On getting “Girled” or “Chicked”…..


The following Facebook meme made me chuckle. I’ve heard it called “getting girled”. Basically: this is what happens when a male track team member gets beaten by a female.

In sports like swimming and track and field (e. g. “athletics”, which includes running and race walking), this concept really only makes sense for the stronger male competitors.

There WAS a time in my life when, on rare occasion, I might finish ahead of the first female. This only happened at small, local races. It isn’t that much of a surprise; after all, if one looks at the results of high school track meets, sometimes, in a dual meet between small schools, the girl’s mile is won in a time over 5:30. That is a time I could run…a long time ago. So could many other in shape “workout bros”.

But now that I’ve gotten older, when one takes into account age and sex, I can compete on even terms with females in the 36-40 year old age group. Hence my natural advantage is gone and I don’t even think about trying to mix it up with the faster women; about the only time I notice them is when they are cooling down on the course and I am finishing up.

Frequently, even the older ladies beat me (example:)


Now sometimes, a woman will show up at a local race and beat everyone; this happened at the Galesburg Half Marathon in June 2012.

And in the longer events: ultra walker Sandra Brown has frequently beaten the entire field in a 24 hour walk; she did that in 2004 at the Wandelweekend in the Netherlands.
That was merely one of many “outright victories” for her.

In ultra swimming: Peggy Lee Dean and Lynn Cox both held the human record for the English Channel Crossing (at one time).

But in the vast majority of races where there are no outliers (e. g., an elite showing up at a non-elite race), the male winning time will be better than the female winning time.

And the concept of getting “girled” or “chicked” has never applied to me in running, walking or swimming. I simply am not good enough for it to have ever mattered.

Now in the weight room: When it comes to pull ups and, say, the bench press, there are women who can exceed what I do but they tend to be outliers (e. g. perhaps a shot putter at a Division I university would out bench me…and I mean “real” bench pressing, not that “bench shirt” stuff). And plenty of women can do more pull ups than I can (think: gymnasts) but they also tend to be moderate outliers; you tend to not see them at the places where I work out. You’d see them at gyms that cater to the more athletic crowd.

April 17, 2014 Posted by | running, ultra, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Pondering …

The River City Half Marathon in a month: run it for time or powerwalk it for training for the fall walking marathon?

Today: sunny, breezy, chilly (March weather, really): I did my Cornstalk 8.1 course in 1:23:04 (41:19/41:49) then walked 2.05 more (old course) to get 10 total; added to this is an easy 2.3 walked with the group last night.

I never pushed it at all; the only rough part was dodging the trucks in Bradley Park (in the more gravelly turn off coming down from Cornstalk Hill.

I had balked at doing this course because the hills do cause you to huff and puff a bit. But I needed that.


April 17, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Winter revisits…sort of

We got a bit of snow last night…most of it is gone now.
Still, I went indoors for the run part of my workout:

2 miles in 20:50 (treadmill)
5K on the indoor track in 26:06: 8:36, 8:35, (1:04), 7:50 (call it: 2.1 miles at T, 1 mile at I)
The 7:50 final mile wasn’t easy. I doubt that I could have sustained it much longer (3:57/3:53)

1 mile walk, then 3 more miles outside. It was sunny but chilly; and the usually low-traffic streets had much more traffic than normal due to rerouting from construction.


There I am, finishing up the Heights Half Marathon this past weekend. In the background you can see a guy with a camera; he is T’s long suffering husband. You can also see a woman turning to look at me…she appears to be giving me that “what a train-wreck” look. :-)

I actually AM walking in this photo hence I don’t mind looking as if I am walking. My form is terrible though.

April 15, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Memes and lewd tweets

US Airways: embarrassed about a lewd photo that appeared in their Twitter feed (this was a racy photo sent to them via a “complaint”).

The (very Not Safe For Work) photo.

I admit that it made me chuckle.

Running humor (yes, I slightly altered this meme)

Jon Stewart
Yes, I get his point: Christians are not persecuted in the United States. Not having others as a captive audience for your religion is NOT persecution.



Well, it isn’t quite that simple.

