running, triathlon

The Triathlete Black Friday Checklist

0 Comments 24 November 2014

Screen shot 2014-11-24 at 5.32.35 PMDo you want to set yourself up for a great 2015 season?  Then make sure to be fully stocked and ready to go by taking advantage of Black Friday to Cyber Monday deals.

1) Know What You Need

Create your list of what you need. Last week, I wrote about how to do your Triathlete Off-Season Inventory.  If you haven’t done that, make sure to do so now.  It’s no use shopping if you don’t know what you need!

2) Know Your Options

Once you have your list, do your research.  Call up or visit your local shop, check online at a variety of stores, and sign up for to get emails on sales and discounts.  Make sure to factor in shipping and handling costs- some online stores will do big discounts on products but raise the price.

3) Shop local

Did you know Amazon is going to start doing local how-to clinics, lead weekend rides, offer in-person service, and volunteer at races? You’re right, they won’t, and they never will.

There are some things online stores can never replace.  Studies have shown that just a 10% shift in buying more locally can have a huge impact on your area. Make an effort to shop and support your local triathlon, bike, running and swim shops.  I do buy online, but I don’t try it on in a store and then buy it online from someone else, and I also try to buy at least one thing I need from each of my favorite local shops.

4) Stock up on what you know you’ll use.

A couple years ago, I found my favorite shoes marked down from $110 to $40. I stocked up, and will go about 2 1/2 years without having to buy shoes.

BONUS TIP: Don’t forget to check out deals on races- many race promoters will also do deals this weekend.

5) Don’t stock up on products you don’t know or won’t use

One year I saw a great deal on cycling knee warmers.  I never used them, but they were only $4, so it wasn’t a huge loss.  However, sometimes more expensive items I’ve never used are tempting.

There’s also a great story in the book Decisive by The Heath Brothers about getting what you need vs. what you want.  A guy is stuck trying to decide between a stereo that’s $700, or a stereo that’s slightly better for $1,000.  The salesperson, who must not have been on commission, asked him this question- “Would you rather have the $1,000 stereo, or the $700 stereo and $300 worth of downloads?”

So before you decide to make a crazy purchase, even at a discount, make sure to figure out if it’s worth it or if you’d you’d really like something else more.

6) Do something good for someone else

Make time to think of someone else by donating items or money to a running or endurance related organizations for those in needs- Soles4Soles, Barefoot Republic, Challenged Athlete Foundation, SoleHope or Bikes Not Bombs are some great.  Help someone swim, bike or run!

Do you have any tips for helping another triathlete shop well?  Comment below!

Check out: How To Do Your Triathlon Off-Season Inventory

Five Ways To Help A Friend In Need

Brian Lord is a very average age-group athlete who loves to help encourage others in the sport, save money, and write bylines about himself in the third person.

marathon, running, triathlon

How To Do Your Triathlon Off-Season Inventory

1 Comment 17 November 2014

Screen shot 2014-11-17 at 2.15.10 PM

For most triathletes, the season is over and we’re well into our “off-season recovery program”, aka, “laziness”.  With a little more time on your hands, you can conduct your first annual triathlon inventory.  Now is a perfect time to do your inventory before Black Friday and Cyber Monday hit!

Nutrition Inventory

1) Throw out what is old.  When do those Honey Stinger waffles expire? Are those GUs too gooey? Now is a much better time to figure that out then when you’re on a bike ride 40 miles from home.

2) Organize and put away what you have.  For me, I love feeling like I have a little store with gels, bars, and waffles and drank tablet tabs all in their own boxes. (I think this comes from always wanting a full box of baseball card packs as a kid.)  My wife thinks I’m weird, but she married a triathlete, so she should have known ‘weird’ came with the territory.

3) Make a list of what you need.  How many gels do you have?    Do you have enough endurance drink powder to last the long winter of biking on the trainer?   CLICK HERE FOR 6 Step Checklist To Take Advantage of Black Friday

(Exclusive Interview with Mark Allen: The Art of Ironman Success)

Gear Inventory

I basically take everything and dump it into a big pile.  With shorts, tops, socks, jammers and everything else spread between drawers, closets, car, and bags, I’ll often find something that’s been missing forever (and hopefully wasn’t dirty!)

1) Organize and put away what you have and want to keep.  Sometimes it’s just so nice to see all your clothes actually folded.  It’s the simple things.

