During a Meeting This Week in New York City…

Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max Test Drive
Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max Test Drive

There was a “bit” of tension. It was all good, but it was more than just a tad though certainly not a lot.

So we imposed a coffee break into the meeting at the “bit” of tension point, and during the down time one of the guys asked me “Have you seen the Jeff Gordon video yet?”

I hadn’t, thinking to myself “I don’t want to watch a video at this moment.” But he pulled it up online, and a small group of us watched it and shared in the laughter. And it shifted the dynamics after that point as well.

So, here it is, one of the funniest videos I have seen in a REALLY long time. Totally worth the four minutes. I have no idea whether it’s real or not, but it’s still a riot.

And, a lesson learned from one of my business colleagues on diffusing a bit of tension by leveraging a funny distraction to allow everyone to regroup and come back slightly refreshed in order to work through the remaining issues.

Pepsi Max and Jeff Gordon “Test Drive” video

And if you found that one amusing, then here’s the other video previously released a while back, featuring Pepsi Max and Kyrie Irving as “Uncle Drew”

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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…

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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.

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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. 🙂

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

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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.

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#photobooth

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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).

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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…

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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.

Tape ‘Em Up, and Nine Other Lessons from Two Marathons

Running a Marathon...10 Tips
Running a Marathon…10 Tips

Girls on the Run in Washington D.C.
Girls on the Run in Washington D.C.

A little over a year ago we took the kiddo’s to a “Girls on the Run” event. I ran a 5k with Royce, and remember how willing and able she was to do the jaunt faster than me. I kept thinking “why can’t we walk a little and enjoy the day?” and “I hope there are doughnuts at the finish line.”

She was 10 at the time, I was 38. Not a good indicator of my potential to run a marathon.

Last summer I decided to try to run a marathon again, I’ve written a few posts about it here, here, and here. A Friend of mine helped me pick a schedule and that was the catalyst. Two Sunday’s ago I just completed my second marathon, so by no means am I an expert. In fact, I know practically nothing. Which is why I feel qualified to give advice to only those who know absolutely nothing. 🙂

In the event this might help someone, I did learn some lessons along the way that I wish I had known in advance. So here goes…Starting with the most awkward one–and hilarious–first.

1 Men…Tape. Your. Nipples. 

Yes, I’m serious. While riding the bus to the start line for the California International Marathon in Sacramento I was sitting with an ultra-marathoner who peppered me with advice en route, including asking “Okay, tell me you taped your nipples–right? Because it’s pouring rain and you’re going to be in brutal pain at the finish line if not.” I immediately grabbed tape from a guy a few rows up. That was the one part of my body that wasn’t in pain that day.

Next to finishing the marathon, your second objective should really be to look halfway decent whilst you cross the finish line. 🙂 And I can assure you, if you’re a dude that has blood streaks coming down from your white running shirt as you’re at mile 25, the only thing going through the mind of bystanders is “Holy crap, are those dudes nipples BLEEDING?” In addition to the visual disturbance, it’s pretty painful too. I didn’t really believe this could happen until I saw it firsthand at the Phoenix Rock ‘n Roll marathon three weeks ago, at mile 25, to a guy in a white shirt…Of course.

While there remains some debate as to whether a persons body is really designed to run for 26.2 miles, there is no debate that a mans nipples were not.

2. Just start the training. 

You could spend hours and hours and hours picking plans, reading about what to do, how to do it, and never even get started. If you want to run a marathon, take 10-minutes, do a google search, pick a plan and just get started. Some prefer plans from Jeff Galloway and Hal Higdon. They’re both fine (I used neither). Just get a schedule and go, preferably running at least four days a week though I only did three. I’ll explain my rationale later. Stay consistent. You can miss a few workouts, but don’t let that become a pattern–the consistency is critical not only physiologically, but psychologically.

3. Use the NikePlus app or a NikePlus watch (preferred). 

NikePlus Watch
NikePlus Watch

For my first marathon I used the NikePlus app on my iPhone, which is solid but the distance calculations during the run are not accurate–usually under by about 10-15% for me, which means in all your training you THINK your pace is much faster than it actually is. Because that was my only real measurement for training, it was frustrating to figure this out on marathon day. I recently purchased a NikePlus running watch with the TomTom GPS built into it, it is wildly accurate and it’s all I use now.

4. Mimic marathon day on your long runs. 

Usually you’ll do your long runs on a Saturday or Sunday. Try to do these earlier in the day, because that’s when you’ll be running the marathon. And fuel your body the way you intend on marathon day. Prior to a long run I now drink a protein shake, eat a banana with almond butter, and then I’ll fuel every five miles (EVEN IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT!) with GU tri-berry flavored energy gels. I didn’t do this for my first marathon, learned the hard way and bonk’d pretty hard at mile 18 in the CIM.

5. Don’t do ANYTHING new on race day. 

Don’t try new weird yoga-pose-stretches, don’t wear new shoes, don’t try some new super jungle-berry drink, don’t eat a new type of food, don’t wear compression socks. If you ate big macs prior to all your long training, well, then onward with your habit. Don’t switch it up on marathon day (pray tell, you don’t eat Big Macs, do you?).

6. Buy great shoes that fit how you run. 

I used to buy my running shoes with a strong focus on how good they look. I had no idea that different running shoes had different structures to support a negative camber, heavy heel striking, etc. Go to a running store where they will watch you run and guide you into the right pair of shoes that fit how you run. Now, I buy shoes based purely on how they fit. If any of you have seen my running shoes, you can attest it’s no longer on looks.

7. Lose weight. 

I started running last summer close to 240lbs (EEEEEEEEKKKKK!). This morning I weighed 202. Every ten pounds reduces your per minute mile by 20-seconds. For me, that’s like 1:20 per mile with a 40lb difference, or 35 minutes different in a marathon. Not to mention the toll that it saves on the body, and how you look and feel. Running alone won’t cut it, losing weight is 70% diet. I like the Paleo diet, but find something that works for you.

8. Crosstrain. 

So the reason I ran about 3x/week was because I spent the other 3x/week doing CrossFit. Ideally, I should have run more. But I knew I needed to lose weight, and build muscle mass. I noticed some of my greatest gains in speed when I started doing CrossFit.

9. Stretch. Stretch. Stretch some more. 

I am extremely tight, and am a horrible stretcher. Not stretching pre, and particularly post, runs is killa. Killa. KILLA. You need to stretch, hard core. Throughout the day. Being too tight can lead to a host of injuries that will take you out of your marathon. I hate stretching and I’m still lousy at this, but it’s pretty critical.

10. Prevent or delay bonking. 

When you get to mile 20, you’re about halfway. Those last 6 miles are more difficult than than the first 20. To put this in start-up terms, the first 20 miles are a little like your brilliant sexy new start-up idea–it’s genius, wow that was easy! And now the next few years are the hard work of executing. That’s when mile 20 starts. Your muscles will have probably consumed all its glycogen at this point, and it’s going to be a big mental game to finish strong. A few things that will help reduce or potentially prevent hitting the wall:

a) Don’t go out too fast. The first mile or two is filled with adrenaline. Intentionally run slow out the first few miles.

b) Gatorade or water at every station, even if just a bit. Take a GU energy gel prior to the start of the race, then every 45-minutes thereafter. If you wait until you feel like you need it, at say mile 15, it’s too late and your glycogen stores are shot–or close to it–and you can’t replenish (note: I realize this conflicts with a lot of Paleo beliefs–and while I’m pretty strict on Paleo, this is one area where I deviate, at least for now).

c) Run the first half at or below your marathon pace. Speed it up second half. Also called “reverse splits.”

And an 11th bonus one, if you’re thinking of running multiples. 

Give enough time between marathons.

The night I got home from the Sac marathon, I was like “Cool, I got this. Let’s sign up for the Phoenix Rock ‘n Roll marathon in six weeks.” Not a great idea. Your body needs about two weeks to recover post-marathon, then two weeks before the race you should begin your tapering process. Basically, that leaves two weeks for training in a six week window. You can’t really make meaningful improvements during this time and there’s high risk of injury in this window. Most running experts have told me a good number of marathons to target is 2-3/year. I completed the Phoenix Rock ‘n Roll marathon, but wouldn’t time it that way again.

Yep, I know some people can run marathons within a week or two of each other. These people are called freaks of nature. It is unlikely you are lucky enough to be one of them.

This year, I hope to run two more marathons, and then several half marathons along the way (including the NYC half this March). My goal for the summer marathon is to get down in the 3:40’s, and then by fall to run a sub 3:30 though for me that would be pretty fast and will have to make more adjustments, including:

1. Using RunCoach, a website (about $20 a month) that designs a custom running plan based on algorithms and previous runs, incorporates tempos, drills, etc.

