Saturday, September 18, 2010


Yes, it's been a while since I've checked in... with a busy work schedule on top of back-to-school time for the girls, something had to give.  And it was the blogging that gave.  But for a quick update:

Progress is being made in three areas, but the level of progress varies.

  • Not-so-great progress: The fundraising for Echelon Gran Fondo.  Yes, I set a tough fundraising goal of $2,500.  On top of the very generous $1,000 that people raised for the Seattle Rock N Roll marathon back in June.  So it isn't too surprising that we sit at $500 today, 8 days out from the ride.  But I was hoping to get more out of a very generous in-kind donation from one of my mentors, TV Srinivasan.  Alas, executing coaching is considered by many to be a luxury item, and in the current uncertain economic climate, we didn't realize the full fundraising potential of that generosity.  Nevertheless, we still raised $500 to fight cancer via the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, which is still a great accomplishment!  And you can still donate for another month after the ride, so please do keep those donations coming!
  • Good progress: Training for the Gran Fondo has gone well.  It took some creative scheduling of rides and liberal use of the home exercise bike on weekday mornings before work, but according to TrainingPeaks, my fitness level (the blue line) is solid while my freshness level (the orange line) is peaking:
  • Great progress: The weight is coming down.  After tweaking my diet a bit (higher protein to prevent random hunger, eliminating soda, minimizing processed foods) and religiously tracking my consumption and exercise on TrainingPeaks, I seem to be making steady progress.  Over the last 7 weeks, I've managed to drop 7.8 pounds and now sit at 190.4.  That means there's a reasonable chance of having to pull less than 190 pounds uphill next weekend.  Oh, did I mention that 190 is the lowest I've weight since May 1999?  That's progress! :)

Thanks for checking in everyone... hopefully I'll get one more post out before the big event.  Until then, onward!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Attention Professionals! Fight Cancer, Get an Executive Coach!

Sept 14th update
There are still coaching slots available!  To make this a little more lucrative for you, the potential donor, here's what we're offering for the next three donations:
  • Make a $100 donation at my Echelon Gran Fondo fundraising page.
  • Then e-mail me at with “Gran Fondo” in the subject line and indicating that your donation is going toward the Executive Coaching giveaway.
  • You will receive 3 hours of executive coaching!
This latest offer will remain open until we have 3 donors at the $100 level interested in the coaching giveaway.  So sign up now to claim your hours!

= o = o = o = o =

As you may know, I’m riding the Echelon Gran Fondo 100-mile ride on September 26th in support of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and LIVESTRONG.  One very generous donation that I’ve received is ten hours of executive coaching to pass along to you – the other donors who support my fundraising efforts for these worthy causes.  The donation comes from one of my mentors, TV Srinivasan.  I’ve known TV for over 10 years, going back to his days as a business leader at DuPont.  Over the last two years, as he has moved into executive coaching, TV has been my mentor.  Working with TV, I’ve been able to better balance the priorities of family and work, to more effectively set realistic but aggressive goals for my professional and personal life, and to better manage my stress level.  TV’s widely varied business experience, working across cultures and building partnerships gives him an incredible wealth of knowledge from which to draw when coaching.  For more on TV, check out his credentials at LinkedIn.

How you can win executive coaching
There are two ways you can win one (or more!) of the ten hours of coaching:

1. Purchase an hour!  Five of the ten hours are set aside for outright purchase.  All you have to do is:
  • Make a $100 donation at my Echelon Gran Fondo fundraising page.
  • Then e-mail me at with “Gran Fondo” in the subject line and indicating that your donation is going toward the Executive Coaching giveaway.

At that point, if you’re one of the first five donors at the $100 level, I’ll put you in touch with TV to arrange for your coaching.  And yes, if you donate at the $200 level, you can purchase 2 hours, $300 for 3 hours, etc.  Once the five hours are sold out, I will post an update at the page stating so.

2. Enter a raffle!  Five of the ten hours are in a raffle pool.  To enter the raffle:
  • Make a $50 donation at my Echelon Gran Fondo fundraising page.
  • Then e-mail me at with “Gran Fondo” in the subject line and indicating that your donation is going toward the Executive Coaching giveaway.

