Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Land of the Rising Sun

My first time to Japan. I'll wake up, run have breakfast and then take the train to Hong Kong. From there I'll fly to Tokyo. The Zoot team in Tokyo offered to pick me up at the airport but I chose to find my way. I find it more exciting to find my way around a city on my own. Work to be done here.

It's a good life...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday and finish up

Today we'll finish up any work that needs to get done on the shoes. We'll also conduct a business meeting with the factory to finalize the development and product calendar. Like any day I'll get back to the hotel by 8:00pm.

It's a good life...

Monday, February 27, 2012


Today we'll go visit the Sole suppliers. These are the guys and create the midsole of each of the running shoes. It's really just a courtesy visit unless there is something major we need to discuss. The problem is it's hours in the car. 2 hours there and 3 hours back. But it's worth it.

It's a good life...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday away from Home

Sundays are the worst days to be away from home. Loneliness hits hard on Sunday. To make up for it I'm going to get busy. I'll start the day off with a group run in Hong Kong. There are running groups all over the world, you just have to ask the right questions to find it where ever you are. After the run I'll find breakfast.

I'll stay in Hong Kong as long as I can. Hopefully through lunch. Then it's back on the train to Guangzhou. I'd rather do this than do the early morning again. It's easier on Norman too. Late dinner and prepare for week #2.

It's a good life....

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday in Hong Kong

After a good nights sleep I'll go for and easy run or ride. Today I'm going to visit a couple Zoot Retailers and then take in one highlight of the great city. I'll also find a pool to do some swimming. Hong Kong is just a really cool city and fun to hang out in. It's much calmer then the hustle and bustle of Guangzhou.

It's a good life....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Day #4 - China

Today I might change it up and do weights instead of run or ride. It depends how trashed I'm feeling. The more trashed the more Likely I do weights.

At the factory today we'll have most of the suppliers visit. They'll show us new mesh, or other things we are looking for. The mold shop will also visit. We almost always have an adjustment to do on the midsole of one of the shoes. The mold shop will bring the Blue Print and we'll review it against what we were looking for in the shoe. This also gives us time to talk about any timing of mold production.

Instead of going to the hotel when work is done, I'm taking the train back to Hong Kong to spend the weekend there. I'll probably get to the hotel there around 10pm.

It's a good life....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day #3 - China

Today is a normal day. Run or ride in the morning. On the train by 8:15. Work a full day doing the same thing as yesterday. We can get through about 2 shoes a day in review. Back to the hotel by 8:00pm.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day #2 - China Team Dinner

Wake up is usually early. It might be 3am or 4am. Not by choice of course. First up is coffee and then a run or a ride in the gym. 1 hour is usually all I can do. I generally try to eat a really good breakfast each day. So I load up on food. Breakfast is breakfast all around the world. Yes the odd stuff is there for sure, but for the most part there is always something to eat.

I'm on the train by 8:15 so I can meet Norman at 8:30. We'll get to the factory about 9:30 and dig into work. Today will be the start of working on the Spring 13 shoes. We'll look at the latest samples and look at our notes from the retail visits we did recently. Each shoe is tried on, and covered seam by seam. We are also reviewing the cost sheet at this time. We'll also kick off Fall 2013 today. We'll review the designs with the Norman and the developers at the factory. With in 2 weeks we'll see the first crack and the uppers for Fall 13. We have a target cost and hopefully in the range. Lunch is the same and we'll finish work about 6:30.

Tonight is team dinner where the factory hosts us for dinner. It's always the same place and the same food. There is only one resteraunt near the factory. We always get a private room. If it's just the guys from the factory we work closely with it's usually a fairly early night. If the big bosses from the factory join the dinner usually drags on. Beer is not required but it's in bad taste to refuse. Small glasses and very light beer. The only problem is if someone toasts you, you have to drink the contents. Guess what, they toast you often. Hopefully tonight is a low toast night.

If we make it back to the hotel by 11:00pm we are lucky.

It's a good life....

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day #1 the travel continues

I usually can't sleep the entire night but hopefully it's at least until 5:00am. Running shorts on I always get 30 minutes of running in. I'm out the door at 6:00am in a cab headed to the train station. At the train station I find breakfast. My train to Guangzhou leaves at 7:20am. Usually I have time to get breakfast at Starbucks and take it on the train with me.

9:20am we hit Guangzhou. Norman the great developer I get to work with is always there waiting. We get in the car and head to the factory for day #1. We usually get to the factory at 11;00. Lunch is always at 12:00. I eat in the factory so the only thing they know is I'm vegetarian. No chance I'm eating that meat. The rest of the day is reviewing the current shoes which for now is Fall 2012. Hopefully no major issues at production starts in less than 40 days. We are done at 6:00pm and make our way towards "home". Today Norman will drop me off at the metro as I'm staying at the Marriott. I'm usually checked in by 8:00pm. Dinner and crash is all I've got in me on this night.

