Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quote of the week.

"You moon the wrong person at an office party and suddenly you're not 'professional' any more." - Jeff Foxworthy

Monday, December 26, 2011


A couple of years ago I became a certified USAT Level 1 triathlon coach. I obtained this certification primarily as a byproduct of trying to educate myself regarding some of the science behind triathlon training. As someone who, from time to time, is goal oriented, I had to, just had to, complete all of the requirements to meet the certification standard.

That process involved 3 (or so) days of classwork/clinic followed by a take home test. Additional requirements included getting a certification in CPR/AED (mine mixed in first aid as well), background/criminal checks, and an ethics attestations. I did all of this and became certified until the end of 2011 - otherwise known as about now. I had a decision to make. Do I recertify or not?

Re-certification required me to take some continuing education classes or credits, recertification in first aid/CPR/AED (which I did), demonstrating that I've given back to the sport (which I did anyway though volunteering at races), paying to do yet another background check, and the reattestation of ethics. If I did all of this I get to continue to call myself a USAT/L1 coach.

I chose to not recertify at this time. Why? A few reasons.

First, I do not actively solicit clients to coach in their athletic endeavors and never have. There are a bunch of reasons for that but If I changed my mind to sign up coaching clients, I doubt that anyone who would want me to coach would base that desire solely on if I was certified or not. I believe more important is actual knowledge and ability to work with an athlete to help them reach their goals or potential.

Since I don't have any active clients, I do not need insurance. If I decide to start accepting clients I would get insurance but I do not need to be certified to get it.

I do not need any more ethical attestations or background checks. This, I think, is more of a USAT CYA. I've been through this process with a variety of organizations for work and when I coached soccer and basketball for my kids so it is more of an annoyance to me than anything else.

I may elect to do some coaching for some charity teams (I've done coaching with Team in Training in the past). They've asked me to do more with them but I've been too busy of late to give it my best (training for an Ironman has been known to consume some time) and I wouldn't want to short change anyone. I may renew this relationship to help coach their cycle team, especially if El Tour de Tucson is on the agenda, or may help out with the newbies going after their first triathlons. Either way, this certification doesn't buy me much.

This doesn't mean that I'm against coaching. I use many coaches to help me reach my goals both professionally and athletically. I have found that certain coaches who are perfect for me may not be perfect for others and vice versa. I don't really care if they are actively certified or not. I care more about what they can do with me to help me improve.

Also, not being certified doesn't mean that I have to stop learning. I expect to take some continuing education in coaching topics from time to time. I also have to decide about my USA Cycling L3 coaching certification as I've done most of the work anyway. I think, though, that not making a decision there is actually making a decision.

I still have a few more days before my certification expires. I think I should use this time to lay out my training plan for the next few months as it would be done by a certified coach. Then again, maybe it won't make too much of a difference if I do it a few days later.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quote of the week.

From the September 21, 1897 New York Sun:

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.'
Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quote of the week.

"I don't believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be." - Ken Venturi

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Seventy years ago today, President Franklin Roosevelt addressed Congress in what almost immediately became a historic leadership speech. Many people to this day can recall the first part of his address, "Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan." Getting Congress to declare war wasn't leadership in and of itself but FDR's ability to close the deal on one of the other parts of this speech was: "No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory."

Outside of my triathlon misadventures, I have taken many management courses and have managed a relatively large number of people. As with everything, some of these courses have been useless while others have proved valuable. One theme in one course that has resonated a long time has been the definition of the difference between management and leadership. To paraphrase, management can be viewed as the ability to get people to get a task or a group of tasks done or to achieve an objective while leadership can be viewed as the ability to inspire people to want to get the tasks done to the best of their ability or to motivate them to attain the objective. Subtle difference, yes, but important.

Sure, leadership or management can be observed in a variety ways. There are some classic examples such as in the movie Ben-Hur ( "We keep you alive so you can serve this ship. Row well and live.") or perhaps the Star Wars examples of Darth Vader ("You have failed me for the last time Admiral"). There are many examples in history of political leaders similar to FDR. My question and where I'm going with this besides acknowledging the anniversary of FDR's speech is: Who are our leaders today? Who will be our leaders in the near future?

I think one of the biggest problems with this county is that we are suffering from a lack of leadership. Merely being in a position that requires leadership doesn't necessarily mean that a person is a leader. I might be wrong about the current leaders but if I am then the direction that this country is going in must be caused by the objectives that these so called leaders are leading the country in are wrong. Perhaps it is a bit of both. Either way, we need to get better. As FDR said in that same speech "Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger."

The big question is how do we get better. I have an opinion that you may or may not agree with but without leaders, we will continue to deteriorate as a country. I would even prefer a leader that I didn't agree with than someone who I did agree with that isn't a leader. I don't see a lot of leaders stepping up in the near horizon either. This means in my mind that we aren't going to get better for a while. A super-committee being formed to provide leadership won't cut it. Actually, "super committee" might be an antonym to "leadership."

This speech happened about 20 years ago before I was born and it is still relevant today. One of FDR's closing lines was "we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God." We wouldn't have triumphed then without leadership and we won't now until we get it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Quote of the week.

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible" - Walt Disney

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Kicking off the season

  • My wife ordered me one of these. Her logic was that it was just a matter of time before I would buy it anyway. If it comes before Christmas a big dent in her shopping list would be made. It would save her some time on finding a present for someone like me who buys more presents for myself than others when holiday shopping. I haven't started any sort of shopping. She is way ahead of the game.

  • A bunch of my friends get together from time to time to celebrate our iron adventures. The last person who has finished a 140.6 event gets the following trophy that needs to be prominently displayed. This is one of the ugliest trophies ever (I put in goggles for reference on the size (about 2 ft tall) in this picture). I wonder where Casey got it as this cannot be a common trophy. I can't wait until IMLP2012 for either Lell or Carey to take ownership of it.

  • Tim had a good idea relater to the NYC26.2, His plan is to apply for the lottery and if he doesn't get in, go the charity route. Interesting thought and I'm considering the same deal now. Wonder what the ante is.
  • I went for a real run on Saturday. All felt good and I kept it short on purpose. 3 miles with no issues is a win.
  • Sunday I joined the TNT faithful for a bike ride. They typically spend more time laughing than riding hard but this ride was just what I needed. 38 miles later I was sorry it was over. That is the mindset I've been searching for.
  • My wife bought tickets to see the Boston Pops playing a holiday concert at the Tilles Center and we went Sunday afternoon. I like to support the arts, my kids are big into music, and my wife is completely in the holiday mode. It was a full house. Maestro Lockhart and co. did a good show (featuring Rockapella and others including the big guy (Santa) himself. During the show they announced that this was the kickoff for the holiday season with all the other various concerts scheduled. I have done nothing holidayish so far so I guess I need stop slacking.

    Anyone else do nothing yet for the holidays?