Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: February 2012
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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Balance Between Training and Listening to Your Body

"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it."– William C. Durant

Monday I ran and walked a short 5 mile loop. Basically, I was checking my Achilles for the level of discomfort.  There was minor discomfort, near the beginning, and none during the end of my run.  The rest of the day felt good as far as my Achilles. That was a good sign.

 Tuesday, Secretariat arrived early, and we decided to do a short 5 mile run.  I mentioned, my Achilles and was pleased with doing another short run in order to check my Achilles status. I began our run, in the lead, at a comfortable pace.  Everything was fine.  After a while, Secretariat got the lead and quickened the pace which was good.  Roughly, a half-mile from the finish of our run, he increased speed again “I heard your steps behind me.”  I told him that was a flimsy excuse for him to run faster.  I sped up and kept him within view.  My Achilles did not bother me at all.  I was an extremely pleased.

Secretariat told me about an article that he had read about a study that related to people sitting during their day.  The article suggested that we keep track of the amount of time that we are sitting.  It is believed that we would be surprised at that amount.  We know that for the contemporary person, sitting can be bad for health. A life without exercise can spell disaster.

After our run, I felt energized and terrific.  I know that if I had stayed home, I would not have felt as good. We know that less activity seems to sap our energy with lethargy as a result.

When I was training for my Western States 100 mile endurance run, Steve Elliott told me to stand as much as possible during the day in order to prepare for the length of time that I would be on my feet.  At the time, when he ran that event, he was a mechanic, and worked all day standing. He believed, according to Secretariat, that standing was cross training.

 I know at certain times; I stand as much as possible.  When I park my car, I do not mind parking at a distance. When Linda and I were on our cruise last year, I always walked the stairs and I do mean always. My motto “keep moving” is pertinent and relevant.

 It seems to me that one way to begin or start an activity program is to focus on sitting less.  Consider, keeping a log as to the amount of sitting and evaluate your results. After doing that, make a plan and implement. Consider William C. Durant’s words.     He makes the point “do it. “   I agree, do you?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

White Lies,Anger, Hate, and Forgiveness

– George Jean Nathan "No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched."
 "Forgiveness is the economy of the heart.…forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits."– Hannah More

These two quotes are   right on and pertinent.  I agree that when angry, rational thought gets clouded. Being angry or upset are negative emotions.  When experiencing negative emotions, we are no longer relaxed nor at peace with ourselves. In other words, we are out of balance. Negative emotions are like a filter; they cloud our thinking and interfere with the ability to see the full picture.  When that happens our behavioral responses are generally negative as well. Negative thoughts often lead to negative behaviors.  The expression “count to 10 before responding” means hopefully, the anger has passed.  Sometimes you may have to count to 20 or 100 in order for the negative emotion to pass.  In other words, pay attention to self, in order to get a handle on your emotions before responding

The second quote suggests that when you are able to forgive, you benefit.  If you are not able to forgive and hold onto anger and hatred, these negative emotions are like a cancer eating away at us.   Not many of us want to be near or around that toxic individual.  Holding on to anger and hate is not only a waste of energy, but it is a disease as well.

Let us neither face the fact that the world is not perfect nor are people. Who has not been wronged at one time or another?  We do not always like, in our perception, how we are treated.  It is easy to experience injustice or being treated in a non-healthy or hurtful way.    The key is being able to deal or confront the injustices when they happen.  If not, come to grips with the negativity so that you can hopefully forgive the other.  Remember, one definition of” forgive “means” to pardon another person.” It does not mean you have to like, love, or continue the relationship with the other.  To forgive essentially means to let it go and move on- it does not mean forget.

The following found in the February 20, 2012, edition of Time based on a 2009 survey of physicians around the US may or may not pertain to you.  For your information, 34% of physicians surveyed reported that they did not feel required to disclose medical errors to patients; 55% of physicians admitted to being more positive about patient’s prospects than was medically justified; and 10% of physicians said they had told their patients something untrue in the previous year.  The explanation for the “white lies” was the fear of malpractice suits and well intentioned concern.  I am sure you would rather hear and know the truth as I would.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Running By Feel

