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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.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eppie's Great Race 2014

Our team, yesterday, competed in the world’s oldest triathlon. It was the 41st running of Eppie’s Great Race held in the Sacramento-Rancho Cordova area. I started the event by running approximately a 10K (less than an hour) along the American River, finishing at Sacramento State area. Then I met Tom Christofk and passed him the timing chip. He biked approximately a 20 K distance in less than 45 minutes. There, he handed the timing chip to Dennis Scott, who kayaked approximately 10K to the finish in less than an hour.
Dennis took the place of Tony Brickel who was home nursing his wife, Debbie from her horse mishap. For Tom and I, this was our first Eppie’s. For Dennis, this was his 35th or 36th Eppie’s. Our team did well in the 60 age division. We were all pleased. For me, running along the American River was a welcome change from trail running. I must admit that it is so much easier. Of course, running a short distance is another difference along with not worrying about tripping on rocks or roots.
For more about Tom, I refer you to our television interview: It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender: http://youtu.be/E7pVe44sqSA.    Further, Dennis has an interesting story as well and you can watch his TV interview: http://youtu.be/mHXJSzfZZnI .
In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating.
PS

It was helpful to have my wife Linda, and Tom’s wife, Laura, as crew. Thank you, dears.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Jim Brandstatter- Bo's Warriors


In Bo’s Warriors, you’ll find this Foreword written by Jim Brandstatter.

When I first heard about this book, I learned that the focus was going to be about mental toughness. One of my University of Michigan football teammates suggested that I would be a good source for Frank to talk about the subject. I have no idea what medication, my teammate was taking at the time that made him so delirious as to suggest to me, but the cat was out of the bag, and Dr. Frank and I began our journey.
We talked about my life. We talked about football. We talked about things totally unrelated to mental toughness. We talked about my college coach, Bo Schembechler. We talked about my friends on the team.
As time passed, and I spoke to some of the other guys who Frank had been interviewing, I realized that their experiences had been similar to mine. Not only that, but Frank was working these guys as hard as he was working me. Based on the conversations I had with my friends to help Frank with the book, I knew this had to be more than a how-to manual on developing mental toughness. It was morphing into something else. It was becoming a story of young men developing into young adults
.
I have often been asked to speak about my time as a University Michigan football player and the lessons I learned from the game, and my coach, Bo Schembechler. Yet I have never felt that I have done a great job of it. It was such a powerful time in my life, but is difficult to impart to an audience the incredible impact it has on me to this day.

I believe “Bo’s Warriors” can accomplish what I have failed to do in my speeches. What I think you have in your hands is a snapshot of history. It is a look back at this country in the late 60s and early 70s, is viewed through the eyes of us 18-to 21-year-old jocks. We were in the middle of a very unpopular war, racial tension was boiling, the drug culture was taking over college campuses, student unions were being occupied by militants… there was Woodstock, free love, free Angela Davis, burning draft cards, and burning bras. Meanwhile, with all this tumult bombarding us, we had to play football for a tyrant named Schembechler. How in the world did we survive? How in the world did we win a game? And how in the world did we learn lasting life lessons amidst the confusion?

That’s the story you are about to read. When we saw the world crumbling around us, we had a pillar of strength to grab on to. When our life began to spin out of control, we had a safe haven. We had football. In football we knew where we stood. We had Schembechler. Sure, he was a conservative taskmaster. He did not like the counterculture, and the counterculture despised him. He did not suffer fools; it was his way or the highway.

But he demanded more from us. We delivered-sometimes grudgingly, but we delivered-and amidst the chaos came order, success, and growth. In that moment, the group, through fate or providence, came together and something really positive happened. The blueprints were college football, but the architect was Bo.
PS

Last Thursday’s guest on It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender was 100 K US champion, three-time Western States 100 winner, NCAA polo champion, etc. Tom Johnson. I think you’ll enjoy his interview.


In the meantime, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating. It’s good for you.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bo's Warriors-Mike Keller



The following post is a Foreword from Bo’s Warriors written by Mike Keller.
Moving from a small Midwestern town to a huge university and premier institution of higher learning, and athletics, how could I realize what was in store for me? While excited for the challenge, I was quite certain that someone entrusted with offering me a full ride Grant-in-Aid scholarship had made an awful mistake. I did not feel that I belonged among the nationally recruited football players who would become my teammates. My thoughts on that were, “Well that’s not my problem, I will get a great education and set my path firmly in a positive direction for a career in…. who knows what?”
All of that changed in December of my freshman year. Our head coach, Bump Elliott was being “promoted” within the athletic department, and we were to meet our new head coach, Bo Schembechler. In that first meeting, among other things, we learned from Coach Schembechler that we were soft and undisciplined, with a national reputation as underachievers. “Well, boys,” he said, “that is all going to change!”
In hindsight, that first Schembechler team at Michigan set the tone for a new and continued level of excellence for Michigan football. When youngsters decide to play for Michigan today, they know they will play in the greatest stadium in college football, in front of the most loyal fans and alumni, will prepare to play at the finest facilities, and be taught by a great coaching staff.
I would not change anything from my four years in Ann Arbor. There were great victories as well as crushing defeats. As young man, we were taught to live with both-not only as football players. But as people, with an eye for what the world would hand us in the decades after we played. Our dedication to our Alma matter is unshakable-as are the bonds of friendship we developed in competition and the driving force that mold us: coach Schembechler and his inimitable staff.
Every day. I was thankful for the men who will always be my teammates. I’m thankful for my coaches, Gary Moeller, Jim Young, to whom I have not expressed my appreciation enough over the years. Most of all, I’m thankful for having a chance to play for Bo, who helped all of us learn how good we could be.

My life’s journey has not been one anchored in the college of LS&A or Michigan Law School, although Michigan, academics taught me how to think and organize. My career has been in professional sports-as a player, scout, and administrator, providing opportunities to hundreds of young men and women seeking the dream of working in sports. As my career winds down, it is altogether fitting to look back at those early days, in Ann Arbor. When I wondered, “What am I doing here?” Fortunately for me, there were those who believed in me. It’s always a good time to pass it on.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 Western States Endurance Run

Congratulations to all the 2014 Western States finishers. Last year, 37-year-old Rob Krar finished second. This year he finished first and came close to breaking the course record in 14 hours 53 minutes and 22 seconds. The first overall woman was Stephanie Howe. Her time was 18 hours one minute and 42 seconds. Congratulations also go to Dan Barger, who finished in 20 hours 43 minutes 27 seconds and Meghan Arbogast, who finished in 21 hours 14 minutes and 48 seconds. No one older than Meghan finished in front of her. For more information about Dan and Meghan catch their interview on It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender.
This race could not be held without volunteers. Special thanks goes to the Auburn Lake Trails Aid station Captain Margaret Branick at mile 84, and all the other volunteers.

