I overheard some guys discussing this photo…they liked the idea.
Supplementary: light squats, (5 reps), split squats, Achilles, Hip Hikes, rotator cuff, back and side plank.
Pull ups (5 sets of 10)
incline press: 10 x 135, 5 x 155, 6 x 150, 7 x 145
dumbbell military: 3 sets of 12 x 50
dumbbell rows: 3 sets of 10 x 65
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
curls: 3 sets with the EZ curl bar 10 x 65
abs: 3 sets of crunch, vertical crunch, twist, sit back
This always takes longer that I’d expect.
Neighborhood notes As this neighborhood became more and more “slumlord owned”, it has gotten noisy. Now, when ever it is a good day, teams of people with power mowers and leaf blowers assault the neighborhood…usually assisted by noisy Stanley Steamer trucks. The noise can be head-splitting. It is a shame because I like living so close to work and I used to like doing some research from the house. But there is no escape from the constant noise.
(Julie Larson’s Dinette Set Comic Strip)
This is the famous “bathtub curve”, which is used in reliability engineering (taken from here). It is often used to model the lifetime of components in a system; it is useful to know when we expect things to break down. And yes, it also applied to the lifetime of animals, including human beings. In fact, one of our study problems in class was to look at the death notices and obituaries in the local newspapers and to plot the data.
Over a long enough time, the data fits.
I’ve been thinking about this a bit more recently, in part due to one of my wife’s friends dying after a long battle with cancer. He was 78 years old, and he had to confront the choice between “taking a treatment that has outcome X but quality of life price Y” versus accepting the likely outcome and not trying…thereby not putting himself through such a hard ordeal. That isn’t as easy decision to make.
My wife is a bit older than I am and one might think that she thinks about it a bit more than I do. However, I push myself athletically (sports) and I am keenly aware of the decrease in my abilities to do certain things. Whereas my wife will realize that she can’t walk a medium distance (3 miles) anymore I am aware of the fact that certain things take me longer and that I am noticeably weaker than I was. Those who don’t play sports might not notice as much.
She sent me this some time ago; it did make me chuckle:
But with the humor was some sadness; she (and other women) mentioned “growing invisible” with age. Younger women get more noticed. I had joked elsewhere that I had let this woman in line in front of me (that was a joke; someone else took this photo; not sure as to where):
But yeah, there is a difference between older women (e. g., my age group peers at races, or women at the public gyms) and younger ones, and women tend to be judged more by appearance than men are. Men: we are mostly judged by our status and wallets.
But I am keenly aware of how my body is headed toward entropic equilibrium, even though I was never an athlete.
I was 39 years old here (September 1998); old by athletic standards but younger than I am now; this was a hot weather marathon in which I ran 3:55 (207/1067 was my finish place):
I still had visible muscles. And yes, I was still pushing for my best possible time.
From 2 years later (end of a 10K)
Now: similar weather. Place: 306/331 (Instead of upper 1/5′th, I was almost dead last!)
Muscles: GONE! Will for a “fastest time possible”: GONE! I was just happy to finish the race in a vertical position and to avoid the medical tent.
Afterward, I went home, sat in the air conditioned house and took a nap and did nothing the rest of the day.
Back in 2003, I have WALKED a high altitude marathon (6000-7000 feet; Park City) almost half an hour faster, got sick, took a quick nap, and then went rock climbing.
And yes, the degradation of performance is a frequent discussion in gyms, at races, etc. And while I bring it up, others often bring it up first.
Though I struggle with it, I embrace it a bit too. For example: at a recent Race For the Cure, I finished my 5K run (25:48; which is about 5-6 minutes slower than my late 1990′s times) and then went back on the course to cheer the finishing runners. Without thinking about it, I found myself yelling for ….the older women. I didn’t make myself do this; it just happened; it was a “good for you…keep at it! happy to see you out here trying!”
Yes, it is different. In years past, the idea: “what can I do to give myself the best possible chance of the fastest possible time, or the heaviest possible lift, etc.” Now, it is more “how can I train to be able to participate and not injure myself?”
In years past, I dealt with aches and pains one at a time. Now I deal with them collectively; part of my training is doing PT for my: back, Achilles, rotator cuff, piriformis and knees, and I have to deal with all of these on a constant basis. The bathtub curve applies to all of these problem areas too.
Note: I still have fun with it though; I still scheme and plot; I want to get into the 24′s again (5K) (ok, I really want to go under 24); break 1:50 for the half marathon (got 2:01 on a hilly course and windy day) do a sub 5 hour marathon and to get 225 on the bench press. I’d like to return to swimming too. I still enjoy the process. But the long term strategy is different and I also realize that the finish line is likely to be empty when I get there.
