Wow! I overcame a 6-6-6-6 start in the first round of the Walla Walla City Championship, steadying my nerves to post my best round of the year. Eight over after four, I finished the front nine in ten over 46. A decent comeback for a twenty handicapper. After double-bogeying number ten, the magic began. Par saves and a birdie chip-in were mixed with long, powerful, straight drives. I left a few wedge/9-iron shots WAY short of greens, only to hit sweet recovery wedges and crucial putts on some of them. It was so fun! I toured the back in 39, netting 65 for the day. It put me in position to challenge in the open division (white tees), sandwiched between the championship contenders (blue tees) and the seniors (gold tees). I am so excited for tomorrow!
What a day! Pullman is a town I love. After coffee, I ran a fun hilly loop around town. Towards the end, a carload of college students whooped and hollered as they drove past my half-naked body. How sweet of them!
After a quick shower, Nick prepared hash browns and eggs, which were tasty fuel for my hungry muscles. Then, Jaslyn and Nick and I went to Martin Stadium to watch the PAC-12’s most exciting team as they scrimmaged in glorious sunshine. Our beloved WSU Cougars have an amazing stockpile of receivers, running backs, quarterbacks and speedy defenders. It should be an incredibly fun season this fall!
Hungry again, we had chicken Caesar salads and pesto chicken pizza at Sella’s. Then gourmet coffee and shopping, before chest and triceps work at the Rec Center. When we were returning to their home, a lovely young lady said “G’day mate!” to me. The diversity makes me smile.
Then it was time for swing dancing in Moscow. Nick and Jaslyn love it and do it quite well. But I had to draw the line; my legs were toast after running, walking and standing most of the day. C’est la vie! My arms matched them well!
Below is a sample of what we enjoyed at the stadium. Peyton Bender tossed accurately to River Cracraft early in the scrimmage. Strangely, one of the most sure handed receivers I’ve ever seen dropped this one. He more than made up for it later. Gabe Marks worked his usual magic, timing his catches perfectly to shield defenders from the ball, then making sweet grabs. Luke Falk tossed a perfect deep ball to Gabe for a touchdown. Bender and Tyler Hilinski threw well also. Even Justus Rogers launched a perfect deep touchdown pass. The defenders also made many nice plays, including a Charleston White pick six off Falk, among other turnovers. What a nice evolution of the Cougar football program. It really feels like the incredible success that Mike Price brought to Pullman is about to happen again. It could be so fun!
Golf is mysteriously enticing. How to stay mentally primed? Focused on positivity, visualizing sweet, pure strokes. Loving the feel of solid contact and skyrocketing shots, often nestling near the target. So sweet! I did that for much of the time tonight, and it soothed my soul. But the mystery lives on: I slipped off at times, for three holes especially, before swinging smoothly for the final two holes. Six pars, four bogeys and a double bogey. I missed two ten foot birdie putts but had good distance feel. Even some of the bogeys included beautiful shots. Practice breeds consistency. My heart knows some practice I need is in my mind. Tee it up!
This is such an amazing life!
Our spirits take to skiing like eagles ride the wind. We find excitement and an amazing recharge of our zestful lives, as we climb hills, then zoom down them. Fully alive, sealed in the moment, oblivious of past or future. Now is just so good!
Annie and Remington and I loved Sun Mountain yesterday, savoring amazing glide and enlivening exertion. The trails were awesome and the company was even better. When rain presented, a world class warming hut appeared. As we finished our refreshments, the rain stopped and we eagerly tackled more of the abundant trails. This is heaven on earth!
A Mazama trail narrative suggested easier terrain and fewer of the hills we love so much. So what might appear? A side trail, out and back, with the tracks of a lone skier before us. In mid-afternoon? Was this our special destiny? My smile continued to widen as we meandered ever higher, pushing our bodies while earning an amazing descent. Wow! I feel like we just got promoted! Can life really just keep getting better and better?
It’s a version coaxing toughness, adaptability and the requisite resiliency. Snow reprieve chinook birdies would be delightful! But I didn’t score any…
Layering is key. Imagination is paramount. Touch is enlivening! Terrible shots can be frequent!
It likely was my first (or close) December golf ever, and the three week layoff showed. I hit just enough good shots to get me thinking about tomorrow…
First on the awesome Mill Creek – Bennington Lake loop last Friday. Glorious sunshine, crisp air, blood rushing, Annie’s healthy glow and mile eight passing much faster than the rest. Yeah! Fully alive! So sweet.
Then on the weights at The Rec on Saturday, alongside Nick, Jaslyn and Annie. Muscles pumping, adrenaline flowing, smiles growing. This is how we live, feeling the strength building, knowing it’ll serve us well in many ways. Like skiing and snowboarding! Embrace the cold!
