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

Friday, November 30, 2012

Secretariat, Toughness And Anxiety,

“Reality is the leading cause of stress among those who are in touch with it.”-Jane Wagner
In response to Secretariat’s recent input are the following points Re: the horse and the human: 1. Per the survival of the fittest-humans outlive and compete at higher levels longer than the equine 2.Comparing Western States and the Tevis Cup-a top 10 Tevis horse may compete (top10 ten) for about three years per current president of the Tevis before it lames up 3. Tim Tweitmeyer ran 25 top ten Western States-he hasn’t broken down 4. During the Tevis and climbing up Devil’s Thumb, ask Secretariat when he did? Did he get off the back of his horse in order to protect? 5. During one of Secretariat’s top 10 finishes, the veterinary made comments to another “he’s a runner.” He’s a runner is translated “Secretariat was doing something unfair -he was off the horses back  during the horse race and that would disqualify horse for best condition.”6. One definition of toughness is the ability to compete at high levels (top ten) for at least seven years during 100 mile events.7. The only function of the veterinarian on the Tevis ride is to protect the horse from the rider. Usually the veterinarians (there are exceptions) don’t trust the rider’s judgment.

From Secretariat: I only have one thing to say Rio Grand Sultan ( Arabian Horse) 10,00 endurance miles in a 13 year period. Finished 38 100 mile races out of 39 of those 21 were First place Three were 2nd place 2 were 3rd place all the rest were top 10 except 3. He did a total of 143 rides finishing all but two. 90 % of those were in the top ten. Rio also won 46 BC’s out of all his races. He also won two gold medals at the world championships both were 100 mile rides. Oh and one more thing he did this while carrying up 20 to 25% of his body weight on his back.

Are you a worry wart? Do you tremble; have muscle tension, experience restlessness, rapid heartbeat, sweating and/ or have cold hands and feet? Are you lightheaded, have shortness of breath, tingling of the skin, diarrhea and/or frequent urination, dry mouth or initial insomnia?  What are your fears, worries, or phobias? These physical symptoms and types of anxiety can be troublesome to say the least and the neurobiology is located in our prefrontal cortex.
Some emotional factors that lower brain serotonin levels include: significant losses, prolonged experiences of powerlessness and lack of mobility. Also,   medical disorders that can cause anxiety  include:  adrenal  tumors, alcoholism, angina  pectoris, cardiac arrhythmia, CNS degenerative diseases, Cushing’s disease, coronary insufficiency, delirium, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism, Ménière’s disease, mitral   valve prolapse, parathyroid disease, partial-complex seizures, post—concussion syndrome and premenstrual syndrome.
On top of that there certain drugs that may cause anxiety as well and they include: amphetamines, appetite suppressants, asthma medications, caffeine, CNS depressants, cocaine, nasal decongestants, steroids, and stimulants.
Some interventions to assist the neurobiology of the prefrontal cortex include: eliminate the substances that cause anxiety, sleep enhancement, and exercise. Remember things like caffeine, sometimes antidepressants, alcohol, tranquilizers, and some sleeping pills can cause sleep disturbances. Insomnia only makes matters worse as far as anxiety is concerned.
We know that exercise not only helps with sleep enhancement but also helps deal with anxiety. Research suggests that BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) is reactivated by exercise as well as by certain medications. Although exercise has been loosely defined as three times a week for 20 minutes, each day two 10 minute periods of exercise, and walk 10,000 steps a day, I question those studies. I believe a clearer definition of what is exercise is required. Further, don’t forget the role of relaxation, yoga and breathing techniques that help manage anxiety.
If exercise and relaxation techniques do not help you cope with your anxiety, I suggest you see a psychologist or other health care provider to help you deal and change your thinking process. If still no resolution to your issue, then consult your medical doctor for meds. This information was provided by the Institute for Brain Potential.
Whatever you do, keep moving and remember to run for your life. If exercise (aerobic) was in pill form it would be # 1. Since you can’t buy it at the store, use your brain while you can.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Running, Evolution and Using Your Brain Wisely

“If you must walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death….just don’t stop.”- Winston Churchill
In reply to Secretariat’s response to Monday’s post: Scott Jurek won 7 consecutive WS 100’s. No horse won 7 consecutive Tevis Cups. Tim Twietmeyer completed 25 WS100’s in the top ten. No horse completed 25 Tevis Cups (not even close, let alone top ten). The human species are tough. Our physiology accounts for our endurance ability.