2. Dropping 12lbs. I don’t think there’s a good chance that I can run a sub 3:30 without dropping my weight down to 190.

3. Figuring out optimal fueling for my body, and a more strict regimen of the Paleo diet during the week–fewer bananas, more sweet potatoes.

4. Much more stretching. Like a banshee.

5. Moderately–if not radically–improved running form. Started this two weeks ago. I feel like I’m going backwards, but I know it’s the right thing to do.

There you have it. 10 tips plus a bonus from someone who knows very little about marathoning but has learned a few things along the way. My best advice to anyone thinking about it is just start. Create a simple plan. And make it happen. You’ll be glad you did, and in the process, you might even develop a healthy new addiction habit.

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 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 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.

Zoe’s New Business Idea (and the 99% problem)

Raz and RoZo at Ikea discussing start-ups at lunch
Raz and RoZo at Ikea discussing start-ups at lunch

Some people think the magic to a successful business is all in the idea. Of course a good idea matters. Ideally it’s one you’re passionate about. But there are no shortage of good ideas–and probably close-to-identical ones that came before yours.

After the idea, you’re less than 1% of the way there.

The other 99% of the “problem”? Focus and execution. 

Unexpectedly, I had a funny reminder of this today when talking with Zoe, my nine year old daughter. The conversation started over lunch at Ikea and we finished up as we sat on the couch on the patio soaking up the California sun (I know, New Englanders, that was so wrong). Zoe has no shortage of ideas, and by nature is very entrepreneurial, wildly creative, super smart, and when she’s “in the zone” an insanely hard worker…

And at times she’s also a little unfocused. 🙂

Today, the discussion was around her three business ideas, and they are as follows: a) a make up company; b) a clothing company with her own designs; c) being a kids clothing model.

So we’re talking this through and she’s pitching me on each of them and I’m throwing out questions like “How would you sell this?” or “Why would a customer buy your product vs. someone else’s?” and she’s rebutting each of them pretty well, and I continue to ask questions to help her think her way to the answers.

At one point we’re talking about what would make the clothing line unique, and she says “Yeah, well here’s what would be different. I’d make all my clothes for kids my age and older, but the design focus would be all chic. (which she says with total flair and expressive hand gestures). Do you know what that word chic means when I say that? Are you understanding me when I say it like that?”

Uhmmm, yeah, Zoe, I got that. I know what chic means. 😉

(side note: at the end there’s a funny twist to this…)Zoe

As we wind down the conversation she asks me “So what do you think is the best idea for me?” And I just say “Zoe, they’re all great. Here’s my suggestion: pick the one you love, and go all in on it. Do you know what I mean by going all in?” And she responds, “Yeah, I get it. You’re saying focus on one and put all my time and energy there and don’t try to do everything because it’s so hard to do.”

For 5-seconds there’s a pause, and so I’m waiting for her to tell me whether she’s going to pursue make up, clothing, or modeling and she looks at me and says:

“Dad, I understand everything you said. Which is EXACTLY why I want to create a weekly fashion magazine!”

She immediately interjects my moderately-expressive response and says “Okay dad, wait just check this out…here’s what it’s going to be, I’ve been thinking about this for a while…” And she goes onto passionately pitch the idea.

Inside, I’m dying laughing. Because it’s such the temptation we all face–to dabble in lots of ideas. Yet, the success comes in picking the few right things and executing really well.

As it turns out, the weekly fashion magazine is now my favorite idea and I’m bidding on the URL she wants. But here’s the funny twist at the end…

So my nine-year-old asked me if I knew what “chic” meant, and you can envision me rolling my eyes right after she asked. The irony is later that day, I was two seconds away from buying a MISSPELLED URL with the word spelled “sheikh” instead of “chic”! Which, would’ve been bad, because I don’t think her fashion magazine target audience is the patriarch of a middle eastern tribe or family…

Though, if she really executed against it, there’s probably a market for that segment as well…

Grand mufti Al-Asheikh prays during funeral of Saudi woman and daughter who were killed in Chad

 

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 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.

Hugging it Out: A Gas Station Bromance

Gas Station Bromance

Tonight’s post is…

Non-reflective, non-serious, and probably non-productive. But I’m loading it up anyways since I’m 30,000 feet high, a little bored, and I could use a writing fix. Plus, as loud and aggressively as I type, it’s therapeutic for me (not so sure about the passengers next to me).

There are many things I am. Quiet is not one of them.

So I’m driving to the DFW airport to jump a flight back to SFO, stop to gas up the rental car whilst also wondering to myself if Texas is considered the south as well as “bigger and better”, then why is it that I can’t buy boiled peanuts at dumpy gas stations here just like I can in NorFlor? 

I drive to the first pump, didn’t work. Second pump. Didn’t work. Third pump…Yes, seriously, didn’t work. Drove to another section of the gas station to fill up. I remember thinking exactly “WHAT in the heck is going on here and why is this happening???” My near-empty patience reservoir is being sorely tested…I’m ready to get out of Texas and it’s one of those “Everybody just leave me alone” moments.

As I’m filling up, a guy gets out of his car and looks at me. He says something about how much he likes my shoes, which, admittedly do look pretty good today. I’m always happy to get a little wardrobe validation–as I take my fair share of heat for it as well. Though he said nothing about my denim, which also looks pretty good today too. 🙂

Anyways, we kinda just smile at each other with the same type of third-grader-on-the-playground-hey-do-you-want-to-be-friends looks (note, the guys wife and kids were in his car, because I know this is starting to sound a bit bizarre). He goes into the store–apparently NOT to buy boiled peanuts–and as I’m about to leave he walks out and says hello again. I stop getting into my car, walk over and we chat it up.

Basically, we had a five minute bromance.

At the end of the conversation, we hug it out. Grab a quick photo, exchange information, and promise to stay in touch. A little strange, but I love it when things like this happen (Oddly, and in different ways, yes this type of randomness happens to me not-so-randomly).

While I find this ridiculous, and am laughing as I type at the absurdity of it, sometimes you meet certain people and you just click. Randomly. Unexpectedly. Serendipitously.

What was it?

I have no idea. Perhaps it was a coincidence.

And, just maybe, it was one of Life’s little gifts.

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 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.

Super Bowl vs. Real Life

Football

Along with tens of millions of others, I too watched the Super Bowl on Sunday night. And while it’s 2:11am on Wednesday morning, I’m compelled to write a quick summary of what I think is such a strange dichotomy of the Super Bowl vs. our real life.

First…

Yes, I am a Niners fan.

Yes, I cheered, booed, yelled, and hollered during the game.

Yes, I liked the Paul Harvey / Dodge Ram ad (even though I’m skeptical it’ll sell one more truck because of it).

Yes, I was bummed we lost.

But here’s the dysfunction and dichotomy of the Super Bowl vs. Real Life.

Millions of people were radically charged up Sunday screaming at their TVs over an event that likely has zero significance to their everyday life. And now this week, we resume our day-to-day lives for which so many of us have less enthusiasm than we do a Super Bowl game.

Know what gets me really fired up?

  • Seeing code get deployed and the product into beta where we can see transactions occurring through the gateway
  • Watching someone kill it on a project or initiative where they outperformed even high expectations
  • Tracking a record number of shipments out the door, or a record number of purchases made online
  • Experiencing the chemistry and creativity of a team thinking through a new initiative, campaign, or strategy

It’s not that I don’t like the Super Bowl, or football for that matter. I played through college, though it was only D3 ball…and there’s a story in there which I think it has to do with why I overcompensate in other parts of my life; despite decent skills, I could’ve been a much better ball player than I was. I just didn’t take it seriously enough, as evidenced by the fact that I’m in better shape now in my late 30’s than I was at 21. But I still dig football, and think there’s some good lessons even in watching and cheering. It’s fun, there’s camaraderie, and that’s all cool.

But not as a substitute for our own pursuits and figuring out ways we can go and kill it ourselves. Watching someone do something great can be an awesome catalyst to our own life, so I’m not railing on the event–it’s simply a surreal illustration to me.

I wish all of us in everyday life were as fired up about something–work, philanthropy, their own personal challenge–as they are a game over which they have little to zero participation, and the outcome of which has negligible to no impact on their everyday life.

I’ve been in too many meetings over the years where I’ve seen some people vigorously debate an event, discussion, project, or strategy, only to hear a concluding team of people end by muttering “why are they taking this so seriously?”

Oh, you mean, more seriously than a football game? For something that they’re passionate about, and has meaning to their life, to their future and responsibilities for which they’re accountable?

Pray tell, I wish more people had that level of vigor, fight, and energy in everyday life. And if you’re one of them, don’t ever lose it. Ever.

It’s part of your gift.

 

 

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 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.

Why. I. Write.

