The Cabbie and The Maid

cab copy

In the last few weeks I’ve noticed my Facebook feed filling up with some individuals telling others that their jobs are shitty. Basically.

Of course, it’s never stated that blatantly. But that’s the gist, and the rhetoric most recently was positioned against “blue collar” or “working class” jobs–though some “white collar” jobs weren’t out of bounds either. So here’s how it manifests: someone in some direct selling company has some amazing business opportunity but it’s just not quite good enough to stand on it’s own, so he (or she) tries to use a generally unimaginative but fairly reliable marketing gimmick that creates dissonance, and does so by applying it to someones current vocation to make their opportunity sound better. Ready to sign up? Let’s go! And while that approach may make me want to buy a juicer (or better yet, a Nutribullet–does everybody know how much I LOVE my Nutribullet?), when I see it used against someones vocation it makes me want to throw up. Yeah, really.

A few days after I noticed some of these Facebook posts, I read (and actually reposted) an article about the behaviors of “rich” people, and while I found it highly interesting and extremely useful for personal development, after some more research I also found a callousness to the original editorial written from the extractions and assumptions of this data. It doesn’t make me like or value the data any less. It just makes me like the authors a little bit less.

A part of that message was, essentially, that getting rich is a reward for hard work. That’s just not true. We all know a lot of people who work really hard that are not rich. Some of them work harder than you and me. I also know a surprising number of rich people who don’t (and didn’t) work THAT hard to become rich, though of course they are also in the minority. Without question, hard work and putting food on your table are directly related. Productive activities generally lead to productive results–there’s no debate with the obvious. But the variables get a little more complicated as you go into higher categories of income.

One of the reasons why I found the “rich people behavior” data fascinating and helpful was because I love personal development and learning from other people. Where the thinking becomes dangerous, however, is the point at which we look at our own aspirations and automatically assume the path we choose or seek for ourselves is also that which everybody else should be doing–that if they follow the same formula it leads to a solution called “being rich.” That’s too far in the other extreme.

After a few days of processing, I realized most concretely why it bothered me:

1. It’s disrespectful, and if not arrogant than a bit oblivious. When someone thinks one person who does a certain job is better than another, it’s no different nor any less patronizing than passing judgment on the car you drive or the clothes you wear. Unless, of course, you’re wearing clothes like I used to wear when I lived in New Jersey–then, by all means, do everybody a favor and patronize away. 😉  This is the danger of associating “good” jobs from “bad” jobs, or “rich” people with “poor” people.

There are some people whose God-given talents are totally interweaved with whatever job they’re doing however “working-class” that or they may be.

In other words, that very well might be someone’s destiny that you’re shitting on. 

My 1st generation Lithuanian grandfather pressed coats at Hart Shaffner Marx for many decades–I believe he worked there well into his 80’s. I’ll bet he was pretty good at it, he took it very seriously. My also-1st-generation Lithuanian grandmother used to clean houses and offices. I’ve always been proud of them and their work. Both were smart and clever, but also wee poorly educated–I don’t believe they made it beyond the 5th grade (then my dad took it to the other extreme w/ two masters and a PhD in rocket science).

Are there certain people brought into our lives, or whose lives we’re brought into, to help move them along onto a different path? Yes, for sure. Never would I discourage someone from developing themselves or moving to another “level.” I’ve probably been on one extreme of chasing the next thing, wanting to do more, and being a bit restless and dissatisfied with whatever current state I’m in. And as a person who has had a lot of people work for and with me over the years, I get the attraction of moving people forward. Partly, because it’s a key success factor if you’re running a company or division. And partly, because the greatest gift of leadership is seeing someone–or an entire team–succeed. So I totally get the aspiration to see other people keep improving and progressing, but it requires discernment so that you don’t trounce over the work they’ve done to get to where they are.

This “your job sucks” also carries an edge–it suggests that we’re the sole author of our definition of a successful job, title or status  (whatever “that” is: CEO, doctor, lawyer  (kidding 😉 ), investment banker, millionaire or insert-your-own-typical-categorization-here.) This also isn’t true. On a confident (read: cocky) day I can look at my own life and self justify any success I have had. But on most days, I fully recognize that I’ve been given many breaks along the way. I could rattle off 50 in two minutes and we’d just be getting started.

2. It’s the ultimate turn-off. When the message gets shrouded in the dissonance created about ones vocation and livelihood, well it’s this simple: the message gets lost. And that’s a bummer. When trying to convey to someone another business opportunity, or perhaps instilling some behaviors that can help him or her become better, at times the noise keeps the message from being heard.

Of course, there’s a flip side to this, which is that people can live a lifetime of poverty, bondage and/or resignation wanting something more–but never actively seeking it out and doing the hard (like, really hard) behaviors and activities that will help achieve the progress they desire. So, don’t do this either.

3. Finally, there are people who have fought and clawed their way to those jobs. They deserve respect, because it’s respectable. You think otherwise? Go take $200 and spend it on ten cab rides in New York City and ask the back story of what they’ve done, where they came from, how they grew up, who they take care of–just listen to their story. I’ve done this at least 30 times. Eight out of ten conversations you’ll leave inspired. And quite a bit humbled.

And for those that know me, this isn’t coming from some sore spot personally–I’m not in a “working class” job, but you can be sure as heck that I respect those that are.

It’s what makes America, America.

And I’m thankful for it.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

My Fifth and Final Marathon (at least for a while)

Image

A week ago was the one-year anniversary of my first ever marathon, and my fifth completed in the past year. The Sacramento marathon will always be a bit of a turning point for me, I felt like if I could run it last year–then run a few more during the year–and then run Sac again one year later, then I’d have hit some significant milestone. Though, now that it’s done, I’m not sure I feel that way. You’d think your 5th marathon would be your easiest, but last Sunday’s race was really tough for me–and nearly an hour slower than I’d run the Chicago marathon just six weeks before. Super humbling, though I had a few physical issues going on that contributed to making this one a bit more difficult. But, here goes.

Following are a few things I learned about myself over the past five marathons, more general tips than practical ones I’ve written about before, or other running stories about how I never thought I could do it, then I said screw it I’m doing it, and a few in between and one more here:

1. I hate the cold. I’m now a California weather wimp, and I now know I can get very Wangry. Do know the definition of angry ? Perfect. Now, know the term “hangry”? That’s anger induced by hunger. Therefore, “wangry”, is anger induced by cold weather. After this last weeks run (was 20’s during most of it) I never want to run long distances in cold weather again.

20's in the 2013 Sacramento CIM Marathon. Way. Too. Cold.
20’s in the 2013 Sacramento CIM Marathon. Way. Too. Cold.

2. If you want to run a marathon…Just put some steps forward and make it happen. Pick a race (like, literally this week–pick a race for sometime late Spring or early Summer). Sign up. Develop a training plan. Start running. Just. Get. Going.

3. Training is part of the gift. It’s also a pain because it’s so time consuming. If you don’t train, and this is pretty straightforward,  you will be in a lot of pain during your marathon. Like you might find yourself in a port-a-pottie at mile 23 crying from the pain. Hypothetically. And you run the risk of not finishing. Plus, while you learn a lot about yourself from the run itself, you also learn a lot throughout training.

4. Pick a marathon song. A soulful one. I have a song for every marathon. And it’s not a “power song” like in a Nike-sense where you need something to amp  you up. It’s more significant than that. It’s, well, soulful…and I can’t really explain it further. Every marathon of mine has a different one, which is usually scattered several times throughout my marathon playlist. Of course it gets plenty of use during my training runs as well. And whilst blogging. This past race’s song was “Pieces” by Andrew Belle. It’s pretty amazing.

5. Stretch your ass off. Especially if you’re over 30. If you don’t stretch pre and post running,you’re a ticking time bomb. Especially if you have accumulated injuries from previous sports or, maybe, you’re just getting old(er). An Ortho once told me those with greatest risk of ligament and tendon tears are guys in mid 30’s who forego stretching and still do the weekend warrior thing and then…Stretching stinks. I hate it. But you have to do it.

6. Only listen to half of what your doctors tell you. Years back a doc told me I shouldn’t run. So I quit. Then I started running anyways. I’ve kept doc advice about running to pretty much zero ever since. But seven days before this past marathon I had to ask my doc about a little medical thing going on (fixed now, and I do not mean that literally) and I asked her whether I could run the marathon to which she basically said “Ummmm, no. This is probably a bad idea.” Days later I decided to ignore her advice, because I realized  she translated my question as “do you think this is a good idea?” rather than “could something really really bad happen?” Don’t let other people talk you out of something you really want. If I had, I wouldn’t have started running, nor completed last weeks race.

7. Keep your head up. The most epic line I heard from a spectator this past race will forever be burned in my memory. As I’m at mile 24 there were still stretches with very few spectators. At this point I’d taken my headphones off and I’m just trying to run one step at a time while looking right in front of me.

Suddenly, I hear a lady standing around the 2 o’clock position on the sidelines yell out to me in a booming voice “GET YOUR HEAD UP HONEY! AIN’T NO DOLLAR BILLS DOWN THERE! NOW GET YOUR HEAD UP AND LOOK TO THE FINISH LINE!” I kept my head up the final 2.2. miles.

8. And keep your eyes open.

Joyce's First Marathon! Great job!
Joyce’s First Marathon! Great job!

Because you’ll be inspired. And this is what I love most about marathon running.

Watching my friend Joyce finish Chicago–her first marathon–was inspiring to me. So was the guy I saw at the same marathon running WITH brain cancer, who was having serious brain surgery the following day. That story is here,. And then there was the guy with muscular dystrophy, in the same race, who 17 hours later crossed the finish line. Or, simply, during this last Sacramento marathon, when I saw this guy cross the finish line completing his first marathon–and when his eyes met his girlfriend they were both crying. That stuff’s inspiring to me.

I LOVE watching people finish things they thought might be out of their reach. It’s a milestone towards their destiny. And it’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve received from running five marathons this past year, though completing them have also given me a bit of confidence moving forward.

But, despite all the fun I had, I’m not doing five again next year. Most people suggest two is the optimal number, so that’s what I’m sticking with.

Probably.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Part Two: A S*&$@Y Way to Lose $1,000 (the follow-up)

e-mail symbol

A few months ago I wrote a post about how I lost a grand. And didn’t follow my intuition.

You can read about that one here.

Shortly after writing the post a friend of mine encouraged me to reach out to him and let him know I’d forgiven the debt. It was the right thing to do, after all, I’d just written about what I KNEW I was supposed to do all along. A few months went by, and finally I wrote the overdue email.

