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?