Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Ringing in the Changes

Continuing the stooooory from last time about my lost wedding ring and my attempt to make lemonade out of the proverbial lemon. Trouble is, I like lemons. But I digress. So what happened?

Some time ago I was introduced to the idea that we should never attach too much feeling to the objects we own; they wear out, are misplaced, or kids/cats break them. So the moment we acquire something, we should be prepared to say goodbye to it. (*) I believe this to be a very wise, even liberating outlook. So an emotionally mature, practical person should be able to accept the loss of a wedding ring and move on with his life.

I’m not there yet.

I’d actually lost the ring once before, on a friend’s lawn during a party. I’d returned a couple of days later with a rented metal detector and found it nestled deep in the grass. I now own a metal detector, so on Monday I charged it up and headed back to the Power Center. But before I fired it up and exposed my nerdiness to the few people on earth who aren’t already aware of it, I tried one more quick visual search.

I began with the lamppost where I’d secured my bike. Nothing there, so I walked toward the tree where I’d put my backpack and buki bag during the class. I’d already combed that area the day before, so I wasn’t too hopeful. But dead ahead was a small circular patch of bare dirt, with my ring right in its center. Considering all the people who’d been on that lawn during and after the Aikido class, having it still be there was pretty remarkable.

Found!

Found!

This marks the third time in the past year where I’ve lost something at an athletic event and then recovered it – my cell phone at Run Woodstock, my favorite winter running hat at the Martian races, and now the ring. Karma? Divine intervention? Dumb luck? I have no idea, but I’ll take it and be grateful just the same.

So what now? In my previous post I’d said that whether I found my ring or not, I’d resolved to make some changes that I’d been thinking about but hadn’t acted on yet (gotta have the time, you see). So I used this event to kick-start those changes – to make the time.

You couldn't sell me - I'm priceless!

You couldn’t sell me – I’m priceless!

There’s nothing earth-shattering here. I am not selling my cats, loading my worldly goods into a 20-year-old F-150 and driving to the Yukon with a retired lady prizefighter to prospect for meteorites – although I might attract more readers if I were. Instead, I’m moving forward with some improvements and new activities. I will keep you posted as I get them going, but here are the first two:

Blog Change: New Name, Same Great Taste

Sometime this week, the name of this blog is changing from Fitness at 50(+) to something else (watch this space). I will continue to post about my adventures in running, cycling, and Aikido, but under a new name. I am past my “year of being 50” (2012) and completed the activities I created this blog to brag about inform a curious world about. So I’m now hoping to appeal to a more general audience. Fitness, after all, is a lifetime thing, and can be (and should be) worked toward at any age.

What do my readers need to do? Send no money now! (**) The “fitnessat50.net” domain will remain active, and links to it will continue to work just fine, as will the “jeff @ fitnessat50 . net” email address (spaces added to prevent auto-harvesting). So I hope you’ll keep on reading!

But wait, I hear my astute readers saying…what about the other sacred subject you write about – chocolate? Have you given it up?

You Deserve This Bar of Chocolate 2

Add check item: Because I got out of bed this morning.

I hope you know me better than that. In fact, I plan to write even more often about that particular subject. It will just be in a different place.

Papa’s Got a Brand New Blog

I am creating a new blog dedicated to my adventures and experiences with coffee and chocolate – product reviews, tours, and stuff I learn – that I hope to finish designing and roll out in the next couple of weeks. And to help celebrate the new blog I will be giving away some neat stuff, so please stay tuned! Unless you don’t care for chocolate, in which case you’re either a) not reading this anymore, or b) from another planet, in which case I hope your intelligence gathering is for the ultimate benefit of mankind.

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(*) I don’t remember where I first heard the idea of letting go of things. It may have been Dr. Wayne Dyer on a PBS pledge drive. It sounds very Zen to me, anyway.

(**) Unless you’d like to send me money, of course. I’d hate to discourage you from something like that.

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Father’s Day: Letting Things (and Rings) Go

My Father’s Day weekend, while perhaps not as memorable as last year’s, was a full one nonetheless. On a day where the emphasis seems to be so heavy on “buy stuff for Dad,” I was instead given several opportunities to reflect on letting things go, one in particular a better gift than any “thing” I could have received.

Saturday began with a 10-mile run followed by a 50-mile bike ride, as I began serious training for my big running event of the year. (Details to follow, but basically I need to get in a lot of long, slow legwork.) With a beautiful, cool morning and smooth roads, it was the kind of ride I’d been looking forward to all winter.

A stop in Plymouth, MI. Gotta keep fueled, you know!

A stop for cherry walnut bread in Plymouth, MI. Gotta keep fueled, you know!

