Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ready for Work

It's been a long time since I officially worked. I've never taken 6 weeks off from working. Not since college anyway. Although I've totally enjoyed the last 6 weeks it's time to get back to it. The best part of it is I get to go to work right here in San Diego. That beach I've enjoyed over the last 3 weeks is still there. That sun although hot this week is still there. All those people running, cycling and swimming along the beautiful coast we call home are still there. The fact is I get to do what I love from right here in this paradise. Not many people in my field of work get to do this. Unless of course you work in Skate shoes or Golf shoes. But Running shoes, in San Diego. Yep, that's what I get to do. On Tuesday I start at Zoot Sports.
Zoot has been in the running shoe business for 2 years now. That's the exciting part for me. I get to help continue the launch of a brand. Not many in the shoe business get to do that. It should be a total blast and best of all I get to come home to Cardiff by the Sea.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Finish Strong

Yes, those are Asics shoes on Marco. We didn't have much choice at Sports Authority. No kids adidas running shoes and the only Nike were Shox and no thanks on them.

Cross Country practice tonight was a good lesson for all of us. The workout for the kids after the warm up was 5 X 1200 (turned into 4 for everyone) on the grass. This course is tough with a climb and a fast finish each loop consisting of 400 meters. The goal was to get faster with each 1200. Group number one had a coach (father) running with them. He kept the pace steady and that group ended up running each 1200 a bit faster. The second group, the one with Marco did not have that pacing. So they had to do it on their own. They ran #1 good and slow. #2 saw the group really spread out with some kids going out too hard. #3 saw the pace pick up dramatically with the group bunched together until the final sprint. #4 was totally spread out again with kids dying. One of those kids was Marco. In fact he finished last in the group. On #3 he finished 3rd. After #3 he came over to me and said his leg was driving him crazy (Poison Ivy). He asked to stop running and go home. I knew better though. I had seen his effort on #3 and knew that he had run too fast. It was the effort that was hurting not the leg. So I said we would evaluate after #4. Once I saw him running I knew he had over extended himself and it was time to shut it down. So after #4 I called him over and told him to walk it off.

The point of this is that we all do it. We all get super excited about something and dive into it full blast. Then we slow down with as much escaping energy. Marco doesn't know better. He was running with Nelson and Nelson was running fast so he should. But we know better. We know it's better to pace ourselves into something to make sure it lasts. Why don't we do it? Are we that impatient that we can't wait? Probably so.

My coach has a mantra he rides fairly hard. The key long run of the week is done in 3rds. 1st third slow and controlled. 2nd 3rd, moderate and the final 3rd holding that moderate pace. Not easy because when your tired you want to slow down. All other workouts, finish strong. We should take that as our life mantra, Finish Strong. We'd all be better for it.

It's a good life...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Highs and Lows

I mean really, we live in paradise. We had family visiting (Mary's Brother and Niece) from Chicago. Over and over he said wow this place is great. Running on the coast, going to the beach whenever we want. Heck tonight we went the to beach long enough to get wet, catch a wave and head home. You can do that when you live less than 5 minutes from the water.
But watching the Track and Field World Championships from Berlin I couldn't help but miss Germany. The Blue Track, the familiar streets of the Marathon course. I sat watching, wishing I was there in person. I actually would have been there at the Championships had it not been for the move.
So yes, there are lots of highs and the lows that creep in. Missing Germany simply tells me that it was totally worth the effort to live there. We were lucky to take that chance and make it work. We are extremely lucky to be able to live in paradise. You just can't beat Cardiff by the Sea California. Check it out on Google. It's that good.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Runner is Born

Priceless is a 3 mile run with Marco followed by 90 minutes of play in the Pacific.
Earlier this summer Mary and I were discussing life in California with Marco. We told him he had to be involved in one "sport" and one Musical activity. His options are endless here in the golden state. We narrowed the sports down to Soccer, Swimming, Rugby, Fencing and Running. I'm not sure how we got there but the boy chose running. I'm sure he's had some doubts in his head since choosing it but he's committed. The first week (last week) was testing. He started it off with a bang in his first running workout ever, 10 X 300 meter hill repeats. That set the stage for what would be a tough week of running. By the time he got to the Saturday group tempo run he was fried. He finished that run with some tears and questions about his choice. 12 hours of sleep Saturday night and an easy Sunday made it all better. His weekly total was 16 miles in 5 days of running. Thanks to a runninng coach I listened to recently, we created a big chart. Every day, Marco fills in his daily running mileage on the chart. On Sunday he adds his weekly total to the running total. There are awards (he doesn't know it yet) at big milestones. 100 miles is the first big milestone.
Monday was another workout with the team. This would be the test. Saturday was tough on the ego. No problems though, he jumped right into the workout and finished the entire thing. At the end he said "my legs don't hurt" and that was a big step for him. This brought us to yesterday and our 3 mile run. He has 3 workouts a week with the team and then 2 runs with me. So far those two runs have been great opportunities to talk. Yesterday we were just in awe of the great place we choose to live. The Sun was out, it was a clear day and we could see La Jolla to the South. This created a discussion and now a goal for us. We want to hike from Encinitas to La Jolla on the beach.
I can't wait unitl next weeks, coastal run!
It's a good life....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back in San Diego

