Friday, January 30, 2015

5 for Friday: Why I Like Indoor Cycling

I've spent all winter riding indoors except for my weekly Saturday Ride. I've ridden indoors when it's raining outside. I've ridden indoors when it's warm and sunny which it is most of the time. It's easy to go outside in San Diego. It takes some focus to stay indoors. I'm not afraid of cars so that's not why I do it. You can see in the background my road bike sitting against my paddle board both asking for my attention.

  1. Bang for the Buck - There are no stop lights indoors and there are no down hills. 
  2. Controlled Pain - You can control pain better indoors. In my case that means go hard. 
  3. Short Hard Intervals - On this day I did 5 x 5 minutes at 100 - 110% threshold heart rate. It's really difficult to find a place that isn't 40 minutes ride first to do this on the roads. It's really easy to get on the bike warm up for 25 minutes and be done in 60 minutes. 
  4. Results - My 40 minute time trial has gotten faster over the winter. 
  5. My Wife likes it - she is afraid of cars. She likes that she doesn't have to worry about me indoors. 
Two workouts I like doing. 

3 x 15 minutes at 95% of threshold - This is hard because the interval is long and the effort is hard. 
9 x 2 minutes at 110% of threshold - I like this better than 5 x 5 

Both of these can be done in 60 minutes. I generally do the 3 x 15 in 75 minutes to give me more warm up. I run 20-30 minutes off the bike on these days. Those runs suck until they don't. 

One thing I've learned. In general while riding you don't grip hard on the bike you kind of just rest your hands there and bend the elbows. No upper body tension. When I go hard and it starts to get really hard I grip the bars with full tension like a sprinter. When I do that I get that extra 10% out of my legs that I need to finish the effort. This also works if you need to get that last pull up or whatever lift you are tying to do.  

It's a good life....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Your 5 Year Plan

As I stated few weeks back I wanted to get Marco in front of Men. Men who he respects and who could have influence on him in ways that I can't. It's important for young men to have their father but also to have the influence of men.

Monday he and I met a couple of retired Marines for Tea and Coffee. One of the Marines came prepared with questions in his little book for Marco. The first one just warmed my heart.

"What's Your 5 Year Plan?"

At 16, 5 years seems far away. You and I know that 5 years blows by fast. I wish someone would have said that to me at 16 or 20 or 30. It took me to almost 35 before I learned that 5 years is a good number to plan out.

On Tuesday Marco and I laid out his 5 year plan. It was a special time and most importantly it was his idea.

It's a good life....

Monday, January 26, 2015

In the Midst of Chaos

This was my Friday:

3:45 Wake Up - Thinking of the work I would have to do during the day. Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines. Worried about my financial situation. We have lots of $ but my stress is trying to make sure I don't waste it trying to build a business that doesn't succeed. That's not healthy.

5:00am - Coffee on the couch with the Dog, doing the work that was on my mind.

5:20am - Relief that it's all (business/$) taken care of. Wondering where Mary is and knowing that waking her up when she didn't want to be woken up is risky. It's a school day but it's also finals day and maybe she doesn't have a final first period that she forgot to tell me about.

5:30am - "DAVID, WHY DIDN'T YOU WAKE ME UP" - Shit

5:45am - Her coffee in my hand, her breakfast made I walk up to check in on her progress. That didn't go well.

5:46am - Niki and I head out in the dark to enjoy the stars, the sunlight on the horizon and our solitude in our park.

6:10am - I am in the shower. Cold water running over me. The perfect way to startle me awake. It's all good now.

6:35am - Knock on the Door "Marco it's 6:35. Don't worry you have plenty of time. Turn your music on and let's get up". I never have to wake him up. He's always in the shower by 6:20. He heard the debate in the bathroom at 5:45 and turned his alarm clock off.

7:20am - He's out the door ready for his final day of the semester.

7:30am - Meditation time. Whew!

8:15am - Where's the Handy Man - Text Him - Reschedule

8:30am - Heading to the coffee shop to read the paper. Yes I find when chaos starts the day, a quiet reading of the paper is a good thing.

8:35am - Text from Marco - Bring my books at 9:50. What books and where might I find them?

