Friday, November 20, 2009

Guest Blog--To Be a Champion by Wendy Fortino-She Makes Dust!

It has taken me a while to sit down and write this all out. I am hoping that it can provide some motivation or inspiration for other people. Getting ahead in the world, being successful – these are things that require discipline, dedication, and hard work. Ironically, to truly help people, you need to be completely put together yourself and have your act together. I have personally spent a lot of time trying to get things in order so that I can present myself in a way that will cause people to want to follow my lead.

This does not come without a lot of failure of course. People often assume that things have always come easy for me and that I have never had challenges. This is simply not true at all. Even though I’ve never lost a limb nor had a tragic accident, my challenges have mainly come from within. I have struggled with confidence issues, and until recently, had never truly discovered how to tap into my true potential.

So, here is my story…

When I was a little girl, I was a total space cadet. I didn’t pay attention in class, I failed tests and my parents almost had to hold me back a grade a couple of times. However, I also had a twin sister who excelled in just about everything academically. For fear of creating problems in the future, my parents fought to keep me in the same grade as my sister. My parent’s put me into gymnastics when I was young, and this was a good outlet for me because it was something that I actually cared about at the time.

I seemed to scoot along elementary school decently with a “C” average, and a lot of love from my parents. It was never easy being the “stupid” twin though. And I eventually just accepted that was how it was going to be.

I can still remember my first day of Junior High like it was yesterday. My last period was Physical Education class. My P.E. teacher issued me a pair of white shorts and a white t-shirt. She explained to everyone that we would be fitness testing throughout the year, and as we earned points from push-ups, sit-ups, running, and other activities, we would have the opportunity to move up to “red” shorts. After that, “blue”, and finally “gold”; which was rarely done. Earning your “gold” trunks, she explained, would put you into the “Hall of Fame”.
When we got into the swing of things, I started to really excel in P.E. class. For some reason, the P.E. teachers dubbed me as one of the top students in school and associated my discipline and hard work with intelligence. This motivated me to try harder in school because I didn’t want to let them down. All of a sudden, I began acing my tests, and while I had to work much harder than my twin sister, I was doing it! I was getting “A’s” just like her!

By the 8th grade, I broke the record for entering the “Hall of Fame” the earliest, I broke the sit-up record (performing 3,150 non-stop sit-ups), and captured a couple of other records for the school. I felt so accomplished and had finally found my forte. I can still remember my first experience with feeling a bit like a celebrity. The day after I spent three and a half hours doing non-stop sit-ups, I was welcomed to school with a huge banner that read, “Congratulations, Wendy! 3,150 Non-Stop Sit-Ups! Way to go!” And I immediately went from a “nobody” to being pretty popular for a little while. Students would ask me to write “Wendy Power” on their hands. I just thought that maybe I was the only person crazy enough to do sit-ups that long.

At this point, I was getting ready to enter high school and decided to keep doing gymnastics on the side for fun, but wanted to take up cross country. It looked like a fun sport and I was beating a lot of boys around the track in Junior High so thought it might be fun to see if I could do it. My first race was not that great. I actually got lost when I was walking the course, so I had to run to the start line and got there just in time to take off with everyone and get my butt kicked. But I knew that I was stronger secretly, and figured I had everyone just where I wanted them. So, just one week later, I won a race with an impressive time, and the coach was so impressed that he started talking to me about colleges and I was only 13 years old! I couldn’t believe it.

I think that I put too much pressure on myself which led to a lot of self-destruction because I felt like I was always “pretending” to be smart, and “pretending” to be good at what I was doing. I never really accepted that I was actually smart and talented. I must have put on a good show, because my school nominated me for “Most Athletic” at the end of my senior year of High School.

