Thursday, June 20, 2013

5 Things I Learned This Week

  1. I have a great family - against adversity we bond and I believe that bond will get stronger
  2. I still love and respect small business especially running strides
  3. I am a big believer in supporting local retail. Shop at your local running store.
  4. I love Chicago and would live here
  5. I am more committed to avoid large farm products and sticking to eating like a vegan with some grass Fed Beef thrown in
That does it for this blog for a week. China does not allow blogging so it's quite time for me. Have a great week everyone!

5 Things I will Do Training for Ironman Lake Tahoe

Yesterday I sat down with my brother Bob. I'm more committed now than ever to embark on this Fuck ALS campaign.

These are the 5 things I will do in training to help me be successful in September.

  1. Swim in the Surf - I can't swim at 6,000 feet but I can swim breathless and swimming through surf will do that. So it's once a week in the surf repeatedly for me. 
  2. Run on Tired Legs - Only Tuesday night on the track with my legs be "Fresh". All other runs will be on tired legs. The point being Ironman is about finishing strong on tired legs. 
  3. Stay Strong - For me doing strength work is a must. I'm a small frame and will wither away in the next 12 weeks if I don't keep working on strength. 
  4. Block Cycling - I don't have all day or all week to ride all the time. I will continue with my 4 days a week 5-6 total hours on the bike but 3 times I will block big days back to back to maximize my cycling. 
  5. Max Rest - I'm 49 and this is my 9th Ironman. I know what's in store over the next 12 weeks. Max rest will help me get through it. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How Did I Get Here

The Picture above is the lake I grew up in. From 9 years old to 18 this was my home. 
  1. I learned to Swim here 
  2. I learned to fish here
  3. I learned to play hockey here
  4. I chased girls here
  5. I got chased by girls here
  6. I fell through the ice here
  7. I've never been so cold in my life than one winter night on this lake. 
Monday I stopped by this lake put on my wetsuit and swam from one of end to the other and back. Probably 1.4 miles in total. When I was young I would have never swam that far. It took half a day to go there by boat. Of course we had to stop and cast for fish. So the thought of swimming that far was out of the question. When I got back to the beach some young kids were waiting for me. They said Wow, good job, how far did you go! I told them and they were shocked. I would have been too at that age. I told them I grew up on this lake and wouldn't change it for anything. They just smiled. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tell Them and Then Tell Them Again

When selling a running shoe to an end consumer or prospective retailer you tell them what they will feel then tell them again as they try it on. Almost every time they will come back and tell you they felt it. Clearly you have to be confident and know your subject.

It's what great coaches do too. They convince you that you will do it. When you do it the really good ones smile.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Perfect Running Tool

My favorite piece of equipment outside of my running shoes is my running watch. Not my GPS unit, not my heart rate monitor, my watch. I use those other devices on occasion but for the most part I run with my watch. There are only three measurements that matter in running, Time, Distance and Pace. My watch gives me Time, Distance is either known or estimated and Pace comes from the two. It works every single time. No battery to charge, Satellite to locate and no strap across my chest.
Have you ever been running with someone where you are both wearing GPS watches. Ever noticed (of course you did) that the mile markers are not the same. They are clearly within normal variation but rarely if ever are they the same. Using Perceived exertion works the same way without the beeps.

There was a study done recently (when I find it I'll post it here) where two groups of runners were used. Group 1 runs with a watch only and Group 2 runs with GPS. They were asked to go on various runs of various distances using no watch and no GPS. All was on perceived exertion. The runners who wear only the watch were much more accurate with both time and distance. The runners with the GPS were much worse on both Time (Usually too short) and Distance (always too short).

I believe if you want to become a better runner, ditch the GPS and work on the feeling of running.  Three really good ways of doing this.

