Tag Archives: Positive Thinking

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE 22 PLUS EPISODE 5-MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE FACES OF FREEDOM

DIRECTLY BELOW IS THE AUDIO PODCASTS TO EPISODE 22 OF RUNNING, WRITING AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE, PLUS EPISODE 5 OF MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE FACES OF FREEDOM:

Welcome to a “Double-Header” today.  First up is Episode 22 of my regular blog, Running, Writing and Traveling for Life.  Then stay tuned of Episode 5 of Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom.

Over the past 4 weeks, I have done 1 day of interval training, followed or preceded by a long run, with no rest day between.  I felt fine during each of the workouts, but I was exhausted on the third and fourth days.   I only felt ready for my tempo run after resting on the third and fourth days.  This week I will rest one day between the intervals day and long run day, and then see if I can handle the tempo run after only one or two days of either walking or resting.  In fact, since I started writing this, it’s now later in the week, and I have done my intervals, rested one day, and then done my long run yesterday.  I feel much better this week than last.

There are some of us among the Masters Runners who can run every day and be able to handle the work load.  My guess is that they have been running daily for decades, and they’ve learned to stop running at this first hint of injury.  I have been running for decades, but have had several layoffs, due to injury or burnout, during those years.  For me, from time to time I feel tired and need to overcome inertia to actually get out there and run.  The majority of the time when I do don my running gear and do start putting one foot in front of the other, by the time I am warmed up, I feel good, and I do my workout.  There are times, however, when I don’t feel good, so I end the workout and surrender to recovery.  It is hard to truly discern when your body actually needs a rest day and when your lazy mind is playing tricks on you.

As I have mentioned recently, I am using the winter to focus on slow, longer runs to build up my strength.  It seems to be working, based on slightly improving interval training, with more reps, faster times, and lower rest times between the reps.  I have also adopted Jeff Galloway’s (www.jeffgalloway.com) exhortation to weave walking breaks into the normal running periods, particularly in the beginning and middle parts of the long run.  This way I feel I am able to actually run further and, of course, with less effort.  There is one route I run that has a steep uphill, six-tenths of a mile long, about 1.5 miles from the finish, and I do insert walking breaks here as well.  These walking breaks have also enhanced my enjoyment of the long runs, if only being able to absorb my surroundings more fully.   

Once again I want to encourage you to sit down in a quiet space daily to do affirmations, if you have not started to do it already.  I have seen some of the 22 affirmations become part of my automatic behavior already.  This is a slow process and is most effective if you repeat the affirmations at morning and at night.  If you would like to see my earlier comments on this powerful process, please click on:

http://allanwchapman.com/2013/12/19/running-writing-and-traveling-for-life-episode-12/

http://allanwchapman.com/2014/05/26/running-writing-and-traveling-for-life-episode-15/

 

Please leave your questions or comments by clicking on the “Leave a comment” link at the bottom of the page.  Thanks!

Please be with me again next time when I will report on the results of the day of rest between intervals and long run, but for now, stay tuned for Episode 5 of Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom.  Enjoy!

 

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE 20 PLUS EPISODE 3-MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE FACES OF FREEDOM

 Direct Link to Today’s Audio Podcast:

December was a difficult month, which actually was probably a good thing.  First I had to deal with jet-lag after a down-and-back trip to Canberra, Australia.  Then I kept trying to run 200s and 400s at my desired 800 meter race time, which left me further exhausted.  After that, most of my running was easy, and the few intervals I did were at a slower pace.  And I had a lot more rest days because I paid attention to my fatigue and only walked, golfed, or rested when I didn’t feel up to running. 

Now it is January, and I feel more rested.  In fact, this week I have felt the strongest in months.  I was able to handle a long run, and then an interval workout in 2 consecutive days.  I am hoping I can build slowly, but steadily in the coming months. 

I have also been thinking about my next novel.  I have been quite disturbed by world-wide terrorism, murder, bigotry and greed, and I have been trying to understand the root cause.  I think about poverty, drugs and alcohol, insanity,  lack of education, being spoiled, sexual drive, and myriads of other circumstances contributing to the chaos in the world.

