Track and Wildlife Prairie Park

First: went to the Riverplex. Ran 2 miles to the old Woodruff track and did 5 x 400 with 200 walk jog, 200 with 200 walk jog (3200) then jogged 2 miles back. Day: cool, low 60’s.

runs: 1:57-1:55-1:55 (9:01)-1:54-1:55-0:58 (18:52)
rests: 1:32-1:39-1:41-1:39-1:42

Then 2 mile jog back, followed by 10 minutes on the bike to help my knees.

Slower intervals but quicker miles than last week and the week before that.

Then I went to Wildlife Prairie Park with my wife (HER idea!) and I fed the goats, listened to the frogs (heard the bull frogs and green frogs) and got 4 miles on the Floodplain trail. The trail has been restored, but I didn’t pay attention and wandered off very briefly. There is a sandy portion that is sandier than I remember it. You can see my photo tour here.

I did not time the walk; but I got 10 miles total (run plus walk).

Political note I wear a hat when I run; usually I just grab one randomly. I can tell when I am wearing the one you see here:


I get both smiles and frowns; I can’t help but notice that this hat is unpopular with many white people but popular with many black people. My “inner Larry David” just itches for someone to say something negative to me about it. :-)

July 29, 2014 Posted by | hiking, running, walking | , | 2 Comments

My endurance sports: ever shifting emphasis

This is mostly for me to gather my thoughts; I don’t anticipate this being of interest to anyone else.

1973-1977: I started to work out to get in shape for football. Mostly I lifted weights, ran wind sprints, ran hills, did wrestling bridges, and starting in 1976, started to run.
I’d run this 3.5 mile course before school every morning in the off season, and sometimes a 2 miler (13:30-14:00) on Sunday evenings.

1977-1980: I ran some, and I lifted (part of crew and intramural wrestling and club judo) I also swam laps for fitness.

1980-1983: I got the distance bug here; stable distance was the 10K, though I did 3 marathons and a rare 3 mile or 1 mile race.

1984-1995: I tried to restart jogging, without much success. Mostly lifting and rarely swimming and walking. I got morbidly obese and then lost some of it. Knee problems dogged me.

1996-present: the running bug came back. Here is where I had a shift of emphasis. I’d go through a period of racing a LOT of 5Ks, then 10Ks with a marathon every once in a while.

But I had periods of time where I emphasized something else: 2001 and again 2008: the open water swim. 2002-2004: walking and I tried some judged race walking, and very long distance walking.
2004-2006: ultras: too many for my body to handle. Did 3 of my 4 100 mile races here. I also did some yoga.
2006-2010: aside from a brief period of respite, I was injured frequently. This is where I had the 2008 swim, the 2006 bike ride (my only century ride) and I did have a brief running/walking season in 2009. I also revived my lifting a bit.
2011: tried to recover from knee surgery; athletically this was a tough year for me.
2012-present: mostly the 5K run was the emphasis, with a half marathon here, a marathon (attempt) there.

So, aside from my “injury recovery” phases, it has been “emphasize X ” for a year or two, then emphasize something else. Right now, I do a little bit of :run, walk, swim, lift, with no bicycling and no yoga.

July 27, 2014 Posted by | running, swimming, walking, weight training, workouts | | Leave a comment

JT’s race against Melanoma

Screen shot 2014-07-26 at 10.46.43 AM

Ok, not pretty. But it is still only 26 days after blood donation (10-15 days before I get all of my red cells back) and conditions were tough; the winner came in a 22 minutes (way slow for a 5K race); my placement (15 out of 55, 9 out of 23 males) wasn’t that bad.

Temperature: 73 F, 79 percent humidity.

Screen shot 2014-07-26 at 11.03.30 AM

How it went: I got to the Riverplex, stretched my back, did 5 minutes on the bike to warm up my knee (plus hip hikes and step ups) and 1 mile on the treadmill. Then I jogged one mile to the start line.

A MILF in transparent lime green leggings (with the dreaded long shirt, which didn’t quite cover everything) gave us instructions. I retied my shoes and kind of zoned out, only to find her right in front of me. I thought “oh crap, she caught me looking” but she only wanted to know my age group.

