Friday, June 20, 2014

Five for Friday: Running Faster

The Conquest (Hoka One One) is amazing. It's a fast shoe. It has a lot of spring to it - Forum Post

Are shoes fast or runners fast? The one thing I always say talking about Zoot shoes is we want them to FEEL fast. There is a huge difference in feeling fast and being fast. One is a state of mind the other is a true number against a clock. There is no fast shoe without a fast runner. 

I don't talk about my PR's. To me they are mine and how I judge myself. I know how fast I once ran and I know how fast I run today. They are different. The current fast is not close to the old fast but the way to both is close to the same. How to get there. 

  1. Run Often - It's the same as my view on running form. You have to run often to improve efficiency and strength which are keys to running fast. Right now I'm running every day. My longest run is one hour and my shortest is 20 minutes. All buy one of the runs has a purpose. 20 minutes is reserved to recover. Enough to get the energy from running but not enough to do any damage. 
  2. Build strength first and keep it strong - The most common way to build strength is hill repeats which work really well early season to make you hard. I walk away from hill repeats once I start racing and incorporate on hilly run each week and a couple days of leg work in our park. (Uphill bounding, frog jumps, squat jumps to one leg and more) 
  3. Rule for Speed is 80/20. 80% easy (Old term LSD- Long Slow Distance) 20% Quality. My quality this summer is racing. Over the next 30 days I have 3 races two triathlon and one road running. I will build run speed by racing often. I may throw in an Ultra at the end of the year and If I do that my running will change. Racing a 10K hard will not really help me in running and ultra "Fast". 
  4. Rest - This is a no brainer but it's as important as any training. If you can't recover from your running, you are only doing damage. Most will say you can only recover while sleeping so get good quality sleep. Personally I go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up with the sun. Right now that's getting up at 5am. I don't use an alarm. 
  5. Consistency - This and #1 are tied together. Run often over time. To stay consistent you have to stay injury free and how I do that is posted all over this blog. Consistency is also how my friend Craig runs. So consistent is he that it's now 9+ years of running one hour a day. He's a really fast runner. 
It's a good life…..

Friday, June 13, 2014

Five for Friday: Five Decades

Tomorrow June 14 is the start of Decade #6. At this point I'm supposed to be full of wisdom. I'm not sure if that's true but if the 6th is anything like the last 5 it will be an amazing ride. Here are 5 things that count over the last 5 decades.

  1. Appreciation for what I was given - I was born in Bogota, Colombia and my first real memories are from Brazil. There I learned what poor looks like and it was eye opening. I've tried to never take my life for granted and I'm certainly never looked down on the poor. In fact just the opposite. I look up to anyone who works as hard as they do for so little. Just watching a man pushing a load of discarded wood and cardboard up a mountain road to use for shelter is something I will never forget. 
  2. Running - I started running when I was 17 because my brother ran and because my girlfriend ran. Neither continued one by choice and one by accident. Who knows where I would be today if neither of them were in my life at that time. Maybe I would have found running on my own but probably not. 
  3. Born in Kona, Raised in California! That's the Zoot brand mantra and it's also what happened during my 3rd decade. I went form telling my roommates that those people (Ironman People) are fucking crazy to actually doing the race 2 years later. That raced changed me. To set a goal, reach it and the go beyond in on a Saturday in October allowed me to set my sights further. I moved to California to chase that goal. 
  4. Mary and I got married when I was 29. We decided to wait at least 5 years to think about children. When we decided I was not sure I was ready and then Mary got pregnant. I would go back and maybe change a great deal in my life. I would not change this ever. Being a father is the most challenging thing in my life. It was challenging the day he was born and it still is today. I love it. It's much more rewarding than anything ever. 
  5. So much happened in the last 10 years it's difficult to pinpoint one thing. The most devastating was the passing of my father. The greatest experience was moving to Germany. 
Over the next 10 years our son will grow up and create a life of his own. How we get there is any guess right now but it's going to be a blast telling the story 10 years from now. 

It's a good life….

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Spartan Up and Diet Cults

I've been reading quite a bit recently. Trying to read one book a week. At least the last two weeks I've been on track. Both of the books I read came from Podcasts I listened to. I know one of the Authors and know the events of the other. 

