ve been together this long. I only say that because we have never done anything consistently for 16 years. That will be true for 17, 18,19,20. Marriage will be the longest thing I ever stay consistently involved in my entire life. Yes, you could argue that being a son is longer but that’s not so true. After all no matter how it worked there was a finite time of living under the same roof. The point is a constant work to get better has to be here or it will fall flat. So with this I tell you that Mary and I don’t spend enough time alone together. We spend a great deal of time alone, and we are great with Marco. My goal is to create Mary-Dave time Daily-Weekly and Quarterly. Daily will be minutes. Weekly we will do something together without Marco. This includes sitting on the Beach, going to the Book Store, going for a glass of wine or actually going on a date. Quarterly we will go away. Just the two of us. No dog, no Marco, no computers.

Fatherhood

Marco will turn 12 in the next year. Time is short when doing things with Dad is cool. I can accept it, because friends are more important when Junior High starts. I get that. So Marco and I will have to work harder and being alone together. I’m going to find one day a month that is Marco day. Just he and I going on adventures together. We always have fun when we do it. The goal is to regularly introduce ourselves to something new.

Money

In general I find money to be a bore. I don’t work for money. I never have and I never will. Unfortunately, our lifestyle and our future depends on making and saving money. We did great over the last 15 years doing both. This year I took a pay cut so I could live and work in California. I’m fine with the less income but it is putting a crunch on the saving part of Money. So my goal by the end of this year is to increase my income by 30%. That’s a super lofty goal but it doesn’t even come close to the average over the last 15 years. So I don’t find it all to bold. Most if not all of that 30% will go right to savings for the future.

Mom

My Mom is in a much better place today than she was a year ago. My sister Cyndi deserves all the credit for the effort it has taken. Today my mom has a professional companion and care agency visiting her 3 times/week. But Mom still needs interaction from me. She will receive weekly contact from me (written form because she struggles on the phone) and 3 visits in the next year. The best day I had with Mom this year was a simple lunch trip to the Peoria Courthouse courtyard. We had lunch, a good chat and listened to some great music. She lives a ways away but it’s doable and a must.

Racing

My racing goals really have nothing to do with competition. The older I get the more I realize this. I love competition and I love being able to go fast but my racing goals are more about my feeling of wholeness. In setting my goal for 2009 it was to win my age group. This caused me hire a coach to get organized. The end result was a few really good races, and 2nd place in the age group but more importantly a consistency I hadn’t had. I lost weight, I looked better and I felt better day after day. 2010 will be a bit different. With all the travel I do I find I can’t be picky any longer. I can’t plan races way out in advance only to let travel ruin the plan as well as lose money doing it. Where I raced 4 times in 2009 but lost two to travel, I will race 12 times in 2010. A race to me is anything where I pay and try to go as hard as I can. Triathlon, Running, Paddleboarding, anything. The end result will be a stronger, happier me.

Me

I simply want to laugh every day. That's my goal. If I can do that life around me has got to be great.

It's a good life.....

Dave

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Your Carbon Footprint

There is lots of talk these days about limiting your Carbon Footprint. Makes sense from an environmental standpoint. Today I was listening to one of my current favorite bands Modest Mouse. Highly creative song writers. This line appears in one of their songs. It's great how they used the topic of today and put unreal meaning to it:

"Someday you will die somehow and someone's gonna steal your carbon"

The point is yes, do as much as you can to limit your Carbon Footprint. Stop driving, recycle, travel close to home (funny coming from me) and give back (clean a beach like Mary and Marco did on Saturday). But it's bigger than that.

Between now and someday you are you. On someday you will just be carbon. What are you going to do with the time between? It's what I'm asking myself right now. Goals on the way!

It's a good life....
Dave

Monday, October 19, 2009

Less is Better

I wise man who did the most amazing shoe clinic I ever witnessed said this:

"Go with the least possible shoe you can get away with"

He was not a shoe hater. In fact he loved running shoes. He just believed as I do that you don't need all that stuff. So if you are told you need a stability shoe, you do. But don't buy the most stable, by the shoe with the least amount of stability you can get away with.

By the way, the only people that can help you with this are running stores. They are the only people that spend all day, every day putting the right shoes on feet.

It's a good life...
Dave

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Run Smart

I got into a debate today on Facebook. You know Facebook is about connecting with long lost buddies but for some reason I have a list of people I don't know on my list. Most of those have the same interests I do but I'm still not sure how they got there. Today a guy I really don't know, Greg Vaughn posted this: Runners in shoes that cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get hurt as runners in shoes that cost less than $40! -- From The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

There is great debate going on right now in running. Some dude wrote a book called Born to Run - I have yet to read it and runners are stripping off their running shoes and going barefoot or in these Vibram Five fingers shoes.


