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Nick and Jas 04 16 2016

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!

Bender to Cracraft 04 16 2016

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FullSizeRenderFirst 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!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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…

Pat loves fine desert living!

Pat loves fine desert living!

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?

Beaver Beatdown!

Beaver Beatdown!

PREGAME:

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.

POST GAME:

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!

Is that Colchuck from Aasgard? Photo courtesy of Northwest Wildass Adventurers, Ltd.

Is that Colchuck from Aasgard? Photo courtesy of Northwest Wildass Adventurers, Ltd.

Annie is lean and fast!  Here she is after smoking me by 7.5 minutes at the Badger Mountain Challenge, 2015 Hurricane Edition!

Annie is lean and fast! Here she is after smoking me by 7.5 minutes at the Badger Mountain Challenge, 2015 Hurricane Edition!

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!

Mountain man Frank brings it home in style (go gravity!).

Mountain man Frank brings it home in style (go gravity!).

It felt too hard! Man, what a recurring theme! It’s a timeless feeling of deja vu; I’ve been here before, many times, over many years. There are easier, softer options: slow down a little, slow down a lot, walk, quit, devise excuses…

Excuses can arise from an early morning bed: a rainy day? Perhaps I’m meant to rest this morning? Or is that fear rearing its ugly head?

Today I hit an excuse jackpot. My right calf cramped less than two miles into the race. Good or bad? Just breathe in and out, sending relaxing thoughts to my muscles. Hmmm… was this a chance to run from the run? It’s not always easy living in my mind. So stay out of it if you can!

Using a watch to forecast results is easy for me. It can also be quite limiting. My GPS watch does much of what I used to do, creating opportunity for other thoughts. These can be devilish or inspirational.

Mile one passed in 7:30. Judgement commenced. Too fast! I did it again! I will only slow down from here! So mile two took 8:08. See how much I slowed down! Feel how winded I am! It’s all downhill from here!

A self-fulfilling prophecy? Mile three elapsed in 8:26. I’ll be crawling by the end! I’m out of shape from not running all week! I’ve gotten lazy. Shit!

Whoa! Finally, my free-wild-optimist fought back. I’m nearly half done and averaging 8:01 per mile. Not bad for my condition! I should do my best and see what happens.

Part of the beauty and challenge of the Balloonsday 10 kilometer course is the loneliness, especially coming on the heels of a mega-crowd road race like Bloomsday. Most Balloonsday participants choose five kilometers. The scarcity of ten kilometer racers leads to some big gaps. Mine was a lonely path today, creating a wonderful opportunity to choose between easy lagging and difficult pushing. Who am I to be today?

Lonely mile four took 8:15. Was I choosing to be all that I could be? Perhaps my fifty minute goal is too tough today. I should have trained harder! Why do I think I can push on race day without more fast-paced training? Still, I must push and do what I can!

The volunteers were so encouraging! The course was extremely well-marked. This is my favorite race of the year! But mile five took 8:16. I think I’m slowing down too much. I’ll miss my goal. I’m doomed! More waiting? Will I just keep on saying “wait ’til next year”? Wait a minute! It’s the negative thoughts that are holding me back! I can almost always push at least a bit harder. Do it now! Run free and wild! Be the spirited stallion! Go for it!

Hey, it’s true! I do have a little more to give. When I do so, I gain capacity to give a little more next time. My life gets better when my heart, mind and soul embrace faith and venture forth, fully alive!

Mile six took 7:48. I picked up the pace! Bring it home! I strode strongly to the finish, clocking 49:29. It was my best time in years and another step towards better health. Physically, mentally and spiritually, I must face the demons I meet with faith, perseverance and lots of smiles. It fills my journey with pleasure, which sometimes masquerades as pain. Namaste!

Race her? I think the blue house really fires her up!

Race her? I think the blue house really fires her up!

How hard can we push? How hard should we push? Claiming to be old and not pushing at all seems wrong for me. Pushing to premature death sounds lousy. How do you know how hard to push?

We missed out on cardiovascular exercise on Tuesday, so Annie and I did sixty minutes on Stairmasters at level ten on Wednesday evening, climbing 280 floors. That’d be a tall building!