Early in the morning I sent the email off relieving him of his burden, never expecting to hear back a response or acknowledgment. And to my total surprise, later that afternoon, I received an apology email with the promise to pay me back.

I’ve carried the chain of messages (omitting names and anything remotely descriptive) because I feel it’s given me two different learnings:

The first is that when your intuition says to do one thing and you do something else, well often we’re given another chance to get it right. I didn’t get it right the first time…but I think I did the second time when I sent the email relieving the debt. Note: this isn’t anything noble or generous that I did, it’s what I was supposed to do–so please don’t interpret me as posting this as anything remotely self promoting–to the contrary, it took me a while to figure out what I was supposed to do all along.

The second is that even if you’ve screwed up (and man, I know I have…) you often get a chance to get that right too. And my trainer did, he offered to pay me back in full. While I’m not accepting it–you can’t pay back a debt that was relieved–he did his part to make things right. And that’s enough.

Tonight I’m looking at this situation which bothered me for a while and finally feel a sense of accomplishment in such an unexpected way. Not just for me, but for him as well. It wasn’t easy to respond to my message, acknowledge it, apologize, and own it. But to his full credit, that’s exactly what he did.

Sometimes you do get a few shots to get things right.

Thank God…

~Raz

On Nov 9, 2013, at 1:11 AM, Rich Razgaitis <richraz@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi XYZ,

Thanks for your email response, I appreciate it.
But, also, I meant it. I am relieving you of it. There’s no more debt to pay off.
I hope you’re doing well.
Best,
Raz
On Nov 7, 2013, at 4:16 PM, XYZ wrote:

Hey Raz I thank you for the email. I am well and truly apologize for my behavior. I considered you guys to be really good friends. Although you have forgiven my debt I would like to pay you back starting at the beginning of the year. I was in a bad place and felt like I was drowning so I made some bad decisions. I’m back in the Bay and would love to maybe hook up with you and talk.

Cheers,

XYZ

On Nov 7, 2013, at 6:19 AM, Rich Razgaitis <richraz@gmail.com> wrote:

Hi XYZ,

I am not sure what’s going on in your life, but I wanted to drop you a quick line and give you an update.

The short version is that I am forgiving your debt that you owe to me of the nearly $1,000 outstanding.

I do want to mention that I felt how you handled this by ignoring me and not following through was disrespectful, especially when I believed in you and went out on a limb to help you out. This also hurts yourself and your reputation. There are a lot of courses of action that I could have taken on this, including having my personal attorney file claims against you, which would have landed you in court and tied you up in legal trouble/expenses.

However, I have decided to take a different tact and forgive your debt instead. I believe you are a good person, who could do really well, but have gotten into a difficult situation and simply made a really bad decision about how you handled this with me.

Hopefully life is turning around for you, and that you are making inroads with your business.

Best of luck to you,

Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

The Magic of the Guy in Seat 9A

IMG_0075

Have you ever had a travel debacle, like an all out traveling clusterfiasco? Yeah, of course you have. And while it’s logical that your experience of debacles coincides with your frequency of travel, it also spikes in relation to the importance of getting to your destination. Of course, right?

So in typical Planes, Trains, and Automobiles fashion (if you haven’t ever seen the movie it’s still such a great one to watch–especially around Thanksgiving), my latest one involved more than my fair share of adventure.

But there’s kind of a twist at the end. 

On Thursday and even Friday morning of this past week I’d been receiving email confirmations for my Friday afternoon flight, which I thought departed at 3:30pm Friday from SFO. Thursday night was a long one for me (the whole week was long), and I didn’t get to bed until 4am Friday completing work stuff …I awoke at 7am Friday, cranking out more work knowing I had ample time to get packed. At 10am I got an emergency call from my business partner–who was on the same flight–and he realized that OUR flights weren’t at 3:30 but 12:30…and out of another airport. Much further away. Apparently, XYZ travel company was sending me the wrong confirmation emails intended for a 3rd guy in our group who was on a different flight. So in 30 minutes I packed for a ten day trip–including all my running gear for a Chicago event this coming Sunday–and grabbed a quick shower in between pouring down a few cups of coffee.

Then, EVERYTHING misfired. AND it clicked. Simultaneously. I can’t go into each detail, this blog post would be ten pages. But seemingly everything that could go wrong did, yet we also made–sometimes by seconds–each critical bus pickup, security checkpoint, and boarding needed to get to our final destination. Until Houston. For “complicated” reasons, we missed our connection and XYZ airlines said the next available Nashville flight would get us in by Saturday late afternoon. Which wouldn’t work. Would’ve been a disaster, as we had to be there for a meeting and set up for the launch of our new product by 9am.

“Get us within a six hour drive to Nashville and we’ll figure out the rest” I told the agent. Energetically. 🙂 I can’t remember all the times an all night drive from some mid-point along a final destination to get to a meeting or event on time–but it’s easily in the double digits.

We decided to reroute to Memphis, and the agent worked out a way to get us seats on a flight that arrived at 10:20pm Friday night. XYZ travel company showed on it’s website rental cars for one way that were <$400 for a trip to Nashville, but kept failing when I tried to confirm the order while in Houston. No biggie, I thought, I’m just going to figure it out when we land. But upon arrival I call the travel booking company and they can’t book the rental cars either–keeps failing at checkout.

Net net, they end up finding one they can book for >$800. USD–not pesos. No way am I paying $800 for a rental car–I’d end up hitchhiking before doing that. After some vigorous conversation, and hours of calling rental car companies and doing walk up price checks, I resigned myself that it was going to be impossible to get out of Memphis. By a rental car. But I knew we’d get there.

IMG_0081

Because…there’s always Greyhound. $25 per person one way (if you get the web fare). So we went to the bus station at 1am, with the plan to sleep there and jump a 5am bus and make it to our meeting in time by 9am. Somehow, though, upon arriving we snagged the last two seats on a 1:30am bus to Nashville despite not being able to actually buy tickets, and not the most friendly people helping us. IMG_0085

I am not sure if you have traveled by bus. But, let me just say, you have never REALLY traveled by bus until you’ve done the Memphis to Nashville 1:30am journey. 😉

We arrive Nashville around 5am, get to the hotel with enough time to sleep for 90-minutes, run back to the airport to pick up our luggage which finally arrived and made it to our 9am meeting and set up for our big product unveiling.

Seemingly fifty ridiculous things happened during this “adventure” and often I wonder why, and try to find meaning in it. Perhaps even if no meaning exists.

Sometimes…Oftentimes…Maybe usually…I think this stuff happens to test us:

How bad do we want it? And are we willing to just make stuff happen and figure it out? How creative will we get, and how hard will we push through to get from the 80% mark to 100% Or, do we resign ourselves…and just throw in the towel saying “well, we tried.”

To some, “we tried” would be resigned to taking the Saturday afternoon flight originally offered because “nothing” else worked.

To me, “we tried” is being ten miles outside of Nashville at 9am Saturday morning after hitchhiking all night and not quite making it whilst running in dress shoes and my suede messenger bag (okay, fine it’s a murse) in tow behind me still doing a last ditch effort to make it to our meeting by 9am.

Othertimes…Oftentimes…and maybe even usually…I think there’s another lesson:

And maybe this is me finding the meaning in it.

But one particularly interesting thing happened as a result of our traveling adventure. I met a guy on our flight to Memphis and we clicked. There’s something I love about meeting new people in new places, most of whom I’ll never see again.

The guy was about 15 years older than me, with two grown daughters that were less than two years apart. Just like Royce and Zoe.

So I asked him advice about raising two girls from the perspective of a dad.

“Just try to do two things as best you can” he said to me. “Alright”, I replied, “just tell me what they are.”

He replied, “First, go to every event you can. Every single one. Look, based on your job and travel I know you work a lot and you can’t make everything. But when you’re in town, you’ve just got to try to make it happen. You can’t do those again. Can’t get them back.”

Ugh. Okay, epic fail on numero uno. But, it was a good reminder. There are still many events left, and when I’m in town I try to do the best I can but…Anyways…

“Second” he continued “Is to tell them you love them. All the time. I told my kids every day, growing up all throughout the day, how much I loved them.” I immediately responded and said “Okay, great I’ve got that one covered.”

As he’s saying that, I’m thinking I really do have that one covered. I tell them that all the time. And, I even add my “I love you…NO MATTER WHAT” so they–hopefully–know that it’s totally unconditional.

But then he looked over at me and he said “No, hang on. I’m not sure you fully understand.”

So he gently grabbed my arm as he continued talking and proceeds to look directly into my eyes.

(side note: yeah, I get this might sound weird…but this is one dad talking to another dad about each others daughters and how precious they are).

“You look into their eyes…and you tell them as you’re looking into their soul how much you love them” he explained as he’s looking right into my eyes. “You look at them, and you don’t break eye contact. And you say, ‘Royce, Zoe, I love you so much–more than you know’ and you let it sit there. You do not break eye contact with them. You have to look deep into their eyes so they can feel it with their heart.”

And when he did that, when he was looking at me and telling me those words, it hit me hard. So hard. Like really hard.

Hard enough that I’m right now sitting at a car sitting outside of McDonalds in Nashville, totally sleep deprived in between a litany of emails and projects, jumping the free wifi to write about it.

Hard enough that I’ll never tell Royce or Zoe that I love them without looking them in the eyes directly, at least when I’m in person.

And hard enough that I actually think the reason for my travel debacle was to meet the guy in seat 9a.

IMG_0076

 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Reeling…and Inspired

The Butler

It’s 2:30am and I’m sitting in a hotel lobby in Paso Robles, California drinking an Honest Tea while listening to “The Devil’s Tears” by Angus and Julia Stone. The front desk staff are watching ESPN highlights and even with my earphones I can hear them talking about some great kickoff return that’s been replayed incessantly. Guests are slumbering in from the evening festivities.

And I’m still reeling from the effects of watching the movie “The Butler.”

Generally it’s received favorable reviews (side note: Forrest Whitaker was brilliant). But it’s got a fair share of critique–like anything that’s published or otherwise–from the acting itself to the fictionalization of the loosely-based true story, to the accuracy of the portrayals of each Presidents perspective (particularly that of Reagan).

But I can only give The Butler a resounding review, and especially for one specific reason. It caused me to reflect, deeply and at various times during and after the movie quite emotionally, on both the tragic history of our nation that so violently and abhorrently divided on race (yes, there still remains too much a chasm but clearly not what it was), and also the heroic contributions of those that brought about the civil rights movement in the 60’s and beyond.

