Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bring it On!

The weather that is. Today was sensational. 65 degrees, sunny and barely a wind. It was the kind of day you just wanted to be outside. Although the German kids were still wearing there overcoats (I believe the rule is April 1st) Marco was out back with the water in bare feet. Our back yard gets extra warm when the sun it out like it was today.
I also managed to watch two cross country ski events and the winter biathlon. Clearly snow or lack of snow is an issue all over Europe. The only place that looked like it had much snow was Sweden where they showed a 4 x 10 K men's classic ski race. No I didn't sit and watch it through but it was cool to watch. Those guys fly and are working it. I also watched a short men's race of 18 minutes. It was a good race and an American hammered home for 3rd place. The Americans are fairly competitive in both cross country and biathlon. Still my favorite though is the biathlon. I was watching the women's skake ski relay from eastern Europe. Not much snow there either but enough to ski on. Anyway the race for first and second was not super interesting both teams were really good skiing teams but most important they were great shooting teams. The Ukrain won the event and Germany was second. The real race was for third. Norway had a slight gap on Slovakia going into the final leg. The girl from Slovakia made up the gap quick and came into the laydown shooting about 10 seconds up. The Norway girl calmly came in and hit all her targets. The Slovaking girl missed two and made up one of them (you only get a couple chances to do this). Because she had one target left closed she had to do a short Penalty loop. The second time they came in to shoot this time standing up the girl from Norway calmly hit all her targets. The girl from Slovakia missed three. At the finish Norway got the Bronze and I think Slovakia finished 6th. That's what is great about Biathlon, it's not just great skiing that gets it done.

Well today was good but the outlook looks a bit bleak. Cooler temperatures rain turning to snow on Friday. We'll see if that holds out.

Have a great week!

It's a good life.....

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Run Test

The pictures above are from the track at the World of Sports. The statue is of Adi Dassler who probably did more to start the sport revolution especially when it comes to performance footwear, than any other single person. He watches over the track and football (soccer) field his two passions in sport. It's a really cool place to run.
Today I did the run test. I don't think I deserve to actually run on this track with Adi watching. Test was not stellar. I learned something though, Never put tests back to back to back again. I was really tired today from the tests on Wednesday and Thursday. So just after this test I formulated my plan. They will be spread out over the month now which I think will be much better. So without any further explanation here is the result.
Test Time Distance Avg HR
Run 8:00 2100 meters 166
Although I have nothing to judge this by, it's rather slow. I had no snap in my legs and it was a really windy day today. I'll be my HR on the back 1/2 of the track was 10 beats higher than the front half due to the wind. It's not an excuse just a reality. My next run test is two to three weeks away so I will have something to compare it to.
Adi, I hope you accept me back on the track. I will try to honor it next time.
It's a good life....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bike Test

The picture above is the Jewell Training Facility. Really nice isn't it. Yes those are dog crates in the back and when on the bike the dogs sit in the crates and watch my back side. For some strange reason, my body clock has changed to 4:30am and I can't turn in off. It's not my mind running with crazy ideas, I just wake up. But I'm a bit tired by the end of the day. Who knows!

The Bike Test

Date Test Miles Avg. HR
1/20 #1 3.98 mi 153
1/20 #2 4.2 mi 153
2/21 #1 3.98 mi 157
2/21 #2 4.0 160

So you can see that I road relatively the same speed in all the tests but today the effort was much harder. I purposefully and not resting up for these tests so that might have something to do with it. The sleep thing too but I'm actually happy with the tests. I'm confident I can fix the effort thing with sleep and rest. It's good that the mileage didn't drop. This now gives me the speed at which I need to hit some medium steady state efforts. That combined with exessive hill repeats should make the March tests look different. I should also be able to get outside starting in a couple weeks. At least I hope so. Last year on March 3rd I rode 60 miles outside in warm conditions.

So like I said, I'm not resting. This test was done at 6:00 am today. At noon I ran 40 minutes with one of the guys and then did my 40 minutes of core work. Oh and yes, I worked all day, solving problems and giving a presentation late in the afternoon. All in a days work.

Tonight it's eat, play with Marco, Play the Guitar, Eat some more and maybe a glass of wine.

