Deja Vu

I had posted yesterday how I had surprised myself by running a distance almost twice as far as I had run in a long time.  The tough thing about learning how far you can take yourself makes it tough to do anything less than your previous best. You are setting yourself up for failure. You are quite right.

This morning I thought to myself I need to get after it and do something really hard at the gym. I thought about biking the 25 miles I need to go on an Olympic distance triathlon. In the end I decided that I was going to do a sprint Triathlon in the gym.

I decided to skip the swimming until the end because the is nothing worse than sweating after you have gotten out of a chlorinated pool. My skin feels nasty (did I just write that). anyway I started off on the bike and just nailed it. I mean I was Lance Armstrong except for the endorsements and the biker shorts, not my style. I am sure all the people at the gym are thankful for me sans biker shorts.

Anyway, I get off the bike and I start to run. It takes my legs a few moments to make the transition from running to biking. So I started off a little slow or in my case slower than usual. I quickly jumped my speed and initially felt well.

After my first mile I start to feel things in my legs. Phantom pains I would say. A tightening of  my muscle here, a cramp in my foot there. The doubt started to creep inside my head.

“You have done 12 miles on the bike it is okay to rest. No one will care if you stop. I mean you look like you have worked hard just ease up a bit.”

I kept running though. “I can’t quit” I thought “I just wrote the dumb blog post about not quitting. At that point I wish I had not written that post.”

I had the toughest time between 1-2 miles.  By the time I reached 2.5 miles I was so determined. In fact I cranked the speed up on the treadmill. My last lap I put my sweat rag over the time and count in my head down from 120 to 1 just to make sure I was going to finish and finish strong. I wanted to crank it  up really for two reason.

1. Finish strong. Always finish strong. Lance Armstrong can have livestrong I am finish strong . Rubber arm bands to come out soon at an Ace Hardware near you. j/k 🙂

2. The faster you finish the faster you can stop RUNNING. 🙂

So I finished in a happy 26 minutes.

Next on to my best and most favorite part of the triathlon, the swim. I mean it is not hard for me I grew up with a pool in Phoenix. I have flippers for feet, at size 14. I had a great first two lengths of the pool but by length 10 I was tired and it was starting to show. I know why they place the swim first in the triathlon, half the group in the race would drown because of fatigue. I finished the swim. I had done  a sprint  triathlon on an average Friday morning.

I finished my race and didn’t quit. I did that all before work. I am in the office by 8am. Good day here I come.

Deja vu  in the fact that two times in as many week, I have had some self-doubt, fatigue, self-pity and been able to push through it. I do not care what it is and how small the goal finish strong and carry your head high.

Good day here I come.

Some days You might just surprise yourself

I am not a runner. I was built for other activities. Mainly eating. I am very good at eating and I really enjoy it. I like trying new foods. I am constantly going to lunch with clients each day. I was tired of always picking my food. I know what your thinking, “Oh that is so terrible, You poor guy.” I agree with you, poor me.  I usually picked the same type of food and had almost no variety.

So about a year ago I started to tell the wait staff when they come by to pick my food for me. Don’t tell me what you pick for me but give me your favorite food. Their favorite dish they serve. I have had some great choices. I received a Mahi Mahi meal at The Cheesecake Factor that was one of the top five meals I have ever eaten.  Just two days I ate at Armondo’s Cuban restaurant and had Paellas de Mariscos  that had very chewy calamari. Yesterday was Bison at Ted’s Montana Grill, good food, service not so much.

 I hope you see that I enjoy the eats.

I needed a way to lose the calories from my eats so I trained and competed in a Sprint triathlon last year. I didn’t have the best time but I didn’t die and I beat the 76-year-old woman on the Huffy bike so that was good.

This year, and especially after this past Christmas, I needed a goal to shoot for. I decided that I was going to run the Jekyll Island Turtle Crawl International distance Triathlon. Which consists of 1 mile ocean swim, 25 mile bike ride and a 10K at the end for good measure.

I was okay with the swim, at my weight I float more than swim. I can ride like the wind on the bike, thought those iddy biddy seats leave A LOT of room for comfort. I know they make them small for less weight but at my size what is an extra 1.275 lbs. Give me the seat with Springs in it.

