Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cross Country

I am blessed for many things in my life. Far and above is the feeling of what I get back from my 11 year old son. I know my job is to lead and guide but I learn more from him than I think he learns from me. Below is all Marco. Grab a tissue and read.

The gun
the bang
all the cheers

the blood pumping in your head
in the heat you go and fly

blurring past everything in your path
the churning and burning of your feet
the sweat dripping out of every pore

in the heat you charge up the hill
the hill cowers in front of you
as you obliterate it

the final stretch is always the hardest
up the last hill
your feet are churning and burning
faster than ever

the cheers from the people
on the side lines
the finish has people begging for shade

the time is good
you are worn out
but you do it again
your shoes are ripping as you get faster

that is a cross country race
Marco Jewell

It's a good life.....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

2010 Goals

In general, I want to be a better person. That's really what my goals are all about. They are not monumental but they are not easy. Things will happen this year that will get in the way of my goals. So I ask anyone reading this to help me reach them. Keep me straight and moving forward.


16 years of marriage. Sometimes I sit back and am amazed we’ve been together this long. I only say that because we have never done anything consistently for 16 years. That will be true for 17, 18,19,20. Marriage will be the longest thing I ever stay consistently involved in my entire life. Yes, you could argue that being a son is longer but that’s not so true. After all no matter how it worked there was a finite time of living under the same roof. The point is a constant work to get better has to be here or it will fall flat. So with this I tell you that Mary and I don’t spend enough time alone together. We spend a great deal of time alone, and we are great with Marco. My goal is to create Mary-Dave time Daily-Weekly and Quarterly. Daily will be minutes. Weekly we will do something together without Marco. This includes sitting on the Beach, going to the Book Store, going for a glass of wine or actually going on a date. Quarterly we will go away. Just the two of us. No dog, no Marco, no computers.


Marco will turn 12 in the next year. Time is short when doing things with Dad is cool. I can accept it, because friends are more important when Junior High starts. I get that. So Marco and I will have to work harder and being alone together. I’m going to find one day a month that is Marco day. Just he and I going on adventures together. We always have fun when we do it. The goal is to regularly introduce ourselves to something new.


In general I find money to be a bore. I don’t work for money. I never have and I never will. Unfortunately, our lifestyle and our future depends on making and saving money. We did great over the last 15 years doing both. This year I took a pay cut so I could live and work in California. I’m fine with the less income but it is putting a crunch on the saving part of Money. So my goal by the end of this year is to increase my income by 30%. That’s a super lofty goal but it doesn’t even come close to the average over the last 15 years. So I don’t find it all to bold. Most if not all of that 30% will go right to savings for the future.


My Mom is in a much better place today than she was a year ago. My sister Cyndi deserves all the credit for the effort it has taken. Today my mom has a professional companion and care agency visiting her 3 times/week. But Mom still needs interaction from me. She will receive weekly contact from me (written form because she struggles on the phone) and 3 visits in the next year. The best day I had with Mom this year was a simple lunch trip to the Peoria Courthouse courtyard. We had lunch, a good chat and listened to some great music. She lives a ways away but it’s doable and a must.


My racing goals really have nothing to do with competition. The older I get the more I realize this. I love competition and I love being able to go fast but my racing goals are more about my feeling of wholeness. In setting my goal for 2009 it was to win my age group. This caused me hire a coach to get organized. The end result was a few really good races, and 2nd place in the age group but more importantly a consistency I hadn’t had. I lost weight, I looked better and I felt better day after day. 2010 will be a bit different. With all the travel I do I find I can’t be picky any longer. I can’t plan races way out in advance only to let travel ruin the plan as well as lose money doing it. Where I raced 4 times in 2009 but lost two to travel, I will race 12 times in 2010. A race to me is anything where I pay and try to go as hard as I can. Triathlon, Running, Paddleboarding, anything. The end result will be a stronger, happier me.


I simply want to laugh every day. That's my goal. If I can do that life around me has got to be great.

It's a good life.....


