Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Trip - China

By far the best trip of 2011 was the family trip to China. You know it leaves an impression when our 13 year olds says "I want to go back". Some tips if you are planning to go: 

1. Skip the Tourist version of the Great Wall and head out to the sections that are still in original form. We found a guide in the back of a hotel magazine and spent 5 hours on the wall without seeing another person. Simply the best day of 2011. 
2. Travel Overnight by Train. - The entire experience from the train stations to the actual ride was well worth it. 
3. Visit cities other than the big ones. I'm lucky enough to have visited a huge swatch of the country and all though the big cities are fun, there is lot's of adventure throughout the country. 
4. Eat from one of the local street stalls. As Mary says, if it's hot it won't kill you. The point is it's cheap and tasty. Remember I said local and not tourist. Avoid the tourist stalls. As always overpriced and bland or just plain stupid - Snake on a stick for example. 
5. Go to China - Well first get to know your own country first, but after that go to China. You have grown up with a view of China in your head. A trip there will alter that view forever. And I mean in a really positive way. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Surprise Trip of 2011

There is no doubt the highlight surprise trip of the year was Annecy, France. My fault for not doing much research but it was a welcome surprise. Coming directly off the the disaster that was Ironman St George, we rolled into old world beauty. A lake buffeted by the Alps. A quaint French town with outdoor cafe's for sunning. I skipped the provided hotel lunch every day and walked into the city square for a fresh sandwich. Once you've experienced on of these you will never eat at Subway again. And then there were the morning runs. I could barely keep up with the boys. My legs were dead. But at the same time I couldn't miss the opportunity to run along the lake and to have the company of the international crew. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hamburg Germany the year in pictures

One of the many trips this year was to Hamburg Germany to witness the WCS Hamburg Triathlon. A fun city made more exciting by hard racing and estimated 300,000 spectators. Most triathlons in the US occur in some far off local away from the big city. City permits and traffic control make it very difficult to execute. In Europe it's quite different. The cities welcome the events and for this one in particular the city of Hamburg is shut down. Streets are cleared and racing happens. The Transition for this race is literally the city square. If you want to experience triathlon in a different way, try Hamburg. You get to race and enjoy a classic European city. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Favorite Email Button

I've had many conversations about email recently. I try very carefully to leave my inbox empty at the end of a "work" day. It doesn't always work especially when I travel but it's a regular thing when I'm at the home office. So how do I do it. 

1. Answer the email. 
2. File it under - senders name, temporary or hot topic. 
3. Use my favorite button of all time Delete

My feeling is that the favorite button for most in the work world is CC. The American mentality is to save every email ever received and CC everyone. In other words Cover My Ass. This system does only one thing, clog up your email. Next time you think CC think don't. Next time you think "I should file this and you don't know where it should go, hit delete." You will learn to love my favorite button. 

And if you happen to Delete a really, really important email I can almost guarantee it will either come back to you in a CC or you can simply ask the person you are working with, they saved it to cover their ass. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Who are you?

The way you answer that question tells quite a bunch about you. If you asked me that right now I would define myself by what I do for a living. I sure don't want that to define me in the future. Sure I love what I do but I'm not sure "I'm the shoe guy" or "Oh yeah, he was that shoe guy" is the way I want to be defined.

Below, Christmas Eve at the beach. Brought to you by the remarkable beauty that is the California Coast and by the unquestioned enthusiasm of being a 13 year old kid.

Friday, December 23, 2011

East Side

Last week the day after my arrival from China we hopped in the car and drove to Reno, NV. We went there to visit with Michelle and her family. Michelle and Mary go back more than 20 years. Her son Nolan and Marco have grown up together. Not physically of course but they have spent so much time together that the time apart does not seem like anything as soon as they are together. 

We drove up through the most fertile farm land in the world in Central California. On the way back we drove down US Highway 395 along the East side of the Sierras. If you ever get a chance make that drive. It is one of the more beautiful drives I've ever done.  Around every corner in the road it's a postcard picture. From high country desert, to the tallest peak in the continental USA. It's just stunning. 

 The East Side

 The San Gabriel Mountains in the distance
 Sunset over the desert. Taken while driving. More pole than Sunset. 

 Not another car ride!
 Don't take my picture. 
It's a long drive and much better when there are two to share the load. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back Home

Sunset Over Guangzhou, China

26 hours of flight
10 hours of driving
7 hours on a train

- a Starbucks at the Hotel. 
- Metro Station at the Hotel
- being part of the work day in a major Asian city. 
- Working with people who share your passion for running shoes
-Norman, Mike, Thomson, Henry, George, Charles, Kelly - One day I'll try to write their Chinese name. 
- Coming home to Cardiff by the Sea
-Home with Mary, Marco and Scout

The highlights of my week.  

