“It Has Nothing to Do with Age” is a book about individuals who push themselves to physical extremes and who believe they have defied the aging process. If you are at least 30, 40, 50 years of age, join them in such sports as: theTevis Cup, the Dipsea, the Western States 100, the 100 mile ride and tie, the Hawaiian Ironman, the Molokai to Oahu Outrigger canoe race, and national and international rowing.
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.
"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 thanlikely 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
acolder 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 haswonderful stories ,
playingfor 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 onlater 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 anumber 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.
“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 thethinking 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
becameassimilated, 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.
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
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.
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.
"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 HasNothingTo Do WithAge 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. Jeromewas in his late 30s , and Robert in his early 40s. Jerome was an excellentrunner and a rider while Robert was thesuperior runner. I think my partner, at the
time, wasmy 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 itsshoes. I start talking with Jerome and
advised him not to ride that horse with three shoes. If he did ridethe horse, he would likely lame the horse.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have an Easy Boot to loan him. This meant that Robert
had torun and did run the entire
distance of the race. Jeromenever caught
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 kidsdevelop. Jerome has been my ride and tie
partner in a number of events. There was oneWorld Championshipwhen 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 ourshow or learn about it in my book.
Jerome wasalsomy 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 thanall 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
"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’tachieve my goal. However,
when I achieve my goal, I feelgreat.
Make sure that your goal is realistic. Past performance can
be a good guideto 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 startedto keep track of my running distances per
day, I developed a baselineof
performance.Keep your expectations and
I have selected running 50 miles per week as a goal for the
following reasons.1. This distance
allows me to run any race distanceup 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 orthe 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 hereceived during his Angels Crest100 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
successis related to its meaning and
passion in your life. With meaning andpassion, you have a clear focus and your prioritieslined 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, andlife experiences are the journey. There are many roads to take. Just make sure to navigate safely and avoid
deadends 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 ,xterrabiking races, and running races ranging from 5K to 100 miles. This is
his story. http://youtu.be/3oBGAbe1enM
“ To recognize your achievement goals is to know yourself.”
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 becalled 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 agold 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 wasa highly driven achievement
oriented, competitive mother.
Modeling, peer group andimitative behaviors influencedTim Twietmeyer, Jonathan Jordan, Craig
Thornley, Kathie Perry, Dan Barger, Tom Christofk, Mark Falcone, and Don Freeman. Sibling rivalries were
factorsand 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
Arnold Palmer said something to the effect “the moreI 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.
"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, butI wasgoing to soonfind out.
Running ,for maybe 30 to 45 seconds, I didn’t hear Tonyor 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. Donis also one of the main
principles on the trail runner nation.com 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 http://youtu.be/tCpbYF7nHhU
The bottom line is to keep moving, laughing, smiling and
"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 givebecause it helps ensure the survival of
others in our complex society. This ideasuggests 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, ifa fMRI was used to evaluate
blood flow in the prefrontalparts 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,demonstratingmental 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
In other words, many of us get pleasure when we give to
others andwhen webond 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
I’m pleased to announce that Thursday’s gueston our TV Show “ It Has Nothing to Do with
Age or Gender” is Dr. Don Freeman. Don
has a chiropractic practice in Rocklin ,and hoststhe Trail Runner
Nationpodcast. 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 upMaine 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.
“Behold the turtle.
He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.”
James Bryant Conant
Chuck Mather, United StatesMarine, 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 andhis 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 isa 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.http://youtu.be/01oKDwWp4j4.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 hishorsealso 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 aprevious 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 MadhuAvasarala. Madhu and his wife Farahrecently 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 reasonstodoit.
Enjoy your Labor Day and remember to move, laugh, smile, and