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Your Carbon Footprint

There is lots of talk these days about limiting your Carbon Footprint. Makes sense from an environmental standpoint. Today I was listening to one of my current favorite bands Modest Mouse. Highly creative song writers. This line appears in one of their songs. It's great how they used the topic of today and put unreal meaning to it:

"Someday you will die somehow and someone's gonna steal your carbon"

The point is yes, do as much as you can to limit your Carbon Footprint. Stop driving, recycle, travel close to home (funny coming from me) and give back (clean a beach like Mary and Marco did on Saturday). But it's bigger than that.

Between now and someday you are you. On someday you will just be carbon. What are you going to do with the time between? It's what I'm asking myself right now. Goals on the way!

It's a good life....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Less is Better

I wise man who did the most amazing shoe clinic I ever witnessed said this:

"Go with the least possible shoe you can get away with"

He was not a shoe hater. In fact he loved running shoes. He just believed as I do that you don't need all that stuff. So if you are told you need a stability shoe, you do. But don't buy the most stable, by the shoe with the least amount of stability you can get away with.

By the way, the only people that can help you with this are running stores. They are the only people that spend all day, every day putting the right shoes on feet.

It's a good life...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Run Smart

I got into a debate today on Facebook. You know Facebook is about connecting with long lost buddies but for some reason I have a list of people I don't know on my list. Most of those have the same interests I do but I'm still not sure how they got there. Today a guy I really don't know, Greg Vaughn posted this: Runners in shoes that cost more than $95 were more than twice as likely to get hurt as runners in shoes that cost less than $40! -- From The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

There is great debate going on right now in running. Some dude wrote a book called Born to Run - I have yet to read it and runners are stripping off their running shoes and going barefoot or in these Vibram Five fingers shoes.

My main problem with the debate was all these people posting how they were running out to buy Vibram fivefingers. I have no problem with the shoes. I have a problem with people, and or medical journals blaming the shoes for injuries. I feel like I have some expertise in the matter. I've spent a fair amount of time with runners and shoes. In my time I've found that most of the injuries were caused by the runner not the shoes. The first complaint always came in as "I got injured from these shoes". Ask a few simple questions, like - What was your last run that felt good? What's your average mileage? How long have you owned the shoes? Just simple things like that. Most of the answers came back "Well, my shoes are two years old or I did a 20 miler on Sunday and I ran 35 miles last week or my all time favorite I had this twinge all week and then wham I woke up today and can't walk."
Runners in my book are not bright. I put myself in that category so don't go crazy on me. They'll jump to the latest craze see: Born to Run. By the way let's do a test and get Ryan Hall to take off his Asics for the next week of Marathon training. Do you think he'll get injured? Let's try it just this once. They think the latest Craze will cure them of their injury problems and then find out that no it's not a magic pill. People, listen up:
Running is rather simple. Build mileage gradually. Your long run should not be more than 20% of your total. Don't do speed work unless you have a huge base. Buy the right shoes for you not the shoes everyone else has. Replace them often.

If none of this makes sense I'll make it even easier:
Hire a running coach
Shop at a running store
Don't run if it hurts.
If you are consistent in your running and you are sore after a run, replace your shoes.
That is Smart Running!

You think the fivefingers are strange, you should see my wife heading out in her running shorts and these, her favorite new running shoes. She looks like a dork but her form is great and she is now running sub 6. Just amazing.

Now for things much more important: Mt Sac!

Marco and his buddy hanging out in the shade waiting to cheer on the team.
Poop Out Hill - that's the name. Marco passed these three and 5 more before the top.
Just before the big switchback.
Mt SAC has a new sponsor!

It's a good life....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am not your coach

I don't know how dads do it. You read stories about professional football players who credit the coaching of their Dad for their success. Running is full of successful father/son coaching stories. In Triathlon Myles Stewart and Spencer Smith had their Dad as their coach, agent and bully if need be. Two guys I work with head to the practice field three times a week to coach Soccer where their kids are the stars. Then there is me. If I say, "Find a runner who you think is better than you and try to run with them in practice. The best way to get faster is run with faster runners" I get the look of "You're an idiot Dad, I can't run with them" or the worst quote ever "I'm not you, Dad". That is like the quote of death.

