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Monday, November 16, 2015


In article after article, the press and other opinion writers wring their hands about the millennial generation. They complain that the people in this generation are wimpish, selfish and spoiled. I don’t recognize these characteristics in my daughters or other people I know. The people who have these characteristics are I believe, a very vocal and politically savvy minority. That said, the minority should be listened to and treated as adults even if at times they act childishly.

Safe Rooms & Triggering in Colleges

In the articles criticizing  millennials, this hot topic has been Exhibit A in showing that this generation of people are weak and are demanding to be treated as children. Say a so called “triggering” insult to my kids and they will respond directly and I guarantee you will not like it.  As their parents, this is what we taught our children to do. We didn’t tell them to find a safe place and play with dolls or color. We taught them to stand up for themselves, to think for themselves and to have a work ethic. At no time did any of my daughters complain to me that it was racism that prevented them from accomplishing their goals. They adapted and overcame whatever obstacles they encountered. It is beyond belief that my children are in the minority in this regard.

Lazy Millennials

I look to my daughters, now 27, 29 & 30 and recall that they all were working babysitting jobs in their early teens, worked at stores or restaurants in their late teens, worked their way through college and now work full time jobs. When I go to stores, offices, factories, coffee shops etc., most of the people working are young. Many of them work 2 or 3 jobs. One such person I know, works at a juice bar, a coffee shop and as a security guard. With the money she earned, she bought herself a car. She is learning to do her own car repairs. She is 21 and grew up without parents. I dare you to call her lazy.

Selfish Millennials

Look at any website and do some research on who set it up. Chances are real good, it was a group of millennials. This would include websites such as Fundme and the like. It’s all well and good for billionaires to donate to charity, its quite another thing to help others when you have little income. In addition, most of the members of the Military are millennials. I would call these people unselfish given that they are risking their lives for something other than their selves and often doing so for people who are suffering. When the next natural disaster strikes, take a good look at the volunteers who are cleaning up the polluted water or are gathering food and water for people who’ve lost their homes. To call millennials selfish is a lie.

So if I’m correct that the majority of the people in this age group aren’t being wimpy, selfish or spoiled, why then are they described as such? My theory is that: 

(1)       Power is gained by college administrators by promising to address this so-called problem
and they use it to enlarge their budgets and justify higher tuition costs.  

(2)       The administrators fear losing their jobs because of a vocal minority. This is a reality and    face it, academics rarely have spines of steel.

(3)       Anger of the students who see a bleak future for themselves and need someone to blame.      Some people have always blamed their poor choices on others and see themselves as victims. This has nothing to do with which generation you were born into.

(4)       Some so-called adults want to deny that the college students complaints have some            validity. It’s a lot easier to tell someone to shut up then it is to sit down with them and listen. It’s also difficult to have empathy for someone who is screaming at you.

How to Respond

If I were a college administrator, here’s is how I would respond to the students at Missouri. First, I’d meet with them and listen. Second, I’d make it clear that while I will take their complaints seriously, in order for me to take them seriously, they need to act like adults and not children. tantrums are not convincing. Third, I would bring in outside people to get some independent opinions on the complaints. Finally, I would act on those complaints that are legitimate and explain respectfully why other complaints are not legitimate. All meetings would be recorded and made public.  

So stop the hand wringing

We older people should take a good hard look at ourselves and stop pointing fingers at the millennials. After all, they are our children, grand-children, nephews, nieces etc and WE KNOW our family members aren’t lazy, selfish or wimpish, right? Stereotypes are always the tool of the lazy or the media wanting to sell newspaper or attract an audience to their shows. Let’s not fall into that trap. Baby boomers, Gen X-ers and Y-ers are labels too. Don’t be a label, be an individual and treat others as individuals too. 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Why I love running in the rain

Let’s just get this out right away, my fondness for running in the rain may have more to do with being born in Eugene, Oregon in November. I’m sure it was cold and raining and I am equally sure, upon exiting my Mother, I was screaming to get outdoors. My other reasons for loving to run in the rain, sleet or snow are:

1)         There are less people. By that, less people on the sidewalks and nobody on the trails. Just        me, some deer and the occasional rabbit. Nobody to dodge or slow down for and even  better, nobody on horseback demanding I get off their trail. On the sidewalk, less people mean less dodging the slow walkers waddling their way to the mall or the groups of  women (sorry ladies-I've never had this problem with men) walking side by side while chatting who ignore my polite requests to get past.

