Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: May 2011
It Has Nothing To Do With Age provides self-help principles. The inspirational stories give concrete illustrations of overcoming many of life's challenges. Difficulties pertaining to depression, grief, divorce, and death are presented and worked through by the participants. Physical impairments, injuries, overcoming issues with weight, alcohol, and nicotine are also dealt with and resolved by the athletes.

This book provides a model on how to overcome some of the difficulties that confront all of us . Further, this read sheds a beacon of light on preventive measures for good physical and mental health. Research demonstrates that exercise is an important component in treating such ailments and debilitating illness such as depression, stroke, heart disease, brain or cognitive malfunction,and Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest that proper exercise can be used as a preventive measure for psychological, cognitive, and physical health as well. Follow my prescription and lead a better, more fulfilling, and healthier life.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Western States 100 Training Run and Cool Ride and Tie

"Believe that you can run farther or faster. Believe that you're young enough, old enough, strong enough, and so on to accomplish everything you want to do. Don't let worn out beliefs stop you from moving beyond yourself” by John Bingham from “Tools and Rules” in Runners World. Thanks Tony for sending the quote. I like what John is saying. Think positively, remove doubt, and set goals for yourself. There is nothing wrong with John’s thinking.
Unfortunately for me Sunday’s Western States training run did not go well. I remember thinking on Saturday that I’m glad I am not running in the mountains today because of the cold, wet, rainy weather. That idea foreshadowed things to come. On Sunday, Tony arrived before 7 AM. We left and proceeded to Forest Hill driving into the fog looking for the sunshine. There isn't much sunshine but instead cold temperature. We registered for the training run, chatted with Greg Soderlund and Tim Twietmeyer and then were joined by Sue and Bill. Bill left and planned to meet her at Rucky Chucky. Her goal is to run 16 miles.
Tony, Sue, and I began the training run together. After a short while, Sue took the lead followed by me in second place and Tony behind me. We continued running and I told Tony early into the run that I didn’t feel great. I did not know what was going on but it was clear that things weren’t right. It’s like I had led feet and was without energy. After a few miles or so, Sue gets out in front and after that I did not see her again.
A runner by the name of Brad, age 47, ran with us to the first aid station at about 8 miles into the run. As it turned out, he lived in our area through high school. He currently lives at Davis. He told us that he is testing out some gear he received from his brother a researcher from Camelback. I plan to contact him later so that I can talk to the Camelback people about donating items for the Cool Ride and Tie and possibly advertising their gear in my book.After leaving the aid station the trail is a series of switchbacks heading down in the direction of the American River. At this point I’m not running, I am merely shuffling. Tony gets in front and I tell him to run ahead since this is not my day. I reviewed the previous week in my head attempting to figure out the cause for feeling so lousy. Chances are it might be related to not sleeping well the last three or four days. My book cover is on my mind. In any event, I’ll never know. Were my thoughts positive going into this run?  In any event, I had a lousy day. What is also clear is that I didn’t come close to catching Tony. He kicked my butt. I’ll race him, another time, at that distance and see what happens. Prescription number 3 from my book fits at this point: enrich your life by making friends, sharing interests, learning about others by becoming part of the new group.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend, Western States 100,and Cool Ride &Tie

The Memorial Day weekend is here. This is the first day of the Western States 100 training run. I seldom miss the first day of this run scheduled to depart from Robinson Flat to Forest Hill a distance of 30+ miles. However, this year is wet and cold which translates to lots of snow. Often, it is difficult to reach Robinson flat because of snow conditions. So today‘s run is modified. The impossible trail conditions can cause injury today’s crazy runners. Snowshoes work great. Tony and I decided to run  Sunday the second day from Forest Hill to White Oak flat a distance of about 20 miles.
I asked Tony to bring brownies for the ride home after the run. He has to go to the store to buy more chocolate since he didn’t save enough brownies from Thursday’s batch. He isn’t thrilled but he said he would do it. From Tony: Debbie came to my rescue she said she would make them. He’s been spending his time at the computer figuring out how to put together a book trailer. This book trailer is going to be used for book signings. We have videos and pictures from the 25Th World  Ride and Tie Championship, and the Western states 100 called “Running Madness”. I’m working on using videos from The Tevis Cup and the Na Wahine O Ke Kai Outrigger canoe race. I also hope to have pictures of the magnificent seven: Russ Kiernan, Lew Hollander, Jim Steere, Jack Scholl, Beverly Bentley, Doc Shay, and Sammie Sambro. The scenery of these events is fantastic, the action super, and the people terrific. Tony is the technical expert.
In putting together the blog, he used his favorite picture. Linda didn’t understand the contents of the picture. I knew Tony was tailing his horse but what I didn’t know is that he is approaching Michigan Bluff on his way to his 10Th Tevis buckle. No wonder it’s his favorite-way to go Tony.
Many of you might not understand or know about the little known sport of ride and tie. Briefly, ride and tie consists of three athletes (two people and a horse). In the event one person runs as the other rides- then they trade off. This trading off of running and riding continue until the entire team reaches the finish line. In the “olden days”, the mileage at the event was roughly 25 to 35 miles. Today, the race is friendlier. For example, the Cool Ride and Tie has a 5 mile and a 13 mile race distance for new and young competitors. Our event is scheduled for October 1, and will take place at the Olmsted trail in Cool. I hope to see you there. Information about the course can be found on this blog or going to the ride and tie website: ride and
Just yesterday, I spoke to Steve Shaw a ride and tie and endurance competitor who lives near Santa Cruz. Tony and I are running a half marathon called the San Lorenzo River trail run on June 12 and will see him there. This illustrates prescription number 3 in my book “It Has Nothing To Do With Age - Stories of motivated athletes that excel in challenging and grueling sports”: enrich your life by making friends, sharing interests, learning about others by becoming part of a new group.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Joan Benoit Samuelson and Getting Started Running