9:50am - I'm standing outside the school wondering if I interpreted his short text correctly. I didn't I have one of the books but not the other. He's upset kind of and doesn't thank my effort.

And so this is how my Friday started out. What did I learn:

  1. It's just work - It will get done when it gets done. You know from vast experience you can't expect from others what you expect from yourself so just take a deep breath. 
  2. I would have reacted just like Mary and Marco did. Now that I see their reactions I will not. I will be openly humble about my dumb ass mistakes. 
  3. The Sweet Beat App is gold. It told me this morning that relaxing and recovery were important. I chose to not do anything physical. To sit in the sun enjoy it's warmth and execute a flawless day. 
It's a good life.....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Five for Friday: Getting Strong

This has become my morning routine. I have taken my cold shower and then bundle up. With a book or kindle in hand I read for 30-45 minutes. Niki always joins me and it's the only time she's allowed on the couch. On this particular morning she was extra close because she knows she got me up at 3am to go outside. The day before she had dug up a gopher and before I could snatch it out of her mouth (It was still alive and ready to bite my hand) Niki crunched it in her jaw and the swallowed it whole. That's my girl.

This time of year is always loaded with new and improved weight loss/muscle building stuff. If you look at all the things on the market it's no wonder we are still an overweight society. It's overload and there is too much to choose. I'm confident the market is confused. For the last couple years I've been working on simplifying my strength work. Consistency has been my problem but once I'm consistent it's simplification I'm after. Over the last few weeks I've tried to get back to the gym and some normal weight training but it's so much hassle. Waiting for the single squat rack and then feel like I'm being rushed through it is just no fun. It's back to simplification for me and here are my top 5.

  1. 3 days a week every hour (roughly 5 times) I get up from my computer and do 5 full tension ab crunches, 5 full tension full motion push ups, 3 full tension to straight arm pull ups and 20 deep body weight squats. Full tension is tight abs and butt. Tight as if I'm preparing to get kicked. 
  2. 2 days a week not any of those three, I do the following. 5 X 10 kettle bell swings. 5 turkish get ups with the Kettle bell. 3 x 10 Kettle Bell front squats, 3 x 10 20lb ball slams. 
  3. I wake up and have 20-25 grams of protein in my bullet proof coffee. 
  4. I have 20-25 grams of protein after the big lift sessions. 
  5. I use the book Ready to Run, find the tight spots and work, stretch or voodoo floss them out every night. 
I'm loving this routine. I feel healthier and stronger than when I go to the gym. I'm inspired to stay consistent because I watch my son Marco go into the garage at 8:30pm and listen to him work for 30 minutes. He does this 4 nights a week. He did a PT test Tuesday and executed 70 military push ups. 

If you are interested in the Kettle Bell routine I use or others visit this webite and the book Simple and Sinister totally confirmed what I was feeling. The kettle bell swing done correctly may be the best strength work I've ever done. I have one  l5lb (Turkish get ups are really hard) one 30lb and one 50lb. Those are not the small incremental changes you see in the gyms but that's because that's the protocol. If the weight you are using becomes too easy don't make it incrementally harder make it harder. 50lb swings are really hard right now. 

It's a good life....

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Crazy 16 Year Old Boys

Raising a 16 year old boy who is an only child is one of the hardest things I've ever done and at this point the hardest thing I think I'll ever do. Clearly I believe there will be other challenges in life but I'm not one to look out for the challenges.

Don't get me wrong, our son is a special one. In the neighborhood there are two fathers who want to trade sons with me. The cross country coach says he's easy to coach, and a great team player. His teachers love him.

We decided long ago that we wanted him to release his negative tension at home and not outside of home. Rarely do we ever tell him to stop. Like any 16 year old, he's crazy. His emotions explode at odd times and it's something to endure.

Like any 16 year old boy he's heavily influenced by things around him. We live in a community that is full of American Muscle cars, Tesla's, Maserati's and big duly trucks. It's car talk all the time. He loves watching Super Cross and my mornings are filled with the sounds to Tool, Rage Against the Machine and Green Day.