I started off and thought I was taking it easy; it felt tough to breathe. I just don’t do well in these conditions. I passed the little kids who died by going too fast. Mile one came at 8:25, and even that felt like too much. Still I kept waiting for runners to be on their way back and that came later than expected.

Finally I saw them; we turned around the boats and I was already dying. I told myself “no walking until at least mile 2 (8:57 later; 17:23) and I barely made it. I walked 10 seconds or so, resumed at was at 1 mile to go at 18:09. I tried to pick it up but had to walk a few more steps with 3/4 mile to go…then at half mile to go, two women passed me. &*^%$ I tried to stay with them figuring that I could out kick them with 1/4 mile to go..but when I got there, I just wanted to finish the race without passing out. :-)

I managed that..and then walked around to cool down.

I noticed that they had some farmer’s market/organic food set up. There was a parking lot perhaps 200 meters away (if that) and there was a FREE SHUTTLE from that lot to the market.

Sure, I can see that for the elderly, the handicapped, those with orthopedic injuries and those with severe health problems (e. g. chemo patients, severe anemia) but…well, from the number of people on the shuttle, there was either a group from a hospital there or there were people too lazy to walk 200 meters.

Hey, if I have a bad race, I can always feel self righteous by looking down on the slackers, right? :-)

Then I went to the awards ceremony, got a quick bite to eat, walked back to the Riverplex. Some GILF was walking out of the Riverplex and saw me walking in; she said “You look TIRED”. Well, I grinned and said “yes” (she was wearing yoga pants, hence I was friendly).

I did 10 minutes on the bike (seems to help the knees) and then walked back to my car.

I saw where my former yoga teacher had left a “good morning” note on my car; that felt nice.

July 26, 2014 Posted by | running | , , , , | 2 Comments

Running matters and adjustments to training.

Training: I’ve decided to try the following:

1. Every week, I’d like one speed session, one steady state (6-8 mile) run, one race or longer, harder run, plus cool down walks, longer steady walk, and a marathon training walk (17-18 miles at the moment).

2. Speed: I’ve decided to move away from workouts that say “do 800 meters at 5K pace”, since these workouts are designed for good runners. Here is what I mean: a good runner will do 5K somewhere around 13-15 minutes so their 800 meter repeats will be 2:05-2:10 or thereabouts. Hence I’ll do repeats of approximately 2 minutes in duration at a pace I can sustain for almost 2 miles (e. g. 400 meter repeats in 1:50-1:55 or so; perhaps bumping it to 600 meters if I get stronger and faster.

We’ll see how this all plays out; goal is a walking marathon at Quad Cities (September 28) along with a 5K run here or there. I am probably within 2-3 weeks of getting all my red blood cells back; we’ll see if my training is paying dividends within the next month.


Yep. Today, running was very tough, though I suppose it isn’t surprising. I keep forgetting about the blood donation and the fact that a low to mid 70 degree day is technically “warm” to run in, even if it feels good.


I laughed out loud at this. Yeah, I sometimes FEEL that way internally; sometimes I feel this way when I am getting lapped on a trail course, and I felt this way when my department chair caught me at mile 11 of a half marathon last year. And yeah, no one likes getting out kicked. :-)

Hat tip: Cassie and Theresa for the memes.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | running | , , | Leave a comment

Beautiful Rock Island Run (but slow)

Distance: close to 8.2 total; time: 1:25:35; this is a bit slower than the last couple of times (2 years ago; here and here)

For the record (for comparison): 1:29, 41:02, 41:41, 1:21 (42:31/43:02).


Weather: 73 F, 59 percent humidity, breezy; slight headwind on the way back.


I chose the dirt trail as my left knee is slightly sore. It did NOT spike on me today. But I still felt Sluggish; blood donation was 23 days ago; I’ve recovered probably 70-80 percent of my lost red blood cells. I don’t really miss them until I get into the “fatigue zone”.

The last two miles were somewhat tough.

The day was so pretty though; sun; cool by summer standards and there were a few people out on the trail.

