Saturday, February 28, 2009

2 years today

2 Years in Germay
Today marks the official 2 year anniversary of my arrival in Germany. It also marks the date when Mary, Marco and I lived on different sides of the world for almost 4 months. If I had to do it again, that's the only thing I would have changed. How I'm not sure but I would have had all of us come over at the same time. Germany is great! Once you get used to the order and the system it's a great place to live. In the last year we've been to Switzerland, Poland, Slovenia, France, Belgium, Holland, Berlin, Black Forest, Munich, the US and Panama. Living in San Diego we never would have done that in one year. Last night Marco spent the night at the house of one of his German buddies. If the family wanted to they could speak German the entire time and Marco would understand and speak back in German as well. They won't do that because they are such a cool family. The sleepover was last minute. They stopped by the house at 8:30pm asked if Marco could spend the night and took his stuff. Experiences that will stay with him the rest of his life.

2 Years at adidas
This also marks the 2 year anniversary at adidas. I wouldn't trade this in either. The people I work with are great. Here I am complaining about leaving my family for 2 years. One of the people I work really closely with has been here 2 years as well. Her family (Husband and Son) are still at home in China. Christine is an amazing person to do what she's been doing.
The team dyanamic is so international and it's a great challenge to incorporate this aspect into a meeting let alone an entire working day. In general most reading this blog probably have meetings filled with Americans, where the language is the same, meeting customs are the same etc. Now have a meeting about a shoe where it's you, a german product manage, Polish designer and Christine from China. Only one in the group is a native English speaker. Only one in the group is loud and demonstrative by nature. It just presents challenges on how a meeting should take place. It's so routine that it's not even a thought going into the meeting. That's what is so cool about working with these people.

2 years and counting. Who knows how long we'll be here but for sure we are going to make the most of it while we are here.

Off to ride my bike, outside!

It's a good life...

Friday, February 27, 2009

3:30 am

What the heck. Yesterday my body woke up at 3:30am. It was probably more my head but when I came down the stairs Scout looked at me like I was crazy. So what does any sleep deprived triathlete do in a case like this? I road my bike and then went running. I got done an hour earlier than I would have normally. This allowed me to take Marco to the bus stop. I call that a great trade off.

It's a good life....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Marketing 101

Marketing a product is a rather simple idea. Heck I'll be honest. I fell into Marketing in College. I took one course and found it to be so easy that I made it a career. People tell me that it's because it comes naturally to me but I rebuff, it's really easy. Have a customer target, have a product that solves the problem and be willing to spend the right amount of money to connect the customer to your product. Everything else is just noise. This week has been full of noise. That's not the customer this is. The product isn't right it needs this. Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. Get back to basics people it will help everyone out. Who's the customer. Not what's the customer, who's the customer. What's their name, where do they live, and why do they run. What's the product, why will they need this product. The rest of the stuff is there if you figure one and two out.

The above picture really has nothing to do with this posting. It's just a fast bike that some Pro athlete probably got for free. If anybody had actually bought this bike, they paid too much I'm sure. Retail value as is tops $7,000. My first two cars did not add up to $7,000 value. But then again they didn't look this fast. Maybe I need to go 5 seconds faster. I think my back can handle that position. BMC I think their Swiss, known for precision craftmanship. Zipp are the "Speed Weapons" or something like that. I think I'm going shopping. Oh rats, even good marketers can be marketed upon.

It's a good life.....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Long Run Test