When I was doing my prayers and meditations this week, I had an epiphany that all of these heinous acts and states of being have to do with power.  Or more specifically, the lack of power.  I want to investigate further.  How does one gain power in healthy ways?  Is the best power external or internal? Is win-win really possible?

I have dabbled in this area in my thriller, Slaves On Horseback, and my children stories, particularly Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom.  I have been podcasting the first 2 Episodes on iTunes, and I am including the link to the third Episode just below.  For those of you who have listened to the first 2 Episodes already, today we will March for Freedom in Maracaibo with Debby, Michael, their mother and Mr. Wugidgem: 

 

For those of you who want to start at the beginning, please go to:

DIRECT LINK TO MR. WUGIDGEM AND THE FACES OF FREEDOM-EPISODES 1 AND 2. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iffley Road Track-Oxford University

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE 18

Thanks for joining me today for Episode 18 in my running, writing, and traveling blog. For those of you who want to listen, rather the read, here is the link to the Audio Podcast: 

Picking up on one of my comments from the last Episode, it is extremely difficult to see the fine line between health and injury. Last week I ran a 600 meter time trial to get an idea how close I was to running a steady pace at my desired 800 meter race pace goal. I felt I was getting close to being able to race a full 800 meters at my goal pace, based on the 200 meter interval times at which I had been running. Was I ever wrong!

I thought I was running the first 200 meters at race pace, but I was quite a bit slower than I expected. I picked up the pace, but even at the 400 meter mark, I was still behind my goal pace. I increased my tempo in the final 200, but still finished well off my goal.

I just looked back at my training log, and I see that I had done a difficult tempo run 3 days before, and only walked the following 2 days. Therefore I did have 2 days of rest between the runs, but I may have needed a third day of rest.

I also may have needed to do my 200 meter interval training at a pace faster than race pace and/or reduced the rest interval to less than the 2 minutes I was taking. This week I think I will just reduce the rest interval and maintain the 200 meter pace at race level. The last time I did intervals faster than race pace, while maintaining the 2 minute rest intervals, I sustained a glute injury that took a long time to heal. Reducing the rest interval should be less stressful on the tired muscles, with less risk of injury.

Stay tuned… Continue reading RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE 18

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE17

On Iffley Road Track, Oxford 2 weeks ago

Click on this link for the Audio Podcast Version of the written word below:

Two weeks ago I stood in my street clothes on the Iffley Road Track in Oxford, England, where Roger Bannister first broke the four minute mile. I had resumed training, and became aware that I was way past due for posting on my running, writing, and traveling blog.

Since I last posted, I have had 2 eye operations. The first one involved an artificial lens that was implanted after my cataract afflicted natural lens was removed 13 years ago.  For some mysterious reason, on the flight back home from Frankfurt, Germany to San Francisco,  the artificial one decided to relocate and began to wander around my eye’s sclera instead of fixed under my pupil. Here a link to an eye diagram if you may just happen to be curious: 

National Institute Of Health Eye Diagram

My good eye was still 20/20, but I quickly tired of squeezing my 20/450 afflicted eye shut to see properly, so I bought a black patch for it and spouted a lot of Pirate “Arrrrrghs” for the next 10 days.  I was pretty grumpy.

Anyway the first operation went okay and when I went to the doctor week later I could see pretty well. But the very next day the lens decided to take another hike, so they had to schedule a do-over, 2 weeks later. 

As you might expect, those 2 weeks passed really slowly. The 13 year old lens gave up the ghost during the second operation, losing its connectors, so they doctor retired it to the open road and implanted a brand-spanking new one.  This time he not only sutured it in, he glued it in!  “That lens is not going to roam anywhere,” he said. 

So far, it hasn’t even hankered for greener grass.

Anyway during all the time, the doctor prohibited me to run, lift weights, play golf, or anything more strenuous than walking. So I walked, but it was hard when you are used to running.

