Friday, December 19, 2014

Five for Friday: My Current Sports Nutrition

Tis the season to try all things new and see what feels good and what doesn't. I'm going to list this by category because there is lots of information.

  1. Pre Workout - Long Runs or Morning Workouts - Bullet Proof Coffee. I've tried all kinds of things over the years and this is what I find works the best. Last Sunday I had a cup of coffee ran 1:45 with the boys and never felt I needed anything outside of water at 70 minutes.
  2. All Day Hydration - I drink Nuun. I rotate flavors each time. It's simple cheap and it works great. And I salt everything.
  3. On the bike - Shorter rides I drink Hammer Nutrition Heed. I've always liked the mellow taste and it works great. For longer rides I take Generation UCAN and water.
  4. Recovery - I really like First Endurance Ultragen It works great and tastes good. I ran out the other day so mixed one scoop of UCAN Vanilla with Protein and One Scoop UCAN Lemon/lime hydration. It tasted great and worked well. That's an expensive recovery mixture.  I think I'll stick to Ultragen.
  5. Ok so what doesn't work for me: Hammer Nutrition Recoverite - Never feels good going down. Energy Gel of any kind. I'll save those for race day only. They work but I surely don't see the point of training with them. Larabar - I had one on the bike a couple weeks ago and still hit the proverbial wall hard.

It's a good life.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I am a Jewell. There is a quality in the Jewell family around routine.

Good sleep
Up early
Hit it hard early getting the hardest done first

For me that means I do my focused workout first thing. I like it that way but it's hard to find riding partners ran7:00am on a Saturday.

This week because of schedule, the morning workout does not work. Instead of worrying too much I moved it to late afternoon. Last night I was running in the dark.

The more I think about it the more I like it. Get my work-work done early get my hard workout done later. Results to come.

It's a good life.....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Finacial Review

I've had some time on my hand and because it's the end of the year I think the best way to spend any extra time is on review. First and foremost in this review is a family financial review. I'm done looking at how much money I think I deserve or want. I'm looking at how much money I truly need to provide for the family and have enough left over to invest. It surprises me that I don't need to make as much money as I did to do this. I'm ambitious to make sure my family is fully provided for. I'm thankful that right now I get to do that on my terms.

The first part of the review is to look at security. Things that make me and my family feel safe.

  1. Cash - Did you know the average American family doesn't have $2000 for an emergency. That's crazy to me. We have enough cash to live close to 6 months. That's not living at our current level but in crisis you can't expect that.
  2. Home - We are lucky we bought low and in a real pinch we could sell today with large upside.
  3. Pension- Mary is a teacher.
  4. Life Insurance - I have two. Thanks Mary
  5. No Short Term High Interest debt - No Credit Card Debt, No Auto Debt
  6. Bonds - I have none and the next security investment I make will be in Bonds.

This is a good start to review what we have and what we want. Next up will be looking at what we are doing to live fulfilling lives beyond our working days. That may be a long time away of if we are really good may be something we can choose. We have the investments and have had them for 20 years. I'll be the first to admit that I never look at them. By next Monday I will have had a full review of how they are doing.

I share this with you not to say look at how good we are doing. I always think there is room to give Mary and I more certainty. The point is to show you how to do it. If you are in the average American household the first thing is get out of any credit card debt and as soon as you pay those off, use that the same money and start putting it into savings or some other investment you can access easily. That's how we did it. We paid off our cars and then took those would be payments and split them in savings and long term investments.

Special Note on Shoe Reviews. If you like the shoe reviews I've done and want to see more go to There you'll get a weekly shoe review from me. Hopefully all the other content we add will be of use as well. The real big content that we've been working on is still 30 days away but I'm happy to report that it's special.

It's a good life...

Friday, December 12, 2014

Five for Friday: My 5 Favorite Runs

Running has taken me to some amazing places. It's hard to have 5 that are tops but I'll give it a shot.

  1. Grossenseebach, Germany with my dog Scout. We had some really good times running in Germany. We would run from the house and just explore the multitude of trails around the area. I think our longest run was two hours together but most were 45 minutes to an hour. She was always ready to go and just loved to chase deer, hares and the occasional chicken. The area is famous for it's wild boar but we were lucky to never run into one of them. I will always remember those runs.
  2. Coast Highway Cardiff with Marco - We don't run together much anymore. He has his running buddies and quite frankly our paces have crossed paths. I used to slow down for him and now I'd have to run well above my comfort zone to run with him. I haven't changed that much but he has. We've had some amazing discussions on our runs and that's what always makes them great.
  3. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado - I've had some epic runs in that park. Once I was tracked by a mountain lion. That was fun. On another occasion a 90 minute run turned into 3 hours with a good 30 minutes in one of those classic summer thunderstorms.
  4. Eldoret, Kenya - Just outside of the city we started a run at a measly 8,000 feet and finished 15 K later at 10,000 feet. We were treated to a feast by the runners at the finishing camp. What was so cool is we were 50 runners strong. I was given a 15 minute head start and I finished 5 minutes behind the last group. I loved every second of that run.
  5. The first run I ever went on. I was tired of the routine of Snickers after school and decided one day to lace up a beat up pair of Nike shoes I had and go for a run. It hurt so much that I went running the next day.
It's a good life....

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are You Ready to Run?

If you search through my posts you'll get a pretty good idea of what I feel about running, running form and running shoes. After the first few times I went running I knew I wanted to run the rest of my life. Saying so and doing so are two very different things as most of you reading this understand. Injuries, children, jobs and general lifestyle all play a roll in our ability to run. But more than all of that is sheer pain. Running hurts. It hurts when you are out of shape trying to get into shape. It hurts if your 16 years old and taking a 3 week break between seasons. It hurts if you are 50 years old and have a lifetime of running.

Because of this I am always on the lookout for something to help me run as long as I can. Kelly Starrett wrote an encyclopedia for athletes when you wrote Becoming a Supple Leopard. I learned of his methods much earlier in his MobilityWOD YouTube videos. His delivery is spot on for me and I absorbed a ton. Once the book came out, I dug into it and have used it on a regular basis. I always felt that there was something missing. Well this year the missing peace came out in the form of Ready to Run.

I honestly believe if you run, you need this book. It doesn't matter if you are 15 or 50, make or female this book, if you use it as a running tool will keep you running pain free for a long time. Why?

  1. Proper Efficient Running form is everything to a runner. 
  2. Running Form starts in your head and works down to your feet. 
  3. Running Form does not start with your feet or more importantly what's on your feet. 
  4. If you allow your body to get tight, because of running, working at a computer, flying around the world (read through this blog) or sitting on the couch watching the NFL on Sunday, your running form will suffer.  
This book makes staying properly balanced easy to understand. The 12 tests you should be able to perform as a runner are not difficult. They are simple to execute and measure and if you can't do them the rest of the book is dedicated to getting you to be able to to them. 

I'll give you an example. 

For weeks now I've been dealing with pain that is all related: 
  1.  Low back pain
  2. Tight Hips
  3. Tight Hamstrings
Before I bought this book a couple weeks ago I was addressing the low back with a a foam roller and a lacrosse ball. Since I got the book this is my routine: 

  1. Voodoo Floss - Hamstrings - Essentially intense compression on each leg. I do this 3 times a day. 
  2. Baseball to my hips - I've had the same massage therapist for years. Whenever Dave got to my hips I'd tense up and it took him a good 20 minutes to work out the tightness. I always had tears in my eyes from the pain. Now with the baseball I can get to the exact same area and do it daily. 7 days or so into it, it's almost painless now. 
  3. Couch Stretch - I've always done this but now after the baseball it's so much easier to do. 
  4. Foam Roll my lower back. 
Results - Low Back pain is gone, hip movement is awesome and the hamstring tightness is slowly but surely leaving my body. 

The only issue I have with the book and it's minor is Standard #2: Flat Shoes

I believe flat shoes in your every day life is the right way to go. Try to convince my wife who likes to look professional in school and she'll say you're crazy but I believe in the Flat Shoes all day view. I however disagree with the Flat running shoes. Kelly talks about going from Motion Control shoes (Casts for your feet) to flat shoes. There are about 100 steps in that process before you ever can consider this. I firmly believe in running in the least amount of shoe you can get away with. If that means flat great. But most everyone in the running world will fall between the cast and flat. Very few ever need the cast and very few can run daily in flat shoes. 