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ready to Fly

They are lined up and ready to fly. One of them is taking me to Hong Kong.

Reinvention the art of learning from what you know and not always chasing

I think there is a time in everyone's life where we chase. Chase a better life, chase a better body, chase a better job...... Maybe it's just me but I doubt it.

The point is that sometimes you already know what's best and chasing becomes futile. Take for instance the sport I play in. I think for 4-5 years I've been chasing. Reading what others are doing and thinking that maybe that's best for me. Hiring a coach and executing the workouts without putting experience into it to me, is a form of chasing. The coach obviously knows right....Well the last 4 weeks I put in a block of work that wasn't chasing. It was simply doing what I've known all along.
1. Work on my weakness - In order Swimming, Cycling and Strength.
2. Run consistently at a pace that doesn't kill me. Actually a pace where when I'm done, I feel like I could go another 30 minutes.
3. Back off chasing on the web.

The results
1. I swam a 400 IM last week. Comfortably.
2. I am stronger today than I was in May of last year.
3. I like riding my bike.
4. My 20 minute test run came down 1 minute per mile. That's significant.

Then today I read this from Tim Ferris. Essentially this is what Tim writes about this week.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's the shoes

Yesterday I saw an athlete wearing the above shoes. I knew that she was dealing with some foot injuries so I asked "How are those shoes working for you?" She said they were working great and that she had no foot pain running in them. Later on I dug some more. 

1. What brought her to Hoka - A friend suggested them. 
2. What does she like about them - Well they are really soft and I know that's not supposed to be good but I like them. 
3. How about the feel when you are running - "Well normally I like the low profile lightweight shoes where I can feel the ground but with my foot pain these seem to work better" 
4. You can't feel the ground in those can you - "No I can't" 

Finally she said "I'm going to keep using them until my foot gets better". 

Here's are my points in all of this: 
1. She didn't mention once that she really appreciated the Zero Drop midsole. Guess what, she had no idea that these are Zero Drop. Why does that matter? The entire talk about Drop is wrong. That's another hot topic for later. 
2. She generally likes the Low Profile lightweight shoes. Her comment after that "I always get injured". And then after that "These shoes feel better". If that isn't a statement of too much of one thing will hurt you, than what is? 
3. This girl is a professional athlete. It's how she pays the bills. She has access to anything and everything and yet she clearly doesn't know what works for her feet and what doesn't. This is exactly why there will never be one shoe, one theory or one magic pill that will solve the #1 problem with running. The only way to solve injuries in running is to be consistent in your running and don't do stupid things that will hurt you. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Today could very well be the best day of your life so prepare for the best. - Unkown

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Adapt to your Surroundings

Failure is an Event not a person. Yesterday ended last night - Zig Zigglar

Often I struggle with people I work with. Specifically what I know about shoes, how to make them and then how to get a business going within a company that is very conservative in nature and very methodical. Sometimes more often then I'd like to admit I get frustrated with this. It came to me today after talking with a like minded individual, that we need to adapt to our surroundings. My friend has adapted because he's the lone wolf in the huge hairy ball of a building. So what does this mean exactly.

The people I work with think in Spread Sheets. They are trained engineers and everything is a project plan.  I on the other hand am a real world believer. That running isn't done in a lab it's done on the streets, trails and tracks. The only calendar I keep is the one I write down for Mary and the one in my head. I've never found a Spreadsheet I like. But here is where I need to adapt. For although I don't like them, I can speak, think and communicate in spreadsheet form. And if that's how it has to get done to do what I need to do then that's how it's got to be. There are those who can adapt and those that can't. Those that can't usually don't last very long. I plan on lasting so long that the table will turn and free thinking, getting stuff done quickly and all else

It's a good life....

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Last night we took Marco and a friend to see The other F word. It's a movie about a bunch of Punk Rockers who have lived long enough to become fathers and tell their stories about it. The Punk Rocker who chooses to be a father is a fairly extreme example.  Every man who fathers a child has to make the choice. It's a very difficult choice to make but as one of the Rockers said last night, once you make it there is nothing better. Being a good father is everything to me. I hope more make the same choice I made.

It's a good life....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2012 Goals

Going with Simplicity in 2012. This is what I'll work on every day.

1. Be a great husband - Only one person can tell me this.
2. Be a great father - Only one ok maybe two can tell me this.
3. Be a stronger person socially, spiritually and mentally - Everyone can weigh in on this.
4. Spend Dramatically less than I make and save the rest - The Bank will tell me this one. Oh and of course Mary has a say too.
5. 100,000 page views on this blog - You the reader will help out on this. At this point any advice or comments are worth it. What do you like, what don't you like, what should I write more of, what should I stop writing about.