The maximum of the bell curve has moved past me, and, at least in the marathon, so has the inflection point.
That’s ok though; mostly what I like is the self-challenge.
Now I am off to do still another recovery type workout and do some math.
Update I did my Cornstalk 5.1 mile course in 48:12; that is my second fastest since 2009. It was cool and drizzly and I felt good (9:44 out, 8:53 back). Then I did some leg stretches/strengthening. As I said: I am still scheming, still trying to get “better”.
Workout notes Weights plus a 2.17 mile run on the treadmill (20 minutes; 9:13 pace): 10:09, 8:28 then a little bit more. I kept the incline at 0.5.
Weights: pull ups (5 sets of 10), hip hikes, Achilles, rotator cuff, bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 7 x 170
ab series (3 sets of 10: crunch, v. crunch, twist, sit back), dumbbell military (3 sets of 12 x 50), dumbbell bench (2 sets of 10 x 65), dumbbell row (3 sets of 10 x 65), pull down (3 sets of 10 x 160), curl (3 sets of 10: 60, 60, 65; EZ curl bar).
It sure doesn’t seem like much.
A bit of math
Ok, a mathematician who is known to be brilliant self-publishes (on the internet) a dense, 512 page proof of a famous conjecture. So what happens?
The Internet exploded. Within days, even the mainstream media had picked up on the story. “World’s Most Complex Mathematical Theory Cracked,” announced the Telegraph. “Possible Breakthrough in ABC Conjecture,” reported the New York Times, more demurely.
On MathOverflow, an online math forum, mathematicians around the world began to debate and discuss Mochizuki’s claim. The question which quickly bubbled to the top of the forum, encouraged by the community’s “upvotes,” was simple: “Can someone briefly explain the philosophy behind his work and comment on why it might be expected to shed light on questions like the ABC conjecture?” asked Andy Putman, assistant professor at Rice University. Or, in plainer words: I don’t get it. Does anyone?
The problem, as many mathematicians were discovering when they flocked to Mochizuki’s website, was that the proof was impossible to read. The first paper, entitled “Inter-universal Teichmuller Theory I: Construction of Hodge Theaters,” starts out by stating that the goal is “to establish an arithmetic version of Teichmuller theory for number fields equipped with an elliptic curve…by applying the theory of semi-graphs of anabelioids, Frobenioids, the etale theta function, and log-shells.”
This is not just gibberish to the average layman. It was gibberish to the math community as well.
Here is the deal: reading a mid level mathematics research paper is hard work. Refereeing it is even harder work (really checking the proofs) and it is hard work that is not really going to result in anything positive for the person doing the work.
Of course, if you referee for a journal, you do your best because you want YOUR papers to get good refereeing. You want them fairly evaluated and if there is a mistake in your work, it is much better for the referee to catch it than to look like an idiot in front of your community.
But this work was not submitted to a journal. Interesting, no?
Of course, were I to do this, it would be ok to dismiss me as a crank since I haven’t given the mathematical community any reason to grant me the benefit of the doubt.
And speaking of idiots; I made a rather foolish remark in the comments section of this article by Edward Frenkel in Scientific American. The article itself is fine: it is about the Abel prize and the work by Pierre Deligne which won this prize. The work deals with what one might call the geometry of number theory. The idea: if one wants to look for solutions to an equation, say, one gets different associated geometric objects which depend on “what kind of numbers” we allow for . For example, if are integers, we get a 4 point set. If are real numbers, we get a circle in the plane. Then Frenkel remarked:
such as x2 + y2 = 1, we can look for its solutions in different domains: in the familiar numerical systems, such as real or complex numbers, or in less familiar ones, like natural numbers modulo N. For example, solutions of the above equation in real numbers form a circle, but solutions in complex numbers form a sphere.
The comment that I bolded didn’t make sense to me; I did a quick look up and reviewed that actually forms a 3-sphere which lives in . Note: I added in the “absolute value” signs which were not there in the article.
This is easy to see: if then implies that . But that isn’t what was in the article.
Frenkel made a patient, kind response …and as soon as I read “equate real and imaginary parts” I winced with self-embarrassment.
Of course, he admits that the complex version of this equation really yields a PUNCTURED sphere; basically a copy of in .
Just for fun, let’s look at this beast.