Other than that one piece I think this book is a keeper and belongs on the book shelf of every runner on the planet. It's that good.

It's a good life....


Monday, December 8, 2014

Running Shoe Review: Saucony Triumph ISO 12

Triumph ISO 12                                                      Triumph 11
Price: $150                                                              $140
Weight: Men's 10.3oz/292g                                       10.8oz/306g
Weight: Women's 9.0oz/255g                                    9.3oz/264g
Midsole Volume: Maximum                                      Maximum
Midsole Offset: 8mm                                               8mm
Category: Neutral                                                    Neutral

What we heard on the way to the review:

Runner: "Have you seen the new Triumph? Saucony is going after Maximalism (Hoka), That shoe is beautiful"

Retailer: "Oh we are selling it really well, that upper fits like a sock"

Competitor Magazine "Iso Fit Technology - A wrap system that creates near-custom fit with a soft inner sleeve and a floating cage that adapts to the precise shape and movement of the foot"

Saucony - The new Pro Grid Plus offers 20% more cushioning

A Comparison between equal level Neutral shoes

Supportive                                                                                                          Soft
Brooks Glycerin - Asics Nimbus - Saucony Triumph ISO 12 - adidas Energy - Hoka Clifton

Let's take a step back and talk a bit about Saucony. For over 2 decades Saucony has been one of the default women's running brands. All the way back to the first Jazz the fit of Saucony running was really good for women. In fact many brands have studied Saucony fit when they made attempts to create unique women's shoes for their own line. The most interesting thing is that Saucony didn't set out to address the woman's foot. In fact for all those years they used one last for men and women. The result of all this is a lagging men's business.
Brands as they start out unless they are women's only brand will skew heavily towards the men's side of running. Once that side of the business is established they turn concentration to women. To be more clear the brand is not going after men. Men are after new technology in their running shoes and are more willing to take a risk on a new brand. To have a brand like Saucony with more than 50% of their business with women is really unique in the running shoe world.

One shoe to break that mold for Saucony with men was the Kinvara. I'll talk later when the Kinvara 6 comes out in Fall 2015 but I believe and have for a few years that the Kinvara is the perfect shoe. So it excited me when I took my first look at the new Triumph and saw in it a great deal that makes the Kinvara so good. In fact it's clear to me that Saucony wasn't looking at Hoka but at their own shoe the Kinvara when they made the change to this Triumph. in doing so I think they give the runner looking at the Hoka Clifton another option to try.  When I finally got the chance to try it on it was instant, Saucony has a men's shoe. That's not to say that they are giving up on women. In fact I believe the Triumph is now positioned so well in fit and feel that it will work equally for both genders.
 Looking at the lateral side profile you can see a couple very big upgrades on the midsole. First is the constant ground contact flat bottom. This ensures that no matter where you strike the ground first (heel, midfoot, forefoot) that you will land on soft foam and be in contact with the ground until you toe off. The second thing to notice is all the articulation in the side wall. This ensures when you do strike that the shoe is smooth through transition.
 On the medial side of the shoe it's all business. Very little articulation. The idea behind this to create some support in the midsole. Virtually all runners have some pronation in their stride. The supportive medial side is just their to keep the foot tracking over the meat of the forefoot.
With this outsole view you see the full constant ground contact surface area. You can also see the lateral side release where the rubber pods from the heel though the forefoot match the articulation we saw in the lateral side view. The only draw back in this design is the center channel under the heel. It's just wide enough to collect rocks or sticks and narrow enough to keep them in your shoe until you stop to remove them.
At closer look you can see the deep flex grooves that get a bit wider to the lateral side. When you put these shoes on and walk in them you can actually feel the outole under your foot. It's similar to the feeling of socks with grippers on the bottom. You feel like you are almost sticking to the surface.
 The insole (sock liner) is molded to the last (same last as Triumph 11) and you can see the shape of the bottom of the last in the contours of this sock liner. There is good arch support medial and lateral and there is good feel in this liner. 200 miles in to the shoe and the sock liner held up well.
 Inside the shoe you can see the Iso Fit upper. It's a one piece construction sleeve. No traditional tongue to deal with. You can see here that the sleeve is there to fit around your instep and then it's sewed into the upper just past your arch. With all of this seaming I wouldn't suggest running without socks.
When you first see the shoe you can't help to notice the thick padded heel. I'm not 100% sure why they went so thick unless it's to make up for the challenges in the cage (see below). I will note that this skinny heel (me) runner appreciated the thick heel. If you have the rare wide heel I think this shoe will be a challenge to fit.
 Any time a brand goes to a cage system for the lacing it produces challenges. Because each eyelet is independent there is a tendency for one or two of the cage fingers to bend or twist out of place and for the footwear developer it takes lots and lots of pattern work to get it right. I think Saucony did a really good job figuring it out although there are a few things I would have changed. The very top (last) eyelet is positioned too far back. I believe runners with a high instep will struggle with this eyelet placing. There will be a strong tendency for the lace to dig into the top of the foot at the ankle joint. Personally I noticed it each time a laced the shoes but will admit to never noticing it while running. But I have virtually no instep which is why I believe there will be some issue. The other minor concern I had with the shoe is that there is one fewer eyelet row. The runner who likes a really tight fit will struggle to get this shoe tight enough. All that said, I'm super impressed with the cage in this shoe. I would not say it fits the precise contours of my foot but I would say it's really, really comfortable. From the first run to the last I never once had to stop and adjust the fit.
 One final note before I really dig into the results. The trend in midsoles at the maximum or over sized level is soft, really soft. I've been running on paths most of my adult life. In Germany or in Cardiff I would rather run on a soft dirt path than on a hard road. Until very recently it's been without incident. The first incident was last spring in a Hoka Rapa Nui. I was not more than 1 minute into my run (through the park across the street from my house) when a stick went completely through the bottom of the shoe and into the soft part of my forefoot. I pulled the stick out and blood started to flow. You can see in the picture above that it happened again. Lucky for me that the stick when out the side wall and not into my foot this time. Just something to be aware of in these new shoes. It's a good thing to check your shoes after each run to pull out potential hazards.

I bought this shoe with some trepidation. For years I worked with Saucony in my retail days. I loved the people there and the business we were building. But I never ran in their shoes. They didn't fit my foot at all and I always thought they were stiff and clunky. When they introduced the Kinvara finally I had a shoe I could run in. But only one. I was very pleasantly surprised by the Triumph ISO. My first run in the shoe straight out of the box, was a 5K time trial test on the roads. I felt the shoe reacted really well to the hard pace and held my foot well. 200 miles later I still have the same feeling. The shoe delivers exceptionally well for a maximum cushion shoe. It's really soft yet supportive. The constant ground contact is smooth and quiet on the road. You should not hear your feet when you run and this shoe will help make sure you don't. The forefoot is like butter the entire run. Long runs, hard runs, road runs, uneven path runs, the forefoot held my foot up and softened the blow. I really hesitate to say I liked the shoe for me. Typically if I like a shoe for myself it's not going to be great for all other runners. I learned early on to put my personal feelings aside. Working for brands I rarely liked anything for myself. The more I didn't like it the better the shoe actually did for everyone else. But I firmly believe Saucony built a really good shoe that I like and that millions will like too. I think the upper has enough room to fit most feet (high instep runners will struggle) and it has enough adjustment available. The midsole is full, soft and smooth. There is very little not to like in this new Triumph.

Triumph 11 vs Triumph ISO 12
 Strong similarities in the heel. The one change that helps in the smooth ride is they moved the Power Grid from between foam pieces (black shinny line in the center of the midsole on the right shoe) to just under your foot (orange piece on top of the yellow midsole). With this you get the full feel of the soft foam and having it closer to your foot makes the platform smoother at impact.