Remember to keep moving, because they do.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Dan Dierdorf, Bo Schembechler,Soren Kierkegaard and Sigmund Freud

Former University of Michigan coaching legend Bo Schembechler may or may not have been a student of  the existentialist Soren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, or other great thinkers of human nature . In short, Kierkegaard  wrote about the anxiety of man, character, transcendence and the difficulty in becoming authentic. While Freud wrote about man’s personality development and character that essentially helps him develop strategies for dealing with his anxiety by employing defenses (denial, repression, reaction information, etc.) in order to distort reality. And, in the process, psychoanalysis helps man to understand his self-emotions, impulses, memories, capacities, potentialities, etc.
In December of 1968, Bo was hired to coach the University of Michigan football. So what did Bo do to begin his University of Michigan coaching in early 1969? In essence, he created additional stress and anxiety for his inherited (Bump Elliott’s recruits) but talented football athletes. He wanted to trim down the number of players coming out for practice. He wanted only the strongest mentally and physically.  He did that by creating and imposing unheard of conditioning drills that were physical and some would say disrespected the individual. These drills were intense and challenged not only one’s body, but one’s mind. I doubt that any of the players, at first, understood what some called his madness. They had no idea what he was doing, and in fact many of them quit the team.
In fact, he might’ve been concerned, about the number of players leaving the team, since he put up the sign “Those That Stay Will Be Champions.” And then, the Pru man added to the sign “Those That Leave Will Be Doctors and Lawyers and Captains of Industry.” Bo understood that he created a test, and that those who passed were his boys. The players that stayed were able to deal with the additional stress and anxiety by creating and developing their own personality. In fact, Frank Gusich thought, and/or rationalized, something to the effect that “these brutal practice conditions are so unique that our team will be in better condition in the fourth quarter than those other teams.” Bo created the “survival of his fittest”
Further, as a result of his military experience, Bo was aware that soldiers, in foxholes, in war conditions dealt with stress and death by bonding together. The term band of brothers fits here. So, I believe that Bo Schembechler knew he was creating a team and his coaching methods exemplified that. He reinforced that team concept over and over. If you don’t believe me, just ask his warriors.
“This is a unique look at the world of college football in the late 60s and early 70s as told by some of my teammates and coaches at the University of Michigan.
We were so fortunate to be a part of something special that happened over 40 years ago, but still resonates today. A good read!
                                Go Blue! Dan Dierdorf June 2014

Triumph Books is publishing Bo’s Warriors and is scheduled to be released this fall.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bo's Warriors and Western States 100

Bo’s Warriors exemplifies Bo Schembechler’s transforming the historic University of Michigan football program into his own identity .This book also illustrates  the  evolution that took place among each of the players profiled (Mike Keller- All-American, College All-Star Game,  Dallas Cowboy, COO of the Football League of America ; Frank Gusich-Wolfman and called Superman by the press; Fritz Seyferth-  , scored four touchdowns against the Minnesota Gophers, ranked third in Big Ten conference in scoring, 21 years in the Michigan Athletic Department, Calgary Stampeders ; Thom Darden-All-American, All Pro, interception leader of the Cleveland Browns; Jim Betts-  Meyer Morton Trophy Award, Blue -Gray All-Star game drafted by the New York Jets; Tom Curtis-Michigan record holder for interceptions, two Super Bowl rings, publisher; Jim Brandstatter, All Big Ten, elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, award-winning American sportscaster, best-selling author ; and Reggie McKenzie-All-American, All NFL, Reggie McKenzie Foundation) along with position coach Gary Moeller-defensive coordinator, college and NFL head coach. You’ll marvel at their lifelong journey of success and how each overcame failure moments.
Bo’s Warriors reveals Bo’s “secret” formula for success and highlights what the press called “The 10 Year War” between Bo Schembechler’s, Michigan’s Wolverines and his mentor legend Woody Hayes’ Ohio State Buckeyes-starting with their 1969 big game. Don’t forget that Bo inherited players, recruited by former Michigan All-American, Rose Bowl hero and Rose Bowl winner head coach Bump Elliott.
No doubt that Bo inherited an exceptional group of talented athletes from diverse racial backgrounds. He called Bump’s recruits” country club mentality “and then molded them into his mentally and physically tough Michigan football “survival of the fittest” battleground. It became clear that the sum of the individual players and coaches became the whole. How Bo accomplished this miraculous feat is a major part of the story. Another element of the story is that the players initially disliked, to put it mildly, Bo but later came to love him. In turn, the symbiotic- synergistic relationship between Bo and his team resulted in Bo becoming a legend and his players taken to heights they never contemplated before.
Learn about how these players from rural and urban environments blended together and in the process, became “ Michigan men.”, and one for all(the team) and  all, for one (the team).
Some of the questions raised and answered in Bo’s Warriors include the following: 1. Why did Michigan athletic director Don Canham remove Bump and hire Bo? 2. What was Bo’s secret formula for success? 3. How did Bo’s team become mentally and physically tough? 4. Why was Bo’s success also, his weakness? 5. How did that 1969 Michigan football team upset the heavily favored number one team in the country, Woody’s greatest team the Ohio State Buckeyes? 6. How did playing for Bo affect and influence the long term personality style of each of his warriors? 7. How relevant are Bo’s life teaching methods and techniques for today’s warriors? 8. Why should” mental toughness” be taught and learned?

PS

Don’t forget that the Western States 100 mile ultra-run is this Saturday. I wish all the runners good luck. Some will be moving faster than others, but they’ll be moving.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bo's Warriors- Acknowledgements

This post comes from my manuscript, Bo’s Warriors- Bo Schembechler and the Transformation of Michigan Football to be published by Triumph Books towards the end of the summer.
Acknowledgments
This book would not have been possible without the assistance of a number of special individuals. I began with my wife, Linda. A few years ago, she was riding her horse Nails and I was running alongside them on the Olmsted trail. She said to me that I was mentally tough. The idea planted a seed in me, and I began researching it. Then, I Incorporated my model into my Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in 2002. After refining the concept of mental toughness, I published and gave presentations about my experience with it during my Western States Ultra.
It was then that I began to think about writing a book. It was a natural extension to write about the mental toughness of football players-especially those from the University of Michigan. A very special thanks goes to Mike Keller. With his quickness, he took the ball running, with blazing speed. He then lateralled the ball to Jim Brandstatter. From there, the ball was passed to Reggie McKenzie, Fritz Seyferth, Thom Darden, Gary Moeller, and Jim Betts, and then taken by Frank Gusich for touchdown. Finally, Tom Curtis made an interception to save the win and the project was completed. He was a team accomplishment and credit goes to this unique group of men. My gratitude goes to them.
Tom Bast of Triumph Books move the Sierra Nevada Mountains to get this book published this year. And I can’t forget Mitch Rogatz, Adam Motin, and the rest of the staff at Triumph for making this project a reality.