Last Saturday, February 25th Secretariat and I headed to the Auburn Overlook to participate in a memorial run.  The turnout was good and the participants brought all types of food for afterwards.  There was no official start time, and runners could run as many miles as they wanted.  The suggested course was to run from the Overlook in Auburn and then to Cool, turn around and then return for a total of about 16 miles.  The weather was a little on the chilly side, but who is complaining?
Secretariat and I arrived a little before 8:30 AM and began our run shortly thereafter.  After crossing No Hands Bridge we stopped at the aid station, filled our water bottles, and proceeded towards Cool.  As we approached the infamous”Training Hill”, I raised the question “does it make any sense to climb the hill?” Secretariat got out in front and began the climb and I followed.  Shortly thereafter, three young runners passed me.  That climb was never easy nor was it today.  After reaching the top, Secretariat was there waiting for me.  We then headed in the direction of the fire station In Cool.  Upon reaching the fire station, there we found an aid station posted by Bill Jackson for all the runners.  I referred to Bill as Roger, because Bill is an avid tennis player.   We got supplies and headed back on the trail, this time, avoiding the Training Hill. After leaving the aid station at No hands bridge, we headed in the direction of the Overlook.
I acknowledged my tiredness.  My Achilles was bothering me as well.  We did some walking, and then some running.  I felt better when I was walking.  We talked about the possible explanations as to why we were tired.  The explanations ranged from not drinking beer during the week to lots of previous running miles. In essence, it did not matter as to the “why “when in the present.  Paying attention to your body is what counts.  There was not much motivation to continue running, for me, under these circumstances.  Walking was okay at that point.
I arrived back at the Overlook after Secretariat who already started eating.  I changed out of my wet running jersey into dry clothes, and then had a delicious lunch.  Soon after, we left for home.  That evening, I rested, iced my Achilles, went to bed early and took ibuprofen. The next morning I felt good and was without discomfort.  Sunday, I rested and walked about 2 miles.  I plan to run Monday. I must add that, my next race, the Way Too Cool, 50 K., is just a few weeks away and in my thoughts.

Friday, February 24, 2012

10 Super Foods ,Diabetes,and Centenarians

The next time you purchase your foods consider the following 10 “super foods.”  This list is recommended by the American Diabetes Association for diabetics.  They contend that there is no single best diabetic diet.  According to the Association, some people do well on a low fat diet, and others do well on a low-crab diet.  They do suggest that losing weight helps control blood sugar. Even if you are not diabetic or pre-diabetic, evaluate these foods for you. Information regarding the American Diabetes Association was found in the February 13, 2012 edition of USA Today.
1.       Oranges, grape fruit for fiber and vitamin C
2.      Salmon, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids-stay away from breaded and deep fat fried varieties
3.      Spinach , kale foods low in calories and carbohydrates
4.      Tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce provides vital nutrients such as vitamins C, iron and vitamin E
5.      Sweet potatoes packed full of vitamin A and fiber
6.      Blueberries, strawberries and other berries loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber
7.      Beans such as navy, black, kidney which  are very high in fiber
8.      Fat-free milk and yogurt which  are good sources of calcium and vitamin D
9.      Whole grains, pearled barley and oatmeal are a good source of fiber and potassium
10.  Nuts and seeds such as walnuts and flax seeds as they contain omega - 3 fatty acids
A couple of observations: 1.   Look at the many choices and varieties of foods found in our large supermarkets where nutritional and vitamin information can be found on packaging. 2.  Look at the number of supplements and vitamins found on their shelves as well.  Why do we need extra vitamins and supplements?  Are we not getting the necessary amount of vitamins from everyday foods?
More observations: 1. Did you ever see an overweight centenarian? 2.  Do you know of any in -active centenarians? 3.  Did you ever see an overweight vegan?
 It appears that eating smart like a vegan or going on a Mediterranean diet, and incorporating physical activity are important for one’s physical health. For what it is worth, the price of beef is going up.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Enriching Your Life With Friendship

Just today, I received a very complementary e-mail from Penny the sister of Tony a.k.a. Secretariat.  She mentioned that he was her role model and when things are going difficult in her life, she tells others about Tony and Debbie’s relationship since it helps her as well.  She added that he takes after their mother with his wonderful personality and laugh.
I first met Secretariat back in 1997 in San Jose, California at Mt. Hamilton.  I entered  the Mustang classic’s limited distance endurance ride and was parked next to Tony and Jeff Windenhausen who were partners in the ride and tie event  put on by Dan Barger.  Both men were very friendly, and that began my friendship, as well as my introduction into the world of ride and tie, endurance, and ultra running.  Back then, I was living in the Bay Area and had a full-time psychotherapy practice.
I moved to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s in December of 1999.  Once there, I became interested in riding the Tevis.   Luckily for me, both Secretariat and Tom Christofk, experienced ride and tie and Tevis competitors introduced me to most of that trail.  Not only had that, but Secretariat’s wife Debbie provided me with detailed instructions about logistics and items for crewing for that most difficult ride.
In 2000 when I rode the Tevis, I was met by both Debbie and Secretariat at Forest Hill, who assisted with the crewing.  Upon reaching the finish at the fairgrounds in Auburn, I was met by Secretariat who assisted me and my horse Raider. In 2002, when I ran the Western States 100, I was met by both Debbie and Secretariat at Robie Point near the finish.  I am fortunate that Secretariat and Debbie have been there at these important times in my life.   
I am also privileged to know a person like Secretariat.  He has been helpful in so many ways and I am honored to be his friend, and running partner. It has been great to be able to share my ideas with him and receive his feedback. My life has been enriched by this friendship which is why I wrote in my book Prescription # 3 “Enrich your life by making friends, sharing interests, learning about others by becoming part of the new group.” Thank you again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Secretariat,Tony Brickel,Julie Suhr, and the Tevis Cup

