Subscribe to It Has Nothing to Do with Age by Email Follow Tusk95664 on Twitter It Has Nothing to Do with Age: September 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, September 30, 2013

Trail Running Excitement

"To change one's life: 1. Start immediately. 2. Do it flamboyantly. 3. No exceptions."
– William James


Last Thursday, I ran one of my favorite 10 mile loops. After about 45 minutes, I saw, on the trail, near Brown’s Bar, a recent kill. Lying there was a deer carcass partially devoured. More than  likely it was by a mountain lion. Needless to say, my senses heightened. And, I became much more alert to my surroundings. I immediately started to scan both sides of the trail while listening for noises. I even started looking over my shoulder to determine if I was being followed. At one time, my wife convinced me to carry a knife. However, years ago, I discontinued that practice.

I thought I ran well on Thursday, but did not give any credit to a potential lurking mountain lion. I gave the credit instead to a  colder temperature, feeling good and to my excellent conditioning. I also wanted to be home in time for my interview with Thom Darden, regarding my mental toughness project. All -American Darden also played professional football and was all Pro for the Cleveland Browns. Thom has  wonderful stories , playing  for the Wolverines and the Browns.  This intelligent football man is still at the top of his game finding capital for companies. You will hear more about him on  later posts.

Friday, I did my cross training with the elliptical for about 45 minutes or so. I’ve been using the elliptical for the last three or four months while catching up on various movies. Watching a movie is a good distraction while using this machine.

On Saturday, I ran Thursday’s loop. Before arriving at the Brown’s Bar  kill spot, I began to think about a  number of possibilities , if I found an unfriendly mountain lion. I thought about different exit strategies as well as looking for a club to defend myself.

To be continued

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

“Great minds have purposes, little minds have wishes."
– Washington Irving

As many of you may know, I am researching the concept  “mental toughness.” The main focus of this current research has to do with  college football players. More specifically, I have chosen the 1969, Michigan Wolverine team with new head coach,  Bo Schembechler. His team, in their last season game, were  a 17 point underdog to the national championship team of Woody Hayes’, Ohio State Buckeyes.

However, I want to make it clear that there are many individuals who have exhibited mental toughness, historically. Some of you might ask about a definition of this term? Mental toughness has to do with perseverance, persistence,” stick with It ness’ in spite of hazardous internal or external conditions. A hazardous condition has to be physical and emotional. It may be self-inflicted, imposed by others or some external circumstance. In any event, the individual continues and does not give up, regardless of the situation or conflict. Some might argue, that by not giving up or discontinuing might not be the intelligent thing to do.

How one determines and evaluates the situation is unique to that individual. The evaluation happens between ones ears , or the  thinking that takes place. Sometimes , a defense mechanism like rationalization, denial or intellectualization can or does distort the reality. Sometimes, a need, drive or overcompensation makes it difficult to stop or, give up. Sometimes, the identity drives the individual to succeed or continue.

In my research so far, I found that the group that the individual belongs to is a main contributor for mental toughness regardless of religion, color or socio-economic standing. This Michigan team was comprised of talented sophomores, juniors and seniors that bonded and became one powerful juggernaut. Some members of the team point to an early-season loss to arch rival Michigan State University that contributed greatly to team bonding, and cohesiveness. They believe that the different coaching methods by Schembechler became  assimilated, accommodated  and integrated at that time.

The players had a run of unimagined success after that early-season loss and became quite the force themselves. After annihilating the University of Iowa, the week before ,their expectations, confidence , motivation , and goal achievement was not to be denied. These players exhibited mental toughness in that classic 1969 game with the Buckeyes. I’m not at all suggesting that the national champion Buckeye’s were not mentally tough. I plan on talking with them also.