It's a good life...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Finally Hong Kong

My flight lands at 8:00pm on Monday evening. Immigration and customs is usually quick. I always stay at the Marriott at the airport. I'm not in HK long enough to care where I stay and with this I'm usually checked into the hotel by 9:00pm. First up is a swim. Remember no Zeros. So I go directly to the pool and swim for 30 minutes. The floating in the pool does wonders to wipe away the flight. The I have a light dinner and try to get to sleep by 11:00. Tomorrow is a wicked day.

It's a good life...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Travel Day Destination Hong Kong

Today is travel day. San Diego to San Francisco to Hong Kong. First up is an easy run. My flight is at 10:15 which gives me time to run. I keep the connection in San Fran tight so I don't have to hang out too much.
My company requires that we travel in Economy so the first thing to do is request an Upgrade. Fat chance as the flight to Hong Kong is always full. But maybe there is an empty business class seat. If not I've got my aisle seat already picked. I choose that so I can get up frequently. This flight is so long, you can watch a movie, sleep for 5 hours and only be half way there. So the best advice I have is relax, have something to read, walk around as much as possible, sleep as much as possible and don't eat everything they give you. I always skip the last meal before landing. I eat when I'm on the ground.

It's a good life....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Long Distance Travel for the Athlete

I've recently read a number of write ups on keeping your fitness while you travel. Most of what I've read has been limited to short distance travel. I unfortunately don't go short distances and as I prepare to take another one of those long trips I thought I'd throw out some tips.

Destination: China
Flight Length - 14 hours
Time Difference: +16 hours
Fitness Goal: No Zero Days

My tips

  • Pick a hotel near a large park or a hotel that has a quality 24 hour gym. As an example the city I go to is Guangzhou, China. One of my hotel choices is The White Swan. It's located on the Pearl River and has miles upon miles of boardwalk along the river. You'll struggle to find a hill when you run but it's good running. When I don't stay there I stay and the Marriott in town. The price is a bit higher of course but the 24 hour gym is worth it. Both hotels are easy access to the metro which is world class. 
  • Don't fight the sleep. The 16 hour time change is rough. Accept what you get and try not to dwell on it. Generally for the first 4 or 5 nights I'm lucky to sleep 4 hours. After that I can usually get to my normal sleep patterns. 
  • I highly suggest taking your own food. With sleep patterns out of whack you never know when you'll want a snack. Having something you like and are used to is good comfort. 
  • No Zeros - This simply means build a sweaty routine into your day. I always do it in the early morning. That way it doesn't weigh on my mind to fit it in once I return. If you are going to go outside it's best to go early morning when traffic is low. 
  • Stay Fit - That should be your goal. You can't "train". You'll be too tired to really do anything quality so the best bet is to get it done. Yes you won't find your time trial set up in the gym but the bike in the gym for an hour will keep your fitness. 
  • The return can be tough too. Sleep when you can and don't rush that "training". Give yourself a couple days to adjust. You are less likely to give yourself a long term set back if you don't rush it. 
In the next two weeks I'll tell you about  my trip. More tips of the day will surface as I do this. You'll also get a good sense of life on the road for a shoe guy. 

It's a good life...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Envy, Life and a group of Advisers and the Rubber Band Syndrome

It's been a week already! Whew has it ever. Woefully created by me. I think I'm lucky to have the right people and the right things in place to reset these weeks quickly. And luckily I'm surrounded by love which is much better than anything else.

I'll start with the Life and Group of Advisers. I was having an email conversation with my friend Jordan Rapp. The topic of the need to have advisers around you came up. I don't think I'm sure if a friend can be an adviser but I think Jordan fits into the category. To me the adviser program is somewhat defined by Gordo where in one of his posts he says "Surround yourself with the people you want to become" I don't think there is any better way to put it. I'll begin to define this as I discover more. I know I have a group of advisers and I know I need to add to it.

A great Emotional Equation: Envy = (Pride + Vanity)/Kindness
I'll use the current hating on Lance in Triathlon. I think Envy is the biggest reason for the hate being thrown out on Twitter by his fellow professional triathlete. There is a part of triathlon or triathlete that says "I'm all that" and when Lance comes in with that buzz (all the people that surround him) and you are still thinking "I'm all that" Envy will win.

