Sunday, December 30, 2007

The New Year

This picture was taken in the Volcano National Park on the Island of Lanzarote Spain. What an enchanting place.

I have spent a great deal of the time the last few weeks on reflection. It had nothing to do with the new year and everything to do with being worn out from a long sustained effort of living and working here in Germany. That sustained effort was starting to show an ugly side of me that needed fixing. I try to be simple with my life and if I keep four things in balance I am a fairly happy guy. Those four are Family, Financial, Work, Spiritual. What I found out in my reflection is that I was worn out from Work taking over. Yes of course the move to Germany was because of work but it became way too much. In fact I became work and work became me. My running friends and my work friends became the same friends. My work day attire (because you can do this in my company) became the same thing as my weekend attire. My phone is a work phone. Our car because it's a company car is branded by work. When I drop our son off at school I run into the people I work with. Let's not forget the travel. I love it but except for the trip last week, all the travel this year (Something like 18 plane rides of over 5 hours plus a bunch of short trips) revolved around work. Most if not all of this can be altered to make sure work is in balance with the other three. Here are some things I've done or will do:

1. Work attire from now on involves a shirt with a collar. Big deal right!

2. Spiritual - Running/Cycling/swimming partners will become German. I might become faster training with them anyway.

3. Family - Mary, Marco and I will travel to see this part of the world next year. This includes three races I've already signed up for.

4. Financial - Once a month, Mary and I will sit down and go over all of our financial status and decide what needs to be done.

One thing I do know this year, we are not moving.

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Isn't vacation nice. Today is day 5 of a 17 day break from work for me. Part of it was forced because I had too much vacation and the other part is forced because the company is closed between Christmas and New Year's. The picture above is a reminder of why vacation is nice. For the last month it has been wet. For the most part it rained almost every day of the last month. Some of the rain was total downpour or blowing stinging cold or simply a steady spitting rain. The picture is of my Silver (yes it is really Silver) bike after just two days of commuting to work. The mud is easy to avoid in the daylight ride to work but impossible to avoid at night in the dark. But I'm not complaining. After watching An Inconvenient Truth the other night with my lovely wife, I am determined to do my part to save this planet we live in. If a bit of suffering in the cold wet weather helps out, I'll manage. I really suggest if you haven't seen the movie, watch it. It's sobering .

Of course now that I'm on vacation the weather has turned beautiful. The mornings are crisp and cold and the afternoons are sunny. It's that winter sun that stays low in the sky but feels so good on the face. All my running this week has been in the wide open to get as much sun as possible. Even if those runs are in tights, a jacket a hat and gloves. The sun still feels good.

I've spent the last couple days reflecting on what's going well and what needs improvement. I'll spend the next few posts talking about what needs work but for now I'll simply celebrate all that is good:

- I am married to an amazing woman. She put her career on hold and has assimilated into Germany better than anyone I know. She has more Friends than you can imagine. A great deal of them native German and that's a really hard code to crack.

- Marco is like no other kid. He brings his heart every time. He is the first to bring comfort, the first to tell you good job and can play a mean game of German Monopoly.

- We realized one of our dreams to live in another country

- The three members of the family are learning another language

- We are making new friends that could last a lifetime

-We are taking our first true trip as a family next week to the Canary Islands

- Neptune is still alive and active.

- Scout gets me out the door running even when I don't feel like it.

- Winter really isn't that bad!

- adidas running is doing really well. We have surpassed our goals this year and are way ahead of the goals in 2008. This will help us hit the goals for 2010.

- Pulling out the end of the year, I'm on track to hit 100 runs in 100 days and really starting to feel good about it.

It's a good life....


Sunday, December 9, 2007


Those of you who know me well know that I am constantly inspired by others. I call them my heroes. I can be inspired by all kinds and usually they are not super famous people you see on t.v. but just ordinary good people doing great things. The two guys pictured above are my current heroes. They just completed the Ultraman Triathlon on the Big Island of Hawaii. On the left is Tim Sheeper. Tim and I shared a house many years ago in Leucadia California. He and I raced our first Ironman together. I should say we trained for it together and he kicked my rear end on race day. Tim is now based in the Bay Area and is head coach and founder of a highly successful program ( Tim is one of the good guys of the sport of triathlon. He's been in the sport a long time and has given back in so many ways. His athletes rave about his coaching. I had always known Tim the athlete and Tim the roommate but a couple years ago I witnessed Tim the coach. He just has a way as most great coaches do of getting you to believe in yourself. He's a great coach and the success of his business is proof.