For example: Thomas Jefferson wouldn’t be considered to be a Christian by modern fundamentalists. In fact, he made his own version of the New Testament that mostly did away with the miracles (including the resurrection)

Abraham Lincoln was hardly a traditional Christian either:

Lincoln was not religious for most of his life, but his faith seems to have evolved and progressed during his presidency.

- The letter went up for sale this week for $35,000.

Abraham Lincoln is known for many things. He led the nation through the Civil War, emancipated the slaves and delivered eloquent speeches about democracy and liberty. But Lincoln’s religious views have long been a matter of debate.

Now, a newly resurfaced letter from the 19th century is raising questions once again about the 16th president’s relationship with God. The three-page letter, which was written by Lincoln’s old law partner, William Herndon, and just went up for sale for a price of $35,000, claims that Honest Abe was driven not by faith, but by politics.

Lincoln’s attitude toward religion was clearly complex, and the discussion is far from over, as some evidence suggests that Lincoln’s sense of faith evolved and deepened throughout the war and his presidency. Still, the letter offers a rare view of Lincoln’s inner life from someone who knew him before he went to Washington.

“Mr. Lincoln’s religion is too well known to me to allow of even a shadow of a doubt; he is or was a Theist & a Rationalist, denying all extraordinary — supernatural inspiration or revelation,” Herndon wrote in the letter, signed Feb. 4, 1866, a year after Lincoln’s assassination.

“At one time in his life, to say the least, he was an elevated Pantheist, doubting the immortality of the soul as the Christian world understands that term,” continued the letter, addressed to Edward McPherson, Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives. “I love Mr. Lincoln dearly, almost worship him, but that can’t blind me. He’s the purest politician I ever saw, and the justest man.”

John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore and William Howard Taft were Unitarians (denied the divinity of Jesus).

Of course, these were people who served long ago. And no, none of these were Richard Dawkins style atheists (as I am). But it is incorrect to label them as Christian, at least as the word is used in this day and age.

April 15, 2014 Posted by | humor, running, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Oh well…I had my fun

Paid for it today: 45 minute easy run (Cornstalk 4.2 mile course). Pretty weather but the traffic redirection put more cars than normal on this route.

I am still tired.

April 13, 2014 Posted by | running | Leave a comment

Windy season

I was wondering whether I’d attempt to run or walk this Saturday’s half marathon. Today I gave myself the answer: I am walking it and aiming for 2:35 (the pace I hope to maintain for a walking marathon in September)

Today’s workout: 50′s and windy:


I jogged 2 miles in about 20 minutes (10 minutes at 1.03 miles) and then did the 1.23 park loop (small hill) in 9:52 (8:01 pace; 33 seconds faster than last week). Then 6 minutes of jogging, then 4 x 400 on a 5.3 percent grade hill (2:15, 2:23, 2:13, 2:15); I was hampered by going against that 15 miles per hour wind and by the faster 1.23 segment. I jogged one mile back (9:39) and then walked 3 more.

Last night: I walked 2 miles with the group; one mile out and then 1 mile back (23 minutes). I walked with someone, who is working through some serious health issues but is determined to finish the Steamboat 4 miler this year. I found her to be a delightful, determined woman.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Inching forward in my quest for a good mile

Workout notes
2 miles on the treadmill (20:30)
1 mile: 7:12 (1:49, 1:48, 1:45: 1:48 (3:38/3:34) (solo)
1 walk (got teased about being so slow)
3 run (11/20:16/29:11, 30:03 for 3.11) treadmill
3 walk outside (too pretty not to)

Background this year:

8 March: 1:58, 1:53, 1:49, 1:50 (3:52/3:40) for 7:32
18 March: 1:57, 1:51, 1:47, 1:47 (3:48/3:35) for 7:23
25 March: 1:52, 1:50, 1:46, 1:47 (3:43/3:34) for 7:17
8 April: 1:49, 1:48, 1:45, 1:48 (3:38/3:34) for 7:12

So, you can see that over the past month, I’ve improved by 14 seconds in the first half but only by 6 in the second. Over the past 3 times: 10 seconds improvement in the first, but only 1 in the second.
Bottom line: my “easy” improvement is all but over; I’ll probably try again in a week to 10 days, and then work on 200′s and 400′s to build up some speed.

