Thursday, May 21, 2015

Making big changes for the 50+ achiever

I recently made my way through the arduous tenure process and received my "all good" letter from the provost.

Now what?

It seems similar to the NFL, I have approached my own personal deflategate. There is six years of hard work and focus, the goal is achieved, then a feeling of emptiness on the other side.

I started my academic career late in life. MBA 2005 and PhD 2009, then on to Appalachian State University. It is a rewarding experience, with a great group of peers and students. But I don't rest well and there must be more, a new plan to follow.

What I have envisioned can work for most anyone who wants to make positive changes and reach new achievements. Picture a small circle around your body, mind and soul...this is the aura of what makes you unique. From this circle, move outward. Create another slightly larger circle and that will become your first adaptation to change.

The initial circles going out are things you can change now; the future concentric circles will be big play changes you will make into the future.

Here's an example of how it's working for me:

1) In the Thomas Pyncon novel (and movie) Inherent Vice he states “Can't say it often enough - change your hair, change your life.” That is true. I haven't had long(er) hair since 2008. Project underway.

2) Purify your body. I'm currently in Italy and went off the rails on cookies, bakery and gelato. Sugars and grains crashed my physical state and mental psyche. I'm sugar free for three days now and headed into ketosis.

3) Strengthen your body. I thought my running days were cooked. They weren't. I made a comeback, jog quite slow and ran the 10K here in Florence. Also doing six miles each morning. It's less than before, but it's happening nonetheless.

4) Write. A news editor early in my career harshly rejected my fiction work and I parked it for 40 years. I'm back at it. Kindle and CreateSpace book to come. Depending on your point of view and perspective, it's either a steamy romance or a horror story.

I'm not sure where the concentric circles of change will lead, but I do intend to make them continue outward. You can too. Don't settle into the paradigm that you can't "teach old dogs new tricks." We can all affect change and build the next chapter in our novel of life.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Still a runner


I have something positive to report. I am still a runner. It's not over yet.

For the past several months, I thought I was cooked. Every run started with an unrealistic effort, just to ramp up to jogging pace. I would struggle for a mile, then expire and walk back.

This was part mind, part body. There were some medical issues I needed to address. But the biggest part was in my head.

I parked the 10 milers and relegated myself to 6 a day. That was a standard for many years in the 1980's and 1990's. Have to build back from zero.

So I'm back in Florence now. Was here four years ago so it didn't take long to recreate my running loops. Did a night run sponsored by the local running store and also ran the big 10K last Sunday. That went well, I laid down a blazing 8:54 in the last mile.

The strongest element of my Christian faith is a thanksgiving that washes over me when I believe God is giving me a gift. I truly thought He nicked me and took running for good. But the other night, as I was in queue to start the night run, a wave of emotion washed over me. I was still a runner. Thank you Lord. I'm still in the club.

Much of my life is lived alone. Running has been my identity for over 30 years. During travels around the globe, my memories are built on run loops. So here I am again, in Italy, adhering to the running identity. My early morning runs, slow but sure.

So often, simple pleasures are the best. I am a runner. It is good.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Can Hokas save my running career?

Just posted this as a product review for Holabird Sports. Thought it told a pretty good story, so I'm sharing it here:

I have been a Brooks promotional runner for 20+ years. That ended in 2014. So, I am a ship at sea without a rudder.

I'm 58, probably 200+ marathon and ultra events to date. I am slowing down and the shock and jarring of running is getting to me. I have been watching the Hoka movement...this year at the Umstead 100 mile, almost half the field was Hoka.

So when Holabird offered an amazing sale price I got a pair of Bondi 3's. Amazing cushioning, but that wasn't enough. I'm desperate, so I slipped a pair of Dr. Scholl's Active Sport inserts inside. The ride is so cush it's like having mattresses under your feet.

Big problem is that I'm a size 13 and these play out way too wide. Maybe it's the big platform the shoes are build on, but with these Hoka's, I'm running on them, more than in them. But at this stage of the game, I'll adapt to get the cushioning I need.

Will Hoka's let me eke out a few more years, a few more miles? Time will tell.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Master Competitor is a CoachTube featured instructor!


I have a new adventure underway and I wanted to tell my readers about it: Master Competitor is a now a featured instructor at CoachTube.

The site developers contacted me a few months ago prior to launch date. We discussed format and segments, also many of the visuals that make the site, and my personal channel, appealing to the consumer audience.