Mike Rouse on the right is a gift to humanity. I don't know a person that doesn't look to Mike as a model for their own life. Mike brings passion to life every day. Just being around him makes your day better. I've known Mike for almost 10 years now. He is kind of a nut when it comes to events. He once traveled the world as a professional golfer and a series of events turned him into an ultra marathoner. You don't find that combination often. Mike has turned his passion for running into a life where he now directs the marketing of running footwear for Zoot( He just brings that passion with him to the office and I'm sure the recent success of Zoot footwear has a great deal to do with him.

The Ultraman is an insane race. Day #1 is 6.2 mile swim and a 90 mile bike. Day #2 is 171 miles on the bike. Day #3 is a double Marathon on the famed Queen K Highway. Tim pushed the front of the race all three days. For a 44 year old guy in a sport where younger guys rule, Tim made the younger guys hurt. He finished 3rd overall. The guy who finished 2nd had to dig really deep on the last day to pass Tim. Mike finished the race and that's just an amazing task in itself. Something like 33 people started the race and 29 finished. By the way, it was the 3rd year in a row Mike has completed this race.

I am really glad I know these two guys. I'm sure they will find ways in the future to inspire me.

100 runs in 100 days

Well I made it through the first week. I am taking it rather conservatively so I'm 2 runs behind schedule. I have a plan to make up those two runs and I also have a plan in Late January to take most of one week off. For the next few weeks I plan to work into 7 runs in 7 days. Tomorrow is one of those days with a run in the morning and then a run home from work.

It's a good life...


Sunday, December 2, 2007

100 Runs in 100 Days

The above picture is of Scout the Dog. This is her everyday activity. She lays around like most dogs concerving her energy for what might come. That thing that might come for Scout is a run through the woods with me. Today it was 70 minutes of hills, mud and more hills. Scout was covered in mud. She went out at 65 lbs and came back at 70lbs. She's a great running partner. She runs by my side or just in front for most of the run. She stops at all cross roads or in this case cross trails. She listens like no dog I know. She will stop on a dime if I yell STOP! But you make think she's out on the trails to spend time with me. No, it's all about cats, rabbits and deer. Her head is always up and looking around. We can be trotting along at a comfortable pace for 40 minutes but if one of those animals should appear within 100 yards Scout is gone. She takes off at a dead sprint and rarely gives up. The only thing that stops her is seeing me veer down a different path. It's actually the most entertaining part of our runs. She is so fast and at times gets ahead of herself, misses a key jump, tumbles and then gets right back in stride. I always have to slow down because I'm laughing so much.

Our typical week is roughly 3 runs together. A short one on Tuesday, a longer one on Thursday and then a long run on Sunday. Well, if you read the title, things are about to change. I took the 100 in 100 challenge on The goal is 100 runs in 100 days. A run must be 30 minutes. My plan is to do as many of them as I can with Scout. We will not run every day so that means on some days we'll have to do doubles. The real goal here is to get our rear ends in shape.

I know, those of you reading this think I'm already in shape. But there is a difference to me and I haven't been there since I ran the Ridgecrest 50K last December. So if anyone would like to join me in this quest to get in shape it's never to late to start. If you are a runner, 30 minutes a day can't hurt you and it surely can help. If you are walking, the same is true. 30 minutes a day should be a reachable goal.

The challenge I took started yesterday December 1st. I'm a day behind with a plan to make it up. If you are to the challenge join in.

It's a good life....


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

He's Just a Guy!

Finally back from from all the travels. The last trip was at the same time awesome and frustrating. Awesome because I was back in the first city I called home, Sao Paulo, Brazil and frustrating because it took 48 hours of flying, pucking, watching a guy snort cocaine, no sleep, train riding and did I say pucking trip home. There I'm done with that horrible trip home. More on Sao Paulo to come.