After one of his recent outburst of profanity and emotion I waited until he calmed down. I sat him down and asked him what he thinks defines a man. He had a good answer that was close to what I told him. I launched in by saying it's not about the car you drive, how much money you have in the bank, how much weight you can lift or how loud you can yell. I told him what the US Marines tell their young recruits. What makes a man is your character.

  1. Do what you say your going to do
  2. Always do your best
  3. Treat others with respect
I had an Irish mentor years ago. He put it much more succinctly. His grandfather and father were painters and they taught him to be a painter. They asked him each day after work "Can You Put Your Name To It?"

The next morning after the crazy outburst our son came down stairs after his morning shower. He was listening to Country Music. He had his usual skip in his step. He was ready to address the day with good positive humble energy.

I run with a couple guys who are fathers of young boys. As with any age they are dealing with their challenges. I think they both kringe a bit when I tell them my stories.

For a long time I tried to diagnose all of this and at times tried to insert myself into the fray. I've learned to sit back and watch it all happen. Picking the moments where I can insert wisdom that will stick. I know it sticks because his coach, teachers and the other fathers tell me it does.

It's a good life...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Your Best

In the opening in one of the most moving speeches ever, Jim Valvano says if you do these three things every day you are leading a good life....

  1. Laugh
  2. Think
  3. Cry

Laughter on our family is mostly easy to come by. Our Labrador Niki is of great entertainment. We watch John Stewart nightly and try to find the funny things in even the toughest situations.

The best thinking I have is in meditation. It's the calming factor for me and when I'm calm things are great. So 10 minutes minimum is my daily thinking routine. I like to do my meditation outside in the back yard or at the beach. There is also a great deal of thinking when I'm out running. Unless of course my heart rate is elevated. 

Finding tears is not hard for me. I welcome them. Watch the video above and you will be moved to tears. Listen to the I have a Dream speech. I am moved to tears watching Marco perform during a race. I am moved to tears when I think about my Dad or talk about my wife Mary. Whatever it is I fully agree with this notion. 

In his last public speech Jim Valvano a prolific motivator gave us his best. It's something to shoot for every day. Give the people you love your best. I think the three things above are a great way to get there. 

It's a good life....

Friday, January 16, 2015

Five for Friday: The Run Test

Wednesday was Run Test day. Here are 5 things I learned while testing my current run fitness.

  1. It's more fun to have a rabbit with you. I did this test alone on the same course I did last time with my rabbit Andrew.
  2. I've been running too easy when I'm supposed to be going hard. My hard has been at a HR of 155 when it should be 166 or higher according to my test. I thought as I got older that those upper limit heart rates would come down but they haven't.
  3. Shoe choice is important. In my run test in late November I wore the heavily cushioned Saucony Triumph 12 and in this most recent test I wore the bedroom slipper New Balance Zante. Crazy as it is my feet felt better in the Triumph running "fast".
  4. Running Form - It's really important. I concentrated heavily on my form during this test. I would not do that in a race but for this I felt getting that slight forward lean and high cadence was important. It felt really good doing this.
  5. I will not test at 8am again. My run finishes going north on the coast highway. The southbound traffic is heavy at this time of the day. It felt like I was running into a stiff wind. This is not an excuse for my slower time it's just the reality. I've rather have a quiet place to run in windy conditions. The coast highway is a great place to run but not at 8am on a weekday.
  6. I'm adding a 6th because it's quite important. I get up every morning and measure my reading (I do this while I read) heart rate and heart rate variability on the Sweet Beat Ap. My HRV on this morning was 12 beats lower than the day before which is roughly my average throughout all my testing. What this told me was to take the day off I was not rested/recovered. What I did instead was execute the test. 

As for the test itself, I'm encouraged. I was 20 seconds slower and I attribute that to my rabbit and my HRV. I know with a rabbit or in the middle of a race with some rest I'll be much faster. I also need to invest in better tools. For years I was the guy everyone came too for direction and comments on technology. I was really tight with Timex, Polar, Garmin, Nike and adidas. I never had to pay for anything which was a perk. During this test I held my phone. The system is one of the best I've used but holding my phone in my hand is crazy and I don't want to run with it on my arm. I need to find that watch Polar, Timex or Garmin that will give me what I want. Time/Pace/HR all on the same screen. I know it's out there but instead of them coming to me I need to go find it. It's much harder to trust these things when you have to pay for them.