My main problem with the debate was all these people posting how they were running out to buy Vibram fivefingers. I have no problem with the shoes. I have a problem with people, and or medical journals blaming the shoes for injuries. I feel like I have some expertise in the matter. I've spent a fair amount of time with runners and shoes. In my time I've found that most of the injuries were caused by the runner not the shoes. The first complaint always came in as "I got injured from these shoes". Ask a few simple questions, like - What was your last run that felt good? What's your average mileage? How long have you owned the shoes? Just simple things like that. Most of the answers came back "Well, my shoes are two years old or I did a 20 miler on Sunday and I ran 35 miles last week or my all time favorite I had this twinge all week and then wham I woke up today and can't walk."
Runners in my book are not bright. I put myself in that category so don't go crazy on me. They'll jump to the latest craze see: Born to Run. By the way let's do a test and get Ryan Hall to take off his Asics for the next week of Marathon training. Do you think he'll get injured? Let's try it just this once. They think the latest Craze will cure them of their injury problems and then find out that no it's not a magic pill. People, listen up:
Running is rather simple. Build mileage gradually. Your long run should not be more than 20% of your total. Don't do speed work unless you have a huge base. Buy the right shoes for you not the shoes everyone else has. Replace them often.

If none of this makes sense I'll make it even easier:
Hire a running coach
Shop at a running store
Don't run if it hurts.
If you are consistent in your running and you are sore after a run, replace your shoes.
That is Smart Running!


You think the fivefingers are strange, you should see my wife heading out in her running shorts and these, her favorite new running shoes. She looks like a dork but her form is great and she is now running sub 6. Just amazing.

Now for things much more important: Mt Sac!

Marco and his buddy hanging out in the shade waiting to cheer on the team.
Poop Out Hill - that's the name. Marco passed these three and 5 more before the top.
Just before the big switchback.
Mt SAC has a new sponsor!

It's a good life....
Dave

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am not your coach

I don't know how dads do it. You read stories about professional football players who credit the coaching of their Dad for their success. Running is full of successful father/son coaching stories. In Triathlon Myles Stewart and Spencer Smith had their Dad as their coach, agent and bully if need be. Two guys I work with head to the practice field three times a week to coach Soccer where their kids are the stars. Then there is me. If I say, "Find a runner who you think is better than you and try to run with them in practice. The best way to get faster is run with faster runners" I get the look of "You're an idiot Dad, I can't run with them" or the worst quote ever "I'm not you, Dad". That is like the quote of death.

"I'm not you, Dad"

Now if Coach Mena were to say "Marco, today I want you to run with Darius. Stick like a fly to glue. No matter what, don't let Darius get away" Marco would shake his head and say "OK, coach". Then he would do what coach asked.

This is not a Dad feeling sorry for himself. This is a guy who admires that Father/Son coaching thing and is quite happy to admit finally that it's not in the cards for Marco and I. Today it's official "I am not your coach".

It's a good life...

Dave

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ironman

The Ironman World Championships has come and gone. The frenzy of press, facebook Twitpics etc. is just about over. It was yet again an incredible race worthy of the title World Championships, where the best of sport lay it on the line to be crowned World Best. The following link tells a great story of the men's run that was. Enjoy.



It's a good life...
Dave

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Go Running!

This weekend was not normal. There really isn't anything normal about the weekend but this one was even more different. Essentially I did nothing outside running or riding until 4:30pm today. That's really not normal for me and it absolutely showed. Until 4:30 today I was slow and tired. I couldn't focus on anything and I was a bit cranky. I headed out the door not really wanting to run at all. But I ran. Soon my mind began to open up and flow. Soon I could smell the flowers along the side of the road. The next thing I knew I was on the Trail going through the local lagoon. I arrived home 90 minutes later a totally changed person. Awake, alive and ready to get things done.

Get out there and go running people. More will get done in the world. I'm not saying literally. Just get out there and get the blood flowing.

It's a good life....
Dave

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Born To run

On the NY Times website today there is a blog about barefoot running. Apparently it was in the LA Times yesterday. Now on Xtri.com there is a coach (doesn't it seem like there are as many triathlon coaches as there are triathletes) telling you the scientific reasons not to jump into barefoot running just yet.
Folks this is a Fad. A guy wrote a book about the indigenous people of Mexico and he adopted their way of doing things. It works for him. But it's a Fad. It has yet to be proven that anyone doing serious training, Ryan Hall for example, can do this all barefoot. Come on folks be serious. When was the last time you read a book and did everything that book told you to do? Why now? Why Barefoot? The shoe companies have been lying all this time. Those bio-mechanic labs at Nike and adidas are just fronts for the truth. Shoes are a waste of time. But we have to sell shoes so we'll market the hell out of them anyway and fool everyone. The funny thing about this is a company older than most who makes outersoles (the rubber bottom of your shoe) is cashing in. They made a goofy shoe because they could and sold it to high mountain outdoor shops as camp shoes. Now because of this barefoot thing, they can't make the darn things fast enough. Vibram rules! What great bio-mechanic wizards they were.
Here's the truth from my side. For 15 years or so I've done roughly one workout a week barefoot. I do a warm up "in my shoes" to a local grass field (beach works well too). I do strides and some kind of strength work then I put my shoes on and cool down. 15 years, no foot injuries, actually no running injuries. None-ever. But who am I. Go the book store, buy Born to Run, follow it and be free. I have an even better idea. Go to Itunes, download Born To Run - The Springsteen version and rock and roll away. They said Rock Music was a fad too!

