Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ramblings of an international traveler

This is the one week in my life.

Saturday - Marathon travel day.
- Who in the world thought this would be a logical booking to replace a canceled flight - San Diego, San Francisco, over night to Chicago, Hong Kong.
- I departed San Diego on Saturday at 7:30pm and arrived in Hong Kong on Monday at 6:00pm.

I spent the week in Guangzhou, China doing my job - Shoes.

 Each time in China, one night is reserved for a Factory Team dinner. There are some who think this should go away from the China culture but I'm a believer it's their way of saying thank you. This is the establishment closest to the factory. I'm not convinced it would pass any inspection in San Diego but it's fairly good. Apparently there is another place in the area that is spicier. I'll bet that's where we go next time. My dinner included, Tofu, Roasted Goose (tough meat), lamb, rice, super spicy veggies, and lots and lots of wine. There is a tradition to toast and when you toast or are toasted you are asked to empty the glass. Great Wall of China Wine. Good times with the factory folks.
 I found this sign hilarious. Much of China is still not 100% westernized. Why would it be? So a toilet in most places is a Squat toilet. You don't sit, you squat. This sign is in the bathroom on the train. It's just kind of funny that you'd be on the squat and then the train hits a big turn and you go slipping.
Traveling by car in China deserves an entire post. I trust my buddy Norman to get us from A to B but if  it was you or me doing the driving no way. Life is in balance every time. This truck was right next to us. That is ply wood stacked way above the wall of the truck bed. As you can see they've devised a way to go higher. There is nothing holding that wood down but gravity. Wood, steel, you name it, it's stacked hauled and delivered.

I ended this week with a workout everyone should give a try.
Solana Beach Boys and Girls Club
Masters 10:00am

They call it cross training. I call it boot camp. Today it looked like this:

800 warm up. Go as easy as you can but there were 50's with descending breaths. On the last one we got one breath for the entire 50.
Then it was Boot Camp
200 Swim - 1 minute of back stroke flutter kick - on the pool deck
4 X 75 as (25 + 10 pushups, 25 + 30 crunches, 25 + 20 lunges)

Totals for the effort
Swim Distance: 2000 yards
Flutter Kick: 2 minutes
Push Ups: 80
Crunches: 240
Lunges: 160

There is a reason why there were only 8 of us doing this workout. It's not easy. Jump in the pool after 10 pushups and it doesn't seem that hard. Jump in after 80 and you can't feel your stroke at all. Good for the body, you bet, good for you mind, you bet.

It's a good life....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Endorphins or Not

New studies show that it may not be the Endorphins after all! Does that mean I need to change the blog name? I'm not sure the mice are the experts just yet. No matter what comes before we will always be FANATICS!

NY Times Well Blogs - Phys Ed

It's a good life...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Where Do You Find the Time?

I am often asked this. Where do you find the time to.......

Get all that stuff done at work
- I do only the important things
- I try not to be great at everything
- I answer email at 10am and 4pm and rarely anytime else. Oh and I do this every working day! Not just the days I'm at my desk in the office.
- I try not to socialize too much.

Find time to eat, sleep run, ride, swim
- I don't watch tv.
- If I do watch anything it's usually on I tunes.
- I don't watch, or read the news. Today my wife told me that Lance Armstrong retired for good. I had no idea and it didn't bother me one bit. Besides my beautiful wife feeding me the news I pick it up on the Radio or through conversation.

I was having a conversation with a coworker the other day about swimming. Virtually everyone I know who swims swims at the Encinitas YMCA. They either swim there with the great coach or like the coworker on their own. He asked why I chose to freeze each morning walking across a cold deck swimming masters at the Solana Beach Boys and Girls Club. Like why didn't you go with the masses. It's simple really. The YMCA Swim practice is at 6:00am. Marco wakes up at 6:00am. The Solana Beach Swim Practice is at 6:30a.m. I don't swim with the 'in" crowd because my "in" crowd is my little family and 20 minutes in the morning with Marco beats any triathlon "in" crowd or great coach in the world.

It's a good life....