 You can see the difference between constant ground contact at the top and the plastic support bridge in the Triumph 11. I believe everyone will benefit from the full ground contact but I also know some will find this change to be too drastic. For sure there is an adjustment period going to full contact.
 You can see in the Medial side of the Triumph 11 that there is a great deal of supportive business going on. It's supportive in the upper and in the midsole with the plastic bridge wrapping up the side wall. Under the arch and through the upper the support in the 11 and 12 are equal. The 11 does it through the upper and that bridge where the 12 uses the ground (full ground contact) to provide the support. The big difference between the two shoes is in the forefoot past that bubble looking section in the forefoot. In the Triumph 11 pictured just above you see there is very little taper from that bubble to the tip of the shoe. In fact it's quite full and supportive all the way to toe off. (by the way I personally can't run in the Tirumph 11 because of that piece. It doesn't compress or flex enough for my foot and my foot gets really tired fighting it). If you go back up to the medial side of the Triumph ISO 12 you will see a dramatic taper from that bubble to the toe. There is a section on top of that midsole that is painted black which gives the thought that the midole is thinner than it is but with or without the black paint you can see the taper to much less foam.
Looking at the toe of the shoes in this photo you can see the effect of the taper. On the same last (Usually toe spring is built into the last) you can see the dramatic toe spring in the Triumph ISO 12 vs the Triumph 11. Because of this change I believe a good number of Triumph 11 runners will not like the unsupportive feel at this point of the gait. You will feel like you are falling off the shoe.  It's a big enough change to feel.
 Another caution in the new shoe is Fit. Saucony has always been known for a wide fitting toe box. The Triumph 11 actually fits slightly wide even for a Saucony. The Triumph ISO 12 does not. So if you liked the Triumph 11 for it's wide fit you will probably have to go up in size to get the same fit. Not impossible to accomplish but annoying.
Saucony talks about 20% more cushioning and attaches that number to the PowerGrid+. Yes they changed the material make up and the position of the Power Grid but it's not there where you feel the cushion. The 20% (If that's a true measure) is in the much softer midsole and in the constant ground contact.

To wrap it up a bit. If you run in the Kinvara but always wanted more shoe for longer runs or recovery runs you now have one. Looking at the Neutral shoe group above, if you feel the Glycerin or Nimbus are too stiff or that the Clifton and Energy Boost are too wide and unsupportive in the upper the Triumph ISO 12 is a great option in the middle of all of that. Also if you are like me and have struggled to find a Saucony shoe you like I highly suggest you give this shoe a spin.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Four Things

This is a game on the Internet and because I read one I guess I got tagged. I liked it so I'll play along. Assume if your reading this, you got tagged too.

Four Things People Have Called Me

  1. Pearl
  2. Jewell of San Marcos Creek
  3. Jeweller
  4. Super Dave
Four Jobs I have Had
  1. Grocery Store Stock Boy
  2. Busboy
  3. Bagged Ice for $.10/bag at age 12
  4. Managed a Godfather's Pizza
Four Movies I have Watched More Than Once
  1. Gladiator
  2. Animal House
  3. Caddy Shack
  4. Raiders of the Lost Ark - All of them
Four Books I Recommend
  1. Radical Leap - Steve Fabor
  2. The Lore of Running - Tim Noakes 
  3. The Power of Full Engagement
  4. Running With The  Buffaloes 
Four Places I have Lived
  1. Dunlap, IL
  2. Grossenseebach, Germany
  3. Sao Paulo, Brazil
  4. Cardiff by the Sea, CA
Four Places I have Been
  1. China
  2. Eldoret, Kenya (think runners) 
  3. Stockholm, Sweden
  4. Diving on the Continental Shelf in the Bahamas
Four Things I Don't Eat
  1. Fish Heads
  2. Liver
  3. Seaweed
  4. Candy
Four of My Favorite Foods
  1. In n Out
  2. Lasagna
  3. Pizza
  4. Snickers Bar
Four TV Shows I Watch
  1. Scandal
  2. NFL Football
  3. John Stewart
  4. Track n Field
Four Things I'm Looking Forward to In 2015
  1. Launching My Business
  2. Traveling with Mary and Marco
  3. Riding My Bike
  4. Walking Niki
Four Things I am Always Saying
  1. Niki - Come! 
  2. Yeah Right
  3. I Love That
  4. Good Morning
It's a Good Life.....

Monday, December 1, 2014

My Sunday Long Run

I have been waiting for this book all year Fast After 50. It will be a few more days before I have it in my hands. Joe has been blogging about this frequently and to have it all in one resource will be great. I'm confident there are insights in this book that I'm not 100% aware of yet.

I've been meeting a friend every Sunday for a long run. I love that run because we like the pace we set and we talk about running the entire way. Yesterday we talked a great deal about the Long Run and how it's the best run for runners. The coach (My running buddy) talked about how bonking is not a bad thing. That hitting the wall and stopping is cheating yourself of great adaptation gains. That pushing through is essential because it will happen in a race.

About two thirds into the run I was pushing through. Alone I probably would have slowed or stopped. I'm glad I had my running partner there to help me push through.


Our Sunday runs always start with a group. In the group there are 5-6 runners in my age group. It's funny to listen and watch.

Things 50+ runners say or do

  1. Everything Aches
  2. I feel better when running than I do any other part of my day. 
  3. I have the tightest "Insert muscle group" on earth. 
  4. Every car has a "The Stick", a roller of some kind, and lacrosse balls. All to work out the aches before or after the run. 
  5. My favorite line is this "I go to bed feeling great and I wake up injured, that's life after 50"

The Long Run - Get it done! 

It's a good life.....

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Five: Morning Practice

With more time on my hands I have been working on quite a bit. I have established a morning practice that is geared 100% to getting fired up.

  1. Cold Shower - I roll out of bed, brush my teeth and jump into a cold shower. My entire body and mind come alive. 
  2. I drink a glass of water then a glass of Branched Chain Amino Acids. 
  3. Then I make coffee. If it's a workout day then it's Bullet Proof coffee if not then normal.
  4. I read to learn. Typically it's a book about finance or mind/body improvement. 
  5. I take the dog for a walk. On the walk I do 5 minutes of deep fast breathing,5 minutes of gratitude (out loud) and 5 minutes of positive self talk. 
This process starts at 5:10 and is done by 6:15. At this point I am focused, relaxed and ready to attack the day. 

What's your morning routine?

It's a good life....

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The One Thing that Worked

I was on a long run with a buddy the other day. He's a father of a six year old boy. They will not have another child. He asked me what  I thought was the one thing I've told Marco (an only child) that had the biggest impact on him.

Regularly I feel like I talk in circles with our son.
Regularly I feel like he doesn't hear me or that I'm doing it all wrong.

But this reminds me daily that maybe we have done it right.

We made a decision that is so counter intuitive as a parent or at least is counter intuitive to me at times. Kids are going to explode. They need to break down and have their moments, get mad, throw tantrums etc. We made the decision that we wanted those breakdowns to occur at home where he was safe. We embrace the tantrums. As a teenager they get a bit louder and a bit hairy from time to to time. He never gets in trouble for the tantrum. He simply gets his time to let it all out and then we try to give him his space. It's hard when the tantrum is directed at us for something we did or did not do but I've grown accustomed to it.

It's counter intuitive because the home is supposed to be the quiet zone. Outside is loud and crazy and home should be quiet and calm. Our house is anything but quiet.

At the same time we have taught him or more preached to him how to act outside our house. Most importantly we talk about how to treat others. He generally brushes these discussions off like "yeah right that's how the world works." Or talks about others with annoyance and disdain.

It doesn't matter who we talk to or where we go, and what we observe. The kid that is so annoying is getting full attention from our son. The parents all tell us he is "The nicest boy". The coach simply nods to me that all is good. The teachers love him.

It's important for me to remember that he's going to throw tantrums. If he can't throw them at home he's going to throw them outside. We see it all the time but it's not usually in the form of a tantrum but in the form of aggression.

There are instances with the Slam of a door that I just want to run up stairs open that door and give him a strong peace of my mind. That slamming doors is not how we act. That your Civil Air Patrol voice does not belong in our house. That you treat your mother with the respect she deserves.

Those instances are always washed away when we see him do something like he did on Saturday. He had the race of his life but his running partner did not. All seasib the running partner was on track to make the state meet easily. Then over the last two weeks something happened and it came unraveled. Marco passed his teammate 1/2 way through the CIF Championship and beat him by a large margin. When Marco saw his buddy cross the line and collapse, Marco ran up to him, gave him a hug and then proceeded to remove the chip from his shoe. In that instant nothing else mattered to Marco but taking care of his buddy.

