Advice

Thunder Road Marathon Complete

Yesterday (12/12/09) I began the Thunder Road Marathon in Charlotte, NC at 7:50 AM. After 4 hours, 7 minutes and 24 seconds I crossed the finish line. While not a fast time, it is not a slow time either. My main goals were to finish under 4 hours, 15 minutes and the bigger was was to just finish!

Sam Carrara Thunder Road Marathon

Sam Carrara Thunder Road Marathon

That’s me above in the red (#256), the time shown above is the gun time, my chip time was 4:07:24.

I have spent many an early day, waking up at 5:00 AM to run for 2-3 hours, shower, change, go to work and then sometimes class, church or put the kids to bed. Am I tired and sore? Yes and Yes, but mostly sore right now.

There were many people along the route cheering runners along and every two miles there was water and Powerade offered to help refuel runners. Miles 16 and 20 also had energy gels, which really were needed to help give you the energy boost needed to keep going.

I really need to thank my wife for the many morning of encouragement of kicking me out of bed. She got me going last Christmas when she got me a NikePlus to plug into my iPod. Then after some running I got Plantar Fasciitis, basically a lot of pain in my foot. I got new Saucony shoes and the pain went away, I have been running on Sauconys since 1991.

I ran a number of 5k races, along with a 10k and 15k race as milestones along the journey. Did I always feel motivated? NO. Sometimes I just wanted it to be over, but I’m glad I did it. I now have a 26.2 magnet on my car, one of the gifts from my wife. Another great gift was chocolate covered almonds.

Thank you to Melissa, Jesus, my girls, friends and coworkers that kept me going. I’m not sure what my next goal is yet, I need a few days to heal.

Thank you,

Sam Carrara

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Sunday, December 13th, 2009 Advice 2 Comments

Goal Setting- Half Marathon

Do you have anything you are working towards? What are your goals?

Without goals, whatever you are doing can be pointless. Goal setting is a powerful way to increase motivation about your ideal future, and for turning your goal into reality.

Just listen to a few known people about the importance of Goal Setting:

“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.”
Earl Nightingale

“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.”
Viktor Frankl

“All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do.”
Norman Vincent Peale

One of my personal goals is to do a Half-Marathon in December in Charlotte, North Carolina. I will be running the Amica Insurance Half Marathon on December 12th, 2009. If you decide to join me the link is below:
http://www.runcharlotte.com/welcome.htm

I didn’t just roll out of bed one morning and decide to run the half marathon; I have been running for awhile. I mentioned before that my wife got me the Nike Plus to track my running for Christmas last year. Since then I have been running 5 kilometer races and will run a 10 kilometer one this weekend, and have a 15 kilometer one scheduled for next month.

2XU Compression Tights

2XU Compression Tights

Recently I purchased some compression tights by 2XU to give better knee support, help my muscles to stay warm and to reduce fatigue. Just this morning I ran 10 kilometers in my neighborhood as part of my training routine and I shaved off two minutes wearing the compression tights. My wife says it was all mental, I can partially agree with her. But whatever it was, I ran two minutes faster.

You have to be SMART about your goals, I’ll talk about that in my next goal setting post. Until then, here are some links to other Goal Setting posts:
http://www.ncnblog.com/2009/09/23/how-to-stay-on-track/
http://www.truevisionary.com/2009/09/3-foundational-steps-to-achieving-your-goals/
http://coachingcommons.org/featured/how-to-create-your-life-list-and-get-moving/

Half Marathon, here I come,
Samuel Carrara

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Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009 Advice 12 Comments

Recalibrate Your Business

I like running a few times a week anywhere from three to five miles at a time. Each month I’ve been running a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) race. For Christmas my wife got me a Nike Plus (Nike+) to track my distance ran and to help improve my runs. Overtime as you get better the sensor needs to be recalibrated to more accurately measure your runs.

Example Nike+ Pouch

Example Nike+ Pouch

Lately I have had to run farther than normal for the Nike+ to show I have run a 5K. After the first time I went to recalibrate the sensor, I thought I was okay. The next day I had a 5K race and at the end the Nike+ said only 4.2 kilometers, way too short. Then I remembered that my youngest child a few days ago said, “What’s this,” as she was taking the sensor out of the pouch. I checked the sensor after the race and found out it was upside down!

I placed the sensor right-side up. Then I went to recalibrate the Nike+ again, it worked correctly this time. So now I should be good for my runs for awhile. Recalibrating applies to business also.

Regardless of how large or small your business is, you need to occasionally need to recalibrate the business (systems, customer service, order process).