So I finally resumed running just over 3 months ago, at the end of June. For the first 2 weeks I did nothing more strenuous than easy runs.  Then during the next 3 weeks, I introduced a 1x 5 minute tempo run and fast striding, along with an easy run each week.  I was resting 1 to 2 days between runs, doing only push-ups and crunches on the “off” days.

Then in August, I started a few interval sessions. Here is an excerpt from one of them:

“1 mile w/u (about 15 minutes); about 7 minutes of stretching (45 second bent knee stretches each leg, 45 second straight knee, turned-in foot, stretches each leg, 20 hamstring and quad full leg swings forward and backward each leg, 20 toe liftings and lowerings each foot); 2 x 20 step fast strides (4:51 seconds, rest 71 seconds, 4:50 seconds), rested 1:31, then 1 x 22 step fast strides in 10:52 seconds; rest 3 minutes, then 3 x 200 meters (45:11, 2:00 rest, 46:00, rest 3:30-the time it took my heart rate to drop back to 120, 42:94);  about 1.25 miles w/d in 20:42  Average HR 120, peak HR 159, burned about 450 calories.  These fast strides are about the fastest yet!” Continue reading RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE17

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE17

On Iffley Road Track, Oxford 2 weeks ago

Click on this link for the Audio Podcast Version of the written word below:

Two weeks ago I stood in my street clothes on the Iffley Road Track in Oxford, England, where Roger Bannister first broke the four minute mile. I had resumed training, and became aware that I was way past due for posting on my running, writing, and traveling blog.

Since I last posted, I have had 2 eye operations. The first one involved an artificial lens that was implanted after my cataract afflicted natural lens was removed 13 years ago.  For some mysterious reason, on the flight back home from Frankfurt, Germany to San Francisco,  the artificial one decided to relocate and began to wander around my eye’s sclera instead of fixed under my pupil. Here a link to an eye diagram if you may just happen to be curious: 

National Institute Of Health Eye Diagram

My good eye was still 20/20, but I quickly tired of squeezing my 20/450 afflicted eye shut to see properly, so I bought a black patch for it and spouted a lot of Pirate “Arrrrrghs” for the next 10 days.  I was pretty grumpy.

Anyway the first operation went okay and when I went to the doctor week later I could see pretty well. But the very next day the lens decided to take another hike, so they had to schedule a do-over, 2 weeks later. 

As you might expect, those 2 weeks passed really slowly. The 13 year old lens gave up the ghost during the second operation, losing its connectors, so they doctor retired it to the open road and implanted a brand-spanking new one.  This time he not only sutured it in, he glued it in!  “That lens is not going to roam anywhere,” he said. 

So far, it hasn’t even hankered for greener grass.

Anyway during all the time, the doctor prohibited me to run, lift weights, play golf, or anything more strenuous than walking. So I walked, but it was hard when you are used to running.

So I finally resumed running just over 3 months ago, at the end of June. For the first 2 weeks I did nothing more strenuous than easy runs.  Then during the next 3 weeks, I introduced a 1x 5 minute tempo run and fast striding, along with an easy run each week.  I was resting 1 to 2 days between runs, doing only push-ups and crunches on the “off” days.

Then in August, I started a few interval sessions. Here is an excerpt from one of them:

“1 mile w/u (about 15 minutes); about 7 minutes of stretching (45 second bent knee stretches each leg, 45 second straight knee, turned-in foot, stretches each leg, 20 hamstring and quad full leg swings forward and backward each leg, 20 toe liftings and lowerings each foot); 2 x 20 step fast strides (4:51 seconds, rest 71 seconds, 4:50 seconds), rested 1:31, then 1 x 22 step fast strides in 10:52 seconds; rest 3 minutes, then 3 x 200 meters (45:11, 2:00 rest, 46:00, rest 3:30-the time it took my heart rate to drop back to 120, 42:94);  about 1.25 miles w/d in 20:42  Average HR 120, peak HR 159, burned about 450 calories.  These fast strides are about the fastest yet!” Continue reading RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE17

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE16

Stanford University Track-Another View
Stanford University Track-Another View

I have been reviewing my workouts since the beginning of the year, in an attempt to unearth progress and setbacks during this 5 month period.  Because of hernia and eye operations during the first half of last year, I had spent the second half of 2013 doing a lot of easy running.  I was injury free. 

