Sunday, June 22, 2008


Sunday in Germany. Today is bittersweet. There were three Ironman events around the world today. One in Japan, one in Idaho and one I was signed up for in France. Back in April when it was go time for the race in France, Neptune wasn't looking so good. Knowing Mary and Marco were going to be in the states at this time I couldn't see myself leaving Neptune. I would not have been fair to him nor the people asked to watch him, so I made the decision not to train and not to race. Although it was the right decision I still feel a little bummed. As it turns out, the conditions were perfect, the course was fast and I missed a good day in Nice. Scout and I had a good day here at Home. A 90 minute run in some hot weather along with work around the house made for a good day. There will be other races to be had.

The picture above is of Bree Wee. I wrote a few months ago about being a professional triathlete and I used Bree as the example of truly treating the job right. Today she finished 2nd in Ironman Japan, only her second Ironman ever. It was obviously a good effort and I'm sure she will right about it. But I don't read her blog for the triathlon stuff. I read it for her attitude. She just brings an attitude to like . Take for instance today. Her goal in Japan was to win the race and get here Pro qualifying spot to race in Kona. Only the winner got it. She was second so she doesn't qualify. She has a right to be bummed but instead she said don't send me any "Sorry Bree emails. I don't believe in that kind of stuff, I believe things happen for a reason". It's a good attitude to have. It limits dissapointment. She wouldn't be a professional athlete if she didn't question what she did on the day. The point is she wasn't going to let it get her down. Again, like any blog there are some worthless posts. More often than not Bree brings her good attitude to all her posts.
On another note, it's one thing to get to the dance it's another to dance. This reference is to the Netherlands football team. They were the best team in group play. The scored 9 goals and gave up only 1. Last night when the games really count they couldn't find the ball. Russia totally outplayed them. Russia moves on, the Netherlands go home. Tonight it's Spain and Italy. Spain rolled through group play and Italy skated in, barely. History says, Spain will be like the Netherlands and choke tonight. Italy on the other hand finds ways to win. Game time in 30 minutes.
It's a good life....

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chuckie V

The next blog I read frequently is from Chuckie V.

I met Chuckie a long time ago at a race. During the late 80's and early 90's he was wildley famous for that Hair Cut. He was used in Gatoraide ads and tracended magazines outside of the world of Triathlon. That was the comercial side of Chuck. The real side was much different than the comercial side. For instance, to make it as a pro triathlete (not the highest paying job back then) Chuckie lived in his car. A Datsun 200sx I believe. Crazy as that sounds it worked for him. He was a darn good athlete winning a number of races including Ironman Canada. He also moved on to Bike racing and ended up racing here in Europe (Again, not the easiest of tasks especially for an American). After retirement, he dissapeared for a time. That time included not one but two hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail. You know, the trail that goes from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. 2,000 plus miles of hiking.
He has since taken up coaching for a living. Like Lucho it's not about how much money he makes it's about the quality of the job and the people he helps. What's best about Chuckie is that he is absolutely entertaining. He shares his views on just about everything, never really takes himself too seriously and you can tell that life around Chuckie is one laugh after another. At the same time, he's a good teacher of life. His posts really make you think about simplificiation. They are really good lessons.

It's a good life.....


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


For the next week or so I'm going to share with you all the blogs I read on a fairly regular basis. I read blogs because I find them quite a bit more facinating than CNN international. If you watch that show long enough you can begin to recite the news word for word before they do. Most if not all the Blogs I read come from triathletes. I don't read them because they are triathletes but because of who they personally are and what they write. On a personal side I don't even know half of these people.

Yes, triathletes write about training. I find most of that really boring. I even find it boring when I write about it. My favorite blogs are not exciting all the time but they are consistent with what they produce. The consistently make me laugh, cry or think and that's why I read them.

So I start this process with Lucho. For the most part the daily posts Lucho makes are rather boring. Ran 9 miles with a HR of 146. But every once in awhile he posts something that is astonishing. Lucho is a former pro triathlete and a stay at home Dad. The post I linked you to is what makes this guy special. He knows what's important to him and he doesn't let things like money get in the way.

This post got me thinking about our lives. Mary and I often talk about money. Like most married couples money is a topic. We plan, budget and even sometimes fight about it. But our true belief about it is the same. We don't really care about it. We work not for money but for the love of work. We really like what we do and the money is secondary. Fortunately I guess, we both do work that pays well. And at that point we think we deserve the pay we get. The experiences of what we do far out weighs the paycheck we receive. Read my last post. That kid Mary helped out will pay back to Mary 1 million times more than any paycheck she receives. My goal is to build great shoes for people who love running. If they have great momorable runs in a pair of shoes I worked on than that's really cool to me.

