I used to be good at math!

I admit that I love those stupid little “Facebook quizzes” (“who loves you”? “who are your best friends”, etc.) So I did one that said “who are your bodyguards”. The answer returned my wife and Carmen, who has become perhaps my favorite “Facebook friend”. That is fine, except both are physically small, middle aged to elderly ladies.

I joked: “I need to make bigger, stronger friends.”

Then I thought about it: if you look at my *current friends*, I am bigger and stronger than, well, almost all of them (maybe 1-2 exceptions). And as you can see from my workout below, I am not that strong (bench press is 200 pounds; I weigh 190 and am 57 years old).

Then I remembered that I used to have bigger stronger friends…when *I* was bigger and stronger (lifetime PB on the bench press was 310 lbs). So while I am considerably weaker now, I am stronger relative to the “company that I keep”. It is easy to figure out why: most of my current friends are either not athletic or they mostly run and walk long distances. In the old days, I hung around more strong people.

And that principle lead me to think about graduate school. I did reasonably well as an undergraduate mathematics major; I was usually one of the best ones in the upper division math classes. But when I got to my Ph. D. program at the University of Texas, well, I felt like a drooling idiot. I was one of the worst ones in each class I took, and don’t even mention the professors, all who were national class in their respective fields. I remember lamenting “I used to be good at math” and I got knowing nods from the other graduate students.

And so it goes. It is kind of like the last marathon I finished: once again I was almost dead last (not quite) but when I start thinking I am dreadfully slow…I watch people my age trying to navigate the stairs at a football stadium. Then I don’t feel so bad.


Workout notes: weights plus a 5K walk in West Peoria. Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, went well), incline bench presses (10 x 135, 7 x 150, 10 x 135), military presses (dumbbell): 6 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm dumbbell. Head stand, yoga leg lifts (2 sets of 10), twist crunch (2 sets of 12) and many, many “free squats” attempting to keep good posture. Those ARE getting easier.

October 27, 2016 Posted by | Friends, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Hey, my eyes are down here!

Workout notes: treadmill 4 mile run; tried to warm up a little bit quicker but my first attempts at 6.7 mph (1:30, 2, then 5 minutes) were a bit ragged. I was at mile 2 in 21:06 or so; I finally got to 6.7 again at 24 minutes into it and was able to throw in 6.8, 6.9 and 7 at the end. Total time: 38:36 for 4 miles…then some free squats.

Run notes: I have a feisty friend who (teasingly?) admonishes me to not check out her butt; when she passes me she turns and says “eyes up…my eyes are up here”. So seeing this yoga photo made me chuckle..and I made this meme:


October 26, 2016 Posted by | big butts, Friends, running, spandex, yoga | Leave a comment

It is Trump’s Party and the GOP will cry if it wants to…

Well, things are looking terrible for Trump. This article explains why the Fivethirtyeight model gives Trump more of a chance than most other models (and is more or less in line with the betting lines). But I HAD to link to a popular article that mentioned “t-distribution”.🙂

And so the Republicans start questioning themselves. But hey, let’s face it: the kind of crap that National Review and the wealthy donor class was pushing was never really popular enough to help a party win an election; who really is going to expend effort and sacrifice to help billionaires pay less tax? And so the Republicans just made stuff up, though they put it behind the veneer of think tanks and the like. And they told their base to “not trust” those “no common sense” academics and scientists who warned that cutting taxes at the top really did the economy no good at all and that climate change IS real and worthy of serious solutions. |

Oh hell, remember all of them telling their base not to trust the polls and the statisticians that Obama was well on his way to winning in 2012?

Ok, to be fair, the SFBs at NPR were also babbling about a “razor tight” election though it was nothing of the sort, as we tried to tell them PRIOR to election day.

So now, of course, then Trump tells HIS lies, the Republican establishment tries to counter it with..well, expert opinion, the very type of opinion the base was told to dismiss!

So yes, the modern GOP IS the party of Trump. The monkeys really are running the zoo.

I’d love to say that the rotten-to-the-core Republican party is on its death bed. But thanks to a Congressional system that gives an outrageous amount of overrepresentation to our rural population (many reasons: gerrymandering, clustering, a Senate that gives Wyoming the same number of Senators as California), they will live on, at least in Congress.