The big running test is tomorrow. Hopefully the conditions improve from today but if not, the test must go on.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Swim Test

I'll have to say that I am spoiled by the pools in San Diego. Finding a time here where I can swim a straight line (which I do) and not be interrupted by some breast stroking, head above the water "swimmer" is difficult. As you can see by the picture here, there are two lanes marked off and the rest of the pool is open for open lap swimming. Roped off, this is a great pool but most of the time because of swim practices I am stuck navigating my way through the open part. The thought of pool edicate hasn't quite reached this part of the world yet. So this is why I am pool spoiled. Finding a lane to swim in is a peace of cake in the countless pools in SD.
Anyway, the test was completed today without interruption. This test will gives me the workout times for the next 4 weeks. In other words when I swim I know where my rest should be in between efforts. So without further craziness here are the results:
Test Date Distance Time Time/100
1/21 500 meters 7:46 1:33
2/20 1000 meters 16:24 1:38
Body Weight: 153.6lbs
So my weight goes up and I slow down. I'm not too worried at this point though. My weight has gone up for two reasons. First is some fairly intense workouts in the gym. I'll show pictures in a few weeks. Next and probably more influencial is I have cut wheat and dairy from my diet. My buddy Chris did that and put on 10lbs of muscle. I'm guessing that's what is happening to me. My shoulders, well let's just say I have them now. All of this and I have not been swimming all that much. January was a wash due to work. February including today has 4 swimming days. But it will get better.
Until tomorrow,
It's a good life.....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Long Run

Today was just one of those days. I woke up at 4:30 with a plan to get in the long run starting at 5:30. From 4:30 - 5:30 I sat on the couch and debated "Go back to bed - No, get up and run" I had already had my snack and coffee and new sleep would be hard but also felt like running would be harder. Meanwhile I had Scout looking at me with longing eye's because somehow she knew it was run day. At 5:35 we finally headed out the door. It was dark, really dark. The run started slow and felt terrible. No rythm and no energy. We got into the forest and all of the sudden I started to see stars. Those stars made me feel dizzy. Coming out of the forest the trail in the picture is where we were. We didn't have this view because it was still dark but this is where we were. Just beyond that village is another hill so we set our sites on that hill as the possible turn around. It was a drag up the hill and from where this picture was taken to the middle of the hill we had a Rooster announcing our arrival into the village. We made it to the top and decided to continue on. Still a big fuzzy but better than the first 25 minutes. We continued down the trail for another 15 minutes and decided to turn around there. When we came back through this village, the Rooster was talking again but there was light. No need any longer for my torch. The light seemed to wake me up and the run got better and better as we continued. By the time we were back at the house we were sad that it was over. Well at least I was. Scout may have had other ideas. It's hard to tell with her, she generally has the same look.
Anyway the lesson was learned once again. It could have been real easy at 4:30 to go back to bed. Nobody but me would have known. At the same time though I felt like giving it a try. I'm glad I did because the day was full of energy and accomplishment.
It's a good life....

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Week in Review

Another great picture of the Bavarian Alps in winter. I'm excited because next weekend we head north to the town of Oberhof. It's home to exceptional cross country skiing, ski jumping, Luge and hosted World Cup Biathlon in January. The Snow has been spotty in Germany this year but hopefully there will be enough for the Jewell Family to hit the Ski Tracks.
The week was spent concentrating on the Fall 2009 product briefs. On Thursday we turned our ideas over to the design group so they could start designing. It's always a bit strange replacing a shoe that hasn't even hit the market yet but that's how far in advance we work. Mary and I were having an interesting coversation about what I do. As I have said before the place is full of big ego. It kind of makes sense because just about everyone at adidas comes from sport. On my team are former national champions in track and cross country, over in football (soccer) there are former professional players. So you don't get to those levels of sport without competitive egos. Anyway our conversation was about shoes. The shoe business is very competitive and you can get carried away with the sporting competition of crushing the other shoe companies. Mary being the more level headed in our marriage said "It's just shoes, if adidas went away today, it wouldn't be a big thing to the world in total". I agreed with her about the shoes but I said my job has nothing to do with shoes. My job has everything to do with people and I firmly believe that. My job is to elevate the people around me and to teach the young folks well enough to do my job better in the future. At the same time I have this altruistic view that I am helping to make running more pleasurable in some way. At least that's how I view the products.
The poor kid was sick two weeks ago and missed the 3 available days of school. This week he had two weeks of homework to do. With very few complaints he pushed through all of it. As a Dad, I'm very proud of the work he did. He has an amazing work ethic, again probably thanks to his mom. Tonight I invited him to join me in my core workout. Aside from the close grip push ups, he did the entire workout without breaking a sweat.
This is testing week. I am excited to see where I am. Thursday will be the bike test, Friday the run test and maybe Wednesday or Sunday the Swim test. There has to be some flexibility. I am driven by my friends Mike Jacobs and Peg Compton. Both ran the San Dieguito 1/2 marathon last weekend and both did exceptionally well. Mike ran his fastest time in 5 years. That's good for a 40 something guy. Peg ran really close to the same time she and I ran a few years and 2 babies ago for her. So it's up to me to carry on and better myself this week.
I've decided this is a Politic free Blog. Yes, I know I posted a rant a few weeks back and that is why it's Politics free. There is enough reporting on all of that. We don't need me chiming in.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's been one year