So, I made it through high school cross country and track with enough talent and racing abilities to win lower level races, but never with anything impressive enough at large races to be memorable to coaches at big colleges. I just never felt like I was good enough. Kim Duyst, however, at Cal State Stanislaus, felt that I had what it took to compete at the national-level in college and recruited me to run for her team. In only my first 800-meter college race at age 17, I improved my time by five seconds to run a 2:14! This would have been impressive in high school, and made me kick myself since I was such a young college freshman. Throughout my college career, I was nominated for Most Valuable Player several seasons in a row. In addition to my running, I stayed active with dance and did a few musical performances because I always loved to perform.

With my running, I guess that I got to a point in which I knew that I was good enough to compete with the best and started working on the rest: the mental stuff. I got a lot of attention from the local newspaper and people were recognizing me. This made me feel like a winner. However, I was always reaching for something that seemed out of reach. I would set goals that I tried to convince others I could do, but secretly didn’t really think were possible.

After college, I began to run for a club called “Asics Aggies” and the coach, Joe Rubio, was stationed out of San Luis Obispo. This made it easy to decide where I wanted to go to graduate school to get my Master’s Degree in Exercise Science of course – Cal Poly! After I got accepted, I moved and started training harder and studying harder.

My running was okay. I had a lot of setbacks. I was often getting injured, but I became pretty tough. Mentally, I was stronger and started matching my racing with my talents, but my body would not cooperate. After I graduated from my Master’s program and moved to the bay area for my career, I decided that my heart was set on toeing the line at the 2008 Olympic Trials. This was going to be a lot of work, but I knew that if I could get my body strong enough, I could do it and then move on.

While I was training for the Trials in 2008, I decided to ask my college coach, Coach Duyst, if she could help me train. She sat down with me and helped me form a game plan. I started to train harder than ever, including harder long runs and intense interval training. I had never been so focused before. I surprised myself with the level of commitment I maintained with no training partners and without a coach who could lead me through each workout. It was totally up to me to do this.

In January 2008, I met an amazing man, Matt Allen, who was a bodybuilder and treated me better than anyone I had ever met. He seemed to be such a master in the art of body sculpting, and this was very intriguing to me. He was supportive of my quest, and I was supportive of his sport. He came to my first race of the track season, and loved to watch me run. Shortly after, by April 2008, I had an intense pain in my foot and it kept me from being able to run properly. It came through the x-ray as a stress fracture, and like “that” I was out of the Trials for sure.

The day after this discovery, I was so down and depressed that I called Matt up to console me and he told me to come to his gym and he would put me through a strength workout to get my mind off of things. At the time, I had no idea what a “figure” competition was, but people at the gym were telling me that I should try it. I didn’t want to become a bodybuilder because I have always respected the sport, but never wanted to look too muscular. “Figure is different than that” Matt told me. “Figure is like a fitness beauty pageant where you get judged on the symmetry and conditioning of your physique.” I thought it sounded like something that could take my mind off of things, because it meant that I could just train hard and not worry about the mental strain that racing had on me for so many years.

So, I trained and dieted for my first figure competition, but I must admit that only half of my heart was in it, since all I could think about was the next track season. Once my foot began to heal, I started dabbling into my gymnastics again to see if I could try my hand at fitness competitions too.

On the day of my first figure show, the San Francisco Championships, I looked at myself in the mirror. I had a deep, orange tan, my hair looked like a blonde snowball (next to my tan), and my makeup was all done. I thought, “What am I doing here? I am an athlete.” Well, then I looked past all of that stuff and realized that I had never looked that way before. I almost didn’t look like a real person. I had practically no body fat, and after being an athlete with a sort of “up and down” kind of petite frame, I suddenly noticed that my added muscle had created a more womanly, beautiful frame. “Wow,” I thought. I had put so much work into this and it was really hard! I felt that the competition had already happened for me. It was such a concept for me to have all of the stress of competing behind me when I hadn’t even competed yet. Especially considering that I had always been known by my coaches and peers as someone who’s training abilities far exceeded my competition abilities. Not this time! I used my strength of mental toughness in training to my advantage.

After winning the overall title at the San Francisco Figure Championships, I went on to win the Fitness title and Figure class title at the Sacramento Championships, the overall title at the Contra Costa Figure Championships, my class title at the California State Figure Championships, and took 6th place at the USA Figure Championships.