From Secretariat:
Ok Frank is baiting me hear so I will reply.  First let me say I think comparing Humans and Horses is useless. But since we are having fun hear I will give the horses side. In 2011 the winning time for the horse was 10 hrs and 31 min. Human was 15 hrs and 34 min, 2010 Horse 14:59 man 15:07 209 horse 15:05 man 16:24. Oh buy the way the horse was carrying up to 25% of his body weight. The oldest horse to win the Tevis was 16 that would be 54 in man years.  In 1976 the great American horse race was held 3200 miles in 99 days across America. 54 horses finished. Oh and they were carrying up to 25% of there body weight. Frank likes to discount the weight as  he says humans were not evolved to be mules. Well neither were horses. They evolved to travel long distance in search of food and water. But guess what happen man found if they road a horse they could travel further and faster then on there two feet.
  Did you know the first illustration of heart disease was a CT scan of an Egyptian prince’s sarcophagus?  Actually this mummified person was a daughter that likely hung around the palace all day long with no need to do much and did not have to exercise. What does this have to do with anything? The only point is that if you were royalty in the olden days it likely wasn’t good for your health. Since you’re not royalty this may interest you.
.As you may know, we humans have special features in our heads that allow us to keep our head still while running. Further, our physiology without any conscious effort allows our eye muscles to keep one’s gaze stabilized and is fundamental to our system. Further. It is our arms and butts that also help to stabilize our head. When we run our head wants to pitch forward which explains why we have lost a lot of musculature of the upper body. Compared to the chimpanzee, our trapezius muscle is puny. The chimp has also has an atlanto-clavicularis muscle that enables them to climb much more effectively than us. More specifically, their upper body is much more developed and stronger than ours.
So we gave up climbing because of walking and running.  As it turns out, we use our arms to stabilize our heads by pumping our hands.  So the force that causes our head to pitch forward also causes our arm to fall-the trailing arm, the arm on the side when our leg hits the ground. To summarize, evolution (arms, legs, and butts) muscles, ligaments allow us to keep our head still while stabilizing our vision so that we can run efficiently and effectively. Likely, we humans started running maybe 2 million years ago and running is a fundamental development in our biology and who we are.
Also, we have enlarged noses. The physiology of the nose allows us through the mucous membrane to exchange heat and moisture. By having this turbulent airflow inside our nose, there’s extra contact between air from the outside world entering the nose and our mucous membranes. This enables us to be extremely efficient at humidifying and warming air as it comes in, and extremely efficient at capturing that humidity on the way out so that we don’t dehydrate.
Running, it appears, is very important for the evolution of hunting since it allowed early humans to hunt which then helped release a constraint on brain size. It wasn’t until after hunting and after running that human brain sizes started to increase. So now that you have a bigger brain, take advantage and start running. Yesterday, Secretariat, Farah, Madhu and I ran to Cool. Carrie met us there and we all ran back to my home for about 16 miles give or take.
 For more detailed information re. human evolution consult Daniel Lieberman and Dennis Brambles’ paper in the journal Nature on “The Evolution of Running.”
Remember, keep moving and run for your life.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Join The Million