While in Sao Paulo I was talking to a co-worker who had to come here to Germany and present to the president of our company. He said he was nervous about the presentation. My first comment to him was "He's just a guy". That one statement seemed to stick with me the rest of the trip and so I thought I'd write about it.

I used to be one of these people I'm about to talk about. You have a presentation you have to give, to your boss, the president of the company, 400 people you don't know or even the president of the USA. The thought of actually standing there doing the presentation is nerve wracking. You think, what if he or she asks too many questions. What if they ask no question. What happens if I make a mistake. What happens if my information is wrong. What if he or she yells at me. The list goes on....The thought of presenting to this person is worse than actually preparing presentation.

I worked for this guy that was all this and more. He would ask a ton of questions or he would ask none. He would point out mistakes. He would get mad. He would sometimes yell and even sometimes just get so frustrated he would walk out of the room. It was this guy that taught me how to say "He's just a guy".

And this is what he taught me:
1. Always treat your boss, the president, 400 people in an audience or the president of the USA like they are the most important people that day.
2. Be confident that you are the expert on the subject (It's your presentation) and be prepared for some of the possible questions.
3. Look him/her/them directly in the eye.
4. Listen Hard
5. Be professional the entire time.

But what happened to the "He's just a guy, part?" What I found was the more professional I made the presentations, the more relaxed he got. The more relaxed he got the more I learned that he was just a guy. I learned that he watched Survivor every Thursday. So on Friday meetings I would break the ice and talk about the episode the night before. I knew he liked to stay fit so I asked him how is workout was. And the more I gave professional presentations and the more I asked him about his life the better those presentations went. He stopped yelling. He listened hard. He asked hard questions and took no for an answer. Once I asked him about all of this and he gave me my line "I'm just a guy, yes I own this company, yes, I expect you to be the expert, yes I'm going to ask hard questions but I'm just a guy and the more you treat me like that the more I am receptive. Don't ever slack off on your presentations but don't treat me like you can't talk to me".

That lesson opened an entire new world for me. Because of that lesson I once presented to the biggest athletic brand in the world with 400 people in the audience and I had to follow the then president of the company. He was telling them how much better they were going to become and I was following him with a presentation of how bad they were. Of course I was nervous but it was easy at the same time because I knew "He's just a guy".

It's a good life.....

Sunday, November 11, 2007


"Ryan used to say that he'd 'rather wear out than rust out. If he could script the end of his life, I don't think he could have wanted it any better. Not many people get to end their life doing the things they love, and he did."-Joe Shay, Ryan Shay's father.

Endorphin - Any of a group of peptide hormones that bind to opiate receptors and are found mainly in the brain. Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and affect emotions

Fanatic - a person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal

Endorphin Fanatics
This idea has been on my brain for about two years. This idea of creating a place to share the best of what I know with everyone I know. I do this with the hope to learn even more. To become a better person, a better husband, a better father and a better athlete.
The events of this week in the world of Endorphin Fanatics has been emotional. I stood at the finish line of the US Men's Olympic Marathon trials. I witnessed one of the great performances in years. Ryan Hall ran the perfect race. He was in total control from the start. He showed the world that he is ready to take on the world next summer. I love his response to the question "When will you start training for Bejing?" "I started training when I was 15 running around Big Bear"
What was even more fun was to share this event with Mary and Marco. They braved the cold and the wind and both shared with me how much they enjoyed the race. Even Marco can tell you the three guys that qualified for the Olympics.
About 6 hours after the finish we heard the sad news that Ryan Shay had collapsed and died on the course. Throughout the week on sites like and the running community has shared their thoughts. Most of the quotes from people who knew Ryan said he was very driven. That nobody worked harder or wanted it more than he did. The quote from his dad reminded me of something I was taught a few years ago. I was taught to sit down at the end of each day and ask myself this question "Can you put your name to that". Your name is all you really have and if you are willing to put your name to the efforts you made during the day than you can say it was a great day. From every thing I've read this week about Ryan Shay it sure seams to me that he tried to make every day count. I never met him but I sense he put his name to more days than not.

I hope you enjoy what you read and come back often.

It's a good life....