It's been one year since I first came to Germany to look for a house to live in. It seems like it was just yesterday but at the same time it's been a long year. It's much nicer today living in a house full of the family. It was a very lonely 3 + months in this house empty with no family. It was so lonely, I wrote a song about it. Just need to actually put music to it.

The picture to the right is of the Bavarian Alps. Mary Marco and I went there last weekend to give a go at some cross country skiing. It was a blast until Marco got really sick and kept all three of us up on Monday night. He did however manage to get out skiing on Monday afternoon and says he wants to do it again. Only my son would like Cross Country skiing better than downhill. Mary also got out there and seemed to enjoy herself.

Some learnings from the trip to the Alps

The Super Bowl - Living in Germany the only way to follow the NFL is to spend 130 Euros/month (that's a lot of dollars) to get Sky TV broadcast from England or to follow it on the web. So last Sunday came around, we were in the Alps and I totally forgot the game was even played. I found out NY won on Tuesday when I turned on CNN and saw the parade. Kind of wierd!

Germans - Just like the US, Germany has differnent cultures and customs depending on which part of the country you are in. Franconia where we live is known for it's Carp (the fish) and for not being the most friendly bunch. It's actually hard to get someone to smile here. Down in the Alps it was a totally different place. The woman serving us coffee was full of jokes and smiles. The hotel staff was more than happy to show us around town and tell us the best places to go.

Being the Passenger - No, I don't have my license yet and at this point it's actually illegal for me to drive (In Germany that is). If I were to be pulled over (they do it randomly here) I could be fined and lose my right to drive for a year. So it is with this thought that I have chosen not to drive until I do get my license. I'm taking some driving lessons over the next 2-3 weeks and will take the test once those are done. I feel I can pass it right now but I think it's good to get in good with the instructor. Anyway I hate being the passenger. Mary did a great job driving down the Autobahn and around the town but I simply have no patience for it and Mary has no patience for me as the passenger. It's a good thing I ride my bike to work.

Speaking of Riding the Bike: It was a beautiful day today. While Marco and Mary went to a Birthday Party I road my road bike outside for the first time since November. It felt good to have the wind and sun on my face. I was out for 2.5 hours and felt good.

Books - I've been reading some really good books. The first is a series of books the first being The Traveler. It's a great story about the Vast Machine or in today's world our governments. Did you know that when you walk through Heathrow Airport in London your picutre is taken more than 20 times. It's crazy to think about what they are doing with all those photos. Anyway The Traveler is based on the thought of the Vast Machine and that someone is watching you. It's a very fast read. The book is written by John Twelve Hawks. The second in the series was just as good called The Dark River. The third and final book isn't out yet.

Now to one of my favorite subjects in the world, Music. I just finished the Eric Clapton Autobiography and am listening to his music as I type this. What a great book. He tells a great story of his life. It's part tragic, unbelievable (that he's still alive) and heart warming. It also again brought me back to his music which I just think is great and will stand long after he is gone. For anyone that loves music especially Rock and Roll or Clapton it's worth reading. There is a great deal of history being told in the book.

Tests:In my last post I talked about testing yourself and George Bush. I'll hold off the politics and talk about tests. I promissed I'd post my test results. So, here they are:

Current Weight: 152.4 lbs- The heaviest I've ever been.

Bike Test #1 12 minutes, average HR 153, 3.98 miles

Bike Test #2 12 minutes, average HR 153 4.2 miles

Both Bike tests were completed on the trainer on the same day, January 20th. I'll post the next versions somewhere around the 20th of this month.

Swim Test

500 Meters 7:46 or 1:33/100

Completed on 1/21. The next one will be around 2/21 but will move to 1000 meters.

You may ask why I'm sharing this information. I do this to show you that I really do test myself regularly and that you can do it in things other than athletics. But I really do it to make sure I do it again. Hopefully there is improvement next time. I'll also add a run test on or about the 20th of February.

Have a great week.

It's a good life.....