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