Sunday, October 30, 2005

Healthy Aging, some thoughts from Greer

The joke about, "If I had known I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself, is somewhat old, but real." What I am experiencing in this aging process has to do with a couple of thoughts, or more, and mainly it is the more I age, the older I get. Now, in my opinion there are a couple of thoughts that I would like to express, one is that there is a great difference between aging and getting older. While aging is a the natural process of what happens to the body, or for that matter anything that spends some time on this earth, after many years. In the case of getting older it is more an attitude of the mind and is influenced by our western society that basically says you are old and over the hill at 65, mind you not 55, not 60, not even 62, but 65. The best way I can illustrate the difference is through my own advancement in age. In aging I can still remember and even feel the day I ran the 100 yard dash in 9.7 seconds(the world record was 9.3 at that time, so I was no threat to the record). So, due to aging I am unable to meet this speed, but I can still remember and feel it. In growing older I would not remember or feel this, it would just not exist and I would whither away to the old folks home or just die. That is the difference between aging and growing older or becoming an old man physically and mentally, in my opinion.

During the past few weeks there has been a lot of interest and coverage on a book written by Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, concerning healthy aging. After seeing his interview on Larry King Live and reading about his philosophies I ran out and bought his current book, "Healthy Aging", A lifelong guide to your physial and spiritual well-being. I have not read every word of it to date, but have skimmed it and I really like what I am reading. The only problem I have with it is that I hope the right market is buying the book and realizing how good the information is. My concern is that I can get interested at 66 in what I should be doing to be healthier, but my feeling is that people should start in their 20's practicing the art of healthy living. When we are younger our bodies will take just about any abuse we can throw at it, but as time marches on the tale tale signs of abuse take their toll. So, my point is we should start taking care of ourselves when we are very young so as to live a healthy life after we go into the golden ages. It is kind of like the movie, "Paying It Forward", pay now for the future to meet our expectations. What I am going to do is quote some of his book for the next few postings on fasttwitchmind with the hope of stimulating your interest in buying this book(not from me I am not in the book business). These quotes are all from Dr. Weil; however, if I decide to give my comments on his comments I will say, MC from Greer.

Dr. Weil states, "In 2002, I turned sixty. To help celebrate the occasion, friends organized a surprise party for me. After the festivities, there came a time to reflect, and when I did I came to an uncomfortable conclusion: I am closer to a time when my energy and powers will diminish, when I will lose my independence. Sixty is about the time that organs of the body begin gradually to fail, when the first hints of age-related disease begin to appear." MC-I don't remember the festivities on my 60th birthday but I am sure I celebrated and had lots of sex after the festivities. Dr. Weil again, "I hardly notice my aging on a day-to-day basis. When I look in the mirror in the morning, my face and white beard seem the same as the day before. But in photographs of myself from the 1970's, my beard is completely black. If I pay attention, I can notice other changes in my body: more aches and pains, less resilience in meeting the challenges of traveling, less vigor on occasion. And my memory may not be quite what it used to be. In any case I find it more useful to think of aging as a continuous and necessary process of change that begins with conception. In the words of an Easter philosopher:" The sun at noon is the sun declining, The person born is the person dying." MC-I hardly notice my aging on a day-to-day basis either; unless I look real close in the mirror. Sometimes I look at myself as I pass by a mirror and I don't even recognize myself. I still think of the football picture from my college days and for some strange reason I think I still look like that. But, my present day mirror says otherwise. Fact is the scary thing is I am looking more like my dad after he turned 70 and as I look in the mirror I see more of him than of me. Thank God, through staying active in triathlon, my body doesn't look like his did at my age. My memory at 66 is still very good, fact is I find it much better than some of the people I have dealt with over the years, when they start quoting things that happened 15 years ago. But on the other hand there are times when I can't find my Explorer in the movie parking lot that I just parked 2 hours ago. So, go figure!

