Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: 2013
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.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Gratitude Is Missing

"None will improve your lot if you yourself do not."
– Bertolt Brecht

 Yesterday, Tony, Chris ,Madhu and I ran the trail. We met at the fire station and ran the Olmsted and  the Coffer Dam loop. But first, Tony ran from home and joined us at the fire station in Cool. Chris told them to go off ahead and that he would run with me. So Chris and I ran that loop also. During our run, I told Chris that I would run back to his house where my van was parked. I must’ve totaled somewhere between 17 ½ to   19 miles or so.

On the first, or New Year’s Day, Tony and I are running(10 mile) The Resolution Run in Auburn. I’m going to rest on Monday and Tuesday to determine if Sunday’s run was smart. For the past  three years, my finishing time on the January 1 , run has been steady and consistent. I’ll let you know if I can keep steady and consistent with my running time in 2014.

An article in the December 24, 2013 Wall Street Journal got my attention. The article had to do with rearing children with a gratitude attitude. In my experience, I find that gratitude seems to be missing in today’s world. One researcher equated gratitude with  a muscle. Philip Watkins, a psychology professor believes that by taking time to recognize good fortune, feelings of appreciation can increase. There have been a number of studies with  having parents model gratitude behavior. Further, psychologist Robert Emmons believes that you can’t give your kid something that you yourselves do not have. So they suggest, teach gratitude by modeling.

A  study with 1, 035 high school students found that those students that showed high levels of gratitude for such things as thankfulness for the beauty of nature and strong appreciation of other people reported having stronger GPAs, less depression and envy and had a more positive outlook than less grateful teens. The study also showed that those students who strongly connected buying and owning things with success and happiness reported having lower GPAs,  depression, and more negative outlook.

 Unfortunately, another study that followed  355,000 high school seniors from 1976- 2007 found that the desire for lots of money has increased markedly since the mid-1970s, while willingness to work hard to earn it has decreased.

Of course, this statistic is not at all surprising, but is a sad state of affairs for young people and others in our country. In the old days, when I grew up, one way to earn money was to attend college in order to put yourself in a better position to open  more doors  for a career choice. Obviously, something negative has happened, in my opinion , with parental baby boomer child-rearing. What do you think about the changing attitude of gratitude?

Anyways, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, deep breathing,  loving and teach gratitude in the process.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Is Menicus Surgery Necessary ?

"Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought."
– Henri-Louis Bergson

Did you ever have a surgery that you  didn’t need? If so, let me know. In the US about 700,000 people undergo knee surgery each year to treat tears in the meniscus. The meniscus acts as a shock absorber between the upper and lower portions of the knee joints. Doctors say that a tear/or lose pieces of cartilage interfere with the motion of the joints causing pain and stiffness. However, a study, by researchers in Finland found interesting results ( Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2013).

These researchers studied two sets of(146 total) patients. These 146 patients were between 35 and 65 years of age and suffered from meniscus tears, that appeared gradually over time. One group, received the meniscus surgery, while the other group(placebo ) were told that they would  received the surgery, or not. In other words, these patients underwent arthroscopic, but the doctor did not remove cartilage(fake knee surgery).  Findings within the first 12 months suggested that the surgery group reported a decrease in pain after exercise in some of the quality of life measures. However, after one year, the differences disappeared between the two groups.

More often, placebo research is used with drug(sugar pill)  studies , and  less often with surgical procedures. The use of a placebo in  this research helped evaluate the effectiveness of the surgery. One  excuse  for not employing more placebo surgeries is the possibility that making  an incision in the skin can cause infection or bleeding.

In the US, meniscus surgery can cost anywhere between $3-$6000 and therefore accounts for about $4 billion in annual medical  costs in our health care system . The article also pointed out that previous studies demonstrate  that physical therapy was just as effective as surgery for patients with both the meniscus tear and osteoarthritis. Make sure your doctor reads the New England Journal of Medicine to keep updated. Going to another orthopedic surgeon might not result in a good second opinion.

Do you think that these 146 Europeans were  more hardy and have a higher pain threshold, than we or do you think they are just more suggestible? In any event, do many of you believe that surgery is over recommended in our health care system?

On a personal note, my wife, Linda was scheduled for a knee replacement  about 2 to 3 years ago. However, Linda went to physical therapy to build up the muscles in  and around her knee. After physical therapy treatment, she did vigorous hiking and took fresh ginger to reduce inflammation.  By building up her leg muscles, and reducing inflammation, miraculously her knee issue was abated. She is not in physical therapy at present, nor has she had that surgery.

Keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving to enjoy your life.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Birthdays, Health and Friendships

"Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought."
– Henri-Louis Bergson

Sunday, we had our annual birthday run at the Olmsted in Cool. Madhu, Farah, Susan, Barbara, Chris, Melissa, Robert, Kathie, Tony and I ran the trail, while another group, i.e., Tom, Laura, Scott, Chuck, Janie and Bill walked the trail. Unfortunately, Tom and Chuck were not able to run because of injury. This particular  birthday run started in the 90s and  still continues .

After the run, we had a potluck hosted by Linda and I.  Jeff, wife and daughter joined us among others at our home. I continue to blame Tony and Jeff for my involvement in endurance riding, ultra running and ride and tie. I could go on, but I’ll stop at this point. I had entered a  limited distance endurance ride held at  Mount Hamilton in San Jose. Also going on, at the time, was a ride and tie put on by Dan Barger. I happened to be camped next to Tony and Jeff who were competing  in the ride and tie. Those two friendly types introduced me to the sport In 1997. So, with this sport I became involved and met a  number of athletes who have become friends.