I would like to introduce my friend and running partner Tony Brickel, otherwise known as Secretariat.  Tony a motorcycle racer, Jeep enthusiast, endurance rider, ultra runner, and ride and tie competitor first became interested in the Tevis Cup about 30 years ago.  Because of his competitive nature, he was attracted to this 100 mile endurance ride, because it was known as the toughest 100 miler on the planet.  He quickly learned that in order to do well, on this historic ride, it was important for him to become an accomplished and tough ultra runner.  According to him, “I am not one to let my horse do all the work, it is important for me to do my share too.”  As you can see, he had two goals.  The first was to complete the Tevis and the second to become a well conditioned long-distance runner.   Translated, this meant he had to learn to run up the hills and canyons as well as being able to tackle the steep, switchbacks at Devils Thumb. If you ever climbed Devils Thumb, you know what I mean.
Tony became very efficient and talented as an ultra runner.  That ability served him well in running competitions, ride and tie events, as well as earning 10 Tevis Cup buckles including a top 10 finish. After a brief retirement from running and putting on extra weight, he has returned to running with a vengeance.  I refer to him as Secretariat, because of his ability to never give up, grind it out, and to pull away from other runners as the one and only Secretariat did.
Tony is famous for his wonderful deep laugh, his nature and his goodwill.  He has wonderful stories about his childhood, including his mom and dad and brother and sister.  His mom, at the age of 96, lives in Southern California.  Sister Penny, a couple years older, is a personal trainer and a century bike rider.  His wife Debbie, recently retired, has three Tevis completions, and just last week, spent three hours at the gym exercising.   There are many more stories about Tony, and I will hold them for a later date.  In essence, Tony’s competitiveness and his spreading goodwill define him as a person.  Thank you Tony for being the friend you are.
On another note, Matt Scribner of the Western States Trail Foundation is putting on an evening with  author Julie Suhr on March 29, 2012 at the Auburn Gold Country Fairgrounds.  Julie, an endurance riding legend, has ridden over 30,000 endurance miles, has 22 Tevis Cup buckles including three Haggin Cup wins.  Join us on this occasion.  Additional information can be found on this blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Overcoming Tragedy

"The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach."– Benjamin Mays

This quote by Benjamin Mays is both central and pertinent of one’s being. The word tragedy refers to and is defined in the American College Dictionary as something dreadful, fatal, and even pathetic.  The word tragedy does not tell the whole story in referring to one’s life.  Having goals is necessary for one’s mental health, and defines who we are as people. A person without goals cannot and does not live as a fully functioning healthy human being.  Freud defined a healthy individual as one who can and does love and work.  Inherent in Freud’s statement, is an individual with a goal. Loving and working does not happen by accident and without effort.
With a goal, an individual has direction and purpose.   When you have a goal, you have to think, plan, research, implement or place effort to accomplish the task. In other words, look at one’s behavior and you will likely figure out that individual’s goal or goals.  Goals should be specific, clear, measurable and reasonable.  The more realistic the goal, the more attainable it is.
An illustration of poorly defined goals is as follows: “I am going to lose weight” and” I am going to run tomorrow.” These statements are neither precise, nor measurable and as a result not defined well.  The goals “I am going to lose 5 pounds in the next 30 days” or “I am going to run for five minutes tomorrow” are clear, specific, measurable, reasonable, attainable and well defined.
For me, I planned to run 20 miles last Sunday.  In order to accomplish that, I selected a 20 mile trail to run.  Monday, I ran a 5 mile loop.  Today, Secretariat and I will hit the trail for our run.  I have five days to run at least 25 miles in order to accomplish my training goal for the week.  My 50 mile goal for this week is a sub goal since my main goal is to run the “Way Too Cool” 50 K. next month.  Notice my goal is specific, clear, measurable, reasonable and attainable.  In other words, my behavior defines who I am.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Running in Scottsdale,Arizona and Weight Loss Models

Linda and I traveled to Scottsdale for a brief getaway.  On the way, we stayed in Las Vegas.  I had not been in Las Vegas since the 80s.  I did not recognize where I was. Wow!
In Scottsdale, I ran at a sports complex that had 10 regulation size soccer fields.  The terrain was flat with closely cropped grass.  Running around the sports complex allowed me to appreciate the wonderful trails back home. I also missed my running partner Secretariat.   Running was not as much fun, and I did not laugh as much as I did back home.  After running, each day, for little over an hour, I hit the fitness and exercise station at our resort.  All in all, I was pleased that I was able to both run and work out with the free weights.
Returning home, there was a phone message from Mary Freeland.  Mary, it turned out crewed for Fred Jones back in 1966 on the Tevis. She read my book and told me that she and she husband were the ones that assisted Fred on his ride.   At the time, Fred was the director of the California state park system, and was appointed by Gov.Pat Brown.  Mary worked for Fred back then.  She had not seen Fred for many years and was anxious to see him again.  I am happy that Mary has the opportunity to hook up with Fred again.
Secretariat entered a 21 mile run on Saturday and completed it less than four hours.  We will run on Tuesday, and I will hear about the particulars.
The following was found in the February 13, 2012 edition of Time. Guess what?  There was a study of doctors and their care of patients who were overweight.  The findings found that doctors who were overweight or obese were less likely to discuss weight loss with their overweight or obese patients.  30% of normal weight doctors discussed weight issues with their overweight patients, compared to only 18% of overweight doctors.
If you were overweight or obese, and your overweight or obese physician talked to you about weight loss and health, what would you say to that doctor?  Certainly, the physician would not be credible.  The old saying, “do what I say” Is not as powerful than” do what I do.” if you are overweight, and your physician is overweight, he might not be the right one to talk to you about weight related issues. What do you think?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day eight, Chapter 14, Jack Sholl