Real part of the equation:
Imaginary part: (for you experts: this is a real algebraic variety in 4-space).
Now let’s look at the intersection of this surface in 4 space with some coordinate planes:
Clearly this surface misses the plane (look at the real part of the equation).
Intersection with the plane yields which is just the unit circle.
Intersection with the plane yields the hyperbola
Intersection with the plane yields the hyperbola
Intersection with the plane yields two isolated points:
Intersection with the plane yields two isolated points:
(so we know that this object is non-compact; this is one reason the “sphere” remark puzzled me)
Science and the media
This Guardian article points out that it is hard to do good science reporting that goes beyond information entertainment. Of course, one of the reasons is that many “groundbreaking” science findings turn out to be false, even if the scientists in question did their work carefully. If this sounds strange, consider the following “thought experiment”: suppose that there are, say, 1000 factors that one can study and only 1 of them is relevant to the issue at hand (say, one place on the genome might indicate a genuine risk factor for a given disease, and it makes sense to study 1000 different places). So you take one at random, run a statistical test at and find statistical significance at . So, if we get a “positive” result from an experiment, what is the chance that it is a true positive? (assume 95 percent accuracy)
So let P represent a positive outcome of a test, N a negative outcome, T means that this is a genuine factor, and F that it isn’t.
Note: P(T) = .001, P(F) = .999, . It follows
So we seek: the probability that a result is true given that a positive test occurred: we seek . That is, given a test is 95 percent accurate, if one is testing for something very rare, there is only about a 2 percent chance that a positive test is from a true factor, even if the test is done correctly!
Weather and more tornadoes
It isn’t a coincidence that the tornadoes hit after we had some warm spring weather: up to know, we’ve had an unusual cool spring thanks to the jet stream dipping down lower than normal. A side effect was a lighter than normal tornado season. Unfortunately that didn’t last:
Mind: soldiers and brain trauma.
It is no secret that soldiers can suffer a brain injury which doesn’t obviously show. But here is the rub: what if a soldier had a reputation for being a malcontent prior to the brain injury and then gets one. Then:
What happened when he came home is increasingly typical, too. At Fort Carson, the damaged soldier racked up punishments for being late to formation, missing appointments, getting in an argument and not showing up for work. These behaviors can be symptoms of TBI and PTSD, and Army doctors recommended Alvaro go to a special battalion for wounded warriors. Instead, his battalion put him in jail, then threw him out of the Army with an other-than honorable discharge that stripped him of veterans benefits. He was sent packing without even the medicine to stop his convulsions.
“It was like my best friend betrayed me,” Alvaro said at the hospital, his speech as slow as cold oil. “I had given the Army everything, and they took everything away.”
But, what if at least some of this behavior was present PRIOR to the brain injury?
“It’s hard to figure out,” said Maj. Gen. Anderson, who was the final authority for discharging soldiers at Fort Carson. “You are asking young captains, 30-year-old guys, platoon leaders, 25 years old, to decide if this guy is sick or this guy is not sick when the doctors don’t know for sure.”
The uncertainty sets up clashes. The Gazette has uncovered several cases at Fort Carson where doctors and commanders were in direct conflict. Doctors sent one soldier who pointed a gun at the soldiers in his squad to a psychiatric hospital, and commanders pulled him out and put him in jail. Doctors said another soldier who tested positive for marijuana could not be kicked out because he had a brain injury. Commanders discharged him anyway. Another soldier tried to commit suicide by crashing his car into a light pole. Doctors said he had PTSD and depression; commanders discharged him for damaging property.
Several doctors contacted at Fort Carson refused to comment.
It really isn’t easy and clear-cut, is it?
Yes, some females of some frog species choose the males that either croak the loudest or that have the right “pitch” of croak.
This type of poison dart frog: well, she just choses the closest male.
Workout notes Cool, overcast; did 2.06 miles in 20:50 (11:03 out, 9:47 back). I quit right at the point where I started to feel good. That is enough for today.
I’ll update this when more photos come in.
At the finish line! My time sucked, but I was VERY happy to see the finish.
Note: if you ran this marathon, there are a ton of photos here.
1. At one of the later aid stations (mile 16? 18?) one of the aid station workers addressed me in Spanish. I replied back in (my approximation of) Spanish. I LOOK Mexican and I self-identify that way, as did my parents. But, at the gene level, I am European (probably Spanish?) (here and here) Evidently I do have some aleles for olive skin though. I suppose that “race”, while not meaningless, really is only “skin deep”.