To learn more about Dan Barger, Melissa Ribley, Tom Christofk and Chuck Mather  find them on a previous blog, as they have been our guests on  our TV show “It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender.”  Incidentally, Chuck was one of my pacers when I  ran the Western States 100.

A few weeks ago, Dave Carder was a TV Guest. As a teenager, Dave from Plano, Texas was a teammate of Lance Armstrong’s. As  teenagers , 4 of  them rode in  a 500 mile relay bicycle road race held in Texas. Texas A&M, corporate world Dave is now on another journey. I think you’ll find his story and other stories by Lance Armstrong interesting:

Monday, December 16, 2013

Treatment for Pre-Diabetics

"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control. These three alone lead to sovereign power."
– Alfred Tennyson

Last Saturday,  I ran a marathon in Fremont, California. That was my first marathon in a number of years. However, the first marathon that I ran was in Maui in year 2000. On Sunday, Tony ran a 50 K in Washington state. His last 50 K was in 1997. I told him that my marathon running time was faster in 2000. He told me  that his 50 K running time was  faster in 1997. We both joked and laughed  about our running. It just goes to show that it’s possible to reach a peak  , plateau, and then decline. Trust me, as at some point,  running does not get easier. I know  this from personal  experience. But, so what.  

From Tony: Frank left a little out here. Frank and I have a habit of stopping for ice cream after a race in fact we now know all the places. After his Marathon he did stop at Ghirardelli for Ice Cream. I also did not miss out. 
Post Race Ice Cream in Oak Harbor with Jennifer and Georgia

Our next scheduled trail race is for 10 miles to be held on January 1, 2014. Tony registered for a 50 K in Washington state In early February , and I plan to register for the Jed Smith a 50 K in early February. Also, in March, we both plan to run  the Way Too Cool 50 K.

Next Sunday, a group of us will do a birthday trail run in  Cool which will be followed by a brunch afterwards. This birthday run has been an annual event, starting in the late 1990s.

According to this  article,  in  Time , December 24, 2012, there is  about 25.8 million diabetics, and an estimated 7 million remain undiagnosed. There are 79 million people in the US who have pre-diabetes, a precursor condition which  puts them at the highest risk of developing the disease. About a decade ago, pre-diabetics who changed their diet and exercise regularly lowered their risk of disease by 58%. However, these people in the study , had intensive one-on-one sessions, in a lab setting.

In a more recent  study, pre diabetics took part in group sessions to learn about healthy diet and exercise habits. They also educated themselves by watching various strategies using a DVD, as well as emailing and online counseling. This group was compared to another  group that used basically, medication to control blood sugar and doctor weigh ins. Pre- diabetics taking part in group sessions lost considerably more weight than the medication group. Of course, a low-fat, low-calorie diet was also  part of the protocol.

Even if you’re not a pre- diabetic, exercise, and/  or  running can be good for you. One way to get started, If you have not already, is to check out a local workout facility , or a local running store. There are plenty of knowledgeable people that can assist. You don’t have to necessarily run the distances that  Tony and I do for your benefits. Yes, I realize that we are extreme and age has nothing to do with it.

In any  event, keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving as it’s good for you.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Using Your Brain

"If we wait for the moment when everything is ready, we shall never begin."
– Ivan Turgenev


Some people may assume that experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol are related to poor impulse control. Certainly, saying no, thank you for trying a drug or drinking a beer is related to successful personal self control. On the other hand, drinking a beer, or taking a  drug seems to suggest failure to inhibit that behavior. Researchers, in a study involving 1,896, 14-year-olds found that the brain networks appear to be different in self-control problems related to substance abuse teens, compared  to those brains associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD). Although both groups have difficulty with impulsiveness( a similar behavior),  there’s likely different brain regions contributing to that behavior.

The findings were published In Nature Neuroscience and are as follows: using a research protocol called the “stop-signal task,” the researchers identified  different neural networks. Even though both groups exhibited impulse control difficulties, the differences were as follows. 1. Those teenagers with a history of alcohol, cigarettes and illegal drug use had diminished activity in the brain region called the orbital frontal cortex. 2. These  researchers found an entirely separate set of impulse control networks in the brain connected with the symptoms of ADHD.  3. The researchers concluded that ADHD and substance abuse teens, although  both groups exhibit similar impulse control behavior, are linked to different neural activity in their brains.

At this point we don’t know why these teens are wired differently. However, likely at some point, much of our story, will likely be associated with all that neuron activity in the prefrontal cortex, limbic system, amygdala, nucleus accumbens, cerebral cortex another brain structures. Understanding the differences or  causes of behavior are important. But, the main task  or the ability to control the self-defeating behavior still remains. First, acknowledge there is a problem, and second, dos something about it. This article was found in the May 1, 2012 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

A cold front appeared along with rain and snow. Being in the foothills, there is still snow in and around my neighborhood. Because of the icy weather conditions, I changed my work out plan. Originally, a group of us were going to run the trails at the Cronin ranch on Sunday. Fortunately, I have an elliptical machine in my home. So for my work out, I did a short hike and spent some time on the elliptical totaling over 13 ½ miles. I must admit that it seemed easy. Until the snow melts, I’m likely to hike the trail and get on my elliptical , while watching a movie.

In the meantime, I recommend that everyone keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Birthday #74




"You will not find poetry anywhere unless you bring some of it with you."
– Joseph Joubert


I am pleased to report that for the past few months  I have  relatively pain-free during my conditioning trail runs compared to the last two years. Previously, I was being treated for issues with my Achilles.  Even though I still have some swelling in my Achilles, It doesn’t seem to bother me. As a result, I increased my trail running distance from around 50 miles per week to over 60-70 miles per week. So far so good.