Writing

I’m often a bit envious of musicians. It’s not just the ability to carry the long hair without getting grief (though that’s a definite plus), and it’s more than just raw musical talent that impresses.

When I hear a musician, what I envy is that they lose themselves in their art. And in their moment.

You know when you’re watching someone and you can just feel they’re in their element? At first you might think this is about talent–but it’s really not. I’ve seen many people with just average talents lose themselves in their own moment if they’re doing something that sparks a passion in them. It’s that space of time when someone isn’t working at it, and the person is almost floating with energy. That’s what I love about music, because it’s so sensory. And soulful.

I love seeing and feeling that moment. 

It’s happening right now on my iTunes, as I’m toggling between two of my favorite musicians, one is called The Civil Wars (here’s a link to their YouTube channel–check them out) and the other group is Iron and Wine, I would’ve loved to watch the live recording of The Trapeze Swinger (below) by these guys. Their music stirs up emotions that hardly get piqued in other ways, I can hear with each tonality and pick of the guitar, every note and each breath, the moment created by this music.

,

The moments that are most obvious usually happen with public figures and great talents. Though if you look closely, you can find the average, everyday person that has theirs as well. Everybody can immerse in their moments. It’s frustrating when those moments come too infrequently, or perhaps have escaped for weeks. Months. Even years. I can’t explain why they lapse. It’s just part of the cycle, I guess. There’s probably more to it than that. But not for now.

When those moments come too infrequently, all you can do is try to latch onto, and absorb, the moments created by other people while you’re finding your own. At least that’s what I do. It’s one of the many reasons why I love music. And while I have no musical skills, I still someday hope for the chance to play the guitar and sing cover songs in low key rural bar, with an audience of nobody I know, in a place I have never before been.

For now, at times I find the moment in a few ways. Though running is a close second, the best way for me is when I write.

Because when I write, there are times when I feel like I almost lose myself.

I’m chasing something.

I’m running away from something.

I’m lost in something.

Nobody sees it, nobody knows it. But I get to feel it.

That’s why I write.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. 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 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.

How to Find a Great Boss: A Rebuttal

Finding a Great Boss

Three days ago I read an article that popped up on a social network with five tips on finding a great boss (the term “boss” is so dated to me, but I’m using it throughout as a catch all for manager/leader/etc). I’ve got a deadline in hours and awoke early this AM to get a jump start on it, but I’m taking a break to write a response to this article because I just can’t quit thinking about it.

One of the key insights in this article was to determine whether your prospective boss used the word during the interview “you” vs “we” when talking about challenges, tasks, and general work structure–and that this was a telltale sign as to whether they’ll be a great mentor or not. There were four other “tips” and while not totally meaningless, they really missed the entire point of seeking fundamentals in evaluating a great boss. Sure, if during the interview your prospective boss says things like “Your life is over once you work here–we will own you.” then the radar might go up a bit. Though if you’re going to go work for a start-up, this is probably true.

Like everyone, I’ve worked for some really great bosses and some really lousy ones. And I’ve done a lot of reading and observation in this area. For every person, finding a great boss means something a bit different, though I also know there are some underlying fundamentals to the best of the best. Before I dig in, my caveat–I don’t purport for a second that I’m a great boss, this is simply what I believe make up the characteristics of a great one.

Here are what I believe five great characteristics to seek out when trying to find a great boss:

1. Competency. Nothing is worse than working for people who are incompetent. It’s exhausting. Stifling. Discouraging. Working for someone who is exceptionally competent is the opposite. You’ll be inspired, you’ll learn through observation and experience, and you’ll constantly be stimulated. Chances are also higher that she will hire other competent people and you’ll be surrounded with talented people. Nothing is more fun than working with a talented team of people (but see item #5 below, too).

Find a boss who is really skilled with deep competencies. Some of this can be figured out in the interview. Some of this can be figured out when you talk with other employees of the prospective employer. If you ask your potential peers what makes so and so fantastic and they can’t easily rattle off a few areas of competencies where they’re really gifted, then run to the nearest door marked “Emergency Exit.” A lot of people think those signs are prominently marked in the event of a fire or evacuation. They’re not. Those are for you, the interviewing candidate, so you don’t get stuck in a daytime life you regret–even if temporary.

(note: please don’t actually ever do that during an interview, even if the thing bombs use it as a learning. And people interviewing have bad days too).

2. Energy and enthusiasm. Passionate people more often get stuff done. They make things happen, they’re motivated to excel, and they generally have a high achievement quotient–at least in the areas they’re passionate about. If they’re good leaders, this passion inspires and infects others. Find a boss who has an unyielding passion for the business and what they’re doing, and at the very least the people in the organization (item #3 below). This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bouncing off the walls during the interview–though I prefer to look for someone who seems as though they’ve had a few too many shots of espresso when they’re talking about what they do. Enthusiasm and vigor precedes success. Apathy precedes failure. 

Not always, but more often than not.

3. Passion for people. If you find a boss who genuinely has a passion for people and his team, chances are you’ve got a good shot at finding a mentor and at least a solid, if not great, leader. It’s not guaranteed, but this part is really pretty simple. Find a boss whose eyes light up when he’s talking about a project where one of his teams just killed it, a great boss will get a thrill out of seeing his people win. Find a boss who is ridiculously committed to seeing people win–this means they want their own boss, investors, owners, customers in addition to seeing their team win, and are willing to do what it takes to make that happen. Incidentally, if a great boss does all of those things, then it’s pretty obvious things will more often than not work out pretty well for the boss. I look back on my days when at a Fortune 500 company and people would coach on “here’s how you manage your career, here’s how you need to position yourself” (this type of conversation at any company–big or small, is often a sign of a deeper problem), when in retrospect I wish more conversations were dedicated to “here’s how to help your team win.”

4. People who love excellence. Sometimes also known as being demanding, or having high expectations. I have seen so many bosses in my career that constantly bullshit their employees about their performance, thinking that they’re being a good “mentor” and using lots of artificial “we” talk and shrouding false praise as a way of encouraging their team or making sure they’re motivated. When what they’re really doing is hurting them. When you don’t do great work you often know it. And when someone gives you praise for work you know that’s not great, you know that too. And you discount the praise as inauthentic, and it happens subconsciously even if you don’t realize it.

Doing exceptional work feels great. But it’s also not easy, and in the process of creating something brilliant I promise you’re going to get your ass kicked and discouraged along the way. Finding a boss who pushes you and has a high bar for excellence, yet who ALSO knows how to authentically encourage you along the way, isn’t easy. I’d always err on the side of finding a great coach who will push you–rather than someone who will simply pat you.

Here’s a parallel from another world. I like to Crossfit. The owner of the Box where I work out is also one of the coaches in my class. For the first 90-days, I felt like during every class he’d look at me with eyes squinted and a pained look on his face and say “Raz, do you know what you’re doing on this exercise?” and I’d respond “Well, yeah I think so. But maybe not.” And he’d look at my form again, and say “No. You don’t. Here’s what’s wrong, and here’s how to fix it.” Years of improper form are tough to break. But I’ll get to the point where I am good–someday great. But only with a great coach, and only if I listen and receive the feedback.

What’s the temptation to do in this scenario? The easy thing to do is say “Hey Raz, good job. Really nice effort, I can see you’re working hard…your form is fine.” In part that’s probably what happened to me over the years that developed my bad form. It’s not that I wanted to have bad form in doing a hang clean, it’s just that I didn’t really know any better–and all along I really thought I was doing it properly.

At times is it a little frustrating to be pushed so hard? Sure. But if I want to become excellent, then I need to be pushed. Not pandered.

5. Chemistry. This is SUCH a key element, and few people ever talk about it let alone use this as an evaluative tool. Chemistry is the magic, mojo, and feeling. You know it when you feel it. I’ve met some people in interviews who had a few of the above characteristics, yet the chemistry lacked. Maybe it was me. Maybe it was them. It was probably both of us, and there’s no fault in it. Chemistry can’t easily be explained. It just is. And while it doesn’t always happen on the first meeting, before you take a job you better have figured out whether you’ve got at least some good chemistry.

When you’ve got great chemistry with your boss and vice versa, you’re going to trust her, have more fun, be more open to feedback, and want to work harder. And the chemistry factors throughout the work place like competency does. In other words, in the world of competencies, A-players hire other A-players, and B-players hire C-players. And the same is true with chemistry, it’s part of what creates the culture of the organization from the very beginning.

The absence of chemistry among teams is like the absence of flavor in food. In great food, the kind that makes you close your eyes, the magic is in the flavor.

Everything else is just McDonalds.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your physician. Levitra is one of the best-known medications of all day. 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.

The Long Road Home: Tuscon, the Marathon, and…The End (part three)

The final leg of my road trip, part one is here, part two is here, and following is part three.