It's a good life....

Monday, November 24, 2014

Success - A lesson in Opening Eyes

The start - 84+ runners lined up across the start line. That's 14 6-man teams. This is the Championship course used in the Footlocker National Championships. It's roped off the way a championship should be roped off. There is a nervous energy as the 84 boys (ages 14-18) line up. The starter calls them to the line and holds them. It seems like a long time to us watching and the the runners it was an eternity. They all begin to lean, Bam the gun goes off. Both Marco and his running mate slip on the wet grass needing their hands to keep from falling flat.

84 runners sprint off the line up over the small hill and then quickly funnel into the dog leg loop. It's important to get out quick or else you are caught in the loop. Marco comes through the dog loop in the lead back of 30 runners. The eventual winner is already setting pace 400 meters into the race. Around the pool and then down the hill to the technical section of the course. Marco is composed and running tight with a group of 5-6 runners.

At the 1 mile mark it's straight up the first of two trips on Upas Street. Off the hill and it's rolling back to the start finish. Marco is in 20th place at the half way point and a gap to 19th is forming. This has been his MO for the last couple races. Back down the dog leg, around the pool and he's holding steady.

He runs by my friend and uber coach Greg. Greg knows Marco well and yells to him to catch the boys in front on the downhill. Back up Upas they go and then I see from a long distance Marco hitting the down hill like he was doing a downhill mountain bike race. No breaks and charging he goes. He catches the two boys by the bottom and then turns on the jets. He's chasing hard.

To finish this 3.1 mile course you have cross the street and go straight up the start hill. At the start it's a mere nuisance. At the end of the first lap it's just another hill on this tough course. At the end thought it looks like a wall. Marco hits the bottom of the hill in 17th place but is looking gassed. He's muscling up and over and it's easy to tell that he's done. He lets one runner pass him as they race to the finish.

18th this year 36th last year.
40 seconds faster this year.
He's the first runner at SDA to medal in CIF in two years and only the second over the last 4 years.

At the Mary and I get to the finish corral just after he crosses the line and see him talking to his math teacher. The math teacher who only days earlier says he expects struggling students to seek him out. (that was not a good meeting). But here is the math teacher giving our son a high five. He says "I didn't know you were a runner" Eyes wide open to the success of a runner. The math teacher was at the race to watch his daughters who are at the other high school in town run. He saw Marco running and ran to greet him at the finish.

Next up was the top runner in San Diego. He walks up to Marco and shakes his hand. He had won his race just 30 minutes before and now he was there acknowledging the effort Marco put forward.

On to the awards where the top 20 are called out to receive their medal and recognition. The race was absolutely stacked. In the team competition there were 4 teams with in a very small number of points. They were all bunched at the front. The rules are 3 teams qualify and then the next 5 racers not on a team qualify. The only stipulation for them is they have to finish in the top 14. Marco was the 5th non team qualifying member across the line but because he was 18th he doesn't get to go. But his eyes were opened for the future. It's like a switch went on. Who knows where it leads but clearly success is an eye opener.

It's a good life.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nothing to Lose

It's early Saturday morning CIF cross country day. The stakes are this: the best 2-3 teams will qualify to move on to the state meet next week. The next 5 best runners (not on a qualifying team) who place in the top 15 also go to state.

Marco is not on a Strong Team.

He has the talent to be one of the 5. This is true of about 10 runners.

I was thinking about words of wisdom and I came up with:

"You have nothing to lose"

But then I tried to rationalize why.

I find myself often thinking about what I have to lose with a decision. Way too much time. I really have nothing to lose. My family is tight and secure. Everything else is not a need it's a want and losing it would be hard but can be replaced.

My advice to Marco: You have reached more in running than most could ever dream of. If running ended today, you would end it as being one of the best runners in the county over the last 7 years.

Today is going to hurt like no other race ever: Love the pain, wrap your arms around it, cherish it:

You have nothing to lose........

It's a good life...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Racing Flats and Trucks

Two stories for today. 

Marco was 9 years old. We flew from Germany to NYC for the NYC Marathon and the men's Olympic Marathon Trials. The day of the Trials was cold and windy. Marco was tired from the travel and he really didn't want to be at another race. At that race Ryan Shay collapsed and passed away at the start. He was a young man in his prime and was a favorite to qualify for the Olympics. 

Today Marco runs in flats called the Saucony Shay. He has vivid memories of that day. He knows Ryan Hall won, he knows Ryan Shay passed away it's why he runs in the flats. 

There is a competition in Southern California about who can have the cooler brand vehicle. I think this one is really cool. 361 is a brand you will hear about very soon. For runners it will start in the next 8 or so months. I love the people behind the brand. I've worked closely with them for many years and I'm really excited to watch them flourish.
It's a good life....

Friday, November 14, 2014

Five for Friday: Running in the Cold

My calendar told me I should be in Germany today. It still has much of the Zoot things on it. Right now I'd be in Germany at a Sales Meeting. I don't miss the work leading up to the sales meeting. I miss is getting up early each morning to run with my friend Marcus. I couldn't get people from the Zoot California office to run early but Marcus was ready to run any time and 6am was our time when we were together. I miss that. We didn't care what the weather was like outside, we were running. Today there are tips all over the internet about running in cold. I'll just add in what I do.

  1. Shorts stay on to 35F. Below that I put on tights. 
  2. Down to say 15F I can run in a long sleeve non thermal top with a running wind jacket, tights, gloves (mittens are best) and a hat. 
  3. Below 15F I add a layer to my top, usually just a thermal top. I also add a scarf of some kind to keep my neck and face warm. 
  4. Always start your run into the wind. I've run in below zero weather often and as long as I start into the wind I finish warm. 
  5. Pick up the pace. Hard running takes your mind off everything. You won't think it's cold when you are running hard. 
Last year a friend of a friend rode his bike to work every day. He lives in Chicago and if you know what the Chicago weather was like last year you might consider him crazy. He simply just put his mind to it. 

I also have to laugh just a bit. Most of my running is right here in Cardiff, CA. My biggest winter running decision is usually shirt or skin. 

It's a good life....

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Run Test #1 2015

Today was run test day. Only two days after a bike test. Max effort again. I'm working hard at starting a business and sleep has been tough. It's not because of stress though it's because of sensory overload from the work. I'll take it because I own it.

I woke up and did what I've done now for two weeks. I jumped into a cold shower. Bam! I was awake and ready to go. I planned to head out at 7:30 after Marco left for school. I got a text from my buddy Andrew. He wanted to join but could not do it until after 8. I did a 15 minute warm up met Andrew and then did another 15 minute warm up.

The test was 5K at red line. It started off smooth, I hit some rough patches and finished sluggish. It was great to have Andrew there. It was a hard effort for him but not red line. He kept pace with me and kept me motivated.

Avg. HR 158
Shoes: Saucony Triumph ISO

I'll take that in November. 8 weeks from now I'll do it again.

It's a good life....

Monday, November 10, 2014

Let the Testing Begin

People always ask me "What are you training for?" My answer is always the same, "For the rest of my life".  But that is only half true. I need motivation just like anyone. I'm super competitive so generally I don't get motivated until I have a race or a few races on the calendar. Even then like the last couple years I may not actually be motivated to train for the races.

I decided to break my workout life into small manageable chunks. Right now I'm looking out 14 weeks. That's as far as I can think. Today started the 14 weeks and today started with a test on the bike. 40 minutes at red line. I used my new favorite app. Wahoo fitness app. Those of you in San Diego will recognize the map. It's the first time I've ever done a test there and I'm convinced it's the best place in the world. No wonder Ironman World Champion Luc Van Lierde did his long rides up to 120 miles behind a scooter on this island.

My results are my results. I have no idea how they stack up. My HR was 155. In 8 weeks or so I'll do this again. My goal is to be faster at the same HR. That's something I can work towards. 

It's a good life....

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Running Shoes in Pictures

I've been shopping. It's all part of a master plan to be unveiled soon. I thought I'd share some of the fun I'm having. There are things to be said about every one of these pictures but I'll save that for a future date. 