When I was a senior in high school I was working 2 to 3 jobs at any one time. I went to work becuase I liked it and I guess I really liked the money too. I worked at a fish resteraunt and made good money in tips. Basketball season came around and I gave up a great deal of fun time at basketball games to make money at the Fish House. As the season went on the team kept winning. Playoff time came around and I went to the games I could on nights I wasn't working. The team kept winning. They made to the regional tourney (Illionois Basketball) then to the sectional and finally the crazy thing is, they made it to State. Anyone that knows midwest basketball, if you go to state you have hit the big time. As soon as they made state I asked for the time off. I was denied. I pleaded with my boss "This is a once in a lifetime thing" he still said no. The game was Friday night the busiest of nights (the most money) and I made a choice. I called and said I wasn't coming in and I went to the game. We lost the game but it was a blast to be in the University of Illinois Arena, all the lights, all the pagentry. An experience I will not forget. I got fired from that job and financially that hurt and emotionally I got blasted by my girlfriend and her parents. But it didn't matter and it still doesn't. I experienced Illinois State Basketball. Bill Siler at guard, Scott Pierce, Brad Burger, Steve Berg at point and rotations off the bench. Only Bill played college basketball. Scott went to West Point and I don't know but I'm sure Brad is coaching some highschool today. Steve is probalbly CEO of some big company. The point is that the experience watching that group play was much better than a few tips.

It's a good life...


Sunday, June 15, 2008

My Hero, Mary!

1992 was the year. The devastating LA Riots were taking place. Mary and I were on the phone like we were almost every night. She lived in Pheonix and I in Encinitas. During this particular phone call Mary was troubled by the Riots. She was sad because this kind of thing could still take place in our great country. She then turned to her own life and said "I'm not doing enough, I want to make a difference in the world" It was during this conversation that Mary decided she would become a teacher, to "make a difference".

A difference she has made and contnues to make. In her first year teaching she turned a badd ass tough talking 9th grader, Zefarina into a student. That student graduated highschool and personally came back to thank Mary for her efforts. This was just the first of year after year, student after student, Mary making a difference. About 6 years ago a similar discussion was taking place. Her students at the time had everything against them. They were brought to the US by there parents and put into the stringent US schooling. They were asked by those same parents to contribute to the family financially. They lived in Gang Central in San Diego. They were going to school but really got no help from family, after all most of the family members hadn't gone past 7th grade and certainly none of them had graducated high school. These same parents because of how they were raised did not really see the benefits of going to school beyond high school. So, Mary and I talked. She wanted to help these kids. She wanted to make a difference in their lives. So she started "First in My Family". A foundation to help kids , who are the first in their family to graduate highschool, go to college.

As you know, foundations don't just happen. Lots of hard work, personal funding and passion goes into creating a foundation. Mary did all of that and more. Becasue funding was weak the first recipients received small amounts $500 or $1000 to pay for books or that first college class. Mary kept plugging away, raising money. Oh yeah, she also had to be mentor, mother and just plain guardian for many of these kids. She made sure they had a safe place to focus on their work so they could graduate.

The first student Mary worked hard with will graduate from San Diego State next Spring.
Two years ago a friend of the family Estela Cohen, had a party to help Mary raise funds for the foundation. That party turned into a Newspaper article. The article turned into a TV inteview. The calls started coming. Cash came in, boats, campers, vans and fund raisers. The foundation (run by the San Diego High) multiplied.
At the party a young man Juan (Highschool sophmore) stood up to a Micorphone and talked about Mary. He was very polished and just a great kid. The bond between he and Mary was visible. It was love, the kind of love a teacher has for a special student and the kind of love a student (in a lonely world) has for his mentor.

The move to Germany was a shock to Juan. He was afraid he couldn't do it without Mary. Mary was also concerned because she new Juan had so much to give if given a chance. Over the past year, Mary and Juan have kept in contact. He emails her when he's having trouble at home or school and she emails him encouragement. It's has not been easy for either of them but they have managed.

On Tuesday of this week, Juan will graduate from Cima at San Diego High. He will graduate at the top of his class. Juan will be the first in his family to ever graduate. On Tuesday Juan will also be handed a certificate from the Foundation. The certificate is scholarship funding of $10,000. In September, Juan will begin classes at San Diego State University. This kid is special, he will go way beyond college and make a difference himself. I think if you ask him today, He would say it wouldn't be possible if it weren't for Mary.

Mary, you are making a difference!

It's a good life....