Early Thursday, we ran three miles in the American Red Cross’ Turkey Trot along Mill Creek in Walla Walla. It’s uphill on the first half and downhill on the way back. It was around thirty degrees Fahrenheit, so oxygen was plentiful, as were clothes! It was tough to warm up, so the first mile served this role. 8:06 was a decent mile for me, especially uphill. I misinterpreted the voice on the Nike running app and thought I’d slowed down on the second mile, but I’d really sped up to 7:48, aided by half of it being downhill. I remember wishing I could go faster but staying determined to do the best I could, for comparison for next year. It seemed like I might be slowing down a bit, but I had no kick left when a guy I’d just passed sped up to pass me near the end. At least I’d finally post a short race baseline for 2013. The supposed 5k measured three miles on my device. My last mile took 7:12. I was pleasantly surprised. 23:06 for three miles, averaging 7:42 per mile, was slower than my 2006 three-mile best of 20:40, but better than my 2013 St. Patrick’s 10k average pace of 8:31 per mile. The Thanksgiving day race was only half as long, but I sense that I’m faster now than I was at the start of the year. Happier and more free as well. Yay!

I continued my winning streak against Annie. She whipped me by a long ways at both the Tri-City half marathon and the Badger Mountain Challenge 15k. I managed to best her at the St. Patrick’s 10k, Bloomsday 12k, Portland Marathon, Poplar 13k, Columbia River Classic 10 mile and Turkey Trot 3 mile. Mostly I beat her by small margins. It’s been a good year for the grey haired dude! I expect this reminder to motivate Annie, which could in turn lead us both to even better health. Wouldn’t that be cool?

So my running goal for 2014 is to go faster still.  I’d like to break 49 minutes in a 10k and 23 minutes in a 5k. Since we’re goal-setting, how about 1:55 for a half marathon and 4:16 for a full marathon? That should keep me busy. Throw in a round of golf with a score under 80 and snorkeling in Hawaii. That’d be a good year!

2013 is not gone, however. Maybe I can rock the Cable Bridge Run! Perhaps some skiing is in my future! We cranked another hour on the Stairmasters today, targeting level 11. Annie sustained it, totaling 300 floors. I eased off after 45 minutes and finished at 280 floors again. Is that a sign? Is Annie back on top? Yikes! I’d better get my buns moving! Or ease off, to be safe. I’m just not sure. But I’m digging the endorphins!

"Be all that you can be" is a habitual thing. Always do your best and regret will not visit!

“Be all that you can be” is an habitual thing. Always do your best and regret will not visit!

"A Very Poplar Run" 2013. Sometimes we ran through ridiculously treacherous bumpy fields.....15k was about 13k......hot dogs offered at finish.....but the scenery was nice!!!

“A Very Poplar Run” 2013. Sometimes we ran through ridiculously treacherous, bumpy fields…..”15k” was really about 13k……hot dogs offered at finish…..but the scenery was nice!!!

She woke me right up! I wasn’t sleeping, but I wasn’t really into it. I mean, things had started slow and messy, with disappointing developments. Then, there she was. My sparker! Now I had a mission! Follow Miss Superbuns!

Well, to be truthful, I’ve always fancied nice buns. Like at Thanksgiving dinner! And on many of the women who have caught my attention.

At foot races, there are some amazing buns! Today, around a mile or so into the race, she passed me. Wow! Ooh la la! I could follow those for a while! So I did. My pace quickened nicely. I really felt like I was racing! I felt fully alive! Should I chase her all day?

I don’t know if I made the right decision, but I let her go. Down the trail, faster than me. Off to inspire someone else. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to sustain her pace for another seven or eight miles. But she got me moving! I ran a good pace while we were on decent surfaces. I fought through some energy lulls. And I found even deeper resolve.

I didn’t sustain her pace today, but maybe sometime soon? I feel doubly inspired to run intervals, lift leg weights, attack the stair-stepper and race faster. I have a mission! Healthily attractive, happy and athletic people are so inspiring to me! They help me want to be a better me. I like it!

Sometimes I fly like an eagle!

Sometimes I fly like an eagle!

Bicycling is cool cross-training. I can pedal hard for a couple of hours without feeling sore or overly tired. It’s fun, scenic, invigorating and healthy. What a win!