The interviewing of the players has been fun for me and cathartic for them. Their achievement on the football field is clear, as well as their success in later life. The bonding that took place in 1969, remains strong today as well. The neurotransmitter oxytocin facilitated good feelings then and now. Once again, friendships, relationships, enhance one’s emotional life and don’t forget it. In other words, keep moving, laughing, smiling, deep breathing and bonding because it’s good for you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Super Foods, Bright Earth,and Jerome Beauchamp

"The power of imagination makes us infinite."

– John Muir


Jerome Beauchamp was my guest on Thursdays “It Has Nothing to do with Age or Gender.” Jerome, I first met, at the Quicksilver ride and tie in San Jose. At the time he was partnering up with his brother Robert on Jerome’s  horse Tango. Our friendship grew and we became good friends. At the time he was living in Newcastle and I was living in the Bay Area. Shortly thereafter, I moved to the foothills as well.

Jerome’s and  Mary’s  family grew also. I was fortunate enough to witness the growth of his family and his personal development and search for meaning. He is the questioning type and explores self growth. I also had the opportunity to meet his older brothers, Robert and Arthur.

On my first Tevis experience, Jerome was there to crew for me and my horse Raider. He was also one of my pacers on my Western States 100 run. He ran with me from Highway 49 to the finish. During our run, I remember him motivating me by saying “ let’s pick off that runner ahead .” By golly it worked.

We’ve also been Ride and Tie partners and have had memorable experiences. Our last ride and tie event was held at Drew Barner. I remember early on that we were doing quite well until I ran by my horse Gypsy. It wasn’t until sometime much later, that I realized what happened and  that Gypsy was tied to a tree, far away. When I ran back  to her, I found her standing, waiting for me. it took quite a while for me to catch up to Jerome. Jerome ran a long distance that day.

On our television program, Jerome talked about mental toughness having to do with perseverance and persistence. We then talked about his biking across the country from Washington to Massachusetts, and putting his feet in the Pacific and then the Atlantic. At that time, Jerome, had just graduated from high school and was 17 . Accompanying him on his ride was his older brother Robert, some five years older. You’ll enjoy hearing his story.

Jerome  also mentioned a competitive swimming career that began when he was about four years of age or so ; as well is becoming a very accomplished skier(skiing black diamonds) in his elementary school years. It helped having two older competitive brothers. Jerome has competed in triathlons and the California Iron Man. He  also completed one of Dan Barger’s echo challenge series starting at Forest Hill. You name it, and Jerome has likely done it. You’ll agree, that he’s mentally tough.

Jerome also talked about his identity crisis and his issues, leaving the real estate industry and his finding a home with  super foods and Bright Earth. To learn more about Jerome and super foods, watch our show. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling and deep breathing to assist you on your journey.

Friday, September 20, 2013

It Has Nothing To Do with Age or Gender with guest Jerome Beauchamp

Meet Jerome Beauchamp, Bright Earth Foods CEO, mental toughness competitor began competing in swimming as a 4 year old. While in elementary school, quickly out performed his 2  older brothers downhill skiing and at 17, rode a bicycle coast to coast with older brother Robert. Has finished California Iron man, Echo Challenge Series and  World Championship Ride and Tie.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Robert Frost,Jerome Beauchamp, Friendship and Happiness

"Courage is the human virtue that counts most — courage to act on limited knowledge and insufficient evidence. That's all any of us have."
– Robert Frost


I am pleased to announce that Jerome Beauchamp is my next guest on “It Has  Nothing  To Do With  Age or Gender.” I first met Jerome in the late 1990s at the Quicksilver Ride and Tie in San Jose, California. Jerome and his older brother Robert were competing in their first ride and tie. Jerome  was in his late 30s , and Robert in his early 40s. Jerome was an excellent  runner and a rider while Robert was the  superior runner. I think my partner, at the time, was  my friend Bob Edwards.

At some point, after the vet check , I caught up to Jerome and his horse. As it turned out, the horse lost one of its  shoes. I start talking with Jerome and advised him not to ride that horse with three shoes. If he did ride  the horse, he would likely lame the horse. Unfortunately, I didn’t have an Easy Boot to loan him. This meant that Robert had to  run and did run the entire distance of the race. Jerome  never caught Robert.