Likely, I would be a terrible movie reviewer. Because even if there were any basis for fault or critique, with a movie like The Butler it’s an amazing means to an end. And upon that I can overlook dozens of faults. There’s little about The Butler that I can criticize or even objectively review, because it serves such an important purpose of reflection. And hopefully something more profound and enduring than that.

On the rare occasion that I watch a movie I want to be so enveloped in what’s on the screen that I forget about life for two hours. And, even better, is if it’s so powerful that it engages me think about life differently after it’s over.

And The Butler does both.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all day. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

24 Ice Cream Sandwiches: Killing the Binge

Bulletproof Coffee
Breakfast: coffee, kerrygold butter, and MCT oil

In high school I remember our neighborhood grocery having a sale on ice cream sandwiches. $1 per box. Deal of the century. So I bought something like ten boxes. I remember eating two of those boxes in one day (meh, that’s 24 ice cream sandwiches). What made me think of that was when I ate one box (and only one, people) of ice cream sandwiches in a single day last week (I was famished and skipped two meals). To be really transparent, I think I did it in an evening–not even a full day. And, I kinda recall that I might have had a box of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies that evening as well. And I say might because if I stated it definitively I’m afraid you’d start judging me.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Yes, I can be compulsive. But it can work to my favor as well, like when I am eating really clean. Which has been most of the past year but not without some binges. Ironically, in the last year I’ve received many articles from friends about the downside of following a Paleo-style eating plan, or the cautions of being too strict with diet, or losing too much weight. When I wasn’t eating well, guess how many articles I received about the downsides of eating poorly, or being fat? Zero. If I’m going to an extreme, I’d rather be on this side than the other one.

I’m still chasing my final bodyfat goal and hope to hit it by mid-October. My final target is to have less than 8% body fat, which I revised from my previous goals of 15% and then 12%. Right now I’m probably still a few points away and hovering around 10%, and the last few percentage points have been tough to shed but it’s because I’m having food breakdowns. So I’m revisiting the things that I know worked for me over the last year that have helped me drop over 40lbs of fat and need to keep dialed in so I can hit my goal.

Here are a few tips on how to kill the binge so you can kill it with your fitness goals:

1. Have three cheat meals a week. And figure out what days these will be in advance, OR pick two in advance and then use a third wildcard during the week. For the rest of the week pick your eating regimen/philosophy. I am pretty strict Paleo, but if it’s my cheat meal I’ll practically snort wheat (okay fine so I’ll have two pieces of toast, but snorting wheat sounds so much more ruckus) and guzzle dairy–both of which aren’t Paleo–so I use Paleo as a means to an end, not because my body can’t tolerate gluten and dairy or because I think either are inherently bad.

2. Do not have a “partial” cheat meal. Meaning, don’t “kinda graze” and then not count it as your cheat meal, because then it turns into five, seven, then ten meals…Before you know it, you’re getting fat. And just because it’s a cheat meal doesn’t mean you should binge. I (generally) don’t. But I will have a cheeseburger, extra crispy fries with aioli, and a milkshake–or maybe a Dr. Pepper. I really want to eat that right now. At Shake Shake. And I haven’t even been to Shake Shack yet, I have been resisting for years–but the stories are glorious.

3. Bring your own food. Yeah, it’s a little ridiculous to go to a dinner party at someones house and bring your own eats, but I’ll do it. Or, I’ll eat a healthy meal right before and then not eat (people love inviting me over –or out–for dinner :)).

Almond Butter and Banana

4. Meal prep. Prep your meals for the following week over the weekend. Super critical for me, and when I don’t do this my chances of falling off the wagon go up 2-3x.

Breakfast is easy–each morning I drink two cups of coffee with one to two tablespoons of Kerrygold butter, one tablespoon of MCT oil and sometimes a little vanilla (ground beans or flavoring) all blended together. If I CrossFit or lift in the morning then immediately post-workout I’ll consume BCAA’s for muscle recovery, followed by this coffee concoction.

Lunch and Dinners: The more you prep your lunches and dinners the less likely it is you’ll skip a meal or delay grabbing food. Which I think is the killer to healthy eating. Or at least it’s the road to binging. When I am famished I binge eat. 24 ice cream sandwiches in a day? I could do that all week long, especially if I skip a meal.

For my afternoon snack between 3-4pm, almost religiously I will have a small organic banana (~70 calories) and a packet of almond butter (210 calories, so total of 280 cals).

Evening is where things totally unravel for me. So what’s critical is that I don’t skip lunch, and definitely not my banana and almond butter snack. If I come home from a long day, with still more work to do, and I’m hungry AND I don’t have food prepared? I’m totally hosed. Which is why the weekend investment of prepping for meals is so invaluable during the week.

There it is. Nothing too magical. As I’ve looked at my last few weeks these are the areas where I’m breaking down–it’s pretty simple, really.

If you have any tips on what’s worked for you I’d love to hear about them too.

~Raz

 

 

 

 

 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

When It’s Your Time, You Should Sign Up Too…

suprep

This is one of my more unconventional posts. Perhaps a little awkward. It’s about that thing you should do when you hit 50. Or, in my case, much earlier if you have family history.

Get your Colonoscopy. 

This isn’t exactly fodder for compelling writing, but days after my procedure during my  debrief call (and notification of clean bill of health) I was talking with the physician who performed the procedure, Dr. Roger Kao, who shared with me that many individuals don’t get this done because of the fear factor.

After some reading, I learned that getting a colonoscopy carries such a stigma and perceived ick-factor that many–around 40%–of those who should be getting one don’t. I’m not quite as passionate about this as Katie Couric, but I wanted to personally share a few reasons why you–both men and women–should go get your colonoscopy when it’s your time. If you don’t know your full family history, ask your doc if you should get screened earlier.

1. Colon cancer is essentially asymptomatic until it’s in advanced stages. An early colonoscopy can detect problems far in advance, and polyps (some of which are pre-cancerous if left untreated) can easily be removed during the procedure. The whole ounce of prevention thing applies here…in spades.

2. Prep is really not that big of a deal. Have you ever had a rough day after eating bad street cart food? Well, it’s better than that. I’m not suggesting it’s fun. But it is predictable. The stuff you drink tastes less than great. What happens after the drink is also less great than that. But it’s not horrible. From 4pm onwards the day prior to my procedure (“prep day”) I continued to work from home until late in the evening without much nuisance.

3. It’ll set your mind at ease. Or, if something more serious presents, it will give you a very early opportunity to address it. which, especially if detected early, usually has a very positive outcome.

4. Finally, you might get propofol! Or some other anesthesia if you live in the U.S.–as some countries don’t use any. And propofol is really good stuff, though tragically it is also the drug Michael Jackson was on for sleep sedation that led to his way-too-early death. So, obviously it should only be used in the right setting for the right reasons and under the care of a medical physician. But when it is, well, it’s pretty amazing. Especially when you’re getting a six foot tube shoved up your…it’s not thad bad, people. Seriously, it’s not that bad (but, it is six feet…that part is true).

Apparently propofol turned me into both an entertaining and outrageously happy patient. When I was floating in and out, I shared some ridiculously silly childhood stories followed by my theories around managing costs of skyrocketing medical care and whether the United States should move to a national health insurance plan. It seems I know far more about national health insurance under the influence of propofol than when I am not. As they were winding things down, I specifically instructed the doctor and anesthesiologist–repeatedly and with quite a bit of enthusiasm–to keep the propofol flowing until the last possible second.

My recovery ended with me gleefully yelling down the hall to the doctor from the recovery area “You, my friend, are the BEST DOCTOR EVER with great bedside manner! I LOVE YOU!” And for all my anxiety around the entire procedure, it’s ironic but that was basically the worst of it.

Not so bad, especially for something that is such a critical preventive tool.

 

 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

A S*&$@Y Way to Lose $1,000

1000_dollars copy

Last summer I ended up hiring a trainer who was in amazing shape physically and lousy shape financially. After he got to know me a bit, and without any prompting, between sets he’d tell me what was going on in his personal life. At one point over months of struggling, he had an immediate need for $1,000.

I seriously considered giving it to him anonymously. In fact, I felt like I was supposed to. Not obligated, just intuitively compelled. While I don’t think it’s my job to try to fix or help every person in need that comes to me, nor does my intuition always tell me to help them out, I do feel like it’s my job–at the very least–to have compassion. In certain situations I’ll try to help, especially when it’s coupled with some intuitive calling. Too often these situations present an opportunity that defies my logic. Like the time I was supposed to give my coat to a guy whose car just caught on fire BUT DIDN’T DO IT  (though there’s a follow-up to the Car on Fire post, where “I Finally Found Him” on this link here.)

Sometimes my intuition tries to lead me to a bigger conflict with rationality, like the time I was supposed to give my car away to a waiter at my favorite restaurant in Reston, Virginia, but also didn’t do it.

Sometimes I listen to my intuition. Sometimes I don’t. Other times I get to observe random strangers demonstrate What a Little Hope Can Do, like a few weeks ago.  I wish I deferred to my intuition more often, but sometimes my analytical, risk-averse, or logical side wins out, which of course is sometimes the right thing as well. If I’m hesitant or anxious to take a risk, I can justify seven ways to Sunday why I shouldn’t do it. But sometimes you have to make the jump.

Finally the day came when my trainer hit me up with his idea: I’d pre-pay $1,000 for training, and in exchange he’d reduce his rate by 50%–effectively giving me double the number of training sessions. I thought about it for a few minutes and agreed to the plan. Drafted a simple agreement with signatures, captured all his information including social, address, alternate phone numbers, and his email.

Fast forward two weeks, I text him to schedule a workout and he never responds. Eventually called the gym where he trained and found out that he had skipped town. Totally gone.

Numerous calls, emails, texts over a period of weeks and months yielded nothing (though I did catch him on the phone once). I went full spectrum from southern polite to New York City nuclear. Nothing worked. Since then I’ve been torqued at this guy for ditching our deal. Until two days ago. I was at the gym late one night and on Pandora came a song by Safety Suit called “Life Left to Go” and as I’m listening to the somewhat mesmerizing melody doing lat pull downs I realized what happened with this situation was really lousy, though not because I’d lost a grand.

But because I knew that I was supposed to give this guy a break before all of this went down. Incidentally, if I’d done that I wouldn’t be blogging about it–instead I’m sharing the scenario where I didn’t listen to my intuition. Which resulted in two dynamics, both of which are pretty s*&$@y:

It left one man knowing he was a thief.

And another man knowing he was robbed.

