Thursday, July 06, 2017

Bump start your running

If you've been running for a while, maybe 30+ years like me, there will be good stars and abrupt stops.

Being a consistent every day athlete isn't for everyone. When I formed the Master Competitor brand, it was about being inclusive and encouraging everyone to keep going, at any pace. No shame, only someone to come up alongside when you might need a friend.

I hit a dead stop a while back. Bailed on running completely, convinced myself I was old(er) and it was appropriate to be a walker. Nothing wrong in that, but it didn't keep my motivation engine pumping. I stalled out.

So as has happened so many times before, it was time to rebuild. I always need a jump start, and for me, that most times comes in the form of shoes. My body needs maximum cushion so I am Hoka all the way.

I purchased Stinson 3 ATR, Mafate and the new Bondi 5. You can check the models out here. To max to the highest level, I go with the Dr. Scholl's sport inserts. Now it's the new runner version. See them here.

What's your bump start? Let's share some ideas, leave a comment.

Next time, we'll discuss a running technique that can make every slow runner, faster.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Transfer addiction?

Running is beneficial.

Running can transition you into new social circles.

Running is (can be) an addiction.

Are you a transfer addict? Taking one addiction, setting it aside, then carrying your addictive psychology into running?

It can happen. And it's not always a bad thing. It's the next best substitute.

I was (am?) an ultrarunner, since the Vermont 100 mile in 1989. That's a long time. Through low points in my personal and business life. I remained an ultra marathon man. And as times grew even more challenging, my identity to ultra increased. It was my "safe place" where if I suffered enough, I could control the outcome.

There are many ex-drug addicts in ultra. I'd suggest a 30 hour trail run may be better than the heroin needle in one's arm, or cocaine up one's nose.

No addiction is a good addiction, but for many, it's a demon we can't always avoid. Running can be that oasis where you can regroup, reform, then face the next battles in life.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Give it away. So there's nothing left.

Part of the Christian faith is framed in the message of Agape love. That is, to give as Christ gave, in the sense that you expect nothing in return.

It's not always easy. To me, that means leaving a little piece of yourself behind, every time you help or set an example for another.

Much of my motivation is to support and develop future leaders among university students. That may be in the form of listening and saying little in return. Or, making short prompting comments that lead a discussion - and learning opportunity - to a deeper level.

As Master Competitor, much of what I have left won't be age group wins, or a PR in ultras. It's modeling fitness and enjoyment of outdoor engagement. To be "my age" and knock out a 14 mile out and back on rugged trail can set a standard where "if he can do it, so can I!"

To stay aware that I must encourage all, to leave no one behind. To meet each student where they are, on that day in their maturity and development journey.

You might have heard the saying "less is more." I twist that a bit and ponder that as I become less, those around me become more.

I believe in the end, I will have left nothing behind.

I quit, I'm back. What makes a runner?

Thought I hit the threshold on running. I was simply tired. Running became more of a struggle than enjoyment. I was slipping...from 9 minute miles, to 10, then 12. I was ashamed.

I was running in my hometown in Wisconsin. A friend drove by in his truck and yelled "If that's all the faster you can go, better head straight to the hospital!" Maybe funny to him, but that narrative broke my psychological bank. I was done.

So, six months progressed. I became a walker. Still OK, did 4-6 miles a day and did Total Gym. Also cycling on the weekends, many times 50+ miles.

But, I was empty inside. I realized running drove everything else. My identity, my motivation to eat well, my desire to set goals.

I am a runner in my mind. So now, I am back.

Currently traveling in Greece. Went out for a shuffle in Santorini, 30 minutes out and back. Mostly down on the way up, climbing on the way back. One hour and 12.5 minutes a mile.

Sure it's not a stellar race pace. But I am 60 years old. And I am a runner.

Who ever you are, what ever place you are at, you can be in the club. Set the vision in your own mind. Don't let others manipulate how you arrange your thoughts.

Come join me. I would like you to be on the journey. Everyone is welcome, none are left behind.

Friday, May 12, 2017

10 day Total Gym: Optimize for every age

Photo courtesy
I've been posting on my Facebook feed, for the past 10 days. On these concluding remarks, I wanted to share across my Master Competitor blog platform. I had been reading recent research on how slow motion weight resistance is most beneficial. I applied that to my daily Total Gym workout and wrote about it.

Lessons to consider:

1) Do something, every day. My "secret" to fitness at 60 years old is to keep on, keeping on. Left foot, right foot, walk your journey every day. Not all of it will be stellar. Some is mundane. On those days when things aren't well or right, do a little bit. It's mental, emotional, to stay engaged.