 I heard an interview with Joe De Sena and really liked what I heard. He's the co-creator of the Spartan Race series. It's really cool how it got started. Joe was working on Wall Street, didn't like how he felt and started running. He then turned to Triathlon which turned to Ironman which turned to adventure racing. When that wasn't enough he created his own crazy events. Through all of this he developed a philosophy about life. Boil his story down success comes from great purpose, great consistency and great habits. This man does 300 Burpees to start his day and in the Spartan Race if you can't do one of the obstacles you have to substitute 30 burpees. I can do 30 right now and I'm a long way from 300. Maybe this week I'll do 31. This is a fast read and it's full of good motivation.

There is one thing that I want to call out. I only call it out because it's repeated in an article in the recent Outside Magazine. The statement is that Spartan Race has 650,000 annual entrants spread over 35 Events. That's just over 11,000 per event. If this were true it would be setting records for race series. I did some counting on the Spartan Website. If you search results you get really easy view of total entrants. On the website they have results for 35 events.  Some of those events are multiple races on the same weekend in the same city. There are a handful of those multiples that have more than 11,000 entrants. There isn't a single event that has 11,000 entrants. In total over the 35 events there are just over 169,000 finishers. Again that is a really big number and very successful for such a young series. But it in fact is not 650,000 and even if it is only a subset of the year, it's at least 1/2 of the year which still doesn't add up to 650,000. I blame Outside Magazine for not checking facts.
Clearly the US and even world markets are looking for something other than running or gym workouts. Spartan Racing, Cross Fit and others like this are growing and that's great for the overall fitness of the world.

I met Matt Fitzgerald the author of Diet Cults years ago when I was working for adidas in Germany. That's right he lived in San Diego working for the Competitor Group and I lived in Germany at the time and that's when we met. I really like his new book Diet Cults. It's a no nonsense historical view of our relationship with food. As you may or may not know there is an assault on the Potato. Dr. Atkins started it and many more have taken up charge. One of my favorite quotes in the book that really explains the gist of this book goes something like this "Imagine telling the Irishman who is dying of starvation because of the Potato Famine, hey those potatoes aren't really good for you anyway".
As you know I travel frequently. What I've noticed is the American diet of fast food is invading the rest of the world. Rarely do you see a fat Chinese unless of course they are sitting at KFC. The same goes for Europe where in Germany people eat a hearty breakfast of cold cuts, muesli and bread. Often you see people eating a sandwich while walking from place to place for lunch. Dinner is meat and potatoes and of course Beer. Dr. Atkins didn't quite make it to Germany I guess. Or if he did they laughed him off.

My point is we Americans are not sensible. We are overly obsessed with food. We eat too much and we jump on fads. To be truthful I'm Gluten free not because of any reason other than my wife Mary. She had major issues with her gallbladder at around the time our son Marco was born. The medical community said "we have a fix, we'll remove the gallbladder". We declined and went the holistic approach. A 6 week test for Gluten sensitivity came up positive. She's been off gluten since then and her troubles have gone away. By the way her heritage is Russian Jew and if you search Gluten sensitivity and Celiac you'll find this culture to be heavily at risk.  So it's easier for me since I do the shopping to simply shop and eat gluten free. I do that everywhere but Germany where of course I dive into the great bread at breakfast.

Diet Cults is a quick read and quite entertaining. Just the history of where food comes from is worth the read.

It's a good life….. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Recognizing Stress

4 weeks of intense focus. 2 trips to Germany. 2 Sales Meetings. Blowing up a shoe and starting over. Stress building to an all time high. The result of all this was a stiff lower back which pulled my hamstrings so tight I could not run. More stress!

Friday night I unplugged. No email, No Social Media No Phone from Friday at 5pm until Monday at 6am. I slept 25 hours over the weekend into Monday.

Results: I ran relatively pain free (my hamstrings were not as tight) on Sunday.

I highly suggest tech free weekend from time to time. They work every time for me. I also suggest sleeping. It's not the most fun thing in life but it sure allows for fun things to happen when your head becomes fully engaged again.

It's a good life….

Friday, June 6, 2014

Five For Friday: Five Tips to Raising a Son

As our son turns sixteen in the next month or so I thought it would be good to put some time into 5 things I've learned in raising him.