Weight-lifting leaves me sore, most often. It suggests a hint of masochism, mixed with egotism. Sometimes it feels great, sometimes it’s really hard. It always keeps me more fit, more youthful and better prepared.

Standup paddle boarding is a new addition to my life. It fits in beautifully with a self-propelled lifestyle, delivering great abdominal, back, arm and leg endurance training. It always feels adventurous to me.  Yay!

Nordic skiing has a very special place in my heart. I’ve skied into heaven on earth. The risk of cold, remote places is enhanced by beauty, adventure, invigoration, inspiration and wonderful endurance training. I love it!

Running is in my spirit, woven into my soul. It offers endurance or speed. Self-propulsion feeds self-confidence and a willingness to tackle new pursuits. Running opens doors to greater adventures, like awe-inspiring backcountry hikes!

Hiking with a heavy backpack, for many hours, feels like a marathon to me. I like that it makes me stronger. The process gets really tough. I learn mental discipline. I learn that “can do” trumps “can’t do” almost every time I really want it to.  The views are painted on the front page of the newspaper of my soul. Treasures!

Golf is the best game I’ve ever found. It challenges my mind in every way imaginable. It offers physical challenges in beautiful locations. It can not be mastered. I’m lured by the feeling of balls struck well. It’s been a busy couple of decades, but golf teases my spirit with a sense of impending reunion.

Volleyball is one of my favorite team games. It tests quickness, creativity, coordination and spirit. It’s fun to learn teamwork. Basketball and football are other favored team sports. The excitement makes these almost as much fun to watch as to play.

When I was a kid, riding my motorcycle was part of my daily routine. My bike gave me freedom and wild adventures. It got me high! I’m sticking with non-motorized bikes now, because I want to extend life if I can. But I still love to get high.

One way is water-skiing. Cold water slaps my face and everywhere else. Bam! The boat jerks hard, testing strength, balance and mental toughness. I rise above the fish and skim across the water, as free, wild and crazy as a teenager. Yeah! Hit it!

Beautiful Annie savors God's incredible art!

Beautiful Annie savours God’s incredible art!

Can you train for a marathon by bicycling? Well it’s surely fun to try! I believe riding can be a key part of a wellness program. My heart desires variety, so I won’t be changing into a bikeaholic. But it’s fun!

That's me, enjoying incredible blessings!

That’s me, enjoying incredible blessings!

Annie’s husband Zach joined us for a ride in our favorite playground, around Bennington Lake. We pedaled our bikes from home to get there.  We are so lucky!

Zach refreshes with iced lemonade.  Yummy!

Zach refreshes with iced lemonade. Yummy!

I haven’t run for over two weeks, since the Coeur d’Alene marathon. Annie and I are trying to heal our foot injuries, before embarking on more running in preparation for the Portland marathon on October 6, 2013. It’s reputed to be an incredible experience. We have not been lying around getting lazy. Lots of biking, paddling, weight-lifting and other activities have kept us busy.  We’re loving bicycle season!

Technical riding is fun!

Technical riding is fun!

We tend to mix in single track riding, where we don’t prefer to race, with fast gravel road riding. It gives us a nice blended experience and chances to work on technical skills and cardio-vascular training. Neither of us prefer too much speed on the single track and the gravel roads allow side by side talking while riding.

Lost in time, in the zone...

Lost in time, in the zone…

Annie’s plotting her first ever open-water swim race this weekend. I think I’ll dust off the golf clubs, if I’m not too busy biking or standup paddling or ???? Life is so fun!

Wild thing!

Wild thing!

Thank you Lord for these amazing days! They just fill our hearts with joy and blood flow! Yay!

Biker chick. She loves it!

Biker chick. She loves it!

Foot too sore to run? Get your bike out!

Foot too sore to run? Get your bike out!

Flat tire. What a great opportunity! Especially the three miles of pushing my bike home; it bestowed more time to talk with Annie. Ultimately, another lesson in patience, which must be needed. I’m grateful for the opportunity to ride for an hour and walk another, after my sore foot derailed our running plans. The fresh rain kept us off the single track trails, but fun is always available!