My next scheduled competitive trail run is on New Year’s Day. The distance for that run is 10 miles. I plan to register for the 50 K Jed Smith run in February and the 50 K Way Too Cool In March. So within the next 3 to 4 months, I will have a pretty good idea of my running condition.

I have been blessed with my trail running experience. My  wife Linda accompanies me by riding her Arabian Nails. Also, I run with Tony about three times per week, and at times, we are joined by Chris. Another running friend Madhu has recently returned from India as well. Randall is starting to run again and I hope he joins us too. It certainly, in my experience, is more enjoyable to run and be  with others doing what you love.

On the other hand, I enjoy at times, the solitude of running by myself. It is during this alone  time that I get to think about issues connected to my interviews and my chapters for my upcoming book on “mental toughness, bonding, Bo-Woody, and the University of Michigan versus Ohio State University.” Just recently, I was writing  my conclusion to my interview with Reggie McKenzie. I was incorporating Carl Jung’s idea of the collective unconscious to explain in part Reggie’s drive for superiority , playing both college and professional football. While running, I was  able, to think more  clearly and  put together various ideas in a more coherent fashion. I’m grateful for having the ability to run with it’s many  benefits.

I just graduated to my 75th year and expect to run for many more years. I will keep you  posted. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, deep breathing and loving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ten Feet Tall, Still

"Facing it — always facing it — that's the way to get through. Face it!"
– Joseph Conrad


Tony and I had the pleasure of interviewing  the incomparable  Julie Suhr on last week’s TV show “It Has Nothing To Do With Age Or Gender.” Julie, a remarkable lady, has completed 22 Tevis Cup 100 mile endurance rides. She revealed some interesting aspects of her personality that pertain to her mental and physical toughness.

Julie began riding at about nine years of age on her families property. Neither parent, especially her mother was too thrilled about her wanting to ride horses. Despite potential getting in trouble , and parental displeasure, young Julie exhibited a rebellious streak and secretly rode anyway. It’s not clear whether or not, Julie’s mother knew what her young daughter  was doing behind her back. In any event, Julie made up her mind that she was going to ride no  matter what.

After getting married and rearing her children, Julie at the age of 40, experienced a midlife crisis and rode in her first endurance ride-the Tevis Cup. Although she did not complete that ride, that did not discourage her one bit. In fact, it only wet her appetite and she was introduced to  a brand new  sport of endurance riding. The sport also changed her world and her  life  view . The sport gave her a new purpose  and meaning. She also connected, at a different level with her daughter Barbara, and assimilated Barbara  into her mother’s  world. Further, this new activity, resulted in developing lifelong and solid relationships that she continues to cherish . The sport simply enhanced her psychological development and worldview.

To gain  a glimpse into her passion was revealed when she said something to the effect that  “ when completing a Tevis Cup ride, I don’t  want it to end.” Even after 30,000 miles, at age 89, Julie’s desire and emotion remains strong. In fact, when a doctor told her to discontinue riding, she found a different doctor that viewed and understood her world. Her drive and integrity remain unprecedented.

After the show, Julie emailed me some additional comments that I’m including “ I enjoyed it Frank. I could do a better job  another time, but one thing I wish I had gotten across about "Never Quit" is
that if common sense does not sometimes prevail, and you make a basket case of yourself, it can impact so many others
unfairly both financially and emotionally.  The demands of care giving by my children or grandchildren because I was foolish would
be unforgivable.  We have to think judiciously.”

Thank you Julie. She remembers to keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, deep breathing and loving.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Julie Suhr,Tevis Cup,Video Games Benefits

“One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."
– Sigmund Freud


On November  21, this coming Thursday, Tony and I are delighted to announce that Julie  Suhr  plans on  being  our guest on “It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender.” Julie is a Tevis Cup legend. This icon has a 2000 mile buckle and at this point , has more  Tevis completions than anyone except her daughter Barbara White. Not only that, Julie has  ridden more than 27,000  endurance trail miles, which is more than once around the world. To find out more about her , I suggest that you watch our show and/or read her book “ Ten Feet Tall, Still.”


For those  of you that are concerned about developing some form of dementia in your senior years, an article found in the September 5, 2013 edition of the Wall Street Journal might interest you. A study from the University of California, San Francisco Neuroscience  Imaging Center, suggested that the older brain is somewhat plastic(brain’s ability to mold itself with apparent interconnectivity of cognitive control functions). These researchers, in their study, found that older adults improved on multitasking and sustained attention by playing a specially designed video game. Not only that, they found the effects to be long-lasting.


In the study, participants, age 60- 85 years practiced the game for 12 hours during a month. In this video game , the participant navigated a race car along a winding track also hitting a button on a controller whenever a green circle appeared. Guess what? These older adults were able to perform better on this game and at a higher level than untrained 20-year-olds ,improved memory and the positive effects lasted for at least six months.


Generally, humans are increasingly affected by distractions and have more trouble switching between tasks during the aging process. The study suggests perhaps the decline of cognitive control isn’t fixed and that the brain can improve with the right stimuli. The video game used in the study is called The NeuroRacer. A start up company is working on developing a new version of the video game in question. Currently, they need approval from the Food and Drug Administration. They hope that this type of therapy can be designed and targeted to rewire the brain, assist in treating brain disorders and  used in lieu of medication .

Time will tell about the merit of specially designed video games. This of course would be an improvement over some of the  violent video games , that are associated with developing and/or expressing aggression as well as negatively affecting emotions. I am supportive of this type of positive research and keeping our government open, so the FDA can do it’s  job.