It's a good life....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Out and about

This past week I was in NYC for the NYC Marathon. I did many things around the race like working the expo but departed the night before the race. One day I should stay and do it. From there it was off to Belgium for the Zoot European Sales meeting. 

My View at the NYC Marathon most every day. How the face of running has changed. 

 The way into town. Spa Belgium. 
 Can't see the bottom from the top. It's a big drop. 
 Typical train station in small town Europe. 
 City Center Brussels. 
 Overnight flight. 3 hour train ride. I'm starving and this is the first meal I've had since NYC 20 hours ago. The menu said Fillet Americana. I should have known it was a French Joke. Raw hamburger meat, with a raw egg to put on top. It was actually very tasty.

The reason for the travels. I wonder what that is?

It's a good life....

Monday, October 24, 2011


Last night we learned again that our #1 priority is the health and happiness of our son. I write this as he is out running with his teammates. He has a matching pink hair band on his noggin. It matches the hair band worn by one of the adorable teammates. Jr. High!

It's a good life...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Random Thinking on Age and things

1. I find out that the mom of our house guest is 47 years old. He's 28. I'm 47.
2. Marco tells me I'm safe until I'm 50. Once I'm 50 I'll be considered old.
3. A "spam" email I received - 50+ (age of course)  matches for singles

I don't feel 47 but I'm not sure how a 47 year old is supposed to feel.

I wear shorts and a t-shirt to work every day.

Lane 3 at masters is all women except for me. Either I'm the lucky guy, the "I'm ok with this guy" or I need to move up to lane 2.

I think I only kept up with baseball because of my Dad. Sure I can tell you who's in the World Series but I can't tell you much else. I do however know that the All Blacks won the World Rugby Championship.

My Friday Lunch ride was so fun, I've decided to make it a regular event. Not because I rode at lunch but because I rode, at lunch then rode back to the office.

It's a good life...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

5 things I learned today

  1. I took 1 week off of running. It felt great to not do anything. It felt even better to be running again today. 
  2. It's good to have people with different opinions on your team. I just wish they would all agree to mine:)
  3. Larabar Sucks - 15-20% smaller bar same price. 
  4. I have to agree with one of the commentators tonight. The winner of the Republican Debate tonight was President Obama. My gosh if they continue to cat fight like that the stand no chance of winning. 
  5. Scout the wonder dog is on antibiotics right now for this nasty growth (which will be removed) on her back. Each morning I call her over for her pill. Each morning she acts as if I'm going to torcher her. She comes to me with her tail between her legs, her ears down and her sad face on. I open her mouth and put a huge helping of Peanut Butter - pill included into her mouth.  Then she walks off wagging her tail like she got away with something.  I think she's playing me. 
It's a good life....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Do we take our life for granted?

We made the decision 13 years ago to have a small family. Our goal in doing so was to give our one child a life that maybe we didn't have or one that we simply felt he deserved. A big part of that life is shaped by how Mary and I grew up. It's not chance we found each other. She the teacher with the big heart for all things Latin America. Her second language, her choice of work place and her choice of travel destinations. Me, born in Bogota, Colombia, living in Sao Paulo, Brazil learning what poor looks like. If you think you are poor just search, Favela.

Through the 13 years we hosted two exchanges students one from Portugal and one from Colombia. We've Traveled to Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, me to Brazil, Argentina and Mary to Cuba. It is Cuba where this story starts.

Last week we began hosting a Cuban defector. He made his way to the border of the USA, walked into the immigration office, asked for Political Asylum and it was granted. I am withholding his name and pictures to protect his family still in Cuba. With that I give you some thoughts/statements from our guest. This his first trip out of Cuba in his lifetime.

  • Oh my that's the first time I've ever seen this - A grill with steak on it. 
  • Nobody here talks about Cuba - We're told that it's all you talk about. 
  • It's so nice to see you take the time to sit at the dinner table together - We are told that you don't have time to spend time with your family, you work all the time. 
  • At Target - oh my god, it's so big! 
  • Is everything on this menue available right now - looking at the menue board on his first trip to McDonald's. 
  • Watching me prepare my lunch for the week - it will be ok at your office, nobody will steal it? 
  • Today being his first day out and about in San Diego - Public transportation the entire way - I'm scared. 
  • He's been to 3 cross country races in just over a week. 
  • He sleeps in our game room. The game room that Marco gave up for our guest. The game room Marco gives up with his heart and a smile on his face. 
We take the freedom we have to do whatever we want as our given right. We know nothing different. It's not until we have experiences like this do we learn that we've got it really good. 9% unemployment is horrible but it's better than fearing that someone is always watching you, that the enemy is 90 miles away and talking about you all the time. It's better than 1 chicken breast shared between 3 people for dinner. It's better than being told what kind of windows you can have on your house. 

It's a good life...