"None will improve your lot if you yourself do not."– Bertolt Brecht
Apparently, at least 1 million people run a marathon every year. That seems to be a lot of people. I remember thinking and having conversations with others about the body types of runners. During marathons, 50 Ks, 50 milers and Western States runs, at times, I would marvel at the different body sizes of certain male and female runners’ .in other words, one’s body type didn’t seem to differentiate nor correlate with how well someone ran.  Does that mean that maybe one doesn’t have to be a special human being to run marathon distances?
 Years ago I remember watching Oprah during the time when she decided to run the Chicago Marathon. If you remember, she finished.  Although she lost weight at the time, she wasn’t a super or exceptional athlete. I am not suggesting that super athletes don’t run marathons or ultra race distances. What I’m suggesting is that you do not have to be a” terrific “athlete to run a marathon.
Also, in thinking about my Tevis and Western States 100 experience, a few observations follow. First, both 100 mile events are to be completed in one day over practically the same trail. Much of the difficult portions of the trail are the same for both the runner and horse. For the equine, in the Tevis, there are a number of veterinary checks with mandatory holds. For instance, Robinson Flat and Forest Hill have one hour holds for evaluation and to allow your horse to eat, drink, and rest without any exceptions in order to protect the well-being of equine.
When I ran the Western States 100, I did not have a mandatory hold of a time length. I did have to get weighed on the scale, a number of times to make sure my body was working properly. If I was gaining too much weight that was the sign that I was to be pulled from the race. On the other hand, my horse was being evaluated during my Tevis Cup race. Raider had to go through more of an elaborate process than I. He was evaluated on such things as pulse, respiration, metabolic and lameness. One might conclude or hypothesize that we humans are “tougher “than horses over a grueling 100 mile mountainous endurance event. Remember, about 50 percent of runners complete the Western States run each year and about 50% of the horses complete the Tevis cup each year as well. Further, over the last 10 years, the first place human’s time was faster than the first place equine.

From   Secretariat: I am going to have to take issue with Frank hear. Yes the runners have been remarkable at western states. But lets look how they get there. The top runners are doing 100 to 120 miles a week. When I finished 4th at Tevis I was training my horse maybe 60 miles a week. The horse hold there conditioning with less training  for a extended period. As for the times being faster that is true for overall time. But if you take out the two mandatory 1 hr stops the picture changes. And for the big one My horse weighed 850 lb. My weight was 172 pounds, plus 20 pounds of tack for a total of 192 pounds. That is 22% of  my horses weight. Lets say the runner is 150. So lets put a 22 pound kid on his back constantly moving. Then we will see how tough he is, and what he’s time would be.
We humans are phenomenal at endurance events. This does not mean that we have to be a super athlete to compete in endurance races. What it does mean, is that we are put together and have evolved to run and run long distances. If you are not taking advantage of your human evolution, I suggest you re-think about your life and what you can become. On a subsequent post, I will provide additional information, on why you have great potential to run long distances.
PS. Saturday evening I invited number of friends to celebrate my 73rd birthday at a local restaurant. That was fun as we all had a great time. Earlier in the day, Madhu, Farah, Secretariat, Chris and I ran a trail run. As it turned out, we ran different distances. Secretariat and I ran about 16 miles give or take.
Sunday, our running group consisted of Randall, Diane, Chris and I. This time we did a short trail run of about 6 miles at the Cronin Ranch. Remember to keep moving and run for your life.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Growing Grey Matter,Thanksgiving,and Birthdays

According to Timothy Bussey, a behavioral neuroscientist researcher from Cambridge, running or aerobic exercise stimulates and leads to the growth of hundreds of thousands of new brain cells or fresh grey matter. These new brain cells improve the ability to recall memories without confusing them which is a skill that is crucial for learning as well as other cognitive tasks. It is believed that this growth will slow down the deterioration of mental ability that happens during the aging process. In other words exercise can play a vital role in keeping your brain young and healthy.
In the study, the running group grew fresh grey matter. Tissue samples from the dentate Gyrus part of the brain revealed on average 6,000 new brain cells in every cubic millimeter. The dentate Gyrus is part of the hippocampus one of the regions of the adult brain that can grow fresh brain cells.  So, be like those healthy mice, find your own running wheel.
 Previous studies have shown that”neurogenesis” is limited in people with depression but their symptoms can improve if they exercise regularly. Some antidepressant drugs work by encouraging the growth of new brain cells. Although unsure why exercise triggers the growth of grey matter, it is hypothesized that it may be linked to an increased blood flow or higher levels of hormones that are released while exercising. Also, exercise might reduce stress as this unhealthy condition inhibits the growth of new brain cells by a hormone called cortisol.  If you are depressed or stressed by reading this information, quickly get up and start moving.
Joyce Carol Oates, the American author and professor at Princeton University, said it brilliantly:” Running! If there’s any activity happier, more exhilarating, more nourishing to the imagination, I can’t think of what it might be. In running the mind flees with the body, the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms.” This information was found in The Guardian, Monday, January 18, 2010,
Linda and I were the hosts for Thanksgiving. joining us at our table included Secretariat and Debbie, Secretariat's sister Penny( a double century bike rider) and husband Steve( knowledgeable about  Katz’s Deli in New York), Debbie’s sister Sharon and  daughter Alyssa( a  Humboldt State  college student), and Linda’s daughter Christie( participated in the 5K  Sacramento Thanksgiving fund raiser ). The food was simply outstanding and the company superb. It was a super Thanksgiving celebration.
Saturday’s plan includes a trail run from Franks. Will be doing about 16 miles. Saturday’s group will more than likely consist of Secretariat, , Chris, Madhu and Farah and me.  Penny, Steve, Debbie and others plan to do some hiking at Cronin ranch. That evening our group and others are going us at a nearby restaurant to celebrate my birthday which is a few days away. Incidentally Chris Turney’s birthday is one day after mine. Birthdays can be good. I know from personal experience as I have had many.
Remember to keep moving and run for your life.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Using Your Entire Brain