But in terms of the executive level, they are finished …in their current form. Maybe the Eisenhower Republicans will come back?

Workout notes: yesterday: 4 mile run (untimed; glorious weather; modified Cornstalk Classic); today 4 mile walk on the same course after weights.
Weights: rotator cuff, few weightless squats, pull ups (5 sets of 10< bench press: 4 x 185, 7 x 170, incline press: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell): 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported; trouble getting under it at first, 10 x 200 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell, head stand, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, moving half bridge.

October 25, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republican party, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment

Saturday Night Live skit makes a profound point about some Trump supporters

Yes, I am backing Hillary Clinton for many reasons; I see her is smart, well informed, tough and highly qualified. Yes, I oppose Donald Trump for many reasons; the most important one is that I find him to be unqualified; a rank amateur for THIS particular job. To me, a big part of being the President of the United States is knowing how to work with Congress and state governments, knowing about the “give and take”, knowing when to twist arms and when to compromise.

But Mr. Trump does have widespread support from different types of people, though probably not enough support to win. Hillary Clinton is a heavy favorite. But that is beside the point.

I would say that I can understand why some affluent people support him, but, I really can’t…at least if they have stock.

But what about poor working class white people: what do THEY see in him? Oh sure, he isn’t “politically correct”, but, well,..remember that Trump looked down on Mitt Romney as not having enough money.

So, if he would insinuate that Mitt Romney is a loser

What in the hell do they think that Donald Trump thinks about them?

And so we have this funny skit where a working class Trump supporter (played by Tom Hanks) plays “Black Jeopardy” and finds…well, just watch:

Working class people, regardless of color, have quite a few issue in common. Yes, there are important differences (e. g. how they are treated by police).

Why such people would view Donald Trump as caring about them I’ll never understand.

October 24, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

FCS football can be fun: Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State

Workout notes: Yesterday, weights then an easy 4 mile walk along the Illinois River. Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (reasonably good), bench presses were weak: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 5 x 170, 7 x 155. Incline: 7 x 135.
military presses: 10 x 45 (2 sets) 10 x 40. Rows: 3 sets of 10 with last two 45/25 on each side. Abs: 2 sets of twist crunch yoga leg lifts and then headstand.

This morning: my usual route from the Heights Tower to the Forest Park Nature Center, 1:14 lower loop, 28 minutes for the spur back. Lots of leaves but good footing; pace was deliberate.

Along the way I chatted briefly with someone who was at last night’s Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State football game, a mom with her 15 year old son and some scavenger hunters. Total time was 2:30, about 10 minutes slower than the usual.

When I finish this, I’ll finish off some paperwork for my job.

Well, you didn’t expect me to miss the chance to see a football game, did you? When I saw that North Dakota State (winners of the last FIVE FCS national championships in a row) was visiting, I took the 90 minute (each way) trip to Macomb to watch the game.

I got there way early; it actually takes about 80 minutes and parking is plentiful…and there is a free lot right next to the stadium:


And tickets: 10 dollars for general admission and 15 for reserved; actually though I bought a reserved ticket, I moved to general admission so I could use the top row for its backrest and for standing. Even the top row seats are equal to prime seats at a Big Ten game. The concessions were more “hot dogs and chips” stuff so those with special dietary needs to take stuff in or tailgate (and there was a large, active, festive tailgate area). They had nice game programs which were free!


The post sunset sky was lovely; it was a perfect, crisp night for college football.


The teams walk from locker rooms which were about 100 yards away from the field.


As far as the FCS level: the teams don’t have the depth to complete, say, a Big Ten schedule. But their starters are excellent; just ask Northern Illinois (lost to Western Illinois), Northwestern (lost to Illinois State) or Iowa (lost to North Dakota State). My guess is that at least a couple of players I saw have a shot of playing on Sundays.

The game itself: it started off well for NDSU: they got a stop and then on their opening possession, drove it 60+ yards for a touchdown. It looked way too easy.


They used a mix of formations including a two tight end “pistol” package, the I and the conventional spread.