Well it's been one week since I landed back in San Diego. Some thoughts:

1. At times I feel like a foreigner. That's right there is a bit of Germany that has stayed with me to cause me to feel out of place.
2. Love Masters Swimming - Imagine that a pool that is full of like minded people swimming. No head up breast stroking here.
3. Club Cross Country running is serious stuff. I'm not sure I could do the workouts Marco had to do.
4. I hate car Sales People - Hello, I want to buy a car and I don't want your attitude involved. I got a great car but a bad taste in my mouth from the service.
5. The Ocean is beautiful - I'll go back there.
6. I've driven more in the last week than I did in 2 months in Germany. I'm not sure I like that.
7. Fit people - Yes, there are lots of really fat people in America and in San Diego. But there are also more fit people here than any other place in the world.
8. The Americas Finest City Half Marathon is a must do if you are a runner. Sure it's a hassle to pick up your number, you have to get to the park early in the morning to grab the bus to the start (7 am start ouch!) but it's the most beautiful big city Half Marathon in the world. Point to Point starting at the edge of the Penninsula that has the Cabrillo Monument and the US Cemetary one of the most beautiful features in all of San Diego. The race heads right into the city and then finishes in the increadible setting that is Balboa Park, home to that world famous San Diego Zoo.
9. Lines - Yes there is order in the world. Orderly lines waiting for the bus. Owe how I miss the mass of humanity pushing there way to the front in Germany.
10. AFC Marathon - 56% women. AH, back in San Diego.
11. Sunday morning with Mary, you just can't beat it even it is spent running a 1/2 marathon.

It's a good life...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Greg Lemond

Greg, you were a champion. You turned me on to the beautiful sport that is cycling and the Tour de France. You were the first American to truly break the European barrier and you opened the doors for Amercian Cycling in Europe. Your triumphs in France are legendary. From fending off your own teamate to winning on the last day TT in Paris. You showed us Amercians how special the Tour de France was. You were the comeback story of the decade. Accidently shot during a hunting accident, you fought the odds and came back to win with buck shot pellets lodged in your back and in your heart. I learned the phone number of the French Press so I could follow your exploits in July. I will always remember Greg Lemond, the cyclist.

I hope to forget the Greg Lemond of today. You seem destined to bring your sport down. The history of cycling is much like the history of all sports at the very top. Athletes are constantly looking for an edge. When all athletes are at the very top and are equal, what's left to do? Some, many have resorted to cheating. Today baseball is going through the "Steroid" Era. Well I've got news for them, check the baseball scuffing era as well. Or how about the little green pill era. In cycling, the Little Green pills were huge during your time. Riders are admitting to that. This is not to say that every athlete at the top is a cheater. In fact there are athletes that defy whats normal at the top. The ultra gifted. They are the cylists through natural ability who can ride away from all the others on the climbs. Who can hit redline on a time trial and keep it there longer and faster than anyone else. You with your accusations are bringing them down. Shame on you. Instead of using your status as a true champion on the bike you have chosen to stay in the headlines every July for your words. Words of accusation against riders. I suggest either find ways to give back to the sport that gave you so much or shut the hell up for the rest of your days. Sport needs to progress and you are not helping it.

It's a good life....


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ode to my Kestral

It was 1996. The fire to ride and race again was alive. It had been 5 years since I raced a triathlon. Falling in love and starting a career were much more important to me. But 1996 was a new year and things were stable, triathlon became a part of me again and a new bike was in order. Pulling some connections, you showed up on my front door step. All clean and new. In 1996 you were a work of art. One of the only one peace carbon frames on the market. Well from 1996 to 2009 you served me well. 3 Ironman Hawaii races (I didn't ride you the third time, a friend did). 1000's of miles training for those races. Relegated to winter training once the new go fast race bike was purchased, you fought the harsh conditions. 1000's of miles in Southern California cool and sometimes rainy winters. Friends would make fun of you because you only had 8 gears but that didn't deter you. You laughed as they struggled up the hills with their 9 and 10 gear rides. Fast forward to Germany. You sat patient in the boiler room waiting for a turn to ride those smooth roads. As the other two bikes, the fancy new 10 speed carbon road bike or the race bike went out, you sat and waited. Your time came in June of this year and you delivered. You delivered in biblical rain. You delivered in hot sun. There was no break in time, no getting used to it. You fit instantly and you delivered. On those steep 12% grades you skipped up. On the reverse 12% drops you glided down like you were meant to be there. For 5 weeks you were the star of the show. The last ride this past Monday was a heart renching ride. You knew it was the end of this journey but you didn't give up. All the way to your resting place you road like a champion.
To my Kestral, thanks. Thanks for the great memories.
To the lucky soul who picked it up, treat it well. I hope it gives you the enjoyment I got.

It's a good life.....