2. When I get hot and tired, stupid ideas make sense to me. When I noticed the lack of mile markers (at least until mile 20), I thought “that SOB race director; he just thinks that everyone has Garmins…..in fact this is probably a conspiracy to get everyone to buy Garmins!” In fact, there was a foul up that was fixed by the time I got to mile 20. And no, his store doesn’t even sell Garmins.
The truth: early on, the lack of mile markers probably kept me from getting discouraged, and their being available late helped me be able to finish; I’ll explain later in this post.
3. Best zinger directed at me: Don (one of my friends) ran a 22:57 5K. Dr. Andy said “Don, your 5K time was about Ollie’s “per mile” marathon pace”! Ouch!
4. I had some interesting conversations afterward. I met Cassie Fox Zell and her husband after the race; she seemed happy that she beat me and beat me badly (7 minutes); she passed me at about mile 22 or 23.
I’ll just have to do better next time!
Actually, it was a fun conversation; very positive. It was her first marathon…and it was a tough one for the first one.
5. Rich Breaux (shown with his wife Anna, who is an excellent endurance athlete) passed me at about the same time. He said “the best laid plans of Mice and Men” as he passed me…
Getting beat by Rich is nothing new for me.
6. Terry Whitehead beat me by about 90 minutes. The day prior to the race, I had joked that I wanted a shaded, air conditioned bubble to run in. He responded “man up, and quit being such a pussy” (tongue in cheek). His comment got deleted before I could see it, but he saw me before the race and relayed it to me.
7. My department chair ran a fine 2:24 for the 25K, placing 135 out of 425. Not bad for an old man. We rode to the start together.
8. Ironwoman Ann Schmitt ran with Theresa Schultz (multiple marathon finisher); they enjoyed the 25K. They are two of my favorite running friends.
As the results are corrected: I am now 306 out of 331. Note the slow median time (4:40). The day was tough.
What I learned
1. Now that I am firmly in the “second guessing mode” I wonder if I shouldn’t have made more of an effort from mile 18 onward, at which point I started to “just walk” at a 16 minute pace, save one short downhill. But I have to remember how I felt at mile 13 (roughly; I was 2:20 into it). I told a friend that I would need another 3 hours to finish; I was heating up and just on the verge of not being able to digest fluids. So, playing it very safe and going just fast enough to beat the cut-off was the right thing to do. Had I pushed it and gotten away with it, I still would have had, at best, a 5:20-5:30′ish time. More likely I would have gotten past that point and been unable to finish. Besides, I have to remember how badly I felt when I stopped; I sat down and laid down for about 30 minutes.
2. I’d love to return to walking marathons, and will if my piriformis problem becomes manageable. But even after returning to walking, I’ll still need to include runs of 10-14 miles in my preparation. Reason: I would not have been able to finish this marathon under 6 hours by “only walking”; I would have had to have mixed some jogging in, especially early. So I need to have some jogging to be able to bring in when necessary.
3. I feel the effects of age. Back in 2003, I walked the Park City Marathon (warm, altitude of 6000-7000 feet) in 5:18. I felt sick at the finish. I slept for an hour or two afterward…and then…that afternoon, went rock climbing. That was 10 years ago. I can’t do that now.
I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never be in shape again.
I need to fix my posture. As to the softness of my body (lack of muscularity): I don’t know what else to do. I’m coming to grips with the fact that I’ll never be in shape again. I can still have fun at events though.
1980: 1:38/1:55 for 3:33 + 17
1981: 1:40/2:08 for 3:48 + 28
1983: ???????? for 4:24
1998: 1:50/2:05 for 3:55 + 15
1998: 1:46/2:00 for 3:46 + 14
1999: 1:40/2:05 for 3:45 + 25
2000: 1:50/2:38 for 4:28 + 48
2000: 1:46/1:52 for 3:38 + 6
2001: 1:47/1:53 for 3:40 + 6
2002: 1:50/2:07 for 3:57 + 17
2002: 1:59/2:05 for 4:04 + 6
2013: 2:26/3:19 for 5:45 + 53
2002 2:21/2:23 for 4:44 + 2
2003 2:33/2:44 for 5:17 + 11
2004 2:30/2:43 for 5:13 + 13
2005 2:37/2:48 for 5:25 + 11
2005 2:35/2:59 for 5:34 + 24
2008 2:45/3:31 for 6:16 + 46
2009 2:35/2:39 for 5:14 + 4
2009 2:35/2:54 for 5:28 + 19
2012 2:46/4:12 for 6:58 + 1:26 (86 minutes)
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