2) Donate what is still in good condition.  Connect with your local triathlon or running club, bike shop or Y to see if there are any running, cycling, or endurance related nonprofits in your area.  Don’t wait till your gear is past doing any good before donating.  If you don’t have usable gear to donate, thing about making a monetary donation.  It pays to help the next generation!

3) Throw away or recycle what you’re not donating or keeping.  Bonus tip- Check your helmet.  If it’s more than a few years old, you need to stop using it, even if you’ve not been in a wreck.  I thought this wasn’t legit until I asked several veteran triathletes, and they all said it’s true due to natural breakdown.  One triathlete who worked in construction said they’re required to get new hardhats every year for the same reason.

4) Make a list of everything you need for the next year.  Are those compression socks still compressing? Are you good on goggles, both clear and tinted?   Keep this list to figure out how to take advantage of Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals (CLICK HERE FOR 6 Step Checklist To Take Advantage of Black Friday)

(Also read: The Triathlete’s Secret Weapon At Work)

Bonus: Friend Inventory

1) Hang out, don’t work out. There is no 2). Since you’re probably not doing as many group training bricks as you normally do, pick a night to get together to just hang out, celebrate the year you’ve had, and burn as few calories as possible.  Talk about the glorious races, failures and victories, mechanical and bodily malfunctions and all those things that only fellow endurance athletes would understand.  You’ve earned it!

What tips to you have to share about taking advantage of downtime and getting ready for next season?

ALSO CHECK OUT:

Why Older Triathletes Are Freaks!

The Surprising Reason Rock Bands Demand M&Ms

baseball, interview

Interview with Royals ’85 World Series Hero Jim Sundberg

1 Comment 29 October 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-29 at 4.07.19 PMFOX has been replaying Jim Sundberg’s famous game-winning slide for the Royals from the 1985 World Series practically non-stop. I caught up with Jim and he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about the series.

 

This year’s Royals team is looked on as a Cinderella that came out of nowhere.  Was your ’85 team looked on the same way?
Similar in several ways in that we didn’t win our division until one day remaining in regular season. We had strong pitching, good defense and timing hitting. I believe we had a better rotation and the current KC Club had a better back end bullpen. We hardly used our bullpen outside of Quisenbury in WS, whereas, the ’14 KC team will hope they use their last three guys out of the pen. If they have a 6th or 7th inning lead, KC will win the series.

What do you think made your 1985 World Series team so special?
Our starting rotation ended up being the best in baseball the last three weeks of regular season and all of the post season play. I believe both Toronto and St. Louis hit around .150 – .160 as a team. Good defense and grinding out guys with key hits.

Catchers are often called the quarterback of the baseball diamond, especially with a younger team.  What do you feel made you a good leader?
KC manager Dick Howser said that I was a missing ingredient that would help the Royals win a WS because of KC’s young staff. Our young pitchers, Brett Saberhagen, Danny Jackson and Mark Gubizah along with veterans Bud Black and Charlie Leibrant were great to work with and very talented. A great roation to a catcher is like a great bullpen to a manager, they make us looks smart. We had great chemistry, good communication and they respected what I brought to the table, experience! A good leader knows his staff, what makes them click, how to get the best out of them and they know that he cares about their success and is respected for those characteristics.

What lessons have you carried over from the experience into being a successful baseball executive?
I have learned that the characteristics mentioned above about a good leader is true: knows his staff, what makes them click, how to get the best out of them and they know that you care about their success and is respected for those characteristics. An executive has to be ab le to “show the way” (walk the talk), communicate the way on a regular basis (sale it internally to staff) and willingness to adjust vision details (adapt to cultural changes).

When you speak to audiences about leadership and teamwork, what can they learn from that special 1985 World Series team?
Baseball is a great example of how people need to except and appreciate what the others around them can do. Every player on the field has a role and supported by those playing around them. A group of people need to decide to come together, excepting each ones’ skill set and appreciate what others bring to the table and there is a buy-in because the gain far outweighs the pain. From this point, momentum will come from consistent successes and will chemistry will add to coming together and the cycle starts again.

Jim is currently with the Texas Rangers organization and is a sought after motivational speaker that you can check out here.

 

Also check out: What’s It Like To Spend A Morning With Peyton Manning?

A Little Known Robin Williams Story

interview, running, triathlon

Mark Allen- The Art of Ironman Success

0 Comments 07 October 2014

MarkAllenMark Allen, who ESPN picked as the #1 endurance athlete of all-time, took some time to do this interview with me and answer some of these questions:

What is the single best step an age-group triathlete can take to be successful?