In January of this year, I began to do some speedwork, but at a 2 mile pace, rather than an 800 meter one.  I was doing 200s, 300s and 400s, usually 4 or 5 repeats, with a 2 to 3 minute rest interval, depending on how I felt.  I got through January injury free.

At the beginning of February, I began to increase the speed of my repeats to my 800 meter pace and I dropped the rest interval to the 2 minute range, but still did 4 or 5 repeats.  I felt very good during these repeats.  On February 27 I felt excellent, having rested 3 days, but on the 4th 200 meter repeat, my left glute cramped at about the 80 meter mark, so I stopped.  I rested 90 seconds, then ran 100 meters at my slower 2 mile pace, rested 2 ½ minutes, and then ran one more 100 meters at the 2 mile pace.  I prayed I wasn’t injured too seriously. Continue reading RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE16

Running, Writing, and Traveling For Life – Episode 15

 

Sunset In Cupertino, CA
Sunset In Cupertino, CA

We are back home in California now, and I’m having a problem with the plastic lens replacement for the cataract-ridden one in my right eye. It has slipped out of place and they can’t schedule the corrective surgery for 10 days. I can see well enough with my left eye, so I’m working on this blog installment.
As I mentioned last week, I have been repeating a list of positive affirmations daily for the past six months, and I thought now was a good time to pass on some observations to you. If you would like to review my original December 19th blog on this subject please click on this link:
Direct Link to Affirmations Blog 12/19/13
Vitally important to this positive affirmation process are these two positive affirmations:
1. I love doing my affirmations, and I repeat them every day.
2. Affirmations work to improve my life.

I changed the word “enjoy” in the original first affirmation to “love” which you see above. As I repeated the daily affirmations over time, I gradually realized enjoyment was morphing into love. I wasn’t simply enjoying the visualization process; I loved how my life was changing.  Thus I created the second positive affirmation:  Affirmations work to improve my life.

Let me share a couple of examples. One of my affirmations is: I enjoy doing my chores and I complete them easily, with a smile on my face. After repeating this positive affirmation every day for a few months, I realized that I was, in fact, finding pleasure and satisfaction in doing my chores. The most amazing thing was that I was completing the chore all at one time, and sometimes even with a smile on my face!  Previously I would allow other distractions to interrupt the completion of my tasks. I also have noticed that when I am relaxing and a chore opportunity comes up, I more often than not handle the chore right then.

Third In The California Games 800 meters-2012

Another example of positive affirmations working involves this one: I am a strong, relaxed, fast runner, and I push off with all my toes. I visualize sliding my shoulder back and down, relaxing my core, and pushing off with all ten toes. Historically, I was tense in both training and racing. During the last six months, I have noticed when I am running, more and more I am actually sliding my shoulders back and down, relaxing my stomach and quads, and really pushing off with all ten toes. I really see this when I am doing interval training – when I am able to maintain these actions, the repeat time is faster.

I don’t fully understand why the affirmations work. I do know that I have negative thoughts during each day, but it seems to me I am better able to dispel these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Some people may say this is self-hypnosis or delusional. Whatever is it, I believe this process trains the sub-conscious to come from a positive place, with the result being positive action.

I also want to reiterate the importance of repeating often, “I love doing my affirmations and I repeat them every day.”  The negative part of your subconscious will bombard you with negative thoughts that affirmations are waste of time, they don’t work, etc.  After a few weeks these negative thoughts will abate, but they will still pop-up once in a while.

If you are interested in further readings on affirmations, here are some links:

Winning Mindset0001

Train Your Brain Hard0001

Psycho-Cybernetics from Wikipedia

Please send your comments/observations to: allanwchapman@gmail.com.