Early Birds

Today was not routine. Plans were shot. I was scheduled to fly out of San Diego early to catch a flight to Hong Kong. At 5:00am United called me to tell me the flight our of San Diego was cancelled. I'm showered and ready to go and now have the entire day to think about it. At some point I decided to go to the gym to work out some of my frustration. What I found was an entire subset of fitness enthusiasts I've never seen:

1. Guys well mostly guys showed up 45 minutes early for a spin class. It appears there is a method to getting the best bike or the favored bike position.
2. Nobody under the age of 35 works out at 7:00am on a Saturday.
3. Few if any use the heavy iron. Most are on machines.
4. The true fitness woman doing all the new stuff on balls, balance boards, using cables.
5. The two old guys still playing catch with a ball. This time it was a heavy ball.
6. Honey, sitting on the leg press machine, reading a magazine and pumping your legs for 20 minutes does what?
7. The Go after it Woman on the Elyptical machine doing hard efforts.
8. The I'm too small for this woman on the stair machine literally bouncing up and down, up and down.
9. Guys well mostly guys back and forth from the workout room where the spin class is, strutting their stuff.
10. Me still the skinniest damn guy in the gym even at 7:00am.

It's a good life....

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Right of Spring

We all have a life that shapes us when we are young. What we make of it is up to us. Tom Delonge founding member of Blink 182 and lead singer/song writer for Angels and Airwaves put some good words down about the topic: The Right of Spring

I was locked all day in the summer heat,
In a small brown house in Suburban Street,
With a skateboard and my shit guitar,
I'd dream all day that they would get me far,
My dad would ask me about my grades,
The asshole sports that I never played.
And then I'd ask about the girls he'd date,
Behind our backs when mom would stay up late.
It was near when I turned sixteen, 
Got kicked out of school, and so it seemed
that things were closing in and ready to blow,
My dad moved out about that year or so,
It took an hour to start a punk rock band
To offset my fucked up family land
And as I held my mom would start to cry
I swore ourselves a better life

If I had a chance for another try,
I wouldn’t change a thing
It's made me all of who I am inside
And if I could thank god
That I am here, and that I am alive
And everyday I wake
I tell myself a little harmless lie
The whole wide world is mine

The summers gone, the years have passed,
My friends have changed, a few did last,
The smallest dreams got pushed aside,
The largest ones that changed my life,
And all I wish for was come to pass
From rock and roll, to love and cash
It’s all success if it’s what you need
Do what you like and do it honestly

If I had a chance for another try,
I wouldn’t change a thing
It's made me all of who I am inside
And if I could thank god
That I am here, and that I am alive
And everyday I wake
I tell myself a little harmless lie
The whole wide world is mine

It's a good life...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Gift

Angels and Airwaves -

And now I’ll stop the storm if it rains
I’ll light a path far from here
I’ll make your fear melt away
And the world we know disappear
I’ll stop the storm if it rains
I’ll light a path far from here
I’ll make your fear melt away
And the world we know disappear

It's a good life.....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunset on a Great Week

I woke up Monday morning dreading the coming week. My coach had loaded me up with a big week and I had a mountain of shoe color work to do. The week ended with the above Sunset and an entire week of learning:

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task 
- Victor Frankl - Author Man's Search for Meaning

To Love, Be Loved and Never Stop Learning - Tim Ferris, 4 Hour Workweek

I stopped at a gas station to refill my water bottles. I set my bike up against a railing and went into the store for a Gatorade. When I cam out a long haired, concert t-shirt wearing, smoking skinning guy was checking out my bike:

Dude: How much does that weigh
Me: I don't know probably around 16lbs
Dude: You one of the triathlon guys
Me: Yeah, I guess everyone has to play something, It's what I like to play
Dude: I've got to find a new way to play, I used to go drinking but I even hate drinking now.
Me: There's got to be something out there.
Dude: I've got to find me a job first
Me: Bummer

As I mount my bike and say good by he yells "That thing must be a great Chick Magnet"

It's a good life.....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simply Crazy

I know it's not this simple but I believe in some rather simple things: 
  • Flood yourself with fitness created endorphins daily
  • If it's real food eat it, if it's processed in a box don't. 
  • Spend time outside daily
  • Laugh daily
Or you can do this! 

It's a good life...

Monday, February 7, 2011

What are You Training For?