How do you come back from a tough defeat? (Dave lost the Ironman world championship six time before overcoming his arch rival Dave Scott to win six straight himself).

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE Interview with all-time great triathlete, Chrissie Wellington

What are the universal tools people need in order to be successful in sports and business?

It’s the week of the Ironman World Championship, so I’ll be posting triathlon stories all week long!
READ: WHY OLDER TRIATHLETES ARE FREAKS
READ:  THE TRIATHLETE’S SECRET WEAPON AT WORK

READ: RE-RUNNING THE RACE THAT STARTED IT ALL

basketball, celebrities, interview

What You Can Learn About Hustle From A 7’4 Guy

0 Comments 02 October 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 2.48.52 PMIf you can take a story from a 7’4 NBA player and immediately apply it to your elementary school daughters, you know the guy has a good story.  Former auto mechanic turned NBA all-star Mark Eaton was nice enough to swing by the office for lunch and an interview.  One of his stories I liked best is that even with a natural advantage (being 7’4), he still had to work extremely hard to succeed.

When I got home that evening, I asked my daughters this question- If you knew you were going to be on the bench and wouldn’t get in the game, would you still work hard at practice?  My oldest daughter immediately said, “Yes, so I can get in the game!”.  My youngest daughter wasn’t so sure, so I shared part of Mark’s story.  Spotted by a junior college coachon an LA street corner on his way to his job as an auto mechanic, Mark eventually made it onto UCLA’s squad, where he sat the bench.  In his senior year, he played a total of just 41 minutes during the entire season.  However, following the advice of the junior college coach who helped him get started, he made sure to make every practice count.  He’d treat every practice like it was the game, where he’d try to out-work and out-hustle everyone. He’d be the first person to the gym and the last person to leave.

After graduation, he and his old coach began cold calling NBA teams for a tryout, because no one had ever heard of him.  One team, the Jazz, were so desperate that they gave a tryout to a guy who couldn’t get off the bench in college.  That 7 feet, four inches of height wasn’t enough to get him into a game in college, but adding that to those thankless years of hard work paid off.  Mark not only got in the game, but he became a starter. He became not just a starter, but an All-Star and two-time Defensive Player Of The Year on a perennial playoff team, going from a total of 41 minutes of game time his senior year to over 25,000 minutes of playing time over 11 years against the best players in the world in the NBA.

So, I got to share his message right away with my daughters- natural ability has it’s place, but you’ll go so much farther if you combine it with hard work.

Here’s my interview with Mark Eaton:

Special thanks to Eric Woodie for the video work.

Watch: 10 Tools Every Leaders Should Have- Interview with Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam

Behind The Scenes of “Blackhawk Down” & “Sweet Home Alabama”- Interview with Keni Thomas.

Read: What Would You Do On The Worst Day Of Your Life?

running, triathlon, work

The Triathlete’s Secret Weapon At Work

0 Comments 22 September 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 5.56.44 AMDid you know that many triathletes and runners have a secret weapon they could be using at work?  Make sure to only read this article if you want to improve your work performance, triathlon performance, avoid crows feet, and enhance your “that person is weird but also weirdly cool” vibe you’ve likely been building up with your non-endurance co-workers.

Last year I read an article called “Balance Training For Triathletes” by Ben Greenfield in LAVA Magazine.  In it, Ben states that to improve your visual balance, triathletes who spend quite a bit of time looking at screens (i.e., almost everyone) should wear “gamer” glasses.  According to the Vision Council, 70% of US adults do experience eye strain from staring at computer screens.  I did some research and found out that A) the science checks out and gamer glasses do help reduce eye strain for most people, and B) gamer glasses start at $80-$100, which I didn’t want to spend.

However, I found out that as a triathlete, I already had gamer glasses and didn’t know it.  Continue Reading

george w bush, interview

Pilot of Air Force One on 9/11, Col. Mark Tillman [Interview]

0 Comments 09 September 2014

Tillman2BrianWhat system allows you to be prepared no matter the situation?  Col. Mark Tillman, Pilot of Air Force One on  9/11, shares about the “Zero Fail Mission” philosophy.  Col. Tillman flew for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush and certainly has some amazing stories to tell.

