Saturday, May 29, 2010


It was believed for a long time that running a 4 min mile was impossible, couldn't be done and anyone trying was just fooling themselves. Then once someone did it, lots of runners followed. Now it's a right of passage for elite runners to break through that once impossible wall. It was all in how it was perceived. If you believe something is impossible then it is. Now that doesn't mean if you believe something is possible that you can do it, but if you do believe and you have the ability, then you have a shot.

As a senior athlete, I pretty much figured that higher level competition was impossible. Then a famous race walking coach and competitor, Dave McGovern, told me that there were 2 walkers, on the US Team, that were over 50. That was like a lightening bolt striking me. What! I just assumed that level of competition was reserved for the younger athletes.

Now don't get me wrong, I doubt that I will ever be that good, but now I do believe it's possible to achieve more than I thought before. So I've changed my attitude, diet and training methods a bit. I've decided to find out just how much I can achieve. Starting with this years State games and Senior Olympic trials and then next year the Senior Olympics. After that I'll just have to see how far I've come and decide my next step.

There is an old saying, "Your Attitude determines your altitude".

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Being and Doing

There are many phases or levels of walking, running or run walking. The first few months are the times of discovering your own body again. Where you are strong, where you are weak and all that's in between. Those beginning months are when every week and sometimes everyday are new personal records of distance and speed. As your body adapts to the stress of exercise your mind becomes dependant on that wonderful feeling of motion.

The next level of motion is doing the race events. It's a whole new world when we join others. We are no longer just someone out getting in better shape, this is the time we realize we are indeed athletes. We are not fast or lean yet but we are well on our way and we have started to form dreams and goals.

After a few years of doing the races and steadily improving we get to a point where we begin to feel that we are as strong and fast and lean as we are going to get. We are having fun with our training and racing but it's beginning to get stale. It seems that the excitement is not there like it used to be. We enjoy the company of our friends we see at our races and those who sometimes train with us. But something is missing.

The next level is not one that just counciously happens. At this level we differ greatly in where we branch out. Some just quit and take a break for a few weeks or months or years. I have been there several times. Often quiting for years before suddenly getting the desire again to lace up and begin again. Other times we advance to long distance and move up to marathons or ultras. Instead of 5Ks and 10Ks we do the half and full marathons. Races become a good excuse to travel and a race becomes a mini vacation and and adventure.

The next level is one that writers have tried to describe for years. It's like the zen of motion. It's where we are there doing our miles, not because we are training for something but because we just enjoy the being and the doing. It's where we no longer even time our runs or walks but just do them because it's the best time of our day. It's when we meet others to do some miles just because being with good friends in the open air, with the sounds and smells of the world around you is just about the best feeling in the world.

Whatever level we are in our journey to health and happiness, being in motion should be a part of it. Our wonderful bodies were designed for motion not for sitting around watching life go by.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Friday, May 14, 2010

Waiting For Adventures.

I've been on the planet for a long time and one of the things I've noticed is that way to many people spend their lives waiting to live. They wait for vacations, they wait for holidays, like Christmas to get together with friends or family and they wait hoping for others to visit. They can't wait for the days to go by till the event comes up. Even more sad is that a lot of people wait for some happiness that never comes.

I'm an adult athlete, one of the big advantages to that are that my adventures come everyday. Today I'm off work so I'm driving down to Nashville and meeting another race walker to train on the hills. This fellow and I don't get to see each other very often except on Disney trips but this year we decided to do some training together. We only live 60 miles apart so we decided to not wait till January each year to enjoy each others company.

There are some online groups of runners and walkers that do races all over the country. These frequent weekend trips are wonderful breaks from the routine of work and a chance for adventure and seeing friends. I used to just see these friends a couple of times a year and spend the rest of the time longing for trip time to come.

Last year my world was turned upside down by a separation and divorce. I was in a fog for a while there and realized when I emerged from that fog that I'd been in a rut for a long time. I had spent a lot of my life waiting for my fun times and adventure instead of having those good times every week and often every day.

Now I train a lot more with others instead of alone. When you train with others every time you get together is a new adventure. A new chance to be with friends and to have awesome discussions. We have solved all the worlds problems during our walks and vented our troubles with someone who cares. I truly have the brothers and sisters I had never had before.

Each day now is another chance for an adventure, each weekend is a chance for a new trip to see other places and do races in interesting locations. I still do the Disney trip or two every year but now I don't just wait around for them, I'm to busy living.

I have a Disney friend who is a quilter, she gathers friends and family and has sewing "Bees", touching cloth is a stress reliever and a way to explore her creativity. Her quilting Bees are a chance to have fellowship and new adventures.

No matter what your interests are explore ways to enjoy them more often, don't wait for special events. Life is to short not to have fun and adventure as often as possible.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Dear Mr President

Mr President, with all due respect you are looking at health care from the wrong angle. You need to think it terms of making the nation well not making it mandatory to have health insurance.

I'm sure you are asking yourself now, "How do I go about that", so glad you asked, get you a bottle of water and I'll tell you.

To start with wellness has to start at the top. Yep right here with you. Federal incentives for cities and towns that build walker and bicycle paths through out the city. No federal funds for highways unless you make the paths. Businesses that put in showers for employees to use if they bike, walk or run to work, would be able to not only deduct the expense of the construction but would get extra points toward getting federal, state and city contracts. Fitness friendly businesses would be offered tax incentives.

People who purchase a bicycle or bicycles for the family can deduct that expense directly from their federal income tax. Not only is it a step toward health but a step toward lessening our dependence on foreign oil.

All expenses that are fitness related are also directly tax deductible, exercise clothing, expenses related to going to events like walks, runs, marathons, swimming events and bike tours. Each city will provide health clubs that are inexpensive with information and help for new exercisers. Private health club memberships are tax deductible. Low interest loans for someone starting a new health club.

Insurance companies will give healthy person discounts for people who keep themselves healthy. Think safe driver rates for good drivers. Those who smoke will be given free stop smoking counselling and free patches or gum to help with stopping.

I know this is a fantasy but it's how we need, as one of the most unhealthy of nations, to think. We are getting fattier and more addicted to the "good life" every year.

Thanks for reading.

Rambling Panda