2) Fight back. I had a couple of junk food days, bad decision making. Sure, I felt bad. But I focus my mind on resilience. I was also transitioning off a (bad idea for me) low carb diet. It just doesn't work well for vegetarians (I have been one for 17 years). If you look at the ketosis charts, many suggest less than 100 grams of carbs a day. I was trying to do it on protein bars, egg beaters and Swiss cheese. Forget it. I'm back to fruits and roasted vegetables. The strength of body and mind came back in a matter of days. Learn from your mistakes.

3) Help others. We are all working from our own place in life. Some will always be physically and emotional fragile, while others will be more settled. Step in, right where you are, and encourage others. Be compassionate. There is no more important time in society, in recent history, to demonstrate good character and concern for those around us. Show someone you care, it matters. My 10 day "challenge" was about being transparent, so that readers might consider their own fitness and nutrition goals.

4) Experiment. Make tiny changes and see what happens. Walk fast, walk slow. Lift weights with rapid reps, then go slo mo. Feel the difference. Adapt based on what you learn, It's fun, it's advantageous.

5) Optimize for age. Don't look back, to what you once were. I'm a former runner, over 75 marathons, dozens of ultras, nine 100-mile run finishes. Doesn't matter now. I walk, I use the Total Gym. Think of where you stand in life. What's 100% for who you are today? Are you 70%, 80%? I work on the best I can be, with the limits I must accept.

That's it for summary comments comments on my 10 day experience. I'd love it if you came along, maybe for the next 10 days. Tell me, tell others, share and care. Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Can't be better than that.

Health Care Scare: Americans can't shoot the gap to coverage

Photo courtesy
Two recent news reports indicate that most Americans will not be able to activate their health care coverage if a medical event occurs.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported that 90 percent of individuals buying insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) choose plans with $3000 deductibles or higher. Deductibles are the amount that the insured person must pay, before the health insurance policy starts to cover medical costs.

It's clear that high deductibles are a disaster for many. A recent study by indicates 63% of U.S. residents would not be able to cover a $500 unexpected expense.

High deductibles, no cash at home. Consider parents, who receive a call from their son's grade school. The boy took a fall on the playground and has broken his wrist. Once inside the door at the emergency room, most of the $3000 has already been spent. tells us first, you'll need an X-ray to confirm the bone break, for $150 to $220. Then a possible CT scan could be required, costing another $500 to $1000. Splint or cast setting will add $200 to $400; three or four visits to the doctor will run between $150 and $300.

These projected medical costs are assuming the fracture wasn't compound. If it's a separated bone break, surgery will be required and it will cost several times more to repair the damage.

The scenario is a terrifying proposition, for someone who doesn't have $500 to start the process.

The future of health care is, at the moment, unknown. New policies and coverage programs will be presented soon. What is known is that without substantial savings, you can't shoot the gap from deductible cost to policy coverage. That's something for everyone to consider going forward. 

Lance vs. U.S. Postal: Show them the money

Photo courtesy AP via
It's going to court, after all. The $100 million lawsuit against Lance Armstrong will proceed to trial. U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled in favor of the federal government, which is suing on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service. U.S. Postal sponsored Lance from 2000 to 2004 and it is reported that $32.3 million was invested. The case states U.S. Postal would not have funded the Tour de France team, had it known there was a violation of the sponsorship contract based on performance enhancing drug use and blood transfusions. The federal government is attempting to have the damages related to sponsorship fees tripled, based on the False Claims Act. Armstrong could be held accountable for the entire amount.

Much of this case will focus on 1) terms of contract and purported breach and 2) sponsorship value to the United States Postal Service. Did the sponsor achieve a proportionate return on investment?

I won't be able to write on the terms of contract. I am not privy to the language. However, much of my academic research has been invested in sport and sponsorship. If I were called as an expert witness, I'd most likely refer to the value of sponsorship and related brand value. 

First, it will be important to determine what constitutes ROI. In the early years of sponsorship, it was appropriate to base value on exposure. For example, if Lance was featured for eight minutes during a tour telecast and the postal logo ID was in clear focus, that would constitute eight minutes of advertising media value. It would be assessed at the selling price for 30-second commercials in that time block, for that show and that channel. Or, if Lance was featured in a 4-page magazine spread, the value was noted at the cost of full page ad rates x 4 for that publication.

Over time, that model has been discounted. From commercial spot cost to something well less, sometimes 10% of spot buy. It might be possible the federal government will revisit the exposure model as part of its due diligence, with a new proposed exposure value.

The next major hurdle in the case might be the timeline of events. Determining value for sponsorship during the contract years is one dimension; exploring brand perception and related value well beyond the contract will be for the courts to decide. When engaging research related to brand value, there is a foundational study that frames the construct of "brand transgression."

Aaker, J., Fournier, S., & Brasel, S. A. (2004). When good brands do bad. Journal of Consumer research, 31(1), 1-16.