According to the site,  "CoachTube gives every athlete in the world access to the instructions, knowledge, and motivation they need to grow and progress as athletes. We do this by providing access to online training from the world’s best coaches. These lessons are available on-demand, so that students can learn where & when it’s convenient for them. CoachTube is like an app store for coaching and instructional courses featuring videos and detailed training from the to 5% of coaches across the web. We provide a wide variety of experts so no matter what the subject is, we believe students and athletes should be able to learn about any topic, from coaches anywhere in the world."

Working with Coach Tube is a lot of fun and it's a great repository for teaching and learning opportunities. Whether it's throwing a fastball or running your first marathon. CoachTube has the resources to help you make it happen.

I want to give a quick shout out to Phillip Loyd, who was patient and helpful in putting together my first lesson plan. So, here it is, check out my "No fail nutrition plan" which tracks closely with my book "Mind Over Diet."

I'm already working on an outline for my "No fail fitness plan" and then "Most Efficient Running Technique, Part 2."

Well, I'd like to write more, but I better get to the gym and burn more calories. When you have a CoachTube channel, it's important to get in coaching form and shape!

Hope you enjoy the CoachTube experience.




Monday, January 05, 2015

"Get 'er Done" with Larry the Cable Guy Fitness Plan

Photo courtesy Wikipedia
I've been doing my morning runs while catching up on the new podcast series by comedian Pauly Shore (aka The Weasel): http://www.paulyshore.com/#interested-feature

There's a two-parter where Shore interviews Scott Thompson (aka Carrot Top) with co-host Dan Whitney (aka Larry the Cable Guy). The double episode is a great ride and if you love the back stories on icon comedy stars, this is for you.

I consider podcasts learning opportunities. That's why I value them over music. So here's today's lesson. If you want to "Get 'er Done" and dump the pounds in 2015, here's what Larry the Cable Guy is engaging for his "weight dropping" fitness plan:

Five days per week

45 minute weights

300 repetitions jump rope then 100 hits on the punching bag (repeat this set 3 times)

30 minutes treadmill

30 minutes cardio glide machine

Sixth day treadmill and cardio glide only

Drink one gallon of water per day

Cut sugar and bread

There's a bunch more on Dan and how he rolls, as well as Scott and his current act in Vegas. You have to give me credit for tying this content to my endurance sport site. Enjoy.


Friday, January 02, 2015

Shift small habits and make big weight loss gains

I really don't like New Year's resolutions. To me, it reminds all of us "we've been bad" and now we must correct for our transgressions and recover.

Let's try something different. Stop looking back - at what was - and motivate by looking forward. For example, I'm entered in the Umstead 100 mile run at the end of March, so I better get my hind end in gear to get ready.

The big piece in my book "Mind Over Diet" is about self-negotiation. You have to get past being told what to do, and instead develop your own plan based on reasoning and motivation through self study and reflection. For me, that's about stirring the pot and breaking down daily habits.

Think about how you start your day. Some habits may be good, or bad, but they do set your mind and body for the next 24 hours. A juxtaposition of events serve as a reminder that things are going to be different and will track in a different direction.

I'd suggest you unpack your own morning habits, but here's my outline for 2015:

1) For over 40 years, I drank black coffee. Then for some reason, in 2014 I got hooked on store brand, powdered coffee creamer. Look at the label and you'll see sugar and chemicals. That's an instant trigger point (see more about this in Mind Over Diet). I'm going to break that down and go back to strong, black, dark bean brew.

2) My mornings start at 5:30 am. I like a slow intro to the day, then to the gym at 7 am. Most of my 90 minute interlude is spent goofing on social media. It's fun, but it's a habit. I'm breaking that down into something more radical. Think I'll trip through the one year chronological bible; that means 3-4 chapters each morning. And to really twist it, I'm going to do this reading my practicing on my guitar. How's that for a wake up event each day? Once again, radical change that reminds me things are going to be different going forward.

3) Here's the one I haven't yet been able to harness. I want to stop using fake chemical sugar substitute in my tea. I love Yerba Matte with Dextrose, Maltodextrine and Sucralose stirred in. Sounds yummy, doesn't it? Research indicates fake sweeteners trigger our brains just like sugar, and they may also screw up our good gut bacteria. All logical reasons to stop, but I love my fake sugar addiction. Just saying, should do it but may hang onto this zero calorie spiff.

