Sergeant Tony's Blog

Archive for May, 2016

Parachutes — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 5/11/2016

May. 11th 2016

“Tony, when did you become a runner?”

“Same as you, when I was about 2 years old,” I said.

Just about everyone becomes a runner between 18 to 24 months of age. As little kids we ran for the sheer joy of running! In fact, most of the time we had to be told NOT to run! I remember running through grocery stores, department stores, in school hallways … everywhere. We ran all the time. And then we stopped running. I probably quit running when I was 11 or 12 years old.

After that, I ran when it was needed for sports or when the coach punished us. By that time, running was too often used for punishment and we gradually grew to hate it. I quit running for the fun of getting from one place quickly or for the expediency of getting somewhere fast. Somehow it became a duty and a burden, stripped of its joy.

But I distinctly remember the day I became a runner again.

I became a born-again runner on December 3, 1975 in Willowgrove, Pennsylvania. I’d graduated from Marine Corps boot camp on December 1 and was in PA visiting my older brother, his wife, and my nephew, Jeff.

On the morning of the 3rd, I put on some running shorts and a “US MARINES” t-shirt, laced up my “running shoes,” and went for a run. No one told me to. No one was holding me accountable. Like Forrest, I just started running. For 3 months in boot camp, I’d marched or run everywhere. No riding. And in the process, my mind had changed again.

There were no Garmins. There were no GPS watches. There were no digital watches at all. The Timex Ironman and the Casio G-Shock were still years away. But I had my trusty Seiko analog watch and just ran for 15 minutes from my brother’s apartment, turned around, and ran back.

That was my first run … for the joy of running.

In December 1975, “running shoes” were nothing more than flat sole canvas “tennis shoes,” just a flat rubber sole with a canvas upper. There was no cushioning.

When I walked, when most of us walk, the heel strikes the deck first. But when I ran, I ran with a “ball-of-the-foot strike first” form. This was consistent with how I ran as a child … before I quit running. And that’s how I ran for the next 3 or 4 years.

In 1979, I bought my first pair of “running shoes” from legendary Olympic runner and nationally known running coach, Jeff Galloway. I’d wandered into his Atlanta based running store, “Pheidippides,” and bought my first running shoes, a pair of Adidas. Those shoes were the beginning of my running form transformation.

The modern running shoe, born in the 1970s, developed a “heel strike first” cushioning design. Consequently, my running form, and most everyone’s running form, changed from a forefoot-strike, or ball-of-the-foot-strike, to a heel-strike-first form. That particular running form takes advantage of the shoe’s design.

Soon, most runners adapted, or adopted, the heel-strike-first, which I’ll call the “modern style,” of running. Like so many things in our experience, the interest and demand drove the market—instead of science and research—and in no time at all, every running shoe manufacturing company was producing a variety of shoes for the modern running style runner.

And that is how I ran, from the day I bought my first running shoes from Jeff Galloway until just eight weeks ago. That was when I finished reading “Born to Run,” by Christopher McDougall. The complete title is actually: “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.”

When the book came out in 2008, many of my running friends read it and started quoting from it as if it were holy writ. I resisted this bandwagon movement. Most of those who read it started trying to run barefoot.

For years I’ve been nothing close to supportive of the whole “barefoot running movement.” After all, I’d been a runner since 1975, and after 40 years of running (18 marathons, 43 half-marathons, 127 triathlons of various distances, and 100s of other races and running events), it seemed unlikely that McDougall’s bible was going to change my mind nor the way I ran.

And then “my running life of 2015” happened.

Last year I didn’t love running. I didn’t like running. In fact, I hated running. Ashley, Scot Bearup, and I were training for the Marine Corps Marathon in 2015 and the training was drudgery. In the worst heat in years, we were starting our training runs at 3:30am or 4:00am even though it was still 80 degrees and the humidity was nearly 100%. Within minutes of the sun cresting the horizon, the temperature increased by 10 degrees and it got even hotter. By that time our training runs were over 3 hours long. They would keep increasing until our longest run of almost 5 hours long. The training runs were brutal and miserable and loathsome in that heat.

Running had never been those things to me.

After the Marine Corps Marathon, I was burnt out. I’d fallen out of love with running and had no interest in it. After over 40 years, I was ready to file for divorce from running and turn my attentions to cycling, hiking, swimming, ping-pong, or even Quidditch. Anything.