In Martin Stadium, ass kicking is the new norm. Cougar power is exciting, encouraging and really fun! We too are crimson warriors, like our favored team. We play the next play to the best of our ability. We focus, train hard, eat well and get good rest. It is so pleasing to enjoy the results!
On Sunday Annie and I savored more sunshine during a ten kilometer run around Pullman. The cold wind reinforced our appreciation for modern amenities, like indoor plumbing with hot water!
Today, I have so much to be thankful for: great family, friends, food, environment, co-workers, and opportunity! Today’s bonus was an eight mile run around east Walla Walla in sweet sunshine. It was a winery tour without stops. After inversions, clear days make my smiles full. Thank God!
It’s my American dream, for now. The Vet’s was muddy as I took ninety, suffering three three-putts, two stymies and an OB. I hit my driver, 3 wood and 4 hybrid sweetly, and made one birdie putt.
Pitch Perfect 2 was very sweet.
The WSU Cougars are for real! Go Cougs! Ass-kicking football!
It’s tempting to golf again, though I should run. Or both! Hmmmm…..
Sweet autumn warmth.
I love Cougar country, with powerful lions trekking our highlands and our gridiron.
Our seven mile run on Sunday was hard, after the post-marathon layoff and Saturday’s leg workout with Nick, Annie and Jaslyn. After the run, we saw Gabe Marks. Cool!
Equally hard was the first quarter of football. Whoa! I apologized to Annie for the worst game of the year. Like I was playing? Down 14-0 with 21-0 forthcoming, our Cougars drew a definitive line in the sand. A dreamy game changed nightmare into fantasy. The upbeat game of the year! Wow! Thanks Cougs! Thanks Mike for the taste of Club level life. It is amazing!
The rain pounded me on the drive home and then soaked my beautiful Redwood.
It’s the season to run and spin and lift and step my way to awe-inspiring mountains. Yeah! That’s it! That’s what I’ll do!
And a little more golf…
WSU went toe to toe in old style play with Stanford and I came away even more impressed. It was the best feeling loss for quite some time. We had shoulda, coulda plays throughout a near win over an elite team. It was damn good football mixed with frustration. The Cougars are big-time college footballers. Yay!
Today is a transition, sandwiching golfing utopia and high-level football. Stanford travels to Washington State University in a battle for PAC-12 north supremacy. Pat and I savored swimming and stretching in warm water and weather at his home before cruising to Sky Harbor today. The Nevada mountains below me are topped with snow as the sun shines brilliantly. It’s been a dreamy week. Lyn and Pat are such great hosts. A victory tomorrow would taste like dessert. We’ve enjoyed a resurgence of kick-ass football. Pullman boasts one of the most exciting teams in the country, with remarkable players. Rain and wind are expected to return, granting the Cougars a chance to redeem their season-opening slop-drop against Portland State.
With the looming time change, lunches on the golf range sound appropriate. I hope for rounds at Veteran’s Memorial, Canyon Lakes and perhaps Palouse Ridge/Wildhorse/Othello on the near horizon. Autumn golf in the north will beg patience and restraint. How low can I go?
I’m wondering if my exposure to warm desert golf will be a life-changing event for me. To follow masterful links with a soothing swim is a great way to live. Would it be awesome for a month or more?
I hit golf balls from small mountains and soon I will ski across bigger ones. I believe that core work, strength training and high energy cardio-vascular adventures like hiking, spinning, squatting, running and climbing offer me avenues to greater achievement, firing my body and soul. How many mountains will I summit this winter? How fully will I savor the fruits of life as I dance to the passage of time?
I sense a need to mix it up, see the world and greet new adventures with a fiery passion, recognizing the fleeting nature of life. Work has enriched me and play has treated me even better. My spirit soars and dances and blossoms in wild community. These are the greatest treats. Want to play with me soon?
Lyn’s net 69 mastered the inaugural Desert Classic at Tonto Verde’s Peaks course, which was lovely in almost every way. Lyn won match play over both Pat and I.
The greens were slow, the translation suggested foolish greens, which looked like they’d be incredible when fast. The views were magnificent.
We hit some beautiful shots and occasionally found the desert. Lyn was the straightest hitter and most consistent putter (29). Pat and I matched 89’s to ramp up suspense.
In the week-long competition, Pat beat me 35-28 in head-to-head skins and I nipped him 3 days to 2 in match play. Pat made three beautiful birdies, including a hole-out from the sand that was exciting and rare for it’s range.
I hit a high, long eight iron to eight feet past and stroked it home for birdie on hole 6 (78/90).
We enjoyed this lovely slice of Rio Verde and the awe-inspiring drive, showcasing the Four Peaks and surrounding mountains. The views were magnificent, the company so loving and golf as I’ve never seen it before. Wow! I am a desert golf lover!
