Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Can The Fitness Come Back in 8 Weeks?

All year and for pretty much the last 5 years I’ve stayed fit. Not through any specific training but just general triathlon based fitness. Over the last two years although maintaining a regular workout schedule that averaged 9 hours of work each week my weight has slowly and steadily gone up. I could still run relatively quick, my swimming was strong but where I felt it the most was climbing on the bike. I just didn’t go up hill like I used to.

In February of this year a buddy and his wife came to stay with me for  a week. He’s a top armature in any sport involving a bike and she’s always on the edge of greatness. They schooled me in training for the week but what impressed me more was his commitment to everthing else, stretching and general fueling.

From that week on I did two things that have been simply better for me totally. First I started doing Yoga every day. 15 minutes. Second I began eating more food each day. Both did wonders for my overall feeling. I felt stronger and I had more energy throughout the day. Not long after that I started traveling around the world for work and did what I could during that time to stay fit and strong.

Starting about 8 weeks ago I had a break in the work schedule that allowed me to stay home. I decided to see if I could get into race shape in the 8 week period. I took a very dedicated approach and put some races in the schedule to make it legitimate. The general schedule looked like this:

Monday - Easy Swim - Easy Ride
Tuesday - Long Run - Master’s Swim
Wednesday - Long Ride - Easy Run
Thursday - Easy Swim
Friday - Moderate Ride - Master’s Swim
Saturday - Run - with some effort involved.
Sunday - Off

Doing this heavy of a schedule I knew I needed to bring more carbohydrates into my meals. I did that in the morning and at lunch, leaving dinner to a smaller meal with quality meat and veggies. Also notice the amount of rest there is in the schedule. Sunday Off, Monday Easy, Thursday Easy.

My longest run during the 8 weeks was 2:20 but that was a mistake. I had a nasty bike crash on Wednesday did rehab Thursday, took it easy Friday than did a long trail run with a friend. You know how a run usually makes you feel better by the end? This run sucked from start and got worse.

My longest ride was 3.5 hours. All of my long rides were on the the mountain bike until it got way too hot to do that.

My longest swim was 5,000 yards.

Also I added a wake up round of 15 military burpees each day.

A raced three times with the 4th one this Saturday. The first two were sprint triathlons. If felt good to race fast again. All of the work in the swim and on the bike paid off. I felt really strong on both. My run felt good but not great. I finished 5th in my age group in the first race and 2nd in my age group in the second race. The next race was a 5 K cross country race that was totally fun but I was not ultra fast.

Just before the cross country race I noticed that my weight hadn’t changed. I was the heaviest I had ever been when I started at 159lbs and I was still 159lbs. That simply didn’t seem right based on the work I was doing. I decided then to change my carbohydrate source. I went from whole grain toast or oatmeal to strictly rice. I also upped my protein intake from 2 eggs to 3 and threw in bacon for breakfast.

Over the last three weeks the weight has fallen off. I’m down to 152lbs which is still over my true top race form weight but oh does it feel better. My running has become lighter, my climbing on the bike has returned. It’s all started to feel good again. This Saturday is the the final of the 4 races.

Next week before I start a very busy travel schedule that has me crossing the country 3 times and the Pacific twice I’m going to do some testing. Once on the track for a lactate threshold run. Once on the trainer for the Sufferfest Test and then a 1000 for time in the pool. I have all of these numbers from previous tests and will be able to compare. I can’t wait to see the results.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Airline Stories

I often get asked about all the flying I do. Have you ever had problems.

I’ll say first off, I’ve been flying since I was 2 years old. I can’t possibly remember every flight but I will say this “I fully trust the pilots and the planes.” I’ve never had any super close calls but I’ve had some very challenging flights.