It's a good life...
Dave

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Double


This weekend I did something I haven't done since I was 25 or so. I raced back to back Saturday and Sunday. I'm reminded as I write this how tough that really is. Even though both races were ultra short, I can feel them in my body today.
Race #1 Dirt Dogs Cross Country - Balboa Park - Saturday
A classic race series in San Diego is the Dirt Dogs. It's a series of 6 or 7 cross country races. The event is done all old school. Sign up on the day of the race, no chip timing, and because it's cross country it's a big team atmosphere.
I arrived at the race about 30 minutes before the start. It felt really late to me but it wasn't. I had time to sign up, and get some slow jogging in before the start (note to self, add strides into the slow jogging. Helps with the starts). We lined up for the start and we were off. It was a downhill start for about 300 meters and then a quick steep uphill to separate the the bunch. My plan was to stay controlled the first 2 miles (by the way this is a 5K race) and then see if I can burn the last mile. I settled in to 6:20 pace. It felt easy enough to maintain but hard enough to stay in my space. The course was tough, lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. Then there were the rocks, lots of them on the course. True cross country style. After the first 1/2 mile or so I started to roll through the fast starters. Mile two came along in 12:40 and it was good. Good because I was on pace and good that there was only 1.1 to go. Now it was time to see if I could pick it up a bit. I surged, well ok, I slowly picked up the pace, not much surging going on anymore. I hit mile 3 ins 18:40 and then the last .1 was long. Really long. Probably because I could see the finish line the entire way but couldn't get there. 19:26.
Race #2 - Mission Bay Triathlon - Sunday - Swim 500yd, Bike 15K, Run 5K
If you are a triathlete or a wanna try it some day athlete, the Mission Bay Triathlon is a must do. It's where the sport of triathlon started and it's a top 5 race in the world. Location, Location, Location.
I've said this before, being almost old really sucks. If you are old you start early which gives you time to finish the course. If you are almost old, you start at the back. In face my almost old group was in wave 12 of 14 total waves. The first wave was finished with the entire race before my wave even started. Lot's of time to warm up!
My warm up was complete and it was time to race. My plan was to go as hard as I could from the gun and see what would happen. The horn sounded and I was off, Fast. I desperately tried to hang with the super fast feet. I got dropped but it felt good to hang with them. I was out of oxygen about 3/4 of the way through. I tried to relax and let my stroke take over. A shout out to my new Zoot Synergy wetsuit. First of all one that really fits is important. But one that fits like that and floats like that is extra good. No rash, no pinching and feeling fast in the water. Not a bad thing. I have no idea where I came out of the water. Because of no oxygen, I was dizzy. I just regrouped as I made it to the bike and hoped for the best.
On the bike it all felt good. My cadence jumped up quick and I knew I had to settle it down. Starting so far back meant that I would be passing people the entire way. An ok thing to do but it does mess with your pace. You are passing them so you must be going fast. The bike course is wide open with one loop around the famous Fiesta Island (what a poor excuse for a famous Island). The year Faris Al Sultan won Ironman he motor paced on that Island for 112 miles. He hasn't won it since and I'm sure he hasn't done that crazy ride again. It was windy during the race an on Fiesta that mean's no break. It's a relatively flat road but with wind it's uphill the entire way. I was grinding it out around the Island. No clue where I was in the race and nobody to pace with, I just put my head down and screamed "On Your Left" on a regular basis.
Into Transition and go. I think it was my fastest change to run ever. I think it has something to do with the shoes in the picture below. The Zoot Ultra Speed. No laces, just slip on and go.

These babies are 6.5oz of lets go running freedom. They were simply great shoes to race in. Like the bike I was running by people the entire way. The only thing I could do is run as hard as I could for as long as I could. The course is mostly flat with two hills in the last 1.5 miles. Lots and lots of turns on the course make it for a fun run. You can just hammer between the turns. Whew, I'm at the finish already. 59:32 on the clock. Not as fast as 3 years ago but I think the days of going ultra fast in a one hour race are fading quickly.
My goal at the start of this year was to win my age group in a triathlon. I've done three triathlons this year and felt through the first two I was on pace. Because of the new job and lots of travel in the back half of the year, Mission Bay was going to be my make or break race. A really tough race to try to do this. In 2006 I was 8th in my age group. So this is why I went as hard as I could from the gun. I waited and waited for the awards to be posted. Finally one hour after I finished they were posted. 2nd in my age group. 15 seconds behind first. Dang, I missed it. I never saw the guy. I never saw anyone in my age group. Dang. But wait a second, I raced twice this weekend. If I don't race Dirt Dogs, I make up that 15 seconds easy (in my mind anyway). I'm going to consider this a success.
I didn't hit that ultimate goal but I came very close. I had fun getting there and that's more of the point. That and losing 12 lbs this year. It's all good.
A big thanks to my family for putting up with this goal. There is no way I can do this crazy stuff without there love and support.
Thanks go out to Coach Gordo. He kept me honest through the year and stayed in touch. That's not normal in triathlon. Most people probably don't hear from their coach too often.

Now it's time to rest. Rest and recharge. Well not really, there are 3 Dirt Dog races still to do.

It's a good life....
Dave

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cross Country

The finishing kick. Run Marco Run!