What a year it has been for me! I feel like I am really able to take advantage of my strengths with this sport, and plan to continue with it. Since I began, I have inspired many people to get into great shape and have learned so much more about the human body than what I had learned in both undergraduate and graduate school. This is my true calling and I feel completely blessed.

I am currently the Assistant Coordinator for Physical Education, Recreation and Wellness at Stanford University, and recently discovered that I am pictured next to a few Stanford cross country runners in a large photo taken at the Stanford Invitational during my college career. That is irony at its finest…

I think that I will make my next challenge to compete in Fitness at the National level. Fitness is a little different than Figure in that there is a physique round, but there is also a 2-minute routine round that includes a combination of dance, gymnastics and fitness elements. Now that my foot is definitely better and I have a fitness victory under my belt (in addition to several figure victories), I want to see how far I can go in fitness. With my new found confidence, I believe that the sky is the limit!

Oh, and by the way, my twin sister is a successful lawyer with a wonderful husband and a beautiful baby girl! In college, she competed in diving at the University of Nebraska. We are best friends! I also have an older sister who competed gymnastics at UC Davis, and she is a huge inspiration for me as I continue my fitness journey.

In the end, I would like to say good luck to anyone who finds a passion in his/her life. One of the biggest challenges that people face, and often times the reason why not everyone on this planet can be successful, is because discovering one’s potential can be a scary thing. Self-destruction and self-defeat have been my biggest lifetime obstacles, and I have learned to overcome them with time.

Thanks Wendy for sharing such a motivating story with us! All the best in your upcoming challenges!!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Punk Dog Wines-----They Make Dust!

So it's Tuesday night this week and I'm traveling on business. On this night I'm laying my head on the pillow at the Sheraton Kauai. I get to the hotel after a long day at our farm on the south shore. I'm beat--tired and thirsty.

I get my run and workout done with and head to the restaurant. I already know that a nice glass of red wine would be in my immediate future. I closely examine the wine list and notice a name I hadn't seen before. There before me was the name Punk Dog wine from Napa. it was a 2004 called "Sophie's Romp."

I knew I had to try this one. WOW! Great selection! This "blend" hit it out of the park. Sophie's Romp is a bold fruit forward blend. Cabernet and Zinfandel make up the base with Merlot and Petite Sirah rounding out the rest. Awesome!

I love those special moments where I find a wine that truly set's itself apart. Punk Dog , Makes Dust in a big way!!



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Swine flu prevention--STAY HEALTHY!

The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe, etc.).

3. *Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). *H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, *clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. *Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but *blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.*

5. *Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). *If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.

6. *Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. *Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

I suggest you pass this on to your entire e-list. You never know who might pay attention to it - and STAY ALIVE because of it. order to Make MUST be healthy!



Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Team Little Guy Announces $100,000 Fundraising Effort!

