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Nick in June on Maui. He’s even bigger and stronger now!

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!

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What if I know of real solutions for affordable health care, but nobody listens? What if I know of a simple cure for some types of depression, but no one hears me? Stress reduction? Better health? Peace of mind? Contentment? Freedom?

Maybe we all have to figure them out on our own, in our own time. It’s cool that the answers are real and widely available! They’re almost free, yet priceless. I hope you agree, in the most real sense of all, via actions. Live well!

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!

Parasailing Frank

That’s me!  I’m a youngster, because I feel that I am. If I’m lucky, there may be time for being old later. If not, such is life. This youthfulness is really fun!

Stretching. Massaging. Toning. Pushing. Re-fueling. Resting. Meditating. Letting go. Researching. Imagining. Believing. Embracing. Accepting. Observing. Staying the course. Helping. Loving. Feeling. Joining. Solving. Releasing.

Joy! Beauty! Love! Excitement! Passion! Challenge! Desire! Success! Freedom! Blessings!

Kindness. Compassion. Gratitude. Sharing. Being.

Life is new, fresh and full of mind-boggling possibilities! Spring has sprung again, in a place that is dear to me: my soul!

Happy new day!

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!!!

Excellence or settling?  Being my best or getting by?  Learning or posturing?  Refining or repeating?  Aha or arghhh?  Does personal growth come down to honesty, open-mindedness, willingness, faith and dedication?  Can I practice gratitude without setting false limits on my potential?  Can I see my liabilities without sacrificing confidence that I am loving, intelligent, funny, devoted, kind, helpful, generous and open-minded?

I’m a bit like a high school senior.  What shall I do with my life?  I say this because my son is a high school senior.  He faces a world of opportunity.  We have different perspectives, based on experience and longevity.  Will my life blossom more fully with a touch of his life view?  What should I do with my time?  It seems more precious now.  Work or play?  New activities?  New places?  New people?  Train harder?  Take chances?  More variety or more specialized focus?  Live more consciously and less reactively?  Shelve assumptions?  Be proactive? 

I tell my kids they can do anything and be anyone they wish in this life, and I believe it fully.  Do I have the same faith in myself?  Who do I want to be, now that I’ve grown up?

The orthopedic surgeon told me a lot without clarifying much.  Apparently, almost all of us have been, or will be, stricken with elbow problems.  Our elbows are weak links, much like the rotator cuffs in our shoulders.  Healing is perhaps as much luck and art as it is science.  My elbow has improved over the past three months, but not completely.  The specialist gave great insights into advanced treatment options, as well as healing struggles, ending with the same message as my primary care provider:  if it hurts, don’t do it.  Otherwise, carry on!  Resting it is not the answer.  So I’m back to living a bit more fully.  I hit the weight room last evening, going very light with the weights and ramping way up on repetitions.  I’m excited to try golf, tennis and throwing a football.  I hope I keep healing.  I’m aiming to strengthen my arms, going more slowly this time.  Maybe I’ll be the tortoise; someone else can be the hare.  I hope to avoid cortisone injections, but the doctor said they seem to work well.  This feels like a big lesson for me in listening to my body, instead of trying to rule it.  Perhaps there are even bigger lessons: seeing more clearly my powerlessness, utter dependence and amazing blessings.  Even more, my complete ignorance of what’s coming next.  That’s reason for excitement!  Come on life!  Deal the next hand!  ( :

Annie inspires me often.  Her zest for life fires me up!  She makes me laugh.  She doesn’t let me take life’s ups and downs too seriously.  She loves me so much that she’ll suffer through my pity parties.  Luckily for her, I’m planning to be done with those! 

Annie thrives on life!  She lives as fully as possible.  We’ve enjoyed many adventures, competitions, shopping marathons, parties, games and gatherings together.  We LOVE to get high on exercise!  I mean REALLY HIGH!  Who could be as much fun as her?  How would I feel if I met someone who was just as much fun?  That sounds exciting!

