Well, I did It

After a bit of back and forth deliberation – and deciding to keep this blog here – I went ahead and did it anyway; I have moved this site to Medium. For now, that is where you can find new content. I have not yet ported the entirety of these here pages. We will see how this new platform goes, and if well, then I will move the content there too. Which looks like it might be more than a bit complicated. Argh.

Anyway, you can find the new site right here. Once there, simply hit the “follow”
button and you should be all set.

Let me know what you think of the new site please in terms of “look and feel.” Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated. Part of this was borne out of a bit of boredom for WordPress and part for my enthusiasm towards Medium.

In addition to my site, you will find it contains an expansive library of some pretty great content, most of which is quite navigable.

 

Gear of the Year: Garmin 3 HR

Those of you who know me know that I am a gear fanatic. I wish I didn’t, but I but a lot of new products every year. I’m going to rationalize a bit here, but I do try to put everything I purchase to good use, and I am mostly successful in that regard. Or so I like to tell myself, anyway.

In 2016 I made two purchases that stood  out among the rest: one was running related (the Garmin Fenix 3 HR noted above) and the other was for professional purposes (the Apple iPad Pro 9.7 – I will reserve this review for another day).

The Fenix purchase was borne out of my frustration with Suunto. It wasn’t the watch per se that frustrated me, but rather the Movescount website and app, both of which are/were dramatically behind the times and constantly down due for maintenance reasons.

I purchased the Fenix in July kind of on a whim while passing the Garmin store in Chicago and I have not looked back since. It’s no surprise it is the flagship in the Garmin series; it is one kick ass, well designed and well thought through product. Though slightly on the big side, it wears well on the first and it is without question my weekend go-to watch even when not working out.

The only downside to it that I can truly think of after six months of daily use, is the heart rate monitor is less than optimal. But I don’t think that’s a Garmin issue so much as it is an across-the-board issue with all optical heart rate monitors. Fact is, the technology isn’t there quite yet.But I have reconciled myself to this and I find that while not perfect, it’s close enough.

With the announcement of the new Garmin Fenix 5 at CES last week, look for the Garmin Fenix 3 HR to drop significantly in price. Although the Garmin 5 looks pretty cool and has some additional functionality built into it, I think the Fenix 3 HR is still worth considering, especially if you can find it at a steep discount. If you’re serious about running (and swimming or even cross training too for that matter) and a bit of a data geek like me, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

And if you wait for the Fenix 5, please share with me your thoughts, I probably will die out the Fenix 3 through the 2017 calendar year before passing it on to Zevan, but one never knows with me……

 

 

Sunrise, Sunset

Of late, I’ve become somewhat obsessed with sunrises and sunsets. Probably because we’re had a few these past few months that have been absolutely off the hook. It’s another reason why I purchased with terrific GoPro 5 (can you tell I am rationalizing a bit here?!). I’ve also been nodding around with video of late. One of my goals for 2017 is to become more proficient at creating video. It’s the future in my business and an area where it beehooves me to be at least mildly competent. Its astonishing that kids are learning in school these days in this area, too: some of the videos my kids and their friends create are borderline astonishing.

Anyway, I got out there early this morning for a run and was rewarded with one of the nicer sunrises I’ve seen in a while. Having a hard time posting video but have attached a few photos.

2016 Wrap Up

Thanks for the comments, below; much appreciated. I am inclined, for right now, anyway, to keep going on this platform. Will check out a few others over the weekend, along with Jeremy’s recommendations, to see what’s out there.

In the meantime, a few statistics to end the year: 1810 total miles ran (my Strava goal was 1700) and 111,000 yards swam (Strava goal was 100,000). It was also a pretty active year in terms of racing: 16 in total. That included:

  • three 5k’s
  • one Mount Tam Hill Climb, which is a race unto itself
  • one 10k
  • one 7 miler
  • two 10 milers
  • four half marathons
  • one 30k
  • one trail marathon
  • one 50k
  • one 50 miler

All in all, not too shabby, if I do say so myself! My finishing times weren’t too bad either, and given my move to a new age group, my finishing place within my age group was also pretty decent. I managed to medal at three or four races, which is some sort of new record for me.