Thanks!

Please be with me next week for my next post.  My doctor has advised me not to run until sometime after my eye surgery, so I should have time to reflect on my training.  Perhaps a few pearls will emerge that will be of use to you.

 

 

 

Running, Writing, and Traveling For Life – Episode 14

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE – EPISODE 14

 STANFORD AERIAL VIEW

It’s been another long hiatus between blogs.  My main excuse this time is I took an Advanced Creative Writing class at Stanford this quarter from Professor Nancy Huddleston Packer.  This was by far the best writing experience I have ever had.  We had 18 students in the class and each of us submitted 2 pieces (mostly short stories) during the quarter for critique by the other students.   It was a large writing class, so each of us had to critique 3 or 4 stories each week, plus find time to either do two of our own, either a new one or rewrite an old one. 

The results were incredible!  I think most, if not all, of us read each story several times before we wrote our critiques, which we spoke from in class and then gave them to the writers of the week in class.  The comments were primarily positive and even the negative ones were mostly constructive. 

Professor Packer gave us in class exercises every week, reviewing the fundamentals of powerful writing, and then gave us homework to employ what we learned in class to present the following week.

I would suggest you search for a class of this type near you because I believe this is the best way to learn to write more successfully.  I would also suggest you sign up the moment registration opens up because these classes fill up rapidly.

Anfi Beach Resort, Grand Canary, from the top floor
Anfi Beach Resort, Grand Canary, from the top floor

 

My wife and I are currently at the Anfi Beach Resort on the southeast coast of Grand Canary Island which is part of Spain.  The Island is in the Atlantic, off the coast of Africa, west of the country of Western Sahara.  We drove over to the town of Playa Del Ingles, caught a glimpse of sand dunes, found a parking lot, and walked over to the beach.  As we stood on the promenade, which was set back from the water’s edge a few hundred meters, it really was as though we were looking at the other end of the Egyptian Sahara, which we visited a few years back.  Huge dunes rose and fell across our field of vision.  A few people appeared to be returning from a trek across the dunes to the water’s edge, and they looked hot and exhausted.

 

Playa del Ingles
Playa del Ingles

We also drove over to Puerto Del Mogan at what appears to be the end of Highway GC1, the main freeway or dual carriageway on the island.  It’s a bit reminiscent of Venice, with small footbridges over canals which crisscross the oceanfront.  It’s quite picturesque and the choice of restaurants is staggering.  That said, some of them were closed for the month of May which we ultimately discovered was the slowest tourist month of the year.  There’s a lot to be said for that.  And we didn’t starve.

Canal Bridge in Mogan, Grand Canary Island
Canal Bridge in Mogan, Grand Canary Island

We had read on the RCI web site complaints about the lack of view at the Anfi Beach Resort.  They mostly were from those who had rooms with numbers in the 500s.  Our “confirmed” room number was 1027, but more often than not, resorts in the past have ignored the confirmed number and assigned us another room.  It was usually disappointing.  So we expected we would be relegated to a room in the 500s. 

Wow, were we greatly surprised!  We were confirmed in room 1027 which is on the top floor with a great ocean view from a large lanai.  The unit was very spacious with a large living room, bathroom, and bedroom.  The kitchen had a large freezer/refrigerator and cook-top stove and microwave oven.  We were so comfortable and relaxed there that we spent the majority of the time in our rooms.

The fine sandy beach was right in front of the complex, but the water temperature was a bit colder than I expected.  It was very clean and clear, however, and I enjoyed my time in the water, albeit was brief.  The resort has several pools, including a water slide, and we could hear children enjoying themselves and chattering and screaming throughout the day.  Adults played games and did exercises as well.  We watched and listened from the shade and relative quiet from our top floor lanai.

Anfi Beach Resort from the Breakwater
Anfi Beach Resort from the Breakwater

The major language we heard was Spanish of course, but we heard a lot of Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and British English.  We didn’t hear much American English, probably because the trek to Grand Canary is long and difficult from the U.S.  Hawaii and the Caribbean are much more accessible tropical paradises.