It's a good life......
Dave










2009 in Review

A final look back at the year that was 2009. What a year it was.



We moved from Germany to Cardiff........

Marco started running Cross Country. It was his choice, he seems to like it and he ran his first race yesterday. The dude has run over 100 miles since the start. Not my accomplishment but introducing him to something new was one of the goals.

We moved from Germany.

Mary is back at work kicking Ass and changing lives. It's hot in the classroom she's got 156 students and she's loving it.

If my mind starts to go as I age (no comments please just yet) please let me know. I want to be aware of it. I love my mother but dealing with her life is frustrating. She is beyond the point where she can really know what's happening to her but not so far beyond to stop us from doing anything about it. It's a pure waiting game and it sucks. Sucks mostly for my big sister Cyndi who has to deal with it every day. Mom, I love you. Please understand that we are trying to give you the best life possible.

Did I say we moved from Germany.

We took a sizeable hit in the financing world. Moving from Germany did not help matters. 2010 will absolutely have something to do with our finances.

Win my agegroup. To do that you have to race. With all the stuff, moving, new job, moving etc, racing has not been a priority. We'll see though, 2009 is not over. The Journey to getting back to racing shape has been the big pay off. I'm 10lbs lighter, and I'm much faster. I can feel it every day.

Man, we moved from Germany. That was an effort.

2010 here we come.

It's a good life.....

Dave

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2010

Yes, that says 2010. Way off in the distance for most of you but nearly way in the past for me. When you work on the manufacturing side of things, years begin to meld together. For instance, this week I turned in the project plans for Spring 2011. I can't personally tell you where I'll be in January 2011 but I can tell you where Zoot Running shoes will be. Well not exactly but you get what I'm saying. What I'm leading to is goal time. It's nearly October and it's time to write the goals again. The rest of this week I'm going to look back at 2009 and the Goals I set forth. I'll comment on this on Sunday. Then it's off to 2010 thinking. Of course I'm almost done there so setting goals around 2010 should be easy. Not Eactly!

It's a good life....
Dave

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Try This One on

The workout called for Swim only today. What one workout on a Sunday. That's it? Watch out what you wish for. Here was the swim today.

Warm Up 600 Yards - My Effort
Warm Up 10 X 100 - Odds as Kick/swim/Kick/Swim. Evens as Drill/Swim/Drill/Swim
Kick Set 10 X 50 - Dolphin Kick on back with fins.
Main Set
100
4 X 25 - Rest is 10 push ups on the deck
200
4 x 50 - Back Stroke - Rest is 10 Dips on the edge
300
3 x 100 - Anerobic - As few breaths as possible - Rest is 20 second plank plus 1 minute
400
2 x 200 - Negative split each 200 (get faster) - Rest is 20 dips on the edge.
Cool Down 300

My Arms are still on the tired side 6 hours later.

It's a good life....
Dave

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Step Back in Time

Can you go back in time? I think maybe I did that today. I had an appointment at Road Runner Sports. The goal was just to learn about the Zoot business there and then formulate a plan to make it better. I walked into a wall of people I worked with for up to 12 years. Very fun but also a bit overwhelming. It's like we never parted. At the same time I felt a bit out of place. My life at Road Runner Sports seems so long ago. It's only been roughly 3 years but that seems like a lifetime. More time with them will make it all feel normal again.

It's a good life....
Dave

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Let's Go to China

You can look at a development trip to China two ways. First you can feel the effort of the long flight, long days, crazy factory dinners. You could feel the effort of bouncing down the highway in a van with crappy air conditioning. You just feel the traffic rumble all around you. Or you can appreciate what happens on this piece of earth. A people who work their tail off to produce goods for the rest of the world. The majority of all the running shoes in the world are produced in the area. That's not all though. Look around your house, much of what's there was produced in this part of the world. It's just amazing to watch all the trucks roll by and wonder what's in that container.

Just a bridge on the river.


The River in downtown GZ. A great place to run.

Obviously I wasn't the only one with the idea of getting outside early in the morning.

Care for a swim? A group of locals gathers here every morning for a swim in the river.


There they are, starting or finishing their swim. Let me tell you many swim as much as 1 mile.

You have to be your own lifeguard out here on the River.

A monument to the visitors.



It's a good life.....
Dave






















Sunday, September 6, 2009

The New Job

Week #1 of the new job is in the books. It's quite a change going from the huge engine, 12 product marketers, 5 designers and 7 developers that make up adidas running on footwear at least, to one product marketer (me), one developer and an outside designer. Although the goal is not people oriented it just prooves that there is work to be done.

The week was rather non-descript. General get to know everyone, sit in a few meetings, watch how things happen. Got the big company orientation and that's when I knew there was a really big engine there. Let me see if I can explain this. Zoot, is part of the global company that is K2 sports. K2 operates a large portfolio of brands including, Ride, Marmont, K2 and in our building Adio. K2 is owned by Jardin. Jardin operates a huge potfolio of brands many of which you have in your kitchen (Mr. Coffee, Crock Pot and many more). So we have the small company/brand that has this absolutely huge engine behind it. You can tell how big a company is by the HR packet you receive on day #1. It's big.

The end of the week, Friday had a bit more juice in it. We started the day with a 6:00am meet up at a San Marcos Starbucks.