"I'm not you, Dad"

Now if Coach Mena were to say "Marco, today I want you to run with Darius. Stick like a fly to glue. No matter what, don't let Darius get away" Marco would shake his head and say "OK, coach". Then he would do what coach asked.

This is not a Dad feeling sorry for himself. This is a guy who admires that Father/Son coaching thing and is quite happy to admit finally that it's not in the cards for Marco and I. Today it's official "I am not your coach".

It's a good life...


Monday, October 12, 2009


The Ironman World Championships has come and gone. The frenzy of press, facebook Twitpics etc. is just about over. It was yet again an incredible race worthy of the title World Championships, where the best of sport lay it on the line to be crowned World Best. The following link tells a great story of the men's run that was. Enjoy.

It's a good life...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Go Running!

This weekend was not normal. There really isn't anything normal about the weekend but this one was even more different. Essentially I did nothing outside running or riding until 4:30pm today. That's really not normal for me and it absolutely showed. Until 4:30 today I was slow and tired. I couldn't focus on anything and I was a bit cranky. I headed out the door not really wanting to run at all. But I ran. Soon my mind began to open up and flow. Soon I could smell the flowers along the side of the road. The next thing I knew I was on the Trail going through the local lagoon. I arrived home 90 minutes later a totally changed person. Awake, alive and ready to get things done.

Get out there and go running people. More will get done in the world. I'm not saying literally. Just get out there and get the blood flowing.

It's a good life....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Born To run

On the NY Times website today there is a blog about barefoot running. Apparently it was in the LA Times yesterday. Now on there is a coach (doesn't it seem like there are as many triathlon coaches as there are triathletes) telling you the scientific reasons not to jump into barefoot running just yet.
Folks this is a Fad. A guy wrote a book about the indigenous people of Mexico and he adopted their way of doing things. It works for him. But it's a Fad. It has yet to be proven that anyone doing serious training, Ryan Hall for example, can do this all barefoot. Come on folks be serious. When was the last time you read a book and did everything that book told you to do? Why now? Why Barefoot? The shoe companies have been lying all this time. Those bio-mechanic labs at Nike and adidas are just fronts for the truth. Shoes are a waste of time. But we have to sell shoes so we'll market the hell out of them anyway and fool everyone. The funny thing about this is a company older than most who makes outersoles (the rubber bottom of your shoe) is cashing in. They made a goofy shoe because they could and sold it to high mountain outdoor shops as camp shoes. Now because of this barefoot thing, they can't make the darn things fast enough. Vibram rules! What great bio-mechanic wizards they were.
Here's the truth from my side. For 15 years or so I've done roughly one workout a week barefoot. I do a warm up "in my shoes" to a local grass field (beach works well too). I do strides and some kind of strength work then I put my shoes on and cool down. 15 years, no foot injuries, actually no running injuries. None-ever. But who am I. Go the book store, buy Born to Run, follow it and be free. I have an even better idea. Go to Itunes, download Born To Run - The Springsteen version and rock and roll away. They said Rock Music was a fad too!

It's a good life...