  1. I flew to Hong Kong which is a 13 hour flight. It was a Friday. I had talked to my Dad the day before the flight and we made plans to get together when I returned. I landed in Hong Kong, got to my hotel only to find out my Dad had a heart attack and passed away that morning. I quickly made arrangements to return home. I got back on the exact same plane that had brought me to Hong Kong. The only available seat was on the very last row in the middle. This was during a time in Hong Kong when they wouldn’t allow you to carry a bottle of water on a plane headed to the USA. I was devastated about my Dad and 100% dehydrated from the first flight. It was a miserable experience. 
  2. We were flying from Buenos Aires, Argentina back home to Germany. adidas always put us in Business Class if we traveled over the water which was nice. I went into the bathroom in the airport before the flight and there was a guy puking all over one of the sinks. Once on the plane I settled in for the long flight to Madrid. I fell asleep and was jolted awake by something. We were about half way and still over the Atlantic. The pilot came on and said we had a problem with the plane. We were going to have to land so they could fix what was wrong. We landed in Tenerife in the Canary Islands. We deplaned but because we were technically still in Argentina, we couldn’t leave the small airport. We had to sit inside and wait. About that time I started to feel really sick. After 5 hours of waiting we get back on the plane and fly to Madrid. By the time we land it’s too late to catch a flight to Germany so the airline put us up in a hotel. I’m standing in line waiting to check in and the illness finally hits me. I find the nearest bathroom, go into one of the stalls and puke my guts out for quite a awhile. I hear some guys come in. The bathroom was attached to the bar. I clean myself up and open the door. The guys have lines of cocaine on the counter and offer me one. They thought I was puking from partying too hard. I kindly waved them off and got out. By the time I got into my hotel room I had 3 hours to sleep before I had to go back to the airport. I puked the entire 3 hours and for the next 2 days at home. 
  3. We were working at a factory in Guangzhou, China and our flight home was the next day. The factory people warned us that at Typhoon was heading to Hong Kong, our flight departure city. We chose to go forward with our plan. We hopped on the train to HK. As we got closer the rain began to be heavy. By the time we arrived at the HK train station the Typhoon was in full force. We made it to the hotel and they put us on the 10th floor. The building was swaying in the wind all night (their build to do that). When we woke up the rain and wind were still there. We checked flights and everything said "On Time". Once on the plane the air around us was calm but the sky was black and swirling heavily. The pilot came on the intercom and said "It's going to be a big rough and bumpy but as soon as we are through those clouds it will be calm". Untied was still flying the Boeing 747 at the time. Those planes are so big and so old they creak quite a bit. As the plan taxis for take off the wings with their two big engines bounce up and down. We prepare for take off and the pilot guns it. The air and wind is forcing the plane down but the force of the engines lifts the plane up. The winds instantly push the plane sideways and the plane begins to rattle. What seemed like a long time but was only short the plane pushes through the clouds and it is calm. It stayed calm the rest of the 10 hour flight. 
  4. Flying from San Francisco to Hong Kong on a Boeing 747. We are somewhere high above the Pacific Ocean when the plane hits a pocket. Anything that is not fastened down goes flying. We drop like a rock. Then as fast as we dropped the plane levels out again. All the pilot can say is "Sorry about that folks". 
  5. My friends and I decided for high school graduation that we would go scuba diving in the Bahamas. We joined a group headed to Bimini a tiny island. We fly to Ft Lauderdale and then take a charter flight to Bimini. Our plane is an old propeller driven DC 3 and our captain has a Tommy Bahama shirt and baseball cap on. Once in the air he invites us up to the cockpit to see The Bahamas. By this time I've been on numerous flights and been in the cockpit of planes. I walk up dip my head and look out. My eye catches the dashboard first. There are no instruments. In fact there are holes in the dash were the instruments should be. This pilot is flying 100% on sight. We landed on a dirt run way and had a great dive trip. 

Friday, July 6, 2018

My Running Life

I was a senior in high school and had just started to run. It was winter break and my brother Bob asked me to go for a run with him. It was well below freezing, the wind was blowing and we put parkas on for that run. We talked the entire way which if you knew my brother that was really rare. To get more than two words out of him at any time was rare. He was in his last year of college and the subject of our dscussion was running shoes. He said “It would be so cool or work for Nike”. I thought that was a good idea and made it my dream too! He never did go to work for Nike but I think he did even
better. He bought Nike stock early.