  1.  The Track - It never lies and neither does your watch. You learn to run pace by feel on the track and you'll get your inner GPS set. 
  2. The Long Run - If you really want to, use your GPS for the first measurement. Then go on feel. Your watch will confirm what you feel on the day. You'll learn to pace that long run to perfection. 
  3. Time Trial - Pick route with no stop lights etc, and time yourself on it regularly. Use various workouts on the same course. Run Fartlek (that's speed play of say 3 min fast, 3 min steady or 2 min fast, 3 min steady), run tempo (say 20 minutes at 1/2 marathon pace) or run steady. Even sometimes run it for time and compare time and feeling to other times you've done it. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's in the food

For the past two weeks I have been on it with food. No dairy no junk carbohydrates just real food. I have also been testing a couple aging and brain supplements which I will talk about later. The point is I have been consistent. Yesterday on my Birthday my consistency went out the door. For breakfast I had a Gordy's gluten free Plonk. Gluten free and full of sugar. I bought cookies for the office and had 4 of them, gluten free too. For dinner I wanted to take Mary and Marco to a nice place on the beach where I could order a good clean fresh piece of fish. Yesterday was also Graduation day in Encinitas so no tables were available. We settled on Mexican. Chips and Salsa, Modelo Beer, Rice and Beans loaded with cheese. All very very tasty. By 9pm I was wasted.Not drunk but my stomach felt heavy, my head was foggy and I simply felt awful. By 9:15 I was passed out asleep.

I woke up this morning worn out. Still feeling heavy. I went ahead with base Saturday ride: 3 hours in the big chain ring and then an easy run off the bike. Although I completed the workout it was flat.

During the two weeks I have done the following:

  1. No meat until dinner
  2. Plenty of water
  3. Largest meal at dinner
  4. A glass of wine with Mary
  5. Lots of fruit and veggies no dairy
The load of Mexican food was simply too much. It's the only way to test your food intake.go to simple clean foods for a good deal of time. Then load on Mexican food or a pizza and see what you feel like. I know for sure I don't want to feel like I did Friday night ever again.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Top 6 Athletes of 2013

I'm not an expert, I'm a fan. A fan of people who put their head down and succeed. It's what I strive to do in everything I do. These are my favorite athletes who have done the same so far in 2013.
  1.  Fabian Cancellara - if you watched this man ride Paris Roubax this year you would understand why he is #1 on the list. A simply amazing athlete.
  2.  USA Soccer - Team USA is not only going to qualify for the World Cup next year they will be ranked as a top team. Go USA.
  3. Chris Derrick - I met Chris when he was a senior in High School. He worked at one of the best running stores on the planet, Naperville Running Company. Chris ran with us, listened to our story and was simply fun to be around. It's so good to watch him succeed. The US men finished 2nd in the World Cross Country 12K, in Poland this year. Thanks in part to the hard work of this young runner. 
  4.  Mary Cain - I don't like talking about high school runners unless it's my own. Mary Cane deserves mention. She ran 4:05 1500 meters and under 2 minutes for the 800 which is world class.
  5. Tim Duncan - quite simply the best. Ever heard of Tim in the news for contract talks, crime, anything but basketball. He might win his 5th MAN Championship this year. The man is pure class and all heart.
  6. The Doc - Notice I don't have a triathlete on this list. Spring is simply a prelude to the Fall Championships. There is no sense in picking a hot athlete today because it has no bearing on what will happen later. Instead I pick the coach. He does more for his athletes than most you hear about. He not only coaches them he fights for them. Here he is fighting for his athletes. I fully agree with what he's talking about. The ITU style of racing is good but it can be so much better. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Birthday Workout

My Birthday is on the horizon and it dawned on me that I don't have a Birthday Workout. I'm not sure If I want one but I'm interested in the the thought of a fun and challenging workout. I've participated in others and although I think they can be a bit crazy they are fun at the same time. Below are a few examples. I wonder if anyone reading this has one they want to share?