In 1950, Jack literally met his wife Joan, on the Schuylkill River. Joan was rowing down the river, while Jack was rowing in the opposite direction.  Never shy, Jack managed to find Joan, and ultimately courted and married her.  Joan was a member of the only girls rowing club at that time.
Jack and Joan had two sons. To no one’s surprise, one son rowed for the University of Washington and the other son rowed for the University of California at Berkeley.  To further bolster the family’s ties to rowing, Joan was the first woman Olympic official in rowing, officiating at the Games in Atlanta, Georgia in 1984.
After graduating from college in 1953, Jack returned to Philadelphia and went to work for John B.  Kelly, the Olympian rower.  What I was talking to Jack about this part of his life, he casually mentioned that John B. Kelly was Grace Kelly’s father.  According to Jack, Franklin D. Roosevelt supposedly said, “John Kelly is the most handsome man I have ever met.” Jack, of course was also introduced to Grace Kelly’s husband, Prince Rainier.  Not only was he a patriot, Jack also associated with royalty.

In 1955, Jack joined IBM.  He was on the ground floor of the computer world, and stayed with IBM for 29 years.  He moved to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and finally to California in 1981.  He was the ultimate company man, working long hours to climb his way up the corporate ladder.  He traveled all over the world, and trained many of the CEOs of large corporations about computers.  Even though he gave his all to the company, he still found time to jog during the week and row on the weekends.  In those days, the company always came first. Jack eventually retired in 1996 at the age of 71.
By now you have a glimpse into Jack Sholl’s background.  The rest of Chapter 14 describes Jack’s competitions, and his favorite race.  Also, insight into Jack’s character, who he is, and how he accomplished his goals are included.
Jack is a prince of a man.  Jack and Joan visited Linda and I this past summer.  I invited Secretariat and Debbie to join us for dinner.   Prior to Secretariat meeting Jack, he was skeptical of some things that I told him about Jack.  After that meeting, he told me he was no longer skeptical. One of the many gains, for me, in writing this book was the people.  I got to know the individuals better.  In the process, my life has been more enriched in so many ways. Perhaps, I will write more about that. I thank you Jack and Joan.  I am happy to be your friend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day seven, Chapter 14, Jack Sholl

After returning home from the service in 1946, Jack attended a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game with a buddy. Upon finding his stadium seats, an attractive young female usher appeared and dusted off the seat.  He thought to himself, “She’s cute” (and probably more that he did not tell me).  She returned later on in the game and asked Jack if he would meet her at the Pennsylvania Athletic Club.  Not being shy, coupled with the fact that usher, Rita Lyons was pretty, and he quickly said, “Yes.” Jack joined her at the club, the very club, in fact, where he was introduced to rowing; a sport he has excelled in for over 64 years.
That meeting with Rita changed the direction of Jack’s future.  Upon returning from the service, he simply did not know what path to take in his life.  His father put pressure on him to go into the trades.  He wondered what to do.
While rowing for the Pennsylvania Athletic Club, Jack’s coach Rusty Callow told him that he could help Jack get admitted to the University of Washington. Jack took him up on the offer, and was welcomed at the college in 1948, where he eventually graduated in 1953.  Jack also rowed for the University of Washington while studying there.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day six, Chapter 14.  Jack Sholl

As a boy of about 10, Jack got into a fistfight with the neighborhood bully, who bloodied Jack’s nose during the fight.  Jack returned home with blood spattered on his face, whereupon his father took a good look at him and became angry with Jack, so it seemed. His father immediately and I mean immediately, marched Jack back to the bully’s house. Jack fought him again but this time, he bloodied the bully’s nose. That was the last time that bully ever picked on Jack.
When Jack was asked what lessons he learned from his father, Jack proudly replied, “To stand up for your rights, do not back down, and do not quit.”  Jack learned that early lesson well, and it continued to guide him. Jack does not know how to quit.
After spending that year at the shipyards, he did join the service and fought honorably for his country.
Jack attributes parental support for some of his success. His father paid for trumpet lessons when he was a kid, as well as the Boy Scout paraphernalia needed.  His parents came to his functions and always told him he did a great job.  He still remembers his mother bragging to others about him.  Jack does well with extrinsic reinforcement.  Actual praise is one of his motivators.
To be continued