2)         It’s quieter. Even when I’m running on the sidewalk, the rain, wind etc. muffle the urban sounds. It’s possible to think. On the trails, the silence is even more sublime. Just the sounds of my feet, breathing and the occasional animal sounds-birds chirping or rabbits   scurrying through the brush.

3)       The snakes that can pop up on my trails when its warm are buried deep in their holes and           they are welcome to stay there until summer.

4)         Most of my competition (the Geezers) aren’t on the trails. If they’re working out, it’s in     the gym. Sorry fellas, walking the stairmaster will never equal going up the steeps. Rainy day runs will be a fond memory when things get grim during a race. I will know that I can run keep running no matter what the conditions are. I will have an edge.

5)        Sometimes, if I'm up high enough, the rain turns to snow and then its heavenly fun and I laugh and smile the entire run. 

Note-this is by no means a call to encourage people to get out and rain in the rain. Please don’t. I want to be alone on the trails. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My review of the Hoka One One Speedgoat


Earlier this year, Hoka One One, the French/US company released the Speedgoat. This shoe was co-designed by Karl Meltzer, one of the great US runners over the past decade. Meltzer has won dozens of 100 mile races in the US. His favorite shoe was the Hoka One One Rapa Nui. I too, am a fan of the Rapa Nui and have been looking forward to trying this shoe on my local trails of Mt. Diablo in Northern California.

Like the Rapa Nui, the Speedgoat does not have the huge midsole of the Stinson, Bondi and other Hoka One One shoes. Runners with poor form and who don’t have normal to high arches should not buy this shoe because it is not a stability shoe, although it is stiffer than the Rapa Nui. Some runners who supinate have stated in their reviews that the midsole was too soft on the outside of the foot resulting in a noticeable lean to the outside. For myself this wasn’t an issue. I would suspect that lighter runners would be less likely to experience this than heavier runners.  

There are two big differences between this shoe and the Rapa Nui. First, the toe box of the Speedgoat is noticeably narrower than the Rapa Nui. For myself, I liked not having my does slide around, especially when I was running through rock gardens. I normally wear a thick Drymax sock, but, for those runners who find the toebox narrow, I would recommend switching to the Drymax thin socks.

Second, the vibram sole has nobs that are huge. I loved the sole, going uphill with these was like having 4 wheel drive. The shoes gripped the loose sand stone on the trail which made for a much more efficient stride which of course equals more speed with less effort. But, it was on the downhills where I noticed a big difference between the Speedgoats and the Rapa Nui’s and Solomon shoes I used to wear. The sole gripped the rocks and loose sand stone soil and I was much more confident and was able to relax and run downhill much faster.

I give this shoe a grade of 4 and a half stars. I took off a half a star because the colors are a bit clownish. That said, I would recommend this shoe to most runners.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Personal Commandments

Every once in a while, I like to make a list of things I like, would I like to do, places to see or in this case, what things I should be aware of on a daily basis. So, here they are.

1.There is no such thing as luck. Everything happens for a reason.

2. We all have our destiny, but we get to choose how we react to the events or the people we encounter during our lives.

3. Reincarnation? Yes

4. Acceptance equals happiness.

5. Desire equals suffering.

6. Nothing lasts forever.

7. Evolution does not equal decline. Even though you can't change chapters 1-5 of your life, chapter 6 can be enjoyed to its fullest because chapters 1-5 provide context to the present.

8. My personal goal is to make my life as simple as possible.

9. For myself, new experiences make me happy, not titles, money or fame.

10. Making someone else happy will make one a rich person.

So, what does this have to do with running?  Here are my thoughts.

