Friday, February 24, 2017

Ultrarunning

Congratulations for 20 years of serious running. Back in 1997, when 57, I was introduced, firsthand, to a Ride and Tie event, when I competed in a limited distance endurance ride of 25 miles at Mount Hamilton in San Jose, California. Parked next to me, at the campsite, were partners Tony Brickel and Jeff Windenhausen. They had just completed the Mustang Classic Ride and Tie event. One thing led to another and I too soon started competing in the Ride and Tie events. For those of you that do not know what is a Ride and Tie, I’ll tell you. Ride and tie is composed of a team. The team consisted of two individuals, and a horse. One person rode while the teammate runs. They take turns alternately running and riding. The team began the race together and then completed the race together over distances that ranged from 25 to 100 miles of mountain trails. Thus, serious running began. Since that momentous time, I completed over 1800 trail miles of ride and tie. Within the 1800 miles, I also completed a 75 mile event and was victorious in a 100 mile event with partner Jonathan Jordan and with my equine Gypsy. Further, I began competing and running in trail events that ranged from 5K’s to 100 miles. However, many of those events have been 50 K’s. In fact, this coming Saturday, the 25th, Tony, Jonathan and I are running the Salmon Falls 50 K. Jonathan, Georgia born, is a defense attorney practicing in the San Diego area. He has been running 50 K’s in my neck of the woods for the past 12 years or so. Tony, assisted me on my first Tevis endurance ride. This was also a 100 mile one day event. Tony and his wife, Debbie, were there at the vet check in Forest Hill, on that day, some 60 miles into the ride and again at the finish in Auburn, California. Tony, also met me at Robie Point some 97 miles, give or take, when I completed the Western States 100 mile endurance run. Since his retirement, we’ve been running together roughly 3 times a week and have competed in many events together. Tony my technical support friend; a co-producer on our TV show; had created a video that accompanied book signings and presentations for my first book “It Has Nothing To Do with Age.” He has also provided a multitude of assistance in many numerous venues. Many things have been stated on the trail that stay on the trail. Some might question compulsive running, averaging 50 miles per week since 2001. I am simply running away from illness, and running toward health. If you doubt my simplicity, take a good look at me, view pictures of others my age, consult with Dan Merck my physician, read “It Has Nothing To Do with Age,” or accompany me on a trail run. Then we can seriously talk. Those that still have doubts, about running toward health, consider reading the article, “Keep It Moving, in the 12-11-16 edition of the New York Times. This article evaluated male volunteers. They were active four days in a row and then had four sedentary days in a row. When active, these individuals walked as often as they could. In contrast, when sedentary, they sat for about 14 hours a day. On the evening of the fourth day, the men ran for an hour. The next morning they ate a high-fat sugary breakfast. The men were then evaluated for the amount of triglycerides, which are the fats associated with heart disease that enter the bloodstream after meals. In summary, the researchers found that the men who sat for 14 hours a day and even though they ran the next morning, their triglycerides level in their blood remained high. Too much sitting seemed to have made their bodies resistant to the benefits of exercise. In essence, keep moving, so that you can have more of an opportunity for healthy triglyceride reduction in your bloodstream. PS In writing this post, I wrote this brief testimonial with my computer, which lies raised on a platform so that I stand. I continue to talk the talk and walk the walk. No one, to my knowledge, said doing what’s good for your mind and body was easy, because it’s not.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Brady's Drive Part 3