The great tragedy of science: the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact.” Thomas Huxley (1870)
Monday’s post had to do with utilizing your brain. In that post, I pointed out just a few ideas related to utilizing your brain as well as commenting on the 10% myth of brain utilization. Another myth to consider is the notion that we are either right brained or left brained as far as being the dominant manner of mental functioning when both hemispheres are intact. Some of you might remember a man by the name of Ned Herrmann and his “four styles of thinking.” He believed and classified the brain into four quadrants. In quadrant A-the left cerebral hemisphere was referred to as analytical thinking. In quadrant B the left limbic system was called sequential thinking. Quadrant C. was called the right limbic system and that was classified as interpersonal thinking. Quadrant D.  –the right cerebral hemisphere was classified as imaginative thinking. Current PET and MRI studies show that most activities are done using all styles and both hemispheres are in concert. That is good news as I’m now relieved to know that while running my brain is in balance and I’m using both right and left  hemispheres within my  prefrontal cortex. No wonder my running goes well.
 The bottom line is to make sure that you are utilizing your brain. And of course one way to do that is by employing exercise in your life space.  Are you happy with the amount of exercise in your life? If not, then only you can to do something about it. Remember, the brain begins to atrophy or loose tissue beginning in the third decade of life. The loss of brain tissue leads to a decline in cognitive function. Since life expectancy is increasing as a result of better health care and eradication of certain life-threatening diseases, just think of the mounting social and financial problem you can be if you do not take care of your brain (Institute for Natural Resources).
 Yesterday, Madhu, Farah, Secretariat, Chris and I did a trail run. I wanted to get more mileage in so I ran another loop totaling about 13 miles give or take.  My Achilles felt good and the hemispheres of my brain were in balance. What more can I ask for?
In addition to exercise, another way to feed your brain is related to food. Example, are you eating antioxidant rich foods-broccoli, cauliflower, onions, garlic, tomatoes, melons, potatoes, oranges, blue or red fruits, strawberries, and red grapes?
Are you getting enough omega-3 fatty acids-found in such fish as tuna, salmon and sardines?
Are you getting enough B. vitamins found in beans, peas, enriched breads, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, and fruits such as bananas and melons?  Let’s not underestimate the importance of food in your diet. Once again, if you do need to make changes do it.
More to follow regarding the brain. In the meantime, keep moving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Using More Than 10% Of Your Brain

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” –Albert Einstein
How much of your brain are you using? You might have heard that humans use only 10% of their brain. According to two psychology professors (Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons), they contend that the statement “we use only 10% of our brain is simply a myth. These psychologists suggest that our entire brain is put to use.
Let’s see what happens when I am trail running. Simply put, the area in my pre-frontal cortex (PFC) comes to life. The PFC of the brain regulates complex cognitive functions and is often called the executive center of the brain since it is involved in the expression of personality, decision-making, problem-solving and using appropriate social behavior. In other words this is where planning and goal setting take place. On the left side (of the brain in general) is associated with language while the right hemisphere is associated with recognizing forms, navigation, Kinesthetic, visual, motor etc.
Okay now I’m on the trail and I’m thinking about my goals and the trail run that I’m going to perform. Once on the trail, I pay attention to my breathing and scan my body for tightness. Often, I notice that I may be gripping my water bottles too tightly, and my shoulders or my jaw may be tight or tense. I also pay attention to the trail and scan for rocks, tree roots, snakes (in the summer), and other impediments. At times, I may even look behind me wondering if there’s a nearby Mountain lion or other critter. Yesterday for example, there were pools of water on the trail so I made sure to avoid them by changing my gait or stride. Further, I began to organize my thoughts and start an outline in my mind regarding today’s post.
Of course, today’s run was not part of a neurological study that measured brain function. But, I would gather that I was using more than 10% of my brain during today’s run. And if my hypothesis is correct, that’s a good thing. My guess is that I’m using more of my brain while exercising as opposed to sitting in a chair. And if that is true, I would push for more physical activity  as it allows us to use our brain in a good way. It is clear that aerobic fitness training improves both cognitive and cerebral functioning of the brain.
On Saturday, Secretariat, Randall and I did a trail run. The trail was wet because of all the rain and it was also on the cold side. Fortunately for us, that heavy rain or downpour started when we were close to being finished  otherwise we would have been soaked more.We were smart.
Use your brain and remember to keep moving because it is" good" for you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

