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....