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Archive for May, 2007

Three days until Triathlon. You can learn all you want to know about the Buffalo (Minnesota) Triathlon here: http://tribuff.com  Don’t you just love the play on URLs? The answer is “no,” registered triathletes won’t be competing in the buff. Buffalo is a small town of 10,000 inhabitants just west of Minneapolis. On Sunday, June 3, the population will grow by 10% or so as 1,000 of us converge to jump in the like, then peddle a bike, and finally run through the streets in order to exclaim, “I did it!” followed by eating several Johnsonville brats or a big double cheeseburger as their “reward.”

 

This is my taper week, so I’ve only done one evening of weights, one short ride and run (tonight) leading up to Sunday. Last night I picked up the wet suit I rented and practiced putting it on and taking it off (yes, there’s a trick to getting out of it).  And the big question remains unanswered:  Does this wet suit make my butt look fat?  Of course the main thing is how well it fits and whether or not I’ll be able to swim better in it. I intend to practice in an actual lake prior to Sunday. Lately, the wind around here has been blowing persistently, making workouts outside mostly unbearable. I’m such a fair-weather wannabe triathlete. I mostly just want to get this triathlon thing behind me so I can enjoy the rest of summer!

 

Speaking of enjoyment, I’ve been reading “The Caine Mutiny” for the first time, and noticing how Wouk weaves in the obvious leadership styles of the Caine’s captains – and how comparable they are to those in leadership of say, Fortune 500 companies. Styles differ dramatically, and as we all come to learn from working for various managers in that the “by the book,” and “my way,” styles can be equally effective. It all depends on the motivations of the person leading the group.  Willie Keith may not have liked Captain DeVries, but I feel he’s really going to have a full appreciation of him by the time Queeg gets mutinied.

 

My favorite “style” of manager is the one who knows how to collaborate and seeks collaboration with the entire team. They direct and motivate you to do your own personal best without ever giving an order or ultimatum. These leaders, of course, typically have one thing in common: They have a very solid team of players whom they’ve been blessed with leading!  

 

I’m fortunate to be on a great team!

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I Savvy

It’s here. The finale to the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. ThiPiratess movie is on my agenda for the weekend. It’s a series that both my kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed – watching the DVD of parts one and two on numerous occasions. Depp and Keith Richards happen to be on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine this month and the interview with the two of them humors me. It’s amazing how Disney hoped the first Pirates movie would simply reach the teenage demo, but how it immediately drew fans of all ages – especially middle-aging adults like me. I don’t even LIKE fantasy stuff, but there’s just something about Depp and Bloom and Rush (and Kiera Knightly) with swords and rum that keeps my attention.

Today also forces me to recognize the fact that I’m a scant nine days away from my first ever sprint triathlon and wishing I had another few weeks to prepare. I’m suppose to be in my easing off week, yet I feel I need a lengthy ride, run and swim followed by a brick or two to truly say I’m ready. I know I can finish the race, it’s just a matter of pride now. Can I finish in under two hours? One hour 45 minutes? I’ll know a week from Sunday!

Memorial Day weekend is here and I’m wondering what happened to May? It’s a blur. School will dismiss on June 8 and camping season is on top of us. I actually look forward to pitching the tent and building a campfire on one of these upcoming cool June evenings, then waking at dawn and biking 40 miles before 9 a.m. That is a vacation to me. I revel in those quiet mornings with nothing but the click of the derailer and sun on my back. Nothing’s better! Of course on Memorial Day morning I’ll be thinking of those who gave their life for our country and the young men and women who currently serve in a war that seemingly has worn out its welcome everywhere except in D.C. Time, as is always the case, will tell if this administration helped or hurt the United States in the eyes of the world. I hope it’s not irreparable damage.

When I was in high school, each Memorial Day would find me in my band uniform (including spats) carrying a drum and marching with 200 other kids playing patriotic music and guiding right for five miles until we reached Riverside Cemetery. There we played the National Anthem and our two best trumpeters would duet on “Taps” as new flags were presented by the local VFW in honor of those veterans who had passed in the previous 12 months. I never thought much about the assembly and parade that I was part of back then, but as an adult, I think of those days often. When it comes to honor, what could be better than to have served and protected this great country?

Savvy?

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

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Life always presents its little ups and downs…okay, some ups and downs are not so little. They’re more like that monster hill you forgot to prepare for when biking.  By the time you reach the plateau of that hill your thighs and lungs are screaming and you’re wondering why you ever got on the bike in the first place!

