# blueollie

## Light snowy walk, hot spots on the foot and courses

I stared my walk in chilly temperatures (18 F (-8 C)), flurries) and turned around after 1 mile as I had some pain on my right instep. My guess: the past few days I wore double socks and didn’t loosen my shoe laces. The 2.05 took 29 minutes.

So I went inside, changed shoes and did 8.57 hilly miles in flurries. I was somewhat slow (hills do that) and it took 2:09.

It passed from “light flurries” to “outright snow” by the time I was done.

Course measurements:

House to the start of Bradley Park: 1.02.
House to the bottom of the hill in lower Bradley park (where my loops start) 1.41
Out and back from the bottom of the hill, to Cornstalk, down the hill and across the bridge: 1.12
Full Cornstalk loop (NOT the “classic” loop): 1.38
Lower Bradley loop past the softball field, across the bridge then back around the median: .70
Lower Bradley loop past the dog park (small hill): .75

Now I can mix and match spurs, loops, etc.

Note: the only people I saw: a couple of dog owners and the Bradley men’s XC team which was running as a group. My goodness, those guys are fast.

December 8, 2013

## Commentary: many of us don’t want to be judged objectively (and why I like sports)

It is nearing the end of the semester and I am getting a few “professor, I don’t like my grade” e-mail messages from students.

I sometimes get “can you give me tips for learning the material better” messages but those are far rarer than the “I wanna better grade” type messages.

Many students don’t really see course grades as a proxy for their knowledge level; they see them as a commodity that I have to give and they want to persuade me to “give it to them”.

This really isn’t a comment on “the students of today”; we (as a whole) were like that when I was a student.

What I think: most of us (myself included) are happy to judge others objectively but when it comes to ourselves: we want to be graded on a curve!

That is what I like about sports such as running and weight lifting: I might plead and whine, but if I am not strong enough, I don’t make the lift and if I am not fast enough, I don’t run/walk/swim a good time. Period.

I might plead, bluster and spin my results, but when the winner of my age group beats me by SIX MINUTES at a 5K run, what can I say?

Speaking of sports This high school quarterback scrambled for 18 seconds(!) prior to throwing a “Hail Mary” touchdown pass. Call this the “value of hanging in there”.

December 3, 2013

## Double walk….

AM: this was tricky. Olivia’s flight was to LEAVE at 5 am so we had to be at the airport just after 4 am…(but her flight was delayed…but she made it to Cleveland anyway….)

So I was a bit late getting out there. I walked a 8.66 mile route (a few hills) in 2:04:00 (14:20 mpm; steady but not hard); I included the Cemetery and the last 3/4 of the “Cornstalk classic” loop.

Then it was getting Barbara ready; Indian food at Puran

Then Barbara wanted some sun (sunny and 45 F) so we went to the paved part of the Rock Island trail; I wheeled her from an entrance to “almost the tunnel under 6″ (the top of the small incline) then back to Pioneer Parkway then back; 2.82 miles.

This wasn’t blazing but I did enough to soak through my shirts and sweatshirt. So it was *something* if not much.

## I need to add walking back to my training

I’ve gone away from walking mostly due to piriformis pain; however the episode with my back suggests that my “not having enough curvature to my spine” was to blame.

So, I need to add walking, especially since that is the best way for me to finish a marathon (or longer) race.

And I had a dream last night: I was walking a marathon and a race walking judge went up to me and threatened to pull me out of the race. I protested: “but judge, this race doesn’t have a race walking division; it doesn’t even have a walking division! It doesn’t matter if I am legal or not!” The judge said that my form was so bad, it didn’t matter that there was no walking division; my form was disgracing the sport of walking!

Seriously; that was what I dreamed.

November 28, 2013

## Attitude …

Today’s run: 8.1 miles in 1:26:36 (43:03/43:33). This time was ok for a hot summer day but it was 31 F and windy; I should have been faster.

But it is what it is and the morning was pretty. It was one of those were I dodged a few more cars than normal and kind of put my head down and went.