Dr. Weil touches on the following in his book, "The Science and Philosophy of Healthy Aging", "How to Age Gracefully", "A Twelve Point Program for Healthy Aging." He deals with the body, mind and spirit and all the points within these areas of life that would lead to healthy living, period, no matter the age.

For the next few weeks I will be covering some of Dr. Weils points in more detail, but I will not give you enough that you will not need to buy the book. It should be on everyones shelf, no matter the age.

Go buy the book, NOW!!!

On the way to Ironman Florida, for the week,

Mike Greer

Saturday, October 29, 2005

USAT sucks again!, Current "Hot" Movies

Remember in my digest of the Skip Gilbert letter, still posted for refreshment if needed, the point of rules dispensation was discussed and in that paragraph it was pointed out that only 1 rule dispensation out of 15 was beyond resolution. There could not be an agreement reached by either party on this point of rule, namely, using stand down penalities to enforce rules infractions. WTC wanted it as part of their 15 rules dispensations, USAT said "no way." So, the great split and everyone walked away into the sunset, resulting in a great customer loss to USAT.

Now for the real juicy and hypocritical part offered by the ITU driven National Governing Body of the sport, USAT. During the World Age Group ITU Championship in Honolulu, HI, a week before, God forbid I say it, the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI, guess what rule was used in this event? Yep, folks the "stand down" penalty was used to punish the guilty after an infraction was called. Now, wait a minute I am really confused since this is what stopped the meeting of minds with WTC/USAT and ultimately caused the break up. When I ask the question of why the stand down penalty was used I was told, by a very powerful, knowledgeable , highly respected person of USAT that these officials were ITU officials, but really the officials were ITU/USAT certified officials and their pay checks are written by USAT(I also know this to be true since I use to sign the checks for them). Also I learned that when the President of the USAT Board, Brad Davison, was ask the question as to why the stand down method was used he stated, "he was not aware that this was done and if so why." According to this same source Brad was present in Honolulu; however, the chief ITU hey boy, Executive Director Skip Gilbert, was not in attendance(probably playing soccer or something more important).

So, what is good for the goose is not good for the gander in this case. As usual the rules were made up to accomodate heir king Brother Les and his little brother cronies Brad, Skip of the USAT. Possibly when the two groups meet again to settle their differences this will be a point of conversation. I do know it is on the minds of the WTC staff.

At one of the USAT board meetings maybe they should spend some time refreshing the mission statement of the so called NGB of the sport. The rumor is they have been considered for the sequel to Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest and then some!!!

Mike Greer

Notice: Now to get away from this USAT stuff(just so much drama for a day can be tolerated):

Current "Hot" movies and some not so hot:

Hot- Dreamer(Kurt Russell), Flight Plan(Jody Foster), Unfinished Life(Robert Redford), War of the Worlds(Tom Cruise), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory(Johnny Deep), Warm-Elizabethtown(Orlando Bloom), Two for the Money(Matthew McConaughey), Just Like Heaven(Reese Witherspo0n), Luke Warm-The Weather Man(Nicolas Cage), Ice(beyond terrible)- Sky High(Kurt Russell should be ashamed of himself for this one). *

* all viewed by MG

To see asap: G, The Legend of Zorro, Prime, Saw II, The Greatest Game Ever Played, North Country, In Her Shoes.

Got a lot to do including attending Ironman Florida, working an expo booth for Buffalo Springs 70.3 and Iron Girl Texas, plus marshalling with my "Hog" with Marti during the event.

For today, but look for more on the new book by Dr. Andrew Weil, "Healthy Aging," living better longer. Hot new stuff, that is really not all new but now is presented in such a way that it all makes sense. My philosophy has always been that we have to prepare for aging up, at a very early time in our life. We can't wait until we are 60 to prepare ourselves for this time of our life, start early and then you will be prepared.

Stay tuned for some pretty good stuff, but it will not preclude buying the book and having it on your shelf for handy reference. It is on my shelf NOW!!!