In A League Of Her Own

“The Best Way Out Is Through” Robert Frost
This information about Helen Hanna Campbell was provided by Secretariat. Helen was a friend of his mom’s. Her story is fitting since another Veterans Day holiday has passed. Helen was born in 1916. She is a retired Marine master gunnery sergeant with 32 career years. She has been all over the world in such places as: Australia, Italy, Bangkok, Tahiti, Yucatan, Russia etc.
She was a veteran of three wars and is a volunteer for the police department in Fountain Valley; Ca. helps us out at the El Toro Marine Air Station, and is also a docent at the Richard Nixon Library. Helen attended high school with none other than Richard Nixon, earned a business degree in college and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943.
Helen’s father was a professional baseball player for 30 years and played for the New York Yankees with Babe Ruth. She became a chaperon for women baseball players. Do you remember the movie “A League of Their Own?” She stayed with the girl’s baseball team until after the Korean War when she was recalled to active duty for Marine Corps. She lost one husband in the Korean War and another one in Vietnam.
According to Helen,” the Marines were the last to take women because the commandant did not want skirts with his male Marines but we showed them.”  Well, this US Marine has stories that are probably not fit to print. It would have been fun to be a fly on the wall during her glorious life. Helen, thank you for serving our country as you certainly plowed the path for today’s women in the military.

From  Secretariat: My mom met Helen in her 80’s at a swimming class for seniors. They also both volunteered into there 90’s at the senior home. Where they helped serve dinner. Most everyone there were younger then they were. My mom got a kick out of that. She also said she never wanted to be a resident there as everyone there were old. My mom never did go to the senior home living out her life at home on her terms. My mother died at home in July at age 96. We do not know how Helen is her phone had been disconnected when we tried to call in July. They were both the same age. I only got to meet Helen once and she immediately wanted to talk baseball. She also talked about her time in the Marines, which she dearly loved. 
Be like Helen “keep moving.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Listen to Borge

Victor Borge
"Laughter is the closest distance between two people."– Victor Borge
45 physically active men  about 30 years of age from Phoenix , Arizona participated  in two workouts about three weeks apart. Their workouts included 60 minutes of strength and cardiovascular conditioning followed by performance tests in broad jumping, weightlifting and stationary cycling. This study evaluated whether or not drinking cold water versus drinking room temperature water made any difference as far as regulating internal body temperature and preventing dehydration.  What do you think the findings of this study might be?
If you thought that drinking cold water during strenuous exercise is faster and a more effective way to regulate internal body temperature and preventing duration, then you are correct. In this particular study participants consumed identical portions of water at 39° Fahrenheit in one group session and 72° Fahrenheit in the other. During the workouts, the participant’s core body temperature increased 2.2% in cold water experiment and 3.1% in the warm water condition. Cold water slowed the rise in temperature.  While average core temperature increased from 98.7 to 100.2 degrees Fahrenheit with cold water and from 98.3 to 100.4° Fahrenheit with warm water. This study was found in the November 6, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal.
This finding may explain, in part, Secretariat’s secret in his ability to run fast. For every run, Secretariat’s water bottles are put in his refrigerator overnight regardless of the temperature outside. You might wonder how he does this. Well, he uses a holster to carry his two water bottles. Since I carry my two water bottles, I plan to keep them in the refrigerator overnight as well but only during the summer during warm weather.
All you that do or perform strenuous exercise consider using cold water if you’re not already doing so. I’d be interested in hearing your results and experiences with cold water.
On Monday, Chris, Secretariat, and I hit the trail for a short loop. During the evening, Chris’s hosting Monday night football( lots of laughter) and we will be joined by Perry and Lon. Tomorrow, Madhu, Farah, Secretariat and I plan to do a 10 mile or so trail run. We did that and made plans for a long trail run Saturday.
Keep moving and laughing as long as you can.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Multivitamins and Health