"The challenge and the energy running requires may be a selfish one, but it actually motivates me to be stronger in my relationships." This quote is by Joan Benoit Samuelson, sent by Tony, and is the focus for today’s topic. He took a leave of absence, from running, for roughly 5 years partially as a result of injury issues.  He mentioned that during that time he did not run, he gained roughly 20 pounds. We talked about how difficult it is to get in a run especially while working. He gave a couple of examples: he would meet Tom for a lunch hour run during the work week; and then run Wednesday evening at the Overlook. At times he said he got to the Overlook  late and would have to run like mad to catch up to the group. He did not like to feel rushed. Occasionally, I met Tom and Tony for a noon hour run and or a Wednesday evening run with the group. For me, I like to run in the morning and simply get it done so I have the rest of the day to myself. Figure out the best time to run or exercise for yourself.
Tony mentioned that during time off from running,Debbie encouraged him to start up again. He told me that starting up is difficult. I agree that it is difficult especially after years of layoffs. So what did he do to get started? You can start on the trail or start in the gym on a treadmill. Tony did begin his running on the treadmill. For him that worked fine because he could adjust his time, change the speed, and adjust the elevation using that machine. He found that when he went on the trail it was more difficult at first. But after a while, he improved and running trail became easier for him. The lesson here is to start by taking baby steps and then increasing the amount of steps or the distance. One rule of thumb is let’s say you began by taking a walk for 15 minutes. I suggest that you walk 3 to 4 times a week and then by the third week increase that time by five minutes. So every three weeks increase the time until you reach 30 minutes or so. Then, do a run -walk for 15 minutes three or four times a week and build on that every three weeks until you reach 30 minutes 3 to 4 times a week. The next step is to begin running easily for 15 minutes and build up to a longer run. This is one idea for getting started.
Returning to running for Tony improved both his mental and physical condition. He agrees with Joan. He believes that his attitude is better and as a consequence improves his relationship at home. We know that running is a healthy activity. Get inspired. It’s okay began a new activity by taking baby steps. A physical activity can help improve physical fitness, losing weight, reducing anxiety, and minimizing depression. If that sounds familiar it is because it is my number one prescription to improving your life. Just ask Tony.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Is Dirk Nowitziki the best basketball player?

Again, the same theme emerges in the world of sports. This time the character is a basketball player named Dirk Nowitzki, a 7 foot NBA basketball player, born in Germany. I remember hearing about him when I lived in the Bay Area as the Warriors were interested in him. At the time, Coach Nelson and his son were recruiting him. As I recall, he was about 18 years of age and professional scouts were drooling over his talents. I believe he was drafted by the Dallas Maverick’s about 11 years ago. Anyway, the Dallas Mavericks have yet to win a NBA championship. This year they are leading the Oklahoma City team in the Western Conference finals. If they beat Oklahoma City then they go on to the NBA finals.
Dallas beat, in the playoffs, both Trailblazers and the Lakers so far. Dirk is a tremendous player and well skilled at his position. A few years ago, it might have been 2006; the Mavericks played the Miami Heat for the championship. The Mavericks were leading the series either two games to one or three games to one and looked like they were going to be the champions. However, Dwayne Wade and Shaq prevailed to win the championship. Of course, the sports writers put the blame on Dirk suggesting that he choked in that series.
Well this year, Dirk has been fantastic. In fact, in game one against Oklahoma he scored 48 points on 12 for 15 shooting and was perfect at the free-throw line with 24 out of 24. Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal in the May 23, 2011 issue pointed out that he is a 10 time All-Star, won an MVP, scored nearly 23,000 points, and propelled the Mavericks into the playoffs 11 straight years. This is the second longest streak in the league after Tim Duncan’s record.
The discussion by the sports people is can they recognize him as one of the top 10 players of all time or one of the best at his position. But, he has yet to win a championship. So unless you win a championship you cannot be elevated into the elite category. It doesn’t make a difference that they are talking about an individual player in a team sport. The sports guys like to argue about who is the best and about individual rankings. It also doesn’t matter when the players played the game, or whether the rules changed, the number of teams, or the caliber of players over the years. None of this seems to matter. These discussions go on year after year in high school, college, and professional sports. I was judged to be an All City football player at my position in the Detroit Public Schools in 1957. I admit I liked that subjective honor. Who likes to be judged?
What does this have to do with my book? Well, my book is about athletes. My book is about sports. But what do you really know about Dirk? What important information is gathered by the sports writers? After reading an article about Dirk, how much more enlightened am I?  However, if you read my book, It Has Nothing to do with Age, you will learn: 3. Information about unique and extreme sporting event activities and 4. How the thinking process affects achievement and performance.  I will keep on adding to this list of learning’s. My book is about life and learning.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oprah,Erik Erikson,Sigmund Freud, and Generativity

Today, Linda and I watched the Oprah TV show. Whenever I use dumbbells, inflatable ball, or stretching bands, I watch TV. Opera’s program is celebrating her 25 years in Chicago on television. It’s amazing to hear how much this woman has given back to others. From providing educational opportunities, creating schools, assisting people with their careers, to helping women empower themselves is remarkable. What a model she’s provided.
Erik Erikson, a psychoanalyst, developed a theory of personality that differed from Sigmund Freud. If you remember, Freud’s theory is a psycho sexual theory of man.  Erikson on the other hand differed from Freud in that his theory is a psycho social model of man.  To oversimplify this means that he gives more emphasis on the impact of environment than Freud. According to Erikson, man proceeds through a series of 8 stages of development.  Man is presented with a crisis in each stage of his development that he has to deal with and work through. For example, in stage VII men is presented with the psychological task of generativity versus stagnation. Oprah has mastered this psychosocial stage as evidenced by her ability in assisting and guiding the next generation. In other words guiding, taking care of, teaching, and giving to others is the  psychosocial task of this stage. Oprah is a great and successful model.
In my book” It Has Nothing to Do with Age” read about the seven athletes that have also mastered Erikson’s generativity stage. Lew Hollander, PhD, Jack Scholl, and Shay Bintliff, M.D. are perfect examples that demonstrate their concern for others. In fact, Doc Shay’s philosophy of life is similar to the Kevin Spacey film” Pay It Forward.” Read about them and the others in the book to better understand their personality and character as people.
There are a number of things that you can learn from reading my book some of them include the following: 1. a psychological basis for understanding the underlying motivation of the competitors. 2. How and why the older athlete is able to train, compete, and win. There are many things that you can learn from reading my book.
Today is a tapering run for me . Tony and I ran the new trail from Salmon Falls to  Cronin ranch a distance about  8 1/2 miles along the American River. Remember this is tapering for me but not for Tony. He told me that he’ll race for a T-shirt. Since is not going to receive a T-shirt on this Memorial Day weekend run he is not tapering.   By the way he ran fast and said he felt good. He also told me that he’s not too concerned about aging since he avoids looking in the mirror as much as possible. He said he is joking. Sure Tony whatever works, just do it as Nike says.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Positive Thinking, Reducing Anxiety and Self -Fufilling Prophecy