Team Little Guy is pleased to announce it is taking on a new fundraising effort! Over the past two years the team has endured 208 miles of running through the mountains of North Carolina to raise over $145,000 for the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation’s Micro Community Grant program. This year Team Little Guy is mounting their bikes to raise money for Hope for the Warriors, specifically the Warriors Hope and Care Center.
What is Hope for the Warriors? Their mission is a promise that the sacrifices of the wounded across military service branches and throughout the nation will not be forgotten, nor their needs unmet. They accomplish this mission through various programs, supported by donations, specifically designed to help wounded service members and their families cope with the struggles that most of us don’t face.
The Warriors Hope and Care Center vision is to provide a rehabilitative center with specialized services and family resources in a collocated, comforting venue. Coordinating with both the Marine Corps and the Navy, that vision led to the design of a robust rehabilitation facility that will now be built in eastern North Carolina with a level of care worthy of heroes. You can learn more about Hope for the Warriors at their website
So what is Team Little Guy’s goal? We want to raise $100,000 by June 30, 2010 for the Warriors Hope and Care Center. To kick off our fund raising efforts we rode 170 miles in
The Tour to Tanglewood on September 26-27, 2009. Throughout the rest of this year and the first half of 2010 we will be participating in biking and running events to raise awareness of our fundraising efforts and also raising awareness of credit unions “People Helping People” philosophy.
Now, 170 miles might seem like a daunting task but it is no way as daunting as when a Wounded Warrior has to learn to walk all over again with prosthetic legs because he or she was wounded in a road side bomb attack in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The $100,000 Team Little Guy hopes to raise will help to furnish the Warriors Hope & Care Center, which is scheduled to open at Camp LeJeune in 2011. Included in this facility is a planned memorial statue, which credit union funds will also help construct.
The team recognizes that times are tough, but it is our hope that by working together cooperatively these next nine months, credit unions, as well as credit union staff & members as well as all who want to make a difference across NC can work together to not only meet — but surpass — this ambitious fundraising goal.
More important than hitting a number, however, is the impact our combined contributions will have on these heroes and their families.
You’ll be finding out more information about how you & your credit union can support Hope for the Warriors and this effort very soon.

The final event will be the “Ride for the Warriors.” On June 17, 2010, Team Little Guy will begin this event at Ft. Bragg. Over the next several days they will bike to all five major military installations in North Carolina and visit credit unions on the way. Our journey will end at Camp Lejeune where we will present the check to Hope for the Warriors.

Stay tuned and visit www.teamlittleguy often for updates.

You are all the very best!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Road.....

October 4, 2009---The 28th Twin Cities Marathon

9:00am EST….8:00am CST…..I step from the stoop to the street to run as I have for the past 28 years. The 1st steps were 28 years ago in Minneapolis when I ran the very 1st Twin Cities Marathon. I lived there then. For the next 19 years I kept the streak alive by showing up every fall in Minneapolis to run 26.2 miles to the State Capital in St. Paul. In 1983 I set my marathon PR there: 2:58:17.

The streak ended at the 20th running of that fall classic. There were other roads to follow. My internal running compass was to be set in different directions. The goal was 20 TCM’s in a row. That had now been accomplished.

Yet every year since then, as I did today, I always started my run on TCM Sunday at the moment of the Start in Minneapolis adjacent to the Metrodome. On this Sunday thousands lined up outside the Metrodome to begin the arduous journey into themselves on the road to St. Paul. Some 24 or so hours later the Metrodome itself will be filled to capacity as a seasoned warrior named Brett will lead his Vikings against the very men he once lead in Green & Gold. He is now on a different road as well.

I just finished reading Cormac McCarthy’s excellent read, “The Road.” Of personal interest was the father/son journey into the unknown of a wasted world. The dynamic of the relationship rivaled that of what Robert Pursig described in that 70’s classic, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” Pursig vividly described a cross country trip by motorcycle with his son as he explored the limits of his sanity.

It has been a mere 8 days since I shared 100 hard road miles with my son Eric. In 1985 a then much younger Eric had crewed for me and my partner Tony Benthin as we biked/ran/canoed some 530 across the entire state of Minnesota. Eric got a first hand look at the road we travelled that tested our will and determination. We asked no quarter-we gave no quarter.

From 1985 to 2009 has created many changes in Eric and myself. He is in the prime of his athletic self. I am on a new road. Time has been both friend and foe. I must now travel that road with what I have. Yet, while the body must deal with physical changes, the mind and will must remain strong. That I can control. That remains strong.

I now have chosen to give what I’ve got to a different road. Eric invited me to be part of, “Team Little Guy.” This team is comprised of Credit Union workers and members who run or ride together to raise money for a variety of great causes.

With the Tour to Tanglewood just wrapped up this past weekend, it’s time for Team Little Guy to turn its attention to the organization that we will be supporting over the next several months. Hope for the Warriors is a three-year-old organization that is working wonders in the lives of injured troops and their families. Our plan for this effort is at:

For the past 30 years I have run for myself. I will now ride on a different road. I will ride for those who can’t. I will ride for your continued support as we help those in need. I will continue to ride and kick some butt whenever I can. I will proudly ride with Eric & Team Little Guy as we ride down the roads we have chosen.