I mentioned this in a December essay and Andrew Stolnicki, playing “marriage counselor” and hoping to assuage my ill temper toward running, loaned me his copy of “Born to Run.”

There’s an old expression, the origins of which are obscure, that goes like this: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

“Born to Run” became my teacher. Gone was my earlier cynicism and negative attitude toward the book. Andrew hoped, if nothing else, that the book might rekindle my interest in, if not my love for, running. And I wasn’t ready to give up on a 40 year relationship. But something was going to have to change.

But change is tough. Change is hard. And we don’t like it. I was reminded of that line by Mary Shelley: “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.”

But I read the book anyway.

I was at once, disarmed and charmed by it! It’s a very readable, enjoyable, and interesting book that goes way beyond what I thought it would be about. It covers a wide variety of subjects: evolutionary biology, physics, evolutionary anthropology, mathematics, philosophy, evolutionary nutrition, and all in a very enjoyable style.

The book did what I’d hoped it would. My interest in running was rekindled and I’m approaching it in a brand new way. A new way for me. But not for our species.

So about 2 months ago, I took off my shoes and socks and went for a barefoot run. You may have seen me and Ashley running barefoot or in sandals or in what’s called “minimalist” shoes.

I’m not suggesting that you, or anyone else, should follow suit, and I’m not at a point of making a coach’s recommendation.

If you have any interest in what I’m doing, let me recommend that you read “Born to Run.” And then afterwards, if you’re still interested, we can talk.

The other day, I was explaining all of this to my friend, and sports massage therapist, Jon Harvey, and he said: “You know what this tells me about you, Tony, it says that you’ve got an open mind and are willing to change.”

Best compliment I’ve been paid in a long time. If you’re presented with sound research, science, reason, or reliable evidence but still choose to hold on to a faulty position, then what’s the point in reading, or learning, or studying?

Muhammad Ali once said, “A man who views the world the same at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”

Parachutes and minds work best when open.

— 30 —

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80% OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EXERCISE!

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FRIDAY EVENING WORKOUT HIATUS

Beginning May 27, as the Shelby County Schools break for the summer, the Friday evening class will also stand-down for the summer as vacations, camps, and other activities crank up. That will take our weekly workouts from 15 to 14.

NO FRIDAY EVENING WORKOUTS FOR THE SUMMER BEGINNING MAY 27.

——————————————————

DO YOU USE VENMO?

If you’d like to pay using VENMO, you may! I’m Tony Ludlow on VENMO!

If you’re unfamiliar with VENMO, it’s a payment app for your phone (or computer) owned by PayPal and functions like a check. You can LITERALLY make a payment on your phone in less time than it takes to fill out a check! Click, click, click, done! All done!

—————————————————————

TODAY’S NUTRITION TALK
by Master Sergeant Ashley Holloway, RD LDN,
(An Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.” You could follow the nutrition advice of some Facebook friend of a friend … or you could follow the advice of a scientist.)

Drink and be Merry

As a Registered Dietitian, I think it is important to find a happy medium between good health and good times and sometimes we are lucky enough to have both of those things at the same time. Take USMC Fitness Boot Camp for instance. We all laugh, smile, and joke around all while we are building our fitness! How awesome is that!?!

Believe it or not, another way good times and good health can go hand in hand is when you are having a glass of wine, a beer, or even a cocktail!

Research shows that moderate consumption of alcohol may actually prolong your life and may reduce your risk of heart disease which is the leading cause of death in the United States. It has also been shown to improve your chances of surviving a heart attack or stroke. Alcohol increases your levels of HDL, your good cholesterol, and improves the factors that influence blood clotting therefore reducing risk for blood clots which can cause strokes.

Studies also show that moderate drinkers are more likely to have a healthy weight, get more sleep, and exercise regularly. If these studies are valid, that means we probably have a lot of drinkers on the quarterdeck!

A drink before a meal may help improve digestion of your meal, a glass of wine may help you relax after a stressful day at work, and an occasional drink with friends can be a great social outlet. These physical and psychological effects may contribute to a healthy well-being.

So what is considered drinking in moderation? The 2010 Dietary Guidelines state that moderate drinking means one drink per day for women, and two drinks per day for men. And no, you can’t drink all seven glasses of wine in one night and call that moderation! One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor, all which have approximately 0.6 ounces of alcohol in them. And if you have never measured out 5 ounces of wine, do it. At least once, so you can see what it looks like. You may end up drinking more than one serving, but at least you will be aware of how much you are drinking.