At that point, you’re in the raffle.  The raffle will end Sunday, September 12th at noon Pacific Daylight Time… with one caveat.  We need to have at least 15 entries in the raffle to close out the raffle and select the winners using the list randomizer at  So forward this to your friends and colleagues to ensure we have enough entries to move forward with the raffle!  And yes, you can enter the raffle multiple times to give yourself multiple chances to win.

Once you’ve won an hour of coaching, you and TV can arrange how to utilize your hour: a single one-hour session, two thirty-minute sessions, three twenty-minute sessions or some other arrangement.  Just keep in mind that with TV in India, most US clients find it convenient to set up morning or evening appointments with TV, in which he will call you.

Good luck!
I’ve benefitted greatly from TV’s coaching, so I congratulate those of you pursuing these coaching hours.  And keep in mind, you don’t have to want executive coaching to make a donation toward the Knight Cancer Institute and LIVESTRONG – just make a donation at my fundraising page and know that you’ve benefiting a pair of great causes!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Hi everyone!  Yes, it's been a while since I last posted, but training hasn't taken much of a break since then.  I did have a nice break from running the week after the marathon, and had about a week off during the first half of July due to a flu/cold thing (although I did not get the immediate post-marathon cold, which is a first!).  The training has gone on, but it has undergone some changes.

1) I've transitioned the training from run-focused to cycling-focused.  When I was running, I was doing 2-3 runs a week and supplementing the cardio with cycling - basically a strategy not to injure the hip, knee and feet since they've all had problems in the past.  Now, the training is cycling-focused, shooting for 3-5 rides a week with the occasional run thrown in for variety or when traveling and I don't have a bike or an exercise bike available.  And yes, sometimes I'm resorting to the exercise bike.  If you travel to Arizona or Nebraska, where it's 115 degrees or 100 degrees / 80% humidity, a hotel recumbent bike is far better than killing myself outside.  So while I haven't quite got the miles and times in that I've wanted every week, I have consistently been getting in my workouts:

2) I've started doing heart-rate based training.  The bonk that I experienced in a couple of my long runs earlier this year, and the meltdown that occurred at mile 17 of Seattle, may have been hydration/nutrition-caused.  But just as likely they were days that I was pushing the envelope and just didn't notice that I was stretching myself thin.  Since I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 305 with a heart-rate monitor in early July (thanks, Mom, for the birthday money!), I started to notice that during a workout I cannot feel the difference between a 150-bpm effort and a 170-bpm effort.  But a 150-bpm effort will build endurance without killing me, where the 170-bpm effort will leave me fatigued and make it harder to work out the next day, and lead to a nice cold if maintained a couple of days in a row.

I noticed the shift in philosophy paying off a few times in the last week.  I've been keeping most workouts under 163bpm - my supposed Lactate Threshold.  Then, I rode a killer ride up Bald Peak last Saturday:

Yes, the heart-rate monitor was going off all the way up the cat 2 climb... but I was able to maintain my heart rate at a reasonable spot the rest of the ride, including up the cat 5 climb - which isn't that easy when you're riding it in 92 degree weather!  And after a day off on Sunday, I was smart enough to spin a recovery workout Monday morning at 130bpm, to get in some miles without really taxing the body.  Honestly, I'm starting to wonder if the Garmin is the best piece of equipment I have ever purchased!

3) The third change I've made is another approach towards training - being deliberate.  Not only in planning my workouts, but in monitoring what I put in my body.  Let's face it, going up Bald Peak as a 195 pound rider is a lot tougher than going up as a 155 pound rider (which is where my target weight is).  A great website has made it very easy for me to plan my workouts and monitor my intake:  This software is used by everyone from Tour de France professional riders to weekend warriors like myself, and so far it seems to be paying off.  By tracking intake, I've become very conscious of what I eat - so much so that I actually lost weight on a 6-day trip that involved a couple of dinners out.  Between the Garmin and TrainingPeaks, I feel that I'm ready to take my fitness to the next level!

One downside of turning from a runner into a cyclist (or serious triathlete) is the time required for training.  That means in addition to being deliberate about my training and nutrition, I need to be very deliberate about my priorities.  Sure, I could go out and do a 5-hour ride on Saturday followed by another 5-hour ride on Sunday to get in serious miles, but that wouldn't leave much time for family activities.  That means weekend workout planning is a joint activity between Christine and I, to make sure that training time is not taking away (much) from family time.  It's a constant challenge, but last I checked, my paycheck comes from being a quality expert, not a cyclist - and in the grand scheme of things, hobbies shouldn't trump family.  So far it seems to be working, and hopefully we can keep up a healthy balance through the duration of century training.