1.There is no such thing as luck. Everything happens for a reason.
 On trail runs, I've tripped over roots or rocks and performed a not so graceful face plant. Bad luck?      No, fatigue resulted in my not lifting my feet high enough to clear the obstacle. It's not bad luck          that we encounter obstacles in our lives, obstacles are a part of life.

2. We all have our destiny, but we get to choose how we react to the events or the people we encounter during our lives.
After doing my fall on the trail, I chose how I reacted. The possibilities included staying on
the ground, getting up and using my bloody and sore leg as an alibi to slow down or to do
what I must to keep going. It's your choice.

3. Reincarnation? Yes

I am not so foolish to believe that my gifts for running began with my birth.

4. Acceptance equals happiness.

Every runner has lost a race, had a slow training run or been injured. Accepting these instances and finding joy in the pure act of running, the scenery or the people we are running is how we can accept a lost race or a slow training run. Acceptance of our injuries, both physical and emotional and enjoying the process of rehabilitation which is really another way of getting stronger by accepting our situation and getting happiness in the process.

5. Desire equals suffering.

Desire for ribbons or medals is in the end a cause of suffering. If you get that medal, soon, it will be in a box in your closet or your friends and competitors will stop praising you. If you don't get that medal, the desire for something you've "lost" will bring suffering for you and the people who care about you,

6. Nothing lasts forever.

As a high school runner, Jim Ryun ran a mile in less than 4 minutes. Later, he ran the mile in 3:51, setting a new world record. Very few people remember that record because its been replaced by another record. Even long term friendships or relationships do not last forever in the same state as they were in the beginning of that relationship. Its called evolution and enjoying each stage of your life or relationships is a key to happiness.

7. Evolution does not equal decline. Even though you can't change chapters 1-5 of your life, chapter 6 can be enjoyed to its fullest because chapters 1-5 provide context to the present.

Your child is no longer a cute toddler. Your child is an adult. Does that mean you should wish they had never grown up? Of course not. Accepting your child for who they are at this moment is a way to genuine happiness in your relationship with that child.

8. My personal goal is to make my life as simple as possible.

For me, this is my greatest challenge. Something I work on everyday. For others, it can mean not buying that 5th or 6th pair of their favorite running shoes for yourself. Maybe seek out someone who can't afford a new pair and get them some new shoes to run in.

9. For myself, new experiences make me happy, not titles, money or fame.

Seeing new places, trying new sports (learning to climb will be my birthday gift to myself in November) and meeting new people or seeing people I haven't seen in a long time are the things that make me happy.

10. Making someone else happy will make one a rich person.

Turning despair into hope, turning tears into a smile or listening to someone who has been ignored are true riches. Coaches do this all the time. Showing someone how to train, encouraging that runner when they are struggling through some intervals or when they don't see improvement in their racing results, Coaches do this on a daily basis. For non-coaches-pay the race fees for someone who can't afford it. Take that free shirt you get at the race and give it to one of the volunteers or better yet, a kid who might then be inspired to be a runner. That's a much better way to be rich than to have a big bank account.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Book Review-Surf is Where you Find It

Published by Patagonia Books

One of the icons of surfing on the North Shore of Hawai’I, Bali and beyond in the 1970’s, Gerry Lopez has written an autobiography that will inspire millions of overworked Americans to put down the iphone and head to the beach. Film buffs might recall him as a co-star in Conan the Barbarian or his cameo in Big Wednesday.

Gerry grew up in Honolulu, Hawai’i, attending the illustrious high school, Punahou, prior to President Obama’s tenure there. Gerry’s parents are a journalist father of Spanish-German heritage, while his mother is Japanese-Hawaiian. To say he is an intelligent man with an ear for dialect, an eye for art and near genius level talent as a surfer would be an understatement.