Yesterday was long run day. The plan called for 105 minutes broken into thirds. Starting slow, the effort or pace increases at each third. The program still has me running for 9 minutes and walking for 1. If you've been reading my posts recently you'll know that I've been struggling with myself a bit. This includes my training. Nothing has really felt right. This week I decided to make the change that I generally preach to everyone. I have three workouts a week that really count. Workouts that need total perperation and focus. They are the Wednesday long run, Friday Brick session and Sunday Endurance Day. All the other days are have workouts that need to take place but generally only in good form with no extensive effort. Those workouts should just feel like routine and easy. So it's with this idea that I went after my long run yesterday.
The first thing I did was remove my headphones. I love music but I thought I'd do something different. For the first 70 minutes of the run, I listened to my running, listened to the birds singing, whatched the Swans in the field and the 7 deer off in the distance feeding. I stopped and had a short conversation with Alice and even got to enjoy a great sunrise. At 70 minutes as I entered the Forest I put my headphones on. I run with a HR monitor on the three key days, so yesterday I managed my effort/HR. First third easy warm up trying to keep the HR below 140. It was really hard to run that slow. The second third I rolled through below 145 and the final third below 150. I had done this exact run before and new my Average HR was 147 which was a bit high for a long run. During the run, I felt great, it felt almost too easy but I had the strange sense that I was behind. At 30 minutes I was scared that I had only gotten as far as I did. At 60 minutes I was still worried that I would not make it to the office when I wanted to. I pushed those things out of my mind and stuck to the plan. Once I hit the Beer Garden at 80 minutes I knew I was right on time. I stayed relaxed, concentrating on my form and rollled to a stop just outside adidas.
Total run: 12.5 miles
Time: 1:46:18
Avg. HR 142

3 weeks ago on the same run.
Total run: 12.5 miles
Time: 1:45:46
Avg. HR 147

The 5 beats in Average means my heart didn't beat 505 times yesterday that it did the last time. That is really significant. It also means if I used those 505 heart beats I would have run significantly faster than the run 3 weeks ago.

My point in all this is we all have a reason to run or do triathlon. Maybe the goals aren't like mine to win but there is a reason. The only way to mark progress is to measure results against results. It's these kinds of things that keep me focused on the task. It also makes the coaches happy to see. I aslo add that sticking to hitting your key workouts and just executing the others is rather smart. I'm not always good at it but it sure works. Another thing, take the headphones off once in awhile. Listen to the world out there. It's an amazing place. I mean really, in one early morning view I saw two beautiful Swans in the middle of a field and off in the distance were 7 or 8 deer grazing. I would have missed it had I been listening to the music. Finally I preach to folks I love to slow down. This is proof that I practice what I preach. Believe me it's not easy for me either but look at the results. These results will pay huge in May and June.

It's a good life....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Perfect Storm

I know I'm a little slow, I just read The Perfect Storm. I mean really who didn't read that book? Of course I loved it. I am totally facinated with fishing the high seas. I think it's Marco and the two of us watching The Deadliest Catch. I don't have a great memory for reading books. I won't be able to tell you Billy Tyne was the captain of the AG much longer. What I will remember from that book is the process of drowning. Here's the thing. When I was 4 or 5 and taking swimming lessons I almost drowned in knee deep water, during the lesson. I slipped on the bottom of the pool and I couldn't get up. Then look at my life. I became a lifeguard, taught swimming lessons, went scuba diving on the Continental shelf and did a few Ironmans. I prefer to be wet from being in the Ocean all day. After reading that book I honestly can tell you that I've been taking the wonder of water and swimming in it for granted. It's an amazing thing to be able to swim well. It opens up so many possiblilties. What would my life be if I didn't almost drown in that pool in Brazil? Back to the reason of the post. I sure don't want to die drowning. My gosh that was a scary chapter. I was sweating just reading it.

On that subject here's a great article about fear, hesitation and water.

It's a good life....

Could it Be?

Spring is on the way. The birds are singing!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Poison Frogs

For some reason I thought I'd post these pictures. One is of a great adidas trail shoe called the Kanadia ($60) in the color referred to in the office as the Poison Frog. The picture on the right is of a kid in Panama holding a real poison frog. You can see where the shoe got it's color. By the way we did pay the kid for the picture. We Mary, Marco and I not we adidas.