I didn’t want to do this mile, as I knew that my “easy” improvement period is dying out. BUT, this was a solo time trial; I might improve a few seconds if I had someone to chase.

(more on my recent history here)

April 8, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

McNaughton and going home again…what I miss.

I had mentioned that I didn’t enter any of the Potawatomi Trail runs but I didn’t want to stay away entirely. So I showed up at 9 am to see if someone needed pacing…no one did so I decided to do a single 10 mile loop…in reverse order. The idea was to see the people on the course (taking care to step off of the trail when I saw someone) and I carried a sack to pick up trash.

So the loop was rather slow, and I did stop to talk to people. I saw Joe Galloway who wanted to talk and I had briefer conversations with others including Bonnie Busch.

What was interesting: I met both of these people about 10 years ago. Joe reminded me that “we finished the 100 together” 10 years ago; I reminded him that I paced him on his last lap; I had finished the 50 the day before (12:46).

I met Bonnie at the Cornbelt 24 hour about a month later (my best performance ever; 101 miles for the 24 hour walk).

Yes, both Bonnie and Joe finished the 100 again, and no, it isn’t a surprise that they did.

I was a bit sorry that I missed Donna Creditor who, evidently, had to retire. Donna finished the 100 in 2009 in horribly muddy conditions….as did Joe, and I.

So, yeah, I kind of miss being a part of “the club” of 100 mile finishers. Then again: 3 of my 4 finishes came in a 2 year period (2004: Cornbelt (23:40), 2005 McNaughton (34:16), 2005 Leanhorse (29:34), 2009 McNaughton (47:55) ).

On the other hand, one should honor what the body can handle, and I really am not built for this. And my knee really doesn’t handle mud well…

And so tomorrow I’ll return to focusing on my spring/summer goal (sub 7 minute mile).

So what do I miss?

I miss being around people who try to bring out the best in you. There were times when I wanted to quit those 100′s; I was shivering, shaking…and people encouraged me to hang in there and to keep moving forward. So among my 100 mile starts, I had one DNF (at mile 50, but I got 20 more to get 70 total; this was 2006). Yes, that felt like a failure because it WAS a failure. I had trained to finish the 100, not 70. People who knew me knew that I felt bad about it.

Note: I had DNF’s in marathons and 30′s due to time limits and one 50 due to knee pain (mud; this was after my 2010 operation).

April 7, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | , | Leave a comment

I CRUSHED my recent 5K run time today….but….

Today I ran the Kappa Delta 5K and CRUSHED my recent 5K time finishing in 22:31, which is my fastest time since 2002 and 2:30 faster than I’ve done over the past 3 years! But…….


Yes, this is the course map. The usual campus 5K course is the blue plus the red…today we ran only the blue.

So, let’s look at this logically:

The case for the course being accurate:
1. I want it to be.

The case for the course being short:
1. The Garmin measurements I’ve heard were 2.78, 2.8, 2.8 and Google maps got it at 2.82.

2. My time at the known 2 mile mark was 15:56 and I finished 6:36 later…6:36 for 1.1 miles?

3. If this course really were 2.8 miles, then according to the usual time conversion formulas, an equivalent 5K time would be 25:05 (I ran 25:09 last weekend) and my mile would be 7:13 (I ran 7:17 solo last week).

4. According to the above map, this course cut off about 0.3 miles off of the “usual” 5K course.

5. Last week’s 5K ended with a “lap around the block” because the course without the lap would have been 4.5 km. Hence we passed the finish clock twice…and when I saw it the first time it was: 22:3x…just like today.

So, after weighing the evidence: this was a real 5K. :-) (just kidding)

I was ok with my pace (8:02 minutes per mile) though I really, really want 7:5x.
I didn’t have any kick left and got passed by a student right at the finish line.

The day: sunny…clear, cool (40′s) though there was too much auto traffic on the course.

Still, I felt reasonably good at mile 2 and slowed by 7 seconds over the past .8 miles. I could feel my turn over slowing a bit; I need to concentrate more.