Rainy day? No problem! Fun is around every corner!

Rainy day? No problem! Fun is around every corner!

What a great toy! This Go Pro Hero 3 will be a fun way to document some adventures. Maybe we’ll be on the water soon! Where will the weather lead us?

Bennington dike. If there's wind, you'll find it here.

Bennington dike. If there’s wind, you’ll find it here.

What a fun life! What a fun girl! Just call me Mr. Luckyman……

I almost took a nap instead. I'm so glad I rode and pushed my bike home instead!

I almost took a nap. I’m so glad I rode and pushed my bike home instead!

Bennington Lake

Bennington Lake on my second SUP outing.  Fun!

I love activities that blend fun people, natural beauty and enjoyable exercise together!

Little Miss Instigator! What will she think of next?

Little Miss Instigator! What will she think of next?

With my desk job, exercise is imperative for my health. Life is busy, so multi-tasking is naturally good for my soul. How else to get enough rest? The exercise gets me high and improves my chances for more time for more fun.

Mind expansion with core, balance, leg and arm work. Wellness adventure!

Mind expansion with core, balance, leg and arm work. Wellness adventure!

Mom, you were an amazing teacher of love, kindness, compassion, service and gratitude. I am lucky to have had you in my life for so many years. I hope to live your legacy and I believe that engaging in fun with my own kids is one good way to do so. I know you agree! Happy Mother’s Day! We love you!

Rubicon on lawn, TR-X2 hiding, like a Stealth bomber.....

Rubicon on lawn, TR-X2 hiding, like a Stealth bomber…..

Lately, I have a higher class of problems. How to transport my cool new toys? The INNO 446 standup paddle board (SUP) rack that a supplier claimed would work on my 4Runner will not fit, because the factory crossbars are too close to the truck. Luckily for me, David at REI Kennewick is helpful, knowledgable and friendly. REI in Kennewick and Spokane are two of my very favorite stores. They have a lot of cool gear. But their defining greatness lies in their people; they have great people who make our lives more fun! Thanks!

So now I have a great way to transport one board, with the potential for more. Putting multiple boards on one rig complicates matters a bit. Unless I get a trailer, which suggests a larger garage, thereby a new house. Whoa!

But I have two cool boards that look like fun! Some problems just need to be solved! Two rigs? Trailer? Move to a lake? But again, I digress.

This is like one of those confusing flashback movies. I wanted to try SUP, since I’ve heard great things about how fun it is and about the great abdominal workouts it delivers. I sense that I will really like it. I was convinced enough to want to buy a couple of boards to take to the lake this summer. Living in the north and facing the busyness of marathon training, the recommended “try before you buy” approach was ditched. So I’m risking a shaky approach, but it just may work out, if we get them to the water!

Via internet research, I decided on lake focused versions that could cut through chop nicely, tour well and deliver speed in our inevitable races. Remember how Annie and I are about competition. It even looks like my board could be a bit faster! My board appears to be slower, but I’m guessing I’ll still smoke Annie in races.

Since REI has my trust and their amazing satisfaction guarantee, as well as a large selection, I chose two boards at REI on-line, along with adjustable length paddles, personal flotation devices and leashes, if we tackle wild waters. As I continued researching, one of the boards sold out at REI.  So I ordered it from another source. Something prompted me to call them up, since their website hadn’t shown my board as shipped as soon as expected. It was because the normal shipping guy was away from work. So I talked with Jeff Morter from Paddle Surf Warehouse for a while. Why hadn’t I called around to talk with experts earlier? Anyway, Jeff sold me on a board that he was convinced was way better, more durable and considerably cheaper than the one I ordered. So I got the 12 foot 2013 Tahoe Rubicon, a board bag, an adjustable paddle, two dock/deck lock, plus a $52 refund, in the place of a Boardworks Raven 12.5 foot board.  I know there are many lessons here, so let’s hope I learned some of them.