This may be the ultimate climax after amazing preludes at classy desert courses. The Peaks course at Tonto Verde will serve as the championship venue for the 2015 Erickson Desert Open. What a privilege it is to have entered! I hope next year’s field is larger. If not, c’est la vie and lucky me!
Desert target golf on small, fast and undulating greens is so appropriate after the tracks we’ve enjoyed. This links quintuple has been by far the most incredible golfing experience of my life. Let the good times roll!
The Legacy Golf Club in Vegas. Los Caballeros Golf Club in Wickenburg.
Corte Bella Golf Club in Sun City West. Quintero Golf and Country Club in Peoria.
Amazing golf courses, incredibly progressive in quality.
Awesome views, manicured greens, impeccable cart paths, generous service, splendid landscapes, exquisitely executed strokes, family friendly camaraderie, close competition and perfect weather. This is so fun!
Today, Quintero ramped it up on perfectly smooth and dangerously fast greens, running 11+ on the Stimpmeter. The fastest and best greens of our rich lives. Pat whipped me on Quintero like he did at The Legacy. Fortunately, I nipped him at Los Caballeros and Corte Bella. Corte Bella was sweet, but Quintero upped the ante again. Can we top it?
On the front nine at Corte Bella, I crafted a 39 that easily could have been lower. It was the best golf of my 52 rounds this year. Pat scored with two birdies at Corte Bella and nearly caught me on the back nine. Then I ballooned in score at Quintero to my highest score of the year. Still, it was so fun! Pat made another birdie and won going away. I’ve missed all of my birdie putts so far this week. Can I change that? The next round could be climactic, and likely full of fun!
It’s another great day! It’s early, in Pullman, Washington. To me, this is the home of college football. There’s no place I’d rather be today, and I know some very cool places.
It’s the excitement! Muscle toned studs in their prime doing battle on the great American battlefield. So awesome! My competitive juices are already flowing, and I haven’t even had coffee yet. I’ve showered and shaved and trimmed and flushed, so I am primed. But, about that coffee…..
After a tough season, the Wazzu Cougars opened with what many called their worst game in years, losing to a lower tier team from Portland State. Doomsayers called for the coach’s head, projecting a dismal season. I only laughed. Though also disheartened by the sub-par effort, I knew a season is not about one game. I knew the Cougars were better than they showed. But how much better?
Well, last-minute victories over Rutgers and Oregon and a giveaway to Cal showed that these Cougars can play. How much more will they improve as the schedule toughens? That’s an exciting question whose answer will develop over seven weeks. Perhaps even weeks after that!
Family/friendly tailgates are special treats. I loved hanging with Nick and Jaslyn and visiting with so many cool people at Jim’s superb bash.
Wow! We were treated to a half of Cougar offense that was near perfection. Luke Falk spirited the Cougar offense to six touchdown passes in seven possessions, plus a field goal. They moved the ball at will, executing beautifully on varietal passes and runs. Falk avoided sacks and found open teammates. The Cougars are so exciting!
Sometimes. They stumbled in the second half, after 45 – 17 at the break. They lost their edge, when they no longer needed it to win. The defense gave up a lot of yards, yet made great hits and plays. Special teams had success, like a fifty yard kickoff return, stopping a fake punt, and holding some kickoff returns in check. They also allowed a one-hundred yard kickoff return, a blocked punt and a muffed onside kick. But this win feeds momentum, excitement and imagined possibilities. Still, the Cougars must practice hard and play each play. Next Saturday’s game in Tucson is again pivotal. GO COUGS!!!
About that being anywhere else thing. Here’s a cool place I’ve been at least close to. Thank you great and powerful adventurers!
I believe that’s what we need, from time to time. Or always!
I shot my best golf score of the year on Saturday, hitting ten greens and missing nine of the birdie putts, including about four from a ten to twelve foot range and a four footer. The ten footer that dropped felt sweet. I hit about five fairways, but stayed between the trees much of the time. It was a day to savor, for reuniting with Gary, sunshine, fresh air, a nice walk, and improvement. I made another stride towards scoring like I did decades ago. I think it’s because I was simply enjoying the sheer delights of golf. I must admit that the Cougars whipping Oregon on the gridiron was delicious dessert!
Change your lens, change your life. What a great message! I’ve used this reminder for two group talks lately, both of which seemed appreciated by the audiences. I used it at the Portland marathon, massaging my personal worst time into a pleasurable interaction with many motivated souls. What a wonderful chance for great fun with Annie and Remington! Our diverse adventures in Portland made the marathon a chapter, rather than a narrow focus. It feels like evolution.