I’m not absolving this guy of his responsibility. If you interpret this as me saying that my act of not giving a guy a $1,000 makes him justified, then you’re totally missing the point. That is, most definitely, not what I’m saying. There could be a lot of lessons in here. I see all the obvious ones, but I saw those in advance–I knew the risk. And then there’s a chance that the logical lessons really aren’t the lessons at all.

Maybe there’s another lesson in here. Maybe it’s the hidden one.

And maybe it’s the magical one.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Lessons Learned, Numero Tres

SF Marathon, Mile 18-ish
SF Marathon, Mile 18-ish

A few quick lessons learned from my latest marathon, which was really not a very good run, all for self-inflicted reasons. Some of my other running posts are here, herehere, and here.

These are all the things I learned not to do through my personal experience of making a mistake on each item below. If nothing else, there might be a few amusing anecdotes in here; for me it’s a living list to read through again at a later time.

1. Don’t enter the race fatigued.

The week of, you really do need to bank up the sleep. I couldn’t have changed it around anyways, as I had been on the road for most of the month prior to the marathon including a long Asia trip. If you can regulate your sleep when you travel you might be in good shape. I didn’t, and missed at least several nights during the week of the run. This is a straightforward fix.

2. Don’t forget to read your list.

Make a marathon check list, and READ IT in the morning. Sounds obvious. But, I was overly confident the morning of, grabbed my stuff, and went. I forgot several important things, perhaps most importantly I forgot rule number one from one of my earlier marathons. Tape your nipples. Which leads me to lesson number three.

3. Don’t try to be clever if you forget rule number one.

By “clever” I mean do not find packing tape at the starting line and tape your nipples. Well, that part might be okay. But if you do that do not then, at mile 13, because you’re wondering how the pictures are going to look with packing tape across your chest underneath your running shirt, take the tape off and run the remaining 13 miles with your chest that has remaining residue that’s stickier than the floor of a U-haul rental center. There are two types of people in the world. Those who have had that experience…and those who haven’t.

4. Don’t do anything new on marathon day.

Everyone says this. It seems SO LOGICAL. It should be an easy rule to follow, you know, like along the lines of “Don’t play out in the street” and “Keep your hand out of the blender.” But then you run two marathons in half a year and you’re a pro and suddenly you’re all like “I got this” and the best practices don’t apply any longer and you stick your hand in the blender. For this latest race I bought new shoes on the day of the race because going into SF Marathon I decided to drop to the half, and I brought a different type of training running shoe to run in. At check in I decided to run the full, and needed shoes. I also bought new Yurbuds, which I absolutely love. The shoes were totally not broken in, and this was just a bad decision. The Yurbuds were the wrong size, and fell out of my ears continuously. I must’ve put them back in 300 times during the run.

5. Don’t under train.

Perhaps obvious, but if you want to finish, and finish comfortably, you really have to put the miles in. I was reminded of this on my last marathon, thinking that despite very little training 45-days prior it would be easy as I’ve been CrossFitting more, lost another few % bodyfat, etc. But, nothing works like putting miles on your legs; at mile 17 or 18 your legs just don’t care how much you’ve been crossfitting, or how good the Kale nutribullet was from three days ago. Check out great programs from Hal Higdon, Jeff Galloway, and the Hansen Method are all winners. I’ve just bought the book and am training using Hansen for Chicago, my goal is to run a sub 3:30 which for me would be quite fast–but I have a TON of training to be able to get close to this and not a lot of time. Miles on the legs matter. Get your miles in.

6. Don’t go out too fast.

Marathoners say “run reverse splits” which is basically translates into “run the second half faster than the first half.” It is good advice. Everyone generally feels pretty good, if not amazing, the first few miles. Crowd energy, music, glycogen loading, fresh legs…it’s all a recipe for going out too fast. And remember that the first few miles you’re in a heat that is following a way-faster heat, so say you’re targeting to runs sub-nine minute miles then early on it’s easy to run those first few miles in the seven’s or even six’s Like ridic easy. Don’t do it. Save some gas.

7. Finally, don’t forget to fuel your muscles.

Glycogen load big time during the week. If you’re a Paleo eater you can still do this, sweet potatoes are perfect. And eat clean days before, and on the morning of make sure you’re consuming what you generally do prior to your longer runs (I usually take SFH pre-race with water, a banana with Justin’s honey-almond butter and drink a few low calorie G2 Gatorades with a several Nuun tabs dropped in each). For your nightly meal before, you could try something like my dinner before the SF marathon. I had fish tacos. Two beers. And some Tequila (it came with the beer). This will not go down as one of my better pre-marathon meals. And I forgot to glycogen load race morning by taking my GU Energy Gel’s 30-minutes pre-race or at mile five. By the time I took my first GU gel at mile 12 it was too late, and I couldn’t catch up on fueling my muscles, which became very–very–cranky around mile 15.

 

 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

What a Little Hope Can Do

hope

Yesterday I was working at a Starbucks. At one point I stepped outside to make a few phone calls. Since it was the day after Independence Day, the whole shopping area was pretty quiet. A few hours earlier I’d seen a girl and her mom walking around with a sign asking for money, seemingly without much success. Were they really destitute? I don’t know for sure. But based on what happened yesterday, I became pretty convinced.

I was outside leaning against a corner in between calls and had a close view of what’s basically the back alley of the shopping area. Nearby, I saw a guy leaning against his car. Then the little girl–I’d guess about ten years old who was wearing relatively tattered clothes–and her mom approached the guy by his car.

The girl and her mom looked so…Dejected. Exhausted. Hopeless. Step by step they apprehensively walked in his direction.

The little girl approached the guy with great hesitation, and finally mustered up the courage to ask for money.  The guy shook his head no and moved them along with a little wave of his hand. The little girl looked devastated. And so tired.

Then, he did a double take, almost as if he knew he couldn’t send them along without some help. With a gentler and more compassionate tone than I would have expected, he called her back and said “Little girl, what do you need the money for?”

“Para comer, por favor. Para comer” she said meekly.

He reached in, and I could see him scrounging through his wallet–I assumed to find a smaller bill–and to my surprise I watched him hand her a $20. It was gracious for him to give it, but from the looks of his high end denim and European car, I’m sure the $20 meant little to him compared to that family (which, from my subjective observation, I think, is part of his realization later).

As she sees the gift is $20, the little girl burst into a scream of delight as he handed her the bill. She grabbed his hand and thanked him profusely in broken english. She ran, hugged her mom, who smiled brilliantly and had tears welling up in her eyes, and as they were walking away the little girl turned around and yelled out “Gracias Señor, gracias Señor!” Then, she proceeded to–literally–skip off holding her mom’s hand with a smile the size of Texas. As they faded in the distance, I could hear her talking excitedly with her mom. It was as if she got a new lease on life.

Two minutes and $20 later, her entire outlook on life at that moment had changed.

I looked back to the guy who was still leaning against his car, and saw him moved with uncontrollable tears of compassion pouring down his cheeks.

And yesterday I was reminded, probably just like that guy, what a little help–and a little hope–can do.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all date. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

My Most Epic Bike Ride Ever

Biking
Purely a re-enactment, on my Plan C bike after the evening festivities

Sometimes I write stories with an intentional point. Other times I just write. Today falls into the latter category.

41 out of my last 50 days were spent traveling. When I got home two days ago, I PROMISED the kiddos I’d watch the fireworks with them last night. And I’ve missed a lot of events in my years of being a dad. So I wasn’t going to miss this one.

Last night we arrive at a neighborhood cookout at 6pm, where we were to view the fireworks later that evening. At 8pm I drove home to jump on a conference call with China (yes, I had a call with whole country). It was supposed to end at 8:45pm, plenty of time for me to get back for the 9:30pm fireworks display. Of course, the call went long and at 9:10 I’m hustling out the door to make it as promised.

As I got closer my destination, all the roads to my final venue are blocked off and street parking was non-existant. I circled around to head back towards our house, and by the time I found roadside parking I was about a mile away from my destination. So I headed back home for plan B.

And here begins the story of my most epic bike ride ever.

Since it was then past 9:15, my best option was to run inside and jump on my road bike–dress shoes and all. But it had two time-flattened tires so after a minute of energetic use of the air pump I was back to 115 PSI and at 9:20 ran out the door, threw my bike on the ground and hit the road. My last thought to myself as I ran out the door was “Should I grab a helmet?” But I didn’t, rationalizing that I’ve never laid down a road bike or a motorcycle, it’ was only a mile away, nobody was on the road, oh and up to six weeks ago I’d been training for a half-Ironman so clearly I was an expert biker (insert sarcasm).

What could go wrong?

About a quarter of a mile away from my house I was cycling around 20MPH and suddenly heard a pop–I get a flat–then suddenly caught the rim on the asphalt, fork the handlebars, and flew over the bike headfirst. As I was in the air, I actually think I laughed. Yes, right in the face of danger. And then, after I landed and rolled around a few times, my laughter changed to moderately expressive commentary. I moved my arms and legs to make sure it all still worked, felt my head to see if it was still in one piece, then picked up my bike with mangled handlebars and a seriously bent front rim and started running back to the house. I then noticed my right arm burning with thick liquid dripping down it. Yahoo! A battlescar! I reach for my iPhone to use the light to see how bad it was

No iPhone. I run back to the spot of my accident,and found it in the middle of the road. Shattered. Grabbed the iPhone in my left hand, with the bike still in my right, and at that point I’m pretty much in a dead on sprint back to the house because it was then 9:25. I had five minutes left to make it!

Debated between taking Erica’s bike (plan C) or throwing on running shoes (plan D), I opt for the former. As I leave I noticed her bike, too, had time-flattened tires. About 9:29pm I’m out the door with a minute to go. Since it was pitch dark and eerily quiet, I had assumed nobody was around–until I heard our neighbor yell across the street “Hey partner, looks like you really wanna see those fireworks!” He must’ve been pretty amused. Perhaps even frightened.

At 9:32 I made it back to our venue looking like a hot mess. But I arrived within the first few bursts of red, white, and blue explosions in the sky, in time to grab the kiddos, grab a seat on the asphalt (intentionally this time), and proceeded to watch an awesome show with RoZo. Once they knew everything was okay, the girls got a kick out of the story at the end of the night–though they kept asking me “Dad, are you SURE you’re okay?” 🙂 Though waking up this morning quite sore all over my body, and several Benjamin’s poorer, it was worth the excitement.

And that, my friends, is the story of my most Epic bike ride ever.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Why You Should Run a Marathon (seriously)

The San Francisco Marathon Start
The San Francisco Marathon Start

I have become one of those annoying “hey-I-ran-a-marathon-so-should-you” types.

