The 2013 10 in 10 Weight Loss Challenge – Tip: Recording your progress using Joe’s Goals

A tremendous amount has been written about goal setting. So I thought I’d write a quick post about how to record them. To start, my experience has shown that weight loss success is more achievable if you follow K.I.S.S., Keep It Simple Stupid. Focus on three key areas that if addressed properly, consistently and for a sustained duration will all but guarantee your success.

  1. Reduce Caloric Intake/Improve Nutrition

  2. Increase Caloric Expenditure/Positive Stress

  3. Ensure Sufficient Rest and Recovery/Reduce Environmental Stress

To be clear. All three of these categories are like a three legged stool and if you lose any one of those legs, the stool falls down, as do you. Any of you that have been regularly working out but haven’t effectively addressed your nutrition, and haven’t seen the results you are looking for,  know exactly what I’m talking about.

Now this doesn’t complicate things, it actually makes things easier. Pick one to three daily process goals from each category, stick to them and you’ll be well on your way.

Tracking your goals: 99% of people who don’t succeed, don’t track the progress to their goals in a structured and disciplined manner. Those who do succeed, record their activities, and many go one step further by communicating these out publicly to those they can count on to support them.

Joe’s Goals: You don’t need anything more than a piece of paper to record how you’ve done but if you want to have an eay-to-use online tool to keep things organized, show your progress and to also remind you when you might lose your focus, you might try Joe’s Goals. Like most everything else I recommend, it’s a FREE online tool with no strings attached.  http://www.joesgoals.com

Here’s an example of how I use Joe’s Goals. Listed on the left are the daily process goals that I know if I adhere to, then I succeed.  The check marks for each day indicate if I accomplished my goal for that day. I’ve had the flu, so you can see that I haven’t been able to workout this week, but I have made progress in my nutritional goals. Feel free to borrow some or all of these or pick your own. The key is to ask yourself two questions:

  1. Do my goals in total address all three categories?
  2. When I do each of these every day, will I reach my goals?

Then it gets even simpler. Each day I start off my day reminding myself what I need to do, I do as many of these as possible, and then I mark each down with a check on Joe’s Goals.

It even gives me an easy to view way of seeing my progress over time and of course my objective is to keep that line as high as possible for as long as possible.

You’ve probably noticed that nowhere in here is anything that says “I want to lose 10 pounds by March 18, 2013″, which is my overall outcome goal. The reason is because my focus at a daily level isn’t on my weight, it’s on the activities that I know I need to do to affect my weight. if I’ve done this right, and I’ve selected and execute consistently on the right process goals that cover all three categories, then I succeed.

I do track my weekly weight but don’t get hung up on, or over concerned or excited about, individual weekly weight gained or lost. I’m interested in the trend and as long as I’m consistently making progress and sticking to my progress goals, I feel confident in my plan.

Note: Real life is a bit different from what you might see on television shows such as The Biggest Loser. The principles are the same but these people are doing nothing but spending every minute of every day focused on this. We live in the real world, so life can get in the way. All that means is that we give ourselves a break and take confidence in the fact that we have the right plan, we’re working that plan each and every day and we’re tracking that plan until we succeed.

This simple process and tools like Joe’s Goals will give you structure, focus and motivation. Hope it will help you as much as it has helped me.

The 2013 10 in 10 Weight Loss Challenge – Weekend Homework (Part 2) Go get/make healthy snacks

We’re almost ready to do our first weigh in! Now that you spent yesterday clearing out your refrigerator and cupboards of the crap in it, it’s time to continue our preparation week for the 2013 10 in 10 Challenge by filling up some of the empty shelf space with healthy snacks and ingredients, the types of the foods that result in increased energy and a healthier feeling you. There are a thousand references available to help you understand what you should eat, why you should eat it and what it will do for you. If you do this right, you will maximize the amount of weight you lose as well as maximize your body’s performance. To simplify and summarize all of this for you, here are six key things to remember:

  • Eat light and often
  • Shift to a nutrient-dense plant-based diet
  • Reduce the size of your portions
  • Increase the number of small meals throughout the day
  • Eat protein, PH balancing foods and low glycemic foods first
  • Don’t ignore your cravings

We’ll cover each of these in more detail in the weeks to come. To start, your objective should be to put energy producing foods into your system by eating light and often. This should be your mantra for the next ten weeks and beyond – light and often. By starting this today, you’ll get your body prepared and you’ll initiate the behaviors necessary for you to accomplish this one simple goal. From a physiological standpoint, you want to keep your blood sugar and insulin levels as constant as possible, avoiding any wild swings by either starving yourself or binging. If dripping nutrients into your system through an IV was practical, I’d recommend that, but since it isn’t, set yourself up for success by having light healthy snacks readily available for you. Put them where you will need them. Don’t give yourself any excuse not to eat them, in short time, you’ll grab them willingly but for now reduce any barriers to adopting that which might be a new behavior for you.