This article has been cited over 1300 times and relates to consumer perception, and related purchasing decisions, prior to, then after, a transgression occurrence. This is where much of the Lance/U.S. Postal court case could go. It's not only about what value was transacted for the $32M in spending, it's also related to the U.S. Postal association with Lance and how customers reacted. For a government entity this is a bit complex, in that stock value won't be part of the equation. It will be necessary to isolate the "Lance transgression" and then prove what brand effect, if any, was incurred. Legal researchers might look for business to business, and business to consumer, examples of how doping revelations caused buyers to respond - well after the sponsorship has concluded.

Lance vs. the feds and its outcome may set precedent on sponsorship evaluation and assessment for many buyers and sellers in the years to come.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

30 pound weight loss part 4: The blame game of "moderation"

Here comes the holiday season. You gather to share food and festivities. Grandma loves to prepare treats, so after dinner she sets out three pies, two cakes, and an assortment of cookies.

What's a weight loss advocate to do? According to many experts, it's about moderation. Don't buy into that, even for a moment. Here's why.

ABC News reported that there are currently 100 million dieters in the United States, investing $20 billion a year into the weight loss industry. Of that 100 million, how many do you believe consumed food in moderation?

It's noble to aspire to moderation, but let's get practical. A portion of meat the size of your fist; 8-10 almonds at one time; cereal in one half cup servings. That's not realistic and few will adhere to moderation over a period of time.

There's an old adage that states"some people live to eat; other people eat to live." Which are you?

I have known only a handful of "eat to live" consumers. In the past they might have been referred to as "picky eaters" but in reality, these individuals held total control over their food. I have one good friend who can come to a pizza party, have one slice, start a second, take two bites and push his plate away. This is imperative in the learning process, I write about it in Mind Over Diet and Food is My Lover.

Let's be honest, what's your MO when pizza, cheese sticks and brownies are in front of you? Why can't you be moderate and govern your intake?

Some of us just aren't wired for a small taste of good things. This is where weight loss can be tough. Surviving the Christmas goodies is difficult. Will you be moderate? Half a cookie, one and done? Or, does one cookie, then two or three, lead to a cheater day? That can be a psychological crash for your overall eating plan.

There are no easy solutions. I'd suggest staying on course with your current eating plan. It may be your daily intake of apples, bananas and a protein bar. Keep a low profile, don't draw attention, and stay with the plan.

Let's wish each other the best as we gain courage and face the food this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

30 pound weight loss part 3: Stay down-low on diet

For most, the physical and emotional aspects of weight loss can be daunting. It's a tough journey and challenging to make the it through the process.

I'd suggest a weighted factor for success is to be private about your weight loss plan. Most individuals mean well, but after you disclose you are dieting, conversations can turn troublesome.

Let's say you're attending a morning yoga class. While warming up, you declare you're on the new _____ diet, have been doing it for _____ weeks, and to date you have lost ______ pounds.

Here is where trouble can begin. People will want to respond. Sme of what comes at you will get inside your psyche and ping around in your brain. Comments on "how you look" or about "seeing some change" can play against your own self-perception.

The key to long term weight loss is to be authentic to yourself. How you feel about your weight day by day, what you see in the mirror, and your vision for 2017 (both Mind Over Diet and Food is My Lover address the view-in-the-mirror paradigm).

When meaning-well comments come at you, it has the power to add doubt to your cognitive process; the affective (emotional) usually follows. Am I actually seen as heavier than I see myself? After all this work, She hasn't seen the change? He says the diet I'm on doesn't work?

It's advised to stay on the down-low. Keep it private. Control the messaging coming in, don't leave it out in the open for comment. Be quiet inside, rest your mind, and continue to press forward on your own terms.

Friday, December 16, 2016

30 pound weight loss part 2: Cheater days are deadly

Losing weight is hard. And staying on track to lose weight is even more difficult.

I have reviewed several highly promoted weight loss plans that advocate for "cheater days" where it's posited you can let loose and go crazy, as often as once per week.

Don't do it.

Most of weight loss is a psychological house of cards. It's fragile and each day is a challenge. Eat well, or go where the mind wants to take you. One day it's roasted vegetables, while the next can be a bucket of candy, thick crust pizza and chocolate malts.

It's quite possible to completely fall off your diet journey through one day of cheater eating. The threat of failure closes in and you see yourself as a failed experiment. The melancholy of a food binge can lead to the need for even more satiation. So one mistake turns into a diet fail.

No one is perfect, least of all me. I have had several binge days and then the shadow that's over my head after those actions. When I wrote Mind Over Diet and more recently Food is My Lover, the ultimate focus was on the power of eating within the mind and how it can control us, if we allow it.

If you do suffer a binge day. Use personal psychology to fight back and get strong. Remember that the weight didn't come off in one day, so this current screw up won't crash your plans. Get strong and love yourself. You are strong, you came this far. Don't let the food demons shut your down.