The next time you reach for a beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail, know that you have this RD’s seal of approval, if you are drinking it … in moderation!

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MAKE A FACE!!!!

INCREASE YOUR WEIGHTS!

YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN!

What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.

YOU DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR WORKOUT IS HALF-ASS OR KICKASS!

It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!

MAKING A FACE (THE GRIMACE) IS THE POOR MAN’S (OR WOMAN’S) FACELIFT!

—————————————————

EVERY WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY ARE T-SHIRT DAY!

WEAR YOUR RANK INSIGNIA SHIRT, SUB 7 SHIRT, OR OTHER USMC FITNESS BOOT CAMP SHIRT EVERY WEDNESDAY!

—————————————————

Have a GREAT day!

Yours in good health and fitness!

Sgt. Tony

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


No Friday evening workout today, 6 May 2016

May. 6th 2016

Just a quick reminder that there is no evening workout today. Have a great weekend!

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Living on Tulsa Time — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 5/5/2016

May. 5th 2016

In the spring of my senior year of high school I lied to my mother and said I was spending the night at a buddy’s house. What I actually did was drive two hours to Tulsa, OK to attend my first concert. I knew mom would say “no” if I asked, so I just didn’t ask.

By the spring of my senior year in high school, I no longer thought of myself as a boy under my parent’s care. I was earning my own money. Bought my own car. Paid for my own gas and insurance. Bought my own clothes. Ate 90% of my meals out, paying with my own money. Gave money to my mom every Friday when I got paid to help ends meet at home. And on top of that, I’d already joined the Marine Corps. So, I decided it was time I got a little more independent.

The concert wasn’t a big time event at all. No stadium rock show. No laser lights. No drugs being passed around. No “wooohooo” drunk chicks riding piggy back on some dude’s shoulders. I couldn’t even convince any of my pals to go with me. So I drove to Tulsa by myself to see a little known guitar player named Leo Kottke.

On the stage with Leo was a plastic chair, two microphones, and two acoustic guitars leaning on stands. That was it. I’ve been in living rooms larger than the venue he was playing that night in Tulsa.

When the concert was supposed to begin, a guy came out on stage and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, Leo Kottke!” Then Leo walked out to the cheers of a couple hundred of us, picked up one of his guitars, sat down, and started to play.

I sat on the front row and learned to hate Leo Kottke.

Let me explain that. My envy bubbled up like hatred, but it was really just acute admiration and awe. Here’s why.

Sitting to my left were two pretty college girls. I really wanted to talk to them, but I was shy and though I’d convinced myself I wasn’t a high school boy any longer, they wouldn’t have known that. They were WOMEN! And if I’d lied and said I was in college too, their next question, no matter what it was, would have revealed that I was a phony.

But LEO talked to them.

While he played his 12 string guitar!

As his fingers flew flawlessly up and down the neck of his guitar, producing unbelievable music from the 12 string, he carried on a conversation with these two girls! As if he were two different people: the musician and the conversationalist! “Thanks for coming. How are you ladies? Are you from Tulsa? Oh, you’re in college? Where do you go to college? What are you majoring in? blah, blah, fricken, blah!” He was doing two things I couldn’t do and he was doing those two things at the SAME TIME! THE SAME TIME!

SHOW OFF!

Leo sings, but he’s not a particularly good singer. So I took some solace in that. At least he wasn’t great at everything! Allegedly, before he picked up the guitar he tried to play the trombone and sucked at it. So there was that.

In all truth, I sat there mesmerized and spellbound.

I’d driven all that way and lied to my moms just so I could hear him play one particular song, “A Good Egg.” I was like a kid on Christmas morning waiting impatiently for their parent’s signal that they could come in and see what Santa had brought. When at last I heard the first note of that song I knew so well, I could literally feel the muscles in my face starting to fatigue from the big grin I couldn’t suppress. I’d long since abandoned my attempt to look cool in front of these college girls. I was in the presence of greatness and just wanted to soak it all in.