In my experience, there are two types of eaters, those who prepare foods and those who don’t. Being a road warrior, I’m clearly in the latter category. If you’ve never been a food preparer, and you have the urge, go for it. If you find it relaxing, you’ll get an added benefit. But if it gets in the way or creates anxiety for you, realize that there’s probably a reason why you haven’t done it to this point so during this transition period, start by changing what you eat rather than how you prepare it. Regardless if you are a food preparer or a food purchaser, to help you along, our good friend, accomplished triathlete and holistic nutritionist Christine Lynch has prepared a list of foods and ingredients based on the type of eater you are:

List #1 For the Food Preparers – Key Ingredients for Your Shopping List

  1. kale (or another leafy green veggie that you haven’t tried)
  2. quinoa
  3. acorn squash (or another root vegetable)
  4. lentils
  5. toasted sesame oil
  6. salmon
  7. coconut oil
  8. tempeh
  9. berries
  10. coconut oil

List #2 for the Food Purchasers – Healthy Snack Ideas (first identify whether you are craving crunchy, sweet, salty, or creamy)

  1. (crunchy) -  crunchy crudités of veggies and dip (hummus, tabouli, vinaigrette, favorite dressing)
  2. (crunchy) -  light popcorn or plain popcorn: use coconut oil to pop in a covered pan
  3. (sweet) - apples and almond butter
  4. (sweet) -  fruit “ice cream”: peel a banana, freeze, blend in a food processor with nuts, berries or raisins and serve; can be put through the screen of a juicer for a creamier consistency.
  5. (sweet) - organic dark chocolate chips or carob chips
  6. (salty) - salted edamame
  7. (salty) – olives, pickles
  8. (salty) -  tabouli, hummus
  9. (creamy) – mashed sweet potato
  10. (creamy) – avocado

Snacks are usually between 100-150 calories max and you want to eat them approximately every three hours. Never let yourself go longer than four hours without eating.

If you want personal advice or help setting up your own nutritional plan, reach out to Christine directly. You can find her blog and contact information at http://guru.mc3digital.com/.

Remember, that today is about filling your refrigerator and your spirit as you continue to prepare not only for the beginning of your 10 in 10 Challenge journey but for the rest of your healthy life. Don’t be afraid to try new things and have some fun with it. One thing you might also do is “Like” #i8this on facebook. It’s a fun place where people just like you post photos and comments about what new foods they are trying and their reactions to them. Essentially it’s a place that encourages you to “Play with your Food”.

Happy snacking!

The 2013 10 in 10 Weight Loss Challenge – Your Weekend Homework (Part 1)

 

On Monday, January 7th we do our first weigh-in to start our 2013 10 in 10 Weight Loss Challenge. Still wondering what this is all about? Read this here.

Before we kick this off, let’s make sure our environment is conducive to giving us the greatest opportunity for success!

With the holidays behind us, undoubtedly there are Sees Candy boxes, cookies, ice cream, chocolate covered raisins and gift baskets filled with a variety of sweets laying around your home. Today is the day to THROW THE CRAP OUT!

WARNING: This does not imply that you should get rid of all of the sweets and treats in your house by eating them all before Monday morning! Yes, I know at least a few of you were thinking about doing this.

Your body will thank you, your mind will thank you, your heart will thank you and at the end of the ten week challenge, you will thank you for setting yourself up for success. Go through your refrigerator and cupboards, and pull out anything that isn’t “healthy”. Look for hidden gems. For me, it’s chocolate. Anything chocolate has to go. I’ve learned this from experience that there are some people that can do things in moderation and there are others who are straight up sugar addicts – I’m the latter. Every small piece of chocolate I don’t eat is hundreds of calories that won’t wind up as fat around my midsection. Think about that. I didn’t do anything to lower my caloric ingestion except get rid of the temptation that can cause it. How easy is that?