"I AM A RUNNER because I run. Not because I run fast. Not because I run far. I AM A RUNNER because I say I am. And no one can tell me I'm not."John Bingham,
How many of you are taking a multivitamin?  If you’re taking Centrum Silver by Pfizer you might be disappointed according to the findings of a recent study found in the November 6, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal. More than 14,500 male physicians age 50 and older (at the start of the study) were followed over 10 years. This research was partly funded by the National Institute of Health.
Did you know that more than half of Americans take a vitamin or supplement on a regular basis and a third take a daily multivitamin? This particular study evaluated whether taking Centrum Silver can prevent disease compared with taking a placebo. The results suggested that taking this multivitamin didn’t cut your risk of a heart attack.
In other words, if you want to cut your risk of heart attack you’re going to have to concern yourself with diet and exercise. Remember there is no “quick fix” as far as your health is concerned.
On November 8, a running group consisted of Madhu (Matt), Farah, Tracy, Secretariat and I ran in cold weather.  We ran about a 9 mile or so loop that passed the Dead Truck trail, American Canyon and up Maine Bar. I was in the lead as we passed the Poverty Bar turn off. At that point, Madhu remarked “I’m going to stretch my legs” as he passed me followed by Farah and Tracy. Secretariat running next to me then quickly remarked “kids.” I turned to him and said “now you know what it’s like to run with these younger runners.” Both Farah and Tracy are under age 40 with Madhu in his early 50s.
This past Saturday, I ran my longest trail run since I started physical therapy. The run totaled around 16 to 17 miles and my Achilles felt okay. The run started with Madhu, Farah, Chris, Secretariat, Carrie, Jonathan Jordan and I. Chris stopped at about 8 miles. Jonathan and I ran the last part of the run together. We had a lot of catching up to do since I haven’t seen him in a while. Jonathan was my 100 mile ride and tie partner at the Swanson Pacific.  Find out about our adventure in Chapter 12 in “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.”
Aside from being a runner and ride and tie competitor, Jonathan is a defense attorney and was in Redding and San Francisco collecting data for his murder case. All is good and we all had a good run. Being with friends is great.
 Remember to keep moving as it is good for you in many ways.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How Smart Are The Kenyans ?

"The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen."– Frank Lloyd Wright
Are we getting smarter as a nation?  Well, we might not be based upon the growing trend toward obesity. Do you think there is a relationship between being overweight and cognitive intelligence? If you believe that there is a correlation between the two variables, the more likely you’ll agree with what these researchers recently found in their study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress on October 29.
In their study, six overweight sedentary adults who averaged age 49 years had workouts twice a week both with an exercise bike as well as with weight training for only four months. At the end of the study, of only four months, the researchers found that the six achieved greater fitness, reduced waist circumference and attained lower body weight. However, the researchers also found that these individuals significantly and clinically improved their performance on tests of cognitive mental acuity. In fact, being more and fit resulted in higher cognitive performance. This article was found in the November 3-4 edition of the Wall Street Journal.
The relationship between intelligence and obesity can also be compared   with the Kenyans. In 1975, we were thinner as a nation. In 1975, 34 marathons were run under two hours and 20 minutes. Guess what, by 2005, that number fell to only 22 marathons run under two hours and 20 minutes by Americans. This suggests that there could be an association between our nation getting fatter, dumber and slower. And as we are getting fatter, we are becoming less smart or intelligent as far as our health goes.
On the other hand, by 2005 there were 490 Kenyans running sub two hours and 20 minute marathons. How does it happen that these Kenyans are, getting smarter and faster? OK, some of you might say it’s related to heredity. Well, in 1975 there were no Kenyans running sub two hour and 20 minute marathons. What could be their secret?
Well, this is what they are doing that we are not. For one thing they mostly live and train in a small town located at 8000 feet of elevation. Second, they run barefoot to school and if they are late, they get physically punished. Third, they run twice a day and rest in between. Fourth, they frequently run in local competitive races.  That doesn’t sound like heredity to me, does it to you?
I want to share an observation with you. I live in a gated community in the foothills of Northern California. In my community there are school bus stops. Many kids in my community get a ride   or get picked up  at  these bus stops which is very un- Kenyan like.  What are these kids going to look like in 50 years and what do you think their marathon times are going to  be ?
.If you want to find out more about these Kenyans read about them in Adharanand Finn’s book. In the meantime, get smarter and healthier, by keep moving.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Coach Ed Rutherford Part 2