It's a good life....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Running Shoe Business

There are a few things that cause frustration in running.
  1. You develop a nagging injury that just won't go away. 
  2. You take a break from running and struggle to get back in shape
  3. You find a shoe that you love only to have the brand change it on you

This post is about #3 and feel comfortable knowing that we’ve all been through this. I was a Nike Air Pegasus guy. For a number of years I would just rotate in a new pair and my running would continue on. Then one day Nike stopped making the Air Pegasus. They didn’t change it they simply stopped making it. I didn’t make enough money to test and find a new shoe. I had to buy what I could afford and hope that it worked. That was a dark time in my running because it was really hard to find a perfect match like that Pegasus. That was so long ago that Nike got smart 15 years ago and brought the Pegasus back. 

Fast forward a good number of years and I was in position to do the same thing to a great deal of runners. I was working at Adidas in Germany far away from you the end consumer. The lead Developer had bad news for me, the mold for the SuperNova Classic was finished. The mold could not handle any more production, it was too worn out. We or I had a choice, open new molds on that existing shoe or create a new shoe. Molds are the most expensive part of building a running shoe. The revenue numbers on the SN Classic (All in the USA) had been dwindling by a large amount year over year. Part of it was that the shoe was starting to look old in design but the real truth was that it was one of a kind when it first came out and in 2008 there were plenty of copycat shoes on the market taking market share. The decision from a business sense was easy, let’s make a new shoe. The decision from my heart tore at me for quite some time. I remembered back to that Air Pegasus and knew I was creating some frustration in the running world. The shoe we created SuperNova Adapt (also discontinued after I was gone) was a really good shoe but it was no SuperNova Classic. Every once in a while I run into someone who loved the Classic or is actually still running in a pair after stocking up and I find myself begging for forgiveness with a smile on my face.

There are a number of influences that cause brands to change your shoes.

Altruistically brands are in business to help runners but let’s face it, shoes are money makers and when your favorite shoe isn’t making money or isn’t making as much money as it should be making, it’s going to change. Often times this is also where shoes get dropped out of the line.

The general thought process is shoes are changed to improve a current problem in the shoe. I’ll use an example here. In 2014 Mizuno introduced the Wave Rider 17 to much fan fanfare. This was supposed to be the lighter faster Wave Rider. One high powered retail buyer said to me “The Wave Rider 17 is the best Wave Rider yet”. When it finally came out runners complained. Yes, it was lighter but it was physically harder in the forefoot and at least one runner said “they made a Wave Precision” which was a lightweight performance running shoe built for runners who like to go fast. I’m not 100% sure what they saw in the Wave Rider 16 that needed to be changed but the Wave Rider 17 was too much of a change. Now look at the Wave Rider 18. They stiffened the forefoot and balanced the heel but the end result is still not what the Wave Rider once was. It was the standard by which many neutral shoes were created and today it’s just another shoe on the wall.  On review I read on the new Wave Rider summed it up "Get used to hearing yourself run, the outsole is so hard it makes noise all the time" 

Trends in the Market  
There have been two recent trends in the market that are having a huge impact on the entire market. The first major trend was minimalism. The minimalist trend caused shoe companies to change midsole drop, upper construction, and a great deal more. As an example, Saucony changed the Triumph (I believe it was the Triumph 8) and a number of other shoes from a 12mm heel to toe drop to 8mm heel to toe drop. There were probably a few runners that felt that change was drastic.  At the same time because of minimalism and feedback from one of their athletes Saucony created the Kinvara and that’s been nothing but good for Saucony and runners.

The latest trend affecting the shoe market is Maximalism or more pointed, Hoka. The market is reacting and reacting quickly. Brooks quickly changed the Trance to the Transcend, New Balance introduced Freshfoam and Asics in 2015 is coming out with a Maximalism shoe in the 33 line of shoes.

This is probably the leading reason shoe brands change shoes. They are all watching each other and today more than ever, competition is leading the way and causing you the runner the most confusion. The leader in innovation nobody really ever talks about any more is Nike. They lead in midsole creation, upper construction and much more. Generally speaking if you want to know what Asics, Brooks, Saucony and others are going to be doing next year, look at what Nike is doing this year. The Lunar Glide is a perfect example. It’s a stability shoe that looks and feels very much like a neutral shoe. Nobody wanted to change their current shoes to match the Lunar Glide so they created new shoes. Asics Super J 33, Hoka Constant and quite a few other shoes now incorporate a construction much like the Lunar Glide. Expect this trend to continue.

My issue in all of this is that there seems to be a component missing, the runner. I feel like the business of running shoes is more about staying on trend and beating the competition than it is about helping runners find their best running. I’ll probably hear it from someone deep in a shoe company challenge this comment but I’ve been there. I’ve been in meetings where the runner is never mentioned.

I only see this getting worse. With the consolidation of retailers and the abundance of product these things are only go to become more intense. 

The good thing is this keeps me working. 

It's a good life...

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Kona 2014 Running Shoe Count

On October 11,2014 there was a race, the Ironman World Championships on the Kona Coast of Hawaii. On this day a few friends from Newton and I counted 95% of the shoes worn by the athletes. Below is my view of running shoes and athletes beyond the count itself.

The Ranking

  1. Asics - 17.7%
  2. Saucony - 14.5%
  3. Newton - 10.7%
  4. Brooks - 10.3%
  5. adidas - 6.9%
  6. Hoka - 6.0%
  7. Mizuno - 5.9%
  8. Zoot - 5.9%
  9. Nike - 5.0%
  10. On - 4.6%
  11. New Balance - 3.7%
  12. Others - 2.4%
  13. Kswiss - 2.3%
  14. Pearl Izumi - 1.7%
  15. Sketchers - 1.7%

Quick View
  1. The big global brands pull their weight. Asics, Saucony, Brooks, adidas, Mizuno, Nike and New Balance - Their rank is somewhat attributed to how much they spend on the sport of triathlon as well as how they rank at running stores around the world. They are trusted brands, they have perfect fit for the most part and they have been around the longest. When I say global they are available in virtually every country in every retailer store where runners shop. 
  2. Brands who use Triathlon as their entry into running shoes are also well supported, Newton, Hoka (thanks to a partnership with and Zoot specifically. 
  3. There is someone at Nike who looks at this count and gets mad that they are not further up the count. But that doesn't last very long after the results of the Lunar Glide or Free sales numbers come in. Nike is the largest running shoe brand in the world and they are billions of dollars larger than the next brand. 
  4. The "big" brand missing from this list is Altra. For the amount of money they spend on TV they should show up bigger at this race but they don't. Less than 10 people ran in Altra. 
Individual Shoes that Stood Out