The Tahoe showed up at my house last Friday. How exciting! Then came the “oh crap!” realization of the rack not fitting on my rig. Cool new toys that we can’t use? Just another spiritual growth opportunity! Have a little faith dude! On Saturday we picked up the Amundson 12 1/2 foot TR-X2. It’s carbon & bamboo design may be a hair faster slower than the Rubicon.  I guess we’ll see! David sold me two long Yakima straps with integrated cable and lockable padded cam buckles. They worked great, along with the Yakima tip and tail bra straps that I purchased earlier. I drove home through twenty-some mile per hour winds and the wing board rode beautifully. Later I found a website claiming that one guy transported up to five boards on one rig. So I’m searching for ideal padding to put between the boards.  I can either stagger the boards, due to the fins, or remove the fin from the bottom board. The weather is predicted to warm throughout this week, coinciding with my furlough day. What SUP?

"Three times up and down this mountain? Hell yes!"

“Three times up and down this mountain? Hell yes!”

We could have named her Adventure Annie! She’s fearless about challenges. I never know what’s going to happen, but it’s always something interesting!

How about three ascents of Badger Mountain, forty mile per hour gusts, swarming bees and 13.1 miles of rocky terrain? Just another Saturday. Vivid evidence that all miles are not created equal! This jaunt was as tough as last week’s eighteen miles, which had more hills than our previous long runs. We’re getting stronger!

That’s pleasing, in an achy way. We tear ourselves down to build ourselves up. Great material for microcosm man! Will I soon be marathon man? It’s been fun to watch our confidence grow as we take this journey. It’s about so much more than running. It’s pleasing for our bodies and spirits.

I played a lot of high school golf in high wind gusts. Sometimes I was glad to hit part of the ball. Whiffs are a little less embarrassing when you’re blown over by a mid-swing gust, but they’re still hard on your score. Not as damaging as getting blown off a mountain trail while running! Embarrassment passes quickly. Injuries tend to linger. Watch your step!

After our first clockwise ascent and descent, we ran the bottom of the south side, for variety. Then we met the bees! Thousands of them! We escaped with one sting each, swinging wide around their nests. But they filled the air, like the pesky little bugs near Mill Creek at sunset.  Adrenaline powered us on.

There’s something about pushing on through long runs, finding your toughness, running on when it’s just not easy. It’s empowering. Many things that once seemed difficult now seem trivial, easy or simple. The stakes have been raised. Belief grows. Horizons widen. Doors open. Faces glow!

We got our run on! We’re becoming fully alive! How about some fairways, lakes, mountains, oceans and more trails? Why not!

Two thirds of the way there!

Two thirds of the way to 26.2!

Maybe I’ll shoot under par. Perhaps I’ll standup paddle (SUP) on lakes and rivers. I may finish a marathon! I could become awesome at hackysack. Maybe I’ll fall in love again. Watch the Cougars win at football. Mountain bike in heavenly places. Help solve the overwhelming challenges facing healthcare. Live as an example of good health myself. Play with kids to be like them!

I don’t know what’s coming, but I like the possibilities! I believe in them. I trust that good processes increase the likelihood of good outcomes. I’ve done much work to prepare for a marathon. I’m mentally prepared to do the rest. My body has held up well and prospered. Cross training has helped me avoid injuries while preparing me for more fun, such as SUP and golf. It would be silly to become complacent. The better polished my body becomes, the better equipped it is to paddle and swing, among other things!

Spring is so fun! I’d like to hold it in my heart forever. I’m feeding off the energy from positive people and trying to feed them encouragement and inspiration. I see the synergy. I love it! I’m glad that my kids are so much fun!

Frank Badger finish closeup

Am I like other smack talkers? Why do it? Mostly to: (1) increase the likelihood that I’ll follow through with the actions and (2) motivate some of you, including my long-run training partner, Annie. I believe it’s a potential win-win-win scenario. Those are my favorites!

Sometimes, I’m a legend in my own mind. I start thinking I’m the most important person I know. Mom, I hope you’re chuckling a little here. I’m working on bettering me to become more capable of serving others. If I’m on the wrong path, someone should tell me.

So Annie, I’m coming for you! I’ll be faster, better fed, tapered and energized! I’ll do intervals, hills, long-ass runs and stairs.  I’ll even do the leg weights! If this makes you work even harder, I win!

Has anyone  out there lost the belief, desire and/or habits of being the best possible version of themselves? If you get anything at all out of this post, I win again! I could really be on a roll here!