Recently this is the #1 question I get most often. I think it's probably because recently I've begun to train with other people again. But at least once a week someone asks "What are you Training For?" Like you have to have a reason to go out and push yourself from time to time.
Yesterday I did a race on the coast highway. The race consisted of 4 of us. Two running a 10K and two running a 5K. We were setting a mark for something in the future. The point is while I'm "racing" up and down the coast highway for 40 minutes I pased 250 runners. Were they all training for something? Maybe I should have asked them.
My standard answer to everyone is that I'm training for the rest of my life. To be honest that is the truth. I push myself so that I know I can still push myself. I'm my biggest competitor. I also push myself because when I do I forget all the crap going on around me. Mostly it's people who drive me crazy that cause me to  go hard to forget them. I also push myself because I feel better when I do. So when I say I'm training for the rest of my life it's really true.
Today I did a swim test. 1000 yards for time. I swam 14:04. 6 months ago I swam 14:30. 6 months ago I weighed 10lbs more than I do right now and 6 months ago I could only do 6 total pull ups. Today I can do 12 non stop and then do 12 more. What's the beneift of all of this? You guessed it, the rest of my life...

It's a good life...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Running Shoe Dirt

It's back up and running. I'll post regularly and hopefully give some good insight into running shoes and everything around them. Go to Running Shoe Dirt for all the latest.

It's a good life...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What's in it for me?

I was having a discussion the other day with Alan from the Wolf Studio. I had given him some compression gear to give away at a Clinic and he said he loved giving Zoot product to people not because it was the greatest product but because he believed in doing business with people he liked. Since he knows a good many of us at Zoot he promotes our little brand.
In my business life and in my personal life I think that statement is as solid as I can think of. At Road Runner Sports I was given the opportunity to run a monster shoe business. During that time I did some big business with people I wasn't super fond of and I failed at doing business with people I really liked working with. But the real successful business that lasted a long time was done with people I really liked doing business with. There were guys that were simply hated in the industry at large that I really liked working with and we did some huge business together. I don't think I ever played favorites during that time but I know that I had a great deal more interaction with those people I liked and who liked me and somehow or another the business grew.
The same is true in my personal life. I'd rather pay full retail price to someone I like working with rather than go save a few dollars at the place I don't know or don't really like. I actually think that mentality takes most people some getting used to. Take for instance Gordon at Velo Hanger. I work in the triathlon industry and the product I'm in charge of shows up in a number of retail doors. I got a new bike last year through a pro deal and took it into a local bike shop that we deal with as a company. Fully willing to pay full price to get it built. The bike sat in that shop for months not getting touched. When if finally did get touched it was done completely wrong. It's now been almost a year since it arrived and I've ridden it twice. The other week I took it to Gordon. He used to work at a different shop but now is on his own doing his own thing. He built my bike right, dialed it in correctly and I paid him more than he asked. It was worth every penny I paid him to get the bike done right.

So yes, I joyfully agree that I'd rather do business with people I like. Because what's in it for me is a life of liking doing business.


There are a few things changing with this blog as well as the other two I sometimes write in. The change will come slowly so don't sit on pins and needles. First up I opened up a Facebook page for Endorphin Fanatics. If you like what I write, become a fan. For the first few weeks I'm simply going to post questions  on things I notice. Any answers may lead to future writing or research.

I sometimes look at the statistics on this blog and I'm blown away at the number of page views every month. I thank you all for reading it.

It's a good life....

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Did he really say that?

In the current issue of Runner's World, the one with the New 2011 shoe review in it has a two page spread on a new book by Dean Karnazes. According to the article the following quotes are from his new book Run. If the quotes really represent what's in the book, I've read it already. More times than I'd like to admit. But I'll hold judgement because maybe the article was 4 pages long and got edited down to this set of quotes. So in that case it's just bad editing on the magazine's part because I've already read this book. Here are the quotes and a few words about each one:

"Never, under any circumstances, argue with a woman. She is always right." - Seriously women of the world is that what you want?

"Regardless of how distant your dreams may seem, every second counts" - I told you I read that!

"When all else fails, start running"

"Endurance sports either strengthen a relationship or destroy it" - That's the biggest copout in endurance sports. You either strengthen your relationships or you destroy them.

It's a good life....