Now I get to take a southerly adventure with Pat, after another visit with Nick and Jaslyn in Pullman for some exercise, great food and hopefully more awesome Cougar football! Adventure is back in full swing in my life and in my soul. Yeah!
It’s been an entertaining week. Lots of people have been demanding that Mike Leach be fired. I guess their egos are hurting. Leach, his team of coaches, and his Cougar players simply did the right thing: they played the next play. Practice the best you can. Flush the past. Ignore the distractions, like kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns, putting you in scary places. The Cougars were believers and moved 90 yards in less than a minute and a half to win their game. What a great lesson for so many parts of my life.
I put this lesson to use today. My drive on the short ninth hole went way right, in the middle of an adjoining fairway. A pretty lousy drive. So, I played the next play. I stroked a sweet 90% 52-degree wedge shot right at the pin. It seemed to be one foot from the pin. But it was really 8-10 feet past. Play the next play. A smooth putting stroke towards the left edge: birdie! Net eagle, worth a $22 skin. Many other challenges came my way, including a dude taking 30 seconds to line up a one foot putt and whining around the entire course. Another talking incessantly as others hit. A third oblivious to the play of others, trampling putting lines and blocking play. I was convinced the pro decided I needed lessons in patience. So I got them!
My scores still have not gotten to where I’d like them. Golf is perpetually challenging, in so many ways. Just like people! So I just can’t stop. I keep playing. I love the chase of the difficult. I’m intrigued by how good I can stroke in practice and how much tougher it gets on game day. So I keep practicing and entering every competition I can find.
Yesterday I played with a gentleman who shot a five under par 31 on the front side, despite making a bogey. He made four birdies, an eagle and three pars. It was so fun to watch. Excellence is attainable. It looks like fun!
So I will practice golf, run, lift weights and watch Mike Leach. I’ll go to work and engage in social endeavors. I’ll play the next play to the best of my ability.
I’ll strive to set aside my ego and clear my mind. I’ll take cleansing breaths, relax my muscles, smile and play the next play. It’s the biggest gift I get!
Lessons are interchangeable for various parts of our lives. Let’s open our minds to applying them!
Keep your head steady. This is so important for consistent ball striking in golf, getting along with others and positive living.
Let it go. Everything, everyone, especially ego. Because it opens possibilities and removes barriers.
Relax. Our minds and muscles both work better. We think of creative solutions and stroke beautiful shots when we release the near paralysis of tension.
Practice makes us better. Speaking, all types of golf shots, running, writing, making music and art, etc. Masterpieces are not a result of luck.
Moving is grooving. Nobody enhances their life via less activity, if they have a choice. Some overcome amazing challenges, but anyone who can move should keep it up!
Good fuel helps us think and perform better. When we are in tune with how food and drink affects our body, we open the doors to amazing enhancements!
Living well is far from hell. It’s cool to allow ourselves to succeed. I hope I do it soon in golf. Or I’ll have to practice even more!
It feels so good! It makes me want to do it more, to savor the delights. Why not?
Lately I have wondered if I can learn to do it even better. Will that suggest that I’m approaching my center?
There are many aspects of a smooth stroke, so it is easy to stray from the ideal. I can feel when the stroke is not right. I don’t always know what to do about it, however. This year, I have stroked poorly much of the time. It is frustrating and bewildering. But it also gives perspective on how awesome good stroking is.
Somehow, today my stroke was on. Not on every stroke, but on many. There are many ways to fail, but the good ones were so sweet today. Rising high into the sky, tonight’s wedge shots were mostly decent to good, while some were awesome. One seemed to be the highest, longest wedge shot of my life. I was in awe that I hit it. I watched it climb and climb, seeming to rise 20% higher than the others. As it flew a great distance, I was engrossed in curiosity about what made it so different. Could I recreate that magic swing on a more regular basis? Will I move towards better scoring? The powerful draw of the greatest game has its claws in me. I am hooked again.
There is much to remember: loose grip/relaxed muscles, appropriate stance, pushback/takeaway with an upright swing plane, and most importantly, balance. Follow-through towards target, steady head, controlled swing length, hip timing, etc. It’s really fun when all I need to think is “relax.” Then let it happen. I want more days when the ball flies straight where I aim. So I’ll keep practicing, and keep the faith. The high scores I’ve posted this year are not written in stone. They fade away fast, as fast as my mind realizes that my true destiny is to stroke it well. Though the scores are not my worth, they do paint a picture of my journey. I await its maturation.
The full moon seemed to smile at me as the sun set, like an inspirational shift change. Despite the bug plastered windshield, it stirred sweet adventure memories and radiated wellness. What a fitting culmination to a full weekend! I tasted the riches of family, friends, travel, physical challenge, coffee, shopping, dining and peaceful rest. All is well!