For everything there is a time and as “Uncle Bob” would say “Time’s up!” when it comes to the crap lying around your home. Think of it like the common ceremony of supporting your child as he or she throws their binky into a fire signifying that they are no longer a baby. It’s pretty much the same. For some of you, this will be tough to do, and I can only tell you that simply by doing this one act (and of course by not refilling the coffers with crap) you will avoid putting on 7-15 pounds of fat next year. That’s just grazing fat because the stuff is there.

So enjoy your weekend, grab a trash bag and strip your kitchen and your life of anything that is unnecessary and bad for you. This blog takes no responsibility for you throwing out your husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend during this process.

Obesity is The Government’s Business

I use running to check out or check in. I use it to become absent or to become present. I listen to my shoes crunching through the snow, to my favorite tunes or just to the world around me. Running, for me has become the only time when I can break away from the direct work responsibilities to expand my mind. To do this, I often listen to podcasts of a variety of types. This past Saturday while running in Mill Creek Park, I found myself listening to a local Youngstown NPR channel and to a rebroadcast of a February 2012 debate from Intelligence Squared US entitled Obesity Is The Government’s Business.

Granted by listening to this while running and while listening to National Public Radio, I’m already self selecting into a specific stereotype, and when I heard this was a debate, I initially reacted by thinking, “What is there to debate about?”. 78 million adults and 12 million children are obese. We spend more than $150 billion (with a B) addressing chronic and largely preventable illnesses, brought about from poor lifestyle choices and personal decisions. Of course our government has a role in solving this problem.

The panel for this debate was impressive with Dr. David Satcher, former Surgeon General and Dr. Pamela Peeke, WebMD’s Lifestyle Expert representing the Affirmative, and John Stossel, FOX Business News Anchor and Paul Compos, author of The Obesity Myth opposing government’s involvement.

The main point of Drs. Satcher and Peeke are that government has a role in providing an environment where everyone can participate in healthy and active lifestyle choices regardless of socioeconomic status – access to sidewalks, parks, foods, etc.  Those opposed to the motion argued that this was largely about awareness and anyone can watch Richard Simmons or P90X commercials and know that being overweight or obese is not a desirable trait in our culture and that the problem with government being involved is largely that 1) government has a lousy track record of making a difference in people’s behaviors, 2) that schools are having enough problem teaching reading and writing without asking them to teach nutrition, and 3) we are a free society and government shouldn’t be involved in the individual decisions of its citizens. They also put forth a few specious arguments such as the proposition that there is no evidence that obesity is unhealthy or responsible for rising heath care costs.

I was disappointed that there were a number of important positions that went unexplored in this debate including the fact that government is already involved directly in obesity when they subsidize commercially available packaged foods and factory farming of foods that contribute to this issue in turn making whole real foods more expensive and less accessible by comparison. They also did not fully explore the fact that rising healthcare costs are largely contributing to one of the most significant national defense issues of our time by throwing us deeper and deeper into debt. They also did not explore the fact that healthy people subsidize the poor decisions and bad behaviors of those who just don’t care or who selfishly have decided that somehow they are entitled to these as rights under our constitution. Why should my tax dollars go to support their bad decisions and how is that not a government issue?

What actually amazed me most of all is that the team opposed to obesity being government’s business actually won the debate. I’m not sure how to interpret this with so many facts and the preponderance of evidence weighing in favor of what many would see as common sense. Listening to this on the heels of the Newtown slaughter also reminded me that there are a lot of Americans who simply are willing to sacrifice a whole lot of lives to protect what they see as their individual freedoms and liberties. Similar to the debate on gun control, those opposed to government’s involvement really didn’t provide any alternative recommendations on how to actually solve the problem, only that whichever path is chosen, government should not be involved. Now I’m Jewish and my mother was first generation born in the United States and I grew up ever wary of fascist overzealous controlling governments that strip away the freedoms of its citizens in order to promote a particular point of view. So am I just naive? Am I ignorant? Must we always and forever assume that representatives of a duly elected government will always be looking for ways to harm its citizens? I’m not sure I buy it. I guess I believe that liberties and a government that actively helps its citizens can responsibly coexist.