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Day five, Chapter 14 Jack Sholl

A few days before the Fourth of July, the Philadelphia Inquirer published article about Jack and the Normandy Liberty Bell. The reporter asked if Jack was going to be one of the bell ringers that year, to which Jack replied.  “No.” Shortly after the story was published, numerous readers contacted the Inquirer, suggesting that Jack should be a bell ringer.  That did it!  Jack rang the bell with great pride.  He told me, “It was one of the greatest thrills of my life, and it all happened by fate.”
In 1942, Jack was a junior in high school and wanted to enlist in the service in order to protect his country.  At that time, enlistment required parental consent.  His parents weren’t willing to sign the mandatory papers, so a rebellious Jack left high school immediately and went to work as a ship fitter apprentice on the USS Wisconsin.
At the shipyard, boxing was the main source of entertainment for the men during lunchtime.  Each fight lasted three rounds or less.  At the time, Jack weighed 145 pounds.  He won his very first fight.  In his second fight, he fought a heavy weight.  That lunchtime fight, my friends, was his last.  But do not get the impression that Jack wasn’t tough.  He was (and is) plenty tough...
To be continued

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day four, Chapter 14 Jack Sholl

Jack asked these gentlemen if they would like to participate in a Fourth of July ceremony called “Let Freedom Ring.”  This ceremony was directed by an act of Congress, which states that the US Liberty Bell is to be tapped 13 times by direct descendents of the signers of the Declaration of Independence  at exactly 2:00 PM.,  Philadelphia time. Jack was not a ringing member of that ceremony, but he helped recruit over 13,000 bells to be rung at the appointed hour.  Churches, school houses, army bases, city halls, etc., participated in the ceremony.  Jack asked, his new French friends if they would ring the Normandy Liberty Bell 13 times on the Fourth of July at 8:00 P.M. Normandy time.  They agreed.
In 2004, Jack attended an international rowing championship Regatta for Master oarsmen in Hamburg, Germany.  After the competition, Jack drove to Normandy, where he met with Patrick Daudon, the man responsible for casting the Normandy Liberty Bell. Jack asked Daudon if the Normandy bill could be sent to Philadelphia for the July 4, 2005 “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony.  Jack used his influence as a member of the Philadelphia Society of Sons of the American Revolution to get the Pentagon involved with the project.  Government wheels turned, and the U.S. Navy delivered the Normandy Bell to Philadelphia for the celebration.
To be continued

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Day three .  Jack Sholl, Chapter 14

Jack also contributes time as a voolunteer for the US Coast Guard in San Diego, California.  He is very proud to be associated with those who keep this country safe. Jack volunteers for the National Park Service in Philadelphia.  Each summer, he conducts half hour tours of the West Wing in Independence Hall at the Independence National Historical Park. He is a prolific reader of American history with emphasis on the president’s.  Jack ends his tours reminding people that Philadelphia is the birthplace of America.  After his presentations people frequently ask him, “Did you teach American history in high school or in college?” His consistent answer is, “No, I worked for IBM for 29 years.”
Jack tells an engaging story that incorporated his experience as a volunteer at Independence Hall, and his identity as a patriot.  In February 2004, he was stationed as a volunteer at the actual Liberty Bell.  Several well-dressed gentleman approached him and asked if they were permitted to take his picture in front of the Bell.  After they snapped a photograph, they mentioned it was likely to wind up in a glossy brochure distributed throughout France.  These men told Jack that with the permission of the National Park Service, they had scientifically copied the Liberty Bell dimensions the previous night. They added, “We are going to cast an exact replica for our bell, of course without the crack that would ring in E flat.”  This glossy brochure was to advertise their “Normandy Liberty Bell,” to be unveiled in May 2004.  They hoped to get permission to install it in the American Military Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy.
To be continued

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day two-Chapter 14, Jack Sholl, Patriot, Rower, Gentlemen Unparalleled

A few years ago, Jack was scheduled to be a guest speaker for two Sons of the American Revolution presentations at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  Even though he was in pain and was taking pain killers, because of his multiple melanoma( cancer of the bone marrow), he still arrived to give his presentations.  He quipped, “I did not want to walk in even with the aid of a cane, but I did so in spite of my vanity.” After the first presentation, Jack was invited to lunch by the committee.  They plan to visit a tavern that, according to history, was a favorite drinking and eating spot of none other than John Adams.  Jack  sadly declined, because of his physical discomfort.  He added, “I wanted to go but I was hurting too much. But I received good feedback about my presentations; they liked them.”
Jack frequently gives historical presentations all over the country.  In my discussion with Jack, he did not think I knew about Hyam  Solomon.  I told him I had learned about Hyam and the fact that he helped finance the American Revolutionary War.  Jack responded with, “I frequently give PowerPoint presentations about George Washington going to  Hyam for financial support for the war effort. Hyam did not let Washington down.  He was able to get contributions from his synagogue to support the revolutionary war; he was a real patriot.”
To be continued