It was pretty tough for a while. Bloomsday is a little like a plunge into an icy lake. Many people view it as a spring-time tradition. We see who we are. I was confronted with my past selves and I wished I could stride like some of them. And I think maybe I can. Or not. The mysteries will be revealed and created!
People are so interesting. We offer much and sometimes deliver little. Our potential is incredible. Our limiting beliefs dance with our willingness to try to be truly open-minded, fighting for the precious ground of our souls. We rarely know when we’re missing out, choosing to think that our opinions and beliefs are sacred, accurate truths. How silly we can be!
I may have done one thing right, or not. Bloomsday officials have a new ploy called “time up Doomsday.” They measure how long it takes to ascend the brutal hill between 4.3 and 5 miles into the 7.46 mile race. It may be a good idea for some people to buy into this chase. For me, walking the entire steep part yesterday may have saved my life. I was red-lining, after zooming past hundreds of people on the steep downhill before Doomsday. I’ve learned that I’m very good on downhill portions, and I simply love to run fast. The mob hindered me during an early downhill section, but it thinned a bit and the course widened by the middle of the race. So I hauled ass! Then I accepted my need to walk. No, I would not post one of my faster race times. But I would still do the best I could on this day, and live to race again. Hundreds of people passed me on the hill. Many of them faded badly after the hill, and I passed them back. My ego loved the times when I passed guys who appeared to be about my age. Yay! I passed another old guy! How silly I can be!
I cannot adequately describe to you how good water, coffee and food taste after long runs. It must be experienced first-hand. It is amazing!
Yay! We’re undefeated! So are all the other teams, but still, our team has such potential! It’s a joyous time of year for college football, when hope springs eternal. Competition has become incredibly tough, so really good teams will still lose. But it sure is fun to hope for more!
My blood is crimson, so the Washington State University Cougars are the team for me. I’ve cheered them on for a lot longer than billions of people have been alive, and it’s still a privilege. Cougars are often underdogs, doggedly determined and loyal. I’ve been to a lot of cities, and I’d rather go to Pullman than visit most of them. It just fires me up!
Young talent is so exciting! I think it makes me feel younger. This years’ emerging stars are really pumping me up!
Peyton Bender is worthy of his crimson jersey. He tosses beautifully spiraling, accurate passes. He is another in a long line of majestic quarterbacks to come to Pullman. I’m so excited to see him blossom!
Keith Harrington is the real deal at running back. He just gets it done! He’s fast, elusive and decisive. Hand it to him, toss it to him, just get him the ball!
Kyrin Priester is a special talent at wide receiver. He has to sit out a year after transferring from Clemson, and it will be hard to wait. We have other good receivers, but this dude is good!
So I’m picking the gray team in Saturday’s scrimmage in Spokane. Of course, as a Cougar fan, I win either way! GO COUGS!
I hate to run and then I love to run. It is so hard to go running. It is deeply rewarding to keep running. I love the high I get when I reach autopilot. It’s a zone where I can just keep running. All is well. No fears, burdens or anxieties. Great blood flow to all of my body, including my brain. Breathe in, breathe out. Absorb the sights, the sounds, the fresh air, the exhilarating power of trained muscles. Ahhhhhhhh. This is good!
My ego wants to beat somebody. But just getting out is what’s truly important. Moving is rejuvenating, enlightening, inspiring and invigorating. It makes me better. I am so grateful I can still do it. What a rich blessing!
I found new trails on my run on Sunday and my walk on Monday. Adventure is good for my soul. It helps my mind open up a little. Maybe I’ll be more receptive to new ways of thinking. Won’t that be good?
After my run on Tuesday I showered quickly to rejoin the retreat team for dinner. On the walk there, it felt like all I had to do was lift my legs and they would automatically spring forward. It was kind of freaky after my autopilot thoughts. My muscles have listened and obeyed. They just want to run! My refreshed attitude and energy boost were bonuses.
I think I’ll plan a trip somewhere new, play some new golf courses, try new activities, and meet some new people. Yes! Maybe I’ll even take a run…
It’s a law of nature. Training hard enables running faster. Reducing training leads to running slower. It’s a cool rule, because you can’t steal speed. You can’t wish it upon anyone. You simply get what you deserve. It cuts out identity thieves and other freeloaders.
Annie has trained harder than me. She deserved to kick my ass and so she did. Hooray for her efforts and for justice in the world!
The Badger Mountain Challenge amplifies the disparity between the in-shape and the wannabes. I ran fast on the downhills, using determination and experience. The uphill sections tend to differentiate, beautifully so. Honest folks have to love it!
Annie’s been leading a life worthy of emulation, embracing regular, varied exercise and nutritional wisdom. She is a model of consistency. Each time I visit her, I make cool strides in the proper direction. I want more strides!