Yesterday, Tony, Chris and I ran the Coffer Dam-Olmsted loop while Linda rode nails. Tony’s getting ready for his 50 K run. He is  doing fine.

For all, keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It Has Nothing To Do With Age or Gender with guest Jim Mather

The Son of a Bitch Is Krazy

Part two

Recently I was interviewing Thom Darden for my next book focusing on mental toughness, bonding, the University of Michigan versus Ohio State rivalry, and coaches Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes. In thinking about a book title, I came up with one possibility “the son of a bitch is krazy.”  Thom agreed and said that could be a title. I’m sure every Michigan player on that 1969 team would likely agree and know who I was referring to.

Thom told me the following story. As a terrific  Sandusky, Ohio high school football player, he was recruited by many schools, including Miami of Ohio. At that time, Bo Schembechler was head coach. During  Thom’s  visit , he met another outstanding recruit one Billy Taylor from Barberton, Ohio. Thom was expecting the red carpet and a steak dinner. Instead, Coach Schembechler told the young boys to put on their shorts, and running shoes. After their work out, they said were not coming here “This coach is crazy.”

Both boys were also recruited by Bump Elliott, the University Michigan head coach. They enrolled and played freshman football at Michigan. In late December 1969, Bump was fired  and Bo Schembechler hired.

When Thom went to meet coach Schembechler, the first words coming out of coach Schembechler “ close the door; you thought you could  get rid of me.” You’ll have to read the book to find out their other conversations.

Both Thom and Billy became football All-Americans at Michigan, while Thom became all Pro for two seasons with the Cleveland Browns. While with the Browns and while Bo was coach and athletic director, Thom frequently visited Coach Schembechler. And on one visit, Bo broke down telling Thom about the death of his son in an automobile accident. Thom also broke down. Thom feels very close to Bo and loves him dearly , to this day, as he matured.

If I interviewed Thom as a  20 or 21-year-old, I doubt Thom would’ve said that I love him. As I said in a previous blog, we generally don’t love someone 24/7. Our feelings change rapidly, but the overall ratio(love, hate, disappointment, etc.) tells the story.

The relationships of this coach with  his young  men tell a very powerful story.

On another note, keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thumping, Tevis Cup and Jim Mather

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
– Samuel Beckett


  Jim Mather was  Thursday’s TV’s guest on  “ It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender.” Young Jim has attempted to complete the historic Tevis Cup ride on three occasions. On our program, he talked in detail about this year’s ride and the problems that he encountered. His major goal this year was to complete the ride. Unfortunately, two weeks prior to the ride his horse came down with pneumonia and he wound up using his wife’s horse for the ride.

Jim talked about his unfamiliarity with the horse and how the horse has progressed this past year. All went well as he was ready that morning of the ride. He described the start, as well as the spirited horses all around him. The team did well until they reached Robinson Flat. There was concern about an equine condition called thumping(an electrolyte imbalance).

From Robinson Flat  to Forest Hill Jim’s mental toughness came into play. Jim realized that he had to be off his horses back during most of this distance. Going through the canyons in  triple digit weather conditions is not a picnic for anyone. Jim realized that his major goal of completion was  compromised. Feelings of disappointment crept in. However, that did not discourage or dissuade him from   substituting a second goal “protect the horse.” Jim did just that as he  put his energies into saving his horse. The various barriers and obstacles that interfere with this ride include  extreme weather conditions, technical trail, and whether  the horse  is fit to continue. Jim did his best, and at Forest Hill it was determined to discontinue the ride.

Within three hours of rest conditions for the horse, the thumping issue was resolved. Jim’s disappointment of not completing the ride was apparent. However, the secondary goal of taking care of the horse was achieved. Jim’s mental toughness prevailed.

I also asked him about his father , Chuck. Jim’s immediate response was, “ he is a jerk.” The Mather’s have an odd sense of humor. For the rest of the interview, Jim talked about how his father has been there for him; how he spends time riding and   working  on the trail with him; and his father is his best friend. He also said that as a teenager he wanted to be around him, but also wanted to be as far away from him as he could. Feelings of  love- or hate surface at times in any significant relationship. Over the life of Jim Mather, he did not love his father 100% of the time. However, this does not mean that he doesn’t love his father very dearly.
Ride and Tie and mentally tough endurance rider Jim Mather

More about love-hate relationships to follow on my next blog.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ultra Marathons New York Marathon, Geoffrey Mutai and Martin Hoffman ,M.D.

"There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do."
– Freya Stark


A few more findings(based on 161-kilometers- ultra marathon) of research conducted by Martin Hoffman, M.D.  , who was last week’s guest on “It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender.” Some of his conclusions:  1. Factors associated with improved odds of finishing included being a first-time starter and advancing calendar year. Factors associated with a reduced odds of finishing included advancing age above 38 years and warmer weather. Beyond 38 years of age, women had worse odds of finishing than men. Warmer weather had a similar effect on finish rates for men and women.  2. Among non-finishers, the primary reason for dropping out was nausea and/or vomiting. Finishers compared with non-finishers were more likely to report blisters, muscle pain, and exhaustion as adversely affecting race performance. Nausea and/or vomiting was no more common among those using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NASID’S). Overall use of NASID’S was high and greater among finishers than on non -finishers. 3. A race diet with a higher percentage of fat and higher intake rates of fat and fluid may protect ultra marathon runners from G.I. distress.

Dr. Hoffman is an ultra marathon  competitor himself. In other words, this competitor. “ walks the walk.” For those of you interested in more detail, I suggest that you consider contacting him directly. His contact information is listed on the credits  .