If you’ve never had an inkling to run a marathon, if the thought of it bores you to no end, or makes you nauseous. then read no further. But if you’ve ever had even the slightest thought of it, let me give a quick rundown on why I think you should sign up. Now.

I signed up for the San Francisco Wipro marathon five months ago, when I was in better running shape. And, I’ve kinda lost that over the last three months: work–and particularly travel–crushed my running schedule. So going into the weekend I decided to step down to the half marathon…until I checked in where I decided to do the full. There were lots of mistakes with this last marathon, including going out way too strong, and the last 11 miles were a serious struggle–I have a lessons learned on this one coming soon.

Yet, one of the gifts of the last 11 miles was that it caused me to think about why I even love marathons–despite being so frustrated and “uncomfortable” on this last one.

Not an all inclusive list, here’s what went through my mind during those last 11 miles as to why I love marathons. And you will (might) too.

1. Check in is a blast.

Adrenaline. All these runners with the anticipation and energy of the next-day race. Check in is a great experience, it’s a blast because you’re still a day away from pain. This is the fun part, anticipation, carb loading, butterflies, all that stuff! Really great energy. Check in is totally underrated.

SF Marathon Check In
SF Marathon Check In

2. Training shapes you.

Years ago, I started playing the guitar. “Playing” is probably gracious. Strumming? Plucking? Screeching? I could play a few songs. And sing along. Horribly. Truly, I am horrible horrible singer. And the last time I touched that guitar was three start-ups ago…But when I was playing a lot I swear it changed my thought process–as if playing music started mapping my brain differently. Yes, there is probably data on this. No, I do not want to google it. I just want to write. Leave me alone. 🙂

I think running does something similar, though not through the same mechanism. Running will map you differently, perhaps less because of how sound and dexterity maps your brain and more because you’re going to have time to think. And if you’re doing the proper training, a lot of it. So get your miles in! It’s part of what shapes you, the discipline of training. And your mind will be open to thoughts and ideas that never have time to germinate in quite the same way otherwise.

3. You get to break limits. Your own limits. 

Especially if you don’t think you can run a marathon, but you kind of want to, you should do it. Because it’s a breakable limit. When you break it, your perspective will change. About yourself. You will be less boxed in, less risk averse, and less timid on the next challenge. Which might not have anything to do with running–that’s cool. But do it once and I think it’ll change your mindset on your limits.

It's You vs. You
It’s You vs. You

4. You’ll be inspired during the race.

Perhaps by watching someone that you never thought would run a marathon run alongside of you. Maybe by some guy carrying the American flag whilst playing country music out of his iPhone. Perhaps by a father and son combination, shirtless and running in front of you.

It might even be the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of the race. Or magical scenery throughout the run.

I promise, you’ll be inspired. Somewhere along the way. In a big way. By someone. Something. Or even yourself.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge
Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge

5. You’ll fall in love with new music. 

Since you need to have tunes. A lot of them. Some swear by not listening to music in a marathon. I, on the other hand, have to listen to music. This latest playlist included Jeff Bridges (frequent favorite), Kaskade (newer all time favorite–especially after hearing him perform live in LA), The Civil Wars (hoping they stay together!), and a pretty eclectic smattering of other artists.

And, of course, every marathon has to have a “song” that’s basically your Power Song. And every marathon has a different one (these are just my rules, if you’re running then you get to create your own). I just learned of these guys from Pandora (have I told anybody how much I LOVE Pandora? Did you buy your ad-free version yet?), and here’s my SF Marathon power song.


6. You’ll get healthier in the process.

You’ll eat better, you’ll learn more about your body, you might even fall in love with the Nutribullet (does ANYBODY know how much I love this thing? Kale as the base…always Kale as the base then fruit after it’s half full). Your metabolism will increase, bodyfat will decrease. But, still, you have to watch what you eat–weight is 70% managed in the kitchen. You’ll feel better.

I LOVE the Nutribullet
I LOVE the Nutribullet

7. You might replace one affliction with another one.

Pretty self explanatory. Some people think runners are obsessive, or caution about the ills of finding a new addiction. Generally, this is probably a good thing and better than the alternative. I wish I were more obsessive about running, but I’m getting closer. For the most part, I don’t have much of a dial–it’s more of an on/off switch.

In the process of training, you might find yourself with a new affliction.

8. You’ll see some clothing that nobody should be wearing. And that will amuse you. 

And, if you do wear long pants that show every crevice of your booty body, especially if you are a guy, please make sure you’re running close to a three hour marathon rather than a four. I mean, really… 🙂 But, I guess, you know, if you’re running your marathon, each to their own…

#tryingtoforgetisawthis
#tryingtoforgetisawthis

 9. Nothing beats crossing the finish line.

And it doesn’t matter who is there, if anyone at all, to greet you. Or even your time, especially if it’s your first. Yes, for sure it’s awesome to get a personal record, or have friends or family there–two of the three marathons have had my wife and RoZo waiting for me, which was great. But one of them I was in Phoenix, by myself, and in some ways it was just as gratifying. Because there’s something internal about running one of these. If you don’t know whether you’ll have anyone at the finish line, sign up anyways. And tell me you’re running it. You can call me after the marathon and I’ll be someone that gives you a virtual hug and high five. But you won’t need it.

~Raz

Finally finished...
Finally finished…

 

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Anecdotes from Asia

Streets of Shanghai

My name is Rich Razgaitis. I am in Asia. And I am a type A.

My patience is being tested. Not because of Asia, but because of me. And my type A-ness. Perhaps a surprise to many, I’m easy—if not downright great—to travel with. Live with? At best I’m moderately difficult. But the adventure and activity of travel somehow calms me on the road, like New York City does. Though sometimes I can get tested through some of the seemingly little things. Following are a few stories from my latest trip. Any reference to language barriers is me laughing at myself—as I don’t speak more than two words of either Chinese or Korean.

On trying to get a wifi signal…

I’m at my hotel in Shanghai looking for a wifi network to jump. I found my digs by going to hotels.com, reverse sorting price “lowest to highest”, and selecting the cheapest one without the word “hostel” or “hotel-like” in the heading. Yes, seriously. It’s called the start-up grind. No more CoEx Inter-Continentals for me.

I walk up to the desk and say “Hi, yes I’m in my room and the wifi doesn’t work. And on hotels.com it said wifi comes standard. I haven’t connected since I left 24-hours ago and I’ve got to get plugged in quickly.”

The woman at the front desk says “Oh, only in the lobby. Wifi is only in the lobby.”

Twenty minutes later having tried all three network names, rebooting, and repeating the process I approach the desk.

“Hi. The hotel wifi is, ummmm, how should I say it? Ah yes. A nightmare. I need to get online. Pronto. Can you help me?” (okay, I didn’t really say pronto, but I did do that little twirly thing with my hand going upward commonly associated with the usage of the word pronto).

For a split second I feel like she is yelling at me and says “Yes, yes, it works. You do not understand. You need to sit over there.”

I point to a general area of the lobby to clarify. “Over there?” I ask.

She looks at me directly and exclaims “No, no. There. You must sit right there. Right there. Do not move your body.”

And she points exactly to this chair. There is wifi. But only in the lobby. And apparently only in this chair.

 IMG_0074 - Version 2

On plugging into Social Media…

Arriving to the hotel I plopped (this really is a word that should be stricken from the English language) down on my chair, and proceeded to get all my social media updates, forgetting for a moment which sites were restricted.

Twitter? Blocked

Facebook? Blocked

Vine? Blocked

YouTube? Blocked

Pandora? No global licenses

Instagram? Available (for now)

Yes, believe it or not, I get tired of social media so it’s nice to force myself into a break. But I do miss Pandora. By the way, for next to nothing get a much better experience, and support a great company. Go and buy the ad-free Pandora subscription.

 Starbucks

On finding a Starbucks…

Me: “Hi, I’m looking for a Starbucks so I can get some wifi since someone is sitting in the wifi seat. Specifically, my seat.”

Concierge: “Nihao.”

Me: “Hi hi, yes for sure, nihao. Starbucks?”

Concierge: “Tour bus?”

Me: Nicely smiling “No no, I’m sorry. Starbucks.”

Concierge: Raising voice and eyebrows “Oh oh, tour BUS!”

Me: Matching raised eyebrows and his tonalities “Ummm, no. StarBUCKS. Bucks. STAAAARRRRR–(long pause)–BUCKS.” Big smile with my eyebrows raised for effect to help increase translatability.

Concierge: Nodding profusely with big smile “Yes, yes, get you tour bus right away.”

I walk over to the front desk.

Me: “Hi, Starbucks?”

Front desk lady: “No, no. No Starbucks. Too far. You cannot walk. So sorry.”

I walk outside, hang a right because I could’ve sworn I saw a Starbucks in the general vicinity on my late night taxi drive in days before. 200 yards later I’m there.There is wifi, but after I order a hyper-customized coffee drink I learn that unless you have a Chinese mobile number you can’t get on. But there is a taste of home. After I’m done with my drink I go next door to Costa Coffee. There is wifi!

I ask if I need a Chinese number to access the wifi. They tell me no number needed, so I buy more coffee, open the laptop whilst shaking with excitement—which could be due to the IV drip of caffeine all morning—to find out that the wifi doesn’t work unless you have a Chinese mobile number. J

On Finding Wifi...

On finding a Doctor…

You don’t want to really get sick in China. Trying to find, schedule, and coordinate a doctor’s visit wasn’t the most fun or efficient accomplishment. Okay, so it was a PITA. But, fortunately “Z-Pack” translates easier than “Starbucks” and after a full afternoon of messing around with this I am purportedly within five-days of feeling like a new man.

The experience was still way better than the time I had to go to a hospital in Kolkata—holy shazam…

On Finding a Doctor...

On eating…

“Do you like Chinese food” my hosts in Wenzhou ask me. “Of course!” I reply, debating in my mind whether I’ll be calorie-splurging on an order of all-white meat extra crispy General Tso’s chicken with a medium-hot spiciness level, or sticking with healthy—steamed veggies with a nice soy/garlic sauce and a side of organic tofu.

We arrive at what doesn’t look like any Chinese restaurant I’ve seen before, and upon entering I see a buffet of what looks to be creatures that must have dividing cells, but none of it I can place. “Order whatever you want!” they offered enthusiastically. I didn’t recognize one thing, let alone could I name any of it. A friend told me one of those items in the picture is silkworm. Which sounds eerily close to tapeworm.

IMG_0181

So when I saw these little fried guys, disturbingly open mouths and all, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to order a plateful (you eat the whole thing, bones, head and all).