I so cherish the past….but wallow in the many miles to come…..


Monday, September 14, 2009

11 days and counting....

Lets's 2009.....the last time I rode a bike 200 miles in two days it was 1985. Do the math. Yikes!

So on Saturday September 26th I will join my Team Little Guy teammates at 7:30 am at Volvo Truck Headquarters in Greensboro, NC. That is the Start of the 2009 MS Tour to Tanglewood 200 mile bike ride. We ride from Greensboro some 100 miles to Tanglewood Park. When then camp out with some other 2000 plus riders and share beers, tears and fears of the next 100 miles at sunup on Sunday.

Now you do recall from a previous blog that I've only owned the mighty Tommasso for six weeks now. To think, we are hardly acquainted. Yet....I have no choice....#1 son Eric promptly included me in the TLG team who will pedal our collective assess off on the 26/27. today is Monday the 14 and my butt is bruised from my 36 mile training ride yesterday on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Its....just that these road bike seats are SO SMALL with NO padding. And my boney butt has no natural padding at all!

Alright already I know I not complain. After all this ride is for a WONDERFUL cause.....MS. I have a goal of raising $500.00 dollars for the cause. So many friends have helped thru sponsoring me during the ride. That is the BEST support. I am truly humbled.

OK....these new fangled bikes have scary clips that lock in your bike shoe. Hey....back in 1985 there were toe cages that worked just fine. But ooooooh is VERY un-cool to have anything else but the newest shoe grabber on those pedals.....these new devices work great when you spin....but look out when you try to get your shoe out of those contraptions! Yikes!

So there you have it......move aside Lance....Bubba is on a to if only I can stop without falling down!!!????? Does anyone have any suggestions for clips that are easy in AND OUT?? Please do let me know!

More to follow as the ride gets nearer......until I remain.....on the highways & byways still trying to make a little dust......:)


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tour to Tanglewood....

MS Tour to Tanglewood....September 26 and 27....Team Little Guy will ride with some 2000 riders for two full days to raise much needed funds for MS. Join us!!!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Bike....

The Bike

Monday, August 03, 2009---12:00 Noon ---38,000 feet high in the air----destination California—I’m thinking about it…..

I’ve been waiting a week for it----I won’t be there when it arrives---I’ll have to wait to see it….bummer…

Asheville, NC----this is where it began….at Sunday brunch…..the morning after The 208 Mile Black & Blue Mountain Bike Race…..

The whole thing started the day before in at 6:00am high in the Virginia Mountains at the peak of Grayson Highlands State Park. Team Little Guy……. was there. Two teams: Eric “E-Man” Gelly & LTC Tom Heyden a two man team-----John “Bad Rad” Radebaugh, Ed “The Mechanic” Agnoli, Josh “The Rookie” Chavez and Jeff “The Great Communicator” Harden our 4 man team. It was dark….cold….5,300 feet up air filled with great anticipation….

6:00 am sharp….the gun goes off….the first rides were off…a four mile led strait down the mountain access road. Eric and I watch as Tom takes off like a bat out of hell….we quickly jump in my truck to drive on through these mountain passes headed off to the 1st stage….28 mountain miles away.

My role on this 208 mile gig is wheel man….motivator….navigator….equipment handler…..overall support guy.

28 miles later E-Man and I are off on the side of the road in a very remote area. We talk of LTC Tom Heyden. Tom works at a Credit Union in Winston-Salem. He is a married…a great Dad….Husband….Patriot…..and loyal TLG member.

Tom, who serves as an Army Lieutenant Colonel in the Reserves, is being called up to a tour in Iraq. He is shipping out with his unit for a 400 day tour at the end of September. He is excited about this years’ ride as he understands that he will miss the 2010 version. He will be serving his country. I am very proud to be driving and supporting Tom.