PS I’m sorry to report that Tony and Debbie lost their border collie Hope last week. She was a neat dog and will be missed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Big Basin Marathon and Lebron James

"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results."
– Herman Melville

 On Sunday the eighth, I ran a trail marathon in the Big Basin area of the Santa Cruz Mountains .That run finished at Waddell Creek at the Pacific Ocean. During that run, I thought about how much more difficult it is to run a marathon on the trails, compared to on the street. While running on the street, the runner has to look out and not trip on a curb or crack in the pavement. Of course, one also has to look out for and keep away from pedestrians and cars. I must admit that when I ran, at age 60, the Maui marathon, my first and only street marathon that that was fun as people were driving their cars honking horns, and screaming along the way.
While running Sunday, on that single track trail, I made sure to focus on the trail ahead. Sometimes, a runner can encounter honeybees or rattlers. I was pleased that I did not see any of those critters. However, there was a plethora of small and large size rocks that blended into the dirt trail along with protruding roots. And at times, I made sure that I could get underneath large overhead redwood trees that crossed the trail like a bridge. Other times, there were smaller trees laying across the trail like barriers. Also, a few places had real rocky areas that were extremely slippery and steep. I made my way carefully and did not fall or trip. Don’t forget that these trail races have elevation gains and losses. This particular run had about 3/5 of a mile of uphill and about a mile of downhill.
I was thankful that I was able to dip my hat into the Creek as the temperature was extremely warm. I was also pleased for the temperature change for the last 8 miles or so. Early on, during the run, I checked my heart rate monitor and was concerned that my pulse was so high, even while running the down hills. Not doing well in the heat, I made sure not to push myself and get into trouble with heat exhaustion. I continued to monitor .All in all, it was good and I and walked frequently, especially up the hills. I must have done everything right, since I didn't cramp or have severe symptoms from heat exhaustion.
On the other hand, Tony tripped, fell down and developed cramps while blocking the trail. Other runners looked at him and he told them that he’d be all right. Well, he got up and continued running without any other incidents. Later on we talked about Lebron James and his cramping up during the first game against San Antonio in the finals. Tony called him an unflattering term and said he wasn’t tough. He said all James had to do was run up and down the basketball court, while he ran 31 miles. On top of that, Lebron James fell to the basketball floor and his teammates picked him up. No one picked up Tony.
All in all, it was good as we stayed with ride and tie friends in Santa Cruz. George and Judy drove us to the start, met us on the trail and was there at the finish. Over the weekend we told ride and tie and running stories. George is a small animal vet, has artificial hips and still runs and rides.

It’s important that we keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Monday, June 9, 2014

World War 11, Trail Running and Competition

"You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering."
– Henri Frédéric Amiel

Last Thursday, Jeff Windeshausen was our guest on our TV show It Has Nothing to Do with Age or Gender. I first met Jeff and Tony at the Mustang classic in 1997. Jeff and Tony were ride and tie partners and I was competing in a limited distance endurance ride. As it turned out, I was camped next to them and got introduced to the sport of ride and tie.
Jeff was born in Belgium and told us about growing up during the war years. In fact, on one side of the street where the German soldiers and on the other side of the street where the American soldiers. His story was timely, because the very next day, June 6, was the D-Day anniversary. You can catch our show: http://yo
 On June 8, Tony and I have entered a 50 K trail run at Big Basin in the Santa Cruz Mountains. During this run, I switched and ran the marathon instead. This leads to an article found in the Wall Street Journal, dated December 10-11, 2011. There was a study of 543 men and women ages 25 to 75, who took a test that involved a series of arithmetic problems and being rewarded either $.25 per correct answer or getting $.50 per answer if they beat the score of a randomly chosen fellow participant-but nothing if they lost. The authors of the study were measuring, competitiveness across the lifespan. With this sample, the researchers found that men (over half), compared to women (over a third) chose the competitive track. It also found that both sexes increased will to compete up to age 50, and then it started to decline.
How do the competitive findings of this particular study apply to you? Of course, this particular study had to do with a cognitive-arithmetic skill.
As far as running (physical skill) a 50 K, I realize that my goal is to complete the event. It seems that there are less and less participants in my age group. I feel good when I come in first in my age group, but that is not my goal.
I ran my first ultra-marathon at the age of 59. From the beginning, my goal was to complete these events as it is today. Additional goals regarding running these events include health reasons, running with Tony and knowing that I can. As long as I am relatively injury free, I’ll continue.

In the meantime, keep running, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bo's Warriors

I have received word from my editor that I am no longer permitted to submit any more new material regarding Bo’s Warriors. That is a new experience since I have been thinking and writing about this project for roughly the past 3 years or so. It was sometime in or around 2011 that I first began thinking about mental toughness. In fact, Linda was riding her horse Nails and I was running alongside them on the Olmsted loop when she commented on my mental toughness. We talked about that concept and that was” it” for me.
I then began researching and writing about the idea. I developed a model of mental toughness and applied it to my running of the Western States in 2002. I then wrote a couple of articles regarding mental toughness for running magazines, and gave a number of presentations regarding the same.
I then progressed to thinking about writing a book about the subject. I met Mike Keller, an All-American football player from the University Michigan who played for the Dallas Cowboys. He liked my idea, and told me about a teammate from the Cowboys named Walt Garrison. Walt Garrison, the cowboy from Oklahoma, played football for the Cowboys with a broken collarbone. Mike said Walt is a really tough dude. As it turned out, Linda’s sister was a sorority sister of this cowboy’s future wife and knew about their struggles while they were in college (her family was wealthy & Walt just a football player).
Mike also talked to me about Jack Youngblood, the All-American from the University of Florida who played with the Los Angeles Rams. Jack played with a broken bone in his leg and was legendary for his toughness. After talking with Jack and Gil Brandt, Cowboy GM, I decided to limit my focus. I changed gears and decided to write about the 1969 Michigan Wolverines with first year head coach Bo Schembechler.
Besides, Mike Keller, I interviewed Jim Brandstatter, Frank Gusich, Thom Darden, Reggie McKenzie, Jim Betts, Tom Curtis, Fritz Seyferth and Coach Gary Moeller. In essence, this book tells the story of the University of Michigan, Bo Schembechler and these 9 men.
As it turns out, the University of Michigan erected, last month, its first statue ever on the campus in front of Schembechler Hall. They now have a statue of Bo. This fall, the same 1969 team is having their reunion. My publisher Triumph Books is planning a marketing blitz in Ann Arbor, to coincide with this history.
 I could have never predicted any of this back in 2011. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, during the full moon in June will be the Western States 100 ultra-run. And this coming Sunday, Tony and I intend to run 50 km run in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Likely, on the back cover of Bo’s Warriors will be this blurb.   "Bo Schembechler was one of America's legendary coaches.  For over twenty years he led the University of Michigan to greatness.  Frank Lieberman has done an outstanding job returning us to the days of Big Blue's finest hours.  Through some of his greatest players you will come to understand what made Bo and his warriors so special.
           Peter Golenbock, author of Landry's Boys and Driven (with Donald Driver).


Do not forget to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating since good things are yet to come. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jack Sholl 10/30/25 to 5/18/14

 Jack Sholl    In Memory 10-30- 1925 to 5-18-14
Jack Sholl 1925-2014
I recently received a phone call from Joan Sholl about Jack’s passing. I was shocked when I heard the news. She told me how how pleased Jack was in meeting me. The reverse is true for me as well.
I first met Jack about five years ago, in 2009 while researching for my book It Has Nothing To Do With Age. I found Jack to be intelligent, warm, caring and a very interesting man. He was certainly passionate and knowledgeable about his sport rowing and about being a descendant of the American Revolution. We had many conversations and meetings over the past five years. I got to know him and his wife Joan very well.
Jack’s life, was extremely interesting. In fact his death has a peculiar twist. Being patriotic, Jack wanted to enlist in the service during World War II at the age of 17. His parents, would not give permission. So Jack did the following. He dropped out of high school and went to work in the shipyards for a year and then enlisted. It is believed that his cancer was caused by that asbestos poisoning. The Second World War did not kill, but being around asbestos did.
I remember visiting Jack and seeing paraphernalia dating back to the Civil War. I attended a Sons of the American Revolution with Jack and learned more about our military history. In fact, Jack and I talked at length about American history and how the schools were omitting significant information about our past. As a volunteer, Jack spent his summers in Philadelphia, giving tours and speaking about our country’s founding, with the National Park Service. It wasn’t uncommon for someone in the audience to ask Jack if he taught history in college. Jack’s reply was no, I worked for IBM for 29 years.
Jack has traveled all over the world and has been a great spokesman and representative for our country. He knows royalty, and yet in many ways he was just a good, warmhearted individual. I miss his stories, our conversations and his friendship. Although not a physically tall man, Jack was mentally tough. I feel sad to have lost another friend.
It is hard to believe that I just can’t pick up the phone or email Jack again. Death has a finality that’s unlike anything else .It’s so different. Thank goodness, fond memories remain.