IMG_0253

Alas, we ate family style which means we shared everything, but I dug into every single item on the table. There is a pretty high probability that I had some funky stuff, but it all tasted good. And the conversation was amazing and quite humbling to hear as an American. I wish I could share the content, but I can’t. I met some great people there.

Days later in Seoul, my other hosts (also equally delightful) took me out to Korean BBQ. Woohoo! I love Korean BBQ—a little kimchee, grill some beef or pork and wrap it in lettuce and throw it down with an Asahi or a little soju. Easy peasy!

But did you know that instead of ordering the plain ‘ol boring pork or beef options for Korean BBQ, you can get it with cow heart, stomach, and intestine instead? Yes, you can! And we did.

IMG_0430

I gnawed down that cow heart, stomach, and intestine (and I preferred them in exactly that order) like the Paleolithic-caveman-eating-long-haired-Californian that I am. Perhaps too enthusiastically, because they ended up ordering as a third course Bibimbap, which I generally like, but subbed the tofu for more cow stomach. I hung in there like a champ, though during dinner I also justified more-than-normal amounts of soju (still within reason).

A fun night, which I’m convinced they did this for equal parts experience and hazing. I loved the adventure and I’ll never forget my first really authentic Korean BBQ.

But I’m ready to get back to my traditional fare. You know, like a breakfast consisting of 2 tablespoons of grass-fed Kerrygold salted butter blended for 95 seconds into my nitrate-free coffee with 1.5 tablespoons organic MCT oil and ¼ teaspoon of wildcrafted vanilla.  Yes, seriously.

Oh, and I wouldn’t mind sucking on a few metronidazole tablets as if they were Ricola’s, either.

On showering, including with my clothes on…

My Korean hotel was “cozy” (per hotels.com) meaning I could do a 360 turn in my room if I pivoted on my heels just so. My tiny washroom also contained a wedged-in toilet; for a minute I thought they forgot to give me a room with a shower. Then I saw the showerhead resting above the sink. Basically, you just washey washey right in front of the sink, somewhat next to the toilet. Everything gets soaking wet but it all seems to work out.

The last morning between meetings I hustled up to my room to check out; I am obsessed with germs, specifically keeping them off of me, so I tend to wash my hands whenever I can (read: compulsively). After packing up I decide to wash my hands up one last time.

Standing in front of the sink wearing my suit I turn the water on full blast, not realizing the shower lever was still switched “on” from hours earlier. You know in the States when you have that little shower lever on the tub faucet and you lift it up, and how it is SUPPOSED to drop back down once you turn off the water pressure? Well, that should be an International standard. J

So as I turn on my sink full blast, the showerhead hanging right above the sink and is pointed right at me kicks into gear. It takes more than two seconds to break free of the disbelief of my predicament, soaking most of my suit and even dress shirt underneath it in the process–though you can’t see it that clearly from this picture.

 IMG_0455

I walk outside pretty much dripping, say hello to my host and simply exclaim with as much confidence as I could muster “Wooohooo, that felt good!” He smiled and nodded, and we were on our way. Sometimes you’ve just gotta act like it’s all part of the plan.

(repeating to self) Life is an adventure. I am on an adventure. Everything is okay. I am happy. I am smiling. This is funny. Laugh at yourself.

From this post you’d think all I did was work, sleep, and try to get on wifi. And you’d be mostly right. But I had some fun along the way.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all time. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Quick Plug for Clean Eating (and not quitting!)

For those that read my blog, you know I’ve been working on getting in shape for, well, years. And most of those years were wildly unsuccessful! Some of my prior posts on this are here and here.

I had spurts where I would do better and even points where I got in decent shape, though I had a few real brutal era’s including the years right after college ball where I still ate like a horse without working out.

This is a post that I don’t want to be presumptuous because for me it’s more humbling than anything else. Sometimes people who have known me for years will ask “wow don’t you feel great about yourself now?” Yeah, I guess…kind of (that sounds lame but it’s the truth, and certainly I feel way better than before).

There’s a part of me that a) still feels a bit like the overweight dude–which I suppose dissipates over time, and b) remains frustrated that it took me so long–that for many years–I failed. I normally don’t have much of a rear view mirror, but with this I do. So writing about my ups and downs with my fitness, or lack of, is pretty humbling for me. Shouldn’t have been this hard for me. But it was.

About eight months ago I finally heard enough stories and saw enough before and after photos of people who lost weight where I finally said to myself two things:

1. If all these people can do it, dammit I can do it!

2. If I don’t do this NOW, then when am I really going to get after it and succeed?

I still don’t have the guts to show before and after pics. But I promised myself that someday I would because seeing those are one of the things that really inspired me. So, even if it just makes a difference for one person, I feel compelled to do it as well. But, ugh, the before ones are just brutally humbling.  One of these days…just not today. 🙂

So today, after my fourth hydrostatic body fat test since October, my bodyfat percentage is down to 10.87%. I’m still not at my final goal yet, which is <9%, or less if that’s what it takes until I see some darned abs (the vain portion of my goal)…Last summer I was over 20% BF, and highest BF in my life was a lot more than that…maybe 30%, maybe even a little more? Cringe, cringe, cringe…

What made the difference for me?

1. Frustration and inspiration both compelled me.

2. Other stories and photos encouraged me.

3. Paleo and good clean eating / nutrition drove 70% of my results. No joke. It’s what you do in the kitchen that drives weight loss. By the way, have I said recently how much I love my Nutribullet? 🙂

4. Crossfit and running helped keep me on track and increased muscle mass and metabolism, and general fitness (again I still have ways to go).

I’m actually still quite humbled (embarrassed is probably more accurate) that it took me this long to dial it in. And I tried and failed 100 times. But if I hadn’t kept going, I wouldn’t have made the progress needed. So if you’ve failed 100 times, here’s to trying (and perhaps failing) a 101st time. One of these times you’ll nail it. You will. But it requires that you have some grit to keep going, and it’s pretty humbling along the way. Finally, you have to reach a point where you’re just so sick of failing that you grind through what’s needed to accomplish what you want.

For those who have fitness goals that they’ve almost abandoned, I’d offer up some super simple advice.

Don’t quit.

Do. Not. Quit.

Do. 

Not. 

Quit. 

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

My Dirty Laundry

My Dirty Laundry

Note: this is one of those blog posts without a punchline, let alone a solid point. Tonight en-route a six-hour flight, I just felt like writing about the moment that lingers the most from my trip thus far. How’s that for a compelling opener? 🙂

I’m in the midst of a week of business travel and can’t stand to pay in-hotel laundry gouging prices if avoidable. So while staying in Santa Monica, I found a nearby Laundromat in Venice and scooted over mid-day Friday to clean my dirty laundry.

I pull into the parking lot in my Buick rental (an amazingly great ride), with a large Brian and Amy’s Coconut Water (with pulp) in-between my legs while toggling a conference call (using handsfree).

Within ten seconds of pulling into the parking lot, a local Laundromat-goer who is sitting in his parked car awaiting a wash cycle starts yelling at me. Apparently, there’s a special parking protocol that I don’t understand. Thankfully, Mr. Enthusiasm was more than willing to school me.

Cringing, I mute my business call, and feel my annoyance level rise as he continues to yell. “Okay, you got this” I say to myself as I roll down the windows and resist my NYC-instinct to start yelling back. We are in SoCal, after all, and unless the car is in motion there is little justification for hostility.

“Hey bro” I say in my best attempt at California-cool as I pull up my Ray Bans and kinda flick my not-quite-long-enough-to-pass-as-a-surfer-hair “just tell me what I’m doing wrong here and I’ll fix it.”

He looks at me as if I am the biggest idiot in the world (possible) and with an irritated voice and angry emphatic hand gestures instructs me on where to park, in between obvious exhalation and eye rolling, as if to solidify the point that, once again, I am indeed the biggest idiot in the world (moving from possible to probable at this point). He tells me that if my vehicle gets blocked it is my job is to track someone down and get them to move their car for me, which is why I was reprimanded in the first place—I wasn’t pulling my car all the way forward.

Fair enough. His turf. His rules. I’ll follow.

Despite the aggressive greeting, as soon as I walked through the doors of the Laundromat an amazingly unexpected wave of comfort, simplicity, and peace was around me. The quiet repetitive hum of rotating washers and dryers, with the fresh scent of cleaned clothes and dryer sheets, and a comfortable immersion in a toasty warm room that invited me to slow down and linger.

Ironically, Mr. Enthusiasm even ends up becoming quite friendly with me and is supremely chatty—even smiley—once we’re inside, which I also attribute to the healing and equalizing properties of a Laundromat.

Nobody there owned, or at least was using, an iPhone or Blackberry (let’s be real, nobody uses a Blackberry anyways), there was no multi-tasking, and not a single person stared at the dryer trying to “will” the clothes to bake faster. It was chill.

It ended up being like a 90-minute vacation for me. Sitting in a Laundromat. Talking to the locals.

So far this week I’ve been in Dallas for three days, Los Angeles for two, and now I’m off to Honolulu for the final leg of this journey before heading back to San Francisco. Not only interesting travel venues, but I’ve had some great meetings with people along the way and some amazing food to boot (Riva Bella on Sunset—if you’re in LA, totally worth a visit).

Yet, my most memorable experience so far?

The Laundromat.

I don’t even understand it, but it’s one of those things that totally stands out to me. The kind that compels me to write without any particular reason…

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good health, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Why I Love “The City”

New York City

Here it is…My first post written in less than 15-minutes. Some of my top reasons I LOVE LOVE LOVE New York City.

1. It’s 3:33am, and have been plugging away on work stuff for the past six hours. And I could go another few hours but I’m forcing myself to sleep after a quick post so I can hit the AM with a run through Times Square and then into business meetings.

The energy and pace of the City is unreal, being amidst it at a Starbucks until 1am and hearing it outside until 3am, invigorates me. I feed off the energy in NYC. It’s a total net positive. At least if you’re wired like me.

2. It’s a deal-making paradise because of such a density of publishers, media companies, investors, start-ups–everything. There’s no better city in the world for BD and networking meetings, I was reminded of this today thinking back on one of my start-ups where I could hit three, four, sometimes even five biz dev meetings in the City in one day.

3. It’s not just that there’s great proximity for deal-making, but the people here are wired to network and make deals. It’s like a sixth sense.

4. Street nuts. Yes, you heard it. They have street nuts in NYC. It’s like, well, a cart. That sells nuts. Instead of hot dogs. NYC street nuts should be a fifth food group, especially since they’re trying to outlaw the sale of jumbo-tron soft drinks here.