We know that Geoffrey Mutai ran a faster marathon than anyone else during Sunday’s New York marathon.  To make matters worse , an article in the Wall Street Journal, October 31, 2013 pointed out that Europeans also run faster than us. For example, no US runner has placed as high as third since 2006 in the 40-44 age group. And in the 2011 New York marathon, all age groups 25 and older were  won by non American men. Also, foreigners won half of all women’s age groups that year as well.

A few people wonder why Americans don’t do as well in the New York marathon as non-Americans? Some suggest that running the marathon means different things to different people. Perhaps, some people run to improve their health; some run/or don’t run because of the New York marathon  competition;  and because there’s fewer amateur marathons in Europe, the better Europeans come to New York.

In any event, no American woman has won the New York marathon since 1977. And,  African men have won 12 of the past 15 New York marathons with the last American winner  coming in 2009. With all the prize money at stake, it’s difficult to  bet against the Africans. However, find your reason to begin running. If you stay with it, it’s good for you and you will  feel better. I guarantee it.

I know that moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving is the  way to go. Go ahead and ask  Tony, he will tell you the same.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Geoffrey Mutai, Aerobic Research and the World Series

"Can anything be sadder than work unfinished? Yes, work never begun." – Christina Rossetti


Dr. Martin Hoffman
 Last Thursday ,on our TV show, Tony and I interviewed Dr. Martin Hoffman from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation . This ultra runner-physician has been conducting research since attending medical school at St. Louis University. A few of his findings are as follows: 
1. Aerobic exercise can cause an acute improvement in mood, as well as a reduction in the perception of pain from a painful stimulus. Regular exercise training also may offer some protection from depression, clinically useful in treating certain psychiatric and chronic pain conditions, and may allow for an enhancement of the acute improvements in mood in a single exercise session.

2. Faster runners in a 100 mile/161 km running race experience a modest temporary reduction pressure pain perception that does not appear to be augmented by ongoing pain related to the exercise.

3. A single session of moderate aerobic exercise improves vigor and decreases fatigue among regular exercisers, but causes no change in these scores for non-exercisers. Although total mood disturbance improves post exercise in exercisers and non-exercisers, regular exercisers have approximately twice the effect as non-exercisers. This limited post exercise mood improvement among non-exercisers may be an important deterrent for persistence with an exercise program.

Just ask Geoffrey Mutai for his opinion. If you’re depressed, consider aerobic exercise before seeking psychotropic medication. The side effects from aerobic exercise will not kill you. In fact, aerobic exercise is good for you. However, it may take a while, to change your mood from this activity. And we know that psychotropic medication may also take awhile to work. The cost of a pair running shoes , is about $100, which is less expensive than meds and/or Dr. visit. No one ever said the dealing with depression is easy and it is not. But in my opinion, aerobic exercise of some sort is a good beginning option. If you have pain, consider aerobic exercise. Once again, research is suggesting that aerobic exercise or running may altar pain perception. We know that aerobics is associated with neurotransmitters and endorphins. And that, endorphins is one powerful analgesic. Good luck and get started.

 According to the October 31, 2013 edition of the Wall Street Journal, kids, age 6 to 17 represented about 4.3% of the average audience for the World Series. The average for watching the World Series this year was 54.4 years of age. Compared to previous statistics, less kids and more older folks are viewing what was once called Americans Pastime. Interestingly enough, more kids are watching the NBA conference finals, NHL conference finals and Premier league soccer than prior. What are your conclusions?

 Tony and I ran a 35K , sponsored by Inside Trail Running at Folsom Lake on Saturday. The trail was simply beautiful and a new experience for me. In our race distance, Tony was the second oldest and came in first place. After we received our first place medals, we visited Snooks, in downtown Folsom, for ice cream rewards. Tony thinks we should write a book ,film ,and interview employees and customers about favorite ice cream finds during our races. Stay tuned.

 On Sunday, I woke up sore from the lactic acid. Going 5 miles on the elliptical , after long trail runs ,changed all that. I have found that going on the elliptical works wonders for my soreness. I get aerobic exercise with much less wear, tear , and pounding on my body. I hope your trick-or-treat last week was good. And remember to keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving while you can.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tango,Randall,Sports Medicine and Martin Hoffman M.D.

"In all affairs, it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."
– Bertrand Russell

Congratulations go to Debbie. Her new Russian Arabian Tango just passed his pre-purchase veterinarian exam. Tango was being evaluated for a neurological condition called Wobbles. Tony, read up on the condition and put her horse through all types of tests. Last Saturday, I suggested that he  blindfold the horse and make his assessment. According to Tony, the horse was sound and  fine. But Tuesday, they got a second  professional opinion. The veterinarians agreed with Tony that the horse was fine.             

So this means that Debbie will begin riding after many years of layoff. Tony threatened Debbie by saying if she’s not going to ride Tango, he’s going to in the Tevis next year. Linda is happy because now she has another riding partner. This also means that very likely “ the girls” will be riding their horses  on the trail and “the guys” will be running on the trail after them.

Randall, one of our injured running friends, is beginning his rehab after a long rest. He is now beginning to walk with a little running mixed in. Randall stated that his motivation is good and that he can’t wait to run a marathon distance next year. Hopefully, Randall well slowly work his way back into running shape without a hitch. It so difficult for some, not to push the envelope. Sometimes , a competitive nature can get in the way of sound judgment. It’s important that he doesn’t do too much too soon. Easing back slowly after six month or so layoff is a prudent thing to do. I continue to tell Randall to be smart. There’s no shortage of running events and next year, there will be likely  more. Return to running shape Randall, so you can join us.

Thursday’s TV Guest on It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender is Sports Medicine Martin Hoffman, M.D. This physician has done research connected with the Western States 100 endurance run. All you runners, and active individuals, view what he has to say.