If you are reading this far 🙂 , I’d suggest listening to this song, the Long Road Home by Mickey Newbury. Maybe as you read this. Or not. It’s a great song. In iTunes you can see how many times you have played a certain song, and I can’t even bring myself to say how many times I have listened to a good dozen songs in my “most played.” It also probably serves as more accurate confirmation of a DSM-IV diagnosis of a bit of an obsessive/compulsive personality. The Long Road Home got some good play time on my road trip. It’s mesmerizing.

Ten minutes to start, and I think that bathroom line is longer than ten minutes...
Ten minutes to start, and I think that bathroom line is longer than ten minutes…

I left Tucson on Saturday morning to head over to Phoenix for the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Checking into marathons is a great feeling, there is a type of impending human kinetic energy. Can’t quite explain it. Closest I have felt to it is when I used to work as an Exec at a Company where we’d have big events, sometimes thousands of people, at annual conventions. I think it’s the feeling of pulling together enthusiastic people who share a passion. You can feel it. One thing I hate is apathy. Being around passionless people exhausts and annoys me to no end. It’s part of why I love NYC so much. For better or worse, there is a ton of passion there. So I’m drawn to people who are passionate.

I was hanging out at the pool in the afternoon the day before the race finishing the Steve Jobs biography and trying to stay off my legs and save up my energy. I met this guy there whose wife was a professional competitor, and she was running in the half the following day. Super nice guy, 50’s, could tell he was really hard working and at one point in the conversation he told me: “I’m not gaining on the world, but the world isn’t gaining on me either–so I think I’m doing okay.”

And it made me think of the last three gas station attendants on my trip up to that point, Nick, Walter, and Bao. And it’s funny that I remember their names, because I’m not great at names. I talked to Nick from Chevron for a bit, and learned he’s worked two 40-hour a week jobs for the last 12 years. His other gig is at a grocery store. Respectable. Hard work. Good man. I have a soft spot for the “working class” (a term I don’t love but it’s the most descriptive).

Start of the Phoenix Marathon
Start of the Phoenix Marathon

You’re an Executive? Cool, good for you big shot. Maybe you’re really good. Maybe you’re lucky. But I know that however hard you worked, you got a lot of breaks along the way–a lot of breaks that other people didn’t get.

However, you clean houses or offices for a living? You have my respect.

Because, THAT is a hard job. An honorable job. And the people in those jobs, well, they’re the ones that are the fabric of America, and what makes it great. It’s not that I have a rant against people who have been successful with big fancy titles, I don’t. But them being successful doesn’t make them any more respectable than a person in a more typical American job.

Seeing the States was a reminder why I have come to be so frustrated with politics, mostly the politicians themselves. Because, most of them forgot who and what makes this country so amazing. I’m doing my best not to editorialize, but during my trip I was really reminded of the people who truly make America what it is. There are days I’m convinced we’d be better off if we simply replaced all of Congress with 535 rational, hardworking middle class Americans who care deeply about this country.

Anyways, back to the road trip…Sunday morning I awoke around 4:30am, excited and nervous. Ready to try hard, but I gave myself an out to bail if I felt horrible during the run. Race gun sounded at 7:50am, and we were off.

During the run I had two particularly memorable moments. The first one was an unknown-to-me person by the name of Jackie, and either there were a ton of women named Jackie running this race, or one REALLY popular one. This guy holding this sign I must’ve seen seven times during my run, and I saw a lot of other Jackie signs on the way. It made me feel good for two reasons, one is to watch a team of people so enthusiastic cheering someone on was simply fun to see. The other good feeling was because I saw all the people standing with the signs waiting for her, therefore, I was clearly running ahead of whoever-this-Jackie-woman was. I try to take the small victories along the way. 🙂

Go Jackie Go!
Go Jackie Go!

The other great moment was running next to this guy for the first ten miles who was carrying the American flag. Seeing the sun streaking through the flag, with him running intently, gave me goosebumps, which I don’t get often. It was one of the best moments of the marathon, perhaps even better than finishing.We live in such an amazing country. Post race I saw him and thanked him for running with the flag, but what I really wanted to do was hug it out with him. Can’t explain how cool it was, I have chills even as I write this. It was magic.

American Flag marathon runner
American Flag marathon runner

From what I have read, what usually happens with newbie marathoners is first 10 miles are cake, 11-18 are fine, then somewhere around 18-20 you hit the wall and then, well, welcome to hell.  That was pretty much my experience in my first marathon six weeks ago.

Mile 25...
Mile 25…

What happened in the Phoenix marathon was unexpected. I had the stomach flu then followed by either a wicked cold or the regular flu (there should be some law of physiology that the two can’t accompany each other) starting a week before the race. So the first 15 miles I felt pretty lousy. Then, at mile 15, something happened. It just clicked. And I felt great. My pace picked up considerably. And it lasted until I got to mile 23.5, where I finally bonk’d (hit the wall) but when you bonk that far along it’s a lot easier to complete. My time was 3:55:24, so I was thrilled to finish this one given how I’d been feeling, getting sub-four was just a bonus.

Post run, I went and saw a few friends from my high school back in Columbus, Ohio. Great people. I loved hearing their stories, experiences, and travels from over the years. I never tire of meeting, and listening to interesting people. Mike and Julie, hope to see you guys again on another Arizona trip…

And after a few hours of chatting over burgers, truffle fries, and (one) beer–my big cheat meal for the week–I was off to hit the road to continue my trek on I-10 west into the sunset. And back into California, 3,500 miles later.

Why’d I drive from Florida to California? Because I have a car affliction.

But, what prompted my car buying affliction in Florida was, in part, the prospect of driving across the Country. Because I knew that during my trip I’d learn a little bit more about myself. A lot more about others. A few great life lessons along the way.

And, that I’d fall in love with America all over again.

And I did.

 

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Off into the sunset…


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The Long Road Home: Part Two

I made it to Tucson, Arizona on Wednesday evening, and I pretty much caught up my highlight events from the first leg of my road trip with this post here. Though, I’m adding a a few more pics to the below “Part Two” even though they were from the first leg because they were fun parts of the adventure for me. I stayed in Tucson at the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch for three nights, it’s a great place and during my time there I tried to recover from this nasty bug using DayQuil, desert air, and sleep. Though I was also able to get some work done on a few various start-up projects, and I had an absolute breakthrough in terms of writing a book that’s been lingering for five years.

Being in Tucson was a reminder of a realization I’ve had in the last year about building and running companies. In hiring, lots is discussed about identifying and assessing competencies. Little is discussed in the way of chemistry. However, when I hire, those are the two things I’m looking for. Competency AND chemistry. Generally in equal measure, because I think chemistry is as important as competency, and was reminded of this during my stay at the ranch. The ranch is the same as it was in years past, but the staff is different this time. And it made a huge difference in the feel of the whole venue. That’s what chemistry does. When I ran a start-up in NYC/NJ a few years back, this was one of my big takeaways. The team was good, really competent. But the chemistry was great. And it was a difference-maker. Seeing Tanque Verde with some great chemistry among the staff really reminded me about this, and it’s a lesson I’ll never forget.

Bulletproof glass at the boiled peanut gas station

Okay, one last Florida story! It’s not my fault, the state is just SO chalk full of craziness…So if you know me, you know I LOVE boiled peanuts. Made a stop at a Florida gas station based on a Google query, it was in a rough–and I mean rough–neighborhood. When I walked in, there were bars over every possibly entry, and when I entered the cashier was sitting behind bullet proof glass (this picture–no exaggeration).

So as I’m loading up my boiled peanut containers (which are not Paleo, by the way–a peanut is a legume, so it’s a cheat meal if you’re going to splurge) a very large man wearing a tank top and a bandana barged into the store and suddenly yelled:“Alright everybody, put yo’ hands up and git yo’ asses on the floor!” 

Then, just about after enough time elapsed for everybody to wet their pants, he laughed and said “Just kidding ya’ll”. Thank you, sir, for sharing your gift of hilarity this evening…

This story further adds to my I love/hate Florida repertoire. I love Florida because you can get boiled peanuts at a gas station. I hate Florida because you can get a fake hold up whilst getting those boiled peanuts at a gas station.

Preservation Hall

This was in New Orleans, at Preservation Hall in the French Quarter. There are three shows a night, no photos allowed during the performance. Here’s what I LOVED about watching these guys play jazz. Not only is the venue steeped rich in history and legacy, but these guys LOVED what they were doing. I looked at their clothes, some of them looked as if they were wearing recycled second-hand stuff. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I realized if I were to see one of these guys at a gas station and judge him by well worn clothes I’d probably assume he was either not successful or not doing something of significance. And I’d be wrong on both counts. Each of those guys were more successful than me, and following something with a passion that I yearn to replicate. Watching them play was like watching magic unfold.