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Jack Sholl: Patriot, Rower, Gentlemen, Unparalleled-Chapter 14

Jack Sholl, born October 30, 1925, is one of rowing’s most respected and revered legends.  And in his mid-80s, Jack still continues to compete in rowing.  Jack has been competing for 64 years in this sport at all age levels.
Jack also defines himself as a patriot.  He’s a proud member of the Sons of the American Revolution and has served as president of the Coachella Valley Chapter.  It’s interesting to note that Jack’s grandfather, Peter Shumaker, met William Penn eight generations ago.  Yes, the William Penn who was a champion of democracy and religious freedom, as well as the founder of the Province of Pennsylvania.  The principles he established for the Pennsylvania government served as an inspiration for the United States Constitution.  Jack’s grandfather met  Penn along with a group of farmers in the late 1600s in Germany. Penn encouraged them to come to the new  land , and Peter Shumaker did just that in 1695.  Another relative of Jack’s  owned a Tavern near Philadelphia, and to Jack’s  surprise he learned that this relative played a significant role In the Underground Railroad, a network of persons who helped escaped slaves on their way to freedom in the northern states in the 1800s.
To be continued:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Elite Runners Are Mortal Too

Well I finished this year’s Jed Smith, 50 km race over 10 minutes slower than last year’s. I was okay with that.  My last 50 Km race was in May of 2011 at Malibu and I had not run over 22 miles since.  Further, I missed at least two weeks of conditioning towards the end of December, because of a cold.
 The previous Saturday, Secretariat and I ran a half marathon at Stinson Beach; a good training run for me.  This year’s Jed Smith race was also a training run since next month’s Way Too Cool is much more difficult. I wanted to cover both the miles and get in the necessary amount of ground time before next week, since Linda and I are leaving for Arizona.  I might not be able to get in another long tough run before Way Too Cool.
At the finish line, I talked with one of the race directors from the Buffalo Chips Running Club about presenting a short talk before one of their Tuesday evening runs. I then received my award, a second place finish - an embroidered stocking cap.  I was okay, coming in behind Bill Dodson.  Bill holds the United States record for 50 Km. in my age group.  He simply runs faster than me.
Also of note, was that my award was the same as Mark Richtman the overall winner for the 50 mile race and Meghan Arbogast who was the first woman in 50 mile race coming in third place overall.  Incidentally, she holds the women’s US record for the 100 km.  I told her that Mark Richtman was in my book, because of ride and tie, but she was not because she was too young. Just kidding! 
 Oh, I forgot to mention, the young stud that ran like Mariah did not finish his race.  He did not pace himself correctly, and   crashed and burned.  That young man was impressive.  To be able to run that fast, wow!  Apparently, he was going to ask Mark for pointers.  Good idea!  Also, I met Craig Thornley, the newly appointed Western States 100 race director, starting in 2014.  Craig was at the race site smiling and seemed very friendly.   Good luck Craig, being race director for Western States is an awfully big job.
 After the event, Secretariat and I received our most important awards. He knew of a Baskin-Robbins store on our way home.  Stopping there, we received our much-deserved prize for our hard work-ice cream. What a treat and a great way to finish the day. Thank you Secretariat for joining me again at this year’s Jed Smith.   Your friendship is appreciated.  On a side note, Secretariat told me yesterday that I take him for granted.  We both laughed about that. Life can be good and is good.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mental Toughness and Running Ultra Marathons

Paying attention to my inner thoughts during the run, I told myself  the following:  I calculated how many miles I had completed ; I calculated how many miles  to go  by  comparing it to  some of the training runs that Secretariat and I do.  For instance, I thought of one our 15 mile loops, then a 10 miler, followed by a 5 mile loop. In other words, I broke up the remaining distance into different, similar and familiar running segments.  I also paid attention to the discomfort in my Achilles tendon. Sometimes it felt okay, and other times it did not.  For me, it seemed better to acknowledge the discomfort than to pretend it was not there.  I also repeated this mantra “I can and I am going to do this.” Further, I told myself, that I was going to run from point to point and then walk from point to point at other junctures on this course.
At some place on the fifth loop, Secretariat said” I want you to beat that man in the green jersey and that is your goal.”  So I made sure to keep and stay in front of that green jersey. A few times, I asked Secretariat to look behind to see if the green jersey was in view. I was pleased when he said “I cannot see the green jersey.”
Mark Richtman passed a few times and I remarked to Secretariat that he did not look good as his head and body seemed more out of whack.  The last time he passed us, we looked at our watches, and it became clear that he was not to break the record today.
On the fifth loop, we were walking on the Wyatt Bridge, and youngster  Mark Falcone called out and referred to us as soft as he passed.  He was a ride and tie competitor, a Tevis Cup completer, as well as a Western States 100 buckle owner.  Shortly after that, Greg Soderlund, race director for the Western States 100, called out “It is still Saturday.”   Thanks guys for your humor.
 On to lap six the final lap and I was not unhappy about that.  Secretariat again ran ahead as he was on a mission for another beer.   Unfortunately, the cute volunteer had left and he was disappointed.  Not only did he not talk to the cute girl, he was without a second beer as well. Poor guy! From Secretariat: It's tough being a pacer, I need beer!!!
To be concluded tomorrow.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Jed Smith 50 km,Mark Richtman and U.S. 50 Mile Record