I miss you Jack.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Craig Thornley,Western States and Friends

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

  Last Saturday, Sue Smyth put on a ride and tie in Cool, California. It was neat, seeing old friends at this event. In fact, former ride and tie partners, Tom Christofk and Dan Barger where there. They were quite the team when they competed. In fact, Tom, and his wife, Laura, were two of the players that influenced my moving from the Bay Area to Cool. For more about Sue, Tom and Dan, I refer you to their TV interviews: Sue http://youtu.be/8PkfK6fpWBY;   Dan http://youtu.be/jm1X7pWZg-8and Tom http://youtu.be/E7pVe44sqSA.
I also talked with Gunilla Pratt a serious ride and tie competitor from Southern California about being interviewed, along with   Veterinarian, endurance rider and ride and tie competitor Michelle Roush. Look for their interviews this fall.
On Sunday, Tony and I ran from Forest Hill to Drivers Flat, the middle day for the Western States 100 mile ultra-run. It was good for Tony, and you can check his Strava running time. For me, I didn’t do well with the 90+ degree temperature change. And, I knew it was going to be hot. So I ran with a heart rate monitor. Because of the warm weather, I wanted to monitor how I was doing in the heat. I knew that would be a good thing since I don’t do too well at this point in the heat. Sure enough, my heart rate was raised more than I would’ve liked. Aside from a high heart rate, I started to lose my voice, which is another symptom.
Craig Thornley (     http://youtu.be/e-BmOb2bw5k)race director for Western States caught up to me about the 17 mile marker or so. Concerned about my condition, I asked him if I could get a ride to the bus. He told me that I could ride with him back to Drivers Flat. So at that aid station, I drank Coke, cold water and placed ice under my cap. It took quite a while for my resting heart rate to subside, but it did.
At the first aid station, Western States legend Tim Twietmeyer was helping out the runners. For more information about Tim check out his TV interview (http://youtu.be/wr2v3D4JreU). Also at the aid station was Ann Trason another legend. This woman was the ultimate women’s runner as she owned this hundred miler. I’m pleased to announce that she’ll be interviewed this fall as well.
At the second aid station, Meghan Arbogast female phenom was helping out. See her TV interview:  http://youtu.be/bgKMyPbkJJg.  At the top of Drivers Flat, Dan Barger was helping out. I told him that I would meet him at ALT aid station some 84 miles into the run, like I did last year.
On the ride back to Forest Hill, I sat next to a young woman who ran the Boston Marathon last year as well as this year. Luckily, she had finished her run before the explosion last year. This year she said the support for the runners by the spectators was phenomenal and she enjoyed herself like no other marathon.
Be sure to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.

PS Another female running phenom Mo Bartley also ran http://youtu.be/Xi0D3EPHmx8. This post is really about phenomenal people who happen to be ultra-runners. To enhance your understanding, watch their interviews.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Alfred Adler's Creative Self and Tony

"Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it.…Success is shy — it won't come out while you're watching."
– Tennessee Williams

On Tuesday, Tony and I were on the trail. While on the trail, Tony told me about his Coloma run last Saturday. During that particular run, he mentioned that he caught up to another runner. This younger runner attempted to keep in front of Tony, but was unable to do so. For Tony, that was his “glory”-being able to beat another competitor. He also told me about a second record that he holds per posting on Strava, which also delights him.
During our trail experience, we also talked about creating a documentary as Tony recently figured out a problem related to perfecting our Skype interviews. Tony enjoys the challenge of solving various technical issues that confront him. He works hard at perfecting and thereby eliminating problems. We both laughed as we talked about beginning new careers.
I told Tony about Alfred Adler, the psychiatrist from Vienna. Dr. Adler, once a disciple of Freud, developed his own theory of personality. While Freud assumed that man’s behavior is motivated by inborn instincts, Adler emphasized social urges, consciousness and the development of the ego in his theory. In Adler’s theory, he talked about a striving for superiority. Adler thought the final goal of man was to be: 1. Aggressive 2. Powerful and 3. Superior. And a person attempts to become superior by developing his intellect or in achieving muscular strength. And that the details of his existence are exemplified by his habits, his recreations, his daily routine, and his relations to his family, friends and acquaintances. Practically everything he does, man does with an eye to this ultimate goal. So man perceives, he learns and retains what fits in his style of life. Further, Adler also talked about a creative self. This creative self means that man makes his own personality and that he constructs it out of both heredity and experience. It is the creative self that gives meaning to life. It creates the goal as well as a means to the goal.
Tony’s quest to continually to improve his running is paramount as evidenced by his training and his keeping track of miles, times, elevations, etc. Further, his motivation to overcome, especially technical software challenges is also clear. So if you talked with Tony, you would understand that. His life space correlates with him as being the master and not the victim of his fate. In this regards his personality style corresponds to Adler’s way of thinking.
So, in part, you’re likely to find Tony either on the trail, in his office or around his property, either fixing or making things better for all.

He keeps moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Guns,Death Instinct and Freud

"No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched."
– George Jean Nathan

As we know, Freud’s theory of personality, postulated two main drives or instincts. One was the life instinct and the other the death or destructive instincts. He believed there was an interplay between the two instincts .They could fuse together, neutralize each other, or even replace one another. Further, there was an aggressive component in which this aggression is either turned outward against some other substitute or turned inward against the self as in self-destruction. Freud also believed in psychic energy. And that the person seeks to gratify needs (when a need is met it’s pleasurable and when a need is not met, it creates tension). Further, Freud believed that personality is largely governed by the necessity for gratifying needs by means of transactions in the external world. So the surrounding environment can either provide mechanisms (like food) for gratification or contain regions of danger and insecurity. In other words, it can either threaten or satisfy. This means it can produce pain and increase tension or bring pleasure and reduce tension.
Many individuals say that, according to our Constitution, they have a right to bear arms. And of course we have this industry that easily supplies bullets and guns. Sometimes we hear it’s a constitutional right. Another times we hear it’s about protecting our family. I would say that a main issue is neither about our Constitution nor protection, but it is about anxiety,aggression, and insecurity. Also, it’s about this death instinct and the perception and belief that the environment-other people are dangerous and threaten us. So this aggressive component of the death instinct is potentially turned against others.
We hear many stories in which some young innocent child becomes the victim of a loaded weapon in the home. Time and time again we hear about some individual killing others, and then turning that weapon upon himself.
Yes, the environment can be dangerous. Freud recognized three types of anxiety. For one, reality anxiety is based on real dangers in the world. On Thursday, Linda, Nails (her Arabian) and I traversed the trails with the temperature expected to reach triple digits. Linda heard on the radio that because of the dramatic change in warm weather, there have been a series of rattlesnake bites. Okay, that makes sense. So we made it a point to be alert on the trail and also to avoid going through tall grasses. I did not bring with me a handgun to shoot a rattlesnake. I am happy to report that we didn’t see any rattlesnakes either.
On Saturday the 17th Tony and I ran a 10 mile trail event for Juvenile Diabetes Research. I believe this was our third consecutive year. I’m happy to report that we both received first-place medals and our times were faster than last year. A week from Sunday, we are running the middle day of the Western States training run going from Forest Hill to White Oak Flat( about 21 miles).