The 1st 50 miles ends somewhere in the mountains of NC. Tom comes flying in and E-Man quickly departs. Tom has a smile on his face…he has ridden hard. He knows that E-Man will ride like a wild man.

Monday, July 27, 2009----I ordered the bike on-line. I have never done that before. Ok….I’ve ordered shoes, shirts, a jacket or two…….but never a bike. A Tommaso Velocita with Shimano Dura-Ace component package. This unit was built for me in Colorado. This is scary stuff…..

1986…..the last time in my recollection that I hauled ass on two wheels…..1952….I killed them on my tricycle….

In 86, I rode with Tony “Turbo” Benthin in Minnesota. We rode as a team in the, “Border-To-Border” triathlon. This rascal stated on the Iowa/Minnesota border and ended 4 days later in Canada. We kicked it during those four days. Eric, long before he rose to E-Man status was there----he supported Turbo and moi.

We were basically good runners who quickly learned to bike & canoe. We purchased relatively inexpensive Peugeot road bikes and pedaled our assess off. That beast was 530 miles. We finished 7th overall. We gave it our all. Eric was there.

Monday, August 03, 2009---3:00pm…Fedex will deliver my bike to my house today. I will not see it. I am in California. Lulu will sign for it and smile a silly smile because she understands what this means…..the ole road warrior rides again……Eric will come over to the house to unpack the bike….set it up…..and quickly test the set up…..he take a pic or two to tantalize me. He will smile as he gingerly handles my new ride.

Asheville, NC ……brunch is over. E-Man and Bad Rad look at me. E-Man reminds me that Tom will not be his partner in the 2010 Black & Blue. I acknowledged that Tom would be serving us all at that time. I then looked into his eyes and quickly understood what was coming down the road…so to speak.

It was 11:30am on that Sunday morning, too early to order a stiff drink with brunch in NC.
I sat for a long second and looked at them both. Damm if they weren’t serious! I suggested that in 1986 a much younger frame hauled ass across Minnesota. I also suggested that Tom & E-Man finished as the very 1st “two-person” team in the race. I couldn’t remember seeing a, “Father/Son” category.

E-Man smiled. He looked right into my ole eyes and said, “It’s you & me Pops in 2010!”

Now do understand that since those words were spoken President Obama would be very pleased on how I have stimulated certain segments of the economy. I think I will send him a picture of me & my new bike!

Friday, August 7, 2009……5:00pm…..I get back to NC from my week in CA. I will walk in the house…..give LuLu a big fat kiss…..and then cast a glance at my new ride.

A new chapter is about to begin. I will train hard…I will ride hard….I will ride with Tom Heyden in my heart….I will do my utmost for E-Man and the rest of the Team Little Guy gaggle.

I will make dust….and spit out what little may come my way.

Ride on my brothers & sisters……stay tuned.


Monday, July 20, 2009



Monday, July 20th…….so many years ago man persevered and took a step on the Moon. The world held its collective breath.

4:00pm….I ‘m in Minnetonka, Minnesota. I have just came back from a spirited run on a beautiful trail that winds its way through the woods past marsh land and streams. I ran hard.

I come to this place from a weekend past in the great mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. There, I was once again reminded of what fruit great effort and perseverance can bring.
I had the pleasure of supporting 6 wonderful and athletic friends who had accepted the challenge of riding one of the most challenging 208 mile mountain bike races in the land.

The names John Radebaugh, Ed Agnoli, Josh Chavez, Jeff Hardin, Tom Heydan and Eric Gelly mean little to most of you. Some of you know them as members of Team Little Guy a collection of Credit Union folks who bike and run to raise donations for very worthy causes. They work hard to help other people. I know Eric as my son.

These six very regular hard working people have significant others, spouses and children and for the most part live the American dream of caring for family and friends on a daily basis.
Yet I know these six people as individuals who have taken on extraordinary physical challenges in order to elevate themselves to very special places that so few have ever attained. They have not accepted other people’s labels and expectations. They have not limited themselves to what others suggested they can and cannot do.