According to John Elliott “races always evoke some dread about pain that will come. But we can’t escape the fact that the more discomfort we accept in a race, the faster we will run. Successful racing means courting the pain.” I have some thoughts about this quote. Do any of you think like this prior to a race? Let me know your thoughts prior to a race.
First, John uses the word” always” in that first sentence. That’s a word to be reckoned with as it is a real killer.  I know the sun” always” rises in the east and “always” sets in the west. However, when it comes to how we as humans perceive things, there are not too many absolutes. So I would quickly find another word to use and make sure it is not an absolute. I would use the word “often, frequently, or sometimes.” In that first sentence, I would also modify the word dread. Dread has a negative connotation. According to the American College Dictionary dread is defined as “to fear greatly”. So if I’m going to greatly fear pain, why on earth would I ever do that to myself? So I would re -frame that first sentence to read something like “I get anxious before a race and sometimes I think about the discomfort that I’m going to experience. Of course, to race means I’m going to extend myself physically. However, the discomfort is not going to kill me and I will get over it. If I’m doing a short running race, the discomfort will be short. If I’m doing a longer race, I know that things change during the race. I may experience discomfort and that’ll change too”
Second, John believes that to eliminate negative thinking will result in a faster running performance. If he means that to accept is to acknowledge then I would change that sentence to read something like “don’t distort the reality of the race. It’s important to realize that to race means that it is going to be hard and difficult. It is supposed to be hard and difficult otherwise it would not be a race. Stay with reality as that is the best lesson.”
John’s last sentence has two words I would change. Courting and pain are not needed. Courting, according to the dictionary, pertains to an area enclosed by a wall, a sovereign place, to attempt to gain favor etc. I don’t see how that word fits at all. I also would change the word pain and use discomfort instead. It seems to me that successful racing means a number of things: the age of the participant, the quality of training and conditioning, being injury free, being knowledgeable or experienced with the racing distance, eating well pre, during and post, and being  rested prior to the race. By no means is this list exhaustive. Also very important is how we think about the race. You’ve heard of  a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we think that something negative is going to happen then it generally does. If we reinforce that negative thinking, we get negatively. I agree that if we think negatively going into event then likely our anxiety level is going to interfere with performance. The key word here pertains to negative thinking which feeds anxiety or worry. So if you “always worry” before an event than likely you’re not going to do your best. The key is taking a look at your thinking and being able to modify and deal with your anxiety effectively. Remove irrational thinking to help control your anxiety.  Too much or too little anxiety impacts performance in a negative way. In other words do not choke. Thanks Tony for  sending me that quote.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Western States 100,Miami Heat, andFab Five

A few words regarding yesterday’s blog. I mentioned that I closed the gap on Tony and ran by him at the end of our 14 or 15 mile run. He told me later that he let me stay in front of him. According to him, his choices included passing me by running in the grass and weeds alongside the footpath or simply staying behind me. He translated that to mean “I let you win”. I told him that I don’t want him to let me win.  I either want to win or lose. I would rather lose than knowing he let me win. I made that clear to him. I know he is faster than me at these less than marathon distances. On Western States 100 Memorial Day weekend training run, we are going to run from Forest Hill to White Oak Flat a distance close to 20 miles. This run is by far our longest distance. After that run, I’ll have a better idea of what distance I have to run in order to beat him. Let’s suppose for a moment that I never beat him. Is that going to diminish my accomplishments, who I am, or my legacy? I doubt that it will. However, if the national media is covering us, then it is talked about, as one of their ridiculous talking points.
Darren Everson wrote an article titled “The Fab Five Takes One More Shot “in the May 18, 2011 Wall Street Journal. In case you don’t know about the “Fab Five”, then you probably don’t follow college and professional basketball. In 1991, the University of Michigan’s coach Steve Fisher recruited one of the most talented groups of freshman. These five kids included Juwan Howard, Chris Webber, Ray Jackson, Jimmy King, and Jalen Rose. According to those people that rank the recruiting class, I believe Chris Webber is rated number one and Juan Howard number four or five. The other three are in the top 25 or so kids coming out of high school.  These five freshmen within a month or so became the starting five for the University Michigan. Prior to that season, I remember my cousin Fred Minkow, an alumni from Duke, telling me that Michigan hit the jackpot with this recruiting class. Fred is right, since this group became celebrities. They wore long baggy shorts that became popular, played spectacular basketball and went to the  NCAA tournament. Well, this group played in the championship game but lost.
The second year as sophomores this group again went into the NCAA tournament. Again, they played for the championship but lost that title game. Well, Chris Webber left Michigan in his junior year for the pros. The other players followed and I don’t remember if any of the other four graduated. The article presented few statistics that included that these five  made $431 million in career salaries, played 2,991 NBA games,had a winning percentage of .496, and won 0 NBA titles. In smaller print beneath the title reads “if Miami’s Juwan Howard Wins an NBA Title, It Would be the First Championship for a Member of the Heralded Crew”.
This article presents an old story. The story is if an individual professional doesn’t acquire a championship ring then there is a question mark about his or her career. It seems that these sportswriters are obsessed with the winning of a championship. Individual greatness is measured by the number of championships even though the individual may play in a team sport. I guess one could talk about Tiger Woods and his number of championships since he plays golf. However, Kobe gets compared to Michael by the number of championships even though they play in a team sport. These sport people are always talking about who is the best at the sport and use statistics to make their point. Is Jim Brown the best football player ever or is it Jerry Rice? My point is simply, beating Tony at running or Juwan Howard being on an NBA championship team does not define us. Who we are as people and how we are remembered is important. What is more than the number of victories, championships, touchdowns, home runs etc.? It is the person’s character and ability to give that is important. Read my book and you will gain insight and learn about and from the character of the athletes interviewed.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Depression,Thoughts, Feelings,and Psychotherapy

How and when do you know when you are going to have a super workout or run? Sometimes, you might think” today is going to be great or I don’t feel super “and it turns out just the opposite. The real task is to know how to asses. First, there is a difference between thoughts and feelings. Often, the two are confused even though the word” feeling” is often used incorrectly. One can’t rely only on thoughts to determine predictions of future exercise. It’s the feelings in the body that revel the truth. If one is able to make the proper feeling assessment, the question is answered correctly. The key is to know thyself by knowing how to assess one’s feelings. This is no simple matter as evidenced by people undergoing psychotherapy. It takes lots of practice to learn the difference.Get therapy and improve yourself.
There is an article in the May 17, issue of The Wall Street Journal about treating a mother's depression to help with the child's mental illness. In other words, treat the mom and everyone else benefits. Mom, come join Tony and I on the trail for laughs,exercise, and improved mental health.Just think of family benefits.
Today, Tony and I ran about a 13 to 14 mile loop even though the GPS said otherwise. The trees overhead often get in the way of trail mileage accuracy. I said to Tony, after the run, did this feel like a 10 ½ mile run per GPS? He said “no” and I agreed. During one section on the run, Tony’s in the lead, when all of a sudden a wild turkey jumped up in front of me. It scared me. Have you ever heard of anyone being attacked by a wild turkey? For a moment I thought it was me.
We are close to the finishing point of our run with Tony in front. Tony says something to the effect “we’re done”. That was my opportunity to close the distance between us and pass him with a burst of speed. Even though he attempted. he did not catch me today. Of course he commented that he is going to remember what happened today. Ya,  Ya. This leads to Prescription # 4 from my book: Realize that there is more to life than the accumulation of material things, and that having the biggest toy does not result in happiness.
Good news- I signed a contract to publish my book. Look for it in either book or digital at AMAZON or Barnes &Noble in October. I just heard that AMAZON is selling more digital than paper books. Wow!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Amgen,Alfred Adler,Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