See you on the trail and remember to keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Obesity and a Death Wish


 “Ruin and recovery  are found within.” -Epictetus

Have you ever wondered why so many people are overweight? There is so much information about healthy choices that are available to everyone. Yet, people continue to make poor health decisions regardless. Perhaps, Freud’s theory of personality has an answer.
Freud postulated two main drives or instincts. There was the life instinct and there was the death instinct. He believed that the ultimate goal of life, was death. He also thought that this death instinct or wish was, of course, unconscious and had an aggressive component to it. This drive could either turn against itself and/or against others.
We know that oral gratification (lips and tongue) and eating are in fact pleasurable and related to the life instinct. We also know that people eat when they are hungry and for nutrition. However, it is obvious that overweight people consume great quantities of food that far exceed their need for hunger or their nutrition deficiencies.
It seems that the overweight individuals are driven to eat in unhealthy ways despite knowing whether it is right or wrong for them. Perhaps it is their death instinct that has emerged and gained control over their life instinct behavior. We know they are essentially eating themselves to death and to an early grave. One certainly can argue that their death wish is unfortunately dominant. And, their aggressiveness is turned inward on themselves.
So underneath the outward, smiling jolly ness, these individuals are driven in a very unproductive way. They might tell you they’re happy, but they are obviously fooling themselves. So all the literature about healthy eating, and exercise goes for naught. That’s why someone telling them to change falls on deaf ears because they are driven by an unconscious instinct.

Hopefully these points are food for thought. In any event, if you can, keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Bo Schembechler's Warriors

Well I have good news. Last week I signed a contract with Triumph Books to publish my manuscript titled “Bo’s Warriors” I am very pleased to say the least. Triumph books publishing company is a leader in the sports world. And I am happy to be on their team.
My book is about sports, life, motivation, mental toughness and my philosophy. Some 45 years ago, in 1969, a miracle , many would say, happened on the turf at the Big House on that cold November Saturday when the Michigan Wolverines football team beat the heavily favored number one -ranked Ohio State University Buckeyes. Coach Bo Schembechler and position coach Gary Moeller in their first year bested Bo’s mentor Woody Hayes. Thus, the infamous 10 year war began. Bo’s Warriors is an in-depth view of the secrets behind the success of Bo’s Wolverines.
This is how the transition of Wolverine football began. Newly appointed athletic director Don Canham hired Bo Schembechler. That was significant in part because Canham knew that Bo would bring in diverse racially talented athletes. So the interracial base of Michigan football, was firmly established. Coach Schembechler then embraced his racially diverse group of young men and established the cohesiveness of the team, the team, the team. He taught his players that they could not be divided because they were all one and part of the University of Michigan football team. As a team captain senior, football legend, an All-American. Jim Mandich took it upon himself and made sure the entire team partied together.
This 1969 team had a 3-2 record after its first five games. The sixth game, in fact, at halftime. The Wolverines trailed the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The intense, excitable, type A personality coach did not scream, and his warriors. Instead, he calmly told them they were the better team and not to lose the opportunity. The players do not lose the opportunity. For that game and the next 24 games(10 game season), their record was 24 wins and one loss. The miracle and transition was established on the last game of that 1969 season. Michigan 24-Ohio State University, 12.
For more insight, secrets of Wolverine success and player and coach histories enjoy the details of the eight Michigan Wolverines (Coach Gary Moeller, Jim Brandstatter, Fritz Seyferth, Jim Betts, Reggie McKenzie, Tom Curtis, Thom Darden and Mike Keller).
Some benefits of reading Bo’s Warriors include the following:
1.       How Bo created winning football
2.     learn about the mental toughness of successful men
3.       learn about how the University of Michigan experience changed(impacted) lives
4.       learn about the positives of playing the brutal game of football
5.       Challenge the “dumb jock” stereotype of football players
6.       learn how racial differences got mitigated for the Wolverines
7.       Learn about the lives of nine successful men
8.      learn about the relevance of 1969 to today



More to follow on subsequent posts. In the meantime, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding and appreciating.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Memory Lapse Suggestions

"We cannot do everything at once but we can do something at once."
– Calvin Coolidge

In the April 15, 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal, there was an article about memory lapses. The article was titled “Why We Keep Losing Our Keys.” Some explanations are as follows: 1. Memory lapses are the norm for all ages 2. Stress, fatigue and multitasking can make things worse, and interfere with memory 3. There is a breakdown between attention and memory 4. Forgetfulness and distraction is related to a variation in the dopamine D 2 receptor gene (DRD 2) 5. The brain keeps track of similar but distinct memories in the dentate gyrus, part of the hippo campus. In other words, the brain stores separate recordings of each environment in different groups of neurons when activated (non-identical memories are encoded and later retrieved).
Some of you might be more interested in suggestions or tips for finding lost items. Michael Solomon in his book “How to Find Lost Objects” suggests the following: 1. Don’t look for it yet (wait until you have some idea where to look) 2. It’s where it’s supposed to be (look first where the object is normally kept) 3. Domestic drift (where was the object last used? Retrace your steps) 4. Repeatedly murmur what you’re looking for 5. Camouflage effect (it’s were you thought it was, just covered up) 6. Look once, look well (don’t rummage haphazardly 7. Eureka zone (objects usually wander no more than 18 inches from their original location) 8.Que sera sera (if all else fails, employ this rarely used principal. You’re missing object may eventually just turn up.
My wife generally asks about her keys, cell phone and purse. Finding the cell phone is easy because we simply call that number. Finding the purse is not that difficult because it is a large item. It’s generally the keys, the keys, and the keys. Often, I assist her and we have success.

What are your tips for finding the misplaced articles? In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Making Behavorial Changes

We have to fight them daily, like fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies."
– Etty Hillesum

For those of you that are aging, a recent study of 46 adults ages 63 to 85, found that as mood improves, so does the decision-making process. And some suggestions were found In the Blue Shield of California Better Living Newsletter-spring/summer 2014. Aside from performing regular exercise, sleeping and eating well, consider the following: 1. Wake up to bright sunlight by leaving your curtains and blinds open or using fluorescent bulbs 2. Smile-we all know how to do that 3. Be creative-painting or writing in a journal 4. Paint  verdant hues in your rooms 5. Sing a song 6. Eat dark chocolate and 7. Be around people that are upbeat and positive.
None of these suggestions are difficult to do or are they? It seems to me that regular exercise, sleeping, eating and being around smiling, happy people might be hard to accomplish, especially if you’re in your 60s. Likely, making major behavioral changes are not easy as many people are set in their ways. We all know there many excuses that get in the way of exercise like arthritis, bad knees, bad hips, being overweight, etc. Also, sleeping, and eating well can be problems, especially if one drinks alcohol a lot. How many people want to give up drinking alcohol? We know that alcohol affects one’s ability to sleep.
The major problem in making changes is the person’s personality. Likely, how an individual thinks (which is part of personality) is a major culprit. A general list of things to do is certainly not the answer. One question to ask is simply “what gets in the way of your making consistent beneficial health changes?” That question might be a good place to start for those that want to make behavioral changes.