Mark Montgomery - Mark was one of the best triathletes in the early days of the sport. More importantly he was one of the characters that helped mold what the sport is today. I'm sure he still has some sort of Birthday bash workout but he would do a triathlon in his years, with pushups added in. For instance if he turned 35 he would do 35 X 100 in the pool, ride 35 miles, run 35 minutes and do 35 pushups.

Mike Rouse and Michael Jacobs run their age on their Birthday. I've run with Mike Rouse in Kona, Hawaii on his special day. I ran 22 miles with him, he was running 58 I believe. I ran the last 22 miles with him. He ran an up and back route on Ali'I Drive. Being the nice guy I am I gave mike the best or flattest part of the road. I ran on the steepest cant in the run. My hips hurt for days from that effort.

I have time to think something up. Neither of these really excite me all that much. But maybe!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

5 Ways to Make Free Time

The other day our son was complaining that he got no free time. It's the end of the school year and it is finals week. He goes to school runs and studies that's is.But then I reminded him that his free time is 10 weeks of vacation. He got the point.

My free time is when I Swim,bike,run and read. I found some things that work for me to make the most of the time I have.

  1. I work out early - in the pool at 5 am 4 days a week and on the bike by 6 am 2 days. My easiest if you call running long easy is my long run on Sunday starting at 8am.
  2. I read 30 minutes early before I workout and 30 minutes at night.
  3. My email in box is emptied every day.
  4. I shut my phone off at 6pm
  5. I am willing to give up free time now for free time later. If I know I am going to ride 6 hours on Saturday I give much of it back before I get there. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Finding Motivation

Yesterday  I woke up knowing it was an easy day. A 30 minute swim, a bunch of body work using my injury prevention tools and a day of work. But the motivation to get out of bed was not there. And then it hit me, Bob can't do this. I jumped out of bed and got the day started with my swim. Bob my brother was diagnosed with ALS in April.

For now this is motivation enough to show up and do the work. Sometimes the easy days need more motivation than the hard and some days it's the hard ones. Whatever it is I take Bob along for the ride.

By the way, the water was cold, it was still dark out and the swim felt effortless which is exactly what easy 30  minutes should feel like.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Running Shoe Review: Altra 3-Sum

Just open the link above to read the review. I own these shoes and have my opinion on them but I will leave not share. No need when someone else does it.

I will comment on the name and agree with the reviewer. Who comes up with names anyway. I would like a 3-Sum.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Healing art of Injury Prevention

Runner, triathlons, cyclist, swimmer or just about anybody with aches and pain can benefit from the items pictured above.

Golf Ball
You spend a great deal of time on your feet. If you run you are doubling the effect at least.You also wear poor fitting and maybe even poorly designed shoes. Each morning when you wake up spend two minutes rolling your foot over a golf ball. Start with light pressure and work your way over time to more pressure.You are looking for the parts of your foot that hurt. You want to work that pain out. It is said that Laird Hamilton can stand with all of his weight on a ball. A good goal to have.

Lacrosse Ball
This used mostly on my calf and Achilles. I sit cross legged and use the ball to find the tight areas of my lower leg. Once I find one I use the ball and the pressure of my hand to roll the pain out. The ball can get to places that other things can't. Especially along along the side of the Achilles.

The Skate Wheel Roller -
I like this to roll out my calf. Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front. Put the roller under one leg at the Achilles. Cross your other leg on top to apply pressure. Roll from there all the way to the top of your calf. Still and really work where it hurts.

Orange Roller
Roll your back out. Lay on your front and use this to mash your quads. Works great on the IT band. Can be used like the above roller on your calf but it's not as effective. If you are only going to do one of these things buy one of these rollers. You will find your own uses for it.

The Yoga Strap
Perfect to stretch the hamstring. Lay on your back. Loop a foot with the strap, bring that leg up to stretch your hamstring and use the strap to extend the stretch. You can do the same thing to stretch your hips, groin and your upper body swimming muscles.

Use all of these tools to remove the small tightness that left unchecked can turn to chronic pain or in the athlete it can lead to injury.

It's a good life….

