Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Ultimate Grand Master: Steve Jobs

Why do you train in the martial arts? Why do I blog?  What's the point of playing chess?  What's the point of fidelity and morality? Why strive for perfection? Why pour your heart, soul, and energy into parenting? Teaching? Working?

I've long pondered these questions and I've developed my own understanding of The Journey is the Reward.  Simply, as one who is privileged/accomplished enough to have some comfort and security in life, I find meaning and satisfaction by setting and pursuing meaningful goals.

One of the life lessons that my my Dad articulated to me was that this was how he had found happiness: finding and pursuing goals. Another lesson that he taught be was there was a technology revolution going on and that the interesting jobs and careers would be ones that focused on the pioneering opportunities to do things that had never been done before. BTW my Dad was saying this through the 60s, 70s, and 80s: decades before the popular press and public had any understanding of what was brewing.

More than anyone, Steve Jobs understood and lived the vision that life, at its best, is a relentless pursuit of meaningful goals.  In doing this, he has accumulated a $8 billion fortune and a major place in history. I can say with some certainty that neither the money nor the fame ultimately meant much to him. I'm sure that he died content in that he had lived a life relentlessly pursuing his goals.  He did it his way.

I'd like to focus on one detail of his life and how it affects us all.  Steve Jobs was the one who built  the multiple fonts into the first Macintosh. Since then, user controllable fonts has become a standard feature on all writing, email, presentation, and even drawing programs.  And it enriched every write, draw, and presentation program for the foreseeable future.Would anyone else have cared or seen why fonts would be so enriching? In fact, as features go, it was a weird idea to put that in the first Macintosh. And it was all  due, according to Steve, to his sitting in on a calligraphy class which he attended. Remember, Steve wasn't going to classes to earn a degree (which he never bothered to get), he was attending because he wanted the education. While almost everyone agrees that education is a key to the future, Steve Jobs did not confuse earning credentials with education. In the early 70s, he sat in on many college courses.

When the dot com boom of the late 90s emerged and a whole generation of entrepreneurs seemed to thrive on starting companies designed to be sell-able for cash in a few years, he expressed sadness over the smallness of their vision.

Steve Jobs was the real deal. He seems to have adopted the challenge of making technology usable and empowering as his life's challenge.

Weaned like me on the 60s ideas that we should change the world for the better, he was technically sophisticated and earned his technical stripes early on. In the mid 70s, he was an engineer off and on at Atari (think Pong, early video games, and a crazy out-of-control business, culture, and technology vision) and a member of the HomeBrew Computer Club, a deeply-nerdy group of visionaries exploring how computers could be built that would be for a single person. Steve Jobs was then a purist wanting mostly to explore Far Eastern Religion and sitting in our various courses at college, but not taking the time to get credits.  Today, so many people think of college as primarily accreditation. Lets remember that Steve Jobs attributes the multiple fonts that he built into the first Macintosh and which have become a standard feature on all writing programs, as due to his sitting in on a calligraphy class. One class he attended, he learned something.

Steve Jobs was both a jerk and and a wonderful human being.  I suggest that those of you who want to know a little about him, watch this 15 minute youtube video of his graduation speech to Stanford.  What I really recommend is that those of you who really want some deep understanding, read the Walter Isaacson biography of Jobs which is long and worth the read

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Triathlon Results

Paul S Hoffman, Dani Lawrence Dorsett, John EdelsonThis morning's Key Biscayne triathlon was great.  The rain, while we were swimming,  kept the sun from beating down on us although it did make our shoes and socks and bikes wet and soggy. And the headwinds didn't really help dry us out as much as I would have liked. The winds were odd in that no matter which way we ran, they were always headwinds!

 I met Dani and Paul there. Dani finished third in her category. Paul didn't pass me until the biking but I was basically pleased to finish.

 I was 12th out of 17th in my chosen category of males, 50-54.  However, it was chosen in the sense that I qualify for, and could have entered, as a Over 40 Clydesdale (for those of you not up on the lingo, this means kindof heavy. The cut off is 185 which I sadly easily meet. There are also 200 and 225 Clydesdale categories). As a Clydesdale over 40, my time would have placed me closer to the top!  Should I enter as a Clydesdale next time?  Or should I just bide my time until next year when, if I could get the same time, I would have also placed second. I got through my transitions fine but am not really in shape for a tri, even a sprint.  But, in three weeks (next time out), I intend to be. Watch out. 

 Here's my results (which showed up in an email when I was still having breakfast afterwards).  After analyzing them, it turns out that my biking is slow.  My swimming and running (even though I walked a little) were pretty good. And my first transition was slow but by second one (since I don't change shoes) was wicked fast. 

