Personal Quest (PQ) 2012 – COMPLETED

(Anticipated) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q. So, Jeff, you’ve got stats since 2008, but you’ve been doing this your whole life, right? Like you probably ran home from the hospital after you were born. What makes you think someone like me can keep up with you?

A: Au contraire, mon ami! Despite my collection of tights and high-visibility shirts, I do not claim to be a superman. I gave up organized sports after Little League, and didn’t begin my current activities until 2005, when I was 43. But with just these few years of training, I am able to do things I today that I never thought I’d be able to do. And so can you!

Q. What inspired you (or possessed you) to do this?

A: It began with the idea several years ago, as I was working my bike mileage up, that one day I would ride my bike from home to our campground and back. Since the total distance would be about 500 miles, what better target date than 2012, the summer in which I would be 50 years old?

From there it just kind of snowballed as I thought of more things I could also do that year, to where it became a year-long celebration and demonstration of what people can do at age 50, even if they haven’t been active their entire lives.

Q. Isn’t PQ just another term for a ‘bucket list’?

A: No way. What I have planned is more than just some random checklist of stuff to get done ‘before I kick the bucket.’ And besides, ‘bucket list’ sounds crude and shallow, something done only for self-gratification. PQ 2012 is intended to be an example of what folks my age can do, as well as a marker of my own growth and improvement as a person. If I can inspire some other people to grow and improve along the way with me, the effort will be worth that much more to me!

Q. What exactly are you trying to prove with this Personal Quest thing?

A: Two things, mainly – continuing to improve myself by setting ambitious goals and doing my best to achieve them, and trying to set an example for other people, primarily those near my age. My hope is that at least a few people will be motivated by my example to set a goal and improve themselves in a way they would not have done otherwise. Whether they call it a PQ, or whether what they choose to do is large or small, doesn’t matter to me. I’d just like to hear about it and share it.

Q. You know, none of the activities you’ve got listed are particularly extraordinary. Seems like anyone could do them.

A: That’s precisely my point. I’m not going to climb Mt. Everest barefoot or anything like that. What I’m setting out to do are things anyone ought to be able to do at my age. But how many people my age actually do any of them, let alone all of them? I’m hoping some folks out there will at least try one of my planned activities and let me know about it.

Q. You’re crazy.

A: Please phrase that in the form of a question.

Q. You’re crazy, you know that?

A: Quite possibly. Why don’t you come join me on a run and try to talk me out of it. Or better yet, set up your own PQ, and then tell me about it. If this is crazy, perhaps the present world is too sane. Get up and get out here with me!

5 thoughts on “Personal Quest (PQ) 2012 – COMPLETED

  1. Here’s an aikido tale or two for you from the “Last Class” of 1982 and 1983: The “last kenshu” of the year was notoriously hard! The year before I started my kenshu course (Nov 1982) I heard that they did koho ukemi for an hour! Which equated to, as Sensei said, “one for everyday of the year” – if you did them all – then you did 365 back breakfalls!”

    However, what I remember most on that last Saturday of 1983, was the senior student informing us that “in a few minutes, we’ll be doing a lot of something …what that is we do not know, but it’s probably illegal under the Geneva Convention!”

    He was right: we did the rowing exercise, “tori fune undo” for 30 minutes … 30 long minutes … on the right side … then 30 more on the left! I had trouble walking for weeks! The mat then was of a sailcloth canvas nature and my spot looked like someone had taken a shower or dumped a full bucket of sweat
    over me head!

    The next year, was a “personal best” that will stand (for me) for, well, forever, as that “last kenshu” we did backbreakfalls all right, but to the tune – explained by Sensei at the end of the hour – that if – BIG “if” – if you did them all (I failed, missing 2 or 3 out of every 20 by my estimate) you did 450 koho ukemi!!! Ouch!!!!! MY number I think waqs about 375!

    The good news? I completed 77 of my 80 kenshu Saturdays from Nov ’82 to July ’84 and ‘you should have seen Sensei’s smile, when I excused myself three separtate times with the fact that “I will be in a wedding this week Sensei”
    “Your wedding?” he quickly asked with interest…
    “No Sensei, but if it was, I’d rather be in kenshu!”

    Osu! & Happy New Year


  2. Osu, G-san!

    Thank you very much for visiting. You are the second former student of Kushida-sensei to contact me recently. A very nice surprise! I’d be happy to see any photos you’d like to send me. Also, if you happen to have any stories from your training that you’d like to share, I’d be very interested.

    Congratulations on keeping fit after 50. What have you been doing this year?

    Osu, and Merry Christmas,


  3. G Andrew

    Merry Christmas Morning from far, far, away!
    How’s this for common ground:
    I started the Fit@50! (Is he or isn’t he?) site at back on my 50th in 2009… and as an American College of Sports specialist in cardiovascular medicine, I felt tracking my path “back to fitness” might find a similar geezer or two out there of like minds…but I never saw this coming:
    You see, I started my aikido training with Kushida Sensei back in 1982, as the “white boy from suburbs who went to the Ghetto – the original Detroit dojo, “Dexter-Davison North American Aikido & Karate” dojo – where I met a samurai!” (That amazing spot was owned by Eddie Moore Sensei – who had originally sponsored Kushida Sensei in 1973, FYI) …
    Osu! ‘n Happy 50, Merry Christmas and Good luck on your 2012!!!
    P.S. Email me and I’ll fwd you a photo or two you may enjoy!

  4. I *love* the 50 different types of chocolate truffle (or confections, but I’d like that to just be chocolate truffles). I’d like to add “and send 1 of each type to leora!” Hey, one *must* have goals!

  5. Julia

    I was never a runner, either, so I hope people who read this are inspired to try it. Also, I recommend the book “Marathoning for Life.” It changed my attitude of running a marathon as a bucket list to something more. It takes a lot of energy from you, but it gives it back.

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