Mike Greer(66 going on 67 and damn proud of it)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The perfect nose job from Japan

Just got my current Tri Times, which should have a new name like Rag Times, and was very impressed and motivated by the photo on page 4. What a site of nose pushers, yes a new term that defines those that stick their nose up someones you know what(I promised I would not use bad words but it is really hard) to get ahead. The bad part about this picture is that the USAT Board President can't get his nose close enough because the National Teams Manager and the Executive Director are first in line. With the ideas and thoughts that have been coming out of the executive directors mouth the past few weeks I would imagine he would be hooked up to brother president of the ITU on a permanent basis. Fact is, he better make a bed there because sooner or later the board of USAT and the membership will wake up and reclaim their Federation. What a bunch of suck ups! Of course I am the first to realize that all of the funds USAT gathers everyday from their annual members, race directors and one day members are as a result of the great support the ITU gives to our membership, so be sure to suck up.

Also on this same page of the rag is the monthly letter from the "wrong hire", the executive director of USAT. For the life of me I do not know what soccer for men over 40 has to do with the grand sport of triathlon. I know he tried to tie it in some way, but I guess I am just slow to get the point. One thing I do know is that if he had been attending a triathlon, to help educate himself to triathlon he wouldn't have needed surgery. Unless of course he should dare to train long enough to at least do a sprint triathlon(no God forbid I didn't say an Ironman triathlon).Of course I realize that most of the USAT staff doesn't really know anything about the sport nor has done one, but at least they got Tim Yount back, and Kathy knows the sport, so he can add some crediability to this bunch of fakers.

It will be so much fun when this romance with the ITU goes South, and will I say I told you so, YOU DAMN RIGHT!!

Also, I noted where USAT is going into the publishing business. It amazes me that OUR Federation can focus its' attention on everything but what really drives the sport. Skiparoo, it's called race directors, age groupers and those that sponsor the same. But, of course what do I know as you pointed out, "you have been in the sport since April, 2005 I believe," so that makes you some kind of authority. Reminds me of the time you ask me who Mark Allen was, Oh well I understand you hang out with men over 40 that play a funny game of kicking the ball around. Which then leads me to the question of how in the hell did you injure your right shoulder? Doing hand stands or what?

Well I will sign off for tonight and I feel real strange writing this, since I am not sure anyone reads it, guess I need to start writing on the USAT forum or maybe slowtwitch.

Mike Greer

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

From Kona, HI, The Ironman World Championship

Well in spite of the fact that USA Triathlon had no presence at the 27th edition of the Ironman "World Championship" in Kona, HI, the race went off in spectacular and well organized fashion. It is so sad that the National Governing Body of the sport of triathlon just doesn't get the aura and dynamics of this historical and influential race. With 51 countries represented it is truly a world championship and a grand display of the most fit athletes from any sport in the world. With USAT turning their backs on the 20,000(at least 70% being annual members) USA athletes that engage in the Ironman dream each year, it is amazing to me that some one of authority, i.e. the new executive director or the president of the board would not have some form of presence at the event. Even if they just been here and observed, possibly taking away with them a renewed desire to get the two organizations back together. Funny thing is, WTC proved that a race of this magnitude could be conducted without the high and mighty attitude of USAT.

My appeal to the new executive director, Skip Gilbert, is that he get his priorities in order as the chief executive of USAT and represent the complete sport of triathlon. It is about swim, bike and run, not ITU, not the largest races in America, not the USOC, not the Ironman, but simply, swim, bike and run. He has to represent the complete sport, not isolate himself to one faction. Since Skip came to the sport with no triathlon experience it is most important that he educate himself by attending all of the events that represent the sport. Now that the sun has set on the 2005 HI Ironman he has lost his chance for an important education in the sport. I cannot imagine what was so important, unless it was a family emergency, that would keep him from this event. In the same token the board president, Brad Davison, should have insisted that he be present. If they think the importance of impressing Mr. Les MacDonald, ITU President, is more important then they are dreaming through their teeth, since a long standing, fruitful relationship with him is like being married to Elizabeth Taylor, possibly exciting in the beginning but SHORT AND DEPRESSING in the end.