The Poison Teacher

Today Marco and I went to the pool. He had some trouble in swim lessons when he was asked to swim across the deep end of the big pool. He freaked out. So he and I went to the pool today to try to correct the situation. I think it all broke down with that phrase correct the situation. I used all my swim lesson teaching skill to get him used to the water. He was doing great. Then I did the crazy thing and asked him to to swim to the other wall, accross the deep end. He freaked, I freaked we both freaked and the session ended. We've both come to the conclusion that I can't teach him and he can't take my teaching. Of course I'm the more responsible but it's true. I guess that's why I don't play golf too. I would never take lessons from my Dad. The only time I did play and play o.k. I had a teacher who wasn't my Dad. So it's back to my orginal goals for the year. Work on something new for both of us to enjoy. We did that skiing because I'm the last one to teach anyone how to ski. I'm interested in a future of ocean fishing with him too. I know it's a long way off due to our current life in land locked Germany but Ocean fishing will happen. I really know nothing about it so it would be cool to learn together. Oh and if he want's to become a runner, I'll hire a coach.

Poison in the Body

On the training front I have to listen to my body and head a little more. On Wednesday I headed out for a 105 minute run. I didn't feel great going out and it was cold. I was under dressed and it was cold (13F at the start and 10F at the finish). By the time I was done I was shivering but not the I'm cold shivering, the I've got a cold shivering. I should have paid attention. If I skip that run I probably avoid the cold. The cold did not give me the cold. The cold was there and I just helped it out by breaking my body down just enough to let it in. So that run basically killed my week. This is what a killed week looks like:

Monday - 45 minute ride on the turbo trainer.

Tuesday - 60 minutes swim with 3 X 400 meters. 45 minutes in the weightroom.

Wednesday - 105 minute stupid run in frozen shoes. 30 minutes on the turbo trainer stupid again.

Thursday - Day off because of cold

Friday - Day off because of cold.

Saturday - Swim 50% of workout because of cold. 45 minutes of weights

Sunday - 60 minutes on turbo trainer (workout called for 120 minutes) 30 minute run.

I'm feeling much better today Sunday than I did on Friday. I do really well once I have the cold, to shut down and get rid of it. Tea is my friend this week. I know that based on what I've seen going around the office mine was mild. I really believe it's because I eat well and pay attention. I do think I could have done better by not going out on Wednesday. Who knows maybe I wouldn't be writing this post if I hadn't gone.

As you can tell riding sucks right now. I haven't been outside on a bike since December. That includes the mountain bike. The air temperature right now is ridable but the roads are a mess of slush and ice patches. The trails are a total mess and have been for 6 weeks. Ice is the bugger here. No traction for the tires. Next winter I invest in studded winter tires.

No complaints though. Since I got the Power Meter last fall I can monitor things on the turbo. I can see I'm getting stronger.

It's a good life.....


PS. If you need a good trail shoe, look at the Kanadia. It rules!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Win The Day!

Stress makes us stupidCoach Gordo Byrn

I have to admit that recently I’ve been struggling. Struggling to get excited about the day ahead and struggling to take that first step out the door and again that first step in the door. I could go into all the detail but I’m not here for you to feel sorry for. I’m certainly done feeling sorry for myself so there is no point to drag you into it. It’s taken me longer to fully recognize it this time (read the quote above) and to me that mean’s drastic action. I’m really good at looking long term. I know what I want in 5 years but I am terrible at knowing what I want today. So it’s with this that I’ve laid out my plan to Win the Day. I’m going to ask you the reader to call me on it if you see me not winning. If you think my actions or attitude don’t match up with the below statements call me on it!

Winning the Day

1.Sleep – I know that my day is driven by my night. When I have good quality (not quantity) sleep I am happier.

2.Laugh Out Loud – We can’t be serious all the time.

3.Open honest fun with Marco – Sometimes I’m just being grumpy old Dad too much. Marco and I know how to have fun and he relies on me to do this daily.

4.Passionate interaction with Mary – She’s the love of my life and a huge part of who I am as a person. I feed off her love.

5.Be inspired – I’m at my best when I’m being inspired. Books, music Mary and Marco and ordinary people inspire me.

6.Execute the Workouts – Sometimes type “A” triathletes obsess about the next workout or the last workout just a bit too much. I signed on with a coaching platform to so I wouldn’t have to think about it. So now it’s time to JFT.