  1.  Saucony Kinvara - It's by far the #1 shoe in Kona and that is now two years in a row. It's light, it fits most feet and it is the smoothest ride in running. Saucony does a good job on colors and for this race they release a Kona special edition model which goes over well. 
  2. Brooks Racer ST - This is a theory of mine on why. Before the Kinvara the #1 shoe was the Asics DS Trainer followed closely by the Asics Gel Noosa. But neither of the Asics are as good as they once were. I believe the athlete who would have gone with the Asics has found the Brooks Racer ST. 
  3. Newton Distance Elite - Newton has got to be happy with the results of the count and this shoe in particular. This shoe combined with a Ironman edition of the shoe are far and away their most popular shoes on course. I believe it was this athlete they were thinking of when they built the shoe. 
  4. adidas Energy Boost - In previous years the majority of adidas product was their very popular racing flats. Those are still there but the Energy Boost has become their go to shoe for runners of all kinds including those racing in Kona. It's soft and flat to the ground. 
  5. Hoka Clifton and Huaka - Both of these shoes came out in July and have been adopted quickly but runners and Triathletes. They are both much lighter than previous Hoka shoes and they both act closer to a regular running shoe still providing the maximal cushioning that Hoka is known for. 
The Trends in Running that Show up in Kona
  1. Constant Ground Contact - The biggest trend in running and you see it in the Saucony Kinvara, adidas Energy Boost and both Hoka shoes is that the shoes are flat to the ground one piece midsoles. If you look at the Asics Gel Nimbus there are 4 distinct layers in the midsole. The top layer close to your foot, The Midfoot shank (Trustic System) that is under the arch of the shoe and is used to support the foot through transition. The bottom layer of foam closest to the ground. Put the top layer, trustic system and bottom layer together and you have the midsole that cushions and supports your foot. The final layer is the thick outersole for durability. This is what running shoes have been for almost 30 years. The new trend is simplification. Using new foam technology, shoes like the Kinvara, Energy Boost and Hoka are using one piece of foam, with very little rubber. You get the midfoot support from the ground and you get an increadibly light and smooth feel. This trend has been building steam and it's about to explode. You'll see more and more shoes built this way. 
  2. Maximalizm - Hoka for sure is driving this. Running hurts and taking the shock and pain away is a good thing for a large number of runners. Hoka does that. But they are not alone. Of the 10 pairs of Altra, 8 of them were Maximal. Almost all of the Sketchers were Maximal. In 2015 Asics will introduce the 33 M which will bring Maximal ride with a classic Asics Fit. We should see Maximal as a category grow in Kona next year. Will Hoka be the driver, yes but they will not be the only game in town. 
  3. Racing Flats are not dead - Kona is the World Championships and probably has more racing flats as a percentage the any Marathon in the world. Low to the ground go fast racing flats from every brand show up on this race course. My favorite was a guy in close to 1700th place (there were just over 1900 finishers) who had a Nike Mayfly on his foot.  This man was going to run a 5-6 hour marathon and do it in a 5 oz shoe. I love that! 
The Ironman run course Kona is like no other run on the planet. There are hotter marathons and their are hillier marathons. But there is not one hotter or hillier after 112 miles on the bike in the same heat and with bigger hills. Athletes get off the bike trashed at noon or later and then put on their running shoes for the marathon. Shoe choice is about comfort more than anything. The next time you are shoe shopping try one of the shoes highlighted above.  If they are good for Kona they are good for everyone. 

It's a good life....

Friday, October 31, 2014

Five for Friday: The 5 Best Things This Week

This week like no other I sat back and observed my life. These are 5 things that stand out in the week. 

  1. Over a great deal of the last 10 years or so I've used running especially running hard to forget the frustrations in my life. Now and especially this week my mind is racing during my running. I'm excited about the possibilities I'm creating and while running I'm refining those possibilities. 
  2. They paved Rancho Santa Fe - We are talking about one of the most wealthy communities in the USA and for years the road have been down right dangerous. As a cyclist you simply had to learn where the holes were and on certain downhills you had to know the exact line to take. On Wednesday I was riding and prepared myself for one of the obstacles and then realized that I was on fresh pavement. There was not obstacle. 
  3. Making running a better experience for everyone is one of my life long objectives. This week I am confident I moved one step closer to that. This excites me. 
  4. I stepped in a Gym and enjoyed it. Oh how I hate gyms. Waiting for the squat rack or watching men use the bathroom and then not wash their hands. I know that's just gross but believe me it happens. I hate gyms. But I went to the Gym had a great workout and got out without being disgusted. I find that to be a huge bonus. 
  5. Coffee - Not the drink but the activity. I randomly went to a Pete's Coffee and ran into a long time work friend. He of the sales world and me the former buyer. We talked for 20 minutes and had a great time. The next day I went to Cardiff Starbucks which I rarely go to and ran into one of the power brokers in running. It was totally random and totally good. 

It's a good life....

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The High School Runner: An Update

It's been quite a while since I updated anyone on the High School Runner. The season started slow for the boy but he's gaining steam. If you remember way back when he broke a bone in his hand the day before track practice was to start last Spring and missed the entire track season.

Cross Country and Track feed off each other. In Cross Country the runner builds strength and stamina. The races are usually hilly which ensures weekly hill repeat training sessions. With longer races they build stamina which carries greatly into the shorter faster track races.

Track builds speed. Hard training efforts are not on hills during track season they are all done on the track. The races themselves are not tactical in nature they are managed sprints even if it's the 3200. It's here where the runner gets fast and that fast carries over back into Cross Country.

Because Marco missed this past track season he was missing pure leg speed. He started the Cross Country season a bit slower than he finished it last year and this frustrated him beyond belief. He was not a happy runner for most of the early season. Recently though things have begun to change. He was equal to his time on a known course two weeks ago which is great at this stage. Last week he raced in an invitational on a really hot and dusty course. With 1000 meters to go he was in 5th place about 10 seconds behind 4th. On the last hill he caught the 4th place man and then proceeded to drop him on the final downhill section. Finishing a 5K faster than you started it is a good sign that your leg speed is coming back.

One more regular meet then it's the two and maybe three meets they work all season for. League finals is for bragging rights, CIF is mostly for individual glory (they don't have a strong team this year) and if CIF is outstanding then there's one more race Thanksgiving weekend at the State Finals. Only time will tell if we are in Fresno Thanksgiving weekend.

It's a good life...

Monday, October 27, 2014

An Invitation to Run

I'm humbled by the outpouring of support of me for the death of my Brother Bob. I am surrounded by good people and it's times like these that prove that over and over again.

Since I don't have an office to go to, I've made it a point to get out and be social. One of the ways I'm doing that is accepting any invitation I get to run, ride or play in the ocean. Friday night I got an invitation to run on Saturday and didn't hesitate. Now it's important to understand where my running has been.

My longest run before Saturday was October 10th in Kona. I ran 47 minutes on that day and it was brutal. Nothing felt good. Between then and now I had built some consistency in my running. I ran all but 3 of those days because of travel. My longest and there was one was 30 minutes. All other runs were 10 minutes. As an example this week I ran 10 minutes 5 days in a row.

Saturday came along and I was not feeling like a long run would be a good idea. But I had committed so I showed up. We started running at an easy old man pace and really never got going. We were talking the entire time and at least for me, if I'm talking I'm not running real fast. We got to 40 minutes and my running partner said, let's make this 90 minutes. We'll go up this trail, turn at the parking lot and make a big loop back. It should be close to 90 minutes. The only problem is that we were talking the entire way. I believe we were on the topic of the women's race in Kona.

Daniela Ryf had an amazing rookie performance in Kona. She took the lead on the bike and held it for more than 20 miles on the run. She had 14 minutes on Marinda Carfrae at the start of the run. If but for one bad patch in the area of the Energy Lab she would have won the World Championships. That one bad patch allowed Rinny to do her magic and the rest is history. Well that's what we were talking about.

We missed a turn and ended up on a road neither of us knew. Being the runners that we are we decided to go forward rather than trace our way back. We found our way back to someplace we knew and continued on our way. The pace was now getting down right pedestrian, my fault totally. I started to feel every uneven step (we were running on wood chip horse trails) and I could feel my form tightening up. We got to the finish and we had run 1:53. A full hour more than anything I had run all month.

Every running expert in the world including me would tell you that's not a smart idea. Your long run should be around 30% of your total weekly running. You should increase your running by no more than 10% a week. You shouldn't run long when you are tired.

All of that is true but I believe when you get the invitation you go.

I did manage to run 10 minutes on Sunday. I was the shortest 10 minutes of the week.

It's a good life....

Friday, October 24, 2014

Five for Friday: I Caused It or Allowed It, Peace, I Love my Brother, Running Shoes and Sage Advice

It's been a wild few weeks and it's time to settle down just. While out and about I've been listening more than talking and in the listening there is great learning:

  1. Shit Happens is a real nice way of saying oh well I'll live with it. But I learned the following phrase and when I apply it to my life it changes the entire outlook. I either caused it or allowed it to happen - Preston Smiles. I look at my job at Zoot. I allowed it to drive me crazy enough to want to leave.
  2. Peace - I was exchanging text messages with a long time friend. She said "Good luck and complete Peace with your decision". I told her I loved that word. She said this "That word has been present as I have been thinking of you through the transition-that wherever you are today, tomorrow, next month that you would be filled with peace" That's true friendship that I cherish and know for sure I need more of.
  3. I am happy for my brother. For 18 months he knew this was not going to end well. He didn't complain, didn't outwardly ask Why Me? But there is no way he didn't suffer. Knowing for 18 months that you are going to die is not a way to live. I'm happy that he did it with grace and I'm happy he doesn't need to suffer any longer. I love my Brother.  
  4. I have been spending the last 8 weeks learning about running shoes. I am astonished by the sameness. I knew it was there but when you dig like I have been digging it's more clear what I need to do next for a living.
  5. Ask them to write it down - Lee Iacocca referring to how to take the emotion and persuasiveness out and get the message instead. I wish I had heard this 12 months ago.
It's a good life.....

