Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bums or Stokes You?

Those of you who know me, know I'm somewhat obsessed with the above phrase. So, I have started a new block. PLease take a moment and check it out on

Let me know what you think; I think this has potential.

And props to Wiley for the suggestion.

Coastanoa and More

Usually when the family is on the East Coast for the Summer, I am pretty darn boring. I'm determined to shake it up a BIT this year by being a bit more on the go and being a bit more adventurous than usual.

To that end, I had my boy Wiley in town the past three nights and we had a blast. I wanted to show him a bit more than Marin, so on Friday night we headed to Coastanoa, a tented campsite located on the Coast, about halfway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. Consider it "camping lite." I think I speak for the boys when I say that we had a blast, though I pay the price for it yesterday for sure.

Beyond that, lots of business travel to LA and an upcoming boy's trip to Michigan, which we do every year (though usually in June, not August).

On an unrelated note, has anyone else been watching Breaking Bad on AMC? Wow is that show good - i think it's the best show on TV. I know I say that a lot but really think it's true.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


So, I was lucky enough to get a Spotifyaccount two weeks ago when the service first launched. The hype was beyond high for this, but I have to say that so far, I'm pretty impressed. The interface is good looking and easy to use, I love how it ports in one's existing iTunes library (and fairly seamlessly at that) and the catalogue (more than 15 million songs) is impressive. There's not too much that I've searched for and not been able to find.

Right now I am using the free service and I guess I'd say that the only downside is that the ads can be annoying. But - it's for free, so who am I really to complain? I don't see much value in the Unlimited streaming option ($4.99) but I am strongly considering the Premium package ($9.99/month) for no other than I like the mobility features and ability to port to both my Sonos and my iPhone. I *really* wish though that I could transfer music to my iPod, versus my iPhone; I mostly listen to music while running and rarely carry my iPhone with me.

Anyone else using Spotify out there? If so, thoughts? And anyone with the Premium package?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ashland, Oregon

Just got back from an awesome weekend in Ashland, Oregon. Wow is that a cool place - maybe one of the coolest towns I've ever seen. I was there with a client - a very senior level client who is just spectacularly cool - on business, but our business involved hanging out with some of the world's top ultra runners most notably Jenn Shelton and her boyfriend Eric Skaggs, both of whom were just awesome) and running a 3.5 mile race that featured 1,100 feet of climbing in the first .75 mile.

I walked the town yesterday afternoon and into the night and because Ashland is famous for its Summer Shakespeare festival, I figured what the hell - when in Rome. So, on a whim I went to see Henry VII, Part 2. Wish I could say I enjoyed it - the outdoor Shakespearean theater was spectacular, but the truth is I got lost in the plot, it was a long day, and before long I found myself snoozing. So, I ended up leaving a little early - during intermission. Nevertheless, though, it was great experience and I couldn't have enjoyed the weekend any more. There's something to be said about discovering and exploring new places.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

100 Miles. Done

So, I did it. 100 freaking miles. The hardest endevour of my life.

But before i get into it, I have to start by giving thanks to my amazing crew: Nana, Papa, the Wife and my Kids. And Liza and family. They were all amazing - my father-in-law was out there for literally more than 24 HOURS - the dude isn't even my father and he did that for me - and I would not have done it without all their support.

I'm not so sure where to even start with this one. I'll try to distill it down to a few salient bullets:

* It was a tough, tough day. The biggest issue for me in retrospect was the weather. It was *only* 86 degrees with relatively low humidity(my guess is humidity was around 40-60 percent). The problem for me was that we have neither on the West Coast; there was just no way for me to prepare for that and it took its toll.

* It was spectacularly fun to run with Payro and Todd. Without them I likely would have lost my mind. Literally. We ran together for 70 miles and then separated. Toddie had an outstanding day and with an assist from his amazing pacer - a NorCal guy - managed to come in in sub 24 and get a belt buckle. That's a big deal in ultra running and I am super happy/proud for him. He worked real hard both in training and in preparation for this race and it showed.

* At 70 miles mark Payro and I were equally struggling, so we agreed to stay together for the duration of the evening. We ended up having a ton of fun and even managed a few laughs, despite the pain. And trust me the pain was exquisite. It was awesome hanging with him, my original ultra running amigo (as well as his pacer - a terrific local high school kid who kept things pretty lively for us out there. Namely, by taking a two hour rest between miles 80-90. Alas, that's a story for another post). Payro wasn't on a great day (for him) as he was never able to find his legs. I suspect he might be a little disappointed with his performance, but he absolutely shouldn't be; he's a tough dude to begin with but he showed a mental toughness out there that was demonstrative of his incredible character.

* I've never had a race where I've had more highs and more lows. I must have caught four separate second winds. The roughest patch for me was during the day, as a result of the heat. Between miles 60-70 I gave serious consideration to dropping out; more serious consideration than I've ever given before. I was cooked, my stomach had essentially shut down and I was in a bad way. Conversely I felt (relatively) good between miles 90-100 and was able to run them at a pretty decent clip. I think that once again, drinking copious amount of soft drinks and chicken noodle soup saved my life.

* The highlight of the race for me by FAR was my Wife surprising me and running with me as a pacer between miles 70-77. This wasn't easy for her: it was hilly terrain in literally the middle of the night and she hasn't been running much of late. But her presence lifted my spirits in a huge way and probably got me to the finish. It was fun sharing part of this experience with her. By far the coolest surprise of the day. She ended up telling me that the only reason she ran with me was because I looked so bad at the 70 mile aid station and she was concerned about my well being. She also told me that she and my father-in-law were seriously considering pulling me from the course at around that point.