7.Play my Guitar or take time to really listen to music – The IPod while running doesn’t count.

8.Drive with Full Engagement at Work – The first part of this is Drive. I’m much better when I’m Driving and not waiting to be driven. The next part is Full Engagement. A great book The Power of Full Engagement taught me that deep focused attention combined with small breaks is the way to execute.

I know you ask because I do, how can you change your sleep or how can you get inspired every day. I don’t think this is cut and dried approach. I can’t check these off every night and call the day a victory or a loss. I think these are the things to work toward every day. If I can say at the end of the day “I can put my name to that” it means that I’ve driven towards these 8 things. I can honestly say that I haven’t put my name to many days in the last 10 months.

It’s a good life…

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Change and Radomness

One of my favorite songs when I was a kid was Roll with the Changes by REO Speedwagon. Yes I know I date myself all the way back to the heartland of the US but it’s a fact I was fan and can still play all their songs on the Guitar. The chorus of the song is Keep on Rolling with the Changes. I think it’s important right now to let changes roll right off you. If you don’t you could drive yourself crazy. Earlier this week I was told I wasn’t traveling to Boston in April. As part of the trip I was going to run the Boston Marathon. I hired a coach to help me get through Boston and then help me hit my triathlon goals for this year. Doing both was daunting. And then on Tuesday of this week my boss called me into his office and said travel budget cuts were handed down and my trip wasn’t going to happen. Does this mean I’m going to find another Marathon to run, no. I’ve adjusted my goals and am content with the decision. Boston will happen one day and it’s more important to me to keep an even head about this because guess what, more change is on the way. I don’t know that for fact but the Economy isn’t going to improve anytime soon so I expect more changes or challenges to be handed my way. So I will keep humming my song with a smile on my face and Roll with the Changes.

Let's go ride a bike. The best riders in the world are making their way through the greatest state in the US. If you get a chance get out their and cheer the riders on. This is a very hard sport. These guys are going to suffer their way through 8 days of early Spring California Rain. They finish on an epic day of climbing. I call myself lucky to have been able to ride all the climbs they are doing in one day. It's some hard riding and I certainly wasn't going the pace they were. In fact the picture to the right of me running is on Cole Grade their last climb. I believe it is this hill that will decide the race next Sunday and I'm going to be glued to the TV to watch. A great article on Floyd Landis on Friday in the San Diego Union Tribune. Guilty or not this guy lost everything, served his time and is back racing. It tells you just a litte of how tough these guys are.

Swim Test
I did another swim test today. 1500 meters at an Aerobic pace. In other words I could breath the entire way. I did it Long Course style so there were a few less turns and walls to push from. With all that said I swam more comfortably and faster than I did a Month ago in Salt Lake City. Today I Swam 25:00 and averaged 1:40 per hundred. One month ago I did 1000 yards at 1:36 per hundred. Believe me, today was faster. For those of you who have joined me in mutiple masters sessions this is slow for me but much more controlled. I'm working (because the coaching tells me to) on swimming fast with proper form. I'll be a better swimmer when I get there.

Is that a line?
Yesterday Marco and I went skiing at a local ski mountain. It's roughly 90 minutes from the house. Two lifts and two good long runs. We had a great day but had some trouble with the Lines. If you have ever been to this part of Europe there really are no lines. If a Cash register opens it's a mad dash to get their first. 90 year old women with one item don't stand a chance. So yesterday the lift "line" was a mess. At one of the lifts the wait was 40 minutes and there was not order to it. People just pushed their way in. Marco and I got seperated in the mob once. Nobody seemed to care that a 10 year old might want to be with his Dad. Some big old guy pushed littel Marco aside to move up one place in the mob. It was crazy. The easiest way to control it would be to limit the lift passes sold and extend the railings but that would not fit with area. This is the way it's been done so why change it.