Keep moving-put one step in front of the other, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating. If you don’t know how, find someone to teach you.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Find Your Happiness

"We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same."
– Carlos Castaneda

Recently, I read about what one person believed that happy people do. Unfortunately I do not know how this person arrived at his conclusions. Also, the definition of happiness was not defined. His seven points were as follows: 1. Make good friends 2. Actively express thankfulness (gratitude) 3. Actively pursue your goals 4. Do what you excel at as often as you can 5. Give as opposed to taking 6. Don’t single-mindedly chase stuff 7. Live the life you want to live.
These seven points are all positive and may or may not lead to happiness. In my book “It Has Nothing To Do with Age,” I prescribed seven points that I believe creates a healthier lifestyle. My seven points take account of adjusting both attitude and behavior. These seven points are based on the profiles of eight mature athletes that compete in extraordinary sports as well as current research. My prescriptions are as follows: 1. Get inspired. It’s okay to begin a new activity by taking baby steps. A physical activity can help in improving physical fitness, losing weight, reducing anxiety and minimizing depression. 2. Find meaning in an activity outside of family, career, or raising kids; it can build self-esteem.3. Enrich your emotional life by making physical contact, having friends, sharing interests, and learning about others, by becoming part of a new group. 4. Realize that there is more to life than the accumulation of material things; having the biggest toy does not result in happiness. 5. Participate in outdoor activities to help nurture spirituality. 6. For a way to escape, read about other people’s adventures. 7. Find inspiration motivation through the illuminating profiles of eight remarkable senior athletes found within this book.
Further, in each of my posts I talk about keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, appreciating and loving. I do not claim to have the secret for the pursuit of happiness but I do know something about creating wellness and a healthier lifestyle. And, when leading a healthier lifestyle you have the best.

When I was a young boy, I remember one of my aunts saying something to the effect of, “to have your health is to have everything.” I fully understand and agree with my wise aunt. Thank you  aunt Eva.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Prsonality Traits and Marathons


"The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labour is immense."
– Arnold Bennett

 

There is good news for those that are getting older. On April 22, 2014, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that mentioned that Meb Keflezighi ran the Boston Marathon in a time of 2:08:37. This American, who will turn 39 on May 5, became the oldest to win this prestigious running event. Not only that, but he ran 31 seconds faster than his previous best.

The article focused on “older” runners and gave them hope. One woman, age 44, hopes to set a personal record in August, while another 36-year-old male believes he can run his fastest marathon yet. A quote by Neil Fitzgerald, age 45, a New York runner  who sits on a Masters committee of USA track and field, said that Meb’s victory is likely going to help  the mentality that a young running stars career is not over at age 22. He also went on to say that there is potential for runners in their 30s and even 40s. Thank you Neil and Meb for your reassurance and performance.

When I told Tony about this article we both laughed and he said that he must be ancient. Although both Tony and I are running faster than last year, we are not setting personal bests. We both are running in a local marathon that is being held for the first time. In other words, our running time will be a personal best for both.

The other article was about that many of us have personality changes as we age. For example, often we become more conscientious (organized, consistent, dependable); agreeable (polite, trusting, preferring cooperation of the competition, feeling compassionate for others); open (intellectually curious, inventive, sensitive to art and beauty, imaginative); extroverted (talkative, sociable, assertive, socially dominant); and less neurotic (worrying hope all these, feeling stress, prone to feeling sad, anxious, temperamental, moody). I hope all these change in traits are happening to you.

Yesterday, Tony and I ran the Miner’s Revenge marathon with 4902 feet of elevation change. Although it was one tough marathon, we both ran our best time. Incidentally, that was its first running.

Okay, now you can look forward to the future because you’ll likely be a faster runner with more pleasing personality traits. I trust that this information is going to make your day. However, no matter what, don’t forget to keep moving, laughing, smiling, bonding, loving and appreciating.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

After the Boston Marathon


"The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything."
– William Connor Magee

 

Tony and I have registered for this Sunday’s, Minors Revenge Marathon, and I hope that Jonathan joins us for this trail running event. This week we have been tapering and I will let you know about my effectiveness. One idea on tapering is to run relatively short distances at a fast clip. This past week I have cut my distances considerably, but not my pace. I should be well rested.

On another note, there is going to be a change for Wolverine football this fall. Previously, Jim Brandstatter had been handling the color, on the radio. Jim is one of the football players that I profiled in my manuscript “Bo’s Warriors.” Jim will be now handling play-by-play and joined by Dan Dierdorf. Dan was an All-American at Michigan and has been inducted into the professional football Hall of Fame. He recently retired from CBS. Incidentally, Dan was born in Canton, Ohio.

I talked with Jim about Dan’s joining him in the booth and he’s excited. These former teammates played the same offensive position-tackle under Bo Schembechler. In any event, Go Blue!

In the meantime, keep moving, smiling, laughing, bonding, loving and appreciating as it’s good for you Minors revenge.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Too Late for the Boston Marathon


"To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle."
– George Orwell

 

I just read an article found in the April 15, 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal. This article had to do with sore legs, aches and pains as a result of running marathons. The article added that long-distance runners often experience these problems in their quadriceps and calf muscles.  

Reasons for sore muscles and spasms are caused by nutritional and functional issues. And, slowing down does not always resolve the issue. Eccentric contractions (lengthening the muscle and then loading on it) can result in tearing the myofibrils (tiny strands within the muscles) as well as damaging muscle cell membranes.

Some suggestions to consider to resolve or minimize muscle soreness include strength training, which might delay the muscle breakdown. One doctor suggested workouts that involve quick explosive repetitions like squats, planks, sit-ups, push-ups, and leg lifts, with comparatively little weight work.

Another idea is to have the proper fuel, which means hydration and the replenishing of electrolytes. For example, pickle juice has great amount of concentrated sodium. Another drink, to consider would be cherry juice. The advantage of ingesting pickle juice or cherry juice (if you can stomach it) is that these drinks do not have side effects such as ulcer or kidney damage.

If you are experiencing leg problems, consider the above suggestions. In any event, consider moving, laughing, smiling, loving, bonding, appreciating in the process. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Frank Gusich- a Bo's Warriors


"Character is simply habit long enough continued."
– Plutarch

 

Unfortunately, Frank Gusich at the age of 64, passed on 4/1/14. The following is a brief excerpt for my manuscript titled “Bo’s Warriors.” Frank is one of the interviewed football players from the 1969, Michigan Wolverine team. He was the second “Wolf Man.” The Wolf Man position was essentially a defensive back that, depending upon the formation, moved close to the line of scrimmage for additional run support .

“Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s Co-captain Frank Gusich was called as one, if not the toughest Wolverine on the Michigan football playing field. Bo called him “a candy ass,” while the media, called Frank “Superman.” Even today, his teammates continue the respect for this warrior.