With that race, started our friendship. At this time I was living in the Bay Area, while Jerome was living near Auburn. One thing led to another and I shortly moved to the foothills as well. Over the years, I have partied with Jerome and his family and watched his kids  develop. Jerome has been my ride and tie partner in a number of events. There was one  World Championship   when we partnered up with one of Bob Edwards horses named Judy.  Jerome referred to that ride as “the ride from hell.”  Find out about that memorable ride and tie experience by watching our  show or learn about it in my book.

Jerome was  also  my final pacer in 2002 when I ran the Western States 100. Not only that, he was an important crew member when I rode the Tevis in 2000. He has been there for me. I know you’ll enjoy his story.

A couple of facts found in the September 13, 2013 edition of the Wall Street Journal include the following: 1. Those individuals 65 and over rated their lives happier than  all other Americans.2. People, between 50 and 64 rated themselves the most unfavorably.  3. People with advanced degrees rated themselves happier than those with high school diplomas. 4. Households making $ 75,000 a year or more rated themselves happier than those households making less than $ 30,000 a year.

If you believe the survey, get older, get a degree and make more money and you will find happiness. Once again, correlations(a statistical procedure) do not measure cause-and-effect. As you know or don’t know there’s more to the story regarding happiness. In any event, keep moving ,smiling and deep breathing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mental Toughness,Achievement Goals and Kirk Edgerton

"Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road."
– Dag Hammarskjöld
Form Tony: I like the quote but Dag must not of been  trail runner. If  I didn't look down I would trip more then I already do.

Make sure that your  goal is concrete ,measurable, attainable and the achievement or outcome is crystal clear. To illustrate, one of my goals is to run 50 miles within a week or seven days. I can either run every day; six days a week; five days a week or whatever. All I have to do, is calculate miles per run and multiply that by the number of days that I run. Notice, that my goal is measurable and easily determined. I will be either successful or not successful.  I have no one to blame but me if I don’t  achieve my goal. However, when I achieve my goal, I feel  great.

Make sure that your goal is realistic. Past performance can be a good guide  to determine expectation of success. Since I have a history, and keep track of my running distances, I know by now , if my goal is realistic. When I started  to keep track of my running distances per day, I developed a baseline  of performance.  Keep your expectations and goals realistic.

I have selected running 50 miles per week as a goal for the following reasons.  1. This distance allows me to run any race distance  up to 50 K without having to make major training  adjustments. 2. I use that distance as a barometer for my health. Having a goal not only means thinking about the future, it also takes into account planning, researching, assessing, evaluating, practicing/and/or conditioning. Having to look forward to something, that’s important, is a mental health principle that contributes to my well-being.

Mental toughness , in sports, takes into account achievement goals and the ability to persist or continue in spite of internal or external obstacles. An internal obstacle might be related to physical pain. So, if one is in pain . it is important to evaluate this condition. It might be smart to discontinue the activity or to re frame one’s thinking. One can acknowledge the pain but re frame and call it “discomfort.” Instead of thinking about the mountain or  the hill ahead as “ too tough or I can’t” re frame and call that hill or mountain “my friend.”  Tony, while running, refers to the hills as his friend. As a young boy, Tony’s father told him to like what he was doing regardless of what it was. Tony’s still following his father’s advice.

“I can’t” has to be replaced with thoughts like “pick up your feet,” “put 1 foot in front of the other,” “ I am going to run to the next tree “ and so forth. In other words, replace negative thoughts with positive thinking. Negative thinking tends to snowball and must therefore  be stopped and confronted immediately. Do not sabotage or allow the negative or irrational thinking to interfere with performance because it can.

Mental- physical toughness also takes into account the ability to stay in the present ,while paying attention to your body. Be mindful of your breathing and  acknowledge the  tightness, stiffness or discomfort going on within your body. Frequently, monitor your breathing, especially belly breathing. In scanning your body, begin with your head, go to your throat, your chest, shoulders , etc. and continue to scan all the way down to your toes. Stay in the present to allow yourself the ability to reduce your discomfort.  This is called mindfulness.