Secretariat arrived at 6:15 AM Saturday morning and his first words were “it is too early.”  I agreed, as it was still dark.  We drove to the start of Saturday’s Jed Smith race in Sacramento.  We arrived in plenty of time and managed to park in roughly the same place at last year’s race. Incidentally, 40 years ago, Secretariat proposed to Debbie in this location down by the American River.  Congratulations to them both.
I registered, pinned my bib number on my shirt and attached the timing chip to my running shoe.  I was ready.  The 50 mile race began at 7:30 AM.  Ride and tie and world-class runner Mark Richtman, was there.  Mark, at age 54, was there to break the US men’s record in his age division for that distance.  Also, at the starting line was a young runner that had a familiar face. Later I found out that this young man, narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympic marathon trials last year and this was his first 50 mile run.
At the start, there was a two-mile up and back, and then the loops began.  Mark and this young man were in the lead as they passed us. I noticed that Mark’s head was slightly tilted, as he ran past, and I made the comment to myself “I do not think that is a good sign.” 
My 50 Km began at 8:30 AM and started the two-mile up and back, followed by six loops. I felt fine at the beginning and after I finished the first two loops, I was joined by Secretariat.  He told me later that I did not look particularly good at that point.  I remembered  thinking that my two handheld water bottles seemed heavier than usual and I said to myself something like “I have four more loops  to go.“ I felt better after completing the third loop.
Secretariat often ran ahead and waited for me at the two bridge crossings. He enjoyed talking to the volunteers who were there directing the runners.  He made friends quickly, and they soon got to know him.  At the Wyatt Bridge, a young woman had strawberries and beer.  On the fifth loop, he reached that spot before me and had a beer as I arrived.  He was pleased about getting a beer and was his usual chipper self.  At another bridge crossing point, there were two women holding signs of encouragement for all the runners.  Secretariat and I both liked the complimentary remarks, as we passed them.  He said something to the young women, and we laughed.
To be continued tomorrow.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Coronary Bypass Surgery, Health Work Out or Performance Work Out ?

Tomorrow, I plan to run the Jed Smith, 50 km race advertised as the fastest in the West.  My friend Secretariat is going to run with me and keep me company.  He has done that before in this race and other races like the American River 50 and the Way Too Cool 50 km.  It is great being able to run these races with a good friend.
Today is a rest day, as I am not going out for a trail run.  Last Saturday, at the Stinson beach half marathon, I experimented with a Chia bar.  It seemed that my energy was good after consuming that bar.  However, I do not believe that I ran any faster.  Yesterday I purchased Chia seed powder and mixed it in today’s smoothie.  My smoothie consisted of a banana, an orange, an apple, frozen strawberries, ginger, almond milk, yogurt, cayenne pepper, pineapple, and broccoli.  I intend to use the Chia seed powder and Chia bars during tomorrow’s run.  If all goes well, I will hoot and holler.
An article titled “Rowing to the Heart’s Content” appeared in the December 20, 2011 edition of the Wall Street Journal.  In the article, there was a story of a commercial real estate attorney who, at the age of 48, had a nine hour sextuple coronary bypass surgery to install artery opening stents. At the time, James was 5’8” and 182 pounds.  He jogged, rode a stationary bike and lifted weights several times a week.  He was a light drinker, did not smoke, and avoided eating red meat.  Unfortunately, he was the one of the 10% of cardiac patients who is genetically predisposed to heart disease, regardless of lifestyle factors.
Currently, he is working out with an Indo-row machine that has water filled flywheels intended to replicate an on water experience.  This machine also measures miles per hour and calories burned.  He also practices Yin Yoga (a deep stretching, passive yoga) and takes spinning and strength training classes.  In addition, he has adopted a gluten-free diet that, according to him, boosts his energy.  He currently weighs 157 pounds.
According to Dr. Gordon Blackburn, the best activities for post-operative patients are aerobic exercises that utilize the large muscle groups and involve rhythmical repetitive activities.  He recommends cycling, walking, jogging, rowing, an elliptical trainer, or dancing.  The doctor also suggests resistance training with bands and weights to maintain muscle mass. He believes that there is exercise for health and exercise for performance and does not believe in high-end performance for these patients.  He believes that every post cardiac bypass surgery exercise program should be customized.
How would you classify your exercise program? 1.  None at all 2.  High-performance 3.  For health 4.  Somewhat between 1, 2 or 3.  I would currently place myself between 2 and 3.  Do as the Nike commercial “Just do it” or “keep moving.”