In 1963, as a high school sophomore, Gerry surfed Pipeline, an incredible and often dangerous section of the North Shore. That would be akin to someone with a driver’s permit driving in the Indianapolis 500. Gerry has surfed with and has awed such big surfing names as Miki Dora, Laird Hamilton and Eddie Aikau.

Gerry’s book describes the surfing culture in Hawai’i from the early 1960’s through the 2000’s, noting the historical figures, epic rides and his own spiritual development. Like a long smooth ride on a longboard, Gerry’s book takes the reader to places and people that are worth knowing. Think of it as a volume of “talk story” that Hawaiians usually tell amongst themselves. So, my suggestion is to take off the work clothes, slip on some shorts and flip flops and read an epic book. You’ll be stoked!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Evolution of a Gooner Fan

Back in my youth, South San Francisco aka South City was full of soccer-kids, jr high and high school soccer was popular. It was taught in PE. And yet, it was like being in a cult-there was no soccer on tv, not even the World Cup, no magazines available locally and the newspapers had very little to offer. The only soccer news we could get was from the month old copies of World Soccer magazine that passed around and coveted. "Just who is this George Best guy anyway?" But, we played. Through school, some pick up games while in the Navy and on some club teams with my mates from Scotland on Sundays while in College. Then came the revolution.

At first, it was just PBS that would show games from Germany or England. Then ESPN was born and all of a sudden, you could watch English League games or even college games. So, I would watch and read the papers. During this time, when my daughters were young, I played defense for a team that consisted of Iranians and me. To say I got an education into Iranian culture is an understatement. Appearing as ordered for a 7:30 practice, I would run laps until 8:30 or 9 when the team would show up, the manager announcing that we had a game at 10. To say my wife, who was at home with two toddlers was not happy would also be an understatement. So ended my playing days on an organized team.

Fast forward to when one of my daughters was in London for University. She lived in North London and by default, became enamored with one Thiery Henry and thus became a casual Arsenal fan. Being a good daughter, she soon sent me some Arsenal Kit and my fandom of the Gunners was born. In the Bay Area I like to go to Maggie's Pub in North Beach to hang out with the Bay Area Gooners.

In New York, I go to the Blind Pig and watch the games with the same daughter who started all of this.

I am so blessed to be a Gooner!  

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Into the breach comes Sebastian Coe

Just announced, Sebastian Coe will become the President of the IAAF, the ruling body for Track and Field athletes. His stated goal is to clean up our sport. I sincerely hope he is successful.

My sport has always been running. Track, cross-country and more recently, trail running have been my passion since I was in the 5th grade. My first heroes were in fact runners-Jim Ryun-sub 4:00 miler in HIGH SCHOOL, Olympian and Congressman. I also admired and occasional communicate with Gerry Lindgren, the eccentric, but true "phenom" who beat the Russians as a high schooler and is one of the few Americans who beat Steve Prefontaine head to head. None of the above were ever accused of taking performance enhancing drugs.

As I got older and more educated, some would say more cynical, I was curious about the mysterious Lasse Viren and  Waldimar Cierpinski, winners of Olympic Gold medals and little else. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, documents discovered prove without a doubt that Cierpienski was using steroids, cheating Frank Shorter out of getting a 2nd Gold medal in the marathon, something he is still very bitter about.

Other scandals followed: Ben Johnson in the 1988 Games; Regina Jacobs after the 1996 Games; Marion Jones in the 2000 Games and the entire Chinese Distance Running team withdrawing from the 2000 Games for fear of being found to be EPO users. Yes, there are many others and its been a sad history of doping.

The result? Television rarely shows track and field in non-Olympic years for two reasons. First, its just not a popular sport for non-runners. The average American coach potato can't relate at all. Second, the networks and knowledgable viewers can't be sure that the winner of today's event won't be found to be a user a few weeks or months later.

Sebastian Coes mission is clear. Change the image of track from being a dirty sport to one where people can trust the results. How the 1980 Olympian does that will be as interesting as watching a duel between Jim Ryun and Marty Liquori was in the early 70's. Stay tuned track fans!