The Amazing Teri Baker! 

This is a pic with Teri Baker, a great person who used to be on my team at a former Company. She ran the Call Center, but did a lot more than that too. She’s got a lot of heart, and I have always admired that about her. Teri happened to be in Austin as I was driving through, so we caught up over Stubb’s BBQ. So much fun. She is, as they say, great people.

Sunset at Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

This was the view from my room at Tanque Verde Ranch at sunset with a field full of saguaro cacti, which are truly amazing. And it’s equally amazing what an Instagram filter can do to your pictures. I posted this one on IG and was contacted by some Arizona online magazine who wanted to make it their photo of the day. I was pretty excited, until I saw I basically have more IG followers than they do (which is not a lot).

I love the desert, and the saguaro are simply spectacular. It’s generally hard for me to sit still, but it’s different in Arizona. I think this is one of my favorite states. And in Arizona, while I love Tucson, I really think Sedona is exceptional. I could get lost there. Figuratively.

Of course, if I were using Apple Maps in Sedona, I could get lost there literally too.

Happy Horses post-trail ride

I love this photo because it was taken after all the horses got back from an afternoon ride and they seem genuinely happy, like they know they just did a good job. There’s an amazing sense of satisfaction in hard work.

I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as an anaphylactic allergy with horses, but I think I come pretty close. I’m ridiculously allergic. Therefore, I would make a terrible cowboy. And I don’t even really like horses that much. Though I do like wearing a cowboy hat and boots. Just, keep the horses away from me. And lasso’s. I probably shouldn’t be near those either.

Endless fires at the ranch

I checked into Tanque Verde on a Wednesday night, and left Saturday morning. During that entire time, I had a fire going from the moment I arrived until the moment I left–as well all through the night, and would wake up to throw more logs on the fire to keep it going.

For someone that has a hard time sitting still, I did pretty good at it at the ranch–but the fires help, they’re mesmerizing. So the big breakthrough I had while in Tucson was with this book I’ve been struggling to finish. I started it almost seven years ago, and should’ve finished it five years ago. Going into this week I was probably 70% “done.” The problem was, I hated it. Every time I opened the document to work on it, I just didn’t like it. The writing, structure, order, voice. There’s little I liked about it. It has been 70% done for years.

So this week, I started over. Completely over. Brand new document. Didn’t carry over one word from the last one (though I’m sure as I write more, stuff will carry over). I started and finished the first chapter on this new take, and for the first time I feel like I’ve got some of my book writing mojo back. I’m not sure what the lesson in this is, I mean surely it can’t be when things are hard just ditch ’em and start over. But at the same time, maybe with some things, you do…

Anyways, this was THE breakthrough for me this week on the road trip (so far). If I hadn’t lost myself with the scenes of the southwest outside and the crackling fireplace inside, away from all internet connectivity and my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/emails/surfing/texting and all other distractions, I’m not sure I would have ever had the realization that to get to where I wanted to go, I’d have to break free from what I’d done.

I also realized that I have to unplug my life more. Yes, many of you have been telling me, and encouraging me, to do this for years. I know, and you were right. But I just had to learn it for myself. Sometimes telling someone (repeatedly) to do something doesn’t quite work. It MIGHT even have the opposite effect with SOME individuals. 🙂

Okay, I officially want to be a Cowboy

If I wouldn’t be so terrible at it, I’d want to be a Cowboy when I grow up and work at a ranch. And write. As well as play the guitar. I’d like to be able to sing, too. Okay, let’s switch this up. I want to be a country music singer that has enough money to go to a ranch on occasion and play cowboy. Alas, I get to play Executive and consume copious amounts of Allegra and point at, instead of ride, horses. I am not even a City Slicker. I’m a City Sniffler. Ugh.

1970 VW Hippie Bus

In college I had one of these for a few months. It was not my favorite car. It was in the family for a while, I didn’t drive it long. Compared to the guy in the Jag in my earlier post, this guy did NOT look like he was having fun. Because, after all, I do not think cruising at 45 in a 75 with puffs of black smoke willowing out the tail pipe constitutes fun.

On my way from Tucson to Phoenix, I actually passed this guy three times (had to stop twice on the way). And it wasn’t because I was speeding. When I looked over at the guy I could practically see him standing on the gas pedal, and kinda rocking his body forward as if he were trying to give it some momentum.

Only if you owned and drove a VW Bus at some point in your life would you even understand this…

Raz at the Phoenix Marathon Expo check in, number 53496

When I got to Phoenix I checked into the hotel and hit up the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon Expo at the convention center. My number is 53496, the 5 was cut off by my RFID timer. Given this sickness I’ve been fighting for ten days, I have seriously been debating whether to show up for the race, and if I did show up whether to simply switch to the half marathon or to go ahead and try to finish the full.

I decided to try to run the full marathon, partly because physically I feel back up to 80% now, and partly because if I didn’t run at all I’d always wonder if I could’ve finished. I’m going to try my best to have a solid run tomorrow, but I’m also trying to be somewhat aware of my body and recovery and not push it too hard. In retrospect, it was a little overzealous to do this six weeks after my first marathon. One of my future posts will be a “Lessons Learned in Marathoning.”

Since being in Phoenix I’ve read and seen some super inspirational stories about marathoners, including one guy in particular with multiple sclerosis. One of the things I love about running is drawing on inspiration from other people. And it’s usually from observation more than hearing some story, but both work.

I still remember so vividly running in Central Park this summer and a guy with an artificial leg was pacing alongside me, and I just found it breathtaking. Not in a I-feel-sorry-for-you type of way. No, in a you-inspire-me type of way. And, that’s one of the many gifts of running.

Ciao, for now. I’ll complete my third and final leg of this blog in a day or two when I get back to Cali.

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The Long Road Home

This weekend I started the trip west, from Naples Florida. I’m driving. I flew to Florida, expecting to buy a ticket back to California at some point in January, but because I have a bad habit, I mean affliction, strong enthusiasm for cars and road trips, I am driving home. Tonight I made it into Tucson and am staying at the Tanque Verde Ranch for a few nights until I head to Phoenix this weekend for the Rock ‘n Roll marathon this Sunday.

Before leaving for my road trip back West, RoZo got their ears pierced. They were pretty excited as you can tell. Me? Ahhhhhh, well…I warmed up to the idea, eventually.

Two weeks ago I had an aggressive time goal for the Phoenix marathon, but the stomach flu accompanied by a nasty cold for the last week has kept me from running for over a week. Based on how I feel tonight, I’m not even sure yet if I’ll make it to the starting line, let alone the finish line. Regardless, I’ve enjoyed my trip. And there are few things that I love more than traveling across the United States. It’s not just the road trip that I enjoy, but it’s the people you meet along the way.

Here’s a pictorial of my trip and a few highlights from the past few days.

First, let’s cover Florida. If you’ve heard people talk about a harrowing life experience or ever had one yourself, like an imminent traffic accident, you will often hear that they talk about how time slows down. Well, it’s actually true in a way. The human eye and mind can process about 20 frames per second. However, under duress in acute situations we can actually boost output to about 60 frames per second–so it feels like time slows down, but you’re just able to process faster than normal for short periods of time.

Basically, this is what I feel like when I enter the gulf coast of Florida. Like I am able to operate at 60 frames a second, but ongoing. It is more likely, however, that I am simply operating at a very normal 20 frames per second and the state is operating at 10. 🙂

I like the pace here, it’s relaxing. And there are some amazing people, too. Plus, the billboards are hysterical. This is the state of funny (and abundant) billboards. I could do a whole blog series on the billboards with various witty captions. I also learned North Florida is a hidden gem, I like it because it feels like the real south to me–the foliage is gorgeous, a bit more temperate, easy to find boiled peanuts, and the people are very real and authentic. It needs a rebranding though, like let’s give it the panache it deserves. Maybe take a page out of the playbook of SF and NYC, you know Soma, NoHo, SoHo, TriBeca, Nolita.

So here it is: NorFlor. Give it a whirl, Governor Scott. No attribution needed. Rebrand. Watch the revenues rain. Thank me later.

Following a few of my pictorial highlights from my trip so far, the Long Road Home.

With as many billboards as this guy has in Florida, you’d think the whole state were infertile at this point. I love his hair. Therefore, I love his billboards. Pretty much how I roll.

 

Basically the Apple Maps directions go down like this: “Hang a left here, go about 2,500 miles, hang a right onto I-5 for 500 more miles. You should see your house on the left. Or is that a cliff? Good luck, let us know if you make it!”