It took me about 6 years from that run to start on my path. This blog is full of stories along the way. I’ve realized the dream and gone way beyond what was ever thought. I work in the running shoe industry and have for most of my adult life. It’s all because of running and virtually every
one close to me in my life that isn’t family is because of running. Well I say that but I met my wife at the Peachtree Road Race Expo so even that is from running.

My work today involves the task of shoe counting. In simple terms I’ve developed a system that allows me to count running shoes anywhere and everywhere. I count them in my sleep. This part of my running life came from a podcast I did on Endurance Planet with Tawnee. We talked Kona Shoe count. A woman at one of the big shoe companies I had met years before heard that podcast and told someone on her staff to find me because they had questions. The question they put before me was “How would you count the NYC Marathon?” I had no idea but said I would test some theories. 2 months later they called me again and I had the answer for them. The girl said “Great, we have 7 races we want you to count next year, how much would that cost?”

That was 4 years ago. In 2018 it looks like this:

1. NYC for a Track Meet
2. London for a Half Marathon
3. Rome for a Marathon
4. Rotterdam for a Marathon
5. Boston Marathon
6. London Marathon
7 NY for a half marathon
8. North Carolina for a track meet
Those are done. Still to come
9. NY for a mile
10. Beijing for a Marathon
11. New York for a 10 miler
12. Kona
13. NYC Marathon
14. Shanghai for a Marathon

It’s more than one client now and it’s a bit more than a shoe count. It’s not easy collecting the data. It takes patience and a stupid commitment of time. The data is simply that, data. The Endurace Planet Podcast was a discussion of why? That’s really what I do, I give the running shoe industry the why. It goes all the way back to the start. Why would two guys put on parkas and go running when most of the neighborhood chose to stay inside that day?

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Orange Man

It is said that our elected officials are simply a reflection of us. The orange man in Oval Office is no different. His mastery is that he recognized it and fueled the fire. We are not a healthy country. For a good amount of time we had our differences but we had respect for each other. The orange man has made it ok for that respect to go out the door.

Example 1 - The orange man referring to NFL players who don’t stand for the National Anthem “maybe they shouldn’Be in the country “ There is no way that’s ok to say as the Preasident but the orange man gets away with it.

Example 2 - a headline today. GOP representative loses endorsement after he says it’s ok to refuse to sell a home to gay people.

Example 3 - three friends were riding on the coast highway in the bike lane when a car repeatedly swerved into the bike lane with the intention of running them off the road. He is a surfer who was driving to his surf spot. Ok it’s getting really dangerous to ride outside in the USA. Most of that is caused by cell phone distraction. It’s more than that though. I’ve personally been yelled at by more drivers this year than I can remember in all the years previous. There is a angst in the air and cyclists in tight clothes are becoming the target. I say for our part we have to step up our game of riding defensive.

All three of these examples are in the last 48 hours. The orange man did not start this. It’s been building over time. The orange man is simply bringing it front and center to the world media and making it ok.

The other day I made a hand signal while riding my bike telling the cars behind that I was moving into the left lane so I could turn left at the upcoming stop sign. A car pulled up to me after I moved over and the guy started yelling at me telling me I should indicate my intentions much sooner. I smiled at him, apologized and said I would do that from now on. He was full of shit by the way. My smile and apology was simply a way to deescalate the tension and show him respect.

I think if we just get back to respecting people and showing the respect we can win in the end. It won’t answer the differences but it can bring some of the tension down. Do that and ignore hype about the orange man. It’s his goal to be in the headlines all the time. We need to stop reading the headlines.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Is Ironman Done as a Race?

The recent USA Championships in Woodlands Texas were a disaster. That is if you are an old school triathlete looking for great competition. Ironman at least in North America has gone the way of the marathon. It’s a participation event more than a race. At the 2018 LA Marathon 232 runners ran under 3 hours. 8,000 or half the field finished in over 5 hours. At 5 hours it’s participation. The LA Marathon is a for profit business and they don’t care about fast times. They want numbers. Ironman for that matter is the same thing, they need numbers. But the one thing Ironman has different is Kona. How does Ironman rectify the Woodlands race with Kona? I have a solution.