The problem with whole triathlon scenario is that I do not like to run. I have run and run and run before. I do not like it. I do not like it Sam I am. I do not like on a track, I do not like in the rain, I do not like in a gym, I do not like it Sam I am.

I have struggled with the running portion. I am trying to run 3.5 miles twice a week without stopping. I can do it but I talk myself out of it. So three weeks ago I said that I am going to run the 3.5 miles without stopping and you know what I did it. I ran 3.5 miles. In a blistering 30+/- minutes. Not a land speed record mind you but I think I can still beat the 76-year-old lady. No bets but I think.

Last week as I contemplated how far I had run I wondered. How far can I run until I have to stop, drop and curl up in the fetal position from cramps. I thought it a good idea at the time but really decided that I am good with 3.5 miles once I was into the run.

As I progressed in my run I eventually hit 3 miles and I was still feeling pretty good so I spontaneously turned right and headed down in front of the Home Depot to extend my run. I continued running and knew of another mile loop that could extend my run to 4.5 miles. Can you guess what happened at the end of 4.5 miles? For those playing along at home, if you said I kept running you are correct. If you said something different 10 push ups for negative thoughts.

So I chose a different path on my run and soon my run became a mission to see how far I could really run without stopping. Towards the end of the run I was just trying to extend my distance to the next street lamp. In fact I counted down from 8 to 1 to get to the corner and finish. It was a great run. I completed 6 miles in under an hour and had a huge personal success. By time I was done that 76-year-old lady was nowhere to be seen. She was probably already done and back to the gym resting but in my mind I had won.

Some days it pays to see what you can do, how far you can push it. You might just surprise yourself.

PS. I told this story to my friend Melanie. She had some of the same challenges running and said she had a mental block at 2 miles. We talked and she told me the next time she was going to run she was going to do three miles. Like  a good friend she reported back her success and told me on Tuesday that she completed 3 miles without stopping. Congrats Melanie

Good day, Good times.

Honey-do list

This past week my wife reminded me that her mother, sisters, and sister-in-law were coming to visit for four days. Now, this is not one of those posts that rag on the in-laws. I like my mother-in-law. She is nothing but a nice, hard-working, genuine person.

What caught me off guard was the level of chores I needed to get done for them to stay at my house. I think we have a nice house, not overly extravagant, but very functional.

As I sat there on Saturday morning and looked at my list, I knew my day going to be long. I started to move down the list of chores. I like lists, they keep me on track, and I like to cross things off and see some accomplishment.

One of my “to dos” was to paint the front door and attach a new kick plate. My wife and I went to Home Depot and made our (her) decision. Upon returning home, I looked at the front door and saw that there was prep work needed before I could paint.

Prep work can be just as important as the actual job. Without sanding and prepping, the paint would not adhere as well, and the door’s surface would not look as smooth.

I had a consultant who was hired to fill a difficult position. He was very knowledgeable and smart.

I took him to lunch from time-to-time to check-in and see how things are going. His response was generally the same each time:

“Good. A little slow. I wish there was more work.” he said

However, I met with the manager this last week and she was very unhappy. She was very busy and had brought that consultant in to help her finish some projects. She explained that every time she assigned him a project, he ran with it.

The problem is that she had never told him the “companies way” of doing things. She figured he was senior consultant and he should know how to do the work. But, they ended up having to redo some of his work to match the company requirements.

He was completing the projects all wrong. He needed to learn the “company’s way” of doing things. She readily admitted she needed to spend more time coaching him. And when I talked to the consultant, he admitted they had just turned him loose.

She figured, much like my door, since the paint was already on there, no real prep-work was needed. The consultant didn’t see the need to change to meet the needs of the company. After all, he knows the software. But just like the door, there needed to be some adjustment to make sure things were done correctly so the paint (work) would function as needed.

I think many problems could have been avoided through a simple dialogue of the needs and expectations of the project.

I asked for feedback several times as I painted the door. In the end my wife said the door looked good. My only problem,was that five more “to dos” came in while I was trying to paint the door.

Good luck and good times.