Brady has accomplished, in his football career, what others dream about. He’s mastered his position as a quarterback. He was once 6th string and a sixth round NFL draft choice. Now he’s being talked about as being the greatest. He has overcome obstacles, attained a high standard and surpassed others playing at his position. His Achievement is unsurpassed at the moment. Tom Is currently playing at the highest standard possible. Brady’s competitiveness {Aggression} was also expressed by his strong desire to win. For him, the opposition was like the enemy that one has to oppose. He used all his skills in a forceful manner. When he threw the ball for a completion, he did it with high velocity. In that overtime victory in the Super Bowl, Brady was on the attack and was played aggressively. Although in control, his passes hit their target repeatedly. Briefly, I have inferred the existence of a few of Tom Brady’s secondary needs .This was based on his overt behavior, which typically expressed itself in motor activity. I have linked these needs primarily to his current employment. However, Tom’s secondary needs are not limited to playing football. His need structure was largely determined and came from within, as opposed to being a reaction from the environment. Brady’s needs lead to a desired state in which there was gratification or the fulfillment of feelings or emotions. These need structures drove his behavior and those strivings gave his life meaning. Being a Patriot quarterback, is Tom’s identity. That’s Tom Brady! Some speculated that with that Super Bowl LI victory, he could retire because now he has nothing more to prove. Setting records was not his primary motivational drive. Instead, he has to meet needs of abasement, achievement, affiliation, and aggression through game performance. If so, he shall continue to compete in this brutal game of professional football. If these secondary needs can’t be met through outstanding play as a result of injury or a significant decrease in skill set, then he is likely to retire. Reality is not always possible as in our dreams .Tom Brady is mortal and although his mind with its defense mechanisms may say yes, his body may say no. Our body doesn’t lie. It will speak to him and tell him when it’s the end. Go Blue!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Brady's Drive Part 2

It’s believed that the preceding 10 facts regarding Tom Brady suggest the following. We know that he possessed mental and physical toughness {Abasement}. Tom Brady knew that he has put his brain and body in harm’s way every time he received the ball from center. Something hurtful can happen like being stepped on by his own player; having a finger jammed or dislocated like Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders; or being thrown to the ground by some 300 pound giant. Further, an overused injury can be sustained while working out or conditioning himself. And, he maintained a strict diet with a personal trainer in order to further his career in the brutal game called football. Being the quarterback, Tom accepted the criticism or blame of the press when plays don’t go as planned. He was accused and punished by the NFL for being associated with deflating of footballs in order to win a playoff game two years ago. He fought the charges in court, but did not wine about the situation. Asked, by the press, if revenge played a part in his motivation to succeed this year. Coach Belichick, to his defense, called that question nonsense and insulting. Did Brady accept all the praise and glory in his team’s Super Bowl victories? No, he praised his teammates, coaches and the organization {Affiliation} for their success. He reciprocated, remained loyal and applied it to the concept that this was a team game. He learned about the importance of the team playing for the Wolverines. Coach Carr was part of Michigan legend Schembechler’s coaching tree. Beginning in 1969, Scembechler’s players incorporated the concept that players win as a team and lose as a team. It’s nothing more, nothing less. Records and victories can’t be accomplished if everyone doesn’t do their part or do their job. To Be Continued