On October 23, 1956 Frank’s young life changed for the very worst. He was just under six years old since he was born on March 27, 1950. Although a sunny day in Cleveland, Ohio, Frank’s mother, Wilma, age 33, just returned home after taking her husband, Frank senior age 35, to neighboring hospital. Frank and his two sisters Marilyn and Anita were happy to see her. Before they could inquire about their father’s health, Wilma blurted out, “your father died.” Before words could be expressed, Frank teared up and cried. Frank had no clue about his father’s illness as the terrible news came as a complete shock to him.

This date was coincidentally, the date of his parents 10th year wedding anniversary. At the time, Wilma was pregnant with her fourth child. For the next 13 years or so, Wilma stayed home, rearing her four children. As finances were extremely tight for the Gusich family, they did not have a lot of luxuries. Thank goodness the Gusich family received Social Security benefits to supplement the limited family income. Even though Frank grew up without extras, he remembered that his mother, always had food on the table. It wasn’t until the youngest-Frank’s brother Tony entered the ninth grade/high school (the other three siblings were gone), Wilma entered the workforce. She remained employed for the next 20 years.

Wilma, although dated, never remarried. She had a very close friend named Joe Gorman. Joe became a father figure and was a positive part of the family. Frank remembered that Joe and Wilma went out to dinner and then headed to the dance floor together. His mother loved to dance. Frank liked Joe very much. He felt happy that Joe celebrated Christmas with their family. Joe and Wilma even attended Frank’s games in Ann Arbor. Joe was and became like a well-loved step father.

 

More to follow.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Frank Gusich 3/17/50-4/1/14


"We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results."
– Herman Melville


 

I’m sorry to report that Frank Gusich passed on April 1, 2014. Frank just turned 64. Frank was a 1971 Co-captain on the University of Michigan football team. He played the position as Wolf man and Sports Illustrated featured him in an article titled Superman.

Frank grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and unfortunately lost his father prior to the age of six. In grade school, Frank loved all sports and played, when he could, football, basketball and Little League baseball. In the eighth grade, he wanted to attend St. Ignatius high school. He applied, but was not accepted. Because of his and his mother’s perseverance, he was eventually accepted and even given a tuition grant.

At St. Ignatius, Frank lettered in basketball, track and football. For football, he played on the offense and the defense and was a Co-Capt. In his senior year. His team then won the city championship. He was recruited by such notables as Woody Hayes, Lou Holtz, Bob Devaney, Marv Levy and Lee Corso. However, Don James and Bump Elliott sold him on attending the University of Michigan.

Even though his three siblings attended Ohio State University, they became Michigan fans when the two teams played each other. In Frank’s sophomore year, he broke a bone near his wrist. He wasn’t allowed to play in the games with the cast. So, his trainer, cut off his cast, padded and taped his arm and hand so he could play in the games. So each week during the season, after each game, Frank had a new cast made. Unfortunately, in one of those practices, he also broke his thumb because the thumb wasn’t protected. Finally, the following January or February, after the season, his hand healed and he didn’t have to wear a new cast. Frank actually, still retained one of his special maize and blue casts as a memento. Frank became a starter in the Wolf man position as a junior. His teammates called him the “toughest.”

Frank is one of the men that I interviewed in my upcoming book titled “Bo’s Warriors.” It was a real honor for me to get to know this fine spiritual man. As far as coincidences go, his wife is named Linda. Linda grew up in East side of Detroit, and attended Dominican high school. I passed her high school   each day while attending Denby high school.

I know that Frank is still rooting for his beloved University of Michigan teams. Go Blue!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness Part 2



                       The Pursuit of Happiness    Part 2

 

This is my take. I have learned over the years some things. In my opinion,” happiness” changes somewhat like the weather. It is here one moment, then gone the next. Happy (in the dictionary) is defined as indicative of pleasure, content or gladness: a happy mood. Delighted, or pleased, or glad as over a particular thing: to be happy to see a person. So happiness is the quality or state of being happy, good fortune, pleasure, content or gladness. Synonyms for happiness include bliss, blessedness contentedness (an active or passive state of pleasure or pleasurable satisfaction).

 

 What I believe to be more stable and more lasting than a happy mood/ feelings is” well-being” (one’s mental and physical health). I prefer employing terms like “wellness, or well-being” instead. I also think that when you have wellness, or well-being, one pretty much has it all. 

 Optimum mental health is related to how it what we think long with our behavior (things we do).  That means in order to experience and live mentally healthy, the individual has to deal effectively with his many irrational or self-defeating ideas; be able to understand his defense mechanisms; and resolve various psychological life issues in order to reach the stage of ego integrity ( i.e. emotional integration, generosity, accepting ones life and death).

I also believe that getting inspired, finding meaning (purpose), spirituality, laughing,  appreciating  , and bonding (having that significant relationship not only with a spouse, but with others as well) contribute to the equation of good mental health.

And, physical health has a lot to do with   psychological health; maintaining proper nutrition, along with some form of exercise. And we know that there’s interplay between our brain and our body. If we are making good choices/decisions through movement or exercise, we are likely going to improve many things that includes but not limited to: heart health, immune system functioning, reducing high blood pressure, improving short-term memory, reducing risk of various cancers, help relieving various stresses, improving blood circulation, including better brain functioning, elevating mood, reducing depression and improving overall quality of life.

For your information, Professor Victor Strecher, a professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in his book “On Purpose” wrote about the elderly. Dr. Strecher concluded per research that the elderly live longer when he has a sense of purpose in his life. Having a sense of purpose means that the individual is looking toward the future. Further, the importance of living or dying was the result of having something to look forward to (a future) and was illustrated by Dr. Viktor Frankl, in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Dr. Frankel, a psychiatrist, wrote about his experience in Auschwitz during World War II. Without a purpose or meaning one dies more quickly.

In my book “It Has Nothing to Do with Age” I prescribed seven principles to lengthen your life span. These seven principles can create a healthier lifestyle. 1. Get inspired. It’s okay to begin a new activity by taking baby steps. Physical activity can help in improving physical fitness, losing weight, reducing anxiety and minimizing depression. 2. Finding meaning in an activity outside of family, career or raising kids; it can build self-esteem. 3. Enrich your emotional life by making physical contact, having friends, sharing interests, and learning about others, by becoming part of a new group. 4. Realize that there’s more to life than the accumulation of material things; having the biggest toy does not result in happiness. 5. Participate in outdoor activities to help nurture, spirituality. 6. For a way to escape, read about other people’s adventures. 7. Find inspiration and motivation through the illuminating profiles of eight remarkable senior athletes found within this book.

Make sure you find your own “happiness” or “well-being.”