Many will say, well Greer, "you are biased on this since you are part of the Ironman family." While it is true I am a member of this sports family,but the real proof is in the pudding. The Ironman still has tremendous aura to it, it does change lives, it is a thrill to watch all of the athletes, no matter their skill, go through the finish chute on Alii Dr. Fact is, there is no finish like it in the sport. So, USAT get over your self, get back to representing the entire swim, bike and run sport and do the job you were created to do.

Back to Texas,

Mike Greer

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Mission Statement: Universal Triathlon Alliance

The mission statement for Universal Triathlon Alliance will remain the same as in 1994: To offer benefits and values to the life blood of the sport, the age group athlete and race directors.

Be on the look out for the details of how this is going to be accomplished.

Congratulations to John Ricca, one of our original board members who agreed to serve with UTA again. He has been in the sport for a number of years, serving the South Midwest USAT Region and has been a very quality, active competitor for the same amount of years. His feedback has always been appreciated and we look forward to having him work with us in the future.

We also received word from Pamela Galbraith, California, that she will be willing to serve also. She was an original member of the board and has extensive experience and knowledge of the sport. Thanks to Pam for helping.

We are heading to Kona, for the real, "Ironman", will report back upon return.

Mike Greer

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Resurrection of the Universal Triathlon Alliance

Some will say, "don't wake a sleeping giant, but I say, why the hell not?" In 1994 I stepped away from 8 years of service to the USA Triathlon Regional and National Boards, and entered into 10 years of self imposed exile, not from the sport but from the politics of the sport. While I served for one year as the President of the Board I experience the good, bad, ugly and uglier of the sport. It was time to move on, watch over my real world business and enjoy the sport for a change. So after 10 years of being away from that aspect of the sport I re-entered it in a big way. Little did I know that the simple process of running for the board in 2004 would lead to a very expensive lawsuit against the Federation and some of its board members, and ultimately to the hot seat in Colorado Springs as the interim executive director. Again for 6 months I got to see the good, bad, ugly and uglier of the sport. While we won the lawsuit and got the evildoers off of the board, there was still a lot to do in getting the Federation back on track. While there was a lot to do I feel that a lot was accomplished in this short period of time. But, I came away from that office with mix emotions on what the mission of USAT really is. It was my understanding that it was to support and provide leadership to the entire sport of triathlon, whether it be the Olympians(this group didn't even exist in the beginning), the age groupers(either sprinters or Ironmen), the race directors, etc., etc. This is not what I see happening and in recent weeks it is even more evident that USAT is the slave to the ITU/USOC scheme of things. For the most part I view USAT obsolete to the cause of its original mission, mired in beauacratic committees and commissions of its own making, plus the subservancy to the USOC.

To remedy the points made above I am going to resurrect an organization I created in 1995 and put in hibernation in 1998, the Universal Triathlon Alliance(the sleeping giant). Originally it was created to offer strong benefit packages to the multi-sport community. While we were able to have over 30 states represented in its membership our timing was just about 6 years too soon, for overwhelming success. Due to the demands of my other real world manufacturing business I decided to put UTA to sleep for a while and bring it back at a more appropriate time. Now is that time and within the next few weeks I will have a new web site, new benefits, and will add to our offering a sanction package for interested races. UTA will become a new alternative to the multi-sport world, representing unique, and distinctive knowledge to the sport.

The original board of UTA was made up of an appointed group that read like a who's who in the sport of triathlon, namely: Bill Bell, Jim Ward(deceased), Pamela Galbraith, John Ricca, Donna Smyers, Henry Benning, Cathi Koeler, Darryl Haley, Jenny Goettsche. It will be our goal to establish another quality board and will ask all of these originals to serve again, if they have the time.

Mike Greer, President, Universal Triathlon Alliance