After the concert, Leo hung around and talked and signed autographs. I had no pen or paper, but I did manage to meet him and babble something inane. “Mr. Kottke, sir, I er uh … well, that’s to say, um … your music … you see, uh well … I really like it.” (Oh, lord, did I REALLY just say all of that nonsense … pathetic … geez.) He probably glanced over to Security and gave them a nod in my direction, alerting them to the borderline stalker blabbering on in front of him. Leo Kottke was gracious and patient with this young runaway fan from Arkansas.

Leo Kottke transcended “good at something” to “phenomenal at something.” It was the first time I’d been in the presence of that kind of spectacular. I knew people who were good at things, but I knew no one who was phenomenal at anything. A few years earlier, my 8th grade English teacher told me that she “expected greatness” from me. A burden for which I was unsuited to bear. I wasn’t great at anything then and saw no visible means to that end in the future.

I was an average 17 year old kid, ordinary and unremarkable. I was an average athlete. An average, to sort of above average, student. (I had to work twice as hard to be a “good” student.) I had no talent and no means to achieve “greatness.” It wasn’t until years later that I realized there were things I could actually excel at. I could have a great curiosity. I could exercise great kindness. I could be a great friend. My sense of loyalty and duty could be great. I could have a great sense of humor. I could have a great work ethic. I could read great books. I could serve a great country.

Unlike talents and skill-sets that can fade, none of those things—curiosity, kindness, friendship, loyalty—deteriorate with time.

You might not care for Leo Kottke’s style of music, but you’d certainly be able to acknowledge his talent. I don’t care for jazz, or country, or hip-hop, or rap, or polka, or death metal … but I can recognize the talented players in those genres. When I lived in Japan I attended several concerts featuring traditional Japanese music. The Shakuhachi is a Japanese flute that’s so difficult to play that new students generally practice for months before they’re able to make any sound at all come out of it. You and I might not care for the Shakuhachi, but we can all admire the dedication of those who play it well, or at all. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7s-wXZWT5o

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have the talent and skill of those musicians, or athletes, or writers, or whatever, who seemingly are from a different planet. We call them “stars” and “super stars” for a reason. Their gifts and talents are so rare they don’t even seem human. Us mortals just sit back and admire them. I own two guitars and have tried to play them over the years, but I barely sound like more than a first year guitar student.

My first night with Leo Kottke confirmed the fact that I was average, at best, and would only be granted the gift of recognizing genius without the ability to be genius.

My mom passed away in 2012 and of course I never told her about the trip to Tulsa, Leo Kottke, sleeping in my backseat parked at a Howard Johnson’s, none of it. A few months after that concert I was on a plane to Parris Island and the Corps and confessions to mom about my solo high school road trip didn’t seem necessary after that. But I always felt badly about lying to her. I still do.

I’ve seen Leo Kottke several times since that Tulsa gig. He’s 70 years old now and still going strong. In fact, he’ll be back here in Memphis next week! Maybe he’ll play “A Good Egg” again!

— 30 —

——————————————————

NO EVENING WORKOUT TOMORROW, FRIDAY, 6 MAY

——————————————————

DO YOU USE VENMO?

If you’d like to pay using VENMO, you may! I’m Tony Ludlow on VENMO!

If you’re unfamiliar with VENMO, it’s a payment app for your phone (or computer) owned by PayPal and functions like a check. You can LITERALLY make a payment on your phone in less time than it takes to fill out a check! Click, click, click, done! All done!

—————————————————————

TODAY’S NUTRITION TALK
by Master Sergeant Ashley Holloway, RD LDN,
(An Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.” You could follow the nutrition advice of some Facebook friend of a friend … or you could follow the advice of a scientist.)

Ashley recommends that you read this excellent article from the New York Times.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/health/biggest-loser-weight-loss.html

————————————————————

80% OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EXERCISE!

————————————————————

MAKE A FACE!!!!

INCREASE YOUR WEIGHTS!

YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN!

What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.

YOU DETERMINE WHETHER YOUR WORKOUT IS HALF-ASS OR KICKASS!

It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!

MAKING A FACE (THE GRIMACE) IS THE POOR MAN’S (OR WOMAN’S) FACELIFT!

—————————————————

EVERY WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY ARE T-SHIRT DAY!

WEAR YOUR RANK INSIGNIA SHIRT, SUB 7 SHIRT, OR OTHER USMC FITNESS BOOT CAMP SHIRT EVERY WEDNESDAY!

—————————————————

Have a GREAT Thursday!

Yours in good health and fitness!

Sgt. Tony

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


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