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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…

Nick, Jaslyn, Katie and I watched the Cougs smack Stanford around as a Halloween party!

Nick, Jaslyn, Katie and I watched the Cougs smack Stanford around as a Halloween party!

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!

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!

Freedom and fun!

Freedom and fun!

Nick’s done with school!  He, Jaslyn and Zach all got their first experiences with standup paddle boarding today. Their master guide was Annie, since she’s been out half a dozen times. It sounds like they love it as much as we do!

After work and weight lifting with Annie, Nick and I had our first hackysack game in a while. We haven’t lost our touch. Annie captured some images.  You’ll have to wait for a video or a live game to appreciate Nick’s amazing quickness and flexibility. I tend to focus on getting the sack somewhere near him, and letting him do the rest.


I hit many nice toe shots:

Staying young?

Staying young?

Nick has a wide arsenal of shots. Sometimes he makes them up as he goes.

Winging it!

Winging it

Reaction time, athleticism and creativity are useful in hackysack.  Nick makes some amazing shots by never giving up.  Sometimes misses are progress towards pulling off amazing shots later.

Stretching it!

Martial arts?  Nick missed a line drive pass I sent him…

The adrenaline can really flow:

Sometimes hackysacks take high rides.  Perhaps even over a fence...

Sometimes hackysacks take high rides. Perhaps even over a fence…

Hackysack is fun and great training for agility, flexibility, balance, quickness, focus and creativity.  Hack on!

Golf courses

Golf courses (Photo credit: eutrophication&hypoxia)

I went out to practice some golf shots today, for the first time in nearly seven months.  The weather was perfect: seventy degrees, lovely sunshine and gentle breezes.  Putting practice reminded me of a life lesson:  don’t think too much about the stroke.  Instead, concentrate on getting the ball rolling well on a line of your choice.  Then maybe, just maybe, it will drop into the hole!  After some success with this concept, I was about to graduate to the driving range, when I heard an old friend calling my name.  Since he was preparing to play a round, I cast aside my fear of embarrassment and joined him.  I struggled on some holes and excelled on others.  How did they differ?  Well, since golf is as complicated of a game as I’ve ever met, I hesitate to oversimplify cause and effect.  But there are truths to be shared!  When preparing for a shot, I must visualize a good shot, seeing it in my mind, while relaxing my muscles and controlling the length of my backswing, effectively playing within myself.  When I did this today, I stroked a 230 yard fairway wood to within two feet of the cup, allowing myself a simple tap in for birdie.  On the very next hole, I had missed the green by about twenty yards and faced an uphill/sidehill pitch to the pin.  I had a rough idea where to hit my next shot to get my ball close, but I chose to walk up the hill to get a better feel for the lay of the land.  I remembered that I needed to relax, visualize the perfect shot, trust my swing and do my best.  The ball flew perfectly, skipped a bit and rolled right into the hole!  I had two birdies in a row after suffering through double and quadruple bogeys earlier in the round.  Perhaps life, like golf, is about visualizing the best path, having faith that proper actions will be effective, executing as well as we can and enjoying the results, whatever they may be.  Setbacks need not be reason for dismay or pessimism.  They can rouse our willingness to believe in the possible, spur our ability to visualize awesomeness and open the door to achieving previously unimagined successes.  If I believe something is not possible, then it surely is not.  If I believe in possibilities, amazing things can happen!  ( :

No donkeys.  Not even a pickup truck!  We chose bicycles on a packed gravel path.  Ricky Bobby would have been proud; we went fast!  Do you know what it was like?  Very much like sprinting fast at the Balloonsday Run, riding my bicycle at top speed made me feel young!  Yay!  Cranking the pedals made me feel strong.  Alive!  I got high without sucking down a cocktail, firing up a cigarette or using other drugs.  This was SO MUCH BETTER!!!  ( :

It was a true pleasure to ride with my son Nicholas.  It fired me up, both for his well-being and for my own.  Before the ride, I felt a bit tired, lazy and indifferent.  Afterwards, I’m stoked, energized, motivated and inspired!  Yippee!  Exercise truly is an amazing high!  It’s fun, good for my body, re-charging for my spirit and soothing for my soul.

Super Peach and I lifted weights for two hours and walked for an hour and a half on Sunday.  Our bond is amazing!  Thank you Lord for my amazing kids!!!  ( :

Surrendering  my holdout compulsions is setting me free!  I have faith that I can become a better version of me, in so many ways!  I have avoided compulsive, emotional eating for two nights.  Last evening I ran my favorite training loop in my fastest time in nearly two years.  I started out slowly, with an ache in my right ankle, but I got stronger as I ran, peaking around the four mile mark.  The flow felt good, so I brought it home with a negative split, similar to our finish at Bloomsday.  The Balloonsday run is this Saturday; I’m excited to see if I can get even faster!  I’m also excited to see who will show up for this event.  I’m hoping to find someone a little faster than me to race!  ( :

Today’s race is about life.  Someone’s always faster, smarter, taller, stronger or better looking.  Someone else is not.  Do we mesh?  Do we cherish differences and similarities?  How well have we trained ourselves?  Will we take the evidence and use it to enhance our future?  With a smile?  Humility?  Have we done our best and graciously accepted it?  Let’s do this!