In any case, do listen to the debate here: Obesity is The Government’s Business. It’s definitely worth your time while commuting or working out. It provides a good summary of the facts surrounding this extremely important issue in our country. Its an issue that won’t be solved any time soon, but must be solved to avoid a tremendous amount of suffering in the future. Interested in your opinion.

http://www.npr.org/2012/02/10/146706878/is-obesity-the-governments-business

http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/past-debates/item/536-obesity-is-the-governments-business

 

 

The 2013 version of the 10 in 10 Weight Loss Challenge begins on January 7th!!!

 

Lose 10 pounds in the first 10 weeks of 2013

First let me be the thousandth person to wish you a very Happy New Year; more importantly, let me wish you a Healthy New Year. And once again we’re committing ourselves to making a healthy new year a reality for ourselves and our friends and families. The 10 in 10 Challenge is here to help anyone who wants to “lose weight/get healthy and stop making excuses/start making progress” to do so. Nothing to buy, rent, borrow and no string s attached. It’s just about people helping people to achieve their goals.

Thanks to our friend Nigel Runner, who started this Challenge years ago, hundreds of people have started off each year on the right foot and with a good bit of excess baggage on the sidelines. Airlines aren’t the only ones charging for excess baggage these days. I’ve easily lost more than ten pounds in each of the past two Challenges so I personally know how valuable and easy this is.

The key to the success of the folks who participate in this challenge is in its community support. We’re all in this together and through Facebook we can support others and in doing so support ourselves.

The 10 in 10 Challenge begins on Monday January 7th, that’s when we’ll all do our first weigh-in, and that means that you can use this week to set yourself up for success beginning from day #1.

Each day this week, I’ll post a quick entry giving you something simple that you can do to start off 2013 and the 10 in 10 Challenge on the right foot.

What do I do today?

Today you only have to do two things, you have to commit to your goal of losing a few pounds and starting off the year by getting healthy, and you have to register for the Challenge. Don’t worry, it’s free, we don’t collect e-mails, there’s nothing nefarious about any of this – just a group of everyday people wanting to improve their lives by starting the year off adopting good habits while they have other friends there to support them doing it.

How do I register?

We use two FREE tools to administer the 10 in 10 2013 Challenge:

Facebook:

Go to https://www.facebook.com/10in10Challenge and “Like” this page. Read through the ABOUT page and NOTES page. These will explain everything to you.

When you complete your weigh-ins, post your progress to the wall on this page on facebook so we can all celebrate your progress however small or large that might be! (Trust me, I had a few weeks last year when I gained, but still came out far ahead of my goal.)

Buckeye Outdoors:

Go to http://buckeyeoutdoors.com and create an account. It’s super quick and easy. Our NOTES page on facebook has all of the instructions.

Once registered, go to http://buckeyeoutdoors.com/training/challenges and join the “10 in 10 2013 Weight Loss Challenge″.

This is where we will record our actual weight loss. The Challenge is set up to begin on January 7th and last 10 weeks.

(You can check out the NOTES page on facebook page to see where we’ve already described how to do this.)

You won’t lose 10 pounds or become a healthier person just by registering, but you will have taken the first steps to making this commitment real. I promise you that if you do commit to this, and see it through, the benefits will last long after the ten weeks are over. The little secret is that while the first ten weeks will help you to lose a few extra holiday pounds, by doing so you will adopt better habits and behaviors that will give you more energy, better health and make you feel a whole lot better about what you can accomplish in 2012.

Say hi when yo get onto Buckeye or Twitter, will ya? You can find me as @CoachAdam on the latter. Happy New Year!

ING NYC Marathon Sunday – A medal of a different color

A number of folks have emailed me and messaged me on facebook today saying things similar to this one:

“In spite of all the posturing, promises, and politicizing, the residents of Staten Island are no better off this AM. And we still didn’t have the marathon”.

To them, I can only say that today the NYC community was laser focused on the recovery and the clean up. There were no distractions, no diversions and no celebration for some while others were wondering if they’ll make it through the next night without any heat. It wouldn’t have been that way if the marathon had gone forth.

