Living a Dream: Rounding For Home

 

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Dave Doerrer, Ryann Krais Hierholzer,
Garry Cox, Dustin Imdieke
(see their contributions below.)

 

Take heed the changing landscape of your dreams
as one dream morphs into another
Leading us all to ask-

How can I encourage myself and others
to hold fast to our dreams
even if we’ve  lost track of  them
or forsaken them
Or found them somehow unworthy
of the persons we were meant to be

You can choose one dream over another
You can throw in the towel on one or all of them
Hopefully along the way you learn,
as many athletes have,
that victory lies in simply showing up
laying it on the line,
physically, mentally, emotionally,
and, according to your lights, spiritually

When you have done that,
you have done your job
And that is its own reward
GLC

Or maybe you feel that time has run out on your dream(s).  Now that’s where Dave and I can help. You’ll get Dave’s take on this, as well as that of several of our ALTIS friends, in a moment. But this is my time, and I’m using it to share a dream of my own-to write a book of poetry and share it with the world.

From The Waters of Appanoose County published December 13, 2016, seventy-four years after I was born.
“I just have this childhood memory of a time when I would wake up with some nebulous imagery that had to be shared at all costs. Kind of a cross between an epiphany and an ‘aha’ moment. Or maybe a brainstorm. My mother, Zoe, was the target of my early morning outbursts. And she seemed to give them almost as much imoportance as I did. But as centuries passed (kid years are way shorter than dog years) my mother started calling these outbursts ‘poems’. Whatever! She seemed to delight in them. So I delighted too.”

It seems all the good things in life range from fragile and short-lived to robust and eternal. Dave and I have chosen robust and eternal, even though we may be neither at this stage in our lives. We simply believe that dreams are sacred and not to be given up on.

Garry: Dave, you have always been the idea man, and I’ve been the writer. It’s time to turn the tables. Put some of your wisdom down on paper.

Dave: It certainly has been a wonderful trip “Living the Dream”! As the Olympics finished I wondered who would be done and who would take a break, come back ready to give it another 110% again.

It kinda snuck up on me that I was thinking similar thoughts. Not at all happy with my ability to compete with my peers-what do I do? Can’t train harder, I’ll break down. Can’t rehab, nothing is injured or broken. How do you fix OLD?

You can’t…so the only thing that makes sense is to be thankful! Not everyone gets to be old. I can move pretty good for old. I’m thankful!

Exercising is not near as fun as training. I do miss the idea of training, competing and hopefully kickin’ someone’s butt. Oh yeah, be thankful!

Also thankful for all the wonderful people at ALTIS! You are very special people. Kind, caring, dedicated, hard working, good folks. It has been a dream come true hanging out with you.

God bless you all!

Garry:  Ryan, you strike me as ‘A mystery wrapped up in an enigma’. Back in the day, we would have called you ‘deep’.

Ryan: So, I’ve never before been described as “a mystery wrapped in an enigma”, although after our chat I understand the angle you are coming from. I appreciate that you’ve named me “deep” after experiencing my layered, dinner-time conversational questions. Those questions, which you explained to be “one’s you’ve never heard before in all your years” aren’t really due to some deep internal processing of the world, but rather just an interest in learning a little more about the wiring of the person I’m speaking with. Allowing someone to talk is the easiest way for me to understand their experiences, passions, emotions, values, etc. This attribute/skill/whatever was one of the first things that Kyle (Hierholzer), now my husband, was drawn to about me. After co-coaching a fitness camp we would spend long dinners together (also in a Thai food restaurant) and he’d be entertained by answering a wide range of questions. Some were shallow and some got a little more personal depending on the flow of the conversation, but the point of the matter is that people enjoy reflecting and I enjoy getting a little closer to the core of

So how does this tie into my experience with ALTIS? I would say the answer is two-part. First and foremost, I do believe Kyle and I grew closer through these dinner conversations. After about a year of dating, it became time to close one chapter of life and move onto the next. Both separately and together, we decided for ourselves that  ALTIS would be the best option for furthering both our careers.  ALTIS had been on my radar thanks to other sources, but had Kyle not accepted a position here in Phoenix I’m not sure that I would have pursued the move either. All I know is that God’s sovereign hand played a big part in getting us both out here.