These six people arose at 3:00am on Saturday morning….packed their bags and loaded their bikes for the 1 and ½ hour drive from Chateau Gelly in Fancy Gap, VA to Grayson Highlands State Park in the Virginia mountains.

We arrived at before the 6:00am start and took in the early morning grandeur on one of the highest peaks at 5,300 feet. Soon these ordinary and regular souls would test their mettle riding as fast as they could from valley floor to mountain peak through these beautiful mountains.
John, Ed, Josh and Jeff made up a 4 person team. Tom and Eric divided up the 208 miles in two.

The day quickly progressed as these TLG riders whizzed down the treacherous curvy downhills at break neck speed and slowed to a crawl as the steep mountain peaks tested the fire in their bellies and their will to continue.

This was not to be confused with the Tour de France. No……this was better. Ordinary people doing extra ordinary things. Everyday working people who train after the kids are put to bed or in the am just one step ahead of the newspaper deliver person. These six committed to preserver and came through on the promise……to themselves. They rose above the ordinary for those very special mountain hours.

We must learn from these experiences. Our perseverance shines like a beacon of hope to those who find courage in our accomplishments to somehow light the fire of desire within themselves. We might never know what enormous good comes from our sweat…our tenacity…our perseverance.

Let us persevere together…..and never stop!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Need Faster Times---Go Unemployed! your marathon times have slowed....well the Wall Street Journal has the answer for improvement!!!


Run faster.....:)

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Stretch.......

To stretch or not to stretch----that is the question……..

In life there are many stretches….. a stretch of road…..we stretch the truth at times…..there are stretch waistbands to accommodate the extra pounds we put on when we only eat and don’t exercise….we like to stretch out on our hammock under the shade tree…….the horses are in the final stretch. But the most important one for us as runners is the stretch we do after our run.

We all for the most part, live in a very busy world. Most of our time is usually accounted for.

Work….families…meetings….trips………you name it….morning ---noon and night. Accordingly, we usually squeeze in just enough time to get our daily run in with very little time to spare.

We finish our run…jump out of our running gear and hit the shower. Opps….now didn’t we forget to do something?? Now let me see…..

Oh…that ‘s right….you forgot to stretch. Couple that missed moment with all the other times you missed your post run stretch and that adds up to: future trouble.

OK….I hear you thinking, “that just isn’t my problem.” Well right….maybe not now, but it will all catch up with you in the long run. Why you ask? It’s simple.

That warm tendon and muscle you ended up with at the end of your run will contract quickly as it cools. Your five minute stretch will minimize the contraction and ensure that your precious leg tendons and muscles retain their natural elasticity.

Bear in mind that a lack of stretching will eventually affect your gait and posture. You may get away with not stretching when you’re young but nature’s reality will catch up with your legs as you get older.

Women have another consideration and challenge. Beware of high heel shoes! Constant wearing of high heel shoes will have a severe adverse impact on your Achilles tendons. The tendon will compress and shrink when high heels are worn on a regular basis. So if you happen to wear high heels to work and have them on for over eight hours, you really should stretch your legs at the end of the day. Not to do so can cause your Achilles tendon to tear when the heel goes down and the tendon has shrunk.

You now have your stretching advice. Be wise take time to stretch.

Remember: You can’t Make Dust with a torn Achilles!

Stretch on my friends!

Soon to come:
Best kinds of stretching routines……

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Six Word Stories.....

A wonderful 4th of July celebration to all!!

A mental challenge to all. Recently happened upon a great website that challenges to tell a great story in just six words. Go to and work on yours. I posted mine. Please do leave a comment here as to what you posted.

Mine is: Run To Live To Love LuLu.

:)......Have a great 4th!!!!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nutrition......Eating on the run.....Eat Well--Run Well..

July 1st, 2009--Montreux, Switzerland

So it's Wednesday and I've been in Montreux for the past 3 days. I've already shook off the jet lag and now wake up VERY hungry in the morning.