We arrived at Las Palmas Airport one day before we could check into our timeshare, so we stayed at the AC Hotel in Las Palmas, a recent acquisition by Marriott.  The rooms (2 of them) were spacious and comfortable, and their restaurant food was quite good.  The only funny thing was the bathroom basin was slanted down toward you, so anything that could roll that you placed on its surface did roll.

One tip I will pass on that we never noticed before on our European trips.  At both Frankfurt and Las Palmas, you can find out where to find the Airline check in spot from the departure board.  There is a column listing a range on numbers (i.e. 17-21).  This indicates the check-in positions at the Airline counter.  Then look above the ticket counters around you, and you will see numbers.  They are sequentially numbered as you proceed in either direction to make it easier to find.  I know this sounds complex, but it will make sense when you are there.

Another tip to make the trip easier from the U.S. is to connect in Madrid or Barcelona.  The flights to Las Palmas are shorter and more frequent than from Northern European cities.

We’re headed back home, the coming week’s schedule is pretty free, so I plan to update you on my personal work with the power of positive affirmations for running and the rest of your lives.  To refresh your memory on these affirmation please go back to my post of December 19. 2013.    
Link To Affirmations Blog
I have been repeating these and other affirmations daily since that time.  Here are 2 more key affirmations that I have added: 

1.  I enjoy doing my affirmations, and I repeat them daily. 

2.  Affirmations work to improve my life. 

Please look for my next blog soon for concrete examples of what the affirmation process does for me.  Thanks!  

 

 

 

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE – EPISODE 13

View From The Doris Duke Estate, Honolulu, Hawaii
View From The Doris Duke Estate, Honolulu, Hawaii

Welcome to www.allanwchapman.com!  This blog is primarily about running, with periodic travel episodes woven in.  Today’s post features travel to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, including Waikiki, Honolulu, and Ko Olina.  The running update will come at the end.

In recent years, my wife and I have discovered the best travel bargains appear to be during the second week of December.  Hotels, restaurants, and car rental agencies all have told us this is a slow week.  The largest discounts have been at the hotels.  Even the airlines’ algorithms have permitted them to offer a modest discount this week. 

We spent the first night at the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach. 

Royal Hawaiian Hotel

We have stayed at the “Pink Hotel” previously during the peak season in a garden view room, but during the second week of December we were able to get an ocean front view room at the same rate as the normal garden view in peak season.

Royal Hawaiian Hotel Ocean View
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Ocean View

For dinner, we returned to the Azure, the hotel’s premier restaurant.  We had thoroughly enjoyed their prix fixe (tasting menu) on our previous visit this past March, so we were quick to choose this 5 course option again.  We were not disappointed.  Each course was an innovative, delectable creation.  The portions were modest and the serving pace was leisurely, so we were sated, not stuffed, when we finished the sumptuous meal.  Here is the menu: 

Azure Tasting Menu

At 7 the next morning I was the first customer down on the beach to reserve lounge chairs in the Royal Hawaiian roped-off section of Waikiki.  I reserved chairs 15 and 16, which we had liked during our March visit because they provided easy access to the Mai Tai Bar and Restaurant, as well as to the rest rooms.  

After breakfast we swabbed on liberal amounts of sunscreen (mandatory in the hot Hawaiian sun), and took the pool elevator which actually was the closest access to our beach lounge chairs.   

And we did lounge in our chairs, alternating between people watching and reading.  We spotted more tattoos than we had ever seen in our lives, with some of the people having little flesh showing between the tattoos.  We also looked out from time to time at the scores of surfers, paddling and waiting for good waves.  There were a few good ones, but I’m sure it was a disappointing day for most of the surfers.  The big surf came later in the week.  This was a very enjoyable, relaxing time for us, but after about 2 hours, the sun’s heat really cooked us.  We made the short walk across the sand, up the ramp and into the Mai Tai Restaurant. 