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Euro 2008

Just loving the Euro 2008 football Tournament. For those of you not familiar with football (Soccer) here in Europe, it's big. Every 4 years is the World Cup. You know the most watched sporting event in the world. Well the UEFA Euro Cup (Every 4 years, two years before or after World Cup) is the 3rd most watched sporting event in the world. #2 of course is the Summer Olympics. Anyway back to Euro. The 16 best teams (countries) play a tournament. This year the event is split between Austria and Switzerland. The games have been very entertaining and it has simply been a great time watching them (prime time) every night.
Based on the first week of play here are my power rankings:
1. Netherlands - Best Goalie and agressive midfield.
2. Portugal - Best player in the world.
3. Germany - If they can take air out of their big heads they stand a chance to win the entire tourney.
4. Sweden - Read below though!
Tonight the big game was Spain vs Sweden. Win and you win your group. Tie and you Most likely will advance. Lose and you must score a point in the next game. Spain is always a powerhouse team but is known for tanking if they get behind. Sweden plays textbook football and has a top ofensive forward. At the end of the first half it was 1-1. Sweden had held down the powerful Spanish and stood a good chance of winning if they continued to attack. Instead Swedend comes out in the 2nd half with their best scoring player on the bench. It was very clear from the outset of the half they were playing to tie. The ball rarely crossed the midfield into Spanish territory and when it did it was usually done with a long ball from the goalie. At the end of regulation the game was tied 1-1. Sweden had to hold out 3 more minutes of injury time. 1.5 minutes into extra time, a busted play in the Spanish box turned into a long pass from a Spanish defender to a waiting offensive player just outside the Sweden box. The Spanish player split two defenders, tapped the ball between the legs of one of them and then only had the goalie to beat. Easy goal! Spain wins 2-1.
Sweden - Look through the history of the sport. Look through history period. If you play to tie your chances of that tie are slim. 45 minutes of playing to tie. 45 minutes of asking your players to hold back a power offense. When you play to tie you stop being aggresive. When you stop doing that you go flat foot. When you go flat foot the ball goes between your legs and the other team scores. Sweden if you don't advance you may be the biggest flop of the tournament. Only Italy, France and maybe Germany can take that honor away. More than likely two of those super powers will not advance. Simply don't play to tie.
It's a good life....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More Pictures of Switzerland

Switzerland Report

A note on Switzerland
What an amazing country. It's not the first time we've been there but it is the first time we stayed. Switzerland is to mountains what Hawaii is to Islands. It just seems to be at the exact right place on earth to be perfect. The mountains are tall and stunning with jagged peaks and lots of snow. The lakes are crystal clear. The hills are just as green as they can be. The people are warm and inviting. If you ever get a chance visit. We were in Jappersville Jona which is on the south end of Lake Zurich. We stayed in a small hotel on the side of a mountain. The road down was 1.5 lanes of twisting turning fun.
The Race
As reported earlier this was the first race for me in almost 18 months. I didn't really know what to expect. My last race of this distance (1.9K 90K 21.1K) was in May 2006 at the Baja 70.3. So roughly 2 years, 12 more pounds and yes it counts 2 years in age. To say the least on Saturday I was a nervous reck. A triathlon is not a show up and race kind of event. You have to be prepared the day before. So most of Saturday was spent picking up the packet turning in the bike and just trying not to get on the nerves of my great family. Mentally I waffled from just finishing the thing to racing until I dropped. A glass of wine on the veranda of our hotel overlooking the entire valley below was a good way to settle down.
A great nights sleep and I was ready to go. My goal was set: Do the race as hard as you can, pain free. The start was a little odd for me at 9:45am. In Cali my agegroup might be 8:00am but never 9:45. It's Europe and they apparently have friends in city governments who are willing to close roads for long periods of time. Anyway it was 9:30 when I entered the water finally for a little warm up and the start.
What can I say, if there is one area of "training" I have slacked on this year it is swimming. Finding time and an open lane has not been the easiest. I started the swim easy and kept it easy. My goal here be absolutely comfortable. I found some feet to draft off and just sat in. My swim time was 35:10. If I swim hard all year and do this race I might swim 29 so I wasn't dissapointed.
No preview but I didn't need one. It's Switzerland afterall, there will be hills. The bike was two 45K loops. The first 10K and the last 10K of each loop was relatively flat. Put the head down and go was the call here and for the most part that's what I did. Pegged at 90 RPM's. At the 10K point a left turn started the grind. Over the next 10K there were three big climbs. Each had sections in the 15 - 18% range. In other words they were steep. One of the hills just kept climbing. At roughly the 20K point the road pointed down for long sweeping turns. This lasted for most of 10K and then boom straight down 15% grade of switchbacks. Finally back to the flats for the trip back. Then do it again. So I managed the flats strong. I climbed o.k. but could use some more work and I stayed upright on the downhills.
Time: 2:45
The run is where the hurting usually happens. I settled into a pace that was comfortable and motor like. Again my goal was finish pain free. There were times where I held back and there were times I felt good but did not feel I could step up the pace. I just kept the motor going. The run was a great mixture of heat, shade, soft dirt and cobbles in town. Exatcly what I expected in Europe. The only time I really picked it up was in the last 3K. I crossed the line with pleanty left in the tank, no blisters and no crazy I'm going to drop fatigue.
Run time: 1:39:51
Total Time: 5:03:33
It wasn't my goal but I still had to look. I placed 48th in my age group and 315th overall. In my young head those are weak results for me, I'm much more competitve than that. But in my wisdom head, this is a good result. I didn't hurt, my feet feel good and compared to Baja 2006 I'm 9 minutes and 12 seconds faster.
There will be a time and a place to lay it on the line and hurt again. I'll find it somewhere.
Many thanks go to Mary and Marco Jewell for putting up with me all the time. Also many thanks to the Multisports School of Champions. They provide the coaching and without them it wouldn't happen.
It's a good life.....