As you can see by the pictures this was going to be a rolling meeting. Really it was simply team building, very little work talk was being done. That guy in Blue is Brian the big boss at Zoot. I'm pretty sure that he'll compete at anything if you let him. It makes for a fun atmosphere.

The Ride for the day was to take us to the top of Palomar Mtn. It's not a walk in the park kind of climb. The climb itself is 11 miles long starting at 2.000 feet and finishing at 5,200 feet. The hard part is not the climb, it's the getting there and then getting home that's hard. Here we are after the first big climb of the day, together again and cruising into the morning sun.
Palomar is a well known mountain in the world of Cycling. Clyclists for years have been doing their training in San Diego and all use Palomar in their preperation. There are unoffical records kept (50 minutes to the top I believe) and lots of stories of pure collapse revolve around this mountain. Here the group gathers at the store which marks the start of the climb. All smiles here. Let the suffering begin.
Like I said it's not always the mountain itself that kills you. Everyone rode the mountain at their pace. We gathered at the top and then rode back down the way we came. It took me 80 minutes to climb and 25 minutes to get back to the start store. We gathered at the store once again and then made a route home decision. Fortunately or unfortunately the choice was to follow the tour of California final day route and go up Cole Grade. I believe in general, Cole Grade is the hardest climb in San Diego. You usually hit it after riding Palomar which means it's mid-day. It's steep but not super long. What makes it hard is the absolute lack of wind and the exposure to the sun. On this day it was 96 degrees in the area but on Cole Grade it was well over 100. It's a tempo climb for sure. Go too much out of your comfort tempo range and you could blow up easy. Evidence of blowing up is in the picture below.
I'm not sure how long the ride took but I know we were out in that sun for 7 hours. Lots of gathering at the stores. It was a hot hard day but a fun one. There will be lots of fun stories to tell around the office for a few weeks anyway.
Week two of the job will be totally different. Off to China to fix shoes with AA. It's a good thing I've got Cardiff to come home to.

It's a good life.....

Dave

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ready for Work

It's been a long time since I officially worked. I've never taken 6 weeks off from working. Not since college anyway. Although I've totally enjoyed the last 6 weeks it's time to get back to it. The best part of it is I get to go to work right here in San Diego. That beach I've enjoyed over the last 3 weeks is still there. That sun although hot this week is still there. All those people running, cycling and swimming along the beautiful coast we call home are still there. The fact is I get to do what I love from right here in this paradise. Not many people in my field of work get to do this. Unless of course you work in Skate shoes or Golf shoes. But Running shoes, in San Diego. Yep, that's what I get to do. On Tuesday I start at Zoot Sports.
Zoot has been in the running shoe business for 2 years now. That's the exciting part for me. I get to help continue the launch of a brand. Not many in the shoe business get to do that. It should be a total blast and best of all I get to come home to Cardiff by the Sea.

It's a good life....
Dave

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Finish Strong

Yes, those are Asics shoes on Marco. We didn't have much choice at Sports Authority. No kids adidas running shoes and the only Nike were Shox and no thanks on them.

Cross Country practice tonight was a good lesson for all of us. The workout for the kids after the warm up was 5 X 1200 (turned into 4 for everyone) on the grass. This course is tough with a climb and a fast finish each loop consisting of 400 meters. The goal was to get faster with each 1200. Group number one had a coach (father) running with them. He kept the pace steady and that group ended up running each 1200 a bit faster. The second group, the one with Marco did not have that pacing. So they had to do it on their own. They ran #1 good and slow. #2 saw the group really spread out with some kids going out too hard. #3 saw the pace pick up dramatically with the group bunched together until the final sprint. #4 was totally spread out again with kids dying. One of those kids was Marco. In fact he finished last in the group. On #3 he finished 3rd. After #3 he came over to me and said his leg was driving him crazy (Poison Ivy). He asked to stop running and go home. I knew better though. I had seen his effort on #3 and knew that he had run too fast. It was the effort that was hurting not the leg. So I said we would evaluate after #4. Once I saw him running I knew he had over extended himself and it was time to shut it down. So after #4 I called him over and told him to walk it off.

The point of this is that we all do it. We all get super excited about something and dive into it full blast. Then we slow down with as much escaping energy. Marco doesn't know better. He was running with Nelson and Nelson was running fast so he should. But we know better. We know it's better to pace ourselves into something to make sure it lasts. Why don't we do it? Are we that impatient that we can't wait? Probably so.

My coach has a mantra he rides fairly hard. The key long run of the week is done in 3rds. 1st third slow and controlled. 2nd 3rd, moderate and the final 3rd holding that moderate pace. Not easy because when your tired you want to slow down. All other workouts, finish strong. We should take that as our life mantra, Finish Strong. We'd all be better for it.

