THE BEST NEWS FIRST: I AM NOT IN PRISON IN PERU. Should you get a phone call, as my uncle did today, from someone who says I wrecked a car in Peru and need $1,800 wired to get bailed out, you can safely laugh and hang up. However, if you wish to send me the money anyway I won’t complain, as we are remodeling a bathroom and every little bit helps.
More good news: My time of 1:36:59 in Sunday’s Dexter-Ann Arbor Run was an improvement of over five minutes from 2011, and is my new personal record (PR) for the half marathon, beating April’s 1:37:30 in the Martian race. It was also enough to crack the top 10 in my age group! The PR Fitness group was well represented (including a 1:19 from Jason), and as usual there was a large and enthusiastic crowd cheering us on. There weren’t any roadside sprinklers this year, which I missed, but the extra aid stations helped, as I took one cup of water to drink and another to dump on my head.
Afterward I wandered the crowd and encountered a group from Northridge Church (not pictured) who were fundraising for World Vision; their project is supplying potable water to villages in Zambia. Many of them will also be running the Chicago Marathon in the fall. (I like them already.)
There were three opportunities for post-race refreshment: the free stuff in the race booths, which included pizza, bagels, cookies, and fresh fruit, the Taste of Ann Arbor set up further down Main Street, and Zingerman’s Camp Bacon in Kerrytown (a fundraiser for the 4H Club). Okay, so bacon crepes I understand, and maybe, just maybe, bacon caramel corn. But bacon coffeecake? Maple-bacon gelato? And why someone would mix bacon with perfectly good dark chocolate is beyond me. Trust me, I’ve tried to appreciate it. Many times.
Now, unfortunately, for the sad news.
Last month the founder of Yoshokai Aikido, Takashi Kushida (or Kushida-sensei as we always referred to him) passed away after a long illness. Kushida-sensei came to the U.S. in the 1970s for a “visit” to teach Aikido to Detroit-area students, which turned into an all-too-brief stay of 37 years. I am very fortunate to be among those whose lives have changed for the better through being taught by him and following his principles for Aikido training and in life; positive spirit, focus on what is important, and seeking harmony in all things. If some good news can come out of this, it is that the school continues on as strong as ever through his son Akira-senesi and the other instructors. I look forward to many more years of personal growth and enjoyment through my study of Aikido (not to mention terrific stress relief). I will say more about my experience with Kushida-sensei in future posts.