Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Get Tough

I was reading a couple stories recently and they got me to thinking. Time to HTFU. The first was an article about a young cyclist named Phillipe Gilbert. He's one of the hard chargers from Belgium. Apparently there's not a rain storm/ snowy day he doesn't love. The harder the conditions the more he likes it. Lance got mad at him in 2005 for launching an attack as they entered Paris. One tough Hombre!
The other was a write up about a little known Triathlete name of Doug Friman. My kind of dude. Someone who works harder than everyone else and gets more from that work than maybe he should have.
They both inspired me to get out in the cold, rain and mud.
It's a good life....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Country Roads

I just love riding in Germany. First of all the roads are exceptionally smooth. Yes of course winter wears on them but they get repaired often enough and correctly. My favorites are the narrow, one lane country roads. You never really know where they will take you. Generally instead of coming into a village on an open side you come into the village through the back. You may have to avoid chickens, cats and maybe even the farm tractor as it pulls out but that's it. Rarely if ever are there cars. Generally every time I go out on my bike my goal is a new road and at least one or two new villages. Depending on the length of the road it could be a great deal more. Yesterday was one such ride. 3 hours was the goal so I chose north. above is a picture of our new home. I placed a bid on it as I was riding by. Not bad for a country estate.
It's a good life....

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Great Quote!

"It's a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation." -Roberto Benigni

It's a good life...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Life Leading or Leading Life

I've had time to think this week, time to reflect, time to read and time to be inspired. I find inspiration in some normal easy places and then sometimes it just finds me. For example, Tom Boonen inspires me. No, I don't idolize him. I'm way beyond looking up to and idolizing professional athletes. They are really just normal people and all to often they make mistakes. Like Tom Boonen did over a year ago. In a random drug test (testing for performanc enhancers) they found coaine in his blood. Athlough not a banned substance in sport it is an illegal substance. Tom paid the price of fame and fortune for that mistake. But in his words what hurt worse was letting those close to him down. For the last year it was rare to see his name in print without reference to cocaine. The Tour de France banned him from competition last year. Earlier this year he found out he would not be prosecuted by the folks in Belgium. They determined it a minor offense and let him go with a warning. The same they would do for anyone in his situation. So Tom got to focus on bike racing again. Last weekend in the famous Paris - Roubaix bike race he inspired me and probably 1000's of Belgian kids. He powered away from 10 of the best one day riders in the world. With his chin on his handlebars, his lungs bursting out of his chest and his heart pushing more blood than seemed humanly possible he road over the roughest roads in the world to victory. It was an amazing show of strength and determination. OK, I found that. I turned on the Telivision and watched it.

Recently in a regular Blog I read I was turned on to a book. I've been reading it this week. It's called The Blue Sweater. It's a book written by a woman who has spent her life trying to help others. Not in the traditional sense of giving aide to people. She knows that the key to helping other is to give them the tools to help themselves. After all it's more rewarding and long lasting when you do it yourself. If you are currently involved in charity or feel you need to know more about chariatble work, read this book. It will take some time to read not becuase it is long but because the subject is rather deep. I highly suggest it.

Next from the same Blog I was introduced to this guy. I've only read a bit of his stuff but it's inspirational. I really can't wait to read more and get regular updates from him.

So this brings me back to the title of this blog. Is life leading me or am I leading life. As I look back over the last few months and probably the last two years life has been leading me. I think it's the heart of the discussions Mary and I have had about me. Although we never really land on this point I think this is the point. I've been wating for things to happen at adidas, and at home. I let others make decisions for me or let decisions go unmade. I have been going through life which is not bad but it's not me. I'm not happy nor will I ever be happy going through life. I want to lead life. I want to inspire others to lead their life. I don't have all the answers right now but I think it's time to make the commitment to lead my life. My friend Craig regulary says he's changing the world one running shirt or one pair of shorts at a time. I get it now. Craig has a life that he should write a book about. He's lost freinds has seen his freinds suffer and has his own suffering that doctors can't figure out. So he runs every day without fail and he commits to chaning the world through his work. That is inspiring stuff. He gets it. I'm committed to getting back on the train and going after it.