I am influenced by the writings of Austrian born Alfred Adler. Alfred Adler, one of the founders of the psychoanalytic movement, separated from Sigmund Freud in 1911 over the issue of sexuality and developed a psychological theory of his own. For example, he incorporated the concepts inferiority complex, striving for superiority and social interest as some of his components in his social psychological theory. In my book, I utilize his ideas and present a model in understanding the motivation of the ultra-athlete.
Recently, Alfred Adler’s ashes have been discovered in Scotland after being lost for more than 70 years. He died in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1937 while on a lecture tour. His ashes will now be delivered to Vienna to be re-interned in a place of honor in the cities central cemetery.
On another note, more tidbits about former Gov. Austrian born Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver are progressing with their separation. Arnold admitted having an affair and a child with one of their employees. In a previous blog, I talked about the possibility there was a loss of passion in Arnold’s and Maria's relationship. Apparently, it is a little more complicated. I am positive more of their story is forthcoming. Arnold may have a sexual addiction. The word addiction is often associated with behavior problems like alcohol, drugs, smoking, caffeine, gambling etc.
When I was interviewed by Susan Cohn Rockefeller in the Western States 100 documentary titled “Running Madness” in 2002, I referred to my running as an addiction. In other words, all addictions are not bad. As long as an “addiction” does not interfere, in a negative way, with one’s relationships, family, work, or health, then an activity like running is and can be a positive. So how can we get more people addicted to physical exercise or running to improve health and well being? Research of the brain tells us that our brain lights up (pleasure) while were engaged in thinking about or engaging in an addictive behavior. When neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate, the prefrontal cortex, and the mid brain interact and are activated, we experience” pleasure” or simply put the addiction “lights up “the brain.
The task, for those of you that aren’t addicted to exercise, is to find a way to change behavior in order to change your brain chemistry so you can experience pleasure. The more you experience pleasure from the activity, the more you’re likely to engage or repeat that behavior. In this case I’m talking about getting started or keep motivated to improve your health. Today, Tony and I ran a short 6 mile or so loop just prior to the rain. We have been running on Tuesdays and Thursdays on a regular basis. Tony mentioned that he looks forward to our runs and I agree. I look forward to running with him and I know brain chemistry is involved. Prescription 1.from my book: get inspired. It’s okay to begin a new activity by taking baby steps. Physical activity can help in improving physical fitness, losing weight, reducing anxiety and minimizing depression.
Too bad the Amgen bike racers have to ride in this rainy wet weather. Today, they traveled through the endurance capital of the world which is Auburn, California. You realize they are addicted too. Ride safely you guys.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just Do It,Heathy Aging, Plyometric,Harvard University

Trail conditions today compared to yesterday are like night and day. Yesterday, the trail is sloppy, puddles of water, muddy, with plenty of wet branches and wet weeds all over. On top of that it rained off and on. Today, the trail is great. Although there are wet branches and wet weeds, there is an absence of mud and water. In other words, Digger and I had a good run as the weather cooperated. Also, I didn’t have to wear a waterproof jacket and gloves like I did yesterday. Do not let the weather get in the way of  exercise and health.
It is refreshing to mention members of the Maine Masters Swim Club relay team. They include: Bob Hazzard (79), Phil Kerr (76), Bill Reeve (79), and Hans Wendel (75). They are mentioned in the May 16, 2011 issue of Sports Illustrated in the Faces in the Crowd section. These young men established New England records in the 75 and older age group in the following: 200 yard medley, 200 free, 400 medley, 400 free, and 800 free at the New England SCY  Championships at Harvard University. Way to go guys. It is important that these men are recognized for what they’re doing. More media attention is necessary to illustrate the benefits of healthy aging. The doing is important. You heard the expression “walk the walk”.
My book, soon to be published, is about the” doing”. As we know, our contemporary American culture depicts middle -agers as overweight, medicated sedentary spectators who are complacent with an inactive electronic lifestyle. It is important to defy and challenge this non-flattering perception and there is certainly a different way to view retirement and the aging process.  Sciences has found a positive correlation between passion, fitness, sports activities, and being healthier and more  fulfilled. My book is about those gratifying choices for living out this era of our lives.
A Plyometrics exercise is beneficial to both the professional and the nonprofessional athlete. For example, basketball, football, and track athletes benefit and build fast twitch muscles from these exercises. You also can improve your fast twitch muscles. Skipping, running backwards on your toes, jumping in place, jump roping etc. are just a few exercises that can be done with very little equipment. Research plyometrics and implement as part of your workout. Assess and evaluate and see what happens. Remember that Nike commercial “just do it”.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Western States 100,Coastal Trail Runs,Aging Runners

As I was extremely tired following Thursday’s trail run, I decided that Friday is going to be a day of cross training. Cross training consisted of 12 repetitions of continuous sets with a dumbbell, continuous sit-ups and crunches, and employing continuous band stretching exercises. After that is completed, Linda and I did a brief, a little over an hour, kayak experience on our nearby lake. I was tired after but I knew that I didn’t overdo it. No running on Friday. Friday is my Sabbath this week.
Saturday, May 14, 2011, I took Digger with me on a short 5 mile trail run.I felt pretty good during and after that run. I believe yesterday’s day off fromrunning helped. Current goal is to run two days of the Western states100  Memorial day training run followed by a half marathon sponsored byCoastal Trail Runs in Santa Cruz on June 12. Tony registered on Friday for both.
A few more comments from the article about professional basketball player Paul Pierce. What about his diet? It appears that he has an oatmeal breakfast, and a banana before practice and a protein shake after. According to him his pregame meal includes grilled salmon, baked potato and broccoli. He says that in the basketball season he eats fruits, vegetables, a lot of complex carbs and lean protein. He attempts to stay away from sugars and processed foods during the season and apparently splurges on fried chicken, ice cream, and anything chocolate in the off-season. In other words, notice that he eats pre-and post-work out making sure to include protein after a workout, and that he certainly eats healthy foods. However, he is not totally rigid about his diet and in the off-season eats some of the things that he likes. Being healthy is one thing and being a fanatic about diet is another thing.
In the May, 2011 issue of Trail Runner is the article titled “The Good News and the Bad News- Fight the effects of aging on the trails “. According to the author, some of the changes that occur as a result of aging include: muscular strength loss, reduced lung capacity, and a lower anaerobic threshold. In the past, studies suggest that there is a gradual decline from age 40 to 60 and a steeper decline above age 60. New research finds that individuals in their 60s are participating in more events and their running times seem to be getting faster. The author Jim Freim talked to a number of masters trail runners who told him that they thought the most important work out is the long run and shorter runs at a high intensity. Keep father time away from you. Running intervals, fartleks, hills, and cadence can be incorporated employing a different workout each week. I definitely can include more intervals and fartleks in my training. I’m sure that above program is going to help.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Paul Pierce,Torture Run,Publishing Contract

