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April 13, 2012

The Joy of Foreign Treadmills

The Joy of Foreign Treadmills

Rather than run through the streets of Darwin in the searing afternoon heat, I opted yesterday for the hotel treadmill. As I have noted before, one thing that brought me to running was the “portable” aspect. Minimal gear (not to say that I have not amassed an assortment…), and can be done just about anywhere.

I wish I had a picture of every treadmill I have ever run on. Some of them are seriously dangerous, funny, or placed in really strange places like behind the hotel kitchen, in a converted guest room, or – I swear – a storage room. But they seem to be almost everywhere, so if I can’t run outside for reasons such as weather or safety, a treadmill always seems to be an option.

In the US, we are remarkably attached to our imperial systems of measurement. We stubbornly stick to pounds, gallons, and miles while the rest of the world (at least most of it) long ago moved to metrics and uses kilos, liters, and kilometers. So mostly we are disadvantaged when we travel abroad – we don’t know how far apart things are or what on earth the temperature is.

But there is one, very small advantage. And really, you can only call it an advantage if you can suspend disbelief for a little while. I have a great imagination, so this completely works for me.

You see, treadmills in places like Australia or India are 100% in metrics. So when you run you you see these astonishing numbers…and at the end of 30 minutes even though I know somewhere I have only run about 3 miles or so – it like I have run twice that (is that why we use kilometers for races in the US when nothing else is that way?) and it also looks like I have been running really fast – because my speed shows km/hr.

And yeah – I know it’s silly, but I really do feel like a superhero when I see those numbers even though I know they are all in my head and I am not going any farther or faster.

So here is to being a “dumb American” – if only for a day.

It’s Friday the 13th here in Darwin, Australia. Hope you are feeling lucky.

Next time from Sydney.



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February 4, 2012

On the Run

On the Run

A good traveler has no fixed plans,
and is not intent on arriving.
– Lao Tzu

Somehow, people think that when you travel for work, it must be glamorous. I mean new cities, new people, hotels, restaurants…all kinds of fun, right?

Those people, I assure you, do not travel as part of their job.

Mostly, when I travel, I am in airports, hotels, hospitals, clinics, restaurants, running from meeting to meeting, presentation to presentation. I eat, meet, and even sleep on other people’s schedules. When it comes to running, it is a thing I now fit in whenever and however it works.

Here is an example:

Arrive in Cleveland 4pm – on a flight that is 30 minutes late.

When I arrive I already have a text message from my rep saying she is picking me up at my hotel in just under an hour.  I am 45 minutes away and not dressed in business attire. Continue reading…

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February 3, 2012

Where I Run (6)

Lest you think it’s always beaches and sunsets!


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January 14, 2012

Bumps in the Road and a Bit of Rain

The road to self-belief is potholed  ~Nyasha Madavo

I am lucky enough to be spending this week with an incredible international group of health professionals at the Inaugural Caribbean Obesity Forum on the beautiful island of Barbados. In love meetings like this because having a global perspective on the disease of obesity is increasingly important in what I do. When you don’t open your eyes and take a look around the world once in a while, your focus can become ever more narrow.

So for me, while I appreciate the education, the best part of this kind of gathering is increasingly building my global network of like-minded people.

At the same time, travel always has its challenges. I chose running as a form of exercise in large part because of it’s portability – “have shoes, will travel” – you can really do it anywhere. Almost every business class hotel in the world has at least one well-worn treadmill hiding in a converted 5th floor suite.

For this trip, however, I had not really planned on needing the treadmill.  I am, after all, on a tropical island – I am thinking “I am going to run outside.” so I put on my shoes and walk out through the lobby to do just that when the skies open up  – not with glorious sunshine – but with torrential rain.

Me, shoes, iPhone – wet, wet, wet. Continue reading…

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January 8, 2012

Goal! (Or Not?)

I have written here before that I am a perfectionist. One way this shows up is that I am continually asking myself questions like:

  • Can I do that better?
  • What’s the next level/step?
  • How do I progress or move forward?

I can sometimes get a little obsessed with reaching one goal and then trying to find a way to get to the next via the shortest path.

This has been a great thing in my career. I work hard, get things done and never hesitate to tackle the next thing that needs my attention. I will tend towards producing better and better work over time because  I am constantly comparing what I do today to what I did yesterday or last week or last year – and I want to see that I have somehow progressed.

But the older I get, the more I recognize that this strategy doesn’t work for everything – and in some cases it may actually hinder my results or at least keep me from enjoying the journey. Continue reading…

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January 5, 2012

It’s All In Your Head

It’s All In Your Head

Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they’re yours.  ~Richard Bach

It somehow seems that now that I am running and writing about running, everyone I know is a runner and wants to talk about running. I had no idea how many runners I know.

So yesterday, as I was lamenting the pain in my leg, I had a cup of coffee with a friend who has been running since high school. We talked about my injury and injuries he has had. We talked about shoes, and insoles and other gear. We talked about apps and gadgets, and things like the difference between running with music or just running with the thoughts in your head.

We talked about marathons. OK – he talked about marathons. He has run a few and I listened as he talked with a dreamy look about wanting to run Boston (again) and to “requalify for Boston at Boston.” I had really no idea what that meant, but when you see a runner passionately talking about running, you can’t stop them. They often get into a day-dreamy state of ecstasy that I can’t help but to admire.

When he finished, I said something like “Wow, I think it’s amazing that you can run that far and that you love it that much. Me, I can just barely run 3 miles right now and 5 sounds like a trip to the moon.”

“Oh, you could run a 10k right now if you wanted,” he says. “I ran a 10k when I was training at 3 miles a day – you could do that, no problem.”

I think I laughed. Continue reading…

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December 20, 2011

I Love My Treadmill (and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say)

I Love My Treadmill (and Other Things I Never Thought I’d Say)

When I first decided to run, I was going to buy a treadmill. After all, I had no idea what I was doing so why on Earth would I want to humiliate myself in public? Then I went and looked at treadmills and changed my mind. I was not going to spend over a thousand dollars on something that:

  1. I did not know how to use
  2. I did not know anything about
  3. I really did not know if I would use because I did not know if I would keep my commitment to running

So I decided that I had better learn to run first and also learn a thing or two about treadmills before making a major purchase on something that might just end up as a coat rack.  So I bought a cute pair of running shoes (more on that another time) and started to run. I live at the beach, so I have great flat roads and trails, and I quickly decided that I was not going to care what the neighbors thought. I also travel a lot for work. Last year I logged about 200,000 air miles both in and out of the US. This means hotels. Hotels have treadmills.

Continue reading…

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