Moonlight Beach - Encinitas California
I leave you today with a picture of a beach. It's a requirment of mine to look at beaches on a daily basis. Remember I'm try to Roll with the Changes. One of the Changes has been an extended Winter. This time last year I was riding outside. Right now it's even dangerous to run outside because of the accumulation of Ice on the trails. By my estimate there are 4 weeks left of tights, lon sleeve tops, jacket, hat and gloves. We'll see if I'm right.

It's a good life....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Change it Up

Remember that there is great comfort in our patterns – if you want a different outcome then you will need to change your approach. - Coach Gordo

Alright already! Could we please see the sun for more than 1 hour a week? You are reading the blog of a guy who loves the sunrise. The above sunrise courtesy of Montana. I can’t remember the last sunny day we had. Probably goes back to the first week of January when it was -17 C.

The above quote from Coach Gordo has a great deal of meaning. We as people and we as athletes get into a patterns. We eat the same food day after day. By the way I know a guy that if what he says is true, he eats a Burrito for dinner every night. We run the same pace on the same course at the same time on the same 3 days a week. We drive the same way to work. We swim in the same pool with the same group. We read the same book, just different authors, watch the same T.V. shows just different networks and probably talk to the same people over and over again.

Now don’t get me wrong, pattern is good. Going to bed at the same time every night is generally a good pattern to be in. Marco goes to bed every night at 8:00pm. He complains that his friends get to stay up until 10:00. Yet the parents of those kids tell us how hard the mornings are where Marco is up and ready to go minutes after we turn on his lights. There are countless other patterns that make sense.

The real point to this is that if you don’t change your patterns you have a better chance of going backwards then forwards. I hear this from the people I coach in running. I run 4 days a week for an hour every time but I don’t seem to get any faster or I don’t seem to lose any weight. The great coaching that I do, is this simple, I change their patterns on a regular basis to give them different stresses. They show the improvement they want. I can’t do that for myself and that’s why I pay Endurance Corner.

If you ever feel like you are in a rut, change one of your patterns. Sometimes just driving a different route to work can do it. Sometimes though, you have to dig a bit deeper to find that thing to change. Just look at us, we moved to Germany to change our pattern.

Some updates on My Goals.
My Mother – It seems more and more that it’s becoming time to move mom into a place that can take care of her. This may cause me to take another trip across the water soon to help my big sister. I really welcome the opportunity to go help.
First Quarter Relationship Building – I picked a guy at work for my relationship building. He and I have been rubbing each other raw for the last year. So I decided to change how I work with him to better our relationship. So far, so good.
Work – We are working on the responsibility thing right now at work. I’m ready to take on a new some new challenges. We are going through a bit of restructuring and that only gives opportunity.
Training – It’s all going well right now. I’m running faster today then I was 3 months ago and it’s on a great deal less than I would think I need to do. I can feel myself gliding better in the water. 1500 meter test coming up this week. The bike is where I really feel the difference. Two hours today on the trainer went by fast and felt ultra strong.
All the other goals are in progress but there isn’t much to report on. When the time is right I’ll report on all the other goals.

We are a reading family. Mary and Marco a great deal more than me. The book I’m reading right now is called Delta Blues. It’s a historical look at the Blues Music from Mississippi. It’s a great book.

A bit more sun, please….
It’s a good life…..

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Mary and Marco at the Munich Olympic Stadium - Site of the vamous Steve Prefontaine/Lasse Virren 5000 meter showdown. And so much more of course. Pre is a favorite in the eyes of Marco.

The Pool at the Olympic Park - Munich. Afteral the Olympics are really a big Swim Meet and Track meet.

The Wave at the English Garden - Munich. Yes, that is a surf board and yes, they surf the wave.

Sometimes it's just good to go. On Saturday the three of us drove to Munich. We toured the Olympic Park and then went to dinner at Tacos Y Tequila, the best mexican food in Germany. Sunday I ran with my friend Brian Enge who was in Munich (From Cardiff) for the ISPO trade show. We had a good long run and a good chat about life. Later in the morning the family visited one of the Art museums that had a display of Picaso. Then we watched the surfers in the English Garden.
It's just good to get away from the routine and do something different.
It's a good life....