I slipped into ailments and distractions, also known as work, movies, overeating and settling for mediocrity. I feel re-awakened by Annie’s good old-fashioned ass-kicking and our day-after spin class leaders’ encouraging reminders: we must push to grow, you don’t know how much you can push until you try, YOU CAN DO IT!
Life deals out road forks. I see one here. Slippage or growth? Discouragement or encouragement? In short, live or die?
I hope to live, as fully as my mind can manage. I can learn from lots of people. There are many who teach me how not to drive, speak, write, eat and otherwise spend my time. There are fewer worthy role models. How fun to hope to hang with them! When they help me grow, to become a better version of myself, I become richer. I see the glow, feel the spark, embrace the excitement, taste the depth and hope for even more. It’s the best way I know how to live. Thank you to those of you who remind me what to do, because I forget. We can save each other!
I arrived at the airport today around 1 PM for my 8:15 flight home, after listening to some atypical whining at our leadership training. Early arrival avoided another day’s charge for the rental car and helped out my associates who needed rides. There was plenty of time to eat, read, manage e-mail and eat some more. Ultimately, our flight was canceled by fog in Walla Walla. Tim, one of our physician leaders, was also awaiting this flight, and he’d played this game before. We were first in line to re-schedule, betting on an 11:10 flight to Pasco, an hour from home, as well as the kindness of his wife who would pick us up. The thing is, this was a good day!
Maybe the “bad” days are vital for perspective. I remember enjoying Christmas and a nice long run the day after. Then I slipped into flu-like symptoms, followed by a sinus infection. Soon afterwards, I faced debilitating lower back spasms, accompanied by sciatic nerve pain. What had happened? Was I getting a little taste of what it’s like to be old and dying?
I tried rest and heating pads, muscle relaxants and OTC pain killers, movies and sleep. Two courses of antibiotics killed the sinus infection, but the back problem lingered. Then it got worse; I couldn’t even bear to go to work. Sitting in my desk chair after the arduous challenge of getting there seemed like too much. Would I get better or worse?
Small acts of compassionate kindness can be pretty big. My co-worker Sue mentioned to our Director of Rehabilitation that I was in a rough place, and gave him my phone number. Tom called me promptly that Friday and carved time out of his busy schedule to see me that day, a week sooner than my scheduled visit. What a gift! He manipulated my lower spine with twists and bends. The pain relief was significant. I was on the road back to life! I was able to take long walks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as do the backlog of chores and my assigned rehabilitation exercises and stretching.
I’ve had several follow-up sessions of physical therapy, as well as deep tissue massages, and my condition continues to improve, especially when I have the time to walk, stretch my back and legs and tone my abdominal and lateral movement muscles as prescribed. My new masseuse is the best I’ve ever had, so I’m back to regular treatments. I am moving towards life balance that I didn’t realize I was losing. Running and lifting were good, but not a complete health solution. I am reminded of the need for balance in my life: yoga, stretching, massage and diet are integral parts of my wellness, in addition to strength and endurance training. Will this recent wake up call help me remember to do all these things, consistently, that make me well? I surely hope so!
What might the future bring? Will I run and golf again soon? Will I be able to to do whatever I want?
I think it’s time to dream again. Yay!
Often, we get what we deserve. How we live paints the canvas of our lives. Persistence pays off. Going for what we want usually gets us there. Persistence, dedication, patience, perseverance and faith foster success. It’s cool to see people live this way. It’s nice to see my offspring do so! Annie’s college journey has delivered her to the job she wants. Her graduation culminates a transition between childhood and adult life. Her dreams include adventure, motherhood and providing health care to others. She is one fun lady!
Perhaps coincidentally, the sweet kitten Annie picked out over twelve years ago took her last breaths recently. Tali gave us a lot of love. She will be missed. She stayed when others left. Perhaps her last mission was teaching me that when everyone else leaves, God remains. What more could we need?
I see great things when I look through centered eyes. I see misery when I look through the fog of discontent. Details of conditions are mostly irrelevant. My mission is clarified: live a centered life. Be a ray of hope, a wave of optimism, a laugh in the night, a smile in the rain and a hand when it’s needed. Embrace spiritual connectedness. I hope you dance!
Faith. Is it the final frontier? Exploring it shows what it can do. Faith in God. Faith in human goodness. Faith in cooperation. Faith in oneself, built from faith in a God who creates masterpieces. Like my golf swing! Sometimes. When? When I let it! When I don’t feel the need to do too much. It’s like coach Mike Leach preaches in football: just do your job. You don’t need to score 14 points on any one play. Just do your job. I don’t need 300 yard drives, especially ones that end in deep grass, behind trees, on top of houses, in lakes, etc. I don’t need to do grand things at work. Just my job: cooperate, innovate, encourage and persevere. Little things, over and over again. Willingness and faith. A controlled swing. In the fairway. On the green. Near the hole. Easy tap-in. It seems like it could be easy.