Speaking of century training, just a reminder that the Echelon Gran Fondo is only 40 days away!  So far, fundraising is going slowly... only $225 out of the $2,500 target has been raised.  But I hope to announce something in the next few days that will help out with that.  In the meantime, please do donate here to help in the battle against cancer!  Whether you donate $5 or $500, it all help out and goes to a couple of great causes.

Until next time, onwards!

Monday, July 5, 2010

LIVESTRONG Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon race report

Hi everyone!

I hope that you've all had a great Fourth of July weekend and got to spend time with family and friends or whomever you choose to spend your time with.  We had an enjoyable four days of vacation after the marathon in Seattle, then another four relaxing days.  And today is a work holiday, so one more day off for me before it's back to a more regular schedule.

Some of you were following along via twitter or Facebook, and thanks for the comments and encouragement along the way.  This marathon didn't go quite as well as I had planned, but overall it was a successful run and fundraising effort!

The weekend started out with a leisurely solo drive up to Seattle - Christine and the girls were on their last day of music camp, but I had to get to the expo to pick up my number so I rented a car one-way.  On the drive up, I had the iPod to keep me company, and listening to Competitor Radio podcasts was a great way to get psyched up for the race!  After checking into the hotel and dropping off my car, I walked a few blocks over to the expo... one of the biggest expos that I've ever seen!  Brooks running had a large area set up, in addition to the normal swag and vendors.  I did manage to keep my wallet under control, though, then headed out to a late lunch, a nap at the hotel and a bite for dinner before Christine and the girls arrived around 7:30pm.

The next morning was an early wake up - 4:15 so I could shower (the only thing that will really wake me up that early!), have some breakfast, and walk the 6 blocks to one of the shuttle stops to be bussed out to the start in Tukwila.  Staying downtown was great, but looking at the course map, you can see it was quite a ways from the start - and with no spectator parking at the start, it was better to let Christine and the girls sleep in and just meet them at the finish.

At the start, I wandered around for a bit until I ran into another Team LIVESTRONG runner, Jeff from Florida.  He and I hung out until a few minutes after the start... with me being in starting corral 17 and him in 20, it would be a while after the 7am gun when we would actually get underway.

Once my corral hit the start, I got into a pretty easy pace.  The day was nice and cloudy, and the temperature only 57F, but I decided that with the up-and-down training over the last month, I was not going to try to blast a sub-4:00 run.  I figured if things went well, I could run at a 4:15-4:20 pace over the first half, then pick things up over the second half and maybe break 4:10.  Or at least run my first sub-10:00 min/mile pace marathon (a 4:22). Or at least set a PR (sub-4:26).  And over the first 3.9 miles, it went according to plan: mile splits of 9:32, 9:33 and 9:55 put in pretty good shape.  And despite a three-and-a-half minute pit stop right before mile four, and a solid uphill from mile four to five, I was still in pretty good shape.

When I got onto the flats of Lake Washington, I accelerated a bit (splits of 9:12 to 9:51 over miles 6-12) but kept it in the comfortable range.  And there were a lot of distractions on the course - some enjoyable bands and DJs (hearing ELO's "Don't Bring Me Down" blasting through the I-90 tunnel around mile 12 was incredible!), a lot of high school cheerleading teams, creative aid stations (at mile 7 you could pick up salt packets like those at fast food restaurants for replenishing electrolytes) and tons and tons of spectators.

After coming through the tunnel, I started to feel a bit of fatigue, but when I hit the half-marathon split at 2:12:32, I figured that I was still in good shape.  But after maneuvering over some overpasses to get into downtown, then up and down some hills to get through downtown and onto the Alaskan Way viaduct, I realized that I was starting to feel tired... and still had 11 more miles to go.  The first serious walking break that wasn't at an aid station was around mile 16, and my split reflected it: a 10:52 mile.  A PR was starting to look like a serious challenge, and 4:30 even a bit sketchy.  The legs felt heavy and tired.  No cramping like previous marathons, and no blisters, but just very heavy, tired, and sore legs.  Then the uphill starting between miles 16 and 17 pretty much put both of those out of reach... miles 17-22 saw almost as much walking as running, with splits ranging from good (10:07 for mile 19) to ugly (15:37 for mile 21).