It's a good life...
Dave

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Highs and Lows

I mean really, we live in paradise. We had family visiting (Mary's Brother and Niece) from Chicago. Over and over he said wow this place is great. Running on the coast, going to the beach whenever we want. Heck tonight we went the to beach long enough to get wet, catch a wave and head home. You can do that when you live less than 5 minutes from the water.
But watching the Track and Field World Championships from Berlin I couldn't help but miss Germany. The Blue Track, the familiar streets of the Marathon course. I sat watching, wishing I was there in person. I actually would have been there at the Championships had it not been for the move.
So yes, there are lots of highs and the lows that creep in. Missing Germany simply tells me that it was totally worth the effort to live there. We were lucky to take that chance and make it work. We are extremely lucky to be able to live in paradise. You just can't beat Cardiff by the Sea California. Check it out on Google. It's that good.

It's a good life....
Dave

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Runner is Born

Priceless is a 3 mile run with Marco followed by 90 minutes of play in the Pacific.
Earlier this summer Mary and I were discussing life in California with Marco. We told him he had to be involved in one "sport" and one Musical activity. His options are endless here in the golden state. We narrowed the sports down to Soccer, Swimming, Rugby, Fencing and Running. I'm not sure how we got there but the boy chose running. I'm sure he's had some doubts in his head since choosing it but he's committed. The first week (last week) was testing. He started it off with a bang in his first running workout ever, 10 X 300 meter hill repeats. That set the stage for what would be a tough week of running. By the time he got to the Saturday group tempo run he was fried. He finished that run with some tears and questions about his choice. 12 hours of sleep Saturday night and an easy Sunday made it all better. His weekly total was 16 miles in 5 days of running. Thanks to a runninng coach I listened to recently, we created a big chart. Every day, Marco fills in his daily running mileage on the chart. On Sunday he adds his weekly total to the running total. There are awards (he doesn't know it yet) at big milestones. 100 miles is the first big milestone.
Monday was another workout with the team. This would be the test. Saturday was tough on the ego. No problems though, he jumped right into the workout and finished the entire thing. At the end he said "my legs don't hurt" and that was a big step for him. This brought us to yesterday and our 3 mile run. He has 3 workouts a week with the team and then 2 runs with me. So far those two runs have been great opportunities to talk. Yesterday we were just in awe of the great place we choose to live. The Sun was out, it was a clear day and we could see La Jolla to the South. This created a discussion and now a goal for us. We want to hike from Encinitas to La Jolla on the beach.
I can't wait unitl next weeks, coastal run!
It's a good life....
Dave

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back in San Diego

Well it's been one week since I landed back in San Diego. Some thoughts:

1. At times I feel like a foreigner. That's right there is a bit of Germany that has stayed with me to cause me to feel out of place.
2. Love Masters Swimming - Imagine that a pool that is full of like minded people swimming. No head up breast stroking here.
3. Club Cross Country running is serious stuff. I'm not sure I could do the workouts Marco had to do.
4. I hate car Sales People - Hello, I want to buy a car and I don't want your attitude involved. I got a great car but a bad taste in my mouth from the service.
5. The Ocean is beautiful - I'll go back there.
6. I've driven more in the last week than I did in 2 months in Germany. I'm not sure I like that.
7. Fit people - Yes, there are lots of really fat people in America and in San Diego. But there are also more fit people here than any other place in the world.
8. The Americas Finest City Half Marathon is a must do if you are a runner. Sure it's a hassle to pick up your number, you have to get to the park early in the morning to grab the bus to the start (7 am start ouch!) but it's the most beautiful big city Half Marathon in the world. Point to Point starting at the edge of the Penninsula that has the Cabrillo Monument and the US Cemetary one of the most beautiful features in all of San Diego. The race heads right into the city and then finishes in the increadible setting that is Balboa Park, home to that world famous San Diego Zoo.
9. Lines - Yes there is order in the world. Orderly lines waiting for the bus. Owe how I miss the mass of humanity pushing there way to the front in Germany.
10. AFC Marathon - 56% women. AH, back in San Diego.
11. Sunday morning with Mary, you just can't beat it even it is spent running a 1/2 marathon.

It's a good life...
Dave

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Greg Lemond



Greg, you were a champion. You turned me on to the beautiful sport that is cycling and the Tour de France. You were the first American to truly break the European barrier and you opened the doors for Amercian Cycling in Europe. Your triumphs in France are legendary. From fending off your own teamate to winning on the last day TT in Paris. You showed us Amercians how special the Tour de France was. You were the comeback story of the decade. Accidently shot during a hunting accident, you fought the odds and came back to win with buck shot pellets lodged in your back and in your heart. I learned the phone number of the French Press so I could follow your exploits in July. I will always remember Greg Lemond, the cyclist.

I hope to forget the Greg Lemond of today. You seem destined to bring your sport down. The history of cycling is much like the history of all sports at the very top. Athletes are constantly looking for an edge. When all athletes are at the very top and are equal, what's left to do? Some, many have resorted to cheating. Today baseball is going through the "Steroid" Era. Well I've got news for them, check the baseball scuffing era as well. Or how about the little green pill era. In cycling, the Little Green pills were huge during your time. Riders are admitting to that. This is not to say that every athlete at the top is a cheater. In fact there are athletes that defy whats normal at the top. The ultra gifted. They are the cylists through natural ability who can ride away from all the others on the climbs. Who can hit redline on a time trial and keep it there longer and faster than anyone else. You with your accusations are bringing them down. Shame on you. Instead of using your status as a true champion on the bike you have chosen to stay in the headlines every July for your words. Words of accusation against riders. I suggest either find ways to give back to the sport that gave you so much or shut the hell up for the rest of your days. Sport needs to progress and you are not helping it.