Secondly, although I’ve spent years asking other people questions for the sake of understanding them better, I never really had developed the ability to ask myself hard questions for the sake of understanding my own experiences, passions, emotions, and values. I came to  ALTIS with a hip injury, an obsessively task-oriented frame of mind, and a feeling of deep emptiness. With the encouragement of some  ALTIS coaches, athletes, the church, and other outside resources, I began to learn how to slow down and ask these ‘deep’ questions of myself. It lead me to a deeper relationship with God and freedom from the chains that kept me bound in an eating disorder and rigid lifestyle. I’ve always enjoyed listening to a friend’s heart, but until recently I never understood how to listen to my own. So thank you, Garry and Dave, for appreciating this characteristic and unknowingly being involved in my growth through your friendship.

Garry: Dustin, you walk amongst the giants of your sport. How did you get stuck training Dave and me?      

Dustin: There was a period of time a few years ago, that I asked myself the same question every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  “Is today the day an old man suffers a heart attack on my watch?”  And there was the time I thought Garry actually did!   Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing more than a harmless hamstring strain. In spite of this, I am honored to have coached Dave Doer and Garry Cox, both track and field sprinters who happen to be 70 plus years old. As you can imagine, coaching two grey beards to sprint was an interesting puzzle that presented many unique challenges.

My first question when I agreed to coach Dave and Gary was, ” What sort of training was I able to do with these guys?” But I knew that they wanted to be sprinters, so I hypothesized that we could train them similarly to all of the other sprinters at ALTIS, and that’s where we started.   We commenced by teaching the warm-up and how it should be performed and held these guys to a standard of excellence.  We cautiously began our speed development training by introducing acceleration and dribble runs.  We also began to implement strength training, and general strength and medicine ball exercises were staples of the program.  Joint health dictated that we limit our exposure to multi jump training, although I am positive Garry has springs in his legs.  After a few cycles I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Dave and Garry’s performance and health were improving under a program similar to what I would write for a 25 year old sprinter.  Sure, there were major modifications in volume, intensity, and training density, but the guiding principles, and training items were remarkably similar to many of the other sprinters at ALTIS.

We’ve all seen the way Grandma and Grandpa move when they start getting older and they don’t have the same ol’ spring in their step.  At the onset of our time together Dave and Garry both presented several of the postural and movement pattern dysfunctions you would expect from a person in their age group.  However, over the first several training cycles, I saw noticeable improvements in their posture, movement quality, and balance.  These performance improvements coincided with improved joint function, soft tissue health, and overall well being.  I believe that a major influence of these improvements was due to the warm-up scheme we used and how it was performed, both of which were inspired by Coach Dan Pfaff.  This warm up scheme included a series of multi planar movements performed at various speeds and sizes.  As I watched Dave and Garry’s  movement patterns and their health improve simultaneously, I witnessed the power of the human body and how proper movements lead to proper healing.

So on we went, training geriatric short sprinters.  Similar to the other athletes at ALTIS we worked on developing Dave and Garry’s mechanical models for accelerating and upright sprinting through a variety of runs and dribble runs over 10-40m.  Occasionally, if I was feeling adventurous they would even run as long as 150m.  I’ve never seen that much huffin and puffin!  But you know what; they got better at everything we did.  Their mechanics shifted, performances improved, and consistency increased in all major training items.  I even started using pictures of them when giving presentations to sprint coaches showing the commonalities between them and elite sprinters.  Now, I don’t need to tell you that Dave and Garry were not replicas of Ameer Webb and Andre DeGrasse.  But they were operating on the same general technical models as these guys, just modified to fit them.

All that is not to say there weren’t bumps in the road. Dave had joint issues and Garry was prone to soft tissue injuries, so we were a bit hamstrung from the jump.  But we found that by doing lower volumes of work, resting more, and keeping the training density relatively low that they suffered very few injuries and were able to train on a Plan B schedule when injured.  The thought that the health of the athlete is a top priority was never far from my mind, and this was a driver in many of my decisions working with Dave and Garry.