If all you learn is that I’m an egotistical, unashamed self-promoter, well, I win again! Because you’ll know exactly who you don’t want to be.  It’s starting to look like I can’t lose on this deal…..

I had a good day at work. It came with some stress. I had a GREAT evening at the gym. It yielded a wonderful endorphin high! That’s only after pushing through five tough miles on the treadmill, with a progressively faster pace and an incline. The best things in life are not easy, but they are so very worth the effort!  🙂

Just before Bloomsday 2012

Just before Bloomsday 2012

I choose to be young at heart! It’s not the easiest path, but it’s the best one I’ve found. It’s so much better than lethargy, resignation, settling, etc. To me, it’s choosing living over dying!

I’m grateful for my amazing daughter Annie, who’s my accountability partner. We share a common goal of running the Tri-Cities half marathon in 13 days. Yesterday was a big test. Are we ready? Will we be able to run the entire race, or will some walking be mixed in? So a week ago we planned a ten-mile run for yesterday. It was intimidating and exciting for both of us. We are in good condition, earned by persistent commitment to regular exercise, in many forms. But we’ve emphasized variety in our workouts, rather than focusing on distance running. Running has always given me my best endorphin highs, but in recent years I’ve noticed more aches and pains. Life has been busy. I’ve done more weight-lifting, bicycling, stair-stepping, elliptical machines, walking, hiking and eating. I love the variety of life. But I’ve also gained ten pounds since my fastest running days.  More weight to carry around. Additional weight is not the best thing for distance running, even if it’s in the form of upper body muscle (okay, belly fat too). It’s been over five years since my last half marathon. My spirit is willing, but is my body able?

Hell yes! The realities of aging show that speed declines over time. This is a lame excuse to not fight back! I’m getting my run on!

The sun was shining, so I savored the hour-long drive to the Tri-Cities. Annie was ready to go. There was some wind chill and I really hadn’t brought the best layers; my mind had locked in on sunny and warm. So I ran with heavy sweats as outer layers on top and bottom, which I had brought for pre-run comfort. No excuses!

We followed our plan and kept the speed down. The miles rolled past as we talked, agreeing that the first hour was easy. We followed the Richland trails along the Columbia River, starting at Anthony’s and heading upriver. Though we planned on five miles each way, we went to the WSU campus before turning back; we were gifted a bonus mile!

Around six miles in, my groin started to tighten a little, and around the seven or eight mile mark we agreed that our legs were tiring. Accountability partnering would help us press on. Each mile becomes harder than the last.

Quitting is the easier, softer way. Our minds can dream up plenty of reasons to stop.  You’ve already gone eight miles; that’s plenty! Going farther could lead to injury. Moderation in all things. It’s time to rest!

So it takes mental toughness to press on. I know we have some, based on past experiences. One foot in front of the other. Focus on form, to avoid injury. Find the softest path. Breathe. Keep going.

Eleven miles! The last one felt brutal. Annie suggested stretching it out for the last few hundred yards, so she did. I was down to one speed. Just like the bicycles of my youth! She waited for me, and we hit the finish together. Drinks have never tasted better!

We believe we’ll be able to finish the race, anticipating that our bodies will recover and come back stronger than before. We may eat energy gels earlier on race day, and perhaps add another. There will be even more excitement. How tough will we be? How fast will we be? With some luck, we will see!  🙂

It’s really fun to keep on trying to find my way! This amazing gift of life feels more precious than ever now. No doubt it always has been, so what’s the difference?

My need to surrender grandiose illusions of control is spotlighted regularly.  So is my wish to passionately live the fullest life I can muster. For now, I reconcile the two by searching my soul for ways to live well, then practicing release of the pull to control results.

I’m striving to serve co-workers, balancing priorities and accepting that the bureaucracy will often go against my wishes. C’est la vie!

I’m engaging in regular exercise, signing up for competitions and listening carefully to my body. It will tell me what it can do. It tells me when to mix it up, take a break or hit the gas!

I read blogs and books to expand my thinking. I don’t know how enlightened I’ll become. It’s a fun journey!

I like waking up from a recent recurring dream: I’m throwing a long pass in a football game. Did I throw well? Will it be caught? Does it really matter? I’m throwing deep! Yay!!!