Friday, February 10, 2017

Brady's Drive

With the historic New England Patriot’s comeback win in Super Bowl LI, many called quarterback Tom Brady the greatest quarterback ever. If the criteria was based on number of Super Bowl victories, the number of Super Bowl MVPs, Tom Brady would be the greatest quarterback ever to play the game. If other criteria were used, then we are not measuring apples to apples. One cannot fairly compare a player from one era to a player from another era. For example, Ed Budde was a number one draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, and played in the first Super Bowl. He played for 14 seasons with the Chiefs. He also had two sons that played football. His oldest was also the number one draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. His youngest son had a tryout with the Chicago Bears, but didn’t make the team. In private conversation, Ed told me that his youngest son was bigger, faster and stronger than him. The physical characteristics of players, and the skill level then and now are significantly different. Let’s asses Brady’s behavior, football related statistics, TV interviews , personal communication with a former University of Michigan Wolverine and current radio announcer for both the Wolverines and the Detroit Lions. These components provided insight into Tom Brady’s motivational dynamics. Ideas employed are based on Henry A. Murray’s personology theory. 1. Tom started out as a 6th string quarterback for the University of Michigan. He was also a sixth round draft pick by the New England Patriots. 2. Tom, in TV interviews, talked about his teammates Mental Toughness. 3. Even though Tom was awarded the MVP in Super Bowl LI, he said the award should’ve gone to teammate James White. 4. Tom didn’t play in the Patriots first four games this season because of a league suspension. With very limited team practice time, he started as quarterback in the Patriots fifth season game .In that victory, he attained over 300 passing yards. 5. Tom talked about his teammates favorably after games and stressed their importance in their victories. He also talked about himself playing better. 6. After a New England Patriot and Detroit Lions exhibition game, he warmly greeted the Detroit Lions radio announcer, Jim Brandstatter a former Wolverine. Fellow Wolverines are bonded 7. At the start of the past Michigan Wolverine football season, Tom attended the game, was made honorary captain and was seen throwing a football to his son on the Big House field as well as playing catch with football head Coach Jim Harbaugh. 8. Jim Harbaugh called Tom Brady, the greatest football player ever; said Brady could coach his Wolverines; and Jim would be his quarterback coach. 9. Patriot head coach Bill Belichick said that the season was difficult for Tom. He didn’t believe that Brady’s four-game suspension, motivated him. In fact, Belichick said. “I think it’s really inappropriate to suggest that in Tom’s career, he’s been anything other than a great teammate, a great worker and he has given us every single ounce of effort, blood, sweat and tears that he has in him. To insinuate that somehow this year was different, that this season, he competed harder or did anything to higher degree than he did in the past is insulting. I think to the tremendous effort and leadership and competitiveness that he’s shown for the 17 years that I’ve coached him. ….Tom Brady gives us his best every time he steps onto the field.” 10. At the University of Michigan and with the New England Patriots, Brady employed a personal trainer. To Be Continued

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Attachment Part 2

Two other examples of anxiety and safety seem parallel and are associated with the infant’s attachment level to adults. The first is called Stranger Anxiety. This anxiety response is to a strange face and is generally seen in American children about six months of age, and then gradually disappeared by the time the child is 12 to 15 months. It takes longer for the fear to disappear generally with Infants reared in isolated rural areas and with infants with retarded cognitive development. Separation Anxiety, a second example, appeared in American infants at about 10 to 12 months of age and begins to disappear at about 20 to 24 months of age. A number of studies, have been implemented, studying this dynamic. A glaring example was with the institutionalized infant, when reared in a monotonous and impersonal environment. These infants are often cognitively and emotionally deficient; and have difficulty in reaction to human beings in a socialized way compared to a family reared children or those reared in responsive institutions. However, even a one-year-old child who may have been a victim of neglect seemed to possess a substantial capacity for recovery. Importantly, the environment after that first year loss, must provide the freedom for him to explore his world and establish positive relations with adults and children. Four different attachment classifications have been hypothesized for children based on early caregiving experience. 1. Secure attachment 2. Anxious-ambivalent attachment 3. Anxious-avoidant attachment 4.Disorganized/disoriented attachment. More recent research incorporated the attachment styles for children and developed new categories for adults. The categories include: 1. Secure 2. Anxious-preoccupied. 3. Dismissive-avoidant 4. Fearful- avoidant. The interaction between mother and infant has consequences throughout the lifespan. There are “many” complex variables at work during parenting. Unfortunately, models of parenting are often based upon one’s own upbringing. It may also be incorrectly interpreted. The high divorce rate, the vast number of unsatisfactory marriages, numerous poor interpersonal relationships and work related issues with the supervisor suggest impaired caretaking, beginning with the age of the infant. Individual therapy, family therapy, couples therapy with presenting problems of interpersonal difficulty keep therapists busy as issues. Critical difficulties with relationships beginning with the infant and child become replayed over and over again with different players throughout one’s lifetime.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Attachment