 

Even my watch is nagging me along the way, knowing I haven’t run in a week. If you are a runner, you should seriously take a look at this Nike watch w/ the TomTom built in. It’s fantastic. My Amazon affiliate link is here: (kidding, obviously). It’s a great watch.

 

In Alabama, not only are dogs allowed to drive, but they can also order and pick up at the drive through. This guy needs a haircut, though. I am worried about his forward visibility. Opposable thumbs. I’m also worried that he lacks opposable thumbs, too. However, I saw him using Google Maps. So he’s probably in better shape than me.

 

New Orleans. The city where nobody understand the term “protein style.” And nobody seemed to appreciate all my menu substitutions. There are two Paleo-friendly things to consume in New Orleans. 1. Oysters. 2. Water. That’s it. Everything else is fried. These are Beignet’s from Cafe Dumonde. Ironically enough–and this is true–the morning AFTER I ate these was the first day in my LIFE that I started to see definition in my abdominal muscles. But they went away by the time I made it to Stubb’s BBQ in Austin…Sigh.

 

On the way out of New Orleans I went to Mother’s, one of my fave restaurants in the U.S. This is where normal, real, down to earth people eat. Yes, on occasion I like fancy restaurants. But nine out of ten times give me a place like Mother’s–real food and real people–and I’m thrilled.

 

This is the greatest BBQ that I have never eaten in my life. I love this little place, and someday I will come back–because Coopers doesn’t serve at 7am (when I stumbled into it). But check it out, how could you NOT stop here? This place would turn even the most devout vegan, even if just for one meal. I love kitschy ambiance, these guys were intentional about what they built here. It’s adorable. That’s what “feel” does. I love the food, and haven’t even tasted it yet.

 

Driving through New Mexico I saw this cool vintage Jaguar XKE with the sunset bouncing off of it as she was hustling down the highway. Looked like they were having a great time. I love cars. Especially those with classic design, the XKE is one sexy automobile.

 

Have you ever driven through West Texas? Nobody is there. Except State Troopers. This guy welcomed me into the second half of Texas. I had no good excuse for speeding, so instead I tried logic. Basically, the conversation went down like this: “Officer, let’s just ignore how bad the real numbers look for a second and examine this situation using percentages, okay? If I were doing 46.5 in a 40, would you give me a ticket? Of course not, that would be silly. Therefore, wouldn’t you also agree, Officer, that it would be equally silly to give me a ticket for going 93 in an 80?” He didn’t appear amused. However, I don’t think he was really grasping the concept…That’s the problem when you don’t apply ratios to your life, your mind gets disjointed and you make emotional–rather than logical–decisions. 🙂

 

Finally, made it to Tanque Verde Ranch in Tucson, Arizona where I’m camping for two nights and then to Phoenix where I hope I’ll be able to give the marathon a shot this weekend depending on how I feel. Tonight, I’ve caught up on some writing, did this blog entry whilst listening to country music, and thought about another screenplay that I’ll probably never write. But someday if I had a writing getaway, perhaps…

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My New Year’s Resolutions: Surprise!

None.

Truly, I have none. For the first time since I was in my early teens.

Much of what I want for 2013 I started weeks or months ago on random days. Sometimes based on arcane occurrences. For example, one major goal of mine initiated unexpectedly whilst listening to a Coldplay song as I was sitting on the runway at JFK. Normally I’d have tried to push the goal off and wait for some significant milestone or set a future date, but that day I just grabbed it and started working towards it. Rather than wait for someday.

For many years I created these resolutions, and often the same ones. I can’t think of one New Year’s resolution I have ever accomplished. A friend of mine has instilled me with the perspective that New Year’s Resolutions are pointless, and finally convinced me “if you want to do something, you’ll decide to do it now–not wait for some future date.” At first I really resisted this–I mean, I LOVED my resolutions! But my friend was right, that at least for some of us, these futile repeats are pointless. And it’s changed my perspective on New Year’s resolutions. And in many areas of my life.

To the point above, I have another “resolution” I’m working on for 2013 but I’m actually starting it today. Why? Because I want it, and if I’m serious about it I should start now–there’s no reason to wait, even a few days. Perhaps, just maybe, the same could be true for you as well. That, rather than waiting until this Tuesday to start something, that if you started today, with it would come a different level of commitment. A seriousness and tangibility to it, and yourself, that makes it more than just a resolution. Ironically enough, as I finish writing this, Kaskade’s song “4am” (one of my favorite artists–such amazing running music!) came on Pandora, the chorus echoes the words “someday” throughout.

Here’s to making progresss towards someday, starting today, whenever that’s possible.

Happy New Year’s.

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 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.

100 Failures: My (former) Fat Self

Just before today’s body fat test

In 2007 I weighed 240lbs and had a body fat of about 25%.

Publicly, I set a goal to be at 15% body fat within one-year. For five years, I ebbed and flowed on this (aka failed), got as close as 18%, but as of one year ago I was back to 240lbs and 25%. I tried and failed 100 times.

Over five years later, today I finally achieved a goal I have been chasing for a long time–results towards end of post. A quick note: this is not intended to be “hey look at me look at me I’m doing great” (I also don’t think that either, btw). It’s the opposite in many ways, it’s about 100 failures over five years. For too long I was: Overweight. Undisciplined. Frustrated. I’ve also justified it to myself. Lots of travel. Running companies, including two start-ups. Bad metabolism. Not enough time. Unmotivated. Bad genes. Whatever.

Pic of me and my dad after one of my last college football games. Basically until this year it was all downhill for 15-years after this picture was taken. As you’ll see in the next photo…

And I have failed 100 times in the process of achieving my goal. Many of you have done far better physically than I ever will, and for that I’m inspired, but others face the frustrations I do. So I want to share a quick story about 100 failures in the event that it might spur you on to keep trying yourself. And it’s a reminder to me for the months and years to come–so I don’t backtrack. Because I could easily fall back, I’m cautiously writing this.

Since college, for most of those years, I have been fat. It’s painful to even write it, but it’s true. Some people might politely say “well no, really you weren’t fat” but some of the pictures below prove otherwise. And I know better. Which is one reason why this is a really humbling post for me to write.

Ugh! So hard to even post this one, but that’s me at my heaviest not that many years after my college football picture above. But look at that cute kid! Don’t look at the fat guy, look at that cute kid!!! 🙂

I remember a philosophy class in college when a prof was having a debate with a good friend of mine (RR, we’re still going to do a radio or TV show together someday!) and they were debating the definition of fat in a philosophical context.

“So, really, then, what is being fat? How do you even know you are fat?” the prof whimsically asked, to which my buddy quickly replied “Because I’ve seen myself naked.” It was a funny line, but that’s true for a lot of us. I had many “aha” moments in addition to seeing myself naked over the years.

  • 15-years ago, the first season of the Bachelorette (my wife was addicted to this show, not me!), I remember all the women at the office talking about how they all loved “the fat guy” who was a contestant. When I saw the show I realized something…I was fatter than “the fat guy.”
  • 10-years ago, when I went to my doctor and was fishing for a cheap and easy Rx solution and he said “So, you’re telling me you’re a fat ass who can’t control what he eats and you want a prescription to help with that? I don’t think so.” (yes, verbatim).
  • Five-years ago, when I was an Exec at a nutritional/wellness company, and one of our distributors, also a doctor, said to me “Look Raz, you’re running this Wellness company, and the truth is you are a fat ass and you need to get in shape.” (yes, absolutely true and verbatim as well).
  • There are many others. But these have stuck with me over the years and have helped build this yin and yang of driving me to ultimately change enough behaviors to get into better shape; but I had to want it for myself. Which is what happened a year ago, with a boost about four-months back.
One year ago, at what was a pretty typical weight for me for most of last five years. In the last year Erica has lost 20lbs and looks fantastic! Royce and Zoe, however, are still gaining weight. (they’re 9 and 10 🙂 )

Here are the numbers:

Ten-years ago, I weighed–UGH I CAN HARDLY WRITE THIS–275 lbs. This was my heaviest. I have no idea what my body fat % was at the time. But I do remember I was REALLY awesome at floating in water. Like, truly gifted.

12-months ago, I weighed 240 with 25% body fat. I started lifting, doing some cardio, saw a trainer a bit, and tried to eat more carefully but I wasn’t intensive about it. I still fell into the “Obsese” category based on most guidelines.

Four-months ago, I was down to 220 with 20% body fat. Generally considered “Average.”

Today, I weighed 206 with a BF of 14.3%, FINALLY under my 15% goal. Over five years later.

How’d I do it? First, I failed a lot. 100 times. Tried almost everything except the Shake Weights–those things are ridiculous! Lots could have worked, I just didn’t stick with it. Partly b/c I was undisciplined and I didn’t want it enough. Partly b/c I just didn’t find stuff that worked for me. And partly b/c I didn’t really grasp some key fundamentals.