It's a good life....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pictures of the week!

With the Sun! One of Mary's prized Tulips!
This doesn't tell the entire store. The first K was 12%

Old building inside the wall.

I love this passage through the wall. a small town in the
valley of Fanconian Switzerland.

Just a cool monument in Franconia

Taking a break from the Easter Sunday bike ride

The Swans are back. This one was quite friendly.

Easter Sunday Group Ride.
It's a good life...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

When did I age?

Over the last week I've noticed aging. Not wake up pain aging just things. Of course it doesn't help when your 10 year old sits for what seems like hours analyzing all that is on your body. "Dad, you should have stayed out of the sun, you have lines in the corners of your eyes and around your mouth". I tell him that it's because I smiled all the time when I was a kid, that's why those lines are there. Then he points out grey hair on my chin, the veins that pop out of my arms, the slowness in my walk. Then yesterday I'm sitting in a meeting not really focused on the task in front of us and I'm looking at my hand. In whatever light I was in it looked all old! When the heck did that happen? I know it's inevitable but it wasn't supposed to happen to me.

No, this is not a midlife crisis. I actually enjoy getting older. And heck I did a run test today and felt better today than I did last month. I wasn't much faster but it felt so much easier. If that continues what does age matter.

It's a good life....

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Sun

As I've said multiple times the Sun is the key to life. When there is no sun like the recent winter months here in Germany there is a certain mood that strikes. It's not bad but it's not super happy either. Its a sense of purpose. Let me get my things done and then get home. It's the lack of sun during the day and it's the overall short days.
Over the last week things have changed. First the sun has been out. Not just out but the complete opposite of those winter months. It's been out in cloudless skies with a super warm glow. Temperatures regularly in the 70's. This has caused a wholesale change in the mood. People are out on their patios until the sun goes down. You can smell the grills all over the neighborhood. Bike paths are full of bikes, in-line skakes, walkers and dare I say runners. Kids are back in the street. Marco spent this weekend outside with the neighbor kids. It's been 6 months since this happened with any regularity. It's like life began again. The doorbell rang multiple times with little girls standing there looking for Marco.

As for me, I road my bike outside in shorts. Freedom from tights, freedom from chill or downright cold. Freedom from a runny nose. Yes, the Sun does bring Life......

It's a good life....

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fine Dad, take the picture.
This is Marco making yummy snacks. He's taking a cooking class after school on Monday so we are trying to foster it by adding things to do on the weekend. The weekend before I left for Panama he made Peanut Butter balls mixed with Honey, raisens, dried cranberries and chocolate chips. They were yummy!

Back home in Germany. Although I knew this would happen it's still strange. The week before I left we had seen more than a week straight of cold rain or snow. You know the saying with March, Lions and Lambs. Well March roared in this year. Last week (the last week of March) while I was in Panama the weather turned. When I landed here yesterday it was a beautiful 75 degrees and Sunny. What a welcome feeling.

Panama was great. Besides being late to the big presentation that one day, all else went great. Every time I go there I am reenergized for what I do as a living. The energy in the room is infectous and it's because of the Latin American people. They are just really appreciative and full of excitement.
The running was good there as well and that always helps on trips like this. I met Craig in the lobby every morning for a run through the Park. The great thing about that was we carried each other through the rough spots. There were clearly days that felt worse than others and it was good to have a running partner and a meeting time to keep the running going. I can't remember the last time a ran when I could feel the sweat rolling off my head. Our morning run started with a 2 mile jaunt to the park. There was one section that was a gradual climb. At the top of the climb with a turn into the sun the first drops of sweat would roll off my head. From then on it was a contiuous stream. Now I always suggest you use technical fabric when running but did you know once it is soaking wet from hot humid conditions, it stays wet. The wicking properies are pretty much gone at this point. On the good side even soaking wet it weights much less than wet cotton and it's still much cooler than soaking cotton. Anyway I managed 55 miles around the park while in Panama. I think that's a record for any trip I've been on. Now it's back to being a triathlete which means less running and more of the other stuff. Consider my one week running camp done.