Yippee!!!  I’m getting excited about Bloomsday 2012!  Fifty thousand people rendezvous for health.  Plenty of people to race!  The energy of the crowd is indescribable.  Pre-game jitters multiplied by thousands and thousands.  Anxiety about surviving the first mile without getting tripped, run over or stepped on.  Doomsday dread.  Okay I said it.  I dread that fricking hill!  It’s not just a big, steep hill.  It comes after miles of racing, including another challenging hill.  It’s ominous.  It blasts into view, nature’s blatant attempt to psych us out.  How deep does our determination run?  Are we ready for the mind games?  Is it really bad to walk a little?  Does that make me a wimp?  Is it not actually healthier for me to walk, avoiding dangerous health complications?  It’s okay to walk, it’s only a run for fun.  Don’t worry, you’re still one of the healthier people, just being out here.  It feels too hard to keep running; I should walk.  I can’t breathe!  I can’t get enough air!  It’s too hot!  My ankle/foot/knee/hip/calf/quad/hamstring/glut/toe hurts!  Yeah right.  Annie, I’m coming for you!  This is a challenge of the wills!  May the best runner win!!! 

Whacking little balls with long sticks into tiny, faraway holes is not the easiest thing to do.  Apparently we enjoy challenge!  The lure runs even deeper: fresh air, majestic settings, timeless perspective.  What great opportunities to face our egos!  Humility may grow as double bogeys awaken us.   Wanting something too badly can make it unattainable (thanks to Deepak Chopra’s book entitled “Golf for Enlightenment”).  Staying within my natural gifts, by controlling the pace and length of my swing, has led to the purest stroking and best scores of my life.  Overswinging, a direct product of ego, has delivered horrendous results.  These can shatter confidence, divert focus and destroy succeeding shots.  It’s a vicious circle of decay!  It’s a commentary on life!  Stroke well!  ( :

I think Nick’s right:  Ninjas would make great hackysackers!  We hacked about half an hour in the sun yesterday, and the magic is coming back for us.  Yay!  We’ve had a winter layoff, so we needed remedial training, but it won’t take long.  Our creativity is there.  I could use more flexibility and quickness, but I’m grateful to be hacking at all!  Healthy body parts are delightful gifts we should never take for granted.  Foot and ankle trials of late have reinforced this for me.  Bold attempts at innovative shots tossed us into comedic stumbles, flops and lunges.  Never give up on a play!  Often, tardy attempts at new maneuvers expand our arsenal.  Muscle memory builds new shots via practice, willingness and perseverance.  It’s parallel to life!  Sack hacking is fun, creative and therapeutic!

Some hockey players are amazing!  I watched my third Tri-City Americans game last evening, and they were quite impressive.  The Americans ramped up their level of play in the third period to dominate the Spokane Chiefs.  Right now, however, I’m watching the Vancouver Canucks and the Los Angeles Kings, and the NHL players are absolutely incredible! The speed and grace of their skating and their puck handling skills are awesome to watch!  I’m not sure whether they’re way better than the players of thirty years ago, but big screen HD television brings the action alive!

I’m sore from weight lifting and running.  I hope that it’s mostly “good” sore, where I’ll come back stronger and better, ready for more adventures in sport!  ( :

Playing hacky sack is so fun!  It rivets me in the present moment, my senses fully aware.  Tracking the sack is crucial, as is readiness of mind and body.  Hacky sack differs from predictable movement sports, like swinging a golf club or baseball bat, or rolling or throwing or shooting a ball.  It’s akin to being a quarterback in football or a point guard in basketball: read the situation immediately and respond with cat-like quickness.  Practice is crucial, as it: (1) Prepares muscle memory for prompt response to familiar situations. (2) Improves focus, readiness and patience.  Hackysack and golf are two of my favorite games, though I love many, because: (1) Perfection is unattainable & challenge is perpetual. (2) Crucial life skills are developed, such as focus, dedication and humility.  Hacky sack also fosters cooperation. (3) Natural beauty of outdoor, grassy areas. (4) They are sports that can be enjoyed fully at many different stages of life. (5) Each shot or kick varies from most others, requiring creative response. (6) Social bonding.

History of hacky sack:

Basics on how to play:


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

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