 

Also, check out

author, interview

Fmr Southwest Airlines CEO- 10 Tools Every Leader Should Have

0 Comments 09 September 2014

Howard PutnamDuring a chance encounter on an airplane (where else?), former Southwest Airlines CEO Howard Putnam ran into a talented and ambitious but inexperienced leader in need of some guidance.  What 1o tools did Howard Putnam tell this younger leader were needed?

faith, Hope, money, triathlon

5 Ways To Help A Friend In Need

1 Comment 01 September 2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 6.52.46 PMHow do you help a friend who has suddenly been hospitalized?  I had a good friend who crashed on her bike yesterday training for Ironman Chattanooga, suffered a severe injury and is now facing a long hospital stay and even longer recuperation.  I’ve had a surprise hospitalization and long recovery myself, so I thought I’d write down some things you can do to help a friend in the same situation.

For an oversimplified version of my story, a fist sized mass on my small intestine, which had grown from a surgery 30 years earlier, decided to explode, because, you know, it felt like it.  I went to the hospital at 3AM, and woke up sometime the next day with tubes in my nose, horrible pain, and had a half foot incision on my stomach.  After 10 days in the hospital on an IV drip, I was released to go home.  It was a high stress time, as we had a newborn, a toddler and had just moved into a new house without having been able to sell our old house (thank you, economy :).  Since they cut clear through the muscles of the abdominal wall, I couldn’t support anything, and wasn’t allowed to hold my little baby for almost two months.  Come to think of it, my intestines exploded almost 7 years ago today, and it took till about Christmas till I was back to normal.

Luckily, we had an incredible group of friends and family looking out for us, and they set a great example for how to help someone like us in need.

1) Pray 

Prayer works.  Jesus is listening, so pray for that person daily or whenever they come to mind.

2) Food
A meal list is a popular thing, but you need to make sure you do it the right way.  Sometimes people feel the size of their dish has to be big to show they care, but seriously, who can eat a gigantic vegetable lasagna in one sitting?  Also, make sure that if you make a meal for someone, it’s in a disposable dish. We ended up having quite a collection of those porcelain casserole dishes with no idea who they belonged to.  Our Sunday school class and neighbors were amazing.  Make sure you leave instruction if necessary. An Indian family across the street made us some authentic Indian food.  When we relayed that we’d mixed the rice-type stuff and the cinnamon golf ball thing together, they were like, “Yeah, you mixed the main course and the dessert together…but that’s totally, uh, fine.”

2.5) Delivery

I like to do gift cards for places that deliver, or are very close to their home or where their spouse works.  That way, they can get what they want, when they want it. If it’s a delivery place, make sure to not just give the gift card (which they can use to pay over the phone), but also include a few bucks for tip for the delivery person, which generally you can’t do with a gift card.
3) Money
Crowdrise and some other places have cool ways to collect funds for people.  Gift cards to places like Target, Wal-Mart, Publix, etc, work well (ask a closer friend who might know where they shop).

Want to always be prepared to help? Start Your Own Emergency Giving Fund!

4) House help
One of our neighbors hired a guy to mow our yard.  I was completely out of it, and it never occurred to me to do it myself.  I remember laundry was the bane of our existence for a while. See if you can help around the house, or better yet, hire a house cleaner for them for a time.  Sometimes people prefer to have a stranger cleaning things up, rather than having a friend see all their mess.  Cleaners can be expensive, so in one instance 10 friends got together and paid for it. Also, don’t forget their spouse.  Often it’s harder on them in some ways that the person with the physical recovery.  My wife was awesome, but I know it really took a toll on her, and it was great when family or friends came and gave her a break.

5) Calendar
Take out your calendar right now, whether its in a planner or on your phone or whatever, and mark it for one month, two months, and/or three months from now.  THAT is when this friend of yours really needs you.  It’s human nature to have a big emotional reaction right when an accident or hospitalization occurs, but your friend is still in need much longer.   Get them another gift card, watch their kids for them, send them a card to encourage them on October 1st, November 1st, and December 1st.

How has someone helped you in a time of need?

ALSO READ: 3 Small Steps To Make 1 Big Difference

 

Hope, jesus

What Would You Do On The Worst Day Of Your Life?

0 Comments 29 August 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-29 at 1.14.25 PM

What would you do on the worst day of your life?

Over the past 15 months, I’ve had some of the worst days of my life- like when I found out my dad passed away suddenly at 60, or when we lost our first-born son-to-be stillborn.  But there was a story I’d learned before those ‘worst days’ that helped me desire to be a strong father and brother and son, even in mourning and heartbreak.  It has also helped me keep my eyes open on those more regular ‘bad’ days for opportunities I might otherwise miss.