Tony arrived a little early for Thursday’s trail run. Prior to him arriving, I was thinking about running a 10 mile loop so I filled one of my water bottles with Gatorade and added a power bar to my Fanny pack. Tony claimed he was tired and sore from Sunday’s trail race. However, I noticed he had two water bottles and said he wanted to run a longer trail run. When he told me that, I said I have to go back and get a second power bar. So then we started on our trail run and took it slow and easy at first. Four trail riders soon approached from the opposite direction with Diane Marquardt in the lead. We said our hellos and proceeded onward. When we reached Browns bar we took the route that intersected with the Tevis trail.  At this juncture, we ran about 7 miles. This route is the same as this year’s Way Too Cool 50 Km.
I was noticeably tired at this point as Tony is singing and telling me what a wonderful day it is today. I certainly am not cheerful or in a terrific mood. He tells me he’s singing to encourage me to run faster. He tells me he would sing to his horse in order to motivate him. It might have helped Rambo, Delite, or Tusk but it didn’t help me! Then we reached the steep, steep Maine bar trail. Tony asked me which trail to take and I replied “I don’t care” as it didn’t matter at that point. We took a longer loop and on we continued. So after a short while we crossed American Canyon Creek. He then took the lead. I did not catch him. About 4 miles later, I found him waiting for me at my house. So today we ran about 14 miles. This is a good example of one runner being too tired from a previous event or training, not enough recovery time, not having sufficient fuel. or not doing well because of the change in warm temperature. I was breathing heavily and that is clear.
With more training, would that have made the difference? For Tony, his recovery is better than mine possibly because he didn’t run yesterday. He told me he walked. I ran yesterday and possibly that is a mistake. I noticed that I was spending too much time thinking about how tired I was and attempting to figure it out. After a while, I stopped dwelling on that and began thinking about the trail and where I would run and when I would walk. Well, I made it home, got Tony a beer, while I drank my smoothie. I told Tony that today’s run is called “The Torture Run”. He laughed and thought that is funny.
Yesterday, I wrote a little about Paul Pierce. A few training tips are provided in the article without much detail. However, according to the journalist he uses a treadmill or bike, and performs 2 to 3 one hour total body workouts per week. He stretches almost every day of the week especially between pre-and post-practices and professional basketball games. He performs super sets for strength and that involves two exercises without stopping or may be 4 to 5 exercises with a little rest in between. His focus is currently on more repetitions per set (12 or more) with less weight. To further lessen the load on his joints, he performs running exercises in a pool. He also employs the Jacobs Ladder machine which is some kind of climbing apparatus. I’ll have to research that. This machine is for cardio. During the off-season he gets in a two-hour workout a few days a week involving weights and a run. He lives in southern California and likes to run barefoot up the sand dunes. His fitness tip: “Be consistent week in and week out. It’s about the diet and lifestyle. Make the commitment and have someone there to hold you accountable”. No one says that a lifestyle that includes diet and exercise is easy. Take it from a professional athlete who realizes this simple fact. Be like a professional athlete and make a real commitment to yourself. From my book prescription 5 “participating in outdoor activity to help nurture spirituality” might assist you in facilitating a commitment. Good news: I received a contract offer from a publishing company for my book. Yea!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Maria Shriver,Arnold Schwarzenegger,Divorce,Play and Stretching

On this cloudy day, my dog Digger and I ran a short 5 mile trail training run. Even though it is cloudy, the temperature is about 60°F. I thought about Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger while on the run. Sometimes it’s sad when couples separate and other times it’s the best thing for one or for both. If it is time for them to dissolve their marriage, then both have an opportunity to redefine their lives, go through the loss, and possibly come out with more ego strength in the process. I’ve seen that happen over and over in my clinical practice. A number of the athletes in my book experience loss and after some time each one became fulfilled. Read to find out how they did it. Sometimes, divorce is the best thing for each. There is no need for  Maria and Arnold to stay together because of the kids. I believe their youngest is in college or has already graduated. What held them together? We are likely to find out in the upcoming months.

Other thoughts that I had on my trail run included thinking about stretching and training. I employ a stretching routine both before putting on my running clothes (briefs, long sleeved shirt, cap, and Brooks running shoes) from my sponsor Empire shoes in Grass Valley. Once I leave the house, I walk and include a stretching routine suggested by Geno Ortiz a massage therapist who has his massage school on the big island of Hawaii. While on the big island, in 2009, he suggested the Bob Anderson book on Stretching. From that point on, stretching is part of my life. After my run, I incorporate both Geno’s ideas along with Bob Anderson’s on stretching. Geno also suggested that I incorporate plyometrics exercises which I do.

I ran across an article titled “A Celtic to Fans: To Get in Shape, Know the Drills”. This segment is written by Jen Murphy in the Tuesday, May 10 edition of the Wall Street Journal. This brief article is about 33-year-old Paul Pierce captain of the Boston Celtics. According to the article, Paul trains even harder as he ages. He has a program called Fit Club 34 and asks kids to pledge 60 minutes of physical activity per day. According to Pierce “I thought: what can I do to make a difference and help kids going through tough times? Remind them to play.” One keyword is play. Play is something that I did as a kid and it happens, as a rule, outdoors. You might remember  that as a kid ,time spent outdoors either playing hide go seek, simple Simon, playing catch with either a tennis ball, hardball or football, playing baseball or football in the street or at the playground , playing kickball, bike riding, or even tag. You have to remember laughing and having your mind clear of worry while playing. Being a kid is so precious if you’re allowed to play. Play is therapeutic. Have you heard of play therapy?