We had found a really good rate at the Marriott Ocean Club in Ko Olina a few days before we left home.  This is a time-share facility, but they do have units available to the public.  So, after lunch, we set out on the 22 mile drive to Ko Olina.  If you’ve ever been to Hawaii and watched the TV News, you know what we ran into on the H1 freeway.  The traffic was even worse than normal because the highway crews were working during daylight hours to finish repairs by the end of the week so they could enjoy their Christmas Holidays.  Anyway, it took us 2 ½ hours to make the 22 mile journey.         

A new Monkey Pod Restaurant has been opened since our last visit to Ko Olina.  We had discovered their Maui Restaurant earlier in the year in Wailea and had enjoyed it so much that we returned a second time.  The Ko Olina is only about a one mile walk from the Marriott, so we decided to hoof it there-no rain in the forecast.  We were rewarded with delicious meals.  My wife ordered the Saimin Noodles, with Kalua Pork, broccoli, green beans, bean sprouts, red onion, cilantro, mint and peanuts.  I had fish tacos with cilantro, cabbage, roasted tomato salsa, avocado cream, served on double corn tortillas.  I really enjoyed my entrée, but I must say I really, really liked the several bites of my wife’s Saimin Noodles more.  In fact, I ordered it when we returned a couple of days later and was not disappointed.  As good as the entrees were, the dessert was better.  They offer strawberry cream pie, banana cream pie, chocolate cream pie, and coconut cream pie.

The next day we headed back into Honolulu for a tour of Shangri La, the Estate of the late Doris Duke.  Based on the horrific traffic out of Honolulu the previous afternoon, we allowed 2 ½ hours for this trip.  We were facing a return trip to Ko Olina during the afternoon commute hours, so I was expecting the entire day to be stressful and disappointing.

Wow, was I wrong!  We sailed in, part of it in the high occupancy vehicle lane, so we reached the parking lot next to the Honolulu Museum of Art School in less than an hour.  We paid $5 for 5 hours parking and then hurried over to the Honolulu Museum of Art one block away. Because of no-shows, we were able to get the last 2 seats on the bus for 9 a.m. tour instead of the 10:30 a.m. we were booked on. 

The bus ride took about 20 minutes, climbing up Diamond Head Mountain, around, and down the far side.  We drove through the entrance gate, and then down the winding driveway to the front of the house.  As we disembarked, we gazed upon what appeared to be a small, simple and plain house.  It sure didn’t look like what we expected Shangri La to be. 

Doris Duke Estate Front Door With Camels
Doris Duke Estate Front Door With Camels

The bus load of us were split into 2 tour groups, with the first going into the house and the second to start in the gardens before proceeding into the house.  My wife and I were pressed into the second group and moments later we were through the garden wall door.  We look around and we realized that we were indeed in Shangri La.  To the far left we caught side of the tiered house, built into the side of the mountain, far larger than it appeared from the front façade we first saw.  To the right of the house, the Pacific stretched out from the bottom edge of the property.  Straight ahead lay the magnificent Mughal Garden, with Diamond Head Mountain rising behind it.  Shangri La is a beautiful estate perched on 4.9 acres of prime ocean front, downward sloping land.  The Garden is an emulation of the Royal Garden of the Mughal Emperors of India in the 16th and 17th centuries, which first impressed Doris Duke during her honeymoon there in 1935.

Doris Duke Estate Mughal Garden
Doris Duke Estate Mughal Garden

We retraced our steps through the garden wall door and then entered the house through a similar door, into the foyer.  Islamic art and written language abounded, expressing Doris Duke’s love for this ancient expression from the Middle East, India and Pakistan.  The entire house is designed around the Islamic theme.

Here are the highlights:

The Mihrab Room is a dimly lit chamber, which has as its focus a luster ceramic on one of the walls.  This is known as a Mihrab and orients Islamic worshipers towards Mecca, to which they pray 5 times daily.  The rest of the sanctuary features beautiful restored tile works and other ceramics.  