WIU countered with a drive and a field goal; they used a clock burning “run the clock down before running a play” scheme. NDSU got a touchdown and, on their next possession, threw an interception. WIU converted it to another field goal and it was 14-6.

NDSU ran an excellent 2 minute drill to score its third TD before the end of the half; WIU got the ball with 45 seconds to go and drove it close enough to get a field goal attempt, which was blocked. So it was 21-6 at the half.

I noticed that the WIU secondary made some fine open field tackles to prevent long touchdown runs; I wondered if NDSU would blow it open in the second half.

WIU actually controlled play the rest of the game, but mistakes cost them dearly.

WIU got a stop and then made a nice drive to cut the lead to 21-13; it appeared to me that momentum was shifting.

Then came the first of 2 key plays. WIU intercepted the ball and ran it back inside the NDSU 5 yard line. But a late hit on WIU pushed them back to the 20…the NDSU defense held and then blocked the field goal attempt.

WIU got the ball back and got first and goal at the 8. A pass made it to the 1 (I thought the runner was going to score, but he was turned back by a hard tackle. The next two plays from the 1 were stuffed, but NDSU was offside on 4’th down, so WIU got another chance. The runner fumbled the ball just prior to entering the end zone and NDSU recovered.

Still, WIU wasn’t finished; they stopped NDSU (who botched a field goal on a bad hold), threw another interception, but got the ball back again.

But at the end they were on their own end of the field with 40 seconds to go and no time outs; a final interception finished them off.

It was a great game to watch and extra exciting if you were a fan of either team (I was cheering for Western Illinois)


October 23, 2016 Posted by | college football, football, hiking, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Trump’s grope comments and female’s experiences

A good sign: I went out for 5K on a cool, crisp morning. During the first mile I had to talk myself out of doing 4 or 5 miles. But, when I got to mile 2, I was glad I was only doing 5K, so I still have some recovering to do. But it was a very pleasant jog.

Politics: the “nasty woman” comment that Trump made sparked memes, sayings, etc. I took one meme’s logo and added words to it:


Much to my delight, my favorite FB friend liked it.

Trump’s groping comments I’ve discussed those. And I directed people to Jerry Coyne’s website where he asked female readers to weigh in as to whether they’ve been violated. At least three wrote comments and I strongly suspect a 4’th one did. I knew about one of the stories before hand.

I had a couple of reactions:

1. I was ready to get “high and mighty” because I’ve never done any “Trump stuff” (ever) and, as an adult, I didn’t to any unsolicited touching. OR so I thought until I read the accounts of two women who worked at strip club type places (one wrote about it on my Facebook page). Then …yes, while in the Navy, we did make port calls and a few times I did go to bars with bar girls; they did sit on our laps; we did pat their butts, etc. No, no Trump stuff. And I suppose some consent was there; one time I went to a bar for the second time and one of the bar girls ran up to me saying “KING KONG!”; evidently I was a good customer (though I don’t recall spending that much).

I suppose that there WAS consent of a sort, but I don’t feel good about it.

The other reactions: some of the women who told their story are friends of mine; one is a “sort of ex” friend (“friends” as in “do stuff with” friends). I was struck by the fact that these women always seemed friendly with me; sometimes even a little bit “flirty” (and yes, it is a two way street). That just surprises me a bit, but I am woefully ignorant in this area.

October 21, 2016 Posted by | running, social/political | Leave a comment

Debate and demise of expertise

Workout notes: still feeling a bit rundown and my throat is a tiny bit scratchy. Sleep: still limited.
weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, reasonably good), weightless squats, incline presses: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, 6 x 150, military (standing, dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.
Head stand, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges.

Walk: 5K outside (to Lower Bradley Park); perfect walking weather. It was just a bit chilly.

Debate I was sad to see no handshake before OR after. That is just a shame. How I saw it: it was “everyone’s drunken uncle” vs. an expert and, well, I am sure that the other “drunken uncles” think that Trump did well.

It actually started off as a more conventional debate at first but then got ugly in the last hour or so. Trump refused to say that he’d accept the outcome of the election (thereby lending fire to the crazies…but also giving nervous downticket Republicans a reason to dump him) and he called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman”

The election It appears as if the betting markets have stabilized; most sports books have Clinton as a 1/6 to 1/7 favorite.