Other carts I would like to see in New York’s future: boiled peanuts, pani puri, fried pickles, roti rolls, gourmet hot chocolate, and Lithuanian pancakes.

5. People. I love the people in NYC. And, oddly, I think the “City” can tell. People are friendly to me here, they can sense that I dig it. And them. I love the personalities, the assertiveness in beliefs and convicted opinions, the passion and enthusiasm, the radical diversity in culture, talents, and beliefs…

Do the people in NYC ever exhaust me? Yes. Once. In 2000.

After working months straight without a day off as an Exec at a start-up consuming VERY little sleep during this time coupled with copious amounts of Dunkin Donuts coffee, I remember coming home at 2am and being annoyed by a New Yorker at a particular moment. (okay, yes, it can wear on you a bit–that’s why you escape on the weekends at times).

6. Theater, arts, drama, museums, and on…and on…and on…and on…

7. It’s a foodie’s paradise…and a dieters hell. Today I barely kept my calorie count to less than 2,000, but half of those were dedicated to one chocolate chip cookie from The City Bakery. Those mess me up EVERY time. Yes, Levain Bakery makes amazing cookies as well. But City Bakery, wow, those are pretty good too. They might even be better. After the NYC Half Marathon this weekend I’m going to make my way back to Levain to do a comparison.

Anyways, the cookies are just an indicator of how amazing the food scene is here (and, yes yes, I know that there’s a rage around supposedly-even-better-food outside the City, like in Brooklyn, which I know is also exceptional–but the City still wins in my book).

8. The parks are amazing, Central Park is no question my favorite of all time. But even within pockets of the City are charming little “park enclaves” (my new term) and usually they’re accompanied with some interesting story or park dedication.

9. This could end up being my longest blog post ever, so I’ll just categorize #9 as “Misc” which captures everything else. The lights. Sounds. Music. Electricity. Scenery. Activity…The Magic.

So there it is, a late evening ramble on just a few of the virtues that make this City so great to me. And why I feel such a part of it.

Yes, I love California, there’s lots of great stuff about it and I’m happy to be planted there. The people are also great, the scenery and recreational activities are fantastic, tech scene is unparalleled, and on and on. But, when you’re wired to something you love, it’s impossible to undo it.

And in the last few years I came to a realization.

I am a New Yorker. Living in California. 🙂

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Hanging for the Weekend: Surfing, and…Hair Swag?

This weekend it was just me and the kiddo’s, Royce and Zoe. “RoZo.” We had a great time, and if for nothing other than a mental memory for me down the road, I thought I’d capture highlights. Mostly a pictorial review, with a few captions summarizing along the way.

IMG_7513

30-minutes in and RoZo have jumped into their enthusiasms. Zoe’s all about fashion, design, technology, and, well, doing nails…Apparently not just one color. She is the kinda-messy-moderately-expressive kid, so at least she’s outside.  She’s also crazy creative.

IMG_7514

And then Royce found her own occupation, who is a ridiculously hard worker and equally responsible, has little to no interest in fashion but is a voracious reader and learner, yet has gotten consumed with this Pottermore game which appears to be mildly addictive.

IMG_7516

Drove into SF for a pick up of the proverbial grass-fed organic frolicking-in-the-countryside CSA meat order (that is so California, which I am not…) and I stumbled onto this street which I adore–and the building / architecture. This would be a cool place to live. There’s even a GTI out front. Perfect car for the City. Love.

IMG_7517

Took the kids surfing in Santa Cruz late in the afternoon, this is post-surf. Caught some fantastic waves, and the three of us are starting to get the hang of it. 10-years ago I never understood the magic of surfing. Now, I do. Total magic.

IMG_7518

Sunset in Santa Cruz, such a gorgeous night with sailboats skimming the surface while watching the sun dip below the horizon with the salty smell of the Pacific Ocean. I am sure I could live anywhere, but my soul is definitely happier near water.

IMG_7519

Raz, Zoe, and Royce…Post surfing, exhausted, but about to go and party it up in Santa Cruz at night.

IMG_7520

We had dinner on the Pier with a really smart guy who used to be my CTO at a prior start-up and his equally smart wife, lovely couple. Afterwards, I took RoZo to the nearby Arcade. Of the 582 games, RoZo wanted to play the one where you get the 1/1000th chance to win a little stuffed animal. After 1,000 coins they each won! This is the equivalent of a slot machine for 9 and 11 year olds…

IMG_7522

After two hours here, I no longer saw video games. I only saw pathogens. Billions on the machines. And hundreds running around the arcade. If I could’ve wrapped myself in a bubble, I would have. Arcades and hand rails on NYC subways…Ugh, try to stay away from both.

IMG_7523

So after surfing we had dinner, then ice cream, then the arcade, but why call it a night at 10pm!?!?!?! Instead, we went bowling and loaded up with nachos. And more ice cream. After bowling we hung out at a restaurant and played music on the jukebox, had more ice cream and more food. Zoe woke up the next morning saying “Dad, I can’t believe what you fed us last night…” Yes, this is all my fault. 🙂

IMG_7524

Love this shirt. And, I just love this picture. Oh, and she got a STRIKE! Go Roycie Go!

IMG_7526

The kids decided to conspire against me, and asked if they could each bowl a turn for me (we were competing, of course!). They each promptly threw both of my bowling balls directly into the gutter. And they thought it was so hysterical. So I tried my best to look unamused.

IMG_7527
#photobooth

IMG_7528

I love this shot, only b/c it feels and looks so California to me. I love this house, too. So charming. However, to be clear, I am a New Yorker who digs California. I am not a Californian (at least not yet).

IMG_7530

Took the kids with me to do my 3rd bodyfat test, which I now do every 90-days. My last test in December was 14.3%, this one was 12.6% which is okay progress but I should’ve been closer to 11% and my diet has slipped the last few months. My final goal is to be at or less than 9%, and originally wanted to hit it by April but now looks like it will be June. Still a ways to go, but slowly…slowly…

IMG_7531

We ended the night by having a buddy of mine over and his daughter, the kids ate Pizza while for the boys I cooked braised Lamb, pancetta topped brussel sprouts, and some sweet potato concoction that I made up–pan fried in ghee with cinnamon and topped with liquid honey (diluted honey). I was overzealous on cooking tonight, but the kids cleaned, got recharged with some Girl Scout Cookies, and then decided I needed a new hairdo–so check out my new hair swag!!!

RoZo, thanks for keeping me out of trouble and making this weekend a great time! 🙂

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all season. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

What If Money Were No Object?

What if Money Was No Object

Tonight a three minute video moved me.

I already have another blog entry prepared, and wasn’t going to publish it until a few days from now. But, this is quick, and I just had to share it…I wish I’d seen this years ago, repeatedly. And I’m blogging about it now so that, if nothing else, I’ll watch it in the future. Repeatedly. Because it has a good amount to do with what we do for work–and with life.

I look back on my professional and personal life and in many ways feel as though I’ve had more luck, fun, and great experiences than I deserve. I’m genuinely thankful for all of it. Yet, in other ways, I wonder how my life would’ve unfolded had I more often listened (or what could happen) to the voice that echoes in the video below.

It’s a voice of passion rather than reason.

That tells a song of love versus logic.

Brings forth a story of purpose instead of pursuit.

There are times in my life when I knew I shouldn’t give up on something, or that my heart was pulling in a certain direction and towards a particular passion, yet instead at times I answered to a “voice of reason” when my heart and soul told me to do otherwise.

My most recent example sits in the pit of my stomach as I write, a lingering regret from a voice and intuition I ignored. Years ago, my favorite DC-area restaurant was in Herndon, Virginia. And at this restaurant there was a server named Henry. He worked there many years, lived a simple life. And he was a fantastic man.

The short story is that, after getting to know Henry over a period of months, I knew then–and carried this conviction with me all the way up until two weeks ago–that I was supposed to give him my Toyota Prius when I bought a car to replace it. Not loan it, not discount it, but give it to him. Freely. Without expectation or reciprocation. I can’t explain it logically. I. Just. Knew.

What happened that changed my conviction?

Through a forced combination of ignoring this voice, and distraction, I pushed it to the back of my head, and I sold my Prius two weeks ago to some guy in California–when what I was supposed to do was send it back out to Virginia to where Mist (yes, I name my cars) belonged. I think there are probably only a handful of people in my life who would even understand this, and an even shorter list who would have said to go ahead and do it.

Regardless, I didn’t. And I regret it.

It’s a reminder to me of the things that I should and could do, professionally and personally, if I thought less about the money and logic, and more about “what makes you itch?”

~Raz

(if you’re reading this via the Feedburner newsletter subscription, you’ll have to go to the site www.razflections.com to watch the video)

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all period. What is the most significant data you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless important for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

Everyday Heroes: “Grandma”

Grandma

Last night I spent part of my evening with Grandma (yep, that’s her name). She worked during Royce’s birthday party at the bowling alley last week; while she was almost hidden, something captured me about her. While I enjoyed two hours with a dozen 11-year olds running around, I’m not sure I could do it for more than a few times with a smile on my face. Yet, Grandma’s been doing it for decades. Smiling the entire time. For some reason I was spontaneously compelled to ask her if I could interview her for my blog, and with a shocked, confused, and flattered look on her face (yes, all at once), she agreed.

During my road trip across the United States, which started in Florida and ended in California (part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here) I fell in love with the “real people” in our lives all over again.

I am as enamored by Steve Jobs brilliance and legacy as the next start-up guy in Silicon Valley. And I can rattle off dozens of other “heroes” that impress me in various disciplines, from Jeff Bezos to Colin Powell to Johnny Cash…But among all the well known, accomplished, and highly celebrated heroes, there are millions of forgotten ones as well. They’re “Everyday Heroes” and that’s what inspired me during my cross country road trip. These are the millions of people who are the fabric of America, the ones who serve a purpose to our lives yet too often goes unseen.

When I met Grandma something captured me. I loved her spirit, simplicity, and compassion. She has all these gifts that I don’t have, and it’s so often in life that this goes unnoticed. So below is a short interview conducted with Grandma last night at the bowling alley. What I didn’t expect is that she was rather difficult to interview, she just kept things so simple and straightforward. When you read her responses below, on the surface you won’t find anything profoundly interesting or funny. Though, I can attest, she is adorable.

Post-interview I gave it some thought and, for me, captured this insight: there’s a simplicity to her life that few of us understand. One that I will probably never fully grasp, but it’s something I’ve grown to appreciate and respect.

With pins striking in the background, contemporary country music playing overhead, and unsurprisingly even a few guys with full on mullets in view, me and Grandma sat down and talked about life. So here’s to Grandma, one of my Everyday Heroes. 