There was the college men’s cross country team; I decided to not show them up (yeah, right :-) ). They told me that they were doing 10 miles (55-60 minutes?) and there as some high school (?) kids group doing an out and back; I encountered them at about mile 3. I wanted to pick it up..but reminded myself I was still in the middle of my workout and that they were 37-40 years younger than I (seriously). I did catch one straggler who was evidently shamed into picking it up to get ahead of me again. :-)

After I finished, I walked 2 more miles to get used to walking while tired; once I got going that felt great, though that left knee is still a bit tender.

July 23, 2014 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Back at it…in Peoria

First my workout: I didn’t dare weigh myself; though I ate 3 meals a day and ate within my foodplan, I didn’t eat the usual fruit and yogurt stuff I usually eat. So I felt as if I gained 30 pounds over the weekend.

2 mile jog outside (neighborhood)
2 miles on the track: 5 x 400 with 200 walk/jog, 200 run
runs: 1:54-1:52-1:54 (9:12)-1:52-1:53-55 (19:13)
rests: 1:43-1:47-1:47-1:47-1:44

quick breakfast, then 6 mile walk in Bradley Park: modified cornstalk 4.2 (lots of cars at the theater), lower 1.2 loop, lower .6 loop, then extra (Past Markin to Bradley Ave.)

total: 4 run 6 walk. I did have two “soft” knee spikes in my left knee (not the one with the 2010 surgery). This is looking as if …oh 3-6 years I’ll probably have to have this knee done as well.

Mano Singham: discusses a different kind of migrant worker. This is the older 60+ person who lives out of a RV and drives to seasonal jobs; they can’t afford to retire. I hope that isn’t me, of course. But if I CAN do this and don’t HAVE to….who knows?

But yeah, I imagine this is no fun for those who are trapped in this manner.

you might be hearing about one really low poll number for President Obama (37 percent). In fact, most of them have him in the low to mid 40’s. Personally, I am glad that we don’t have a President that is rushing to get us into new wars.

Still, the Senate: ugh…we’d be lucky to hold it to 50-50. The 95 percent confidence interval for Republican seats looks like 47-55 with perhaps 51 being the most likely outcome.

Right now, the polls for us in Georgia and Kentucky are probably fool’s gold.

Note: I was more confident about the 2012 Presidential election because we had a LOT more polls.

Locally: To the surprise of no one, Tea Party IL-17 candidate Bobby Schilling has the support of our “let’s send the police after someone who hasn’t broken the law Mayor Ardis”. I am shocked. I wonder what dirty tricks Mr. Schilling has up his sleeve this time?

July 21, 2014 Posted by | 2012 election, 2014 midterm, Aaron Schock, political/social, politics, republicans, running, social/political, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Steady state run

I don’t think that I’ve done enough steady state runs. Today was a great day for it; sunny and 65 F with 78 percent humidity at first; 69 F with 68 percent humidity at the end. It “almost” felt like air conditioning.

So today I started off with the intention of doing 10K and mid way changed it to 8 miles. Of course, during the first 4 mile segment I got internally whiny with respect to the course: I wanted to avoid having to do that last “from the bottom to the top of Bradley Park” hill twice.


I did it anyway; it wasn’t as bad as I had remembered it. 43:23/43:01 for 1:26:24 for 8.1 miles. Yeah, it was slow but I have regained only half of my missing red cells yet. I tried to pick it up a little on the way back, and as you can see, I didn’t pick it up that much.

Off for a weekend in Cincinnati; I might get in a couple of 4 mile workouts there.

July 18, 2014 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

Reading too much into it: personal stories (light hearted)

A running friend of mine ordered some race shoes; they were due to come in today. She didn’t want the UPS driver to ring the bell and wake her sleeping kids. So she waited outside for the driver and recalls:

UPS finally arrives with my running shoes. I meet him outside so he doesn’t ring the bell and wake the babies. He sees me coming with a big shit eating grin on my face and kinda giggles.

Me: Sorry, you have my running shoes, hehe.

UPS guy: That’s cool.(gives me the once over) You look like you’ve been waiting for me.

Me:(feeling myself kinda blush because he’s kinda cute[okay, he was VERY attractive] and I’m not sure what he means but it’s coming off as flirtatious) Um, yea. It’s been a while.