On the lighter side of things. Yesterday I was getting out of the car to go swim and noticed I had a rubber band on my right wrist. Later in the day it was still there and "I thought I took it off". This morning I woke up and it was on the left wrist. Explain for me please the meaning of this.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

No. 71

I love it when it's my opinion and I didn't write it. Why because most of the time I work on the edge of pissing too many people off or better stated on the edge of getting fired. By the way I read it somewhere and I paraphrase "Working on the edge of getting fired is where shit happens".   In the recent Esquire Magazine they list the 79 things we can all agree on. #71 is WE CAN All AGREE TO HATE A FEW THINGS SUCH AS: When you read it just read it for what it is don't read into it. Reading into it is what gets too many people riled up. For instance the mustache month "I can't grow a stupid mustache so I hate that month" You might read into it that I hate giving money for Prostate Cancer and that just isn't true.

  • Vibram Five Finger Shoes
  • Alabama's Immigration Law
  • Men Using Straws
  • Men eating lollipops
  • ATM Fees
  • The condescension inherent tn a coworker's "Thanks Bud" 
  • LinkedIN requests
  • Any invitation to take a survey when you're done visiting a site
  • People who pronounce it Prim-mer
  • Books born of websites
  • Books born of twitter
  • Months that encourage you to grow facial hair
  • The cold-beer alert bars on Coors Light cans
It's a good life....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2 for Valentines Day

If you love music you can't help but love both of these. Jack White lays it down in Love Interruption. It's a simple yet powerfully sung song. And then Adele. The first time I heard her sing I was in my car and instantly turned it up. The Music world needs artists like this who are raw and talented. Both work for Valentines Day. Love is not always easy and sometimes it breaks your heart but when it's good there is nothing better. To my wife Mary....You Rock! 

It's a good life....

Monday, February 13, 2012

Manager vs Leader

The Castle overlooking Heidelburg, Germany

"Management is doing things right - dotting the I's crossing the T's, giving reviews, doing all the H.R. stuff. But Leadership is about doing the Right Thing" Tim Bucher

Without good managers, process doesn't happen, people don't feel secure and the ability to hit financial targets is hampered severely. Without good Leaders, risk isn't taken, motivation slips and Financial targets are missed. The best companies in the world big or small public or private have both. 

It's a good life...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunset LAX

I see way to many sunrises and sunsets through airport windows. This Sunset at LAX was rather special. 

It's a good life...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Energy is why we eat.

From time to time I feel it's important to share the things I've found. I don't begin to call myself a nutrition expert or even good at following my own advice. I do know that when I do follow my advice or that of the experts it works for me. One of those experts is Chuckie V. Read what he has to say about Nutrition here.

It's fairly simple.
1. Eat Real Food in it's natural state
2. Drink Water
3. Eat often
4. If your energy levels are high through the day you have eaten enough if not you probably haven't.

Mistakes everyone makes on low energy.
1. More coffee
2. soft drinks loaded with sugar
3. Sugar loaded food or blank food - both are wrong.

Which brings me to the snack of the week. I found this at Whole Foods. You can make them yourself if you have a food processor. For $9 for 8 servings. Cheaper than any packaged "energy" bar. You get absolutely energy loaded. What on this label will scare most people is 110 of 160 calories are fat. Go back and read what Chuckie has to say and then dig in. That Fat is really good fat and it will fill you, and provide you with great energy.

It's a good life....

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Entertainer

Always the entertainer. Scout, Pinhead,Missy,Scouty Bobouty, and whatever else we call you. You are a big reason we get to smile every day.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Running Around #6 - Cardiff Kook Run

Top 10 for the Cardiff Kook Run

  1.  We knew it was a good idea the first time the mention of the Kook, running and Super Bowl Sunday were put together. 
  2.  Mile Markers oops! 
  3.  There was a Terry Schalow sighting. Terry and I live in the same town, work in the same industry, have known each other for more than 20 years yet the only time we see each other is at the NYC Marathon Runner's World party. 
  4.  We unloaded a great deal of water the morning of the race. It wasn't enough. 
  5.  Remember when recovery and prep and rest meant nothing. I give you our 13 year old son who ran once this year and not hard since is last cross country race in November. He towed the line for the 5K ran his fastest 5K ever and ran faster then everyone else from his team. 
  6.  The woman who I came up to in the first mile of the run her quote "I'm almost 50 and I'm trying to break 40"  I checked, you are only 46 so you are not almost 50. You are a good runner for sure but you prance when you run. Oh yeah that foot plant thing again. Upper body tall and proud, feet planting where feet plant. Try to get her to run proper with a clean midfoot strike. Good Luck and oh by the way, you would slow her down. 
  7. The hill repeats are working. For the last three weeks I've spent Wednesday getting strong on the hills. Approaching the hill on the way back and running it, I felt in total control. Not fast but in control. 
  8. The long warm up with Andrew and Eric was perfect. I think the older I get the more warm up I need. One day I'll probably have to run the 10K just to run the 10K. 
  9. Pro Women triathlete who I crushed. I suggest you look at everything you're doing and hire someone to handle it all. If you can't beat me you are not going to reach your dreams. I ran really slow for me by the way. 
  10. Can't wait to do it all over again. 
It's a good life....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Disappointment = Expectations - Reality