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Tony Melcher Test

In my early days at Road Runner Sports there was this guy who worked on the sales floor named Tony Melcher. Tony was an old school runner. Meaning he ran is tail off. He was an old school shoe guy too. Where I treat shoes with care and respect Tony grabs, twists, turns and bends. One of the ways Tony would test a shoe is grab by the heel, grab by the forefoot and bend the forefoot up and back towards the laces. If the flex point was in the forefoot he'd shake his head with approval. If it was in the arch area he would shake his head and with a grimace on his face he would say "Feet don't bend like that". So after Tony left the company we continued the process and called it the Tony Melcher test. Most of the shoes that failed the test never made it into our warehouse. We simply wouldn't buy them.
Not long ago I had a medical doctor in the office. His specialty is joints and joint surgeries. The first thing he did when he picked up one of our shoes was do a variation of the Tony Melcher test. I asked him why. His comment "Any time a runner comes to me it's serious. I always do this with their shoes. You would be surprised at how many times I see the real serious injuries and a shoe that flexes at the arch. Feet don't bend that way"

The two shoes pictured below are racing shoes. The first is the Ultra Kiawe 2.0. As you can see even with some pressure it bends in the forefoot. The Second shoe is a 156gram shoe we build for the fastest athletes in the world. We don't even sell it. If you run below 6 minute/mile pace in training you can race in this shoe. Your feet are strong enough. If you can't run that fast you have no business being in this shoe. Strong feet can withstand this kind of bend. Weak feet can't and over time something has to give.

Most of the new shoes called running shoes today fail the Tony Melcher Test. I'm not here to pick on other brands, I respect what they do. But I'm here as an advocate for smart running. If your shoes fail this test be very aware of how you feel after every run. There are doctors getting rich today because runners all over the USA went blindly into the minimalist world and didn't do this simple test.

It's a good life....

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Building Functional Strength

I read a tip from Gordo Byrn about strength training. I learned long ago that it works well for my body to keep it strong. I have been known to get my skinny ass in the gym to mix it up with the big boys. Today though I work on functional strength. Gordo says to pick one month a year and lift as much weight as you can. For me that month is June. My busy work and life schedules don't don't allow me to devote time in the gym so I improvise. Take today as an example. My goal was 30 minutes of strength. I did it all in the office and did in 3 x 10 minute boosts. Each one separated by 1 hour.

  1. Stair Jumps Like box jumps only on stairs 2 stairs at a time
  2. 15 slow as molasses push ups
  3. 30 seconds of wall squats
  4. Alternating kneeling leg/arm extensions
  5. Stair Jumps this time three stairs at a time
  6. 10 push ups rapid fire
  7. repeat to failure or 10 minutes

I will do a variation of this 3 times/week increasing the number of sets (lifting more weight)
Each Sunday. By the end of June each day will consist of 6x 10 minute sets. In July I will settle down to twice a week for 30 minutes.

It's a good life.....

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Training with a Family

Today on slowtwitch there was a post from a guy complaining that his wife was asking him to start doing shorter races and cut his training from 12 hours per week to 6. My first thought is that is not what she is asking for.

I am no expert at this and I have faltered many times but this is what I do.

  1.  Eat dinner with the family at the table every night but Tuesday. Tuesday one of us takes our son to Cival Air Patrol and whichever I do take him or not I run.
  2. I Swim 3 days a week at 5 am
  3. I cook dinner or provide dinner 3 nights per week.
  4. I ride 4 days per week. Twice on the trainer. Once during work and Saturday where I am home by 9am.
  5. I run 4 days a week. Sunday is the only day I train with others. Long run with the boys.
  6. I make breakfast for our son every day and Don't miss a track meet.
  7. When things coverage family is always first and training last.
  8. I travel more than most and never miss a day when I travel.
  9. The hotels I stay in are either near a gym or have a gym. When I travel I go hard. 
  10. The time I spend on the sport of triathlon is at's part of the job.
It's a good life....