In my book, I write about play and having fun in the outdoors with physical activity. Every one of the athletes, in my book, incorporates play and enjoys fully their sport activity. Since we all played as kids and as Lew Hollander says something to the effect that he now plays more efficiently and is better at his play. In other words, go out play, be a kid, have fun, and enjoy your friends. Prescription 3 in my book “enrich your life by making friends, sharing interests, learning about others by becoming part of a new group. Learn more about training techniques tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding Meaning and Passion:Arnie and Maria

What do you want to do when you grow up? You might remember hearing that question when you were younger. In high school, the guidance counselor may have talked to you about your classes and your future plans. Then, if you went to college you had to declare a major and make more choices. Looking back, many of us did not have a clue as to what we wanted to do the next day let alone for the rest of our lives. Some of us took the easy way out, by joining the military, taking a leave of absence, or being liberal arts major. Others seemed, at the time, to know exactly what they wanted to do. We should ask them if they were right about their choice. Perhaps, things or people change after 20 or so years. I realize I’m being facetious.
I remember hearing at one point about choosing the door and going through it. This was supposed to lead you in the right direction regarding school and career. However, depending upon the door you chose the decision sends you down a path that make it very difficult to deviate. And the further and further you travel might narrow the choices and lead to less options. So my question is “how many of you got lucky with your initial choice”? Did you get it right? Are you happy and fulfilled with your career?
In the Wall Street Journal, there is an article titled “Second Acts” written by Kristi Essick which is about four people taking a new path or direction in changing their life. For example, Dr. David Weinberg is a pathologist but is now pursuing his lifelong love in photography. Donald Arthur is a bookkeeper and is now running marathons. Lisa Schwartz is a management consultant and is now a farmer-cheese maker. I don’t know if these individuals found their passion in their initial careers, but I do hope that they find it now.
One major theme in my book is to find your passion and meaning in your life. I realize this is an existential point of view and I also know it is very important. Passion and meaning assist us in creating, in my opinion, a more fulfilling lifestyle. In fact, prescription 2 “Find meaning in an activity outside of family, career, or raising kids; it can build self-esteem” is found in my book and is one of seven prescriptions. The more meaning to your life and the more passion that you can bring to it can only enlighten and enrich it. It is never too late to make changes for your betterment.
I heard that Arnie and Maria are separating. Chances are something is missing. It might be passion, meaning or something else. After being governor, I read that Arnie is likely going to make another action movie. If that gives him meaning and passion so be it. Find it Arnie. Sometimes it’s easy to find but often it is not. Sometimes we can find it within ourselves.Tony and I ran an easy 5 mile loop on the trail today. We are talking and planning for the next run. We both agree that it is fun and enjoyable running on new and different trails. Running for me is about meaning and passion.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Recovery, Soft Skills, and Business School

Monday, the day after the trail race is good. Today is called a day of recovery. I am not sore or tired which means no lactic acid build up with a good recovery. This is probably related to good conditioning, being free of injury, proper fluid intake, excellent pre-race meal and the 20 Km distance. For longer races like a 50 Km or 50 milers I experience lactic acid build up and a longer recovery time. Shorter distances are obviously easier on your body as you take less pounding. This is my second 20 Km and I’m surprised again as to how well I feel. For the last 11 years or so my trail races have been for 50 Km, 50 or 100 miles. So running shorter race distances is a new experience for me and I like it. I can run faster and not worry about or think about having enough energy and stamina at the end.
Self talk or self thinking is very important during a trail race or run. For me, my thoughts during the race range from” this is like a two-hour training run, I can handle this distance well, to my recent 50 Km serves me well as I have the stamina”. I also get to think about things on my mind such as marketing and publishing this book or whatever else. No one’s going to bother me or interfere with my thinking during this time. For me, running is very therapeutic since I get to think about many things and even work out issues before me. Being alone with oneself during this time is unprecedented and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The satisfaction and the joy of knowing “I can” is terrific. Incidentally, I was the only one in my age group during these last three trail competitions.
Psychological principles that I employ in addition to positive thinking include paying attention to breathing. I make certain to focus on belly breathing when I’m running downhill and to pay attention to my arms, shoulders, fingers etc. I strive to run relaxed. Sometimes, I use my imagination and think that I’m running like a gazelle, or on feathers, or imagine that my quads and hamstrings are very powerful. Being positive, running relaxed, enjoying nature, running with fellow humans can be a very strong and powerful experience. Remember, stress we place upon ourselves which is how we think about these things and that comes from our thinking process.
In the May 5, 2011 issue of the Wall Street Journal there is an article written by Melissa Korn and Joe Light. The article is titled “On the Lesson Plan: Feelings”. The journalists wrote that business schools do an excellent job of teaching “hard skills” like finance and accounting but not so well at teaching “soft skills” such as accepting feedback with grace and speaking respectfully to subordinates. These soft skills become more important as the employee moves up the corporate ladder and moves toward dealing with employees. What a surprise?
Columbia business school has “art of meditation”, University of California at Berkeley a class in teaching students to rein in their type A personalities, Marshall school of business and the University of Southern California is doubling its management communication for leaders class, and Stanford graduate school of business has a class teaching how to give and receive constructive feedback and to control emotional responses in conflict situations. Not everyone is happy of the so-called soft skills training. One problem is related to the teacher or professor who doesn’t have the real-world background or experience other than from reading it from a book. According to one student, a program manager at Google Inc. and a graduate of Columbia in 2008 ,reported that he learned more from interacting with classmates and study groups and leading team projects than in  a class is intended to teach leadership strategy. Further support came from De Paul University researchers. They found that managing workers and decision-making require softer skill sets such as being sensitive when delivering feedback which is most important to have as managers. However, these subjects or” soft skills” are covered in less than 15% of required classes.
First of all I object to the term “soft skills”.  For me the connotation is negative. There is nothing soft about it. Because I incorporate these characteristics and have the skills, I do not consider myself soft. One reason to bring up what is happening in the business curriculum is that another way to teach psychological principles is to take someone out on a trail run and interact with them. It would be very natural for me to teach meditation, effective communication skills, how to relax, and deal with emotional responses during a trial run. I just might take my program to the business world.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sequoia Trail Run, and Getting Lost