I learned many lessons in my time with Dave and Garry, but what I really learned was the joy and energy that chasing a dream brings to a person. It requires a good deal of mental fortitude and resilience on their part to train the way they do.  Still, every morning for two years, I knew I was going to get the very best that Dave and Garry had to offer.  In the end it wasn’t about becoming an Olympian or besting their competition, rather they were their own competitors and they were travelers on the never ending road toward self-improvement.  This is why it was a true honor to coach Dave Doer and Garry Cox, two legends in my book.

The Waters of Appanoose County Available on Amazon.com
Garry’s next competition 2/18/17– USATF 2017 Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships
Share this blog on garrycox.com

Living a Dream: The times they are a changin’

October 5, 2016
The Huntsman Harriers Ride again. Shagg takes the Gold medal in the 400 meters. Garry comes fourth in the 100 meters, and Dave runs a leg on a Gold Medal winning 4 x 100 relay. Hats off to St. George and the Huntsman World Senior Games for 30 years of encouraging health and fitness through athletic participation.

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Shagg Makino, Garry Cox, & Dave Doerrer

I had my whole life worked out, including what I was going to include in this blog. Then I learned that Bob Dylan recently won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I predicted that back in 1962, but I don’t think anybody took me serious. So this is redemption for me, sort of. As I move into my third day of being 74 years old, I would like to make a new prediction. The next Nobel Prize for Literature will go to a R A P P E R

I have never been a huge Rap fan even though back in the day I hosted a TV Music Video Show that featured local kids and the music they liked. So  I was down with  LL Cool J,  MC Hammer, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys. It was an audience driven, kids participation show. Who knew those kids would usher in what today is a major global art form?

As a poet myself, I’m ashamed of never giving rap artists their props. It was a huge oversight, brought on no doubt by jealousy on my part. But as Bob said The Times They Are A-Changin’.   I intend to change with them. My new cultural Bucket List will include experiencing some of the music produced by the next Nobel Prize winning Rapper.
The Times They Are A-Changin’-Bob Dylan U should listen!

Certainly, the times are changing for all of the Olympians and Olympic hopefuls we all followed on the road to Rio. Living a Dream dudes Dave and Gary have already welcomed back some of the ALTIS athletes we have gotten to know. It’s a bitter-sweet time for us. Sort of like going back to school after a summer break and discovering that although many friends are back, some of your favorites have moved on.

The truth is, Dave and I totally get what the athletes are going through. In one sense we are T & F Lifers. We just keep showing up and muddling through. We have our personal goals. We get kudos for continuing our training at our advanced ages. But aging, though inevitable, is unique to the individual. No two athletes age alike. Like many of them, Dave and I are at a crossroads. We have already altered our Track & Field Bucket Lists many times over. And we’re about to do it again.

Dave is considering retiring from competition though he insists he will continue training with me. As for me, thou I have boasted ‘I’ll bop till I drop’ I am looking at next year when I will turn 75 and be the youngest guy in my age group. I figure that will give me my best shot at reaching  my  Bucket List goals. And what are my goals? I’m glad you asked. Can I get a drum role please-Goal no. 1: meeting All-American standards for the 100 meters. Goal no. 2: winning a medal in a big meet like the Huntsman World Games were I recently took 4th in what I like to call my signature event. Goal no. 3: I dunno, stay healthy I guess. Oh, right. I forgot. Loose 20 pounds.

And now, fresh from the Dave and Garry archives, THE RACE! I wrote this piece for The Finish Line Newsletter back in the heyday of our Masters T & F careers, our fifties.
The Finish Line Newsletter is produced by Arizona Senior Olympics

Racing Dave: My first 400-meter race with Dave Doerrer is indelibly etched in my psyche. Pick up the race on the final curve before the home stretch. I am definitely in the hunt. But as we labor down the backstretch, I’m suddenly conscious of a ka-thud, ka-thud, ka-thud from behind me. And as the ka-thuds become louder I hear the bleachers swell with a chorus of, “Go, Dave, Go! You can Get ‘em Dave! Take him!”  Dave will deny having a fan base larger than his wife Marge and a few friends, but on this fateful day he is backed by the Hallelujah Chorus. The ka-thuds have already unnerved me and the sudden roar of the crowd is most disheartening. I feel like Ichabod Crane being pursued by the Headless Horseman. But this horseman has a head and a backside, which unfortunately I am doomed to see as Dave thunders on to victory.