Join Tony and I Saturday for a 35k trail run at Folsom  Point.

In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Mental Toughness Model and Melissa Ribley

"I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time."
– Anna Freud


Melissa Ribley DVM last Thursday’s guest asked me why I am doing the TV show “It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender ? I responded that one of the reasons for the TV show is  collecting data on “ mental toughness.” So far, I’ve asked our guests to define the term and how it might apply to them. By and large, the respondents have talked about continuing with a behavior despite circumstances or hardships. In essence, to continue to go on. Chiropractor Don Freeman, a previous guest, said something to the effect that you have to be smart and know when not to continue and  that might  also be called mental toughness.

The way that I think about mental toughness is related to having a desire, a need, drive, etc. which is a hypothetical state  located within the person. This hypothetical state might also be associated with neurotransmitters . This need or drive  creates movement toward a goal because of the  tension created.  To illustrate, let’s say I am  competitive (a hypothetical  drive or state  within me ). In order to meet  this need, I enter a 35 km trail race in which I expect to finish.  By  entering and completing the race  (  the  goal) , I achieved my need and thereby  reduced the (competitive ) tension state within. So goal completion is the way that I reduced  my tension system.

A  goal can be characterized by employing or giving it a valence or strength. The more important the  need state , the stronger goal valence needs to be.  If my need state(competitive nature) is high, then running a 5K trail race(low goal valence for me ) is not going to allow me to reduce my tension state. I  have  to have a more challenging or higher goal valence than a 5K trail run. In other words, it’s about my perception and what I need to do in order to reduce and meet my needs or tension states.

In achieving any goal  of importance, there are likely internal and/or external barriers that can interfere with  goal  achievement or goal completion. An internal barrier might be : 1. Being physically tired 2. Falling and spraining an ankle. An external barrier might be : 1. A rocky, rutted trail  2. High humid temperature. We have to deal and get around  these barriers. We can’t allow them to interfere with goal completion.

So, one can visualize a need; a goal; valences and barriers as one model explaining mental toughness. The next step  is to determine the various characteristics that allows an individual to deal or get around the many internal  and external barriers. Notice in this model, a need, or goal can be quite varied and does not have to be  related to sports. More about  mental toughness characteristics  at a later date.

Watch Melissa Ribley’s interview to learn about her competitive drive and her goals. You might find her Tevis Cup ride Interesting when she won the Haggin Cup.

Keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving.


Tony and I have a 35K trail race in Folsom on Saturday.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hawaiian Iron Man ,Lew Hollander, Melissa Ribley and Lance Armstrong

"What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers."
– Matina Horner


We all know that the Hawaiian iron man is one prestigious event. Some of you may remember that Lance Armstrong was looking forward to competing in that event. Unfortunately, Lance has been barred from that competition. Likely, he would’ve done very well. Let’s take a look at a more positive and respected individual.

That individual is none other than  Lew Hollander . Some of you may not know that the physicist Dr. Hollander is the oldest to have completed this prestigious event. I told his story In Chapter 10 of “It Has Nothing To Do With Age.” He has many accomplishments and considers himself one lucky dude. Some of his story:  “ another example of Lew living a charmed life was during a recent iron man in Hawaii. During the 112 mile bike ride, he realized he was violating one of the rules when he noticed a plug  was missing from one of his handlebars. He didn’t know how this could have happened, but he knew he was going to be disqualified if the officials noticed  at the end of the ride that the handlebar  was  missing a plug. He began to stuff GU wrappers into his handlebar along with tape. Not satisfied with that, he remembered there was a local bike store a couple of miles away. I was having a nervous breakdown; I was so stressed not knowing what to do, remembers Lew. Then a short distance ahead, he noticed a shiny handlebar plug on the ground. He stopped, picked it up and it actually fit; it was a miracle, Lew exclaimed, adding;…... and  miracles continue to happen to me. Just like what Arnold Palmer said, the more I practice the luckier I get.”

Lew was born in 1930. Some of the answers to his success can be found in Chapter 10. In another part of that chapter is the following; “in talking about his Iron man accomplishments, Lew said those goals were for personal ego gratification and that no one else cared. Being a scientist and making a contribution are far more important to him.”  Lew has good values and a realistic life perspective. Keep it up, Lew. He is one amazing fellow.

Linda and I are going to the Olmsted- Coffer Dam trail. I’m going to run and she is going to ride her Arabian horse Nails. I’m lucky too. On the other hand, Tony is not joining us because he’s going to the Humboldt  area to trailer a horse for Debbie.

Today’s TV show features  Melissa Ribley, DVM. She not only vets the Tevis Cup ride, but competes in it as well. Aside from endurance riding, she competes in ride and tie and other running races. I know you’ll enjoy her story.

Remember to keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving as it’s good for you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Michigan - Indiana Football, October 19, 2013

"Living well and beautifully and justly are all one thing."
– Socrates

Linda and I just returned from Detroit .I went there to compile  research for my upcoming book regarding mental toughness of the 1969, Michigan Wolverines. We also went there for a family reunion  to be with  my cousins. I have a number of cousins living in the Detroit area. Cousins, Richard and Judy hosted a brunch this past Sunday. It was super seeing everyone and catching up with their activities. Also, my sister, Beverly and her mate Roger arrived from the East Coast as well. We are now making plans for other reunion, this time in the Traverse City area next year.

On Thursday, Linda and I met coach Gary Moeller in Ann Arbor. Gary was brought to the University  of Michigan as an assistant coach by Bo Schembechler, the legend. History began that year ,in 1969. Both Gary and Bo were Ohioans. Not only that, Gary was Captain on Woody Hayes’, Ohio State University football team. One of Gary’s coaches at that time was Bo Schembechler.