I don’t know if you had a cousin who was your best friend growing up, but I’m sure John (who down the road would add “The Baptist”) would fit the bill for Jesus.  Jesus and John were cousins born only six months apart.  Baby John leapt in the womb when his mother came near to Mary, so they were practically best buds before they were born.  John’s parents Zechariah and Elizabeth were church leaders (Luke 1) and an older couple who knew Jesus was going to be special.  You’d have to think they took a strong interest in mentoring the younger Mary and Joseph, which means Jesus and John would have spent even more time together.  I know the Bible takes a serious tone in most places, but if there was ever anyone who gave our Lord and Savior a noogie, it was probably John.

Fast forward 30 years or so.  John’s ministry is in full swing, the opening act to the greatest story ever told.  Jesus calls John “the greatest man ever born of a woman” (Luke 7:28)- that puts him higher than Adam, Moses, Abraham, David, you name it.  As Jesus begins his ministry John is arrested and put in prison.  Then one night King Herod gets drunk at a party, makes a promise to dancer whose mother had a vendetta against John the Baptist, and rather than looking bad to the other people at the party, he gives in and orders John to be beheaded.  

His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.  John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.”(Matthew 14:11-12)

In verse 13, Jesus responds as you or I might do upon finding out our best friend or a loved one is dead.

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”

He just wanted to be alone.  But the people wouldn’t cooperate.

“Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns.”

Seriously, people, can’t you let the man alone?  But curiosity is a strong thing.  I started to write that
the people were curious to see what Batman would do now that Robin was dead, but at the time, John was probably the ‘bigger name’. From their perspective, they may have been curious to know what Robin would do now that Batman was dead.  In the past, when one great person died, the next might still be great, but was still a step down.  Moses to Joshua. Elijah to Elisha (true, Elisha did more miracles than Elijah, but who ended up on the mount with Jesus and Moses?).

And this is where the story begins to change from what you or I might naturally want to do.

“When Jesus landed and saw the large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” (Matthew 11:14)

Despite wanting to be alone, he remembered what he was sent here to do.  Maybe he also had the thought he didn’t want anyone else to die that day, and he was going to heal as many as possible.  

“As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and its already getting late.  Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
 (Matt 11:15)

Now the disciples may have been being practical, or maybe they were just covering for their leader and trying to give him some alone time.  But again, Jesus surprised them, and teod the disciples “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat,” even though they only had 5 loaves of bread and two fish.  In the emotional context, you wonder if he’s saying to his disciples, “Its not about how cruddy I’m feeling or you’re feeling, its about them.  This is what you do.”

You know the rest of the story- Jesus gives thanks for the bread and fish, who hands it to his disciples to give to the people, (I like how Jesus makes them part of the process- not manna from heaven to those in need, but from Jesus, through disciples, to the needy), and miraculously the 5,000 men, plus women and children, are fed.  On the worst day of His life, Jesus performs one of his greatest miracles.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on the mountainside to pray. When evening came, he was alone” (Matthew 11:22-23)

Jesus told the disciples to go on ahead, even though they were probably wondering how Jesus was going to get back to town.  Boats are much faster than walking all the way around the lake.  “But,” they probably thought, “he did just miraculously feed 5,000 people.  Perhaps we’ll give him a pass on this one.”  Jesus finally had his alone time to pray that he’d been craving all day.

In the middle of the night, the disciples, despite many of them being experienced fisherman who’d been in boats their whole lives, were still in their boat “a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.”

Jesus decided it was time for another miracle. He walked out onto the stormy water to the boat.

“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.  “Its a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.” (Matthew 11:26)

Heck, yeah.

“But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”

You probably know the rest of this story, too.  Peter asks to come out and walk on the water, too, Jesus says yes, and a long as Peter’s eyes are on Jesus, he can do the miraculous.  But once Peter started looking at the wind instead of Jesus, he sank.  Again, you have that connection of Jesus, to disciple, to the miraculous.

On what was likely the worst day of his life, Jesus performed two of his most famous miracles- feeding the five thousand and walking on water. He had compassion on those in need when he saw them. He taught his disciples that they were the conduit of miracles if only they would have faith and keep their eyes on him.

I wouldn’t wish the worst day of your life on anyone.  But you can take heart in knowing that even on the worst day of your life, God is still in control and can still work miracles through us.

(NOTE: This was originally posted on April 12, 2011)

ALSO READ: Remembering My Dad

Remembering Our Baby Jonathan