Why would you need to recalibrate?

  • Brand image changed
  • Better technology available
  • Other new products you can cross-promote
  • More employees so different communication needed
  • As “copy-cats” abound, nichifying your products for the long-tail
  • Many more reasons are possible.

Taking all of these new aspects in mind, do these Action Steps:

  • Write down a brain storm of some changes that can be made to better meet the need of your target market.
  • Then order these changes by complexity and time required.
  • Immediately get the easiest three done to get some immediate impact for your company.
  • Then make a plan to do one more change each week or month.

Recalibrating is not a one-time event, any time your business changes drastically it is good to examine the changes. Also an “Annual Checkup” helps to increase efficiency of the business. What can you improve right now?

Recalibrate,
Samuel Carrara

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Monday, August 10th, 2009 Advice 2 Comments

Enjoying the Weekend with Family

Did gas prices put a dent in your weekend travels? I figured we have the time let’s take a short trip and have fun as a family.

Before I get into what we did, here’s how to save a little money on your trip:

  • Traveling by Car- Use the more fuel efficient one for longer trips. Our Dodge Grand Caravan gets about 18 miles to the gallon and the Honda Civic gets around 34 to 35 miles to the gallon. The trunk space on the Civic is huge.
  • Hotel costs- You should get a AAA (Automobile Association of America) membership, or your local equivalent. Many hotels have special rates for AAA members that save you 10-15%. You can also get special rates as military, government (state and federal) and check the hotel websites for other online only specials
  • Museum and Zoo fees- Ask for a military or student discount if it applies to you. If you plan to go to the same place alot, some places have annual memberships which will also save you money.

Here’s what we did:
Friday night I looked at flying to Orlando for a short Disney trip. Just flights would be $317 per person each, let’s see what else. Busch Gardens Williamsburg looks good, but it is about five hours away, too long in the car for this short of a trip.

How about about a two day trip to Columbia, SC? It’s only one and a half hours away, sounds good. We slept in a little on Saturday and headed down to Columbia. We ate lunch and spent the afternoon at the Edventure Museum. (http://www.edventure.org)

Some of the exhibits at the Edventure Museum include:

  • A three story boy named Eddie, you can crawl inside him and see his spine, stomach with food inside, his brain, etc.
  • World of work- Be a farmer and milk a cow or pick peaches, put on a fireman’s jacket and ride in their truck, build at a construction site and more.
  • BodyWorks- Brush Eddie’s teeth, find out what food is good for you, play a large game of Operation, and see how your joints work.

There’s more, look at their website to see what else they have. On Sunday we went to the Riverbanks Zoo. (http://www.riverbanks.org/) It was a good Zoo for kids and had lots of animals. We were there about four hours and then headed for home. It was a good short trip and we have Monday to just relax around the house and at the community pool.

Take time with Family,
Sam Carrara

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Sunday, May 25th, 2008 Advice 2 Comments

Save 2 Cents by Driving 2 Miles

The average price of a gallon of gasoline for the United States of America on 5/12/08 was $3.722, that price has since increased during the week. That price is over 60 cents higher than a year ago and over 10 cents higher than one week ago. To see more about gas prices, visit:
http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_home_page.html

What will the price look like on 5/19/2008 look like? It will probably be around $3.89 per gallon and continue to climb thru the Fourth of July weekend.

So what should we do to save a little money while the price is going up? A few options to save money include:

  1. Reduce the number of trips you need to take. Only go to the grocery store once per week and stay home to eat your meals, this will also save money other than gas usage.
  2. Ask your employer if you can work from home 1-2 days per week. Make sure to put together a work plan and report the positive results. This may allow you in the future to work more days from home, as long as you actually work.
  3. Remove any unnecessary items from your car. Additional weight in your vehicle causes more gas to be used.
  4. Car pool or take the bus to work. In the end run it may cost less and you may be able to get a little reading or work done while in transit.
  5. Don’t leave your car idling while you stop to do an errand or other tasks. Turn it off if it will sit more than a minute (some people say 30 seconds).
  6. Watch your speed, driving the speed limit rather than 5-10 miles per hour faster than the speed limit saves gas by the vehicle using the gas more efficiently.

All of these ways can save more than 2 cents from gas savings. Would you drive two miles to save two cents per gallon? If the gas station is along your route of travel then the additional drive is fine. But, if you have to go out of your way two miles, that two cents times twenty to thirty gallons (40-60 cents) is lost on the four mile round trip detour. Get started saving gas now!

Save Gas Money,
Sam Carrara

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Friday, May 16th, 2008 Advice 2 Comments