I got my second wind back on the Alaskan Way viaduct on the way back toward Qwest field - a nice 9:59 mile.  But after that, I was in survival mode.  The next three miles - another out and back away from downtown - were a melange of running and walking, but at a pretty steady pace around 12:00-13:00.  And finally, mercifully, the offramp from the viaduct came up around mile 25.8.  The crowds got very dense once again, with a lot of people shouting encouragement.  Coming down the hill I was able to get back into stride, round a couple of corners, and finish strong - with Christine and the girls cheering me on from the fencing near the finish!  It wasn't pretty at all, but finishing in 4:46:28 felt like quite the accomplishment!

While the time wasn't what I was looking for, it was a great experience.  The crowds were amazing - although considering I've run Eugene and Portland, I can't say that they were the tops... that would be a disservice to the great crowds in those races.  Running for Team LIVESTRONG was quite an experience as well - meeting a fellow team member at the start, get a lot of cheers just by wearing the team shirt, and even one four year-old who yelled "Go Armstrong!" around mile 16.  The fundraising aspect was also great - knowing that by pursuing my hobby I'm helping out cancer survivors and those locked in the battle at the same time.  This is something I'm definitely going to make a regular part of my athletic life.

Speaking of which, the next challenge is already out there... and something I'm already training for: the Echelon Gran Fondo on September 26th.  The goal is a bit more lofty than the $1,000 we raised for Seattle - a cool $2,500, in about a third of the time.  But I'm sure we can pull together and do it, since it's supporting two great causes - the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Knight Cancer Institute here in Portland.  So join me in the next event, and let's keep it up in the battle against cancer!  Onward!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

LIVESTRONG Seattle Marathon training 6 days out - this is a taper?

Hi everyone-

I hope you all had a great Father's Day!  We had an enjoyable time going up to Mt St Helens for a little sight seeing... and even though all we saw is this:

we still had a good time roadtripping in the car and checking out the visitors' center.  Definitely a nice relaxing day.

Speaking of relaxing, my taper has been far too much relaxing - but not by choice!  After my great long run on Monday, I found out that I overdid it a bit.  By Wednesday, I had come down with a cold of the coughing, stuff, very scratchy throat variety.  Initially the plan was to take Tuesday and maybe Wednesday off, then put in a block of 5 or 6 straight days of medium to easy intensity, but keep the body working.  Instead, I took Tues-Thurs off, put in a very light workout on Friday (30 min on the bike, in which I felt like I was going to pass out the whole time) and took another rest day on Saturday.  Fortunately, by today I feel almost normal, and was able to put in 40 min on the bike at a reasonable intensity.

From here on out, the goal is to put in easy to medium effort workouts (of the 30-45 minute variety) at least two out of the next three days, then rest Thursday and Friday.  At that point, my body should be primed and ready to go for the marathon in Seattle.  Oh, and did I mention that my awesome wife and kids bought me some very cool LIVESTRONG swag: a nice t-shirt (shown), another nice t-shirt (blue with LIVESTRONG and "Just Do It") and a great visor.  That means I'll definitely be stylin' when I head up to the marathon as a part of Team LIVESTRONG.

And keep in mind... there's still time to donate!  If you want to make a contribution to the cause, please do donate here.  It's for a great cause!

Depending on how much time I have at work this week, I'll check in a couple more times before race day.  Until then, onward!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

LIVESTRONG Seattle Marathon training 10 days out - finding my mojo

Hi everyone!  Sorry for the late post, but my great training week last week rolled over into this week and I wanted to update everybody after a couple of not-so-great long run experiences.

The first half of last week showed a continuation of the solid trend of workouts from the week before... even translating into my first 6-days-in-a-row stretch since, well, probably college. :)  Sure, the home trainer sessions were on the shorter side (but on the higher intensity side, averaging > 19 mph), but coupled with a couple of runs - one at the beginning of the week and one during a business trip that took me out of town Wed-Sat - it made for a great training week:

  • Cycling: 20.00 miles in 1:02:16.
  • Running: 7.45 miles in 1:03:08.