Additionally, we wouldn’t have had the thousands of runners who volunteered their time today to deliver food, water, blankets and other items to Lower Manhattan, Red Hook, The Rockaways and Staten Island, among others. They donned their marathon shirts and backpacks filled with supplies and drove, rode or even ran out to the homes and residents that needed them. Every year, marathon Sunday in NYC is all about transforming lives and that is exactly what happened today. Are things back to normal? Absolutely not. And they won’t be for some time. There is still a severe lack of fuel, power, shelter and clothing for far too many. But even if it is better today than it was yesterday for just a few people, then it was worth it. When the smiles on the faces of people who are given simple items like toilet paper, or a few apples are equal to the smiles on the faces of the runners distributing them, you know that lives were transformed today and we don’t need someone to slip a medal over our neck to prove it.

The 2012 ING NYC Marathon is Cancelled – What’s Next?

After a see-saw week of: is it on? Is it off? Tuesday it’s on. Friday it’s definitely on, and are you freak’n kidding me? Late Friday afternoon, the NYC Mayor’s Office released an announcement that reversed his previous positions and announced that the 2012 New York City Marathon is cancelled.

“We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event – even one as meaningful as this – to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track.” Bloomberg said.

I still stand by my earlier comments, that if the NYRR and the City could demonstrate conclusively that no resources would be diverted from the recovery efforts, and that includes no excessive burden on the part of FDNY EMS and other emergency workers, and if they could do it in a way that demonstrated that holding the event would actually accelerate and stimulate the response to those in need, avoiding further suffering, then they should hold the race. Barring that, they shouldn’t. They clearly couldn’t do this.

I have to assume that they wanted to do this, but to quote the famous line from Cool Hand Luke, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

The outpouring of criticism from the community was immense with more than 50,000 fans joining a new facebook page entitled Cancel the 2012 NYC Marathon in less than three days. To put that into perspective, the NYRR’s own facebook page has only 37,000 followers and it’s been up for years.

In the heat of battle, I understand it’s hard to get your ducks in a row, and everyone is gun shy about saying the wrong thing, but decisions were made in a way that made the community feel that it was all being done for financial reasons and worse yet, it was being done in the dark. What the public could see was a mix of rumors and exaggerations and absent any formal statements, aside from “Don’t run in Central Park”, the community saw what they wanted to see, dead bodies still being found in basements, residents of Staten Island without homes and outraged, victims being kicked out of hotels to honor marathoners’ reservations, Borough presidents and other elected officials speaking out against the marathon, portable bathrooms setup and fenced off so locals wouldn’t use them in advance of the marathon, and two shiny new generators being used to support the marathon as opposed to powering up a hospital or darkened homes across NYC.

Generators wait in Central Park for Sunday’s running of the New York City Marathon. (Getty Images)

To me, this was the nail in the coffin of any opportunity to hold this race. The pictures of the two generators were used in online articles, television news coverage and every media outlet available. They became a symbol for the selfishness and lack of sensitivity that the NYRR has for its community, whether true or not. The poor response from a NYRR representative when asked about the generators use while so many people were still without power? These are from a private source and they didn’t take away from any being used for recovery. That statement only made it worse. As I noted earlier, I think the City and the NYRR could have won over the community by matching every action used to support the marathon with one to support the relief. Adding two generators for the marathon? Then donate two generators to the relief. Bringing out thousands of water bottles? Then donate thousands of water bottles to those who don’t have clean drinking water. Giving away race shirts? Then give them to the people who lost all of their belongings. Even after the race was cancelled, aside from notifying runners about the cancelled race, the only message sent out on the NYRR facebook encouraged runners to come to the expo to pick up their race t-shirts and goodie bags and to stop by the vendors booths – presumably to spend more money. I can’t help but feel that they just don’t get it.

As for the runners losing out? I think Olympic medalist and 2009 winner of the ING NYC Marathon Meb Kelflezighi said it best:

“I understand why it cannot be held under the current circumstances. Any inconveniences the cancellation causes me or the thousands of runners who trained and traveled for this race pales in comparison to the challenges faced by people in NYC and its vicinity.”

For the most part, runners understood that, but I was shocked to see so many runners posting comments asking for refunds of not only their fees but compensation for their losses and even one who wanted refunds of the merchandise she bought. Apparently, even the running community isn’t immune to selfish behaviors.