Annie's 21st birthday celebration!

Annie’s 21st birthday celebration!  Her husband Zach & I

My daughter Annie grew from the baby in the picture on the wall to the spunky, sparkly woman above.  She brings joy, adventure, curiosity, nutrition, exercise, humor and flavor with her every visit.  This weekend’s flavors have included kale, spinach, chocolate and coffee.  Her new Vita-mix blender churned up wonderful smoothies, frozen yogurt and frappes.  I’m feeling hydrated, energized and happy!  Do I need a super blender of my own?

Annie just started nursing school, so we got blood pressure testing and heart and lung checkups.  I got a clean bill of health, as expected, so we did a lot of weight-lifting and cardiovascular exercise at the gym.  Last night we even danced a little after a tasty dinner. How sweet it is!  🙂

I’ve got a hell of a buzz right now!  I’m tripping like it was the 1960’s!  Being the youngster that I am, I probably should have said the 1970’s or 80’s or 90’s. They all run together in my mind.  What’s left of it, that is!

This trip is especially good, because it’ll be hangover free!  No dead-head recovery time!  No remorse!  Compared to the cost of booze and other drugs, this trip should have cost me a fortune!  Wow!  I feel like I just won something big.  I can look forward to serenity, in place of the shakes.  Rather than withdrawal-induced anger, I’ll get peace of mind.  No headache; clear thinking instead.  There will be no craving.  In its place, quiet confidence.  I won’t be passing out soon.  I won’t be chasing any dragons.  No guilt, no loneliness, no isolation, no addiction.  All of that ugly stuff is gone.  And I still get the buzz!  Better than ever!!!

It’s pretty cool.  All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other.  Quite a few times in a row, with a decent pace, but amazingly simple and free.  So, to whomever said that the best things in life are free:  you’re right again!

 

Sometimes, you just need to do the dishes.  Well, when Annie’s around, you ALWAYS need to do the dishes!  She loves to cook.  How many people are having ten course meals for a group of 3-5?  We may be the only ones.  I think mental health services are in order.  For Annie’s addictive cooking?  For my support of her grandiose spreads?

The good news is that we should be able to burn off the food she’s preparing for us in time to face Christmas and New Year’s celebrations!

I’ve recovered from recent exercise, spending today on chores, massage, hair cut, etc.  My muscles are ready to go!  It feels a bit unusual to not be too sore.  If Annie reads this, I may regret saying that!  More jumping lunges!  More killer weight sets!  More Stairmaster!  More!  More!  More!  Fricken moreaholic!  Have I created a monster? 

Check out our menu here.  I wonder how many hours I should work out tomorrow morning…

Muscles!  We want them!  We love what they do!

They lift us, they love us, they carry us through!

All kinds of adventures come streaming our way

when strong supple muscles prepare us for play!

Run faster!  Jump higher!  It’s all in the script,

lift heavy, pump often, come on, let’s get ripped!

Live better, live longer, enjoy your stay!

Trip out on endorphins and savor your days!

  1. Mind altering substances aren’t solutions.  Mind altering choices and activities are!
  2. No one ever became less sloppy, more coordinated, less promiscuous or more intelligent from drinking alcohol.  In this case, less is better.
  3. Laziness never helps a person or a society.  Entitlements are laziness defined.
  4. Integrity, cooperation, humility, persistence and creativity are often found in successful people.
  5. Nobody owes me anything, unless I’ve loaned them money.
  6. I am responsible for how my life is going.  Blame is denial, or a stifling, futile avoidance of the truth.  People do whatever they choose to do.  They have no control over my responses, unless I’m silly enough to grant it to them.
  7. I have no idea what’s happening next.  I have opportunity to respond well!
  8. I face continual choices that decide who I am.  Opportunity NEVER stops knocking!
  9. New trucks, bikes, golf clubs, televisions, clothes and other material things are rewarding.  They’re nice rewards for working hard.  They’re also like dust in the wind compared to relationships.
  10. The most fun days at work are dressing up in wild outfits for Halloween.  Someone suggested that I wish every day was Halloween! 
  11. Exercise is like breathing – don’t stop!
  12. My health is directly related to what I eat, drink, breathe, do and believe.  “Do” is a short word with a lot of impact!

