Role Model: USAFA Professor Larson Wiley – Radiation Biology (one of the top 3 authorities in the world)
Civilian Stuff: Lots of racing (motorcycles, cars, go karts). Controller and CFO in a number of high tech companies.
Running: Learned to run late in life (55) so I could get fast enough to play soccer. 15 or so half marathons and one Triathlon.
Healthy Body: Mother-in-law spent the last 4 months of her life with us before passing from cancer. I became a student of the history of the fight against cancer and the many nutritional and biological aspects of the disease.
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We the USAFA class of 1970 came from very diverse backgrounds.
I grew up running barefoot through the orange groves where Disneyland now sits.
Ozzie and Harriet were great, but my favorites were “Men of Annapolis” and “The West Point Story.” The United Airlines flight to USAFA was my 1st time in an airplane (although most of my dreams were of flying).
Of the 50,000 who applied to the Academy, 1035 were appointed and 734 graduated. In our welcoming address to the Academy the speaker wanted to show us our competition. Most of us were used to being at the top of the heap. He asked everyone who had a varsity letter in football to stand – about 90% stood. Then who was their class president – about 70% stood. Then who was the school president – about 50% stood. Valedictorian was also way up there. And then they said “you are all used to being #1 – guess what. You are now competing with one another and you can’t all even get in the top half.” I was one of only maybe 5% that never stood up when past accomplishments were detailed – but I did letter in water polo, swimming and tennis.
The academic requirements were challenging to say the least.
Normal colleges require about 120 semester hours to graduate. I had 212 and that was probably a light load. I wasn’t big on studying and homework, just amazed that I actually got all the way through. USAFA was ranked 2nd best college in the US. From inception USAFA had a higher number of Rhodes Scholars than any US college (as a percentage of total graduates).
Some classes were more fun than others. I went to Key West for 30 days of Underwater Swimmers School (think UDT). Class field trips to the radio telescope in Arricibo, Puerto Rica and to Hawaii to an observatory. Outdoor survival training in the Rocky Mountains (both experiencing and teaching). 2 or 3 days in a Prisoner of War (POW) camp (I wasn’t always sure that the instructors were not actually Viet Cong). Outing to Haight Ashbury, San Francisco, dressed in Military clothing, height of Vietnam anti-war demonstrations. Visit to Wright Patterson Air Museum where I found that the “1st successful motorized aircraft flight” was by John Stringfellow. (unmanned)
As an athlete I never really stood out.
Never been a runner: swimming, water polo, tennis, gymnastics, badminton were more my style. Boxing were all close matches but I was a bleeder (nose). My opponent would slip and slide and I had him. In wrestling at 145 pounds, (last day of class) I drew a 190 pounder – took me 20 seconds to pin the big guy (no blood, but I was still slippery).
Imagine my surprise when I did an 8m44s mile and a half at the field house – 1st in the class.
I also noticed when running the “basics” (during new kids summer) that I could beat almost all of them in a 100 yard sprint (probably more mental for them). The annual Physical Fitness Test (PFT) has a max of 500 points. My 25th squadron Firsties (seniors) took 1st place in the Wing averaging about 430 with one of us getting a 500 (I was in at about 450). Middle of the pack in the obstacle course (Hells Half Acre) but I lost a friend (Williams) on the course to a brain aneurism. Maybe our 1st loss of a comrade committed to our country.
Like everyone else I wanted Williams AFB (AZ) for flight training. I got Columbus AFB (MS) and loved it.
Undergraduate Pilot Training - UPT at Columbus was where I truly learned my love for speed (and adrenaline). Flying wasn’t enough so I had to get out in the forested hills on my motorcycle, daring some other crazy rider to be on the same trail going the opposite direction on the same 3 foot wide trail. Me and my flying buddies would get 6 of us out on the highway in formation with wing-tip (handlebar) overlap.
1st solo flight in a T38 – on final, told to go around, ducks on runway – pulled up right into the ducks, killed a dozen, blew out one engine, blood on the other intake, pulled up tight for another try and “GREASED” the landing. My solo certificate had mallard wings stapled to it.
My flying career started out just “fun” and then transitioned to “exhilarating.” God was that an everyday “rush”.
1st was MacDill AFB base ops (Florida) in a T33 taking ROTC types up letting them try loops and stuff until they barfed. I also did weather recon, but flying in and around those Florida thunder bumpers was a beautiful memory. Also taking 2 hour lunch breaks for chess competition. Holloman AFB was next – we taught all the really fun stuff you can do in a T38 – dog fighting mostly but also tactical formation, bombing runs, low level. We taught the Thunderbirds how to fly the T38 high performance and we mixed it up with the aggressor squadron out of Nellis. On the weekend, on my motorcycle, I went off a cliff and broke both legs – flying career over.