Some shots go bad. Some holes even go bad, often from multiple bad shots. Lost focus? Is this lost faith? Leach also says that adversity will come. He is right. It’s not avoidance of adversity that defines us. It’s our performance in the midst of it. Like cheering on a team in the throes of difficulty. Giving our best to each shot in a wave of triple-bogeys. Birdies are out there, along with touchdowns and tackles. Winning can be born in defeat.
I saw that cold weather was expected soon. It was perhaps my last chance of the year to play what I considered to be a good round of golf.
Veteran’s Memorial Golf Course is one of my homes. The first hole is short and I started with an easy par. Nice. One down. The second hole is also short. A hooked drive under a tree, a topped punch, two fat wedges, a mediocre chip and two putts. Easy triple bogey. And the sun shone on! No trees fell and the birds continued to chirp. Try, try again. Another short par four, with a severely left-sloped fairway. Bad time for another hook. So it happened. Self-fulfilling fear? Punch near the green, chip and two putts for bogey. Then what I told myself was a really sick hole: huge trees lining the right side of the fairway, stealing the line for a power hook. Hardpan on the left leading to a wheat field, seemingly magnetized for my balls. So I drove out-of-bounds and triple-bogeyed, moving quickly to seven over par. What if I had embraced the opportunity presented by the tee shot? We’ll never know for sure. Spilt milk. I know I can play good golf. I mostly hadn’t so far that day, but I KNEW I could.
Next was a long par four, dog-legging to the right. Right-handed hookers like me prefer left-turning doglegs. But that’s the beauty of opportunity. It is where, when and how it is. On the tee I centered myself, re-gaining faith in my ability to execute a wide variety of good shots. I’ve hit them before. Calm, controlled and relaxed swings are a path to success. Hit the best shot possible. Regardless of the outcome of that shot, do your confident best on the next. And the next. And the next. This is the story of football and golf and all of life. Just hit it sweet!
So the same guy who was seven over par after four holes was still seven over after nine, after a nice two-putt birdie on number nine, set up by a conscious effort to swing easy and free on the tee. Not “hard” to hit it long; rather, easier to hit it better. So I hit it sweet and straight and onto the green. It was a good lesson for me. I need a lot of re-education.
The back nine went much like the front nine: two triple-bogeys in the first three holes, sandwiching a bogey. Seven strokes lost to par in three holes. Then another turnaround: three pars, two bogeys and another birdie, completing the back nine in eight over par.
It was a tale of extremes. Not an awesome score, but some excellent shot-making mixed into character building lessons. I’m awaiting better scores. I believe they’re coming. I will persist in doing my part to make it so. Even more importantly, I will enjoy the journey. What fun!
Golfing is not the best training for running. It may, in fact, be a version of insanity. But it lured me in. So I ran less and played more this year. Maybe I needed a break after last year’s collection of long-ass runs. Long-ass runs are character builders. They can turn nice people into cussers. They can also boost our confidence. They are hard tests.
Pesto is one of my favorite fuels. I love the taste and I can burn the calories during a long-ass run. Double win! Basil grows in my yard, so pesto it was! It tasted so good! Would it help me run fast?
Hell yes! Well, it’s relative, of course. Fast to me is defined differently than it once was. But it is still fun!
Races are filled with deja vu. For me, mind games are inevitable. So we just have to win them. Against ourselves! Let the optimist win!
I surprised myself today, because I was willing to believe. Go for it and see what happens. What’s the worst thing that can happen? Can you live with that? I could crash and burn and have to walk to the finish. I could live with that. But what if I could keep the pace? Then I get to ride a high!
The young speedsters went out fast. So did some of us plodders. My first two miles averaged about a minute and a half faster than my recent training runs. So I started to dream about success. Hey! I should go for it!
I found my groove and kept a steady pace. It felt like a miniature version of a marathon. Focus on form, keep it steady, remember to fuel and hydrate and prepare for the mind games.
They always come for me. Thoughts of failure. Signals from tiring muscles. Memories of past disappointments. Fear of falling short. Freakin’ fears! Buzz off you damn fears! I CAN do this.
Each passing competitor spurred me on in the later miles. A new rabbit! Chase that rabbit! Mile eleven was my slowest of the day, approximating my training run average. My legs felt so heavy! My left foot was blistering. It would be so easy to walk. It would feel so much better. Or not, at least in the long run. Push! Go! Dig deep! When your body is failing, run with your fiery spirit! It’s only two more miles! How hard is that?