It's a good life....

Dave

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ode to my Kestral

It was 1996. The fire to ride and race again was alive. It had been 5 years since I raced a triathlon. Falling in love and starting a career were much more important to me. But 1996 was a new year and things were stable, triathlon became a part of me again and a new bike was in order. Pulling some connections, you showed up on my front door step. All clean and new. In 1996 you were a work of art. One of the only one peace carbon frames on the market. Well from 1996 to 2009 you served me well. 3 Ironman Hawaii races (I didn't ride you the third time, a friend did). 1000's of miles training for those races. Relegated to winter training once the new go fast race bike was purchased, you fought the harsh conditions. 1000's of miles in Southern California cool and sometimes rainy winters. Friends would make fun of you because you only had 8 gears but that didn't deter you. You laughed as they struggled up the hills with their 9 and 10 gear rides. Fast forward to Germany. You sat patient in the boiler room waiting for a turn to ride those smooth roads. As the other two bikes, the fancy new 10 speed carbon road bike or the race bike went out, you sat and waited. Your time came in June of this year and you delivered. You delivered in biblical rain. You delivered in hot sun. There was no break in time, no getting used to it. You fit instantly and you delivered. On those steep 12% grades you skipped up. On the reverse 12% drops you glided down like you were meant to be there. For 5 weeks you were the star of the show. The last ride this past Monday was a heart renching ride. You knew it was the end of this journey but you didn't give up. All the way to your resting place you road like a champion.
To my Kestral, thanks. Thanks for the great memories.
To the lucky soul who picked it up, treat it well. I hope it gives you the enjoyment I got.

It's a good life.....
Dave

Friday, July 31, 2009

Some Random Thoughts.....

I’ve been in the US for 2 days now and my mind is flooded with thoughts. To be more specific, I’m in the Heartland, Midwest, Center of the state of Corn, Peoria Illinois. A friend of mine said “I haven’t spent much time in that part of the country. I’ve been to Chicago three or four times”. Ha, Ha, Ha. Chicago is as close to Peoria as San Diego is to Fairbanks. Chicago is a big beautiful city with everything big cities have to offer. Peoria is the Heartland of America. Home to CAT and surrounded by the most productive pesticide covered corn fields in the world. With that as an introduction here are my random thoughts:
1. Radio hasn’t changed since my days here in High School. In fact as I drive around listening to the Classic Rock station I find myself right back in School driving around. I guess that’s Classic Rock today. I wonder what Classic Rock will be when Marco is 40. Pink Houses by John Cougar?
2. My post earlier in the week about Excess comes alive – It’s really weird actually. There are sidewalks here but nobody is on them. In fact you drive for 20 – 25 minutes and never see a human outside. Sure, they are in the cars that are all around but they are not out there using those legs they own.
3. There is a trail just like the trails in Germany. The Rock Island Trial – It’s beautiful. Too bad I had to drive 15 minutes to the start. Not quite like stepping out the door in anywhere Germany and finding a trail within 2 minutes.
4. I’m glad I don’t live and train here on my bike. If the cars or big farm trucks don’t kill you I’m sure the Volkswagen Beatle sized pot holes will.
5. Speaking of Pot Holes, the Stimulus Money is going to good use here. There is road construction (repair) everywhere. Looks to be about 10 years late but at least it’s getting done.
6. SUUD – Can’t type it the German way. South. Big bold letters on the side of a new building. Closer inspection of course it’s the local German Auto dealer. Those poor cars never saw roads in such bad shape.
7. Loneliness – I find when I’ve been away from people for a day or so, I tend to get all the talking I would have done in those days in the first hour I’m in contact with folks. Interesting that’s the case with my mother. I sit in that rocking chair and she talks, and talks, and talks. I feel bad, her cat died recently. She can’t even talk to the cat anymore.
8. Being Nice – I’m going after the good Karma train hard right now. I’m being extra nice to everyone I come in contact with. I think maybe good things will come back to me. My gosh it’s amazing when you are nice to someone. Their response is wow and thanks without even speaking a word.
9. Delcolax Stool Softener – I kid you not. It’s a true product and it’s being advertised on TV mid day here in the Heartland. I have a better idea. Get out of your car, walk for 30 minutes a day, eat real food and stop mixing all that medication. And please shop late at night. I don’t want to be behind you at the store when you are buying a box of this stuff.
Just some random things. It’s only been 2 days!

It’s a good life…..
Dave

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Good By to the land of Rules...Hello to the Land of Excess and Censorship

Yes Germany has its rules. Rules that you have to respect. They work for this country.