It’s also helpful be in a supportive environment for nurturing during difficult times. Human connections release neurotransmitters like oxytocin  that can be helpful during times of stress and feeling discouraged and/or aloneness. Don Freeman talked about the running community and how much assistance he  received during his Angels Crest  100 mile run. Don was extremely thankful and acknowledged that his success was dependent on his fellow man.

If your goal or goals provide meaning in your life, you likely know why you’re doing what you’re doing. The importance of your goal success  is related to its meaning and passion in your life. With meaning and  passion, you have a clear focus and your priorities  lined up correctly.  The higher the correlation between success, meaning and passion , the greater the chance of completion and well-being.

Stay tuned for additional information and insights regarding mental toughness. Remember, life, and  life experiences are the journey. There are many roads to take. Just  make sure to navigate safely and avoid dead  ends when you can. While on your journey, keep moving, smiling, laughing, and deep breathing.

Kirk Edgerton was my guest on last Thursday’s show. Learn how overweight, fast food alcoholic drinking Kirk, found meaning in his life through physical exercise. This young man was going nowhere fast until about age 25, when he made his first breakthrough. His second crisis resolved at about age 35. Learn about his story.

Kirk runs the Fleet Feet, Fair Oaks, California store. He has competed in triathlons ,xterra  biking races, and running races ranging from 5K to 100 miles. This is his story.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Achievement Goals and Mental Toughness

“ To recognize your achievement goals is to know yourself.”

Frank Lieberman

Tony and I started our television show on June 4, 2013. We titled the show “It Has Nothing to Do With Age or Gender.” The theme for our show has to do with mental toughness. And our interviewees have demonstrated that grit. Our first show hosted Mike Keller, # 90 of the University of Michigan Wolverines and the Dallas Cowboys. Thursday’s show September 12, 2013 features Kirk Edgerton ultra runner and shoe expert.

The following is what I have learned these past two and half months from our guests. First, let me start out with the notion that we are born with a drive to survive. This means our neurotransmitters such as Norepinephrine, Dopamine ,Oxytocin, Serotonin, the building blocks of the brain, assist us with our competitiveness , which can be  called our “nature.” Of course, there are many factors, “nurture” that can reinforce or inhibit our competitiveness. Let’s take a look at some of the “ nurture” components that assisted with our guests competitive drive.

Let’s began talking about individual achievement goals. First, achievement goals are related to both performance and mastery.  A performance goal has three parts:1. A mastery goal that’s focuses on developing/learning  a new skill or understanding. 2 . A performance approach goal that results in gaining acclaim, approval, fame, etc. 3 . A performance avoidance goal that focuses on avoiding criticism or disapproval. To recognize your achievement goals, is to know yourself.

All of our guests are achievement goal oriented. There are no exceptions as our guests have attained new leaning's and/or recognition within their communities. For example, Mike Keller became an All-American and professional football player; Tim Twietmeyer a Western States legend; Cathy Rohm and Kathie Perry Tevis Cup champions; Jack Sholl , a Son of the American Revolution and a  gold medal sculler. For some, early parental influence from a father, mother, or both assisted them in their development.  In Kathie Perry, Chuck Mather, and Meghan Arbogast’s experience it was an authoritarian, disciplinarian father;  with Mike Keller it was  a highly driven achievement oriented, competitive mother.

Modeling, peer group  and  imitative behaviors  influenced  Tim Twietmeyer, Jonathan Jordan, Craig Thornley, Kathie Perry, Dan Barger, Tom Christofk, Mark Falcone,  and Don Freeman. Sibling rivalries were factors  and affected Mike Keller, Kathie Perry and Jonathan Jordan.