  1. Be consisten with your values - Since day #1 we have been consistent with teaching him not through force but through example what we value. He's a great example of what we hold dear. 
  2. Listen intently to his stories - His perception is amazing. He often is trying to tell you his stories as he is simply trying to get you to engage. He can change your mood and thought process through this. It's quite magical when you recognize this. 
  3. Let him choose - We introduced him to a great deal when he was young and then we let him choose his path. To my amazement he chose running. 
  4. Be Stern - There is no need to be easy with him. As long as you regularly show love and he feels that love, he actually appreciates course correction from time to time. I believe course correction without love is a disaster. 
  5. Risk - Boys need to do things that feel risky. The more you show you are willing to do the same thing, the more he will be comfortable with risk. 
It's a good life…..

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Running Form Natural or Taught?

This past Sunday I witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly of running form. The good might be the two most beautiful runners of our time. The bad and ugly from a guy who has run 14 marathons winning 11 of them.

First the good. I was at the Rock n Roll Marathon San Diego waiting for my wife (with "perfect" form meaning it's perfect for her) to finish. I got the chance to see the the front of the race (1/2 marathon) finish. When I saw Birhane Dibada and Rita Jeptoo turn on to the finishing stretch my mouth dropped.

The two women were running side by side. Before they came by it was man after man. With the men there was a force and a mess about their form. These two women show up and running quieted down. Their form was flawless. Not a single movement out of place. Perfect arm swing, perfect flow with not even a hint of bounce. They were sprinting all out and you would never know it. They look the same sprinting as they do at mile 1. Rita is the most feared runner right now. She ran 2:18:47 at Boston in April. 

When I returned home I found myself watching the Stockholm Marathon and again my jaw dropped. This time however was because Bitok Benjamine was pulling away in the final 10K of the marathon to win. When he runs he looks like he's about to fall over. He leans so far forward it's looks painful. His chin sticks out and his foot plant is terrible. Yet he is running fast and winning. 

That's Benjamine in blue at the Stockholm Marathon

So I started to wonder if anyone ever taught them running form. Then I questioned what would happen if somebody tried to teach Benjamine proper running form. We would tell him to stand upright with only a slight lean. We'd probably tell him to dip his chin and we'd surely tell him to shorten his stride. I guarantee he would run slower too.

As you know most African runners didn't start as runners. They started as kids running to school and back. In fact if you look at Benjamine you get the feeling he was often late to school. My point is their form was developed long before they started to formerly train. Their form has become very efficient and I say that because they win often. Their form works because they run often. I've said this so many times and I can't say it enough. If you want to develop perfect running form for you, run as often as you can. The more you run, the more efficient you will become and don't let anyone tell you how to properly run. There is no single best way.

It's a good life....

Monday, June 2, 2014

No Taste, No Energy Hit the Reset Button

I landed back home on Wednesday of last week in a wreck. Two trips to Germany and two sales meetings later this was my state:

  1.  8 pm was the most I could get out of my body. By 8:30 I was very crabby. 
  2. No Taste - Since I got back from Germany the first time I couldn't taste anything. Or better yet I couldn't enjoy the taste of anything. Nothing at all. 
  3. Water - The more I drank the more I felt dehydrated. 
  4. Soreness - Like I haven't felt in a long time. Sore back, tight legs, even my head was sore. 
  5. No Energy - Even when I was awake I was not in good form. 
So what do I do when it comes to this? 

  1. Sunday Massage - Even he felt my pain at points. 
  2. Fasted - I had a small light dinner Saturday and had lunch Sunday afternoon. Nothing in between. 
  3. Ice Cold Water - Normally I drink room temperature but on this day it was Ice Cold. 
  4. A standard in the Jewell house for dinner. 
They say it takes 1 day for every hour of time change. I did 9 hours of time change twice in two and half weeks. Nothing was working the way it should. As the Massage Therapist said "Your organs shut down, your fluid is all whacked and your brain has no idea what time it is" 

If I didn't stop and reload with the 4 steps above I'd be in this state of fog for at least another 9 days or so. This reload is my way to fast track the recovery of all these trips. 

Now don't think for a minute that these trips are worthless. 

Monday - I road for 2 hours with two former European Professional Riders - It was good hard fun. 
Tuesday - I ran with my buddy for exactly 1 hour on a path every runner in the world would kill to run on. It wasn't this awe inspiring beautiful path but it was peaceful always in the shade and flat. 

It's a good life….