As far as working out and training: in some sense, at my current stage in life, it is as important that I enjoy my workouts as it is that I do something to prepare me for general racing. It isn’t as if I am getting faster or stronger; instead I am retarding the rate of my demise, so to speak.

I am getting the itch to try a 6-12 hour event next year and this means I’ll have to build up to some slow 6 hour “walk/runs” in which I take the intensity way down and mix in a lot of walking.

Editorial:

There is one kind of bumper sticker I see almost daily here in my small Midwestern town: a small oval printed with “26.2″ or “13.1.” In case you’re lucky enough not to know what these numbers represent, let me explain: They indicate that the driver or someone in the car has run a marathon (26.2 miles) or a half-marathon (13.1 miles).

There is only one reason running aficionados display the stickers. They want the rest of us to know about their long-distance feats. So let me be the first to offer my hearty congratulations. I’d even offer to give them a pat on the back—once they’re done doing it themselves.

What’s with this infatuation with running and the near-mandatory ritual of preening about it?

Almost every day I see people running: in the city, through subdivisions or out on country roads. They’re everywhere and at all times, from dawn until dark, their reflective gear flickering along the road.

One major quibble: one reason for the stickers is to advertise to other runners “I am one of you”; it might be a conversation starter. Yeah, I kind of roll my eyes at those who talk about “being proud”: no a 5 hour running marathon is nothing to be proud of if you are a healthy, non-geriatric runner (it is something for a 60 year old plus runner to be proud of though. And yes, I “ran” one slower than that… )

But for the rest of the article, I say “what is it to you? If you don’t like running, don’t run.” It isn’t that hard, is it?

November 14, 2013 Posted by | running, walking | , | 1 Comment

## A runner ignores some of my “injury advice”….

Workout notes weights plus an untimed 5K walk (Cornstalk).

Weights: rotator cuff, Achilles, Hip Hikes, McKenzie, planks
pull ups: 10, 3 x 5, 3 x 5, 10 (the 3 x 5 set is to do sets of 5 with tiny rests; just enough to switch grip from wide, to regular to rotated)
dumbbell military: 3 sets of 12 x 50
dumbbell row (one arm): 3 sets of 10 x 65
pull down: 3 sets of 10 x 160 (shoulder friendly)
curl: 3 sets of 10 x 65 (EZ curl bar)
bench press: 10 x 135, 10 x 160 (easy)
incline press: 10 x 135, 9 x 140 (didn’t have the shoulder confidence to push for 10)
abs: 3 sets of 10 each: crunch, v. crunch, sit backs, twists.

Walk: outside, chilly, lots of leaves, Cornstalk course (easy 3-3.2 mile walk)

Advice: I have a female friend who is battling shinspints. I’ve had this injury and have worked through it. She wanted my opinion.

(*) Ok, we talked about the injury and I did NOT make the spandex remark. But I should have.

November 7, 2013

## Cold Hard Reality: Michigan State 42, Illinois 3

I felt good enough to make the trip; I even got in a slow 8.1 mile walk (2:03) prior to the game.

So, when your team loses 42-3 and gets out gained 476 yards to 137, what can you say?

Well, would you believe that Illinois LEAD the game 3-0 after the first quarter? Would you believe it was only 7-3 Michigan State until about 11 seconds to go in the first half?

Both of those things are true.

Illinois took the wind affected kick-off and appeared to score the first touchdown of the game, but there was holding. So a few plays later, 31 yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.

Eventually Michigan State drove the ball, but their quarterback fumbled the ball just before crossing into the end zone; Illinois recovers.

But on the next drive after a few plays, Illinois tried yet another gadget play (one of several) and the person handing the ball off was hit hard and fumbled. The Spartans got it back and made a short drive to go up 7-3.

Then came what I think was the first of two “turning point” plays; ok, as much as a turning paint as there could be in a 42-3 game.

Illinois drove the ball and got a first and goal inside the 5. They had it 3′rd and goal at the 1 and got stuffed at the one foot line. Then 4′th and goal; another run; stuffed again.

Then with it 7-3 and first down on their own 1 foot line, Michigan State drives it…gets inside the red zone and gets sacked twice. So 3′rd and long from around the 30, the quarterback gets flushed out of the pocket and heaves a pass to the front right corner of the end zone. An Illinois defensive back tips the ball and then tips it up again…and over to a Spartan receiver who catches it and falls backwards into the end zone.