How can you make the mental shift in your life so that your glass isn't half empty or half full? How about simply being glad that you have a glass? - Chip Conely

It's a good life...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Running Shoes #7: A Legend

The history of this brand is legendary. Geoff Hollister is a huge part of Nike Lore. Those of us in the running shoe business owe a great deal to guys like Geoff. RIP Geoff. 

It's a good life...

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cafe in France

Not the first time I've shared this photo. It just keeps getting better every time I look at it. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Surfing Munich

The farthest point from any beach in all of Europe. Doesn't stop the drive to get wet. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Emotional Equations

It's amazing how things happen. It's not by chance that's for sure. I was introduced to Chip Conley by reading the 4 Hour Work Week author Tim Ferris blog. Then I bought Emotional Equations and answers are coming to me. Answers I didn't even know I had questions to.  So follow along as I uncover some answers.

First learned Equation. Despair = Suffering - Meaning

My Recent Example: I've been an unhappy camper at work to the point of Despair

The Suffering (manifested)
1. poor sleep patterns
2. Nasty emails to my boss
3. Non-Stop pushing with the big decision makers.
4. Probably a bear to deal with at home
6. crappy workouts

Meaning - I didn't know what I was doing at the company. What's my purpose. Just building shoes and being the only one in the building and in the company (parent included) that really understood shoes and how they are so tied to running was beginning to wear on me. But on Monday the new Developer started and now I have a partner who is into shoes like me. I get to have "meetings" with someone other than myself and the meaning came back to me "I'm here to make running a better experience". With that everything washed off of me. Sure there are still things that will bother me but I know what I'm here to do and that it will translate to many more things like business growth in the future.

Example #2 is for you parents out there. Marco has been struggling with Algebra. His grade has slowly gone down, his motivation went with it and all he heard from us pressure to perform. All of this with a good math teacher and a tutor. He was suffering so much that it became despair. Then Mary found a new "tutor". The first thing this tutor did was give Marco a general math test. The meaning clearly showed through the test. As you know Math builds on itself over the years. If you don't understand or possible miss a section (due to living abroad) then you can get lost. For whatever reason Marco was missing some basic Math knowledge that caused him to get all the Algebra wrong. It's going to take hims lots of work to figure it all out, but now the Despair can go away. He will suffer for the next semester but as long as he works hard on making up the learning (the meaning) he will be fine once High School starts.

There will be more learning on my part from this book. I'm confident on that. I'll continue to write in hopes that I gain more clarity in my life.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Running Shoes #6: Running Form

There are quite a number of bloggers (Runblogger, Barefoot University and more) along with shoe companies that say or have said  and I paraphrase "Run in minimalist running shoes and you will improve your running form" . The below video refutes that claim. Chrissy Wellington may one day be called the greatest female triathlete ever. Currently that crown goes to Paula Newby Fraser. I would post videos of Paula that show much of the same thing, but there aren't any. So I post Chrissy. In this video Chrissy is wearing a Brooks Racing flat. Otherwise known as a minimal shoe. In this video you will notice that Chrissy lands on her heel, over-pronates and kicks one leg out fairly dramatically. The shoe isn't exactly causing Chrissy to run on her midfoot and it's not giving her perfect form. But Chrissy has perfect running form. She runs tall, she carries her arms well with very little movement and she runs really strong. Because of these things the heel plant, and over-pronation don't affect her running and she can get away with running in a racing flat. Again, the racing flat isn't causing her to run  like that.

So how did she learn how to run this way? I'll be she had a coach oh wait she has a coach and his name is Dave Scott and he won 6 Ironman World Championships. Let's look at his running form for a second. When you watch this, you'll see short choppy over-pronating steps. But my gosh could this guy run. Again, racing flats, strong body, perfect form in the upper body. Not saying Dave had anything to do with how Chrissy runs but I'll bet  she heard often, "Keep your head up, run tall, keep your arms going forward" and never did she hear "Land on your midfoot". Dave probably also didn't tell Chrissy what shoes to run in. .
My point and it's consistent.
- Run Tall
- Run Strong
- Keep your arms going front to back not side to side.
- Practice this with drills and Strides
- Run often
- Everything else will take care of itself
- If you can get away with running in minimalist shoes do so!

It's a good life....