 Yesterday, I did a short five-mile trail run in the morning with Digger. Later in the day I had a PT session and then prepared a stew, cornbread and brownies for Monday night football. I hosted Secretariat, Chris Turney, Lon and Perry. Chris brought over a fantastic Dip, chips and Alaskan pale beer which we all enjoyed.
Today, Secretariat and I are planning to hit the Western States trail for about a 10 mile run.
The rest of this post is devoted to Coach Rutherford who left this recently.
Our 1957 team was called by the sportswriters as one of the best high school football teams in the state of Michigan’s history.  That season, I was All- City as right guard on offense and middle guard on defense: and was awarded a football scholarship to the University of Detroit. Ed Budde played offensive and defensive tackle next to me, was named All-American and later became a star at Michigan State University and All-Pro for the Kansas City Chiefs. Playing next to Ed was Tom Smith who played offensive and defensive end. Tom was named All-State and played for Dan Devine at the University Missouri and played in a number of Orange bowls. Larry Hudas, the fastest white boy in Detroit, was a running back who went on to play at Michigan State University. Incidentally Larry was All- State that year.
During that season, our closest score was something like 35 to 0 and Coach Rutherford would freely substitute his players by halftime.  I was riding high thinking about this year’s Goodfellow game and then something dire happened. Unfortunately, one of the reserve players Ed Hood was supposed to get a physical prior to the season. For some reason, Ed didn’t do that and instead forged a doctor’s signature. Our athletic director caught the forgery and to make a long story short we had to forfeit the games that he played.  Ed, later on, received a football scholarship to the University Michigan and became an attorney. There was controversy.  My father quickly and efficiently formed the Denby Dads Club and attempted to get an injunction so that our case could be tried in court before the championship game. He was unable to get an injunction, in time, and our season sadly ended.
Coach Rutherford was small in stature and enormous as a personality. He seemed and was focused and clear about running and managing our football team. I respected him and if he told me to run through a wall, l I would’ve gladly done it. He was a true leader, inspirational and as an adolescent I looked up to him even though he was only 16 years older than me.
My four years at Denby High School was significant and made a lasting impression on me. One major aspect of that impression was coach. After the 1959 season, coach went on to be a coach under Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State University. I miss you coach.
As some of you might have guessed, my interest in athletics started before high school. For me, keep moving is easy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Coach Ed Rutherford