So what about the runners? It lightens my heart to see so many of them already jumping into the relief effort by volunteering in the City. As one runner who drove a truck of supplies this morning, Moffat Frazier posted:

“Back from volunteering this morning in the Rockaways…the devastation we saw on the way back left us speechless…I’m doing my part – donated clothes, food, money and time…make sure you get out there and do your part too…”

According to reports, the NYRR will provide guaranteed entry into the 2013 ING NYC Marathon to those who were registered this year. As for registration fees, the NYRR has a no refund policy, but Mary Wittenberg is on record as saying that they will be reevaluating this. Should you get a refund? In my mind, no. Not because you weren’t impaired, but because so was everybody else. That said, I think the NYRR would go a long way to help their badly tarnished reputation by both increasing the amount of money they donate to the recovery, as well as by providing some relief to those who raced. If 40,000 runners registered at $250 per person, that’s $10 million in fees that were collected by the NYRR for this race. Yes, some funds have already been spent, and yes, the NYRR relies on the revenues from the marathon for their annual operations, but I’m guessing something more than $26.2 per person can be either returned or donated to the relief. If it was me, I’d come up with a number and then give the runner the choice.

But for now, as has been throughout the week, communication from the NYRR is almost non existent and yesterday’s NYRR website full of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the marathon, has now been replaced with a homepage that only displays the image at the top of this post. Once again, communication seems to be lacking.

To the thousands of runners who are still in NYC and anxious to run, go for it. The beauty of running is that we lace up our shoes and walk out the door. We don’t need millions of dollars of support to get that amazing feeling. Spend your New York City experience volunteering and then head out for a run and experience New York City as only runners can. Most importantly, let’s get back to what New Yorkers do best. Getting things running again. You can help. I know you will.

An Open Letter to Mary Wittenberg and Mayor Bloomberg – The ING NYC Marathon – It’s Not Enough!

Mayor Bloomberg and Mary, please let me start off by openly stating that I agree with your decision for the marathon to go on, with a few caveats, namely that you can clearly demonstrate to the citizens of NYC and surrounding areas that resources are not being diverted from recovery efforts, and secondly that you go out of your way to respect and aid those who are still suffering. Mary, you know that I am a person with an opinion and ordinarily I insist on basing these opinions in evidence, but in this case, it’s pretty hard to find.  Transparency has never been one of the strengths of the New York Road Runners. So my opinions are based on what public information is there, as well as from the experience I had during the years I spent coaching and running the marathon training programs for the NYRR as well as my experience of living and working in and around New York City.

I’ve read that this year’s marathon is estimated to bring in more than $300 million in new revenues to the city. It will be a catalyst for spurring a return to tourism faster and it will open small businesses sooner. Getting ready for the marathon will also mean the City will work faster and recovery will occur faster. All of these are good things.

Critics have two major points. The first is that theses marathon efforts are taking valuable resources away from the clean-up and the repairs necessary in hard-hit areas such as Staten Island. The Post this morning and subsequent coverage on NBC cited utilities workers from Staten Island as well as hundreds of police officers being diverted up to Manhattan for the marathon preparations while at the same time hundreds of homes and thousands of people are without homes, food, clean water and the streets are being looted.

Address this point head on. Demonstrate to the public and show the evidence that resources are not being diverted.

Their second point is perhaps more damming. How can you hold a celebration of resiliency when police and fire fighters are still pulling dead bodies out of homes in the borough’s you’ll be running through?

The only thing I can say here is that everyone needs to start acting with a whole lot more empathy and sensitivity. It needs to go beyond appearances on The Today Show. Show through your actions that you value citizenship first. I know you are well intended, now let your actions prove this out as you go about putting on the most magnificent running race in the world. Make this a true RACE TO RECOVER.