The Damascus Room is a re-creation of an opulent area where guests were received.  The walls and ceiling are wood, embellished with gold, tin, and copper, as well as multicolored glazes.  As I recall (photography inside the house is forbidden), the guests sit on a circular ottoman in the center of the room, and the hosts are seated along the walls.

The Living Room is bright, long and spacious, with a spectacular view of Diamond Head through a floor-to-ceiling window, which also runs the full width of the room.  Our guide told us the window could be totally retracted into the floor for unobstructed viewing of the Pacific and the Mountain. 

The Dining Room is a re-creation of an Islamic Tent.  The walls and ceilings are totally covered with striped blue fabric, which is embellished with Egyptian and Indian appliques.  A magnificent Baccarat Chandelier hangs from the center of the ceiling, and the south and west wall fabric panels can be raised to let views of the Pacific and Diamond Head into the room.  I really could imagine myself in a spacious elegant tent somewhere out in the Sahara.

As I mentioned earlier, I was really pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this tour so much.  Doris Duke left her Estate for the public to enjoy, and I for one found it a real pleasure.  If you would like to learn more about booking the tour and more of what is there, you can go to: http://www.shangrilahawaii.org.

We spent 3 more days in the relative calm of Ko Olina (versus the Waikiki frenzy outside the grounds of the Royal Hawaiian).  We sat in the shade of a tree next to the beach, and then actually went into the Marriott Lagoon water for a few minutes.  We walked to Roy’s for dinner one evening and got caught in a downpour on the way back.  It does rain in Hawaii!  The next day the waves were up, so the surfers were finally happy!

I also did 3 x 5 minute tempo runs along the Hawaiian Railway tracks, which cuts straight through the Ko Olina Golf Course.  Continue reading RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE – EPISODE 13

RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE 12

At San Dieguito Park-Solana Beach, California

I’ve had a lot going on with my day job since I last posted.  It appears I may have a breather as we head into the weekend, so let’s see if I can finish this and post it today.  We shall see….

While I have been busy with my business, I have been thinking about running in the spare moments – and when I have actually been running.

One major theme that has come up for me is the mental part of the entire gestalt of running.  In the October, 2013 issue of Runner’s World there is an article which places extreme emphasis on the mental side.  If you would like to read it, please click on this link:  Train Your Brain Hard0001.  For me, this is radical, not gradual.  I believe the strongest and longest lasting method is steady, gradual development, both physically and mentally.

 I recommend the book Psychocybernetics, by Dr. Maxwell Maltz to give you a better idea of this longer term approach to the mental side of life, including running.  This book was the foundation of the mental approach to training I learned at Stanford University when I was in school eons ago.  Dr. Maltz was a plastic surgeon who noticed over the years that many of his patients who had improved their appearance physically through surgery had not improved their internal self-image.  Negative “self-talk” continued to dominate their thoughts. 

He ultimately discovered that positive thoughts, vividly imagined in the mind’s eye, are perceived by the mind to be every bit as real as actual events.  He believed a person’s outer success could never exceed one’s internally visualized success.  From this he developed a template which his patients could customize to codify areas of life they wanted to improve.  Here are some of the positive affirmations we used on the track team:

  1. I am a relaxed, fast runner.
  2. I enjoy my workouts.
  3. I am a winner.
  4. I am a good student and I complete my assignments easily.    
  5. I focus on my breathing to distract myself from pain during strenuous workouts and races.        
  6. I enjoy doing my affirmations every day.                                         

We were instructed to find a quiet place, close our eyes, and relax.  We then repeated each affirmation aloud and focused on evoking a vivid mental picture of ourselves in action, executing the affirmation in as much detail as possible.  For example, when you repeat “I am a winner,” see yourself coming down the final straightaway, pumping your arms, legs strong and churning, then leaning forward, first to break the tape.  Of particular importance is seeing yourself enjoying doing your affirmations every day, because this ultimately overcomes the negative thought that doing the affirmations is a waste of time.

This approach is alive and well today.  Continue reading RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE 12