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Techniques To Improve Your Willpower

A recent book, titled “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength “by Roy F. Baumeister, and John Tierney focuses on impulses, desire, moral character, and how best to use it to overcome temptation.  In their book, they provide evidence showing the importance of willpower as far as academic, personal, career and financial success.  Of interest, self-control seems to be a better predictor of grades in college than either IQ or SAT scores.  The authors suggest that research into willpower and self-control is psychology’s best hope for contributing to human welfare.
According to the authors, willpower is like a muscle  that helps  manage thoughts, emotions , impulses and effortful  tasks .However, it can be temporally worn out with  overuse-the more you use it , the  less likely it will be  available  to you. It is similar to a reservoir that does not have water to replenish it. In other words, do not use up your reservoir of expendable willpower.  For instance, if you have too many resolutions or goals, you are more likely to fail.  It is better to focus on one accomplishable goal at a time. Simplify to be successful!
Glucose levels also affect willpower.  It seems that an adult’s ability to stick to high standards and avoid yielding to impulses depends upon blood sugar levels.  Thus, hungry or low blood sugar level individuals have little willpower to resist food.  You know, it is not a good time to go to the supermarket when hungry.
Research suggests that willpower can be increased or taught through self-control or self-discipline training.  For example, a decision to walk a mile each day is accomplishable.  By walking a mile every day self-control and self-discipline are strengthened. As a result, it then becomes easier to accomplish long-term goals.
In essence, to be successful and to increase your willpower it is necessary to self monitor, establish good habits and commit yourself publicly to your goals.  Avoid blaming others or the environment; filter through TV advertising blitzes, shopping malls, and supermarkets -professionals that employ psychological strategies to sap  defenses or compromise  willpower. Are you going to defeat Madison Avenue, or is Madison Avenue going to defeat you?
If you want to lose weight then start with either a walking program or dieting program.  After a month or so, add the second program.  Also, begin your weight issue program when you are relatively free from stress, and/or in a good psychological place.  If you are stressed out or not healthy psychologically, your willpower is likely to be compromised.  Begin your program, when you have the greatest opportunity and likelihood for success.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Liam Neeson,Kenneth C. Young and The Grey

Secretariat and I both commented during yesterday’s run the difficulty of last Saturday’s Stinson Beach  1/2 marathon.  The continuous elevation change coupled with numerous steps added to the challenge.  For me, I did not push going down the many steps.  I made sure that I was upright, as I did not want to fall on my butt.  Secretariat indicated that, at first, he started to hurry going down the steps but quickly slipped and was fearful that he hurt his calf.  Fortunately he did not get hurt.  After that slip,  he slowed down his pace.
 Sunday and Monday were recovery days. Translated that meant that I hit the trail for two easy  5K runs.  Yesterday I felt   more recovered and ran faster than the two preceding days.  Today is a rest day, which means no running.  Walking is okay as I plan to hit the trail with Linda and Nails.  Thursday will be a tapering day for me.  Friday I plan to rest, as Saturday is the Jed Smith 50 K.
There were two articles that caught my attention, in the January 30 addition of the Wall Street Journal. There is a new movie at the box office called “The Grey.” This movie stars Liam Neeson in a man vs. nature thriller.  Mr. Neeson is 59 years old,  and is a plane crash survivor in the snowy wilderness and has to confront hungry wolves.  The part that caught my attention was the writer Michelle Kung describing the main character, as “solidifying star Liam Neeson’s status as an older action hero.” To be 59-and considered old?   Well then maybe, in the movies, 59 is old. I bet many in our culture think that when you reach 59  you are old also; if that is so it is too bad.
  The second article was about Kenneth C. Young.  I congratulate Mr. Young who jogged or ran at least 1 mile for 15,179 consecutive days.  In other words, for 41 years and 204 days this man removed himself from the couch and traveled at least 1 mile a day.   Good for him.  Incidentally, this was the fourth longest active streak in the United States. How is that for perseverance, toughness and determination?   Some might say, Mr. Young 70 years young, has both a compulsive an addictive personality configuration. Compulsive behavior suggests there is an irresistible, repetitive, intrusive force compelling the behavior of an act without or even against the will of the individual performing it and; if the individual does not perform this act, it leads to overt anxiety. Let us say, for the sake of argument, that he has a compulsion.  Did his compulsion or compulsive behavior serve him well?
On the other hand, addiction refers to a dependence on a chemical substance to the extent that physiologic dependence is established.  If so, this physiologic dependence later manifests itself as withdrawal symptoms when the chemical substance is withdrawn.  Using this definition, Mr. Young does not have an addiction.
Unfortunately, there was no further information provided as to why Mr. Young stopped his streak.  Some people are old at 70.  It is all relative, and I want to point out that 70 does not necessarily mean that you are old, just ask Kenneth C. Young.