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Double

This weekend I did something I haven't done since I was 25 or so. I raced back to back Saturday and Sunday. I'm reminded as I write this how tough that really is. Even though both races were ultra short, I can feel them in my body today.
Race #1 Dirt Dogs Cross Country - Balboa Park - Saturday
A classic race series in San Diego is the Dirt Dogs. It's a series of 6 or 7 cross country races. The event is done all old school. Sign up on the day of the race, no chip timing, and because it's cross country it's a big team atmosphere.
I arrived at the race about 30 minutes before the start. It felt really late to me but it wasn't. I had time to sign up, and get some slow jogging in before the start (note to self, add strides into the slow jogging. Helps with the starts). We lined up for the start and we were off. It was a downhill start for about 300 meters and then a quick steep uphill to separate the the bunch. My plan was to stay controlled the first 2 miles (by the way this is a 5K race) and then see if I can burn the last mile. I settled in to 6:20 pace. It felt easy enough to maintain but hard enough to stay in my space. The course was tough, lots of twists and turns and ups and downs. Then there were the rocks, lots of them on the course. True cross country style. After the first 1/2 mile or so I started to roll through the fast starters. Mile two came along in 12:40 and it was good. Good because I was on pace and good that there was only 1.1 to go. Now it was time to see if I could pick it up a bit. I surged, well ok, I slowly picked up the pace, not much surging going on anymore. I hit mile 3 ins 18:40 and then the last .1 was long. Really long. Probably because I could see the finish line the entire way but couldn't get there. 19:26.
Race #2 - Mission Bay Triathlon - Sunday - Swim 500yd, Bike 15K, Run 5K
If you are a triathlete or a wanna try it some day athlete, the Mission Bay Triathlon is a must do. It's where the sport of triathlon started and it's a top 5 race in the world. Location, Location, Location.
I've said this before, being almost old really sucks. If you are old you start early which gives you time to finish the course. If you are almost old, you start at the back. In face my almost old group was in wave 12 of 14 total waves. The first wave was finished with the entire race before my wave even started. Lot's of time to warm up!
My warm up was complete and it was time to race. My plan was to go as hard as I could from the gun and see what would happen. The horn sounded and I was off, Fast. I desperately tried to hang with the super fast feet. I got dropped but it felt good to hang with them. I was out of oxygen about 3/4 of the way through. I tried to relax and let my stroke take over. A shout out to my new Zoot Synergy wetsuit. First of all one that really fits is important. But one that fits like that and floats like that is extra good. No rash, no pinching and feeling fast in the water. Not a bad thing. I have no idea where I came out of the water. Because of no oxygen, I was dizzy. I just regrouped as I made it to the bike and hoped for the best.
On the bike it all felt good. My cadence jumped up quick and I knew I had to settle it down. Starting so far back meant that I would be passing people the entire way. An ok thing to do but it does mess with your pace. You are passing them so you must be going fast. The bike course is wide open with one loop around the famous Fiesta Island (what a poor excuse for a famous Island). The year Faris Al Sultan won Ironman he motor paced on that Island for 112 miles. He hasn't won it since and I'm sure he hasn't done that crazy ride again. It was windy during the race an on Fiesta that mean's no break. It's a relatively flat road but with wind it's uphill the entire way. I was grinding it out around the Island. No clue where I was in the race and nobody to pace with, I just put my head down and screamed "On Your Left" on a regular basis.
Into Transition and go. I think it was my fastest change to run ever. I think it has something to do with the shoes in the picture below. The Zoot Ultra Speed. No laces, just slip on and go.

These babies are 6.5oz of lets go running freedom. They were simply great shoes to race in. Like the bike I was running by people the entire way. The only thing I could do is run as hard as I could for as long as I could. The course is mostly flat with two hills in the last 1.5 miles. Lots and lots of turns on the course make it for a fun run. You can just hammer between the turns. Whew, I'm at the finish already. 59:32 on the clock. Not as fast as 3 years ago but I think the days of going ultra fast in a one hour race are fading quickly.
My goal at the start of this year was to win my age group in a triathlon. I've done three triathlons this year and felt through the first two I was on pace. Because of the new job and lots of travel in the back half of the year, Mission Bay was going to be my make or break race. A really tough race to try to do this. In 2006 I was 8th in my age group. So this is why I went as hard as I could from the gun. I waited and waited for the awards to be posted. Finally one hour after I finished they were posted. 2nd in my age group. 15 seconds behind first. Dang, I missed it. I never saw the guy. I never saw anyone in my age group. Dang. But wait a second, I raced twice this weekend. If I don't race Dirt Dogs, I make up that 15 seconds easy (in my mind anyway). I'm going to consider this a success.
I didn't hit that ultimate goal but I came very close. I had fun getting there and that's more of the point. That and losing 12 lbs this year. It's all good.
A big thanks to my family for putting up with this goal. There is no way I can do this crazy stuff without there love and support.
Thanks go out to Coach Gordo. He kept me honest through the year and stayed in touch. That's not normal in triathlon. Most people probably don't hear from their coach too often.

Now it's time to rest. Rest and recharge. Well not really, there are 3 Dirt Dog races still to do.

It's a good life....