But that didn’t end my love of speed: broke my knee moto-crossing, completed destruction of my ACL in deep powder at Mammoth (it was actually dry, light powder), outside of a tight turn on a Jobe Edge with the speedboat doing about 70mph (I thought I was finally buying the farm), 105mph go-kart through the streets of City of Industry (just like the Long Beach Grand Prix), right seat in an Saleen S7 with Parnelli Jones driving a short course set up on the Tustin airfield (with lights and everything).
My career as a runner didn’t really start until I was about 55.
Never really been a runner (rather swim a mile than run a mile). My wife was running races so I got into 5k’s and the social intercourse was a lot of fun. Then at about 58 I got into an over 50 soccer league (mostly ex professionals from S. America and Europe). I remembered my friend Mike Blassie (Rest in Peace - Vietnam) endlessly kicking his soccer ball in the quadrangle. My skills were poor (even though I had coached my daughters in soccer) and they told me I would need to be a whole lot faster to get any descent playing time. So I started doing hill sprints until I was pretty much faster than 95% of those on the field. That’s when I finally got into half marathons.
Ted Coulson 1st contacted me for the Mount Hood to the Coast. He saw a picture of my wife and I at the Carlsbad half.
Ted should have asked me if I was “currently” running. Past history I had completed 15 or so ½ marathons with a best of 1h47m. Then I got into IT band and hamstring issues. Tore a hamstring playing soccer and have not been doing a whole lot for about 2 years. Jan 22, 2018 Triple hernia surgery. Didn’t want to say anything and get kicked off the team before I even got started. Doctor said no walking for 2 weeks then lots of walking for 4 weeks – a couple of days in the 2nd week of walking I did 20,000 plus steps (8 to 9 miles) and 200 plus floors on my fitbit (1800 foot vertical) 1st run was 2.3 miles on March 6th and now I am at about 6 to 7 miles every other day with mile 3 and 4 about 8m8s and 8m35s, with minimal pain.
I have learned through personal experience that Nutrition is the only reason I am now running.
My flight off the cliff earned me an ankle that the doctors said would need to be plastic by the time I was 40. I knew joint movement (running) lubricates the joint. But not enough until I found “collagen” (you know Knox Gelatin – very cheap). Now I’m running halfs.
Doctors said ACL reconstruction at 42 was not advised - too old. Another doctor said “do you want to be competitive?” I got it done, very happy. Severe lower back pains for 10 years – repair started with collagen and now I am pain free (mostly). At 70 years old I knew I had to get serious. Lots of research. Now I do mostly Paleo, no sugar, no grains (of any type – no bread, no pasta), some mini-fasting, try to get into ketogenic/ketonic body equilibrium, bone broth, lots of healthy fats (coconut and avocado oil, eggs), all beef 100% grass fed, salmon (only wild, no farm), chickens and eggs free range (not caged) no antibiotics or hormones.
My motivation in life comes from my family – 4 kids, 5 grandkids, and a new one on the way in September.
My wife, Suzanne, researches nutrition and exercise on a daily basis. She runs an exercise boot camp for women with about 60 campers in 6 classes and 4 other instructors. My son (38 at the time) ran the Pendleton 10k Mud Run with 3 of his macho buddies on the team and decided to invite his “mommy” to run with them. Needless to say she kicked their butts. She’s 65 and does 30 marine style men’s pushups. 2 years ago she did 17 half marathons in one year and placed top 3 in all of them. She has run the Santa Barbara pier to peak TWICE (13.1 miles, all uphill, 3996 vertical) Keeping tradition in the family my middle daughter did the Pendleton 10k Mud Run with her big, buff (seriously buff) boyfriend and his buddy. She kicked their butts. Oh, by the way, she is one of my wife’s instructors. The serious speed genes in my family come from my wife’s side – my youngest daughter 2nd in the state (Calif) in the 200m at 12 years old, and my son beating a “1st in the state” 13 year old in soccer practice, multiple times. My oldest daughter was OK in speed but when kids went down on the soccer field she was always the one left standing. Now I am experiencing all of the different sports all over again with my grand kids. The newest will be born in September in Raleigh, N.C. Good place to relocate to. Hear they have some level 5 rapids in the Blue Ridge Mountains, N.C.
The "Winded Warriors" Team
Follow Winded Warriors all the way to the finish line!