My route took me through Lathrup Village, where I grew up. The neighborhood looked much the same; I’d time warped back to 1970 for all I could tell. Riding by my old house, I was struck again by my lack of nostalgia for it. I’d lived there for fifteen years, but now it was just another house. I’d felt the same way last month when my mother moved out of her house in Dexter Township, where my parents had moved in 1987. It too now belongs to someone else, and I’m fine with that. It isn’t the house that matters in the end, it’s what happened there, and we’ll always have the memories.

On Sunday I was part of an Aikido demonstration at the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. It was the final class taught by our club’s departing instructor, so it was a “letting go” experience for both him and his students. But there was no sadness; the class was energetic and cheerful, with a sizable audience watching, many of them joining us when invited to do so. I hope at least a few of them will start Aikido and discover how much fun and fulfilling it can be.

Aikido retreat

I rode my bike to the class, dogi tucked in my panniers and buki bag strapped across the frame. I tucked my wallet, phone, cameras, and wedding ring (no jewelry allowed in an Aikido class) into my small traveling backpack. Then back at home, getting ready to go to dinner, I opened my backpack – and the ring was not there.

After a careful search of the backpack and my bike bags failed to turn it up, I figured it had fallen out on the Power Center lawn when I’d pulled my cameras out to take photos before class. So I went back there and searched a while for it, without success. Perhaps one of the spectators had found it, or it was just too well hidden in the grass. One moment of carelessness had lost a ring I’d worn for 30 years of marriage (to date).

Aikido has taught me that when a situation occurs that I cannot control, I need to find a way to fit with it. So I had to “fit with” the possibility that I would never see my ring again. Intellectually, this is not so hard; it was just a thing, after all, a plain gold band that can be easily replaced. My 30-year marriage is what really counts, and that remains as strong as ever, unaffected by whether or not I had the symbol that represents it. But emotionally, I was struggling with a sense of melancholy over its loss, and I was annoyed that I hadn’t put the ring somewhere more secure.

Still, I went to dinner Sunday night determined not to let the missing ring bother me, and I succeeded (mostly). And I took some time to reflect, too. I wanted to create balance in the situation – create some yang, as it were, to balance the yin event. So I decided to start on some life changes I’ve been thinking about for a while. Whether or not I got my ring back, I would create a gain.

What are these changes? And have I found my ring yet? All will be revealed shortly. Watch this space.

What I Did for Father’s Day

SO WHICH FATHER’S DAY EVENT DO YOU SUPPOSE I ENJOYED MOST:

a) A cookout at my in-laws, with the Tigers game on
b) Getting up at 5:30 to run the Ann Arbor Marathon
c) My daughter calling me a “badass” on Facebook for doing (b)

I think you can guess.

As for the marathon, I really enjoyed the first half of the race and felt decent until about mile 19. After that, let’s just say it was a struggle, thanks mainly to the rising heat and humidity. I made my time goal of under 4 hours (3:54) but I was pretty wiped at the finish. My coach said I looked pale, which is nothing new for the Whitest Man in America, but at her urging I went to the first aid tent and spent awhile with a cold wet towel over my head.

The finish line. Represents my physical and mental state at the time pretty well, I think.

After my recovery I talked a bit with Nancy, the head organizer of the race volunteers. She ran in college but with three young children she doesn’t have time right now to get in the proper training for distance running. I told her about our PR Fitness Wednesday and Saturday runs, so maybe we can get her back into this insane addiction fun and healthy activity.




The race was a mixed experience for me and, I think, for the city. There were lots of volunteers pointing the way, including several from the PR Fitness group (thanks, Larry, Jeff, and Stewart!) and police helping with traffic control (thank you all). The aid stations were well stocked with water, Powerade, and portajohns. We also had enthusiastic spectators, live music, and entertaining signs. From my runner’s perspective it was as well-run as any race I’ve been in.

Who said runners never smile? Oh, yes, I believe it was my mother. So there, Mom!

On the “needs improvement” side, a friend of mine who ran slower than the 6-hour cutoff got lost when they took the signs away, and wound up running only 20 of the 26.2 miles. I understand the need to re-open the streets, but they could have left some markers on the sidewalks. I saw a couple of drivers asking race volunteers “how do I get out of here” when faced with roadblocks, and AnnArbor.com had many complaints from frustrated motorists. They also could have done without the Briarwood loop, as the mall was empty and the route getting there and back was far less scenic than the downtown and the parks and Arb of the first half.

This was our town’s first marathon and there were bound to be some hiccups. I know the race directors are committed to fixing the mistakes and learning from this year’s experience, and I’m sure next year it will be even better.

Now it’s a short break from running for me, as I prepare for my Aikido test next month. My classmate Jon-san will have his test tomorrow at the Genyokan. If you get a moment, send him some positive energy.

Okay, so who am I?



Why, yes I am.