It's a good life...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bike Test #1 2015

It's fitness testing week. On Monday I did the bike test.

The Test
40 Minutes - Time Trial Effort
Fiesta Island

Time since last test 7 weeks.

Time: 40:00
Distance: 15.58 Miles vs. 15.33 last time.

Conditions as you can see were sketchy. With lots of rain the day before Fiesta Island was a mess. There was some standing water and as you can see by the bike there was some mud too. I'm pleased with the results. I was in much more control Monday than the last test. The laps were much more consistent this time. I felt strong the entire way. I actually can't wait to do it again in 6-7 weeks.

It's a good life....

Monday, January 12, 2015

Long Run Pacing

The picture above is from the McMillan Pace Calculator and is set for a runner running 4:30 for the mile. I fully understand that most people reading this can't run 4:30. The reason for the time is this topic came up in conversation with The Runner of the family. He's capable right now of throwing down quite close to 4:30.

It's rare to see a runner these days wearing a simple watch. Most are wearing some form of pace monitor. The problem with the monitors is you become slave to the pace and forget the end goal. Pace really doesn't matter until it matters. But because everyone has these things on, it really matters.

Meeting up for the Sunday run I heard the conversation between The Runner and his senior running partner. The pace would be 6:45/mile for 45 minutes. Looking at our calculator above this pace is somewhere in the middle of the long or easy run pace. I told the boys they should be stretching their run out to 90 minutes and the senior quickly shot back "I'm not ready to run 90 minutes". I said under my breath, you are not ready to run 6:45.

Jack Daniels says your #1 run to start the week is your long run. That's not too much different all the best coaches in running. Sure they will talk often of Tempo, Fartlek and track work but that's with the assumption that #1 is taken care of. The reason for the long run is to build endurance and strength. With those two you can do quality Tempo work and faster. Without it, you can't.

Which brings me back to the pace/run the boys did. It makes no sense to me. I know inside knowledge that the senior is listening to the pacing of the #1 runner in the county. Which is fine as long as you do the work around the pace. With the long run being the most important.

If you look at the paces above you will notice a range. The range is based on your current fitness. If you are The Runner entering track season after a 3 week break than your paces should be to the right of center. I gave The Runner this example.

The 90 minute long run. Run 90 minutes at 7:00 - 7:05 pace. If you look above that's faster than the far right number but that's because it's where the fitness is. Run the 90 minutes. If it feels easy or when it begins to feel easy increase the pace for the next week. Don't change the 90 minutes. Do this regularly and you will build strength and stamina. Eventually you will get to your 6:45 pace or probably much faster. Your goal should be 5-6 90 minute runs between now and the middle of the track season.

So if you are starting back to some serious running after the New Year, don't jump into pacing you ran last October. Get back into the long run and keep in in a comfortable range until the exact same run becomes easy then either increase the pace for the exact same run or increase the distance and the current pace. Because our runners are high school runners, 90 minutes is the max they need to run.

It's a good life....

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five for Friday: 2015 the First 90 Days

I'm fairly sure that this was the first Cross Country Race for our son Marco. Today he's set his sites on the California State Meet in November 2015. Before we know it, he will be on his way to bigger and better things post High School. My first 90 days of 2015 are focused on that day when he walks out of the house or we drop him off after he graduates.

  1. Marco was born 9 weeks early. 99.9% of him was perfect. We've known over the years that he has an issue with his eyes tracking together. He's been through a couple rounds of vision therapy and he's at it again. My focus is to work with him for 10 minutes a day for the next 90 days. I told him this morning that if he did that his last 3 semesters of High School would be way different. School would open up to him rather than it being a daily fight. 
  2. Men - Marco like any boy needs men in his life. He needs his father but he needs other men who can mentor and show him how to become a man. Over the next 90 days it's my hope to find another mentor for him. We think we have a lead right now one one. 
  3. Risk - Boys need risk in their lives. They need to do scary things. We are going to do risky things over the next 90 days. Still trying to figure those things out. If you have anything you did as a kid that scared the heck out of you, let me know. 
  4. Income - I have had income since August. That's not exactly true, our investments are always (virtually) making money. But I have no regular flow of income. Over the next 90 days that's going to change. Either my businesses will take off or I'll accept one of the offers I have. 
  5. Strength - Physical and Emotional it's been my weakness and it will not be any longer. I will be strong. 
It's a good life....