I got to see Bill and Andy there; that was nice. Though there were a few other “older” people there, this was mostly students and I’d like to work on finishing further up in this crowd.

Afterward: I walked to get a cool down, jogged a bit, then lifted weights:

rotator cuff, hip hikes, Achilles, McKenzie
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (no energy, but these were good pull ups)
bench press (pathetic): 10 x 135, 9 x 160, 8 x 160
upright rows: 3 sets of 10 x 25 dumbbells
military press (standing, barbell): 10 x 85, 7 x 85, 8 x 85
curls: 3 sets of 10 x 30 (dumbbell)
Hammer Machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

I had low, low energy throughout.

Then I had Indian lunch with Barbara and a new friend.

I might check out the McNaughton (er…Potawatomi ) runs later this weekend and maybe pace someone tomorrow morning.

This year:

5 April 22:31 (2.8 miles) 25:05 5K
29 March CIDA 25:09 5K
1 March: 27:27 for 3.25 miles: 26:10 5K.

April 5, 2014 Posted by | running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Life changes and running, walking and all that….


Ok, you know why I liked this photo. But this came with an article that said this:

A number of earlier studies have suggested that people who run more than 20 miles a week or at an average pace of 7.5 mph or faster are more likely to have shorter lifespans than those who run slower over shorter distances. In other words, when “increasing mileage and pace, the benefits of running seem to disappear,” cardiologist Martin Matsumara told The Huffington Post over the phone this week. “[These studies suggest that] running fast and far may be toxic to the heart in some way.”

But some running enthusiasts are skeptical. In 2012, for example, a writer for Runner’s World took issue with a study linking endurance running with reduced longevity by pointing out that the researchers had not considered other health factors — such as body mass index, smoking habits and hypertension — when making their conclusions.

A new study conducted by Dr. Matsumara, however, is now challenging this counter-argument.

Co-director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley Health Network, Matsumara said he wanted to find out if running farther and faster really causes people to not live as long, or if other factors are at play. “I wondered, is there something these high-mileage runners are doing that’s causing them to live shorter lives?” he said.

After looking at the backgrounds and habits of 3,800 runners, Matsumura said he didn’t find any evidence that high-mileage runners had particularly unique habits or troubling medical histories. In fact, other than how long or how far the runners ran, he said his team found no difference between those who ran longer and faster, and those who didn’t.

I don’t know if they corrected for personality; were type A people likely to train harder or to train more?

But my average training pace: nowhere near 7.5 miles per hour (8 minutes per mile); 10-11 would be more accurate.

But as to duration: yes, I used to walk ultra marathons. I haven’t in a while.

Right now, Potawatomi is going on (30, 50, 100, 150) and I am missing it…and really……do not miss it. I think that I am past the point of where I fit in; this is a multi loop course and in the last few times, I spent much of my time getting out of the way of others. My knee doesn’t react well to mud either.

I tend to do this: take a break from something I once avidly did. That applies to: yoga, (now not doing it), weight lifting (long break), swimming (hardly at all in 2013), distance walking (some; perhaps 15-20 miles per week, IF that) and running. And there was a time when I didn’t do 5K runs.

Not fitting in, part II
I help out at a program for new runners, but I don’t really fit in with the instructors.

One reason: I didn’t begin that way. I wanted to get in shape for sports. So I put on some gym shoes and ran. At first: not that far, but I stayed with it until I increased my distance.

The people I work with and many of the instructors simply aren’t like that…though some have gone on to do things like finish Ironman triathlons.

But they tell people things like “you are all athletes”; “you win by making it to the start line”, blah, blah….no one uses the word “slow” which, IMHO, is a perfectly good word to use.

What happens:

newbie is out there huffing and puffing. They exclaim: “I am so slow”.

Typical instructor: “no you aren’t! You’re doing AWEsome! You rock!”

Me: “right now, yes, but you’ll eventually improve if you are diligent.”

I don’t fit in. :-)

April 5, 2014 Posted by | big butts, running, science, social/political, walking | | 1 Comment


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