I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well."– Diane Ackerman
On Sunday, November 4, we had a group run and I mean a group. For example our group today comprised of Secretariat and Debbie Brickel, Diane and Randall Harris, Matt and Farah Avasarala, Marty Cullenward, Chris Turney and me. Today’s trail run started at my home and proceeded in the direction of Brown’s Bar on the Western States Trail.
In the lead, were Secretariat, Matt and Farah. Marty ,Chris and I were in the second tier until Marty picked up the pace and ran in front of Chris and me. Shortly, Chris and I arrived at Brown’s Bar. The plan, at this point, was for Matt and me to make a right turn and run a longer loop which we did. We ran down Brown’s Bar, past Maine Bar on the way and up the American Canyon section of the trail and then back to my home for about a 14 mile or so loop. I wanted to run that distance because  then  my week  totaled over 50 miles of trail running. It’s been a good 2 ½ to 3 months since I’ve totaled that many miles in a week. I did not experience any Achilles discomfort to speak of on this run and therefore plan to continue to increase my mileage even though I’m still receiving physical therapy treatment.  I am pleased about my running progress  so far.
Ed Rutherford
The rest of this post is devoted to my coach Ed Rutherford who recently passed away.
I just received word from Larry Hudas that Coach Ed Rutherford passed away .This sad news takes me back to Denby High School in Detroit, Michigan in the year 1954 when I was a freshman. As a freshman I went out for football. There was a freshman team, a reserve team and a varsity squad. I was on the reserve team in 1954 and the varsity in 1956 in 1957. Coach Rutherford was the head football coach and  Jack Rice the line coach.
It was in 1954 playing on the reserve team that I met Ed Budde. At the time Ed was an eighth-grader.  Ed’s older brother Bob, a member of the reserve team, procured a football uniform for Ed. Ed practiced and was there for a couple of days on our football team.
In 1956, I was playing middle linebacker on defense working my way up towards first string when I broke a bone in my heel that sidelined me for the rest of the season. That year our team went on and won the public school city championship in Detroit and then played the parochial champion in the annual  Goodfellow  game held at Tiger Stadium. Unfortunately my Denby team lost to De La Salle 26 to 20. Steve Schwartz was an all star running back and went on to receive a football scholarship at the University of Detroit. Junior Ron Transik was the starting middle guard on defense for our team.
After that football season, my heel healed and I was taking a health/phys ed class under Jack Rice. In that class, I performed about 50 to 60 push-ups in a minute along with 25 to 30 chins or pull ups. My demonstration of physical strength in that class was obviously passed along to Coach Rutherford. During our preseason football game with Mackenzie High School, Coach started me at middle guard while Ron Transik was switched to middle linebacker.
Part 2   To Be Continued

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fun In The Big Apple

"Once the 'what' is decided, the 'how' always follows. We must not make the 'how' an excuse for not facing and accepting the 'what.'"– Pearl S. Buck
The following are my impressions of the Big Apple prior to Sandy’s arrival.  Remember, I’m living in a small community, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada’s, about halfway between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. My “backyard” is nestled up to the Bureau of Land Management land and is near the 16 mile marker on the Western States trail which is also the site of an aid station for that  famous 100 mile run. The contrast between New York City and my area is night and day.

NYC is vibrant, loud and exciting. I was not only impressed with the activity level of the people but also of the many languages spoken. Arriving at Grand Central train station, I saw people moving quickly in different directions within this magnificent architectural structure. Although congested, it was full of life and fun. There was ticketing, train tracks and a food court like none other. The array and wide selection of foods and smells was pleasing. We arrived from Connecticut by train, preceded to another level and left by subway to different locations within the city. What an efficient way for people moving engineered a long time ago.
Once on the subway, I found people both friendly and helpful. It was easy to engage in conversation and receive information about travel plans and good places to eat. The Subway trains were efficient with easy to follow electronic graphics marking the way of the train route. It was warm and comfortable underneath the city and we covered great distances quickly on the subway. Not only that but we didn’t have to wait very long between trains or connections.  Polite Individuals frequently offered their seats to Linda. In fact on a train going to Brooklyn, a young looking woman not only gave us good directions but got off at our stop and walked with us awhile showing us the pathway to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was people like her that contributed to making our stay super. Also, paying a senior fare helped as well.
Visiting the Statue of Liberty was another unbelievable experience. That lady is magnificent. She is tall pointing her torch in the direction of Europe. And from the back of her or a rear view, I saw her right foot raised on her toes suggesting movement. Liberty and freedom is not static but evolving and on the move. What a work of art and thank you Frederic Bartholdi and France. I also found out that newspaper man Joseph Pulitzer raised money for the statue’s base. Unfortunately, teenage Emma Lazarus   passed away before her poem “The New Colossus - Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….. “was inscribed.
Going to Central Park was another treat. There was a bridal, biking and running path that totaled over 6 ½ miles that circled this magnificent park.  I viewed many groups of young runners racing at a good clip with their coaches with stopwatches in hand at the finish line. It was wonderful to see so many people involved in this healthy sport. Unfortunately, I didn’t have on my running clothes and shoes so I did not join the runners. Instead, I walked around the inner lake a few times. I must add that I did a lot of walking in the city and noticed and pleasantly observed that there appeared to be a lot of fit and trim people. That was good to see.
 NYC is a terrific place to visit and I recommend it.  In the meantime, do not forget to “keep moving.”