One of the fundamentals is simple, perhaps obvious, but I never bought into it. And it’s this: You lose fat in the kitchen. Not the gym.

It really is 80% diet. Working out helps build lean muscle mass, helpful to burning fat, increasing metabolic rate, general fitness, and more. But if you want to lose weight, if you want to lose fat, those results happen inside, not outside, the house.

So here’s what I did: (and I’m not suggesting you should do this, it’s just what worked for me)

1. Eating: I got my eating in order: My nutritional/eating plan was strict Paleo. I absolutely love this, and can’t recommend it enough. Try it for 45-days. It’s not for everyone, but this worked fantastically well for me. This was 80% of my success. I allowed myself up to three cheat meals a week–and you need to take at least one or two, so you don’t deprive yourself. But I was pretty disciplined otherwise. And the last month I have been consistently using the Nutribullet. It’s magic. Worth checking out.

CIM marathon pre-race

2. Running: I started running and training for the Sacramento marathon, I’d run 2-3 days a week. Perhaps this sounds aggressive or you have no desire to run a marathon, that’s fine. Do some form of cardio 3x/week.

3. CrossFitting: Erica and I started CrossFit three months ago, three times a week. Apart from some travel, I missed very few workouts. What I love about Crossfit is there’s a regimen, there’s a coach, the groups are small, there’s a team element, and it’s done in one-hour. Plus most adhere to Paleo, so there’s more support for the diet. I love a LOT about CrossFit. There are some things that annoy me about CrossFit as well. But, I refused to let the few things annoy me get in the way of an overall great solution.

During this time, I also used a FitBit scale to measure my changes in body fat, but took a baseline body fat test using the Hydrostatic method (dunk tank) which is by far the most accurate measure, I used the LoseIt food app until I got disciplined, and I fanatically used–and still do–my NikePlus app for all my running. I also supplemented with shakes, but really learned that whole foods are better so I only used protein shakes post aggressive work outs–and only grass fed, free range whey protein. Finally, I consumed copious amounts of fish oil, by far the best I have found is from SFH (Stronger, Faster, Healthier).

To supplement my meals, often as a replacement or as a recovery protein at night, I used LifeShotz Vibe, which is a slower absorbing protein powder that helps increase the feelings of satiety–but also includes branch chain amino acids, which makes it particularly beneficial to consume at night and to let your body digest and absorb it while sleeping as a part of recovery.

You might think “well, that’s a ton of work and I’m not ready to CrossFit or run a marathon!” to which I’d offer two responses:

1. You don’t need to. The weight loss workout is battled out IN THE KITCHEN. It’s 80% what you eat. I don’t care how much you work out, food wins this war. For years, even when I worked out, I failed repeatedly at the food part of this. Which is the primary reason why I’ve failed 100 times. I thought that the battle was the one hour I was working out a day. Wrong! It’s actually the other 23-hours when you’re not working out, and are possibly eating the wrong stuff.

2. While it did help accelerate my goals, eating Paleo and being in such a calorie deficit made it a bit more challenging for me as well. I was running so much I was often hungry. And, I was burning so many more calories than I was taking in, I think it made my Crossfit, and particularly running, much more challenging. You should work out, but you don’t need to go crazy. Don’t expect overnight results, either. Set incremental goals so you can win along the way. And allow yourself a few cheat meals each week. But don’t get lazy and start cheating daily. If you aren’t losing weight, something is wrong with your diet. E.g., you are eating too much. 🙂

And even if you’ve failed 100 times, keep trying, keep trying, keep trying!

It’s so easy to get frustrated and give up. In the process of the last five years, I’ve even had some fitness people tell me “Hey Raz, maybe your body just wasn’t designed to be that lean” which would’ve been a nice out. But it was also BS, I knew it. They probably just felt badly for me. But don’t ever let others let you off the hook or give you an out to achieving your goals. Pick a plan. Stick with it. Execute. I appreciated far more the doctor that called me a “fatass” because a) it was true, and b) he really wanted to help me–even if it hurt him to say it, and me to hear it.

After hitting my goal, am I totally satisfied?

Well, kind of… 🙂

I’m thrilled to achieve it, was a total rush to see the numbers this morning after so many years of attempts and the last year of more intensively working at it. But, it’s funny, I don’t look as lean as I thought I would. And, I still wouldn’t feel confident running with my shirt off, which was my other (vain) goal–and not so others could look at me and say “wow, that guy is in great shape” but so I could simply feel good about being leaned up. Even if I get there someday, I PROMISE I will not be that obnoxious dude who prances around with his shirt off during or after running. If I ever do that, please punch me. Repeatedly. Instead, I will run on obscure roads where there are no people in sight. I just want to be able to do it for me.

So today I’ll let myself be excited for finally achieving something that evaded me for years, and on my 101st attempt with help from a lot of people along the way, Paleo foodies, other runners, and CrossFitters (particularly the San Mateo Team Elite gym).

But tomorrow, I’m back on the circuit to work towards my new body fat goal by April 2nd: Below 9%

101 thanks to each of you who have encouraged me along the way.

P.S. One final story, which helps keep any ego in check. A month ago I was at a 49’ers game and met another CEO of a start-up. He’s sitting next to me, and the whole game he’s saying “Man, you look like someone famous and I can’t figure it out!”

Twenty minutes later, he blurts out “THAT’S IT! I GOT IT. Matthew Mcconaughey! You look like that guy.” (I realize I look nothing like him, but it’s better than the Huey Lewis and the News I was told the night before).

So I said to him, “Think so?”

And he’s like, “YES! You look like a…CHUBBY VERSION of Matthew Mcconaughey!” So knowing I was going to lose another ten pounds, I said to him “Well, how much do you think I’d have to lose to NOT be a chubby version of him?”

He responds, “Look man, you don’t understand, you can’t change it, it’s in your face it’s not something you can lose. It’s not a bad thing…” Alas, I will probably always have chubby cheeks, but here’s to trying to get rid of them–and a constant dose of humility. 🙂

Today’s results

 

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Sometimes You Have to Say “Screw It” (My First Marathon)

Sacramento Marathon, 5am Bus Pick Up

Today, I ran–and finished–my first marathon.

Yesterday’s post basically covered up to this morning. I’d committed to finishing, and then to achieve what was a very difficult (for me) stretch goal of completing under four hours.

Literally hours after I posted yesterday these two commitments, I met this awesome marathon coach/trainer at the CIM Expo and was asking her advice on the run today, what products to take, what to eat for breakfast, and how to pace myself for a sub four hour marathon. She was so helpful and encouraging, yet when I told her about my goal pace she asked about my training distances and times to date (which I exaggerated slightly to try to help my cause). She looked at me  and said “look, I don’t want to discourage you–but there’s no way you’re going to be able to do that pace based on your previous runs and training, especially with the rain and wind tomorrow–it’s supposed to be brutal. Just try to finish this one, I want to make sure you can finish.”

Raz at 4am marathon day, pretty scary hair!

This morning I caught the 5am bus, and who sits next to me? An ultra marathoner, and one of the pacers for the Sacramento marathon today. So she asks my goal, and I tell her to finish and then my stretch is a sub-four. She asks me the same line of questioning as the marathon coach last night, and based on my responses says “I don’t want to see you discouraged, but you can’t get close to four hours based on your prep. Even if you had a chance, everyone today is going to be off their target pace considerably because of the weather, the winds are gusting up to 40 MPH. Just focus on finishing this one, do your next one for time.” She really was awesome and full of helpful advice and super encouraging, and she was just being realistic.

But sometimes I hate reality. And a lot of times you can bend it.

It was like I was getting taunted, especially after my affirmations yesterday. Two really experienced marathoners, both telling me getting anywhere close to my goal was impossible. This happens to all of us in everyday life. And it’s so so so easy to succumb. Sometimes the wisdom makes sense to heed. Today, for me, it didn’t.

And this is what I know about myself: sometimes I need people to say “Hey dude, I believe in you” and other times all I need is a person–or two–to tell me at “There is NO WAY you can pull this off!” (incidentally, thanks to those who read my post yesterday and sent me kind messages).

So, I said screw it. I’m trying anyways. First to finish, then for a sub four hour marathon.

And here goes my first mile: 

Starting line: wind howling, it’s raining sideways, I’m wearing a trash bag. It’s in the 50’s and I’m freezing. Soaking wet. And excited. Oh, and I’m sick with a head cold. 🙂

Rich Razgaitis Just off Bus (video at the starting line of some CRAZY wind and rain going on, gusts up to 40 MPH)

At 0.1 miles, I get pretty emotional–yes, the teary kind. Ridiculous, I know, but three years ago I had two failed marathon attempts, 18-months ago I couldn’t run due to this nagging tendonitis, and four months ago I was starting my Sacramento marathon training with three mile runs at an 11-12 minute pace. Today I KNEW I was finishing a marathon. It was a bit of emotional overload. Oh, and the National Anthem was playing. That always does it to me, too. I am so in love with America.