So, that’s an official wrap on 2016. All in all, a relatively successful year. Now I need to some goals for 2017. Will get working on that pretty soon!

 

 

 

This Here Blog

Happy New Year, all! Had a very nice holiday myself in Mexico. Got in plenty of running and open water Ocean swims.

One of the things I am wrestling with is whether i keep this blog going or not. By my own admission, 2016 was probably my slowest year eve run terms of posting. I like keeping a blog of some sort as it helps keep my writing sharp, but at the same time I don’t want to keep talking to myself – if in fact, this is the case.

Every few years or so I also like changing up the site, in part, so I can get experience with other platforms. One that I am especially looking at right now is Medium. I have probably written a half dozen or so posts this past year but am looking at it a bit more intently. Given my less extensive posting, this might make sense.

I also am toying with the idea of incorporating more video this year as well. One of my personal goals this year is to become more adept at producing decent-looking video content. I don’t expect to become overly proficient in this area, but in my line of business it can’t hurt to be quasi-knowledgeable in this area. To that end, I bought myself a new GoPro Hero 5 – which so far I LOVE – and have been focused the past few days on learning their editing platforms. Might even see if I can post a video that I composed yesterday during my Mount Tam summit where I lucky enough to catch one snow – a *very* rare event in these here parts.

Anyway, before I make a final decision how about a roll call – is there ANYONE still reading the? If so, just leave a simply comment stating “here” or something to that effect. If there are more folks than I anticipated, I will in fact keep this going.


 

North Face Endurance Challenge Half Marathon

I’m two weeks late with this but I ran the North Face half two weeks ago. This race historically marks the end of my “season”. This year’s race was special because Zevan and two of his high school cross country buddies were making their half marathon debuts.

The Boys ran well, finishing in something like 9th, 23rd and 50th overall. I had an ok day – I didn’t have terrific climbing legs (a motif for the year) but I was pretty solid on the flats and downhill and was able to keep my act together for most of the day. Although my time was a bit slower than later year, the course changes made a bit of s difference and I finished in a higher overall place than last year.

One thing that did bother me was that the course was mismarked. It did not impact my race as they recognized and fixed their mistake by the time I came through. The Boys, however, were sent up and over the wrong hill, which added 1.5 miles to their overall distance. If it was me, I wouldn’t have been bothered too much but 13 miles was already a stretch for the Boys and having additional mileage added was a bit much. They were all absolutely cooked at the end. I told the race director what I thought and he was sympathetic although he did say “well, that’s trail running for you” – which kind of bothered me. That might be trail running but I also think a race director has an obligation to get the course right. Anyway. I won’t belabor the point because they did reach out with an apology and free registration for next year’s race. I thought that was an appropriate way to handle things.

So, that’s a wrap on 2016. Next big race up is Way Too Cool. This will be my fifth running of Cool and I am doing it with a bunch of my boys, including Wiley, Rob and Phil. So, that will be fun. Until then, I am going to ramp down the miles a bit and recover.

Marin Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving marked what was probably our eight or so consecutive turkey trot and my 15th race of the year. That is a lot of racing, fyi.

The Marin Turkey Trot has grown in the decade or so we have been doing it. I can recall our first race, there were 200 runners at best. Now, it’s up to about 1,200. Pretty cool to see a local race grow.

Zevan was defending his title – he won outright last year – and came in 7th overall and second in his age group. Not a bad performance at all on a newly designed course that was pretty tough. Summer ran “easy” alongside one of her cross country teammates and came in first in her age group and 6th female overall. And yours truly came in second in the Old Man category. Turning 50 has at least been kind to me from a running perspective. My time – 22:38 or so was ok for a tough course, but I really lost my legs after the first mile. Not sure if it was the business travel or the fact that I’ve been doing a lot of weights with focus on my legs, but man I felt that one. Was happy to simply to finish.

This weekend marks what will probably be my last race of the year; the North Face half marathon. I opted not to do the marathon or 50k this year; simply feeling too tired. I will give it a good go this Sunday and then take things down a bit headed into the New Year.