* I was initially daunted by running at night, but it proved to be far more fun/enjoyable than the day. The course is astonishingly beautiful and was even prettier in certain respects in the dead of night.

* I "Live Facebooked" part of the race via frequent status updates. Payro and Todd kind of scoffed at this but it turned out to be one of the coolest aspects of my day. The support I got from my Facebook pages was staggering and really made a difference. THANK YOU to everyone who left me a post.

* In retrospect, I'm not sure there's any way to really train for a race like this. The truth be told, though by "normal" standards I did a lot of running in preparation for this race, in actuality I went into it with a minimal amount of training for a race like this. This was mostly due to life circumstances: work, business travel, swim meets, etc. I did the best I could with the time I had. But going into this, I knew I was underprepared and for the first time ever really had doubts as to whether I could finish. I have to give Coach Phil a lot of credit; he came up with a gameplan that met my very simple objective: to finish (with no consideration as to finishing time) and without any major medical issues. Kudos Coach Phil - I am greatly appreciative for everything. But at the end of the day, all the training aside, I think finishing a race of this magnititude TRULY has more to do with the mental versus physical. You literally have to will yourself to finish.

I could go on more - and I'll probably have one more post on this subject, but this should give you a sense of what occurred. Crossing the finish line was among the coolest things I have ever done (though it lacked the drama of my Ironman finish) and I'm so, so happy to have accomplished this goal, which was years in the making. I'm equally happy to have finished and be done with running for a while.

Similar to Ironman, I will likely never do a 100 again. Requires too much commitment and eats too far into family time. But that being said, certainly no regrets; I took away memories from this experience that will absolutely last a lifetime.

Once again, thank you to everyone who made this journey possible; Todd (and family), Payro, the Wife, my incredible in-laws, my kids for being my best supporters in the world (having them run to me at crew stations lifted my spirits in ways in which I cannot describe) and Coach Phil, for his training guidance and words of wisdom.

Oh and next up - some sort of epic open water swim. Suggestions, anyone???!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

72 Hours and Counting

So, we landed late last night in Lake George, NYC. What a trip; delays in Chicago but worse, the Little Girl apparently has an internal and external ear infection, along with a "virus" (we took her to a doctor this am). Poor thing was MISERABLE on the plane. She is tough though and I'm still blown away she was able to swim as well as she did on Saturday considering the circumstances.

Anyway, I hope I make it to the starting line in one piece. Taking it easy today and tomorrow and Friday am we take of for Vermont. This thing is getting beyond real.

More later.......

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Well, the 2011 swim season is officially over.

The Little Girl had a pretty darn good Champs. Truth is, she was pretty sick. I think we were fooling ourselves a bit - it was clear she was suffering from something. I just wanted her to get through Champs in one piece. I give credit to her though, though she admitted that she didn't feel well, she really didn't complain at all, until after the meet.

While she didn't swim any best times, she still had a heck of a meet: a first in backstroke, 2nd in Fly, 2nd in IM and her IM and Free relay teams not only won, but broke team records in the process. She ended up as runner up for most points, 8 and under. All in all a good day and I'm especially proud of how she did under the circumstances.

Anyway, a great season overall for both the LIttle Girl and her team. Next year she ages up to 9-10's. I only hope she has half the experience of this year.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Good Luck, Little Girl!

Tomorrow is Champs, the biggest meet of the swim season. Also, the last meet of the swim season. The Little Girl has had an absolutely terrific season and I wish her all the best tomorrow. She's worked very hard building up to this.

Of course, life being what it is, she's not feeling so well; mild fever (we think), sore throat, etc. Early stage cold I presume which seems to be going around. Anyway, she's one tough little chica and I know she'll do great.

If anyone is reading this, send her a comment that I can show prior to tomorrow. She loves that kind of stuff!

The Tour

So, it's Tour de France time again - one of my favorite times of the year. Even with Lance out, all the drug allegation craziness, etc. etc. - I still love everything about the Tour. It might just be my favorite sporting event of the Year.

One week into it, my picks are Andy Schleck to win, followed by Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans. Truth be told, I actually think Alberto is going to win, but that's too easy of a pick!

My favorite part of this year's Tour though? Out of absolutely nowhere, my son has falled head over heels in love with it! I could not be more proud of the Little Guy - he wakes up early every morning and watches every minute of every stage. It stokes me SO much. And in his inimitable fashion, he's become a bit OCD about is and is learning a lot, fast (like father, like son!).

So, it's nice to watch all the stages with a fellow partner in crime!

Anyway, with exception of Stage three it's been relatively quiet, but I expect things to open up a bit towards the back end of next week. Should be fun to watch.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July

We had a very nice, relaxing 4th of July weekend. We hung out with some good friends at the beach, went to the pool, did some running and went to a really nice BBQ yesterday. It was all solid good fun and very relaxing, which is just what I needed. I think the highlight though was the Little Girl's 9th birthday, which was on Saturday. It's just fantastic how much kids enjoy their birthdays. We hung out and enjoyed the beautiful weather and then went to her favorite restaurant - Benihanas in San Francisco.

A happy birthday to my little baby; she's (generally) a good, sweet kid I hope her ninth year on this planet is as good in every respect as her eighth.