This election is a bit different from previous ones though. For starters, the battle lines are a bit different (despite Trump’s pivot to abortion):

It’s a very different story from 2008, when Barack Obama built a big national lead by attracting white working-class voters in states like Wisconsin and Indiana.

Instead, Mrs. Clinton’s gains come from big margins among well-educated voters and an electorate that’s much more diverse than it was even a decade ago.

The result is a sharp increase in polarization along demographic lines of race, education and gender — yet a decrease in geographic polarization. The predictable electoral map of the last four elections, born in part of the culture wars and split along familiar regional divides, might not look quite the same this November.

This dynamic helps explain why reliably red states are now on the verge of competitiveness, even as some traditional battleground states haven’t budged.

It seems as if the Clinton coalition consists of women, educated white people (many went to Romney in 2012), and minorities. So, even if some formerly blue states stay blue, the votes will be coming from different regions of the said states:

That struggle is playing out across the North, where Mr. Obama fared well among white voters four years ago. Ohio, the anchor of Mr. Obama’s so-called Midwestern firewall, remains very close. Mrs. Clinton has fared better in Wisconsin, but she’s not necessarily doing better there than she is nationwide.

The dynamic is also keeping many of the red, working-class states where Mr. Obama was competitive in 2008 — like Missouri, Montana and Indiana — out of the Democratic column.

Mrs. Clinton may yet sweep the Midwest, winning in places like Iowa and Ohio. But if she does prevail, she might do so in a very different way than Mr. Obama did four years ago.

She is making up for her weakness with strength in some of the most reliably Republican turf in the country. She’s running even with Mr. Trump in the Milwaukee suburbs; she leads in Western Michigan; and she’s posting huge leads in suburbs around Columbus, Ohio, and Philadelphia.

She’s struggling mightily in some traditionally Democratic or competitive areas like Green Bay, Wis.; northeastern Pennsylvania, including Scranton; northeastern Ohio, including Youngstown; and Macomb County, Mich. — the place that inspired the term “Reagan Democrats.”

This balance between Mrs. Clinton’s weakness among white working-class Northerners and her strength among well-educated voters might be enough to preserve a relatively similar electoral outcome in the Midwest, even as the underlying coalitions shift significantly. But this trade-off is not nearly as favorable for Mr. Trump in the states where there is much less room for him to make gains among white working-class voters.

And there is something else going on. How could a rank amateur like Trump have ever obtained the GOP nomination to begin with? Years ago, I grew up thinking of Republicans as the wealthier, more educated people. They valued competence and expertise.
Now, not so much:

Americans — or, at least, a particular subset of Americans — have had enough of experts, facts, math, data. They distrust them all.

This rising cynicism, sown recklessly by opportunistic politicians, will not only make it increasingly difficult for policymakers to make good choices and govern peacefully; it could also become a significant economic challenge.

The latest evidence of this anti-evidence trend comes from a Marketplace-Edison Research Poll released last week.

The survey found that more than 4 in 10 Americans somewhat or completely distrust the economic data reported by the federal government. Among Donald Trump voters, the share is 68 percent, with nearly half saying they don’t trust government economic data “at all.” […]

Offered sober-minded, nonpartisan analyses that Trump’s fiscal plans would add trillions to deficits and jeopardize the economy, his supporters claim these assessments must be lies because (A) the analysts are biased against him, and (B) Trump would obviously never let bad things happen to the economy, duh.

In other words, ignore the experts, ignore the math, trust the message.

Or as World’s Worst Surrogate Ben Carson said Friday on MSNBC, “Let’s throw the economists out, and let’s use common sense.” Presumably Carson believes that all forms of expertise, including neurosurgical, should be similarly disposed of in favor of “common sense.”

This paranoid anti-evidence trend long predates the current election, of course.

There was also a poll “unskewing” cottage industry in 2012, when supporters of Mitt Romney were convinced their candidate would win the White House handily. Then, as now, large rally crowds were cited as evidence that pollsters simply had to be wrong.

Why do voters continue to buy this nonsense?