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Pursuit of Happiness


 

"The be-all and end-all of life should not be to get rich, but to enrich the world."
– Bertie Charles Forbes

An article by Charles Murray titled “Rules for a Happy Life” appeared in the March 29-30, 2014 edition of the Wall Street Journal. According to Murray, Rule: 1. Consider Marrying Young. He talked about one advantage (a start up) is that you have many memories of your life (going from the initial insecurities to knowing you’re going to make it) and that you and your spouse have made your way together. He also talked about merger marriages (being more mature and less likely to outgrow each other). 2. Learn How to Recognize your Soul mate relates to not allowing objectionable deal breakers i.e. (punctuality, orderliness and thriftiness) to get in the way, since you’re not able to change your mate anyway. He added that it is important and critical for you to really like your spouse also. 3. Take Religion Seriously has to do with intellectually and experientially reading about i.e.  atheism, agnosticism, Hinduism, Christianity, etc. Also, to associate with people who are profoundly religious because they have learned to generally reconcile faith and reason (they transcend intelligence and judgment). 4.  Eventually Stop Fretting about Fame and Fortune and come to grips with your station in life. He quotes David Geffen, the billionaire “show me someone who thinks that money buys happiness and I’ll show you someone who has never had a lot of money.” Murray went on to say that fame and wealth do accomplish something: they cure ambition, anxiety, but that’s all. 5. Watch Groundhog Day Repeatedly since that fable deals with the most fundamental issues of virtue and happiness in that the protagonist Bill Murray learns to experience deep, lasting and justified satisfaction with life even in only one day to do it.

I really take exception to this article as Murray seems to be missing the boat. Perhaps his book provides more enlightenment then this adaptation.

 

Part 2  To be Continued

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Heart of the Matter


"Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

This article was published in the Wall Street Journal on March 26, 2014. Dave McGillivray, Boston Marathon race director, finisher of 130 marathons was diagnosed with coronary heart disease. This marathoner was shocked and prior believed he could eat anything because his running would burn it off. He even advocated a chocolate chip cookie recipe and visiting Dairy Queen’s after his runs.

Since receiving his diagnosis last October, he changed his diet, and his weight dropped from155 to 128 pounds.  On the other hand, he increased his weekly mileage from 60 to 70 miles. Dave rationalized that it’s not that running will have killed him, but that the trigger would’ve likely happened even sooner, except for his running.

The following two studies suggest concern (50 men who had run at least one marathon a year for 25 years had higher levels of coronary artery plaque than a control group of sedentary men). Another study of 42 Boston Marathon runners found that their carotid arteries had a less favorable arthroscopic risk profile than a control group.

The article went on to talk about that some cardiologists believe that beyond a certain point, exercise stops preventing but actually and starts causing heart disease. In fact, one cardiologist believes that sustained endurance exercise can damage the heart and he doesn’t recommend any more than 20 miles a week at a moderate pace. On the other hand, another cardiologist might say, exercise might not add years to your life, but it adds life to your years.

In any event, consider having scans taken of your coronary arteries. In any event, there’s no guarantee that you can live to 100 years of age. Just make sure that whatever you do, it enhances your life.

For me, the key to life is to keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, bonding and appreciating. What is your recipe ?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Self Care Reform




"Your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be."
– Raymond Charles Barker


 

I just received “Self-Care Reform” written by Rusty Gregory a certified personal trainer from Austin, Texas. Rusty’s book is available on Amazon.com. This book helps the reader in discovering a path to good health. It does that by assisting people make better behavioral changes. Rusty believes that coaching facilitated his becoming more empathetic in dealing with people and their wellness.
In his 13 chapter book, Rusty, after each chapter, raises questions for the reader. This allows the reader to take an active approach in more fully understanding each chapter. Chapter 3 is titled What Does It Mean to Be Well? He draws four conclusions as to why individuals choose or stay with the easier or more comfortable behavior pattern: 1. Our identity becomes so wrapped up in our illness that we wouldn’t know who we were if we made a change for the better. 2. Some get comfortable with their illness, and it’s easier to stay where they are because otherwise they would have to become responsible and accountable for normal day- to- day living. 3. We lack the confidence needed to change. 4. We established the “societal norm” routine. The reader can either agree or disagree with Rusty’s ideas. But, in doing so, you have to think. Thinking is one of the beauties of this book.
Rusty talks about his four conclusions by illustrating examples from his clients. At the end of  Chapter 13, he raises three more questions: 1. What does wellness mean to you? 2. What changes are you willing to make in order to meet that definition? 3. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your level of confidence that you can make the changes you need to make to be well? Remember, it all takes place between your ears.
Consider taking advantage of Rusty’s knowledge and experience (since 1991), If you’re at all concerned with your health and/or have reached a plateau and are stuck. We all realize that change is difficult, as well as being compulsive (stick- to- it- ness). Remember, no one ever said it’s easy to be consistent without employing rationalizations, denial or other defense mechanisms.
In any event, keep moving, smiling, laughing, loving, appreciating and bonding in your life space. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Strategies for your Brain


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



On Friday, I took a continuing education class sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential and presented by Michael Lara, M.D.   Further Information from Dr.Lara can be obtained from his website, www.drmikelara.com. The following information are for educational purposes only.

According to Dr. Lara the prefrontal cortex is responsible for effective cognitive functioning and beginning as early as the mid-20s, a variety of impaired neurotransmitter signaling are  a result of age-related changes. Cumulative effects of chronic stress, such as depression, increased levels of cortisol, increased production of free radicals and other forms of bio markers like “ inflammation” are associated, and contribute to these changes. And of course we’re all familiar with memory loss.

Mild forgetfulness (where did I leave my keys, can you help me find my cell phone) are generally part of normal aging and occur  around age 70. Mild Cognitive Impairment is characterized by more severe lapses in memory and occur roughly around age 60, while Alzheimer’s Dementia(loss of memory, thinking, and reasoning skills) is more severe.

Memory loss is generally affected by age-related sleep changes, and can be  a significant stressor because of decreased total nocturnal  sleep time, delayed onset of sleep, reduced slow wave sleep, etc. These changes affect hippocampal atrophy in the aging brain.

Dr. Lara indicated that the following are not intended for “patient” diagnosis, education or treatment. A few of his ideas are as follows: 1. The B vitamins can support neurotransmitter function, and researchers found that homo cysteine-lowering B vitamins slowed the rate of brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment by as much as 53%. 2. Bacopa is an Ayurvedic herb used to promote learning and memory. 3. As body weight increases (the abdominal cavity), brain volume drops. And obesity is primarily a disease of inflammation. 4. Omega-3 fatty acids and the ratio of Omega: 6: 3 is associated with and can be an anti- inflammatory nutrient. The ratio of approximately 1 is recommended. 5. The Mediterranean Diet is associated with reducing the risk of negative metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline and lower mortality rates.

Dr. Lara also talked about the benefits of Resveratrol (alcohol or grape juice) as a potent antioxidant; Dark Cocoa, CoQ10, and Blueberries, reducing oxidative stress caused by damaged mitochondria. For wine drinkers, you’ll like this quote “a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” Dr. Lara also talked about nutrients  that supported brain metabolism such as: 1. Berberine 2. Caffeine 3. Cinnamon.

His strategies for protecting the aging brain include: 1.Caloric restriction 2. Intermittent fasting 3. Aerobic training 4. Resistance training. Dr. Lara also mentioned that one hour of exercise was negated by six hours of sitting.

For those of you that want additional information, I suggest that you go to his website, or to WWW.ibpceu.com for additional references such as DVDs, booklets, and/or recommended readings. I totally support incorporating diet, supplements, and exercise to increase brain volume, longevity and to slow down cognitive  impairment for our aging brains. The key, of course, is finding the right  answer/practitioner.

In any event, keep moving, laughing, smiling, loving, appreciating and bonding too.