Gary has a friendly smile and is  a gentleman. We talked about many things during that  2  hour lunch. He then accompanied us  to the ticket office to make sure we got our game tickets for the Michigan-Indiana football game.

Later on, Linda and I met Fritz  Seyferth, the fullback, for the Wolverines for beers.  Fritz is a tall, athletic, young, good-looking  man. We talked about our tickets, that he arranged, and his tailgate for Saturday’s game. He hosted this wonderful tailgate on Saturday and made sure for  Mike Keller and I to go on the field before the game. I  must admit that was an experience being in the Big House with all the activities going on. The players were going through their drills with Brady Hoke and his staff. I also met  previous Michigan head football coach Lloyd Carr.

I sat with Fritz during the game while Linda sat with Beverly, Roger and  my football fan cousin Steve. The game was unbelievable with all the scoring as Michigan won. Also, Mike Keller, All-American defensive end-linebacker  on the 1969 team and Dallas Cowboy with his wife Kimberly met us at the tailgate. Mike is a real joker with a great sense of humor.

Backing up to Friday, Linda and I had lunch with Jim Brandstatter , an offensive  tackle on that 69 team. Jim took us to a Greek restaurant. He knows the Greek menu and ordered a flaming cheese appetizer. He then ordered  a variety of Greek delicacies. As he’s familiar with the owners, especially in Greek town in downtown Detroit, the owner, of this restaurant, brought us a desert that he made  especially for us.

Jim currently does color radio for the Detroit Lions and the Michigan Wolverines. His wife Robbie is involved in rescuing thoroughbreds from the racetrack. These horses are evaluated at Michigan State and then  they  find new owners  to  give these horses new careers.

On Monday, Linda and I had lunch with All American, All-Pro offensive guard and NFL star Reggie McKenzie. Reggie is a large man who is intense and passionate about what is happening in Washington. He used colorful language and was very expressive. He told us many stories, especially the one about captain, All-American, Super Bowl winner Jim Mandich , in the tunnel, just before going out to the playing field during that classic, Michigan, Ohio State game. Jim had tears, was grunting  unintelligible sounds , tense  while facing  and addressing  the entire team. Reggie will never forget that moment.

Stay tuned for more about our trip and  my upcoming book on mental toughness. These players and coaches are very special. They were  super as  18 and 19-year-old Michigan sophomores . They are special as well  today. For example, Reggie McKenzie has a foundation that he started in the 70s to help challenged kids become better students and athletes. Visit his website as you may want to be involved.

Later today, Tony and I are going to do 8 to 10 mile trail run. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing, bonding, and loving.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Depression,Mo Bartley and Trail Running Secrets

"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that is my religion."
– Abraham Lincoln

The following are symptoms of depression. If you are experiencing or know someone that you think are experiencing some of the symptoms of depression  then a more thorough evaluation is indicated: 1. A sullen mood  2. Having feelings of hopelessness, guilt and/or anxiousness  3. Loss of interest in things that were pleasurable at one time  , i.e. sex  4. A change in appetite, primarily but not always in loss of appetite  5. A change in sleeping patterns in either inability to sleep, or in sleeping too much   6. Inability and difficulty in concentration 7. Lack of energy( i.e. for sex) and/or feeling rundown .

In thinking about depression, it brings me back to a class-seminar at the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Institute that I attended in the late 1970s. I remembered talking to the psychiatrist who was teaching the class about the benefits of  aerobic exercise, especially running and how that activity combats and is good therapy for dealing with depression. That unnamed psychiatrist looked at me with a puzzling expression on his face. He might’ve thought that, may be, I was out of my mind. In any way, I made my case back then.

Today, aerobic exercise is more universally accepted as a major benefit to those who have a depressed mood. And of course, aerobic exercise has many other benefits as well.

Mo Bartley was last week’s guest on our TV show “It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender.” Mo began running in her 30s and credited ride and tie participants for her  beginning. This young woman loved horseback riding and then combined running. She ran  ultras, and  then in her 50s  switched to shorter distances. While still in her 50s, she has become faster and now leads Trail running groups with Tim Twietmeyer and Mark Falcone at Fleet Feet in Sacramento. Watch her video and participate in a running group.

Last Saturday, Tony, Chris and I met the ride and tie competition In Cool. Susan Smyth, the race director, hosted her  second  ride and tie in Cool. The three of us, past ride and tie competitors are currently running. So we decided to run the first loop of the event. We started out about 10 to 15 minutes before the others and it took a while for them(competitors) to catch up to us. They did as we were headed and close to the coffer dam.

My previous horse Gypsy was in the event , and was doing well. However, as we were  heading down the switchbacks, Gypsies, female partners were walking her back. Unfortunately, Gypsy tripped and scraped her right leg which was bleeding  in the process. I didn’t see her again until we finished our trail run. Her leg was wrapped and she was a little off at that point. I expect that the current owner, a veterinarian –Jen Mather will treat her well. By the way, Jim emailed me about a month ago that she finished the Virginia City 100 mile endurance ride. Way to go, girl.

Make it a point to keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing and bonding to assist you in your aging.


Mo Bartley ,a number of years ago, called Tony a cute name during the very first Run on the Sly. He revealed that cute name on a  trail run a while ago. However, he gets embarrassed; when I call him by that name. He didn’t want us to reveal” the name” during our TV show.