Speaking of the New Year, I am still trying to figure out my race schedule. I am open to any and all suggestions. Right now I am leaning towards doing the Lake Sonoma 50 miler again, for reasons I simply cannot explain.

 

 

Singapore

I spent the week before Thanksgiving in Singapore; my first time in Asia. I was there on business and we kept a pretty crazy schedule. But that said, I was able to get out a bit and run throughout the City, mostly alongside the Marina. I’ve said it before but the best way to see a new city is via running. I took my vest with me so that I cool carry my camera and I was able to take some cool pictures along the way. Among the things I liked were its cleanliness (everything you read about Singapore being clean is true); the people; the neighborhoods and the food. The Hawkers Market “street food” was particularly good. Some of the best soup dumplings I have ever had and for $4 to boot. I also dug traveling via Singapore Airlines business class. Those “pods” are awfully nice and comfortable.

The only thing I really didn’t care for was the 16 hour time difference and accompanying jet lag. My body never really turned over and I was up pretty much every night from around 2:30 am until around 4 or so. I made it through the day mostly ok, but would definitely hit a wall come around 8 pm or so, which made a few of our business dinners a bit challenging.

All in all a great trip and I look forward to returning in about six months. I am also contemplating the idea of moving to Singapore for a year once both kids are in school. The good news is I have a bit of time to think that through.

 

Age Group Win!

Right before leaving for Singapore (more on that trip later) I ran the Mount Tam trail half marathon.

For the most part, I felt ok. Not great but not terrible. Had a bit of a rough time on some of the climbs, but flats and downhills were fine.

Throughout the race, I was regularly yo-yo’ing with a dude who looked to be about my age. He’d catch me on the climbs and I’d get him on the flats. This went on for a quite a number of miles). Finally, he took off on me and I thought that was that.

Then, when I got to the top of Cardiac, I saw him about a quarter of a mile or so ahead of me. With about 5k to go in the race and my legs feeling pretty good, I decide what the hell and went for it. I caught him on the descent down to Steep Ravine which was very slick and wet. I noticed that he was (wisely) exercising caution and I threw it down and was more aggressive than I had ever taken that section. Once I hit the bottom I gave a last push and finished strong, though I had zero sense of who might have finished in front of me.  After running back from the bathroom I saw him standing at the awards table where I heard that he took second in 50-59. Which meant – victory! I have to say, turning 50 has been pretty kind of me from a running standpoint. I think I have made more podiums this year than I have in the entirety of my life. This one was especially fun however because I actually went for it. So, overall I was pretty stoked though it’s important to note that my final time was anything but what I would categorize as fast. So, there’s that!

 

The Election

A few people have asked for my perspective – not that I happen to think that it’s worth much – on this election, as I have purposefully gone a bit dark on social media.

Why I have gone dark: in business, I have learned that I have a tendency to get emotional in certain situations. To counterbalance that, I try very hard not to make decision that I feel are emotionally-based. At minimum, I try to sleep on certain things and see how they sit in the morning. In doing so, I’ve found I more often than not have a markedly different perspective.

My reaction to this election has been such that it has taken me three full nights of sleeping on it (or not sleeping, as the case may be). Here we are almost 72 hours and I am have yet to really organize my thoughts in a particularly cogent manner. But, based on where I am now, here are my random and not-so-random thoughts:

  • First and foremost, I honor the office and will demonstrate my support for the President-elect. I recall vividly President Obama’s election eight years ago, and the vitriol that accompanied it. That repulsed me then, as it does now, and I am vowing to give him a fair shot. I mean this very sincerely. He is OUR President, whether we like it or not. But that being said, on the basis of his campaign he has only earned a very short leash, at best, and he needs to be held more accountable than any other elected official in history. I have a text thread that’s been ongoing with my college friends for years. Months ago, I said in jest, “what if he wins and turns out to be an excellent President?” I so hope that these words prove to be prescient. I am personally doubtful, but I am literally praying for the best. If he proves me/us wrong I will sing his praises from the mountain top.
  • Economically speaking, I think we will be fine. Market indications in these early days seem to demonstrate this out. What I worry about – tremendously – is the complete and utter cessation of social progress. The composition of the Supreme Court. Our social structure – and living in San Francisco I think mostly of my gay friends. I can only imagine the concerns that must be going through their heads now. We as a nation and people cannot set them back. As a trail runner and lover of the outdoors, I also worry – tremendously – about the future of our planet. Climate change is very real and you’re a fool to think otherwise. I could go on about this subject of our future from a social/environmental standpoint much longer but will let this sit. You get – and if you are reading this – probably share – my point. If he is smart or at minimum, surrounded by smart people, he should demonstrably move to the center in this area though I am less than optimistic this will be the case.
  • This one has been particularly revelatory for me, personally: I feel terrible not just because of the outcome, but because I/we missed the pain that broad swaths of our nation are feeling. These are for the most part good, honorable people who are feeling left behind by the “establishment”. A majority are smart enough to know the risk that they took in voting for a highly-flawed and potentially dangerous candidate and yet they did so anyway. That speaks volumes. San Francisco is a bubble and I admit now that I personally have been completely insulated from reality. Our tech-fueled economy here has been humming and life is good (it is very important to note that the success of the California economy has been driven in very large part by the contributions of immigrants). Not so much so for the rest of the country and I very genuinely feel for them. This might sound like pandering or cynicism but that is not my intent: I hope they find the positive change they seek. The corollary to this however is that with Republican control of all three branches, there’s no finger pointing allowed now. It’s up to them to fix what they feel needs fixing. I’m anxious to see and hear their plan. So far any elucidation of a plan has been disconcertingly lacking.
  • I think what we will see next is a wave of social activism unlike anything we have seen in our lifetime short of the Vietnam war. This is a good thing! The “other” side here – the Blue-Staters – are also good, smart people and they are already beginning to realize that they will need to truly MOBILIZE to affect change. I think for many of us, we feel posting our personal sentiments on Facebook in a smarty pants fashion (editors note: guilty as charged) is a form of social activism – that the expression of our personal sentiments really makes some form of difference. It does NOT. Going to Nevada and knocking on doors in your free time does, however. I also think this will be a much needed shot in the arm for many of our children, too – the entitled, millennial generation – glued to their phones, focused on selfies and snapchats. This is a clarion call to them, similar what Reagan’s election was like for certain members of my own generation. My message to them: if you want change and truly care about the future, put down the phones and make it happen. Or at minimum, find a way to use those phones in new and interesting ways as an instrument of change.
  • I have said this for years but now there is no question left: the man is the most brilliant and effective marketer in American history. It was said about Steve Jobs that he could see around corners. The same must be said for him, whether you like his message or not. Purely from that perspective, I tip my cap to him.
  • I am glad we can finally and unequivocally move on from the Clinton era in so many different respects. Much like Blue Staters were tired of the Bush family, so were Red Staters with the Clintons. They simply brought too much self-imposed baggage to the table. So be it and I get it. Certainly – certainly – I voted for her but begrudgingly so, which I am on the record as having said. The change that they brought to this country in my viewpoint was sound, but it was right for a different era – not today’s. The Democratic Party is deeply flawed and needs a new generation of leadership to come in and change the game. I look forward to seeing who seizes the mantle here – this is an exciting opportunity. And for the record, the Republican party is deeply, deeply flawed too, but this win will probably provide them an opportunity to mask that. Which will prove to be a very big mistake.
  • My final point: to my friends on the other side: don’t gloat. Don’t. Gloat. History has a very, very long tail and we are in the very early days here. As stated before, a vast majority of you are smart and educated folks and you know that he is a deeply flawed candidate unlike any other. With few exceptions, I genuinely believe that you could not have felt terribly good casting your vote in his favor. It is incumbent upon you too to be be hyper vigilant. We are all Americans and we must look out for one another, whether we wear a hijab or a yarmulke. We must not and cannot tolerate hatred in any form. Because if hatred becomes the way of the land, let’s be perfectly clear: all bets are off.

Anyway. That’s my more than two cents, for whatever it’s worth.

Shalom.