Raz: How’d you get the name Grandma?

Grandma: My husband worked at this bowling alley before me, and they called him Grandpa. So when I started working it just seemed like a natural fit. People just started referring to me as Grandma, especially the kids.

Raz: Where’d you grow up?

Grandma: San Francisco, went to Balboa high school and I’ve lived here my entire life.

Raz: So tell me about Grandpa. How did both of you meet?

Grandma: Oh, we met through the bowling alley really, that was how we dated. The first time I met him I was working in a drug store and one day he brought me a rose and asked me out to dinner. Later, we got married at the bowling alley where he worked, in lanes 11 and 12–350 people were here! At our 20th year we renewed our vows at the Bowling alley, and we’ve been married 37-years.

Raz: So what’s the key to 37-years of marriage?

Grandma: Agree on everything.

[editors note: I was expecting laughter after that one…Grandma didn’t laugh. Ummm, okay that’s a tough one Grandma…can you give us a few other options? 🙂 ]

Raz: What do you love most about Grandpa?

Grandma: “He’s kind and sweet. So kind.”

Raz: Do you have kids? And do you have a “secret” to raising kids, or was there one piece of advice you’d share to other parents?

Grandma: Yes, I have two daughters. I was a good disciplinarian when they were young, that’s what I would tell people. Be a good disciplinarian. They are both wonderful daughters.

Raz: Grandma, you’re amazing with kids. That’s one of the things that drew me to you. What’s your connection with kids?

Grandma: I just love kids, that’s why I love being called Grandma. They just make me feel good, they interact and talk with me naturally. I have no favorite age group, I love them all. I’ve even had people want to be their nanny, but of course I couldn’t do it–I work too much.

Raz: What was one of the more challenging experiences you’ve had in your life?

Grandma: I’m not sure! (lots of laughter, and a really long pause).

[Editors note: loved how she couldn’t think of anything, if someone asked me that question I’d probably respond with “okay, how much time you got???”]

Raz: What are a few things you’ve learned about people from working at a bowling alley for so many years?

Grandma: I’ve learned that most parents don’t discipline their children very much. I think instilling discipline at a very young age is critical.

Raz: What inspires you?

Grandma: Being here, right at the bowling alley. It’s never boring, it’s always an adventure. I love it here. Grandpa’s birthday was on Sunday and he turned 80, they gave him a big tournament (points to a lane). He used to bowl four nights a week. He taught the children how to bowl. Oh, he was such an amazing bowler, but now that he’s sick he can’t bowl anymore. But he was so good when he was younger.

Raz: What’s the one thing you’ve never done but you always wanted to do?

Grandma: Gosh, I’m not sure. (lots of laughter followed by silence)

Raz: Where else have you worked? And what did you like about it?

Grandma: Oh, I worked at a drug store on 25th, and also at Collins pharmacy. I worked there 37-years. They sent me to cosmetics school, so I would help the people pick out cosmetics. There was nothing I didn’t like there. That was such a great job, I loved every moment.

Raz: Grandma, you have been such a delight. I love your passion for kids, and your spirit. You are a total gem. Thanks for giving me this interview.

Grandma: Awwwww, really? Thank you…Did I do okay for this interview and did you get what you needed? (pause). Are you sure I did okay?

Yep, Grandma. You did just fine.

~Raz

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all date. What is the most significant info you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good heartiness, its doubtless great for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.

A Paleo Post…On Valentine’s Day???

Valentines Day

I’m a Paleo fan, and a few people have pinged me with questions about my weight loss so I thought I’d share a few of my learning’s publicly. And by the end of this post, I am going to figure out some clever tie-in to Valentine’s Day.

After many years of failure, I finally learned the premise that 80% of weight loss happens in the kitchen–not the gym. Some people say “well, everything in moderation.” (just who are these “some people”?!?!?!). Yes, moderation is great if you’re capable. Me, not so much.

Put a box of Lucky Charms in front of me, and, well you’ll see how little willpower I have against that little Leprechaun magic. Same with Peanut Butter Crunch (ugh the damage it does to the roof of your mouth!).

I like Paleo because it works for me. What does “works for me” mean? Over the last four months I’ve lost nearly 40lbs, increased my muscle mass by almost 10lbs, and my bodyfat has decreased from ~25% to ~12% today. I still have work to do, but I am getting closer to my goal  of 9% BF by April.

I know as little about the science of Paleo as I do marathoning (nil), though that didn’t keep me from writing about the latter so it won’t keep me from writing about the former. Furthermore (who talks like that?), my lack of knowledge didn’t keep me from losing weight. Which is proof enough that you don’t REALLY need to know much to get started. You just need to get started. 

One of the things that motivated me were seeing lots of before/after pictures of people who lost weight. Someday I’ll post my before/afters, though I still don’t have the guts to do it yet. Perhaps at the 180-day mark…

In no particular order, here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way: 

1. Find a plan that works for you. I am convinced some shouldn’t do Paleo, and instead would be better off pursuing a plan of vegan/vegetarianism, SouthBeach, Pritikin, others. Pretty much anything other than what the USDA recommends (only partly sarcastic). The point is find something that works for you and stick with it. Are some better than others? Sure. But even a decent plan brilliantly executed is better than the reverse. So don’t get so cerebral on it, go make something happen.

2. Check out Paleo. It worked for me. It might work for you. I happen to like it for lots of reasons, even though my research last summer showed it ranked as one of the worst weight loss plans according to some “experts” (who are probably somehow genetically related to the “some people” I referenced a few paragraphs above). If I’d listened to these “experts” I wouldn’t have tried Paleo. And I’d probably still be overweight.

3. Pick something and go. I did 30-minutes of research on Paleo, then decided to do it for at least a few months to see the results. Don’t drown yourself in analyzing. Just start. You really do not need to know that much information to see significant results. Once you plateau, then you can dig in and fine tune–which is something I’m doing now (e.g. I have done another 30 minutes worth of reading–that should be enough to give me ideas on improvements to get me to my final goal). Whatever you choose, give it at least 90-days. Nothing massive will happen in a week. If it does, that’s called water weight. Your body can’t really lose more than 1.0-2.0 lbs of fat/week.

4. Post workout, I use a recovery protein with grass fed whey though I’m still experimenting. Some swear by vegetable protein, others soy, etc. I only use a protein supplement on heavy workout days at Crossfit, or after a very long run.

5. Remember, the key to weight loss: calories in < calories burned. There’s some basic math to this. You have to intake fewer calories than you expend, though there are ways to make this more efficient. Sorry there’s no magic bullet, however…

6. There IS the Nutribullet! Basically it pulverizes and blends vegetables and fruits together to make a delicious drink. I generally have one of these daily, and use a lot of kale as my base, some flax seed, plain almond milk, water, and a mix of some fruit. Careful not to create a 600 calorie drink, though. I keep mine to under 300 calories.

7. Fats are good. I don’t go overboard with fats like butter, coconut oil, etc. But I do use them, helps with satiety and it’s healthy in “moderation.” Also, grass fed beef is the best if you’re a carnivore, worth paying a bit extra for it rather than the grain-fed stuff.

8. Sweet potatoes are a godsend. I eat one a day. It’s a great carb. Every Sunday I throw 7-8 in the oven, then put them in the fridge, and that’s one of the quick sources of food for the week. Can be a side or a meal (to make it a meal I’ll throw peanut butter or coconut butter on it).

9. I eat a banana with almond butter every day. The most compelling argument to me for evolution would be my own personal love of bananas (no, I do not believe in evolution–no, I am not making fun of those of you who do). Literally, I store bananas everywhere like a fall squirrel hiding away his food in North Dakota. I’ve found bananas under my car seat, in backpacks and workout shoes, the list goes on. By the way, can I just use this moment to pose a question: if bananas were $39 a pound instead of 39 cents, do you know how much all of us would be talking about how much we love and crave this new “superfruit” called a banana?.

I also carry packets of almond butter with me everywhere I go, they’re small single server foil packs from Justin’s. I have this as a snack around 3pm daily, or if I’m in a bind and really busy I’ll have this in place of lunch or breakfast.

10. I generally don’t drink alcohol during the week, and when I do consume it is generally only red wine, and it is reserved for California wines that I love, or good tasting tequila (which, I realize makes me sound like such a lush but those are the Paleo friendly drinks and if I drink tequila I sip it slowly).

11. I switched to green tea during the week (though today is an exception where I have ominously blended Peets and Starbucks coffee together). Why do I do this? I don’t know. I probably read an article from an “expert” somewhere. Why is the sky blue?

12. Real food is often best. I’ll use shakes or whatnot to provide satiety and reduce calorie count, or certain shakes for protein post aggressive workouts, but you really need to eat high quality real food too. Though I LOVE cooking, I also like efficiency. So the food I consume during the week is usually quick and easy, and I’ll save the fun stuff that takes a while to prep for the weekends.

13. YOU MUST HAVE CHEAT MEALS. But they must be exceptions. Every week, plan up to three cheat meals. That way you can look forward to it. Try not to do it on the fly, because one becomes three becomes five…I have two cheat meals a week (usually one dinner and one breakfast/brunch), and then after every one of my long runs on the weekend (so long as it’s >10 miles) I’ll have a Quickly bubble tea–Taro flavor, of course. Everything else during the week is strict Paleo. Don’t totally deprive yourself. What I love about the cheat meal is a) I have something to look forward to during the week (sad? perhaps…), and 2) I never feel guilty when I’m eating my cheat meal.

There they are. My 13 tips. In no particular order. And even if there’s nothing novel or helpful in here, or even parts are inaccurate, I’m proof that the results are really in the application. Your battle is in the kitchen. And it’s one you can win.

Oh, and the tie-in to Valentine’s Day?

Food and Valentine’s Day…Geesh, I am on the verge of it, but nothing THAT witty has come to mind. Perhaps someone else can come up with something witty to finish this post for me, for now I’m hitting submit and grabbing another cup of my Peets and Starbucks blend that I made today called “Opposites Attract” (if only it tasted great…). 🙂

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doctor. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all when. What is the most significant information you must study about levitra vs cialis? Most doctors say the effectiveness of Levitra is well documented. Absolutely, a sexual problem refers to a problem during any phase of the sexual response cycle that prevents the individual from experiencing satisfaction from the sexual life. Whilst sex is not vital for good soundness, its doubtless significant for anyone. Why it happen? What kinds of professionals treat sexual diseases in men? A common class of antidepressants, which include Zoloft can kill the mood in bedroom.