Final Notes:
Fortunately for Dave and me, ALTIS is still operating in our back yard so we can continue to mingle with the finest coaches and athletes on the planet. Color Us Grateful!

Also some good news for friends, partners and associates of Steve Lewis. The Olympian Pole Vaulter and conceptual inspiration for this blog is back for another go at world class competition. Possibly the IAAF World Championships, August 2017 in London, United Kingdom, ending his career where it started.

And for those of you who have patiently waited for word on the whereabouts of Constance Delaney, keep the faith. The lost may yet be found.

In closing I call on the words of the great pugilist and entrepreneur George Foreman. After a tough loss to then champion Evander Holyfield, George extended his hand and said with sincerity, “Thanks for the opportunity.”

Living a Dream: This Was Our Olympics

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Holy Faith gives us an unshakable confidence in the inherent goodness of life and of the universe.

(enneathought@enneagraminstitute.com)

The Spirit of the Olympics gives us an unshakeable confidence in the inherent fairness of a level playing field. Many feel that the achievement of Holy Faith is an arduous journey. We have our fears and other human weaknesses to overcome along the way.

So it is with the Spirit of the Olympics. We have greed and overreaching ambitions to overcome. Victory in Holy Faith and victory in the Olympics are both the result of making the right choices. Choose faith in your heart. Choose fairness on the field. Those athletes who choose both are the real winners in any Olympiad.

And then there is Garry being Garry: Every Olympics has its pantheon of dominate performers,  anyone of whom could at the very least cause a traffic jam by walking down a street in their home town.  Ok, if you are an Olympian Kayaker you might have to wear your Gold Medal around your neck to get that kind of  attention. Just sayin’. I mean, how many of you remember the names of the top Curlers from the last Winter Olympics.  Let’s face it, some Olympic events are just more popular than others. For the record, my favorite forgettable Olympic event is Rhythmic Gymnastics. Mesmerizing! My Living a Dream partner Dave won’t admit it, but I think he was keen on Synchronized Swimming. Heart be still!

So here’s my personal pantheon from Rio 2016.  If you can’t match the sport with the athlete,  googol ’em up. I’m a blogger, not an a beat reporter. No offense. Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Anna van der Breggen, Aly Raisman, Summer Cook  & Anna Botha.
S U B J E C T I V E?  You bet!

By now you know that in addition to the list above, Dave and I cheered for all 21 ALTIS trained Olympians as well. But the truth is, all of the above barely scratches the surface of the  athletes and coaches who enriched our lives, some long before Rio became the focal point of our dream.

John Godina from a previous Living a Dream post: We got a whole lot of athletes here (ALTIS) that are never going to the Olympics, but they’re welcome to  come and try to improve themselves. ‘Let’s get some personal bests, let’s see how good we can ultimately be.’

After much soul searching and ego bending and, for lack of a better term, writer’s block, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to Chad Stoermer. I call Chad Renaissance Man because he is an athlete, an artist, a soldier and a profound thinker rolled into one. But what makes him special to me is his unbridled enthusiasm for life in general and the joy he brings to the people around him.

About the paining
Chad: I wanted it (the Painting) to say, “This is our Olympics.”
I picked a pole vauler because Steve (Lewis) is a Pole Vaulter, I’m a Pole Vaulters, we all love Olympic level pole vaulting, so this is our Olympics.

Chad’s Inscription on the back of the painting:  “It’s been a privilege training with you and Dave in our pursuit to the 2016 Olympics.”

Dan Pfaff as quoted by Chad: Who you are is more important than how good you can be.

Ode to Chad
This was our Olympics
Dave’s and Chad’s and mine
and Steve’s and on and on
Through ALTIS and beyond
Borders and boundaries and barriers
fiercely guarding the un-promised land
And yet we share this noble bond
We all bore witness to the deluge of dreams
that rallied to a single cry
‘Let me see how great I can be’

But as satisfying as the painting is, getting to know, however briefly, the spirit of the artist was the greater gift.

Making it happen. Renaissance man, Chad Stoermer along with Dream bloggers Dave and Garry, and out of the goodness of her heart, Marge. (All photos of Chad compliments of Maverick Coffee.com)            FullSizeRender (10)

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