I think this should be Annie’s new moniker.  She has little mercy on me when we exercise together.  It’s a love-hate relationship:  I love the way she opens my mind to new ways to mix up workouts.  I sometimes hate the soreness.  Tomorrow just may be one of those days!  Today, before the Dad’s weekend concert in Pullman, we joined Lauren at the awesome Rec Center for weight lifting and extreme incline climbing, as wells as interval running.  My hamstrings were already sore from dead lifts a couple of days back.  A song has come to mind:  “you ain’t seen nothing yet….”  If I can walk tomorrow, we’ll hit arms weights hard before watching a basketball and football doubleheader.  Watching Mike Leach interviews has been nearly as much fun as watching the games!

Dancing at the concert was invigorating!  Maybe that’ll push out enough lactic acid to save me?

A few weeks ago I golfed this course for the first time.  It is awesome!  The rolling hills offer many challenges, and they lead to lovely views.  Today, my daughter Annie and I ran around a small part of the course and much of the practice facility.  What a wonderful way to rejuvenate, invigorate and work up an appetite for her amazing cinnamon rolls.  They’re both the best I’ve ever tasted and the healthiest, by far!  How I love WIN-WIN solutions!  How lucky am I to get to eat her ever-expanding array of creative, tasty and healthy recipes!

It’s been a great weekend!  I took Friday off to start early, joining my brothers Pat and Jim for some very challenging golfing tests.  The Palouse Ridge golf club offers panoramic views, sloping fairways and smooth, fast and hard greens.  There is absolutely no boredom here.  Extreme side-hill lies, British style bunkers, tall native grasses and well designed holes offer challenge, opportunity and danger.  My best advice is to bring extra balls, especially the ones you can hit with a club!

After golf, Annie treated us to oven fresh bread, roasted vegetables with feta and parmesan, red pepper vinaigrette chicken, cheesy cauliflower quinoa and chocolate pumpkin bars.  It was all so good!  ( :

On Saturday we enjoyed good sleep, burgers and sausages at Jim’s fifth wheel party and awesome sunshine in the student section of Martin Stadium.  We had an impressive view of the stadium expansion and saw some good plays by the Cougars.  Not enough to win the game though, as they fell to Colorado, 35-34.  As usual, Mike Leach’s post-game interview was entertaining and enlightening.  He’s changing a culture; I believe he’ll get it done.

After a short rest and re-fueling, Annie and I visited the Rec center to exercise.  We started with 25 minutes of fast paced lunges and weights and then moved to ellipticals, rowing machines and 12 percent incline treadmills, for 40 more minutes of cardiovascular training.  It felt so good!  We then had wonderful leftovers and chocolate applesauce oatmeal muffins, fresh from the oven.  Yay!

Tomorrow we hope to hike up Moscow Mountain.  What lucky people we are!  I hope we smuggle some muffins along!!!

After lifting weights for 45 minutes today, mostly with my legs, I went for a ride on my bike.  At first, my legs felt sluggish, presumably from the weight lifting.  The more I rode, the better I felt.  I actually felt my mind and legs shift into a higher gear at one point.  From then on, I engaged my abs, pulled on the handlebars and stroked the pedals with consistent power.  It was the most powerful pedaling I’ve felt from my legs in some time.  It felt so good!  ( :

Sometimes I feel it, and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I’m motivated, and sometimes I’m not.  Today I felt good and strong in the weight room.  So I lifted steadily with minimal breaks between sets, alternating arm sets with leg sets and ab sets, mixing in stretches.  I kept moving for eighty minutes.  It made me feel vital, strong, and fully alive!  I pushed hard, knowing that progress comes with effort, not with comfort.  The comfort came later, in the form of a tasty chocolate banana protein milkshake, vegetable salad, Prime beef steak and Weight Watchers ice cream treat.  Now for a shower, reading, sleep and rejuvenation.  If I’m lucky, I’ll be graced with another day tomorrow.  Wouldn’t that be sweet?  ( :

frankoshanko

I love health, humor, adventure, exercise, romance and competition. Well, I just love life! ( :

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