You’ve pledged $26.2 for each runner running on Sunday or a minimum of $1 million. The Rudin family is committing an additional $1.1 million and ING Foundation another $500,000. This is $2.6 million dollars being pledged to relief efforts. Unfortunately, Mary, it isn’t enough. Start spending the money that has been brought in from runner fees, from sponsorships and even from your charity program. And let your staff know that good citizenship means that we think about the impact of every decision. Before turning the generators on in Central Park, you should have known that it would be seen as a slap in the face to those without power in Staten Island, Westchester, Rockland County and elsewhere. Just because they were private contractors and not city resources doesn’t make it any less offensive, and Richard Finn’s irritated attitude just goes to show you why so many people are upset and feel that the NYRR is out of touch with their community. Before powering those generators up, could you have paid for having an equal number of generators sent down to Staten Island to power up those homes?  What would it have cost you? Another $100K? Big deal. What else could you have done to actually help people now given your unique position in the NYC community? Here are a few ideas and I’m sure you can come up with many better than mine:

  • Put up a bulletin board on your website so runners this weekend can share rooms together, opening up more rooms for those New Yorkers who are in hotels and will get kicked out to honor runners’ reservations
  • Mayor Bloomberg, make a statement that New Yorker’s health and welfare comes first and hotels will not be penalized for helping people who have lost their homes
  • Every registered marathoner that comes into the City and donates their paid room to a displaced resident gets free entry into the 2013 ING NYC Marathon (You can still be cheap and just say guaranteed entry, they’d be just as thrilled)
  • Every registered marathoner who donates more than 6 hours volunteering gets guaranteed entry into the 2013 ING NYC Marathon – you require aspiring marathoners to volunteer at your races, this is the same but a bit more important
  • Set-up buses to take marathoners who want to volunteer to the areas where they can help
  • Make it simple for marathoners to know how they can help, where they can go, what they can do
  • Any money you are spending on the marathon, spend an equal amount NOW to help those in need.
  • Allow marathoners to have their registration fee donated to the relief effort, not $26.2 when you know they paid more than $200 for the right to run in your race. It’s almost embarrassing.
  • Commit the $500 you charge charities for each charity runner and put that to use immediately, not for elite runner appearances but for the citizens of your city

I know my ideas are based on imperfect or out of date information, and please know that I am writing this understanding how difficult of a position you are in. You both have the power to make things better, not just in the aggregate or at some point in the future, but now to individuals who are currently suffering. I do believe that you feel you are, but it isn’t enough. Make it clear to the marathoners coming into NYC that this year’s marathon is NOT ABOUT HOW FAST YOU RUN! It’s about an event with a national audience that can help to speed recovery, lift spirits, help the economy recover more rapidly and most importantly, can actually help those who need help by productively galvanizing the most able-bodied, fit and inspired community in the world – marathon runners!

This year, a ‘PR’ or Personal Record should have nothing to do with your running time, instead it should be measured by the time and effort you commit to helping those who need it.

I’ve read posts where runners coming into the city are being told, “run for those who can’t run”, and while this is well intended, it won’t actually help those in need. Give these runners an opportunity and the tools to help, really help – starting today! You know they will. Mary, you’ve always wanted the New York Road Runners to be the leader in running across the world. Here’s your chance.

A leader has to make tough decisions and this is a tough situation. You may be far better served to forget less about pomp and circumstances and spend more effort figuring out how you can use the power you have to turn your money, influence and close to 40,000 runner citizens loose on the city in a coordinated way to do what they really want to do – Race with Purpose!

 

Roger Goodell is a genius – Why keeping the NFL Replacement Refs is just good business

Last night ‘s Green Bay Packers v Seattle Seahawks NFL football game ended with a Hail Mary pass by former University of Wisconsin and current Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson calling the wrong play in the huddle before scrambling to heave a near perfect 40-yard ball into the corner of the end zone…to be caught by…..

…..who cares. It didn’t matter who caught the ball because former Golden Domer, Golden Tate shoves the defender in the back with such force he sends him sprawling. Offensive Pass Interference, Easy Call, Game Over….or is it?

The ball flies into the end zone and Green Bay Packers defensive back, Jennings rises high to grab the ball, pull it into his chest along with Golden Tate’s arms, and comes down in the end zone, Interception, Easy Call, Game Over….or is it?

Heck no, the replacement referees can’t figure out what the call is and after missing the obvious pass interference call, decide it is simultaneous possession and award the ball and the touchdown to….Golden Tate. Game over! For real, well sort of, as they had to kick the PAT.

The press has gone wild, the fans and players are incensed and all I could think of was keeping these high school referees in the NFL is pure genius. Record numbers of fans and viewers are watching these games. So what if it isn’t to watch the football? The bottom line is that ratings are surging and the money is flowing in! Advertisers are thrilled! The NFL will be rolling in dough and didn’t have to pay extra to so called professional referees to do it. Brilliant!