THE 2012 Mack Cycle Key Biscayne Triathlon Trilogy #2 (.25s-10b-3.1r)

John Edelson Pretending to have won
John Edelson as if he won sometime
 Total Time: 01:22:15.99.  Overall Place: 225 out of 421
Swim Time: 10:41. 170th out of 421 in swimming
T1 Time: 5:3. 286th. What was I doing?
Bike Time: 36:57.  304th.  yick!
T2 Time: 1:7.  90th.  
Run Time: 28:28.  187th.  
Gender Place: 170 out of 280
Category Place: 12 out of 17
Category Percentile: 31
Series Points Earned: 100.0395

Swim Details: 
Time: 10:41.  Overall Place: 170
Pace: 42:44
Percentile: 60
Gender Place: 133
Gender Percentile: 53
Category Place: 8
Category Percentile: 56

Transition 1 Details: 
Time: 5:3.   Overall Place: 286
Percentile: 32
Gender Place: 198
Gender Percentile: 29
Category Place: 15
Category Percentile: 12

Bike Details: 
Time: 36:57.  Overall Place: 304
Speed: 15.9134
Percentile: 28
Gender Place: 227
Gender Percentile: 19
Category Place: 16
Category Percentile: 6

Transition 2 Details
Time: 1:7    Overall Place: 90
Percentile: 79
Gender Place: 63
Gender Percentile: 78
Category Place: 4
Category Percentile: 81

Run Details: 
Time: 28:28.  187th. 
Pace: 9:10
Overall Place: 
Percentile: 56
Gender Place: 137
Gender Percentile: 51
Category Place: 9
Category Percentile: 50

Previous Race Results for John Edelson.  BTW, the internet is amazing! I just googled my name and triathlon since I wondered what my results were last time I ran this (in Key Biscayne 2005)!.(Also here).  I seem to have run a 1:16 that day.  

The net also reveals my time in the Ft Lauderdale triathlon in September of 2005. 1:24.  

I also see that in 2004, I ran the MLK 5K in Ft Lauderdale and ended at 23:24.
42123    John Edelson  M45-23:2407:31
 Diamonds in the Park 5K, Davie, FL, September 20, 1998 (of which I have no memory):
9 JOHNEDELSON 40      FT. LAUDERDALE    24:41     7:57


These aren't all my runs in recent history. I've done Daniella's Run several times but I also run with the kids on that one so my times aren't really my own.

Well, I run with the kids that I can still run with (David is too fast for me to keep up with).

 I ran the Miami ING Half Marathon one year with Eddie Walker (2005? 2006?).

And way back when, in the mid 80s, I ran some races in DC and Boston including tagging along on the Boston Marathon in 1986 (3:20 is what I remember).

More recently, there was the Independence Day Triathalon in 2014 when I finally got on a podium.

There's the Key Biscayne Triathanlon of 2012.

And the Mack 2014 July 2014 Tri which triggered a Bucket List Confession.

I was just looking online for my times and I found a site called which has a number of my times from the last decade in one place (update from 2014 Feb 2nd, day of Miami Marathon). Here it is:

John Edelson Race Resutls
John Edelson Race Results

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Time for New Beginnings. How about a Tri Sprint?

I've been back in town for two weeks now and there's a lot to blog about. One item is I'm determined to get back in shape so I signed up for a local triathlon in August (Mack Cycle and Fitness Key Biscayne Triathlon Trilogy #3 ).  Then, early this week, someone asked me why I didn't go do the one this weekend to warm up ( Mack Cycle and Fitness Key Biscayne Triathlon Trilogy #2).  So I'm going to give it a try!

I mean, how hard can it be? I'm only doing the sprint. It's Swim ¼ Mile, Bike 10 Miles, Run 3.1 Miles.  So I practiced all week and I went shopping, I  bought a new helmut,  some energy chewies and suckies, a tri belt, tri shorts, and six bottles of bright red Gatorade (G series).  

At a moment like this, I like to remind myself of some advice: " Few things are as easy or as hard as they seem!"  Right, which way am I over-estimating this time? Here's the challenges from a very personal perspective.

1.  Sleeping and eating.   I'm more worried about showing uo on time and well rested than I am about the event. I have found that I don't like eating lots of carbs. They upset my stomach.  Should I carb-load tonight (and risk having an upset stomach) or just have a small salad and steak (and not get whatever benefit one gets from pasta and bread)? And, since I have to get there early, how early can I go to bed and actually get to sleep?  What can I do to be sure that I sleep when I go to bed early rather than tossing and turning? And what do I eat for breakfast?

2. Getting out of bed. I figure I need to get up at 4:30! Eat and shower. Out the door by 5 so that I'm parked and preparing by 6. This is scary and easy to mess up.

3. Logistics. This requires lots of things: shoes, bike, pump, number, socks, belt, goggles, sun glasses, permit, towel, bike!   etc. I'm not great with logistics (as evidence by how often I show up in class without a belt). Can I get it together for a 5am departure? Can I get to someplace in Miami on time and not get lost (that would be a first for me) and then get everything from the car to wherever without losing it.

4. Swimming. OK, I don't expect to drown or to win.  Biking. Everyone always passes me on a bike. Running. I like to run but not after I've biked.

But, I look at it this way. I'm doing a sprint, how hard can it be? Anyone who is really tough is going a longer distance, right?