So the half ends 14-3 and the life is gone.

3′rd quarter: Michigan State runs at will; two long drives to get to 28-3 going into the 4′th.

4′th quarter: Illinois burned by a 47 yard touch down pass; you could see the receiver split the defensive backs before the ball was in the air.

Next possession: backup quarterback for the Spartans and a long run (42 yards); after that the teams just tried to get the game over with. The Spartans took a knee near the Illinois red zone toward the end of the game.

Summary
I think that Illinois actually played better last week (especially on offense); this is the first game in which it appeared that the team got discouraged. The body language of the team was awful toward the end.

Illinois started 3-1 with a big win over Cincinnati and a tough, hard fought loss to a decent Washington team. But the Big Ten teams (Nebraska 39-19, Wisconsin 56-32 and MSU 42-3….have just destroyed us.

Upside: Barbara went with me and we enjoyed the Jerusalem restaurant, as usual.

October 27, 2013

## Legs still achy

Achy legs and rain lead me to do a very brief workout today: 4 mile run on the treadmill, 1 mile cool down walk on the track and then leg weights (adduction, abduction, push backs, hamstring curls; 3 sets of 10 with the usual weights.

Run: 10:46 (0 for first 5 minutes, .5 the rest of the way), 20:53, 29:50, 38:00. I was getting into it at the end and felt the lungs working.

My legs have had the constant “glow of warmth” to them lately. If I don’t back off, this weekend’s half marathon will be a disaster.

Quizzes, exams, bleah.

Workout notes
Hip hikes, Achilles, McKenzie, planks, leg lifts

Pull ups: 2 sets of 15, 2 of 10
military presses: dumbbells, 3 sets of 12 x 50 (seated, supported)
curls: 3 sets of 10 x 75 (machine)
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 (Hammer)
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
abs: 3 sets of 10: twist, sit back, crunch, v. crunch

bench press: one set of 10 x 135 (narrow grip); ok, but that was enough.

walking: 3 miles outside; too pretty not to.

I have very little tolerance for this. Evidently, it is a bad thing not to be an egomaniac.

September 27, 2013

## Social and political thoughts for the day

Workout notes Easy 3 mile (5K) walk and some back stretches; that is it.

Then I went to visit a new professor’s class (remedial algebra). During the class, the professor was leading a discussion and he asked “is $\frac{3}{2} - 1$ positive or negative?” A few said “negative” and one actually said “it can be either positive or negative.” Needless to say, many in the class won’t make it through.

The idea: if someone has credit for a class, it is reasonable to assume that they have had some mastery of the material listed in the course catalogue. Also, one has to give those who are capable of learning the material a chance to learn it; one can’t slow down and stop for the unprepared and the incapable.

Of course, not all faculty feel this way; read this professor’s finger wagging here. If there is any justice, if she ever needs surgery, her doctor will have made it through medical school by being taught by medical school professors who practiced what she preaches. Then again, perhaps her classes don’t have a wide variation of abilities and knowledge of prerequisites.

Politics
Food stamps (SNAP) has come up recently. In terms of doing what it is supposed to do, the program is a success. Of course, the Republicans want to cut this program.

Here is where the two sides (liberals and conservatives) talk past one another. The conservatives tend to view SNAP users as “grasshoppers” who are in their current predicament due to poor life choices, including doing poorly in school, not working hard, having more kids than they can afford on their salary, etc. Why take money from the industrious and give it to the losers?

Liberals see SNAP users as the kids who are born into unfortunate circumstances, the elderly who had a rough time, people who have been hit by untimely lay-offs or diseases, etc. They are willing to accept some slackers getting help to ensure that the truly needy get it too.

I see both sides: there ARE those who make dumb life choices, and those who are already on public aid who decide that they want kids, and yes, some of the public aid receiving poor act entitled and are very unpleasant to talk to. Some really are slackers who shouldn’t be on public aid.