For Tom Christofk, Dan Barker, and Chuck Mather sports provided discipline, focus, achievement, self regulation, an opportunity for success,  at a time in adolescence when they were floating adrift. Through sports and the necessary training, they learned and excelled at such sports as rowing, ultra running and endurance riding.

Arnold Palmer said something to the effect “the more  I practice, the more luck I have.” For all of our high achieving, accomplished and exceptional athletes, none of them can be faulted about their lack of training or conditioning. None of them had cut corners when it came to learning and getting better at what they did. Remember, when you have an achievement goal , one automatically becomes future oriented. A future goal allows you to look forward as opposed to being stuck in the past or the present.

To be continued

Monday, September 9, 2013

Benefits of Trail Running-Inspiration,Health and Friendship

"Be generous, be delicate, and always pursue the prize."
– Henry James


One of the reasons that I run is because of all the fun that I have on the trail. Last Thursday, Chris, Tony and I hit the trail in the morning. Tony, said he was tired from Wednesday’s long trail run. I’ve learned, over the years, that I can not always trust what Tony says regarding being tired. We finished our warm-up and Tony reiterated being tired. That was all I that I needed to hear, as I took off and started running . I knew that he would either start running with me or do something to get my attention .  I didn’t know how tired he was, but  I was  going to soon  find out.

Running ,for maybe 30 to 45 seconds, I didn’t hear Tony  or Chris behind me. I quickly stopped and turned around looking for them . As they came into view, I found them both, laughing as they had stopped to watch me run off by myself. I found that funny as well,  as I laughed too. They caught up and we walked, laughed and talked. After a few minutes, I reached a place on the trail, which provided an option for me, of either going straight and continuing on the trail or cutting off- for a shortcut .

I’m thinking that I wanted a longer run , so I’m going to continue straight down the trail. Sure enough, both Chris and Tony said were going short and began heading toward the turn off They asked me where I was going to run and I told them We parted. I continued down the trail towards third gate and then turned to do my loop. At this juncture, I’m running a slight downhill. After a brief amount of time, maybe 10 minutes or so I look up and I see them running up the trail toward me. Chris said it was his idea to meet me. Once again we started laughing.

This brief episode allows the reader to see the silliness, the competitiveness and the friendship that exists with  my running comrades . We are competitive and we laugh a lot, both of which are good for our souls.

Thursday’s television show featured Don Freeman, DC as our guest. Don  is also one of the main principles on the trail runner podcast. Don shared his views about the ultra running community as well as his background. He told us about one of his most difficult runs-The Angels Crest 100 , which he completed in 2011. He talked about his lack of planning that resulted in numerous problems for him. However, he also talked about the running community, the friendships, the giving,  the helping, and learning that goes on. There were a number of individuals that assisted him during that adventure. Don liked the above quote by Henry James so much that I presented it to him after the Watch the interview for inspiration, knowledge and enjoyment. Inspiration with Don Freeman DC, Trail Runner Nation


The bottom line is to keep moving, laughing, smiling and deep breathing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Oxytocin,Dopamine ,Generosity, Bonding and Pleasure

"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
– Annie Dillard


Humans are more complex and at times seem to exhibit contradictory behavior. For example Charles Darwin wrote about the” survival of the fittest” and the idea that individuals are motivated to look out for themselves and that only the strongest survive. Similarly, John Stuart Mill believed and described man  “does that by which he may obtain the greatest amount of necessaries, conveniences and luxuries, with the smallest quantity of labor and physical self denial.”

On the other hand,  what about notions of empathy, generosity, altruism , and a host of giving behaviors? According to 2011 statistics, 64.3 million Americans volunteered through an organization  ; 8 billion total hours were spent by Americans volunteering and 171 billion was estimated in the value of volunteered hours.

Some of you might say that we give  because it helps ensure the survival of others in our complex society. This idea  suggests that we can improve our own prospects by contributing to the welfare of others. So what is supreme? Is it me, me, me or we, we, we ?

