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

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.