On the other hand, many of us who appear to be comfortable now might not be so well off, given an untimely illness or, say, their employer closing up shop. Yes, that includes me.

But I admit that I support these programs for a more cold blooded reason: I might not like some of the recipients but this does provide some stimulus to the economy (they buy things thereby giving businesses reasons to hire more people) and programs like SNAP can help mitigate future poverty by feeding the poor kids.

Still, the fight goes on.

We see a threat of a shutdown, and the following interesting situation:

Fast forward a few days and the world looks very different. On Tuesday, Boehner set project slaughterhouse in motion, bowing to conservatives’ insistence that he make defunding Obamacare a condition for keeping the government open. The House plans to vote on this measure—known as a continuing resolution or CR—on Friday, at which point the Senate will promptly kill it. That puts us on track to have a shutdown on October 1 unless Boehner can somehow rally his troops behind a stripped down measure (a “clean” CR) that funds the government at its current levels for another few months. This is the most conservative piece of funding legislation Democrats will agree to. Unfortunately for Boehner, his caucus revolted against such a bill when he floated the idea last week. So a shutdown is where we’re headed.

Or at least it was where we were headed until yesterday, when the White House tipped its hand. According to Politico, the White House is hoping to persuade (or hoping Nancy Pelosi can persuade) 40-50 Democrats to vote for a clean CR if it comes before the House to ensure that it passes. To put it slightly differently: The White House believes Boehner won’t be able to pass the clean CR with House Republican votes alone, thereby putting him on track for the political disaster of a shutdown. In order to avoid this fate, the White House will urge Democrats to provide the margin of passage. (A White House aide tells me the Politico account is a bit overstated—there’s nothing being urged just yet, and certainly no directives issued to Pelosi. But the aide doesn’t deny that this would be the preferred approach should the situation arise. My understanding is that House Democrats, for their part, are more inclined to let the GOP hang itself, or at least demand a higher level of spending in exchange for their votes.)

A couple of observations while you pick your jaw up off the ground. First, it’s worth appreciating the irony here: If forced to guess how the government would avoid a shutdown, most of us who follow this would probably have said Boehner would blink, since Republicans have so much more to lose. In fact, it’s the White House rather than Boehner that appears to be blinking. I’d previously assumed the White House would make good on its tough talk from earlier this year and let Boehner to shut down the government if that’s what Republicans were determined to do. Despite the tendency of the White House to cave in these situations, it seemed like a relatively safe assumption thanks to all the political incentives that reinforced it. It turned out not to be a very safe assumption at all.

In short, some liberals are upset that the President might pass up an opportunity to let the Republicans hang themselves politically because it would be bad governing; this shutdown would hurt people.

In other words, some on my side would be upset that President Obama and other Democrats might put principle over politics.

Uh…that is what I voted for.

How did we get here?

Some pundits insist, even now, that this is somehow Mr. Obama’s fault. Why can’t he sit down with Mr. Boehner the way Ronald Reagan used to sit down with Tip O’Neill? But O’Neill didn’t lead a party whose base demanded that he shut down the government unless Reagan revoked his tax cuts, and O’Neill didn’t face a caucus prepared to depose him as speaker at the first hint of compromise.

No, this story is all about the G.O.P. First came the southern strategy, in which the Republican elite cynically exploited racial backlash to promote economic goals, mainly low taxes for rich people and deregulation. Over time, this gradually morphed into what we might call the crazy strategy, in which the elite turned to exploiting the paranoia that has always been a factor in American politics — Hillary killed Vince Foster! Obama was born in Kenya! Death panels! — to promote the same goals.

But now we’re in a third stage, where the elite has lost control of the Frankenstein-like monster it created.

So now we get to witness the hilarious spectacle of Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal, pleading with Republicans to recognize the reality that Obamacare can’t be defunded. Why hilarious? Because Mr. Rove and his colleagues have spent decades trying to ensure that the Republican base lives in an alternate reality defined by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Can we say “hoist with their own petard”?

Of course, the coming confrontations are likely to damage America as a whole, not just the Republican brand. But, you know, this political moment of truth was going to happen sooner or later. We might as well have it now.

September 21, 2013