Tony, Linda, and I left early Saturday for Oakland. We stopped in Fairfield and had lunch at the Red Lobster. After lunch we drove to Phil and Wendy’s home in the Oakland hills. Their home is near Sunday’s Sequoia’s Trail race. Linda and I met this couple in Loreto, Mexico. During our Mexico stay, I told Wendy about our race on 8th of May. Arrangements were made to stay with them. Linda wanted to go with Tony and me because Wendy is into mosaics as is Linda. Phil is a San Francisco attorney in a very large firm that has offices in this country and other countries as well. Their home is beautiful and they were outstanding hosts. I told Tony that this is the way to go as far as trail races go. Excellent hosts, great accommodations, picture postcard view, and within a few minutes of the race site. What more can I ask?
Tony and I had an early dinner of pre-race pasta and relaxed that evening. Our hosts are outstanding, and the accommodations unequaled. I liked the last two accommodations in Pacific Palisades and the Oakland hills. In other words, this is the way to go for a running race.
Tony and I are doing the 20 Km and told to follow pink ribbons. We started at 9:00 AM shortly after Tony got in front of me. He had to beat me by at least 11 minutes or he would not be happy. Well anyway, the setting is magnificent with the abundance of redwoods in this “Star Wars” like setting. The trail is dry and you have to watch your step because of all the ruts and redwood roots. There is at least 1960 feet of elevation gain measured by an Avocet altimeter. Even though, the directions indicate that if you don’t see your ribbon for 3 to 4 minutes you are off course.
Well, I’m running really well with a group of younger runners composed of five women and two men. We are progressing up this steep climb called the Madrone Trail. On this trail, we come across the Oakland fire Department along with search and rescue team. They have a hand carry stretcher and a gurney. Perhaps, there are at least 10 of them. The running group passes them and proceeds to a flat area where we find an ambulance along with another official from the fire department. We now realize that we are lost. This official has a map which confirms our dilemma. Most of us decide to double back to determine where we made our mistake. All of us leave together except one of the male-female couples. I am running well and in the lead as we proceed down the Madrone Trail looking for the French Trail. We reach the spot and find where the ribbons ended. Pretty soon, the young bucks all pass me. Oh well that happens.
So I’m running alone at this point until I see two other runners.  So now I am in a group of three. These two have different color bibs and seem to be struggling. Guess what eventually happens? I catch up and pass those young bucks that I was running with earlier. That felt good.  One of the runners with the other color bib, I did not beat to the finish. He is the only one I did not quite catch. While running with him he yelled out “I’m not going out again”. This means he is doing the 50 Km.Could his name be Jonathan? I got that remark from Tony so I can’t take credit for it.
I see Tony at the finish smiling, waiting for me. So I immediately tell him “I went on a scenic view, I did not want to leave this beautiful trail, I wanted to get my money’s worth so I ran farther than you again”. He’ll likely add to this blog by telling you what he said to me. In any event, I ran well and enjoyed the run even if it took me longer to finish than him.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Living Longer as the Result of Sex and Exercise

On yesterday’s blog on May 5, I mentioned the name Jack Scholl as one of the athletes that I interviewed. More about Jack. I contacted Jack Scholl to receive help with the marketing plan and asked about his personal contacts. To provide a little more information about Jack here is the list  of some of “his casual acquaintances and some lifelong friends “: Supreme Court justices Alito and Scalia, Princes  Albert& Rainer, Princess Grace Kelly, William Simon Treasury Secretary, Hugh  McILhenny NFL,  Peggy Fleming Olympian, Joe Louis, Elliott Roosevelt , Sophia Loren, John Lehman Navy Sec., and Olympian Susan Chaffee. Jack’s story is of many adventures. I am sure you will enjoy reading his story.
On another note, there are many benefits to exercise. Previous research suggests that there is a positive relationship between exercise and sex. Simply put, more exercise equals more sex which is a good thing. One trouble with correlations is that they do not measure cause and effect. So, does exercise make for more sex or does sex make for more exercise? We don’t know the exact answer just yet but we do know that sex and exercise are related in a beneficial way.
In the  May 3, 2011  issue  of the Wall Street Journal , Melinda Beck wrote an article  titled “The Joy  of Researching the Health Benefits of Sex “ . She reported the following: sex relieves stress, improves sleep, burns calories, reduces pain, eases depression, strengthens blood vessels, boosts the immune system, and lowers the risk of prostate and breast cancer. Just think of all the benefits of sex. Of course these are all relationships or correlations but the findings are impressive just the same.
Of course it is important to define exercise as well as defining sex. I’m not, in this blog, going to define exercise other than stating that there is cardio and strength training involved in the activity or activities. Also important are such variables as to include: personality, physiological attributes, programs, and facilities, to name a few. My suggestions to you if you haven’t started exercising begin by either walking or swimming as both have low impact on your body.  If you are exercising “keep it up “which is not meant to be a pun for the male readers. As far as sex is concerned, having a compatible partner is a good thing and that is a good place to start. The key word is compatible which can mean things like love, friendship, companionship, maturity, and safety.
Some of the chemistry changes related when having sex includes: hormones, neurotransmitters, dopamine, prolactin , oxytocin , DHEA and testosterone. Simply put, the changes that take place can be called “better living through chemistry”. Sex is good for the physiological, psychological, and the soul. A study found in a British medical journal reported that  for  270 men and women ages 60-96  followed for 25 years , the  results included: the more often the men had sex the longer they lived; and the women  that said they enjoyed their sex lives lived 7 to 8 years longer than those who were indifferent. In other words live longer so you can have more sex or have more sex so you can live longer.
As today is another day of tapering, Linda, Tony, and I went kayaking. Tony brought his brand-new state-of-the-art carbon super duper expensive paddle. My goodness I must admit that I want one too. Tony allowed me to use it. Within minutes, I know that I have to change paddles. The length of the paddle is important as well as the weight. His paddle is both long and feels like holding a feather. I am impressed as he did good research in order to select the right paddle. So today is considered a rest day for Sunday’s 20 K. run.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jack Scholl,Rowing,Motivation,and Defense Mechanism

Yesterday was quite the day. Early in the morning, I received word of interest in the publication of my book from the Wiley publishing company. An editor there is interested in how I’m going to market the book. So needless to say, I put a lot of energy into creating that draft. On top of that, Linda and I had a 12 o’clock meeting in Lake Tahoe. On the drive there, I am the driver and Linda my secretary. That went well as she took good notes. Later that evening, I continued working on the draft so I didn’t take time to write a blog.
Today, Tony and I ran about 4 to 5 miles on a tapering run. This is my last run until Sunday’s 20 K.  In the Oakland hills. Tony complained of being tired as the result of yesterday’s mowing and weeding. He tells me he uses motivation to get stuff done. Being finished is important to him. It didn’t matter that he got tired. He wanted to get “done “so he could drive to REI to purchase a new paddle for his new kayak. He wanted that paddle badly as he concluded his research. He is also delighted to find out how to make a foot rest for his kayak, rather simply and inexpensively. He is so pleased. I am happy for him. It is clear, from Tuesday’s kayak competition that his longer kayak is faster than mine. We competed against each other in a number of heats, employing different paddles and different kayaks. The final result is simply that his floating device is faster than mine. I beat him when I’m in his boat and he’s in mine. I am not going to buy another kayak just yet. My excuse or rationalization is that I’m going to get good cross training. I am going to have to work hard in an attempt to keep up with him. That means I am going to expend more energy and as a result receive a terrific workout in the process. It is clear that the defense mechanism of rationalization is just that. We can convince ourselves of anything that we want to. From Tony: I am glad that Frank has to work harder it just makes me work harder to make sure he does not catch me. On our 20K this weekend Frank has told me since I am 11 years younger I have to beat him by 11 min. I have not been able to do that yet but I will be trying!!!
Back to the book, with more detail. One person that I interviewed and found out about his unique competitiveness and toughness is Jack Scholl a world champion rower whose life is a most interesting story. He is a World War II veteran, has rung the Liberty Bell, and met royalty.  And that’s just part of the story. Would you believe he knew Princess Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier? Jack is one terrific guy a real gentleman and extremely good hearted. Just reading his story and understanding his motivation is worth the price of the book alone. You’ll just have to wait to read about Jack.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ride&Tie, 9/11, and Grieving