It's a good life....

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Adios Panama

One more nights sleep in Panama. It's been an ultra fast week. As relaxed as this place is, when your day is filled with stuff, it goes by very fast. I'm bummed that I'm this close to the water and never got a chance to get in. I spent every day trying to help everyone with building their business in the tough economic time.

Tomorrow I'm off to Herzo, Germany. I'm not looking forward to the super long trip home. First it's a flight to the US which is a pain when you are just flying through. You still have to do the customs things. Then it's a 7 hour flight to Paris and finally a 1.5 hour flight home.

It will be nice to be at home.

It's a good life...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Mas Por Favor!

I'm tired but more than that I'm dehydrated. I think the 9 miles yesterday and the lack of sleep got to me. On my run today, the same 9 miles I ran 3 minutes slower with an average of 10 beats higher per minute on the HR. Essentially I was asking my heart to pump Sludge and that's not a good thing to do. Today I've been trying to pump food and liquid into the system but my legs still aren't responding. Hopefully a good dinner with some solid sleep will work the legs out.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On Time!

I pride myself for knowing the schedule and being on time. For the most part I know where I need to be and at what time any day of the week. I think it's part of what allows me to juggle the things that I do. If I were late everywhere I went I would lose a great deal of available time. Today though I lost it. Today I was late and not just on any day. We have these big meetings like any product company where we the product team shows those that need to know all the great things we have in store for a future season. Well that is what brings me to Panama and today was the opening day of big 5 day effort. I was scheduled to present a new concept that the company is spending a great deal of money on, during the big 2 hour opening. All the country representatives are here, the top management from the region etc. It's a big deal.
My morning started early enough. 3:30am to be exact but that's what traveling half-way around the world does to you. I took some time to wake up and then started practicing my pitch. I had roughly 5 minutes to talk and I spent 90 minutes in practice.
Next was a run with Craig. We met in the lobby at 7:00. We had an unscheduled conference call at 7:00 that lasted until 7:15. We then headed out the door. We found this great park to run in that is a 4K super hilly loop. It takes us 16 minutes to get there. The run felt easy, much easier than yesterday. We do a lap of the Park and then say we have time let's do another one. So we casually do the lap and then run the 16 minutes back to the hotel. The run was 65 minutes in total and it's now 8:20. We were cutting in close by this point but we would rush through the shower crab a cab and get to the office with roughly 1/2 hour to spare. I take a cold shower to speed the recovery and grab all the things I need for the day. I'm walking to breakfast and my phone rings. It's Rodrigo my partner here in Panama.
"Dave, where are you, Charlie just started. Will you be here to pitch"
"Shit Rodrigo, it starts at 10:00 when did the meeting time change?"
"Dave, it has always been at 8:30, where are you"
"Getting breakfast, we'll do our best to get there, besides, you know this stuff, you can do the pitch"
So I call Craig, we quickly buy a couple things to eat and grab the cab. It's now 8:50 and 20 minutes into the presentation. Luckily there is no traffic. We walk into the office at 9:00. I quietly walk into the presentation where the head of the region Charlie is presenting. I feel like a total idiot. This is not like me and I've let them down. Stupid, stupid, stupid. 15 minutes later I try to make up for my stupidity by putting on a good presentation. I try to stay calm and not be too cute. Good feedback from the group made the sting hurt a bit less but I'm still mad at myself. That's so unlike me. The only good thing that came from it was the practice. 90 minutes of practice for 5 minutes of pitch was the right thing to do.
Tomorrow the pitch is 10:00. I've checked twice already.
It's a good life....