As I said, not a lot of miles, but good intensity, and it left me well rested for my last "long run", a middle distance tune-up for race day.  After bonking at 11 miles and 11-15 miles during the last two long runs, respectively, so I approached this last tune up with a little trepidation.  I knew it had to be a good run to give me some confidence going into the marathon.  The question was whether to run it at a "race pace" or go out a little slower and just try to make it consistent.  Well, I managed to do both.  After running the first mile in ~9:40, I started taking the pace down.  Mile 5 actually was around 8:55, but overall I managed to keep a steady 9:05-9:10 pace most of the way.  Until the last 3.5 miles, when I started blasting out 8:55 down to 8:33 miles.  The legs were definitely with me!  I managed to run the best 13+ mile run I've ever had:

As you can see, Nike+ says it was a 14.53 miler (with a brief 25 second walking break for a stoplight between miles 3 & 4.  MapMyRide claimed a 14.64 miler.  Either way, it was fast... but since I know my Nike+ isn't perfectly calibrated, I'll follow MayMyRide which puts me at an 8:58 pace for the whole thing. :-D

I looks like I've found my mojo!  I did a couple of things differently (plain Whole Foods O's before my run rather than the honey-nut variety, pre-hydration with Nuun rather than coconut water), and the weather was a lot better as well (~55F).  But that should put me in good shape for Seattle and the run for Team LIVESTRONG.

I'll try to hit 1-2 more updates before race day, but until then, onward!

Monday, June 7, 2010

LIVESTRONG Seattle Marathon training weeks 26/27 - closing in

Hi everyone!  Sorry about skipping a week, but we had an enjoyable three-day weekend for Memorial Day, and blogging was one of the last things on my mind. :)  I hope that you had a great Memorial Day as well and are making a good transition into summer... which unfortunately the Oregon weather is NOT doing.  But after what seems like 40 days and 40 nights of rain, it looks like we might be turning the corner?

Of course, being Oregonians, the rain hasn't slowed us down much... we managed to have a birthday grill-out in the rain yesterday:

But enough complaining about the weather, and on to training!  It was a couple of down and up weeks since I last checked in.  The week of 5/23-5/30 was a low mileage week due to some business travel and seminar prep/presentation.  I managed to get in three sessions on the home trainer, including a 3:15am ride before an early morning flight.  But no running, which was probably not bad for giving the legs a break.  And while not great, I did manage to keep the diet under control while I was traveling.  The week totaled out at:

  • Cycling: 29.65 miles in 1:36:08.
  • Weight: 197.0, down 0.6 pounds.

You'll notice that there was no long run - but in my last post, I talked about getting in a last 20+ miler before the marathon.  Well, it worked best with both the weather and with family plans to run on Memorial Day.  So after a rest day on Sunday, I attempted a 21 mile long run.  I say attempted, because I bonked big time.  The first 7 miles felt good... the next mile felt OK but I could tell I was running out of gas, so I took a walking break at a stoplight... the next two miles felt OK, including the start of a steamy run on the woodchip trail around the Nike campus.  But after that, things fell apart.  Miles 11-15 saw walk breaks of 30-90 seconds every half-mile to a mile, and finally at 15 miles I threw in the towel and decided to briskly walk back home.  What the workout boiled down to was 15.12 miles in 2:29:47 (the first 11 miles were at a 9:30-9:45 pace, so you can see how much I gave back over the final 4 miles) and then a 4.77 mile walk in 1:15:20.

Not a great confidence builder for my last long run.  So hopefully my 12-15 miler coming up a week from now will be a little more inspiring and I can find the legs that I had when I was running 15-17 miles at a time at a 9:10 pace... but those legs might have made a re-appearance in the last few days.  After a couple of rest days, I went out for a sluggish recovery run, but that has triggered five days in a row (including today) of cardio that make me feel that things are getting back on the right track.  That means we're potentially closing in on a successful marathon experience.

Totals for week 27:
  • Running (/ walking): 23.12 miles in 4:12:42.
  • Cycling: 29.82 miles in 1:33:36.
  • Weight: 194.8 pounds, down 2.2 (yes, I got the diet back on track with a lot of healthy greens!)

Before I check out for the week, I did once again want to thank everyone that donated to my Team LIVESTRONG participation for Seattle.  We hit the $1000 goal with a month to spare, but still have an opportunity to do even more.  But if you want a bit of a change, we're also raising money for my century ride in September.  So if you want to donate to that, with the more aggressive fundraising goal of $2,500, you can donate here.

Thanks for checking in everyone... I hope you all have a great week of family, training and work.  Until next time, onward!