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Running Pace

I was talking with my friend Greg the other day about Swimmers. He is amazed at how much swim training swimmers do for what amounts to fairly short events. He wonders why? I told him we runners would do the same thing if we could but because running hurts so much we can't.

On the same day I was talking to Marco about his running. He has a running partner who lives by his Garmin and wants to up the pace of their easy runs because he heard of another high school runner doing that. I told  Marco "That's crazy talk, the worst thing you can do is follow another's training".

I also told him "This is preseason, the only reason you need to know your pace is to slow yourself down, your goal is to build strength and stamina through frequency and length not pace. The only time pace matters is on the track"

Then I went out and practiced what I preached. Poor recovery is either from poor rest, poor nutrition or going too hard too often. As I've said I've struggled with recovery. I preach to Marco and other runners, go slow and easy when your workout is meant to be slow and easy. Go hard when it's meant to be hard. Don't mix them up. (Another thing Swimmers do is go hard day after day, because they can). I thought good and hard about my own workouts and realized I was mixing it up. So Tuesday I wore my heart monitor and stuck to it. My max allowable Heart Rate was 135 which is the top of my Aerobic Capacity or MAF. My run was painfully slow.

I'm confident that when I wake up on the day of my hard running, I won't be tired and I will be ready to lay some hard running down.

It's a good life....

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Next 50

I heard a quote last night: "Your first 50 years are to build your life, your next 50 years are to live your life"

I've been thinking a great deal about being 50. I've found that losing a brother not much older than me will do that to you.

I read Fast After 50 by Joel Friel.

My take away notes for myself
  1. The work I've been doing the last 6 weeks has been the right work. A mixture of High Intensity, Some Moderate Intensity and some Aerobic Capacity (MAF) work.
  2. Where I have failed because I just haven't made it a top priority is in Strength Work. I'm 3 weeks into a periodized programmed weight routine. I'm confident this is a difference maker.
  3. Rest - The older the more rest you need. I find that at 50 I need a heck of lot more rest than I did at 30.
  4. Recovery - Rest is a big part of that but recovery from hard work is harder than it used to be. I'm working out every detail and tracking it daily. The worst thing to do is go hard when you are not recovered.
  5. Diet - I eat well but I'm aware that the make of my food will need to change. Now that I'm not traveling the world as much I should be able to stay consistent with whatever changes I make.
The question is why spend so much time on being Fast. I think I'm wired this way. I'm competitively wired and I figure that if I can learn to be fast than I'll be doing all the right things to remain healthy and to LIVE the next 50 years.

It's a good life....

Friday, January 2, 2015

Five for Friday: Where to Find Dave

Happy New Year!

It's 2015. Finally I'm working in real time and not future time. I started working in 2015 in October of 2013. Today though my focus is the next 90 days not the next 18 months and that feels really good. With that bit of information I thought I'd share where you can catch up with me for at least the next 90 days.

  1. Right Here - This will become a bit more personal about my life etc.
  2. Shoe Ranger - Still in Beta form this will be up and running in the next two weeks. Here you will be able to read shoe reviews, read up on shoe news and learn in the Shoe Clinic. You'll also be able to use a new tool with new secret sauce.
  3. Retail Brand Sync - Do you have a store or a brand you need help with? I'm using my expertise to help brands and retailers reach their dreams. I often ask both the same question "What do you want to be" and I either get a brand marketing statement or an "I don't know". Every once in awhile I get a real answer and it's here where I come into play. My expertise is taking that real answer and helping you make it a reality. Most of the information on the website will be free and frequent.
  4. Facebook - Dave Jewell
  5. Twitter - @superdavejewell
It's a good life......