This season is football’s reality TV equivalent of Snookie and The Situation and Honey Boo Boo. Even though you know you’re going to see something completely ridiculous and embarrassing, you have to tune in and watch, and that means more money for the league. The outcomes when the perennial best of the NFL plays the perennial doormats are completely in question because with these referees ANYTHING can happen. And people love to watch the unexpected.

So before you jump up screaming about how you want the professional refs to return, think about how boring it will be to see the Patriots, the Packers and Saints winning all of their games again. Everything Roger Goodell has done from the player lockout, to Bounty Gate to the replacement referees has been pure genius. He has done what Al Davis never could, established parity in the league where the outcome is always in questions and the fan is engaged for all 60 minutes…

…plus replays!

Rev3 Cedar Point 2012 – Half-Rev Race Report: A Perfect Return to Triathlon

The announcer at the Rev3 Cedar Point Triathlon swim start on Sunday morning was irreverently making fun of all of the OCD age groupers who were tripping out about their final preparations, with athletes aimlessly wandering around the beach nervously chatting and asking the simplest of questions to anyone who looked seasoned enough to ensure they hadn’t missed an important detail. He called it T.P.D.  Tri-Panic Disorder and described it by pointing out that statistically 80% of the athletes there had bachelors degrees, 35% of the athletes had masters degrees but on race morning T.P.D. makes everyone a complete idiot, demonstrated by a significant drop in IQ points. He further went on by saying that the vast majority of the age groupers would NOT be happy with their performance, walking into their offices on Monday morning grumbling about how they had a horrible swim, a horrible bike or a horrible run; obsessing about how they could have shaved another 15 seconds off of their transition time if they only had ponied up the extra $100 for carbon fiber shoe laces. He asked: “Does anyone EVER say they had a good race?”

Well I am here to tell you that I had an AWESOME race on Sunday, and even after having been racing or coaching in endurance sports since the mid 1980′s, I felt like I was a complete beginner again and had all of the same butterflies that a first-timer would have. I haven’t raced since 2008 when I had an absolutely miserable experience that told me enough was enough given a whole slew of physical, emotional and mental issues that afflicted me during the prior year and continued on through 2012. Let’s go to the tale of the tape. In 2007 I raced Iron distance at 178 lbs, training like a pro by riding Bear Mountain and Tinker Hill in New York with the Race with Purpose crew every week. I was lean, mean and ready to rock. I still remember buying my first wetsuit and the salesperson at Sports Basement in San Francisco saying, “You are exactly how this wetsuit is supposed to look” (I completely ignored the obvious desire for her to make a sale ;-) But, you know what, she was right, I had the prototypical multi-sport look.

Fast forward to 2012 where I toed the line on Sunday at a svelte 211 pounds (which is 14 pounds less that 2011, but 33 pounds heavier than I was in 2007) and dreaded going through my triathlon drawer because I know that all of my clothes would make me look like a Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, a fat guy in a little coat.

The result: 6:23:52, which back in 2007 I would have laughed at, but today, I am absolutely thrilled with. I swam in 45:57, biked in 3:01, and the ran err shuffled, errr dragged my left leg in 2:25. But here is the kicker, in 2008 I did Tupper Lake Half not knowing that my body was all jacked up and I swam in 49:01, biked in 3:25 and ran. err walked in 4 hours with my heart rate while walking pinned at 165 bpm while thinking it was only minutes before my life would end.

On Sunday in Sandusky, (an unfortunate name for our race location) I had an absolute blast and smiled the entire race, quipping with other athletes and volunteers along the course. The only other triathlon since June of 2008 was two months ago at Lake Milton, an Olympic distance race where I came in last, no not last in my age group, LAST! I had no idea what to expect on Sunday and while the run was the run was the run, which won’t change until I replace a few things in my body, everything else was absolutely perfect. I honestly thought it was 50/50 if I would even be able to finish the race, so for me, crossing the finish line was truly a victory and while this wasn’t my fastest race by a long shot, it may be my most successful race ever.

I’ll do an actual race report later with things that other people can learn from about the race, but I really just needed to vent and say thanks to everyone for helping me to embrace yet another new beginning with even more great experiences to come.

So there you go, Mr. Announcer, here’s a triathlon race report that is completely regret free.

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