The land of excess needs some work. A list of challenges:
1. Next time you shop for a car, size down.
2. Go to the Grocery store more frequently and buy less.
3. Buy as few packaged goods as you can. Take a look in your recycling (if you arent' doing that yet, get with it). Notice how much of your bin is being taken up by packaging.
4. Say no to plastic bags at the store. For Groceries use your own cloth bags. At Target/Wallmart just put the stuff back in the cart and put it in your car. Clearly the cashier won't stop putting one thing in every bag.
5. Stop storing things in the pantry. Don't buy things to store in the pantry.
6. Set a mileage goal on your car and stick to it. Make it a stretch that says find another way to get there.
7. Eat at home.
8. At Starbucks if you are going to sit inside or outside and drink your coffee, ask for a mug. What's the point of the paper cup if you are staying in.
9. Order 1/2 portions next time out. Most likely you don't eat everything they give you because they give you too much. Don't leave food on the plate.
10. Stop buying bottles of water. Use a filter!

Now a bit on Censorship. I remember one day in the Target Parking lot a couple years back. Marco was 4 or 5 and we were listening to one of his favorite Green Day songs on the Radio. He Says "Dad, they cut a word out of the song". "What word is that Marco". "Fuck" That word is a huge part of Rock and Roll. It happens to work well into the music. There are quite a few really good songs that don't get air play in the US because the artist uses profanity in the words. It's a shame. Not an issue here in Europe. Next is nakedness. Nakedness is part of culture here. Not in a sexual way, although that happens but in a "It's the human body" way. Because of that it's no big deal. When Marco and I would walk by the magazine stands or by the local photo studio I didn't see him snickering or craining his neck for a second look. I think we had one discussion of why you see it out in the open and that was it. End of story. Believe me if it was a big deal to him, he'd bring it up. And there was no way to hide it from him even if we wanted too.

It's a good life....
Dave

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Marco

My roar scares small children and my waters are dangerous and cold.
I can rip through cities as though they were paper.
I fear no one and nothing.
I simply bat them away as I would a fly.
This is my planet and I will rule it.
Nothing can hurt me and I will not die.
I will always have fresh food and will be teeming with life.
I can never die because I will always come back, for I am the ocean.

By
Marco Jewell



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Patience

I’m a fairly patient guy. In fact I’m really patient. That’s one of the reasons I attract kids and dogs. Either that or I resemble both but I like patience better. Well this week I’m losing my patience. A list:

1. IPod – Could we please get longer headphone cords. Those of us with long torsos struggle. I can’t imagine someone 6’2” with a long torso. Darn Ipod would sit at shoulder length.
2. Stop Staring at me – It’s a bad habit here in Germany. That long stare of the locals. Yesterday while running an entire group just stood their and stared at me from 200 meters out and all the way as I passed them. Not a single hello. Quit would you.
3. Rules – There are so many rules here in Germany that if there isn’t a rule look out. A little explanation. A couple weeks ago a top professional triathlete was hit or hit a car days before the Big Challenge Roth race. As I read about the accident it was clear what happened. The driver had right of way but only he knew this because it’s a fairly unique rule here in Germany. The athlete from NZ made eye contact with the driver and thought that meant she could continue. Wrong! The Driver of the car in his long stare just kept right on going, causing the accident then driving on. Girl left on the street bloody. You see, Germans obey the rules and then without a care in the world plow on. On the other side if there isn’t a rule look out. 3 times this week the dogs and I have had to jump out of the way of an oncoming truck. The same truck each time. On the dirt path where walkers frequent, there are no driving rules. So this driver in his big truck doesn’t care if you are on the path and is not going to slow down or even remotely try to avoid you. Maybe less rules would make happier people that actually have a heart to let a cyclist have the right of way or heavens for bid let the skinny guy with the Gentle Giant and the Mental Midget have some space.
4. Cash – When we first moved to Germany we quickly learned that this is a cash country. Credit cards are rarely used or accepted and many places/people don’t accept the Bank Card. So right now everyone wants our cash and lots of it. Imagine if you will, spending a day with the movers. Yes movers are movers all over the world. They drive big trucks, smoke and can pack a house fast or slow depending on the payment terms. So Mary worked them down on the cost and in they came. 4 hours later they were done and had to be paid. Yes that’s right cash. We paid the Foreman cash 5,200 euros cash. Can you imagine doing that in the US? Well it doesn’t stop there. The way a rental works here is you have a key deposit. It’s 3 times your months rent. When you move out you negotiate the repair/damages. Does the landlord take it out of the key deposit? No, you pay him cash, hand him the keys and then he has the right to hold on to the deposit for 6 months. It’s possible on Friday that I hand the landlord 2500 euros and he holds on to 3000 euros for 6 months. He’s a freaking bank if you ask me.
5. Phones – My former company canceled my company cell phone. No big deal right. Well this also canceled the partner phone we had through the same phone company. Yes we got a deal because of the company phone but it was paid separately out of my account. I went to the phone company retail store to straighten things out and they said I would need to send a letter and it could take weeks. Next option was to open a pay as you go contract. 10 euros gets you in and then pay up front. So I did that and 40 euros lasted 3 days. To make it sting just a bit more I printed a bank statement today and found out I paid for that partner card for July.
6. Recycling – I love it and feel like we as the developed part of the world should do more than our share of recycling. It’s the right thing to do. Now try to move out of your house and time the recycling. Oh my, is it difficult. But this I think I conquered and roughly 90% of the things not going back to the US have been recycled.

These are just a few of the things trying my patience. Just writing them down makes it all feel much better.

It’s a good life….
Dave