Yesterday, Tony, Chris and I ran a short loop. Tony had a brilliant idea, but because it was mentioned on the trail, It remains on the trail. I must admit we laughed a lot. Join us if you can, because I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Jim Brandstatter, the Voice of the Detroit Lions and Michigan Wolverines

 Tuli Kupferberg  “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge."


 More  about the early influences of the voice of the Detroit Lions in Michigan Wolverines, Jim Brandstatter : Part 2.

Aside from the strong academic modeling and emphasis on sports, Jim was introduced to many cultures because of all the representatives and the many nationalities from the various countries(i.e., England, India, Vietnam) that attended the criminal justice program at Michigan State. How was Jim introduced to all these folks? Art Sr. being friendly, good-natured and caring would invite the adult students to his home for dinner to meet his family and to teach them about US family culture. In part this created a dilemma for his wife. What was she going to prepare for dinner for this array of ethnic diversity? How could she prepare a dinner that tasted good, was well-prepared and more importantly did not disrespect the religion or mores of the individual? Being intelligent and creative, she chose as the main course  “ leg of lamb.” To this day, Jim loves having leg of lamb as he has wonderful memories of that wonderful, exciting and intellectual international dinner experience growing up, with his parents, in East Lansing.

In order to get a strong basic educational background, Jim attended St. Ignatius elementary school, with Principal Sister Rose Gilbert. His favorite subjects back then were spelling and math. When he misbehaved in Mrs. Wintermute’s class, she grabbed him by the back of the shirt or  twisted his ear.  There was  not, at the time , an East Lansing parochial high school, he attended the public high school, two blocks from his home.

As a high school sophomore, Leo Smedley was an assistant  high school football and wrestling coach. Jim remembers coach Smedley, pushing him like a Marine drill Sgt. in fact Jim thought he probably was a Marine at some time. The coach would say “you’re going to find out just how good you are” when they were playing against good teams.

 As a sophomore, Jim, was about 6’2” tall and weighed roughly 225 pounds. In that year, he started out on the football Junior varsity team but was promoted to the varsity and lettered. Jim also lettered in his Junior and Senior years  and was a team Captain   as well. On offense he played either center or tackle and on defense, lined up in a three point stance, outside the opposing offensive  tackle. Jim not only lettered in baseball, but received honors and was an all city first baseman in his Junior year and an all city catcher in his senior year. Aside from football and baseball, Jim even lettered in basketball and was a center-forward on his high school team and a co-captain in the last game of the tourney.

Apparently,  participating in sports , did not keep Jim busy. Was he hyperactive ? He also sang in the choir for four years and was selected Homecoming King in high school as well. Being a good student in high school, he thought of attending  college and  majoring in architectural design. Anyway, that were his thoughts as a young 18-year-old. However, what college?

More to follow at a later date.

Be sure to watch tomorrow’s TV show “It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender”  with guest Mo Bartley. I am sure you’ll like her story. In the meantime, don’t forget to keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing and bonding.



Monday, October 7, 2013

Jim Brandstatter the Voice of the Detroit Lions and Michigan Wolverines

In my research on mental toughness, I’ve interviewed a number of Michigan Wolverine football players as well as coach Gary Moeller. One of the Michigan players that I interviewed, is Jim Brandstatter. Jim, was an offensive tackle , and played from  1969-71. Jim has been doing color, on the radio, for all the Michigan Wolverine football games as well as for all the Detroit Lions football games since the 80s. He is the voice.

How would you explain an 18-year-old’s decision, in 1968, to attend and play football for his families and communities arch rival ? Not only that, this 18-year-old’s father was an All-American fullback at Michigan State . Moreover, his father Art Brandstatter  Sr. was a faculty member and headed(director) the School of Criminal Justice . This  well-respected, worldly traveled Brigadier General  educator was appointed by none other than John Hannah, president of Michigan State University.  Oh yeah, the oldest son Art Jr. about 6’3” and weighed 220 pounds and was the  starting-defensive- tight end in 1959, 1960, in 1961 for  these same Michigan State Spartans.  Yes, the youngest Brandstatter, Jim, did just that.

Growing up in East Lansing, Jim attended East Lansing High School. He was the last of the  athletic Brandstatter boys and periodically heard “you have big shoes to fill, and you are the last of the Brandstatters.” Besides , older  brother Art Jr. Allstate in both football and basketball  (East Lansing , and Lansing Hall of Fame)  ; there was  the  all tournament basketball player John ; middle linebacker, big game( wild boar, caribou) bow and arrow hunter-fisherman Bill; Mike , a star, on the state champion football  team .  Wow! This family, I would say, is the epitome of sport junkies.  Did they ever like sports cannot be denied nor their excellence. And ,you can bet that both parents were supportive of that fact.

This  highly competitive athletic Brandstatter family was, of course, well known by administrators, coaches and city residents  as a result of their strong presence and decades of  community involvement. It was not unusual, at all, to see Mrs.  Mary  Brandstatter driving her boys, at times, to the various practices as well as seeing them in attendance of all the many games with her husband. Just think of her full-time job taking five sons to their various sports activities. Would she have time for anything else, let alone herself? Jim’s mother was so well known, respected and supported the coaches that even  Art Jr.’s high school football coach Vince Carrilott asked Mrs. Brandstatter  who  was her favorite coach? It could’ve been. Gus Gunakas Art Jr.’s basketball head coach( he later became Michigan State head basketball coach) however, Vince was surprised when she replied, “ Bo Schembechler.”

More about the “ voice” on a later blog. In any event, I completed my 35K trail run yesterday and I must admit that it was tough, especially as the temperature rose. Although I started cramping up, I was pleased that my Achilles didn’t bother me. I saw familiar faces during the run and after.

In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, deep breathing and bonding because it’s good for you.