Sunday, March 2, 2008

Inspiration and frustration

Inspiration and Frustration
This blog and its associated website were born half from inspiration and half from frustration. Let me tell you the inspiring part first. About a year and a half ago, at one in the morning, my friend Bill Goding and his friend Forrest Nelson dove into the water off the west side of the island of Molokai with the intention of swimming the approximately 30 miles to Sandy Beach on the east side of Oahu. They did this so calmly and with about the same level of anxiety they would approach an afternoon swim at the pool.

I was honored to be asked along on this adventure . I paddled most of the way across the channel with them ( they were following me and I was following the boat) taking several breaks when I needed one while they swam . . .and swam . . .and swam and 30 miles and 16 hours later they swam up to Sandy Beach and talked to a small crowd of fiends and a few reporters. I am still in awe of this feat - especially the 1am start. All of us know what’s down there and it’s especially hard to keep out of your mind in a very dark ocean. Bill isn't exactly a kid either. He made this channel crossing at the age of 53 and it took an extreme level of physical fitness.

I'll tell you more about this adventure in the weeks to come and I promise an interview with Bill so he can tell you in his own words how it went down.

In the months since I have come to understand that although Bill is at the top of that list, there is a list; men and women and kids I know who understand what it takes to be healthy and fit because they are healthy and fit.

I am especially impressed with the older ones because being an athlete in your twenties is no big deal but so few in our culture manage to keep that up into their forties and beyond. These athletes have an important role to play in the health and fitness discussion.

Now to the frustrating part. Most people consider me calm and rather introverted. I think and act a lot more than I talk but recently I have reached a point of frustration that compels me to speak out. I'm sick of unhealthy and unfit people dominating the health and fitness debate. I hear ridicules ads on the radio and see the same nonsense in magazines. People who have crappy diets and don't exercise telling me that if I take this new pill I'll be healthier. I have a few words for these people . . .actually I have a blog and a whole website dedicated to a honest and rational discussion with healthy and fit people.

Today I heard a commercial where they were telling me they put all the nutrition from a tomato into a pill and suggested rather than eating tomatoes I should take this pill. OK, you guys ready for my first bit of advice? EAT THE TOMATOES!

Most (95% in my opinion) of a healthy lifestyle is a low animal fat diet filled with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and lots of exercise. When I calm down from my rantings about snake oil salesmen, I do admit you can tweak things a bit. Just a little bit. But even if you took every vitamin, herbal, mineral and tomato supplement and all other such tweaking tricks and you didn't have a healthy diet and you didn't exercise, the most you could be is 5% healthy. So where should 95% of you effort be?

A few more things before I explain my next adventure. I'm not a doctor (although I do have a little medical training as an EMT) I'm not going to give you any advice on how to treat any illness. I do believe though that being healthy and fit will prevent most illnesses. No matter what your level of health and fitness get regular medical checkups, I do.

Throughout this blog and the website you will often get my opinion and you will mostly hear about my experience. You will also hear from various experts including athletes, doctors, coaches and personal trainers. Whenever possible I will back it up with links to medical/scientific research. If I express my opinion without facts to back it up, call me on it.

For those of you who might be thinking "easy for you, Koz, but I have a life and a job and stress . . . " I too have a full time job, this new business, a family, a son off to school in California, two teenage boys at home, bills, stress, the usual relationship issues - pretty much the same stuff most have to deal with.

My kids taught me something about how to teach or give advice. I noticed that they never really cared what I said but paid very close attention to what I did. I'm assuming you will be the same (although you're not going to know what I'm doing unless you read the blog). So I’ll use that wisdom as a base for this whole adventure. Just watch what I do.

For a while now I’ve been thinking about an adventure that would take me completely around Oahu. So, on September 4, 2008, I’m going to start this adventure at the Makai Pier in Waimanalo. That day I will take my paddle board (and for those of you who don’t know, its like a big surfboard and you use your arms to move through the water) and go to Ala Moana Beach Park approximately 25 miles away. Next morning (9/5) I get out that paddle board again and paddle to the Ko Olina Resort on the southern end of the West side. That’s about 35 miles. Next morning (9/6) I’ll get out my bike and pedal my way up the west side to the end of the road (that’s about 25 miles and for those not familiar with this area the paved road does not go all the way around this corner of the island). Same day run the 6 mile trail and continue the bike on the other side to somewhere around Turtle Bay, another 20 miles or so away. Then on the fourth and final day (9/7) I’m going to windsurf down the entire east side and back to the Makai Pier.

I was originally going to do some triathlon like swim-bike-run down the east side when a friend had a few words with me. “hey, Koz, you’re just doing things your good at. Why don’t you try something you’re not good at - something you have to learn. Show people who are hesitant about learning new stuff how to do it.” And when I asked for a suggestion he said “windsurfing.” I loved the idea before I realized how unlikely it would be achieve this. Check back for more on this and regular postings of new photos.

Four consecutive days and about 150 miles of running , biking, paddling and sailboarding and one dramatically beautiful trip around this piece of paradise. This blog will document everything I do to prepare for this adventure from all the mental tricks (like telling the whole world I’m going to do it -- so now I have to) to diet and lots of tough training and things I can’t even see from here. I’ll have my coach put in his thoughts and I’ll post lots of killer photos of all the drama and beauty of training for this extreme adventure in paradise.

The website,, will be active in about mid March.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great arena of information and very interesting for like-minded individuals like myself. Thanks for letting me be a part of your first story and am looking forward to many more! Bill G.