And while some of us tend to view our lives based on the sheer number of “downs” they endure, I’d venture to say a vast majority of us tend to focus on the ups and downplay the downs.  In my case, since childhood, I’ve had to learn things on my own – often taking the road less paved, let alone less traveled. The result was often trouble. But what I learned in my years is how to take those troubles and further polish my own ability to do the right thing the next time I was presented a similar situation.  Sometimes I learned well from my mistakes. Sometimes I learned but forgot quickly, and then “remembered” after suddenly making a similar mistake a second time.  The “a-ha” moments.

What it all boils down to is this: We aren’t really living if we live for perfect moments at all times. We have to take risks, make mistakes, live through the down moments and learn from them, and move on with the best of intentions.   Training and participating in something as frivolous as a triathlon makes me ponder this philosophy even more.  If performance is all based on the training leading up to the event, triathletes would strictly adhere to their training programs. But life gets in the way and messes up that training with events and work and the miscellaneous things that surround us. So performance day requires both an adequate amount of training, a little luck and lot of adrenaline to carry us through.

So it is in most every day that we wake up in the morning.  And that’s why we call it living!

It’s optimism and then some that takes us forward.

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Every now and then I stumble on a really good word and I have to put it somewhere. Here seems a good place. Keep coming back for more “Wordplay.” This is Version 1.0:

cir-cum-lo-cu-tion

The use of unnecessarily wordy and indirect language. Evasion in speech or writing. A roundabout expression.

Usage

The circumlocution only confused his associates until, finally, someone told him to simply shut up.

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Swim Time

OK – one last entry before bed.  I swam tonight. The first time I’ve gone in the evening versus at 6 a.m.  The pool was nearly empty. It was refreshing and I’m going to sleep well.

Distance: 700 yards

Time: 27:22

My goal is to complete 500 yards in under 15 minutes. I’m close. Really close and I have 13 days to get closer.

Tomorrow is set for a run before work and a bike with co-workers at the end of the work day. So in a matter of under 18 hours I will have effectively completed a triathlon!  Now to put it all together!

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I’m a writer who just happens to make his career in corporate public relations. Because of the nature of what I do, I’m on the constant lookout for better ways to convey the message that needs conveying. We PR types get a critical view from our key audience – the pure journalists out to write and publish what the people truly need to know. In many cases, journalism in today’s newspapers is filled with scare tactics that hurt, don’t help, average Joe Reader.

So when I find something helpful, something sticky, I tend to make a note of it…publish and post it where it can become ingrained on my brain. It doesn’t happen every day. Quite frankly there aren’t all that many new ideas. But there are some good ideas that get refreshed from time to time that help make my job clearer and get me through the day.

Here’s today’s find:

Let’s be careful that we write statements and releases that can be believed by an audience larger than one.

This advice comes from a blog I read made up of Minneapolis PR experts – many of whom just happen to be veteran journalists as well. My belief is that we, as career-minded, do-the-right-thing-at-all-costs, types end each day making a positive impact on the companies we support…but more than that will make a contribution toward improving society as well.

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Brick Night

I’m out of work early and the sun is warm as I race home. A quick change into my bike gear, a pump of the tires and I’m off. It’s Friday at 5:20 and I’m cruising for 17 miles. The wind is stiff from the southwest, but I won’t feel it full on until the last three miles of the trip. Motor, motor, motor. Traffic is light and I feel like pushing it at first. At the halfway mark I’m feeling well enough that I decide tonight will be a brick night.

Once off the bike I run in the house and change to running gear. That new tri jersey? Might as well break it in now. I down some water and a Gu slip into the shoes and I’m off again. Legs feel pretty good and my stride settles in nicely. It’s a short run that I’ve planned – just over three miles, but I finish it off in about 20 minutes (I forgot to put on my watch so I have no accurate times tonight).

For those of you keenly interested in tri training, but not familiar with the terms (like me three months ago)…

A brick is a double workout, usually a nice long bike ride followed by a fast run of short to medium length. The purpose is to simulate race conditions of jumping off the bike and running full speed. This is an exercise that pays large dividends and much like speed work on a track, requires determination. The body needs to be trained to go from biking to running without much of a warm up and that is the purpose. You can make up your own bricks of back to back events. More than likely as you progress in training you will undoubtedly train in more than one sport per day but it’s the time between events that make it a true brick workout.

So there you have it. Friday evening. I’ve got my training in for the day and I’m having a beer.

Tomorrow’s forecast: sunny and 80. Sounds like more training opportunities to me!

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