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Ironman World Championships Kona 2014 - One To Remember

I think there needs to be a voice of Ironman and then a voice of the Ironman World Championships. There is not another race in the Ironman family that comes close to Kona. Yes, doing an Ironman is hard but put the heat, the wind, the lava, the lore and the pressure you put on yourself and there is nothing like it. 2014 was no different than any previous year for the racers. It was hot and it was windy and it was magical.

But that is not why I will remember this day or be reminded every Ironman Saturday from here on out. No on this day October 11, 2014 my brother Bob finally fell to ALS. His passing was not a shock but it was a shock. There is no surviving ALS, we know that. But I'll bet everyone who's been through this knows the feeling I had on that beautiful Island. Why Bob, why now!

Outside of that devastating thought there were some other things that stood out in my Ironman.

  1. I stayed in a room way above town that I got through airbnb. It was a hike to go down to town and back. On my first day I got a ride to town, did I my things, had dinner with friends then walked for close to an hour back to the house. On the second day I asked the "owner" of the house how much to rent the scooter in the garage. He said, " you buy me a new front tire and it's yours to use". While scooter rentals are $100/day during Kona week I got mine for $60 for the week. 
  2. I had lunch or dinner with old friends, New friends and best of all, random athletes. I had a great time talking triathlon and running shoes with the athletes.
  3. For race day I did things different. The past few years I have been on the pier at the start and on the bleachers at midnight. I could have gotten the passes to do this again but I chose not to. I watched the start from the opposite side of the pier. And I stood on the street with about 300 meters to the finish line directing traffic with a friend. We had a great time. Athletes are staggering at this point but when they see the lights of the finish line and know they have less than 2  minutes they become athletes again.
  4. I saw Dave Mirra walking down Ali' i drive late on race day. I stopped him, introduced myself and asked him if I could have his Cervelo P5. My son Marco asked me to do that so I did. Dave said know Marco said "you actually did it?" It was worth it.
  5. I made it home from Kona in the best way to finish Ironman. I took the train from the airport to my home town. I had no ride after that and I did not want to pay for a cab. My first thought failed so I started to walk the 2+ miles home with my roller bag in tow. I here "Dave Jewell, do you need a ride?" I still can't believe the timing. I won't drop the name but in1982 a woman crawled across the finish line making history. This October she gave me a ride home.
I love you Bob Jewell. I hate you ALS.

It's a good life.....

Monday, October 6, 2014

Off to Kona for the Ironman World Championships

I never thought I'd be going to Kona so often for this race. When I competed in it I was convinced that I never wanted to actually watch it. Now I find myself at the event every year doing something. This year will be unlike the last 5. There will be no sweating setting up or taking down a booth. There will be know standing in the booth for hours each day. There will be no relying on the schedules of others. There will be no holding hands with company executives, or retailers. No this year I'm going just to go. I had the ticket.
Saturday race day will be the only thing I do that is consistent. On Saturday I'll count running shoes with the folks from Newton, On Running and anyone else who wants to join in. To be honest it's not counting. The process is actually calling out the brands as they run by. There are very few on the island as it turns out that can actually do that. I've found most brand people can find their brand but struggle with all others. I guess that's job security for me only that I don't get paid to do this. I actually very much enjoy it. My love of running shoes and runners is what makes this count so good. I'm often amazed at the shoe choices at a World Championship. I believe the running shoe choice is the most important choice of the day. You spend more time on the bike but there is no pounding and there is lot's of coasting rest on the bike. On the run there is no rest and it's all pounding. The surface temperature is 130F and you are in the sun the entire run. Well a little more than 1/2 of the field will run in the dark of the night but you get my point.

I've seen the following:
  1. Shoes that don't fit - There is a tendency to bring shoes a bit large to the Kona race. The heat causes your feet to swell. But I've seen shoes that are just way too big which can only lead to blisters.
  2. Bad Heel Fit - It amazes me how many runners run with bad heel fit. The heel of your running shoe should not slip. Yet I see that so often in Kona I'm blown away.
  3. Over-Pronation - There is a great deal of chatter about over-pronation. Does it exist and do you control it? Come to Kona and do the shoe count with me. I'll tell you that yes it does exist and yes it should be addressed. The people I see over-pronating the most are running in shoes because they are the latest shoes loved by the triathlon world. It was Newton for quite awhile and now it's Hoka. I see people wearing both brands when they absolutely should be finding a better shoe for their gate. It's not the problem of the shoe company it's the problem of the athlete. This is an athlete choice.
  4. Worn out shoes - It amazes me that this is the World Championships and you choose to run in shoes that are obviously worn out. When there is no compression happening in the midsole that shock goes one place, through your legs. Buy new shoes for a big race.
  5. The funny shoe choices - Crocs, Hurache sandals. Vibram 5 Fingers, and even trail shoes. 2000 athletes, 1800 who qualify to race there, 200 who get in on the Lottery or gifted an entry and every year I see these shoes.
My next post will be a bit more than a week away. I'll share pictures and stories from my 2014 Ironman World Championships.

It's a good life.....

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday: Why I Enjoy The "Off" Season

Let's just start by saying that I'm not a professional athlete so off season is not real. I'm staying for life so my off season is really just a change in the fitness routine. It truly starts with 2 weeks completely off which started just over a week ago. Yes, there was that 5K "race" but that was for Marco and had nothing to do with staying fit. But the "Off" Season for me is, do whatever comes to mind for the day and build strength. So here's what I like about it:

  1. One Shower a Day - This is really driven by the last three weeks of the season leading up to the canceled Ironman 70.3 Lake Tahoe. During those three weeks, I swam every day so that mean's 2 showers a day at least. One shower a day is good for my skin and good for the environment.
  2. Book Reading - I always read but during this time a read a great deal more. Probably twice as many books as during the rest of the year.
  3. Food - I expand my food choices. I'm fairly strict during most of the year but during this time I'll have a dessert or two, eat crappy Mexican food or drink a few more Beers during the week.
  4. Waking Up in the Morning - During the "Season" I'm up and going early. During this time of the year, I'm waking up easing into the day. It's so nice to wake up slowly.
  5. Dog walks in the Dark - Niki and I get out about 5:30 each morning. It's still quite dark at this time. I carry a headlamp just in case I think I see  Coyote. But walking in the dark in our park opens up my senses. Without the light I have to sense each foot plant. Without the light I have to listen for Niki. It's so much fun listening for her. She is running all over the park and I like to imagine the fun she is having. It's also dead quite at this time of the day so a soft command gets her attention quickly. I love that.
It's a good life....

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Things in Running Shoes Causing me to Pause and Think

  1. Your Perfect Running Shoe
  2. They Changed my Favorite Running Shoe
  3. Why are there so many running shoes and running shoe companies
  4. The Dilution of the Running shoe business
  5. Who is driving the running shoe business today, Brand, Retail, or Runner

It's a good life....

Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekend Update: Watch that Water

This picture was taken Friday afternoon at the San Dieguito Academy Cross Country Team Time Trial. It's a 5K race on the home course for the CC Team as well as parents, teachers and coaches. Last year after 5 days of rest from Ironman Lake Tahoe, I did this race and was the first adult. This year after being canceled out of Iornman 70.3 Lake Tahoe because of fires in the area, I decided to give this event another try.

I was disappointed after not being able to race in Tahoe but I was also ok with it. Last Monday I hiked for 90 minutes in Mill Valley, CA. Tuesday I ran with my buddy Paul. He wanted to run 1 hour with 30 minutes of Tempo. It felt really easy to me. Wednesday after driving home from San Francisco Tuesday night, I ran with my friend Andrew for an easy 40 minutes. My body felt great, all things were feeling good.