So there you have it. Start with the beginning of your day and rattle things up. Build from there. This isn't a perfect journey, it's a war. Pick your battles carefully.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Need positive change? Knowledge is power

I have been an endurance sport and ultrarunner athlete for 31 years. It's not a perfect journey. But, I truly believe one must research and determine a personal diet and fitness plan. Grams of protein? Low carb? No carb? LSD or HIIT? It's a propaganda fest. I'd suggest each of us should vet the popular diet and fitness programs and determine what's right for us, in our time, within our own psychological context. When we develop and devise our own journey, we hold the knowledge, knowledge becomes power, and through power, we gain consistency.

A weight loss plan you aren't going to like

It's that time of year. We're into the holiday season and bad eating choices/over eating topics are all over social media. As one who has been fighting, and winning, the weight gain battle for over 30 years, I have a few comments that may assist in your own personal war with food.
1) The holidays won't make or break your eventual outcome. You may fall into a protracted period where your discipline fades and you binge on the goodies. But if your consider this period over your "norm" it may only account for a 1-2 pound increase. Let's face it; weight gain is based on protracted bad behavior. The holidays are part of the symptoms but not the problem.
2) When I wrote "Mind Over Diet" I over viewed a section on Trigger Points. Look past the holidays and consider your food and exercise patterns across a longer block of time. Where are the bad decisions coming from? For me, exercise is not the problem; I'm at the gym or out running or cycling every day. My breakdown comes in the evening hours, when I succumb to repetitive snacking.
3) This is the point where I let you know there are no magic fixes or herbal capsules that will solve your problems. Instead, consider how to break down the decision tree in your mind. For me, I have decided to bust out my warm running gear and trudge out into the cold, dark nights ahead. No goal pace, no intended distance outcome. Just me, outside, not eating, teaching myself once again that the reason I'm engaged in this activity is because I can't currently sit in my faculty apartment and refrain from snacking. I wish it were different, but it's not. As my book states, much of nutrition and fitness success comes from ongoing self-negotiation.
4) When you do alter your bad behavior, make sure it's not an easy fix. Radical dysfunction requires radical action. Make changes that matter. The negative habits we set are deeply entrenched and require a strong alternative to the psyche. Whether it's eating or fitness issues, change requires strength of mind and character.
Next time, I'll write a bit more about how to address barriers and boundaries associated with fitness.

Fitness setback? Use the healing power of plants

Maybe you're like me. You had achieved a fitness and nutrition peak, but then slid off the mountain. Hey, most of us aren't professional athletes and we aren't paid to be ripped and shredded, right?
Life got in the way. I produced my dossier for tenure, then finished several academic publications. And, there is always teaching and a responsilbity to the student experience.
I'm not proud of the outcome, but that's how it works for me. When I wrote "Mind Over Diet" the key premise was self-negotiation. You must create your own scenarios that drive action.
It's time to start over. My advice is to build your comeback with food, not exercise. Everyone wants to run to the gym and crank the big workouts...how long does that usually last? I'd suggest the food is the ultimate change agent. Eat as close to "alive" as possible; take the processing and chemicals out. Fresh food will bring life back into your body. That's the foundation.
Here's a motivational video. Watch it and engage the premise. Let's get started:

Comeback plan for 50+ athletes

I'm trying to get traction for 2015. Just as I wrote in my book "Mind Over Diet" I am trying to self-negotiate a comeback. Have to admit that after 30 years, it's hard to find the motivation.
Some thoughts:
1) Go all plant food as long as I can. I am convinced it heals the body. A man opened a fruit and vegetable business right on the main street by Appalachian State, I can walk by every day. No excuses for not bringing home the fresh, live products.
2) Get off bars. I love them, have lived on them for years. But no matter what the marketing, most are sugar and chemicals. Sugar is as addictive as any other drug. Once you use it, you want it, you need it.
3) Change up the workouts. I am going to do more with the Tarheel Trailblazers in Charlotte. They ride 4-5 different mountain bike areas and it's a good change up for me. Will take more driving to get there, but it re-introduces the excitement factor. Also, I live right on the Blue Ridge Parkway and there is an extensive trail system. I need to explore more, hike more. Running and related PR's are in the past. It's time to look for a different exercise base. More long distance hikes = less sitting around and eating. I'll take that trade any day.
4) Spiff myself different equipment. Maybe a different bike, shoes, or one of the new fitness exercise bands like Garmin Vivofit. Little motivation tools.
5) Think about long term health. I'm 58 and if one doesn't push to optimize, it's all downhill. No offense, but I look at many who are my age and it doesn't look good. I choose to go in the other direction. No, you can't be 25 again, but you can get the most out of the package that remains.
Well, that's about it for now. This isn't bad, maybe I'll keep reading this to help the self-negotiation process.