For additional insight into your relationship style, consult the article “Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault” in the January 8, 2017 New York Times as it dealt with the “ Attachment Theory” based on the work of Drs. John Bowlby and Mary S. Ainsworth. Their findings may trigger your curiosity. This theory dealt with the complex interactions between the infant and the caretaker. The result of their research, provide clues into the psychological development-attachment style of the child, adolescent and adult. This interaction between caretaker and child focused on infant behaviors such as crying, sucking, smiling, clinging, and the responses that followed between the dyad. The mother’s psychological condition obviously affected her ability to respond to her child appropriately and by the same token, the newborns temperament and cognitive development affected his ability to respond-looking, vocalizing, smiling, and distress. Some other clues to the child’s emotional adjustment is depicted by its ability to feed well, sleep well and ease of its bowel movements. It’s the idea that the caretaker not only talks and stimulates the baby to babble, etc. but the mother also alleviated the child’s hunger, cold, and pain while performing caretaking acts as well. The quality and the ability of the mother to meet the infant’s needs and become a positive reinforcement value is a must for healthy development. Hopefully, the mother doesn’t become associated as a negative reinforcement value. Research by Dr. Harry Harlow provided some insight into the feeding dynamic between mother and infant. This dynamic was associated with the infant’s ability to develop trust and well-being during the process. Dr. Harlow conducted a series of studies that employed “mother” monkeys that were constructed with wire mesh to other mother monkeys that were covered by Terry cloth. Both “mother” monkeys had a bottle attached to their chest. Briefly, and in a variety of experiments, these infant monkeys characteristically chose the terry cloth mother, and spent more time, clinging to her than to the plain wire mesh mother. Even when a fear provoking stimulus was placed in the cage, the infant monkeys ran to the terry cloth mother rather than to the wire mesh mother. The terry cloth mother was also more effective in reducing the monkeys fear compared with the wire mesh mother. These experiments suggested the importance of closely holding the infant near while feeding instead of being preoccupied or by propping a bottle during feeding. A sense of safety for the infant is paramount. To Be Continued

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mental Toughness Revisited, Part 3

What about the average athletic individual? This individual might be overweight, or might be a couch potato. The individual might be older .The weather conditions might include rain, snow or triple digits. The individual might have awakened late and felt tired and sluggish. This individual might have remembered that on previous workouts, he experienced soreness, tired legs, oxygen deprivation, high heart rate, pain in the side etc. Mental toughness for these individuals is putting on workout clothes and beginning to exercise. For me, it’s not uncommon to feel lousy in the morning within the comfort of my home. However, when I initiate my trail run, I feel better and am happy that I did start. I know about physical and psychological pain because I ran and was a division winner In the 100 Mile Western States trail run at age 62. I also experienced physical and psychological pain, when I completed with my horse and partner the 100 mile one day Swanton Pacific Ride and Tie. We won that race when I was 68, at the time. More recently, at age 76, in 2016, I experienced discomfort when I ran 20 miles or more. After completing the 50 K “Way Too Cool,” I was evaluated by my physician and he referred me to the surgeon and he surgically repaired my two hernias. It’s clear that there are a myriad of ways to inflict pain upon oneself. I plan to continue with my running. What enables me to get off the couch in the morning is that I have set up a future goal. That goal is related to some competitive running event. I know that if I don’t condition myself properly, I might not complete the event or might even hurt or stress myself even more. If I didn’t have a future event to look forward to, it might be more difficult for me to be as compulsive as I am about my running. In conclusion, Mental Toughness, per Psychological Principle 12 is the acknowledgment and acceptance of Murray’s n Abasement- to accept injury, punishment; to seek and enjoy pain or discomfort. We know, and we accept what can happen when we lace up our running shoes and go for a run. We also know that we are driven by more than this one particular need and further, that we will be fulfilling additional needs that have a multitude of benefits. Moreover, mental toughness is one component within the big picture of the Abasement need and helps explain the motivation of inflicting discomfort directed toward oneself. Obviously, some go to greater extremes than others.