Thursday after a 2 hour meeting I rushed to the beach. I had about an hour before I had to start on dinner. I stopped at a familiar beach, grabbed my paddle board and headed out into the water. The water is still so nice that it was just awesome to be in the water. Once I started heading out I noticed the waves were quite strong with lots of water behind them. I'm never scared of surf so instead of minding the waves I started paddling out. As I got to the break point of the surf I noticed a sizeable wave heading my way. (later reports the Surf was head high). I hesitated and that was the mistake of the week. The wave picked me up turned me around and in doing so through my paddle directly into the back of my head. Then the wave flipped me over the falls. I tumbled for a bit, shooting pain in my head and then it became calm. My head was on fire. I decided to head in to check to see if I was bleeding. I sat on the beach for a bit then headed home. The rest of the night and the first part of Friday I was dizzy and sick to my stomach. Not throwing up or anything just felt sick.

Friday at 2pm I decided why not and headed to the Time Trial. The start is always fast and a bit chaotic. It's downhill on grass with low hanging trees. The start is everyone kids and adults together. I decided to start at the back behind the kids and ease into the run. That was perfect. Two adults charged ahead and I just sat and watch our son at the front of the pack. After 1 mile I had eased pass the two adults and was feeling ok. I was tentative on my foot plants but to this point the run was mostly up hill. As soon as we hit the big screaming downhill things changed. I was getting dizzy and my lower back was killing me. I carried on. At the bottom we turned to go back up and it all seemed ok again. The finish is down the big hill one more time and then a hard right up hill on grass for 300 meters. As I got to the bottom of the hill one of the men passed me. I thought no problem I've been going easy I can take him on the way up. And then my legs stopped working. I felt really awkward as I started pushing. You can tell in the picture that there is no lean in my running. I should be leaning into that hill. The guy finished 10 feet in front of me. Bummed but no issues.

Saturday I woke up and couldn't move without searing pain in my back and in my head. I called for a massage and it seemed to work but the low back pain was still there on Sunday. Marco and I went to the pool to work on his stroke and I was again really dizzy in the water.

Monday I went to the back doctor. Told him my story. He said let me look at your eyes. A 1 minute later he said, You had a concussion. Your left eye is still jumping.

I wouldn't change the trip to the ocean or the 5K for anything. Maybe I would have checked the surf and chosen and easier reef entry rather than a beach entry but other than that I loved this experience. It will all correct itself soon enough and I'll be back to playing hard again.

It's a good life....

Monday, September 15, 2014


Some interesting things on the way through life:

  1. My wife and I have done well raising our son so far. He ha  his moments of rebellion but for 90% of his life he has his life together. 
  2. Meditation on a board a few 100 yards off the coast at sunset might be the most peaceful thing on earth.
  3. Having a Chocolate Lab follow me around the house a  I work is extra special. 
  4. Our son the runner asked me to take him swimming this week. On day 1 he swam 400 yards and struggled. On day 2 we adjusted his stroke and he swam 600 yards. On day 3 we worked on his kick and his pull. He swam 1400 yards and is beginning to understand the mechanics. 
  5. I set up three interviews last week. 
It's a good life....

Friday, September 12, 2014

Five for Friday: Five Promises

From Quote Guru:" When Love is not madness, it is not love"....Pedro  Calderon de la Baraca

I'll admit I've spent most of my life avoiding the madness. There are reasons for it and I'm slowly figuring it all out through self discovery. Maybe one day I'll get the nerve to write it all down. But until then I promise these 5 things:

  1. I will make running a better experience for everyone. Be prepared for a big announcement soon.
  2. Bob Babbitt gave me the name Super Dave. It's not because he likes me it's because of what I did at RRS. I take the name for granted often but no longer. It's a badge that I cherish and I will work hard to maintain.
  3. I will continue my work at being a Man. It's a worthy goal and one that needs to be worked on every day. We need good men in this world.
  4. I will laugh often. It's the best medicine in the world and those who make a living at making us laugh are truly gifted people. I wish that was enough to keep Robin Williams going because he was best when he was making us laugh.
  5. I will love hard. There will be madness and that's what I want it to be.

It's a good life.....


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

If You Were a Running Shoe, What Kind Would You Be?

I've gotten some great feedback recently from the athletes I worked with at Zoot. The general theme was trust. They trusted me to take care of there needs on a day to day running and racing standpoint. They enjoyed the trust and so did I.

My lifelong work goal is to improve the running experience for everyone.

I have chosen running shoes as my vehicle to do this and this is where the warning comes. If you think there are too many running shoes on the market today you haven't seen anything yet. In 2015 my estimation is that the total shoe count (shoes available for your feet) will almost double. The Big brands are attacking the new niches. The small brands are racing to the middle. By that I say that to get into a business you have to come in from the extremes. In running shoes that was minimalism/natural running and more recently maximalism. These companies are racing to the middle of the market and are doing so by adding new models.

Back to the running experience. I don't know your running style or your running goals. With that I can surely narrow the total selection down. But what I do know is that every runner should be looking for roughly the same feel. This is where I start: What Kind of Running Shoe Would you be?

You would be a shoe that allows your runner to feel the road. Too much feeling the road and the road bites back. To little and your runner would lose one of the beauties of running, Feel.

Every person in running has different flex needs. The best I can tell you is that you would feel natural to your running. If the flex is true flex or it's done with a rocker it doesn't matter what matters is that it feels natural. Shoes that don't feel natural in the forefoot feel terrible in running.

Heavy shoes suck. So you would feel light to your runner. You shouldn't scream your weight, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that you feel light.

Oh my this is the trouble spot for most shoe companies, but it's actually really easy for you and your runner.
Heel Fit - Your runner should be able to run in the shoe without lacing it, with no heel slip.
Midfoot - It should fit natural. Your runner has an instep and you should cover that instep naturally and let the laces do the rest. If you are too shallow the laces with cut and if you are too high the laces with pinch.
Forefoot - Your runner should be able to wiggle those toes.

If you are a track spike or a racing flat forget all the above except the heel fit. If you are an Ultra Running shoe good luck because you are dealing with a really rare breed of runner and their only loyalty is if you worked on the last 12 hour run.

The great thing about all the running shoes is that you are bound to find one you like. I highly suggest you find a couple. The other thing about being a running shoe, you will disappoint many who liked you before but don't like you now or really wanted to like you but for some reason couldn't.

It's a good life....

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ironman Sherpa Riding

116 miles
10,800 feet of climbing
104 degrees in parts
70+% humidity
12 bottles of fluids that's a bottle every 10 miles
2 flats not mine his
One faulty back break 60 miles in - his

One step closer to Kona for my partner - the Kona bike ride will not be this hard and that's the point of the ride.

Big congrats to James at he got engaged over the weekend. Two Ultra Running, Dog loving people.

Also huge congrats to Javier Gomez on his 70.3 World Championship victory. I am lucky enough to visit Javi in his home in Spain, his Spring training grounds in the Canary Islands and was there when he took Silver in London. He is obviously highly talented but he is also very gracious. He respects those who have come before him.

It's a good life.....

Friday, September 5, 2014

Five for Friday: About Me

I've been sending my Resume and doing interviews. Answering the same questions. I thought maybe I'd share most none of it. Those questions and interviews are about my expertise in the running shoe industry from retail, to design, development, go to market to  sell through.

These are the things they don't ask in an interview:

  1. Where are you from: In California specifically people ask this question all the time. I'm not from Ohio is usually what I say. When probed I tell the story of being born in Bogota Colombia, moving to the states and then back to Brazil. Moving to California the day I graduated from Southern Illinois University. My truck was packed and ready to go.
  2. Music - I'm a fan of all music. I love the intricacies of voices and instruments. I can listen to most music and play the main riff on my guitar instantly.
  3. A day late in July 1998 was the scariest and best day of my life. Our son Marco was born nine weeks early and I held him in the palm of my hand. This past Friday I cried while he was running a time trial mile. His focus, his determination and his unbelievably beautiful form brought tears to my eyes.
  4. I love to ride my bike, I really enjoy swimming in the pool and the ocean but running brings peace to me. I can manage my mind while running. Slow and easy if I want to think and solve problems hard and nasty if I want to forget it all.
  5. My mother-in-law pestered me about her daughter. One day I was on yet another trip to work at a race with her and she didn't show up. This young woman showed up. She introduced herself Mary Rodkin the daughter and I know I tried to run away. We spent the next three days working an expo in Atlanta and when I got home I told my sister Cyndi that I met my future wife.  
It's a good life....