  1. Designate Participation Ironman races - The goal here is finish. The rules are simple, wear a helmet, obey the general corse rules passing on the left, speed zones etc. Draft if you want. No Kona slots and No Legacy qualifications. 
  2. Kona designated races - All Current rules apply. 
  3. A USA Championship race can’t be a participation race. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Yoga Challenge

I was laughing with my wife yesterday. I was asked to submit a passport type photo for my London Marathon credentials. I showed this picture to Mary and said “I’ll just use this” This is actually our son of course.

I’ll admit that I always look at myself as being younger than I am. I look around at others my age and feel proud of the way I take care of myself. That said age does win and it’s winning lately. I decided to do something about it. I started using Sufferfest long ago for my cycling. Earlier this year I downloaded the Sufferfest App. I was surprised to see yoga videos. I started using them daily. Then I listened to an interview with David Goggins who said he cured all of his aches and pains by doing yoga every day. So I committed. I’ve stuck to the stretching and mobility videos.

Tomorrow Sufferfest starts a yoga for cyclists challenge. 30 days of practice. In the challenge the emphasis is on the strength aspect of Yoga. I like that so I’m doing it. I will report on the results regularly but while here I’ll talk about results to date.

The one yoga pose everyone should learn and perfect is downward dog. When I started in January I could do downward dog with bent knees and on my forefoot only. Today I can do it with straight legs and I’m one half of one inch from putting my heels on the ground. What does that do for me? I wake up today with almost no soreness or stiffness. A dramatic difference from January. Since January I’ve flown to London then home, then to NYC the following week. This past weekend I flew to Rome spent a day in there then flew to Amsterdam. Spent 1 1/2 days there then flew home. Still no stiffness waking up. Each flight is followed by yoga.

If you are waking up stiff, download Sufferfest and do the Yoga. It’s 15 minutes each segment and it works. Do the cycling if you want but do the yoga.

Friday, April 6, 2018

The Traveling Life

This weekend. Friday in Rome, Staturday and Sunday in Holland. Monday heading home.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Putting Life into Perspective

The end of 2017 and the start of 2018 has been nothing but eye opening. Life has a habit of showing you that focusing in on what's important is all that matters. One week before Christmas our 22 year old roommate was killed in a senseless single car accident. To this day we still don't know what happened or what caused her to drive off the freeway. We only know that the night before she was full of smiles and happiness and the next day she was gone. Sadly though it took 4 days for her to pass away. She was placed on a respirator. The hospital waited for her family to arrive and to have time with her. The benefit out of this was that she was a donor. Her very healthy skin and organs will help save lives.

Then just recently the unthinkable happened. We all love Tawnee Gibson of Endurance Planet. She has openly shared her life with us through her podcast. She was so happy and rightfully so to be pregnant and expecting. Her baby made it full term. Then upon delivery the baby didn't make it. Absolutely unthinkable.

The men (boys) in the picture above are part of the Platoon our son is in. He's in the center of the picture standing up. His life is at risk every day. Marines die is accidents often. In his training, accidents can be deadly. His life started scary enough. A normal day in the house. My pregnant wife had a rough night but she seemed ok. I had my cycling clothes on ready to go ride a few hours with friends. As we sat there having coffee she began to feel worse. So bad that I bagged the ride and sent my friends off. Within an hour she was in severe pain. We called the hospital and told them we were coming in. It was Sunday morning, traffic was light. We arrived and within one hour our son was born. He was 9 weeks early and weighed 3.5 lbs. There were no smiles on the doctors, my wife or myself, only worry. They quickly checked him and then allowed me to carry him down to ICU. There he would spend a month fighting for his life.

The other day someone commented "It looks like you've developed a close friendship with your son". I told my wife and she said "I think the two of you have been fully attached since you carried him down that hall"

I worry so much sometimes about where my work life is going. I worry about getting slow. None of that matters. The only thing that matters are the people in my life especially my son in the picture and my wife who is in the Middle East right now learning Arabic and volunteering at a soup kitchen.

It's a good life.....