Normally I have my standard serving of yogurt---mixed with fresh fruit---a sprinkle of wheat germ and local honey on top of it all.

REMEMBER: You are what you eat! The yogurt gives me my calcium....for the strong bones I've needed for all these years of running. Also, as many scientific studies have shown, you age well with a daily yogurt ingestion and perhaps even live longer!

Local honey you ask??? Simple.....get addition to help with allergies!!! What does bees do??? Simple: pollinate!! So there is some cheap and useful allergy protection!!!

OK.......stay tuned......the scoop on vitamins to follow.......

Make dust my friends......:)

Bubba......Eat well....Run well!!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Shoes----packed & ready to go....

36,000 feet—all nighter from Greensboro, NC to Montreux, Switzerland.
It’s 5:30 am and as I toss and turn in this puny seat a most important question comes front and center in my tired mind. “What running shoes did I pack?” For the life of me I can’t recall what pair made the cut for this trip.

I know that I only took one roller board for this trip as I will be in Switzerland for just seven days. That means I had just enough room for one pair of running shoes. Now this in itself poses a problem. I will have to run at least six days in the same pair of shoes. Not good.

So I hear you thinking, “So what’s the big deal Bubba?” Well here are the facts. Some twenty five years ago when I had only been running for a couple of years I stated to have severe pain in my right hip as I ramped up my miles as I trained for a marathon. It got to the point that I knew I needed to see a specialist.

I hooked up with a sports podiatrist in Alexandria, VA. He analyzed my gait and foot strike and suggested that I needed orthotics due to rather severe pronation. He also asked me how many different pairs of running shoes I was using to train in. I answered that I simply trained in my favorite pair of shoes.

He looked at me and smiled. He then suggested that I needed to diversify my collection of running shoes. He made the point that by wearing the same pair of shoes every day I was reinforcing the potential of injury to my ankles---knees--- and hips.

He noted that we runners are most always creates of habit. We like the same ole worn out shoes—run the same routes every day and on the same side of the street. Not a good thing he said.

All of the above only reinforced any damage and did so on a daily basis. He suggested that I purchase multiple sets of training shoes that---and this is important---that FIT properly. He noted that my toes should have at least a ½ inch of wiggle room in the toe box. That, he noted, would prevent black toe and the subsequent loss of toe nails.

Well my running friends I took that man’s advice some twenty five years ago to heart and became the Imelda Marcos of running shoes. The validation of his advice had been in all the pounding miles I have run over the years. Working on my third trip around the world by foot and I have rarely been sidelined with foot---ankle—knee or hip problems. Kinda makes sense when you give it a little thought.

Now if I could only remember what shoes I packed for this trip??????

Run on my intrepid friends.......:)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two American Icons....RIP

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.......two American Icons.....They "Made Dust" and pleanty of it! May they rest in peace......

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Make Dust or Eat Dust......Our Purpose.

OK.......the time has finally arrived.....I must share the deep secrets of my success. I must pass along the life ingredients you need to lead a healthy competitive life that brings joy to you & your loved ones.

This blog will be your your blue print....your guide post.....your beacon to living a positive lifestyle that sets you apart from the herd and puts a smile on your face....a fire in your belly.....and a will to exceed that simply cannot be extinguished.

Ambitious you ask? But of course it is! NOTHING is free from the of labor of life that gives it all meaning and importance. I have over thirty years of life's success to share and hope you can glean some important part of my experiences that help you get to a healthy lifestyle and positive mental attitude.

This is not rocket science or at times easy. Joy and satisfaction comes from the altar of sacrifice. You get out from what you put into the effort.

I will be your guide....I will be your mentor.....You will lead and not will "make dust and not eat dust!"

Bubba.....June 24, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

View from the can.....

Wednesday May 27th----2009.

As I sat on the can this morning I read the morning paper and simply wondered what will happen as more and more daily newspapers go under......probably constipation! The thought of starting the day without 20 or so pages of ink to rub between my fingers was....quite simply....unacceptable!