Let’s return to the World Championship Ride and Tie at Eur Valley. Remember, I am running back down the trail when I met up with Calvin running toward me on the trail. I look at him and he looks at me strangely. I say to him “I tied the horse back down the trail hoping that you would see him. I’m attempting to save you from running all the way to the top of the hill”. He says “that is not the plan”. I say “sorry, I’ll run down the Hill to get him and eventually catch up to you”. So I’m now running down the Hill while everybody else and I mean everybody else is running up the hill passing me in the process. I finally, reach the tied, well rested horse.

So at this point my judgment accomplishes the following: 1. We are in last place.2. Calvin is running a longer distance than the original plan.3. The horse is going to work harder because he’s going to have to run longer without resting.4. I piss off my partner for changing the plan originally agreed upon. Way to go Frank. The rule to be learned is do not change the plan in mid- stream without first consulting your partner.

I eventually caught Calvin.  Is he tired? You bet he is. From this point on I do not make any more mistakes and we actually begin to catch up and pass some of the teams. So far so good as Loops 1 and 2 get completed without mishap. One more loop to complete and we are done. The ride has been uneventful so far after my major mistake.  The third loop is roughly 12 miles in length and about 4 miles into the loop I come upon Calvin on all fours barfing. He is done, cooked, but still alive. I get off the horse, help Calvin get up, and assist him getting on the horse. We have to finish this ride. I tell him “don’t worry, you ride the horse the rest of the way and I will run”. What do you think about my strategy now? So now, I get to run the last loop. During the last loop, Pat Browning says something funny to me that I won’t repeat. Pat and his partner reach the finish line 10 minutes ahead of us. Well, we came in front of 6 teams, and some of the characters include: Debby Lyon, Don Betts, George Hall, Byron Grant, Dennis Fessler, Teri Rose, and Steve Anderson friends of mine. Incidentally, the winners of the event are friends Chris Turney and William Emerson. That is the story for that ride and tie with the major lesson. By the way, that is not the only mistake that I made during my ride and tie years.

The following week on September 21, my mother passed. I knew it was just a matter of time before the inevitable. Her body is taken to Detroit for the burial next to my father. The service is difficult and fortunately there is a lot of family which helps. I still miss Mom. This book could have been called “Frank, you are not going to hurt yourself are you”? She often said that when I told her about ride and tie.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osma bin Laden, 9/11, and Mom

Good news at last! Osama bin Laden is dead. Hearing the news last night brought back memories from 9/11 almost 10 years ago. Prior, to hearing this news I am told about the passing of  Katie a woman that  attended Wayne elementary, Jackson junior high, and Denby high school with me in Detroit. I saw her at the 30th, 40th, and 50th high school reunion. She is a class officer and popular while in high school. One thing that stands out to me is that she is a good friendly person that I would’ve liked to known better. Do not put things off is a lesson to be learned. That is a hard lesson to learn .I felt sad hearing the news. It goes to show you that life is fragile and that things always change.
September of 2001 is a month of sorrow in part because of 9/11. My mother is in the hospital as a result of surgery due to a cardiac problem. She is 92 at the time and the surgery is considered successful but the patient miserable. She is not doing well and requires round-the-clock care. I fly out to be with her during her hospitalization in Maryland. I remember feeling guilty because I pushed for the surgery. I hoped that the surgery is going to prolong her life. I don’t want her to die. However, she didn’t recover well and a series of medical complications followed. To put it bluntly, she is miserable and loses her will to live. I feel helpless and sad that I cannot ease her pain and discomfort. Surgery is not always the answer. I didn’t think of the implications and ramifications of surgery that could follow a person at her age. Mother, I love you and miss you. Hearing about bin Laden and Katie brought back feelings of sorrow and memories of my mom.
I left Baltimore on 9/10 and returned to California. The morning of 9/11, I watched in horror and disbelief on television the tragedy of the day. I could not believe what I saw. I certainly wanted revenge and was happy to hear President Bush say what he said to Congress and our nation. I don’t remember if I knew about bin Laden prior to that day. But I admit that I’m pleased he got shot by our military. His death is not an end to terrorism but symbolically it is a good thing for this country. We finally got him.
On the 15th of September the World Ride and Tie championship is held in Eur Valley, California which is close to Truckee and Lake Tahoe. The event is 35 mountainous miles long. I didn’t have a partner for the event until Laura, the race manager, got us together sometime in September. Calvin is from Washington State and he brought the “borrowed” horse. I drove up to base camp and met Calvin on Friday the 14th. Calvin checked out some of the course and came up with a strategy that I agreed to. The first 2-3 miles is mostly uphill until you reach the flat area before the downhill. He suggested that I start out on the horse and ride until I reach that flat area. At that time, I didn’t realize the length or steepness at the beginning since I didn’t check it out. However, I told him that Friday okay with the strategy. I didn’t think anything more about it until race day.
Then came race day, the ride began. There are around 40 teams that day. With a lot of hollering excitement the race began. Whenever Skip Lightfoot is in a race he does a lot of yelling and hollering at the beginning. It’s a blast. So we are off at a gallop. I began passing lots of teams since many of the riders are getting off to tie their horse. I continue riding and riding up this steep difficult trail. At this point may be halfway up the trail, I do the idiotic thing. I get off my horse and tie it to a tree.  I am under the delusion that Calvin is going to see this unfamiliar “borrowed “horse tied to a tree. My rationale for getting off the horse is that I’m worried about Calvin being able to run this difficult distance. So now, I start running up this treacherous trail and reach the leveling off place where I am supposed to tie the horse. Lots of horses and teams are passing me. I look around behind me. Foolish me, I expect to see my partner coming on the horse. Now, what do I do? All right, I turn around and head back down the trail hoping to see Calvin on the horse. Do I see Calvin on the horse? No, I eventually find Calvin running up the trail. He is not looking for a tied horse and therefore does not see a tied horse. How could he?
Tomorrow, I will finish the stories. You might figure out the ending. I’m also thinking about Sunday’s run in the Oakland hills. Right now I am tired. This is not a good sign.