As soon as that comes outta my mouth I think to myself “OMG why did you just say that?!” and my face turns red.

UPS guy:(turning BEAT red) Hhe, hhe, Well, I’m glad I could help you with that. Hope you enjoy.

We both awkwardly walk away and it’s then that I realize what he meant by looking like I’m waiting for him: I’m wearing HEAD TO TOE running gear complete with shoes, capris and a race shirt


Here is my “sort of similar” story:

I was running on a hotel treadmill; this was a large hotel that had a very large health club. There was a row of steppers/elliptical trainers behind the treadmills and a woman was on one of them; she was wearing headphones.

As I got cranked it up I heard her say (in one of those voices one uses when one thinks they are talking to themselves but they are speaking aloud):

“Shake it BABY!!! Nice butt!”

I kind of grinned and started to crank it up a bit.

Then I looked at the TV screen; there was a professional athlete (male) on the screen…rear view of him.

D E F L A T I O N. :-)

July 15, 2014 Posted by | human sexuality, humor, running | , , | Leave a comment

In denial

Workout part I:

22 minute jog outside (high 50’s…really)
inside: 5 x 400 with 200 walk, 200 run

I used lane 2

runs: 1:54-1:51-1:52-1:51-1:52-54
rests: 2:13-1:55-2:03-1:57-2:04
miles: 9:48/20:32

Then: 2:26 walk then an 8:59 mile (lane 2)

Total: 31:58 for just over 5K (counting all of the walking laps)

Interval totals: 12:40 of the time was walking (.75 miles) , 19:18 was running (2.375 miles)

After I finish this, I’ll go for a short hike.

This is day 15 after blood donation; some of “it” is coming back.

Denial: My wife is retired, and though she is older than I am, it is difficult for me to think of her as being elderly, though she is (by any reasonable definition).

As for me: yeah, I see that my times are slowing and that I can’t lift as much weight as I once could. I could once do 27 pull ups without stopping; now even doing a single set of 15 is a chore (typically it is 5 sets of 10 with short rests, and that isn’t easy for me).

But I remain in denial. My slowing times aren’t reflecting my age; they reflect that I am just “not in shape yet”. But I’ve been trying to “get in shape” for 9 years now and it hasn’t happened yet. :-)

Here is the effect of increasing entropy on my body over the years….you can see the steady loss of definition in my arms in these photos.





Enough of that. Time to hit the trails and then do some math.

July 15, 2014 Posted by | running, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Very humid 5K

I’ve done this race a few times before. (2012) (2013)

Screen shot 2014-07-12 at 9.21.13 AM

Straight comparison:
2012: 26:07 8:28, 8:49 (17:18) (?), 8:49 for the last 1.1 (70, 88 percent humidity) 30 days after blood donation
2013: 26:32 8:03, 8:12 (16:15) 10:17 for last 1.1 (cool) 26 days after blood donation
2014: 27:41 8:39, 8:39 (17:18) 10:22 for the last 1.1 (73 F, 87 percent humidity) 12 days after blood donation.

The real difference: 12 days after blood donation this year.

Upside: Barbara went with us (Tracy and I) and walked the 2 mile. This is the first time in a while that Tracy went with me to this particular race.

I didn’t warm up as much as usual (1.3 miles today) and I found it hard to breathe.

I lined up further back than normal and we were off. I kept the effort way down…or so I thought. Mile 1, mile 2: even splits. So I thought “ok, in mile 3, go after people” and that thought lasted all of 3 minutes ….I started to feel bad and so walked a bit. I walked perhaps 2-3 times total in the last 1.1; I wasn’t in the mood to hurt AND I was still spooked at almost going down a week or so ago.

Hence, the loooooong last 1.1; similar to last year, really. The difference between this year and 2012 was really the last 1.1; two years ago I had my red cells back. The analogue between this year and last year would be the 4’th of July races in 2012-2013, and my time under similar heat and humidity conditions was similar.

Tracy finished and won an AG award; Barbara walked about 2 minutes faster than she had in practice.

Trivia: on the way there, we got a great look at a coyote crossing the road; they keep their tails down and have a very “non-bounding” gait.

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Friends, running | , | Leave a comment


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