Annie is the best cook in our little family.  The rest of us may not be world-class competition though.  Ha!  Annie really is a superb chef.  Her whole wheat three-cheese supreme pizza outclasses the New York pizzerias I’ve visited.  That’s saying a lot!  Her chicken quinoa was the rave of our huge extended family gathering.  My lucky co-workers, who enjoyed leftovers, were impressed.  It’s tasty, healthy, spicy and energizing!  Annie’s roasted vegetables are also awesome!  Her chocolate-banana protein milkshakes have become a staple of my wellness diet.  They may be even better when we add peanut butter!  Yay Annie!

Annie strives to be the best she can be at everything she does.  So she’s a stellar student and a ray of sunshine to the retired folks she serves at her job.  Who wouldn’t appreciate expressions of joy, compassion and encouragement?  Annie even tries to keep her home clean now.  That is a recent change for the better!

Annie’s now busy plotting more adventures for us to enjoy: river kayaking, camping, WSU football games, bicycling, running, nordic skiing, etc.  The more variety, the better!  That goes for activities, locations and participants! 

Live well!  ( :

I’m learning to listen to my body.  Here’s to hoping it’ll soon have more encouraging things to talk about!  Just kidding, sort of.  I have little trials, but I’ve been blessed with a lot of health and a body that’s allowed me to do so much.  Yay God!  ( :

ChiRunning talks about focusing on our form, starting with basics that make a lot of sense.  For instance, spending energy efficiently allows us to go farther.  Good postural alignment lets our spine handle our body weight, instead of our muscles.  Good alignment while running avoids the multitude of problems that people face, which often turn them away from running.  This is a tragedy if it makes them less active.  Moving leads to grooving!  In running, we make the same moves so many times over that it’s particularly important to do them with good mechanics. 

The tendonitis in my right elbow is blessing me with a chance to appreciate the challenges that others go through in life.  It’s also granting me opportunity to think positively, switching quickly away from what I cannot do and honing in on what I can do.  This is a chance to run again!  I did sixty minutes, or 281 floors, on the stair-stepper machine Tuesday evening.  I’ll be ready if I ever need to climb a skyscraper!  I ran for 45 minutes after mowing the lawn and fertilizing the plants on Wednesday evening.  If I have to rest my arm, I can still move my legs!

Snake River Canyon half marathon in 2007; my second best time so far……

Accountability.  Sounds like a bean counter’s word, doesn’t it?  I’m a bean counter, so I should know!  I have a Bachelor’s degree in Beancounterology, as well as decades of experience.  I even worked in a bean warehouse when I was very young.  Perhaps this was God’s humorous way of showing me how big some challenges are?  There were literally mountains of beans!

Enough digression!  Accountability means being responsible to someone for something, or “the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable” according to Dictionary.com.  Accountability can help keep us honest, on task and productive.  One very important priority for me is to be a better version of myself (thank you Matthew Kelly!).  This encompasses spiritual, emotional, intellectual, social and physical aspects, which are woven together to make me.  It is a fact that I can love who I am now and still continually strive to become a better version of myself.  For as long as I’m gifted with existence.  Is that forever?  How many more days do I get in this life on earth?  What will make it more rewarding for everyone involved?  What comes next? 

Finding a better me is not pressure or monotonous work.  It’s full of exciting challenges!  Yes, there are times of desperation and praying for help.  Yes to sweat, shortness of breath and muscle soreness.  Bring on the interpersonal challenges!  I can love people for their Godliness, and not resent their human limitations.  Because y’all are likely much like me.  The ones who can admit it are well on their way to serenity!

What was the original intent of this post?  Oh yeah, accountability.  Well, Annie started it, so here goes:  May 22, 2012 is a date I want to hold on to.  My first day of being clean and sober from gluttonous eating.  That’s two nights in a row for us real bean counters.  It’s as important as my other sobriety dates.  Can I hold on to it?  Well, I’m a human, but God can do anything!  ( :

PS – Hey Annie, the ab coaster gave me awesome burn!  4,580 meters in 20 minutes of rowing and 200 flights in 40 minutes on the stair-stepper.  Will Super Peach be ready for the next challenge?  ( :

frankoshanko

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

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