At 0.4 miles, I throw up.

At 0.75 miles, I have to pee. Already. And waited in line for 90-seconds to do so (these 90-seconds become critical later).

Jitters, anyone? I start to settle in after that first mile.

So I’m running about a 9:12 pace the first half of the race. A sub four hour marathon is a 9:09 pace. So I was tracking close, but it was also only the first half and I was still fresh.

The second half I pick it up a tad, but I’m getting fairly fatigued. At 20 miles my legs are bloody screaming. At this point it’s mostly mental. Your body is begging at you to stop, slow down, or keel over. Each step feels like knives in your legs. And I keep thinking, if I just get to 23 or 24 it’ll be easier. Actually, it doesn’t. The reverse is true, it gets massively harder for each mile beyond the high teens. At mile 23 I debate making another (my fifth or sixth!) potty break, and opt to take the 35-seconds to stop. It’s about this time that I also finally ditch wearing the trash bag, as the rain and wind finally subsided and the sun starts to peek out.

Miles 24 and 25 feel eternal. But it’s a strange feeling of excruciating pain coupled with elation, because I knew I was going to finish, and my pace was improving–I was running 8:30 miles at this point, but wasn’t sure this would be enough to get me below four hours.

Raz at Mile 25 of Sacramento Marathon

26.2 miles later, I cross the finish line and my NikePlus tells me I finished in four hours and four seconds. But I thought I’d started the NikePlus early, and that the chip would show a faster time. Alas, this afternoon I learned my chip time was four hours and 33 seconds, which is about a 9:10/mile pace. I needed a 9:09/mile pace to finish under four hours.

33-seconds over four-hours. So. Stinking. Close.

California Marathon Finish Line

I’m still thrilled. I finished and I chased a time-based goal that a lot of people told me I couldn’t come close to accomplishing today–and got pretty dang near to it in tough conditions. I had a blast. I learned a lot about myself in the process. I accomplished something that’s been evading me for years. And I was inspired by thousands of other runners in the process.

And I got a great reminder that at times you’ve just got to say “screw it” in the face of rational advice or things that seem to difficult. A lot of times you know in your heart what’s possible, and you’ve got to go for it, even when others tell you that it’s impossible.

Finally, I really want to express special thanks to all of those who have supported or encouraged me in the process of my first marathon, there were many of you along the way–from helping me pick the race and designing the training schedule, to various encouragement and checking in throughout, I’ll forever be grateful.

Raz Just Across Sac Marathon Finish Line

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Prepared to Fail

Tomorrow is the Sacramento marathon (also known as California Marathon, or CIM).

I am not really a runner. Yet, I love to run. The solidtude. Steps on the ground in a rhythmic pattern. Letting your mind wander. The runners rush after a good jaunt.  I just wasn’t built to be a long distance runner. But that hasn’t quelled my enthusiasm for it.

I have two prior (failed) Marathon attempts, both three years ago. Midway through my training I got some pretty harsh tendonitis that benched me. A little over a year ago I sought out a highly regarded Orthopedic surgeon who I was sure could get me back into running. After my evaluation, he told me his best advice was to lay low a year, possibly two, do light stretching and exercises—maybe aquatic!—but to do nothing running related. Was basically a lot of “you know, tendonitis is tricky…not great blood flow there, slow to repair, there’s just really not a lot you can do…” Upon my request he reluctantly made a physical therapist recommendation. I still remember how hopeless I felt leaving his office.

Instead (of basically doing nothing) I found a physical therapist who got me jump started. I remember on my first visit asking him if he could help me run again, with the end goal being a marathon. With some optimism he said yes. Part of what I needed was some physical help, and he used an amazing (and painful—like bring-you-to-tears-painful) technique called Graston Therapy that made a huge difference. But he also gave me some hope.

So fast forward 1+ years, I’ve now been training for the Sac Marathon for four months, supplemented with Crossfit a few days a week, and have been following the Paleo diet consistently and have dropped a few pounds. At worst, I am in decent shape. But even still, I’m lacking confidence for tomorrow.

So up until this moment, I have given myself an out for tomorrow’s race so that if I don’t finish I’m okay with it. And myself.

In other words, I’ve set myself up to be okay with failing. Which is not really like me at all, but this dang marathon has evaded me for years and I’m quite a bit humbled by it.

It manifests through a lot of ways, by how I share with others that I’m “trying” to run the Sacramento marathon and simply “hope” to finish, to my latest series of internal conversations this morning about how the cold I caught this morning and lousy running weather all make it more understandable if I “try” but don’t complete it.

Why have I done this? It’s protective. If I finish, then I still feel good. But if I don’t, well, then I won’t feel so bad because I’ve been hedging all the while. It’s pretty primitive, really. And I’m kind of a sissy for doing it. Because all I’ve really done is reduced some of my determination, and increased my risk of failure.

Hours ago before I boarded my flight from the East Coast to Sacramento, by way of my hometown Dallas, I realized what I’ve been doing psychologically over the past four months. And in an instant it totally changed my context and beliefs. Because, a) I’m not really a sissy, and b) I don’t quit stuff, and c) I should have enough mental mojo to fix this deficient thought pattern.

So here’s where I am now, and I’m not deviating from it for one minute.

Tomorrow, I’m going to run—and finish—the Sacramento marathon.

And, here’s the real stretch for me: I’m going to run it in under four hours.

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 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.

Running Fast(er) vs. Running Slow(er)

This year I did my first Turkey Trot, I think ever but there’s a chance growing up we did one. In Columbus there was this run called “The Dam Run” (Hoover Dam) and we did it a few times as a family but don’t recall if it was on Thanksgiving. And, no, I don’t want to Google it to find out–I want it to remain a mystery. It was lots of fun and I loved the ability to pseudo-swear and say Dam in front of my parents as a kid.

In fact, I still do. Dam. Dam. Dam. Damdada, DamdeDa DamdadadaeedededDAM!

Moving on…

In the last month I’ve “run”  in two races in over 20-years. On Sunday December 2nd, I’m running the Sacramento Marathon. It’s my third attempt to finish a marathon, the other two I trained (and paid! :)) for, but a really nagging Achilles and Patellar tendonitis prevented me from even making it to race day on either. So these two runs in the last month were part of my training regimen for the Sac Marathon, and I wanted to shake out some of my nerves.

On on this Thanksgiving race, I had this really cool physical manifestation about how running with certain groups can be such a great comparison for teams of people.

Two weeks ago I ran a half marathon, and I paced myself moderately well and finished running the 13.2 miles @ an 8:50 pace per mile. This is probably an average-ish pace. As I’m running the last mile I’m probably at a 7:30 pace and passing tons of people. No big deal, and I wasn’t trying to pass tons of people, I just was trying to finish at a better clip. But I was in a crowd of decent runners who were really starting to stagger towards the end. And there were few group dynamics to push through to the end. Just my own dynamics. Which was/is fine.

So this Thursday, I’m running a 10k (6.2 miles) and I decided to try to pick it up a bit and run with more aggressive runners and try to finish at a sub 7:30 pace. I started at a 7:38 pace, and ended the race by averaging a 7:20 pace for the full 10k. And once again, if you’re a runner, this still isn’t fast. The last mile I felt pretty solid and picked it up to run about a 6:45 pace. But here’s the funny thing, though I’d really picked it up the last mile as I’d done in the prior race, in this one I could barely pass anyone…because I was now among better runners. And they’re all pushing hard, and each other, and it caused our entire pack to speed up. It sounds silly, but at a certain point there was this group energy that just carried our informal pod of runners that were clumped together. Which also made it more difficult to slow down.

And as I’m running, it really dawns on me that this is such a physical manifestation of the difference between teams of people in business. In the really good teams, the group dynamics make the individual performance better. And the irony is, that the individual performance also gets easier, because there’s this group-dyanmic-force-shield-of-sorts that helps each person out as well. Nothing profound here, but I wanted to capture it on a blog post for myself if nothing else. (as an aside: for anyone reading this who is a walker or runner, this isn’t about whether you should run faster or slower, or if you’re in XYZ pace or whatever. I think all fitness goals are personal–do what works. And keep doing it).

So in the last mile of the race, four things are going through my head: man, I’m tired, I love this Mos Def power song, this last mile is an interesting business metaphor let me dissect the ways, and I really hope I can finish the Sacramento marathon. Regarding that last one, one week from tomorrow I’ll know.

No doubts, take Lasix only as prescribed by your doc. 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 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.