If you were a football player, who played for Bo Schembechler,  he would have wanted you to become the fittest you could become , in order that you could help and be part of the team or we. For Schembechler, it was about the team, the team, the team. There was no room for me, me, me, while playing for that man. You might say that goals and rewards had something to do with developing group cohesion. However, if  a fMRI was used to evaluate blood flow in the prefrontal  parts of the brain  of his players, it would likely find lots of receptors for oxytocin- the hormone that promotes bonding.

Giving to your teammates , all that you have ,  sacrificing through personal pain,  demonstrating  mental toughness , and doing all that you can to make the team  better was exemplified by Bo Schembechler’s football players. Even though the players were young and self-centered, they became givers, great teammates to each other. This fMRI scan would more likely reveal increased blood flow in the same region of the midbrain that controls cravings for food, sex , as well as that area of the brain that releases the pleasure chemical dopamine.

In other words, many of us get pleasure when we give to others and  when we  bond with others. If you’re one of those that is perceived as a big-time giver and sociable, we know about your blood flow to the different parts of your brain. Do you have a chemical imbalance? The reference was found in the August 31-September 1, 2013 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

I’m pleased to announce that Thursday’s guest  on our TV Show “ It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender” is  Dr. Don Freeman. Don has a chiropractic practice in Rocklin ,  and hosts  the Trail Runner Nation   podcast. I’m sure you’ll enjoy  what this talented ultra runner has to say about life and running.

Yesterday, Tony, Chris and I ran the trail and came up  Maine Bar for a distance of roughly 7 miles. We started fairly early in the morning and ran without smoke conditions. That makes running much more enjoyable. Keep moving, laughing, smiling and deep breathing because it’s good for you.

Monday, September 2, 2013

 “Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”

James Bryant Conant

Chuck Mather, United States  Marine, Western States silver buckle holder, Tevis Cup top ten buckle holder entertained Tony and I on our “ it Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender ”  television show. Chuck talked about his mental toughness as it relates to his competitiveness. He tied mental toughness and  his competitiveness curse  to the quote by James Bryant Conant “Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.” Chuck knows and does stick his neck out.

Check has been running for years and told the story of  how he got introduced in 1978 to the historic Western States run. And ,while running, it seems that he runs with his head down looking for special treasures. He is  a finder of things.  According to Chuck, he has found over $62, over the years, on the trail. Not only that, he has found a Merkin and a dildo along the way. Of course, this collector brings these items home to his wife. And, he presented me with a recent finding-a square nail. What was the symbolism?

Chuck also talked about the worst day of his life that occurred after running with Tom Christofk and Tony . Check out the interview and join us in laughter.   One other story that Chuck told, was about his first horse and riding backwards because this gelding didn’t like taking him forward. His persistence in dealing with his  horse  also provides insight into his character.

Chuck also as another side. While running the Western States in 2002, Chuck, my pacer, was a tremendous help to me. We were at the Rucky Chucky aid station some 78 miles into the run. Because my quads were shot, Chuck, grabbed me by the back of my shirt and pushed me up onto the scale so I could be weighed. That was cool. Ironically, Chuck ,has a current quad injury that interferes with long distance running, especially going downhill. I hope that quad issue gets resolved so that Chuck can join Tony and I on trails. Who knows what we will find?

On a  previous blog, I wrote that Tony was doing speed work. I received an email from Chuck that said “Tony, doing speed work is like a snail going backwards.” That response by Chuck reveals his sense of humor. All in all, to know Chuck is a real treasure of a find. Thank you  Chuck for appearing on our show. As we know, humor and laughter are good for us, so keep it up.

Yesterday’s trail run, about 14 or so miles, took place at the Cronin ranch. Chris Turney , Tony and I were joined by Madhu  Avasarala. Madhu and his wife Farah  recently came back from their trip. As it turned out, Madhu and Tony ran ahead of us. Although not smoky , it was hot and humid. I thought it was a tough run, but that’s one of the reasons  to  do  it.

Enjoy your Labor Day and remember to move, laugh, smile, and deep breathing.