Nobody loves you like Mom

I tell my kids all the time I am not your Mom. I am not going to pick up your clothes, books, dirty dishes or what ever noun you want to put in the open space. My wife tells them that she is not their maid. I asked my kids after dinner when they left the table who they planned on clearing their plates and silverware. They replied they wanted me to do it.  Nope. As Dana Carvey said for George Bush on SNL “Not gonna do it”. 

I told them, you are required to do the things that you are capable to do.

I love to help people. I think service is a great thing in life.  As a boy scout leader I often admonished the scouts to see who they could help for the day.

People often are like water, they like to follow the path of least resistance. I had a person call me and said that no one has called him back about his resumé or anything.  I asked if he had followed up with the recruiter and he said no. “Well, why not” I thought.

It is easier to call a recruiter once or maybe twice or send in 50 resume to positions on the job boards and cross their fingers than for a person to go find themselves a job.

I think Self Helps books are great. I have been to a seminar by wonderfully pontificating sales professionals. Hint they cannot sell for you. Just going to the seminar does nothing but lose you money. You have to put the actions in place to achieve your goal. In the end the work is all that matters. 

Are you doing the work necessary to succeed? I didn’t say work harder, faster, stronger as they all have drawbacks. Are you doing what it takes to succeed?

I like to do landscaping. Sometimes when I go too fast I can see that there are changes that need to be made and in the end it costs me more time. I can dig holes in my yard to put in irrigation but if I paid $100 for a Ditch witch I can to it in 1/10 th of the time.  But if I rented the Ditch witch and waited for someone to come by and out of the goodness of their heart dig up my backyard for 4-5 hours I think I would  be waiting a while. I have a higher likelihood that my kids will clean their rooms on their own. As if that ever happens

If you can see the plan, execute it. Do it.

Nike had it right when they said “Just Do it.”

If I really cared about losing weight I wouldn’t have had two  ice cream cones at Jason’s Deli now would I. Probably not. Not that I would anyway :).

If I really cared about my kids I would teach them how to do things for themselves. I remember a saying from the wresting room in highschool. “Opportunity is when luck meets preparation.”

I read a book on leadership and watched the movie Invictus. Both had the same poem by William Ernest Henley.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I love the last two lines. Think about them, ponder them. Now get out there and Achieve it.

String Cheese and Oreos

The new year is upon us. Out with 2009 and in with the 2010. I am happy to back to work so I can get some rest. With all the things that go on in the holidays I think it becomes more stressful than regular work.

The new year means going back to work and checking on the things you left undone or needed to complete from the Holidays. My cubemate came back to a little less than 400 unread emails. It took her a couple of days just to sort through the deluge of information and questions.

I struggle to remember what I need to do from yesterday.  You can ask my wife she has to even write me a detailed list for the grocery store because if not it is string cheese and Oreos for dinner

Imagine trying to remember where I had left off from 2-3 weeks ago. If you are looking to change careers or gain a new career, do not assume that people remember anyones status from December.

Now is the time to call, send emails, send up the flares.  Personal contact being the best. It’s easy to glance at an email and forget. It takes effort to talk. Start trying to touch base with everyone.

“Everyone” you ask.

“Everyone” I say.

I give you an example. I talk to people all day about positions and resumes. I had a candidate referred to me with great marketable skills.  I didn’t have anything for him then but I asked him to call me every week or two to check in and I would call him if anything popped up.

Long story short he doesn’t call and I forget. Several potential positions come and go that were potential positions of interest. I was invited to a Networking event two months later and guess who I run into, my candidate. I tell him to call me the next day. He doesn’t call, which baffles me, but I receive a job  for the exact skills he has and in the industry he just left.  I called him and we end up setting up an interview. None of that would have happened if we would not have talked the day before.

Timing is everything. Time to reach out. I know a lot of people do not want to bother their friends and acquaintances about their job search. I have never heard a friend say ” I am tired of trying to help my friend get  a job.” If they did they weren’t a  true friend. People understand the economic times.

Companies are hiring. The most recent jobless numbers are down. While we do not know all the factors, there are people getting hired and starting new positions right now.

While job boards are good the highest percentage of positions are filled through networking.

Good luck and go call someone.

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