Saturday, December 24, 2011

Rebooting RebootYou

I’m getting myself back out on the road to run again, after a too-long layoff. As I was running today, I was thinking about the RebootYou website. Talk about something that needs rejuvenation! That’s another task I haven’t been taking care of. So enough of my beating myself up and on to the subject at hand: rebooting.

The original concept of RebootYou was to help people recently retired get back to being productive instead of sitting on the couch. My assumption was that there were ample opportunities in the market for gainful employment after retirement – perhaps at a slower pace or a different type of job, but staying active and engaged in something rewarding.

However, today, four years after I launched RebootYou, that assumption no longer holds true. In fact, the exact opposite situation prevails -- there are not even enough opportunities for gainful employment for many in their prime earning years -- well before they are at "retirement age." Many have been forced into involuntary joblessness not because they have aged out of the workforce, but because the overall workplace opportunity has been downsized by the economic downturn.

Making matters worse for those newly out of a job are fundamental global changes described by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum in their new book, That Used to Be Us. They point out that the combination of globalization and the information technology revolution have made many jobs obsolete or nonexistent. Even white collar jobs for high skilled workers can be outsourced to lower cost geographies. The net for would be rebooters is a vastly different climate than existed just 4 short years ago: 
  • The demographic bulge of Baby Boomers turning 65 still looms. The oldest of the Boomers have already hit 65 and started retiring from conventional jobs.
  • I have no data to back this up, but I’m guessing the majority of these Boomers are not on the cutting edge of personal technology and social media techniques.
  • The number of job openings has shrunk considerably, not only for those "second career" jobs but for basic employment as well.
  • To have any hope of qualifying for a job in this new world, many boomers will have to learn new skills and will have to learn to compete on a whole new playing field.
But for those who can adapt to the new realities, there are at least two broad paths to re-employment and continued contribution: education and entrepreneurship. I plan to talk about these avenues in coming blogs. Please come back and share your thoughts, too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Los Angeles Marathon Success!

I am happy to report that on Sunday I successfully finished the Los Angeles Marathon, all 26.2 miles, in 6 hours and 42 minutes. I ran with Team in Training and raised money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It was without a doubt the most challenging marathon I’ve ever run. It started raining when the opening gun went off (actually the opening horn), and it rained the entire time.

It was no drizzle, it was an out-and-out winter storm, even though it was the first day of spring. The rain was continuous, sometimes light and sometimes coming down in buckets. And just for fun, there was a brutally cold wind whipping through the LA area with gusts up to 25-30 mph. The route took many twists and turns, so we got the wind from every direction at one time or another – front, back and both sides. And since I was soaked through and through, it sometimes cut like a knife.

In many locations the drainage could not carry off all the water, so it backed up into the street, 3-4 inches deep in places (today’s Los Angeles Times described it as “shin high,” and that was no exaggeration). There were 2 inches of rain in Santa Monica, 2.29 in downtown LA, and 6.35 inches in Van Nuys, which is just a few miles north of the marathon route.

I used a run-walk strategy which really saved the day, and at the end I had enough steam left to run all out for the last half mile. At times I felt – well, miserable: cold, wet and tired. I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing this voluntarily! I didn’t break any records for speed, but the objective was to finish. And I finished feeling strong – I did not hit the wall. As a footnote, last year’s winner, Wesley Korir, hit the wall at mile 21. He said afterward, “First of all, I’d like to thank God that I’m still alive. I thought it was the end of my life.” Hey Wesley, I felt your pain! Thousands of runners were evaluated for hypothermia and 26 were taken to hospitals for treatment.

Tami and two dear friends, Dirk and Tonya Jackson, were my support team. They braved the rain to cheer me on at the halfway point and wait for me at the finish line. All four of us, dripping wet, finally made it back to the hotel where we could dry out. I took a long hot shower (hot water never felt so good!), then we went out to dinner and had a big juicy steak to celebrate.

On Monday I was a little stiff (surprisingly, not as sore as I thought I would be) but very happy with the outcome. The Bay Area Team in Training runners raised over $100,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Team in Training runners from all over the U.S. participated in this race, as it was one of their main events, and all in all TNT raised $610,000 at the LA Marathon.

Many great friends and members of my family helped me more than double my personal goal of $3,000. My final total topped $6,000. I am deeply grateful for everyone’s financial and moral support. Their donations will go a long way toward advancing the mission of curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improving the quality of life for patients and their families.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

An update on my training

Tami and I were in Hawaii for 18 days over Christmas and New Years, and I got a lot of running in on Alii Drive on the Big Island.

Alii (means “king” in Hawaiian) is the main street in Kona, and it’s the perfect length for runners – a little over 6 miles. And there are scores of runners on the street, especially in the morning. Men, women, all ages, even a few very young athletes. Some – they are easy to identify – are clearly Iron Man athletes.

I ran on nine of the days for a total of 81 miles. Longest run was 16, and also did a 14 and a 10. Today (Jan. 29) I went 18 miles, and right now I’m pretty stiff and ready to go to bed! I was thinking that this soreness was caused by lactic acid buildup, but I just spent 30 minutes reading about lactic acid and it seems that it’s not the villain at all. What the latest research shows is way too complicated to go into here, but suffice it to say we get sore for a lot of reasons, one of which is probably not lactic acid!

The fundraising efforts for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are going extremely well. At this point my total on my Team in Training website is $4,391, but I’ve turned in a couple of checks that haven’t been recorded yet and I have received two more checks this weekend that I haven’t sent in yet. So I think I will definitely hit my upward-revised goal of $5,000 within about a week.

The support of so many people is amazing and really gives me a huge boost to do the training, even when it seems to take a long time and take a lot out of me. I started this project mainly for myself, with of course the added purpose of raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It has become a much bigger and more emotional effort, for which I am grateful. I’m still running for myself, but now I’m also running for a lot of other people – those who have had (or who have) one of these diseases (listed on my webpage), those who will be benefited by the money I and others raise, and the many people who have contributed money to L&L Society. It’s a completely different experience now.

Team in Training is a great program. It will do wonderful things for you, both physically and psychologically. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in working for a worthy cause while doing something physically demanding.