Mile twelve felt very hard, but it turned out to be one of my fastest of the day. I didn’t know that until my post-race review, because it felt a little like hell. I kept fighting during mile thirteen, when a lovely woman passed me. The best rabbit yet! She pulled me to an even faster thirteenth mile. As I turned into Pioneer Park for the finish, Charles Stanger urged me on. He had blessed us all day with his musical bike parade. I owed him something! So I dug down deep. I had a little left. I sprinted to the finish. It felt fast. I’m not sure how it looked. I nearly caught my favorite rabbit! It was a win for me, because I beat my fears, and I ran my fastest time in years. What more is possible?
I tackled housecleaning today, pondering the frequency. Aided by rain and football, I found a rare mood, where cleaning actually happened. For a while. But a sobering realization sank in. I must rest! Tomorrow is the Walla Walla half marathon. I will need all the strength I can muster! Whew! I almost had to work hard…
I’m perpetually fascinated by the limits of my mind, especially when I break through them.
When I turned forty I was blessed with a new lease on life, increasing my healthiness and happiness. I had been limited by unwillingness. Various aspects of me held me back. As new doors opened, willingness grew. My life is a makeover. Since I’m happy and healthy, should I be content? Or can I be grateful and in pursuit of more?
Why not continue to seek a better me? A beautiful opportunity presents itself regularly: my kids love to lift weights. They have passion for building muscles. It’s a heart-warming pain in my ass. Literally! Also in my chest, triceps, biceps, lats, hamstrings and back. It hurts so good!
I spent the last decade and a half in self-limiting thoughts like these:
- I’m too old to really build much muscle.
- Older folks should lift light weights and just try to keep some muscle.
- If it hurts, don’t do it.
- I am strong enough.
- Too much upper-body muscle will be too heavy to carry around on long runs.
- My body just isn’t the type to build muscle.
I’ve seen the aging process reduce strength, flexibility, balance and confidence. I know it’s coming for me, if I’m lucky. Can I stave it off a while? Fight back a bit? Optimize my gift of life? Glow in the beauty of existence?
I want to live as fully as I can! My ego loves hitting 270 – 300 yard drives. 320 sounds even better. I want to be able to do whatever I feel like doing. I hope to limit my limitations and expand my abilities. So I had to try something new. Nick opened a door.
He explained to me that to really build muscle, you have to lift heavy. He recommends sets of six to eight repetitions of weights you can barely manage. Previously I learned that to run fast, I had to practice running fast. An obvious statement, but I had to run intervals at higher speed to improve my long-run speed. So I finally bought in to lifting heavy. My mind opened up to the realization that I’ve spent years marking time, making minimal improvement in muscle gain. Perhaps this is expanded awareness of “no pain, no gain.”
It has only been a week. My commitment and gains will play out over time. I must say, however, that this is an exciting week. I am lifting stronger and heavier than I ever have. “Chest and triceps day” last evening was my best, as well as Jaslyn’s and Nick’s. It was so fun! How will bicep and back day go today? Legs on Sunday? We will see. In between, we’ll watch the Ducks visit the Cougars in my favorite stadium. Another great opportunity! Go Cougs!
Last night I learned to do squats correctly. I’m glad I’m able and willing to learn. My ego wants my drives to fly farther and my legs to run faster. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But my legs can get stronger.
Yesterday I bought Qualcomm stock. Perhaps it will reward me, but maybe not. At least I have a financial plan that is likely to work out well.
I roll with the punches at work. It’s important for my mental health. The cycle of change has accelerated to unfathomable speed. Nothing is for sure or for long. Black and white precision is now mottled gray approximation. High level perspective is more fun than frenzied muddling.
WSU Cougar fans get to roll with the punches again too. Two losses replaced expected wins. C’est la vie! Will the crowd be big and supportive in the newly improved football complex? Will the noise be deafening for the opponents? We only have one week to practice for the mighty Ducks, so let’s get it on!
It just keeps getting better! I have another new favorite golf course. This beauty is special in many ways. It is the polar opposite of limited space, “cram it in” golf course design that degrades so many tracts. At the Raven, fun runs could be staged between greens and the following tees! Walking here would mimic a marathon. The carts are life preservers.
Native terrain was skillfully massaged to create gorgeous holes with tantalizing risk-reward options.
Putting greens are fast, smooth and sloped. They remind me of Wine Valley Golf Club, and the grass is more mature. Scenic elevated tees are abundant. Rolling fairways narrow as you approach the greens, teasing long approaches and punishing wayward shots with thick, lush rough. Largemouth bunkers guard tricky greens, helping short holes play tough. Native grass roughs encourage accuracy and penalize wildness.
I can’t imagine anyone not liking this course. The fairways are beautiful and the cart paths and bridges are extensive, protecting the quality of the grass and the enjoyment of the journey. I want to go back! Why not soon?