Meeting Notes, August 28, 2019

Practice President Joanne Pierson called her first meeting to order at 12:25pm on National Bow Tie Day (seriously). Accompanied by Tom Strode, our bow tie devotee, we sang The Star Spangled Banner.

Dave Keosian

Dave Keosaisan read a very moving piece from Carl Sagan. Sagan had asked that Voyager 1 take one last picture of Planet Earth before it traveled beyond our solar system on February 14, 1990. Dave quoted from Sagan’s book, “The Pale Blue Dot”, a passage that urged us to recognize that we are not noticeable in the cosmic scheme and should be kinder to ourselves and others, and to our home. Sagan described our home, in a picture taken from 3.7 billion miles away, as a ‘mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”

After this moving inspiration, Jim Irwin brought us back to earth by celebrating the upcoming first football game. Jim had rewritten Home on the Range, interspersed with six lines of rap, to get the season off on a good note.

Practice President Joanne thanked the people who make the meeting run so smoothly, celebrated two birthdays, and introduced Visiting Rotarians and Guests.

Judy Vindici

Judy Vindici reported on the Foster Kids Off to School Kickoff event she attended as a member of the Community Allocations Committee.  The event was sponsored by the Michigan Foster Care Closet.   The state does not pay much for foster kids so many times they have to wear old or ill fitting clothes.  This program, aided by our grant which was matched by the District, allowed the kids to pick out their own clothes, underwear, socks, shoes, pants, shirts, coats, and school supplies.  There are 130 kids in the program.  What a confidence inspiring way to start school!

Lauren Heinonen, the Paul Harris Fellowship recipient, here with Norma Sarkar and District Governor Sparky Leonard

Norma Sarkar took the podium to present Lauren Heinonen with an Honorary Paul Harris Fellowship.   Lauren has contributed to our Club in so very many ways, lending her computer skills, enthusiasm and smile to most of our projects and committees in the short time she has been a member.  She received a standing ovation from Rotarians celebrating this well deserved honor.

District Governor Sparky Leonard invited us all to attend the Rotary One Summit on Saturday, September 14 at Concordia University.  The Summit  is a chance to tell your Rotary story and hear others’. International author and speaker, Michael Angelo Caruso, will teach us how to make our Rotary story compelling and inviting. It runs from 8:30am until 2:30pm and includes a barbeque lunch.  The fee is $20.00 and you can register on the District website:

Practice President Joanne reminded us that the Golf and Tennis Outing is September 9 at Travis Pointe Country Club – one week from the day you are reading this!  A few spots for golf, tennis and dinner remain so go on line to register:

Practice President Joanne then borrowed an elegant headpiece from Jody Tull to announce the Art show sponsored by Pierre Paul Gallery on Friday, September 20 from 6:00 until 8:00pm.  The gallery is introducing Shavanas, an Indian artist, to the art world.  We will view the paintings and enjoy a southern Indian buffet.  The evening is free and the gallery is at 3252 Washtenaw Avenue. More information can be found here.

Notes from the Program

Dennis Powers introduced our speaker, Geoffrey Burns from the Michigan Performance Research Laboratory.  Geoff is a PhD student in Kinesiology. His work explores running biomechanics and their patterns in high-performing individuals. Before beginning this work, he received degrees in biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan and subsequently worked in a variety of engineering roles in the automotive, medical device, and orthopedic research fields. Outside the lab, he also trains and competes as a professional ultramarathon runner and has represented the United States at world championships over the 50km and 100km distances.

Geoff Burns

Geoff began his presentation by telling us of the profound impact his experience at the Rotary Life Leadership Conference had on him.  He attended the conference just prior to his Sophomore year in high school and he credits the things he learned there with giving him the confidence and skills to pursue his dreams.

Geoff’s title was ‘Step Frequency Patterns of Elite Untramarathon Runners During a 100-km Road Race’.  Ultramarathons are races longer than 41.195 km.    Step frequency and cadence are interchangeable terms.  As running and marathon events became mainstream, 180 steps became the benchmark for runners.  Cadence impacts the relationship between energy efficiency and injury prevention.  The difficulty in determining these relationships lies in transitioning the laboratory results to observation.  Geoff asked competitors in the 2016 IUA World Championship event to give him the data from the accelerometers they wore on their wrist.  Twenty competitors complied. The results showed great variation among the individuals, but the mean teased out at 182 steps per minute.   Speed, stature, distance and fatigue control could explain 50% of the variation, but 50% remains unknown.

Geoff has some advice for runners, advice that applies to most activities and decisions we all make.  First, use trends, not time points to make decisions.  Second, beware of averages – they obscure much variation.  Third, be a student of yourself, not only your body but also your feelings. And finally, you are stronger than you suspect, both physically and emotionally.

Geoff closed with two quotes:

Bill Bowerman, American track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc. “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”

Steve Prefontaine, American middle and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics. “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”.  Geoff closed his presentation by sharing his understanding that the “gift” is your time, talent, and passion, whatever it may be.

Thought for the Day:  “Even the woodpecker owes his success to the fact that he uses his head and keeps pecking away until he finished the job he starts.”  Coleman Cox