Fifteen miles into my run, I’m counting backwards from one thousand by sevens to keep my mind busy. It’s a concentration trick I picked up from my rowing days designed to sharpen mental focus in response to the blur of extended physical exertion. My chest is roaring like a blast furnace and I can barely keep up with my running partner, a man almost twice my age. Though my daily level-road training has kept me in what I felt to be decent shape, running on a mountain trail illuminated the fact that I am nowhere near my physical potential. There was still another hour’s worth of daylight this Sunday, and another six or so miles to cover before we can break bread back in town.
Whoo, I’m going to feel this one tomorrow.
… nine hundred fifty one, nine hundred forty four, nine hundred thirty seven …
Three Weeks Ago …
As a social filter, my monthly vegetarian potluck gathering has been one of the most consistent sources of interesting contacts over the years. Three weeks ago, I had the good fortune to trade business cards with Lee Hitchcox, Marin resident and author of Long Life Now, after a fascinating discussion on athletics, nutrition, and longevity.
(An aside: For the longest time, I’ve had this bad habit of trading business cards with interesting people at gatherings/conferences/whatnot, stuffing the information into my billfold, and promptly forgetting about following up until after a few months I’m forced to clean out a deck of dog-eared cards from dozens of people I promised I’d “get in touch” with. How embarrassing – dozens of potentially fascinating connections discarded on account of apathy … on account of my waiting for them to call on me.
Bad habits require discipline to conquer, and for me, this meant scheduling/blocking out time within a week after every party or conference I attend to actively contact the people I promised to call/email. “Networking” doesn’t end with acquiring business cards from cool people – it means following up until they become your business contacts, your information sources, and, in the best of circumstances, your friends)
Meet Lee Hitchcox
So I called Lee and was invited to join him for an afternoon run near his home in Mount Tamalpias before dinner this past Sunday. Though exhausting, there’s nothing like a three-and-a-half hour run to work up an appetite, and I had one of the best conversations in recent memory over supper.
Topics included the concept of biological vs. physical age, studies of human cultures in areas (Hunza Valley, Okinawa, Georgian Republic (Russian Cossacks), Vicabamba Valley, etc.) that had the highest per-capita ratios of centenarians (people living to age 100) and the human body’s remarkable capacity for self-repair. Fascinating stuff – though I’ve been casually interested in topics related to human health and nutrition, it takes things like this weekend’s dinner conversation heightened my focus in that direction. (I’m sure my lung-scorching efforts to keep up with a 53-year-old man on a 20-mile mountain run had something to do with that too!)
Another 3-hour run scheduled next week. More details to follow.
Every weekend should be this rewarding. Life is good.
Taking it a step further, I’ve started a group/community called longevity to facilitate discussions/debate related to the science of wellness/life extension. I’d encourage anybody interested in the topic to check it out and add your voices/thoughts/opinions.