Of course, experts aren’t always right. But they are right most of the time; after all, our planes fly, our medicine works and you are reading this via a computer/smart phone via a computer network.

And of course, distrust of expertise isn’t solely a conservative thing; witness the behavior of the Third Degree Bern Victims and the Stein supporters. Yes, we liberals have our crackpots and their supporters. But they don’t reach the top of our ticket…not yet anyway.

October 20, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Current Marathon and Beyond List

Maryland Marathon: 3:33

San Antonio Marathon 3:48

East Lyme Marathon (CT) 4:24

1998 (2)
Quad Cities Marathon 3:55 (hot: 207 out of over 1000)
Chicago Marathon 3:46

Quad Cities Marathon 3:45

2000 (2)
Lake Okoboji (IA) 4:25
Indianapolis Marathon 3:38

Lake Geneva Marathon 3:40

2002 (4) (13 total)
San Diego Marathon 3:57 (run)
Fairfield (IA) 50K 6:22 (walk)
Quad Cities Marathon 4:44 (walk)
Rocket City Marathon 4:04 (run)
(injured going in; had to run/walk)

2003 (5) (18 total)
McNaughton 50K (run) 7:04
Ice Age 50K 7:18 (walk)
Park City Marathon (UT) 5:17 (walk)

Judy Birthday 50K (walk; informal-Fat ass type)
Quivering Quads (MO) 50K 8:11 (walk)

2004 (7) (25 total)
McNaughton 50 mile 12:46 (walk)
Cornbelt (IA) 24 hour (101 miles), walk
Wandleweekend (NED) 24 hour (88 miles) walk

Fairfield 50K 7:16 (walk)
Quad Cities Marathon 5:13 (walk)
Chicago Ultra 50K 6:20 (walk)

Ultracentric (TX) 24 hour 81 miles (walk)

2005 (8) (33 total)
McNabb (IL) FatAss 50K 6:25 (run, sort of)
Chicago Ultra 50K (spring) 6:42 (walk)
McNaughton 100 34:16 (walk)
Andy Payne Marathon (OK) 5:25 (walk)
Lean Horse 100 (SD), 29:34 (walk)

Quad Cities Marathon 5:34 (walk)
Chicago Ultra 50K 6:29 (walk)
Ultracentric 24 hour 70 (walk)

2006 (5) (38 total)
McNabb (IL) FatAss 50K 6:37 (run, sort of)
Houston Ultra 24 hour 76 mile (walk)
Stigma 8 hour 27 mile (trail) (walk)
McNaughton (100 DNF), got to mile 50 then 20 more.
Ice Age 50K 7:36 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 83 miles (walk)

2007 (4) (42 total)
FANS 24 hour 66 mile (walk) (couldn’t train until 5-6 weeks prior)
FX 12 hour 34 mile (walk)
Farmdale 33 miles 9:27 (walk)
Ultracentric 24 hour 58 mile (walk)

2008 (3) (45 total)
McNaughton 50 mile (staged; 31:37 walk)
Andy Payne Marathon 6:16 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 47 miles (walk)

2009 (5) (50 total)
McNaughton 100 miler (47:45; staged, walk)
(brutal conditions; the drop out rate was astounding: 74 started the 100 and 27 finished; 47 started the 150 and 27 made it to 100 (including the 12 who finished all 150); in total 54 out of 121 starters made it to 100 miles and I was one of these)
Rockford Marathon 5:14 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 66 miles (walk)
Mulshoe 44 (DNF, ran out of time at mile 29) walk
Quad Cities Marathon 5:28 (walk)
McNot-aGain 30 mile 8:55 (walk)
(fought through injuries for these last two; almost no training was possible)

2010 (51)
McNotagain 30 mile 9:52 (knee surgery 3.5 months prior)

2011 (52)
Fans 24 hour: 54.5 miles

2012 (53)
We Walk Lake Wobegone marathon 6:58:58

2013 (54)
River City Marathon (run/walk) 5:44:55

2014 (55)
McNotAgain 30 9:54

2015 3 for the year (58 )
FANS 24 hour 59.9 miles

PNC River City Marathon (walk) 5:49:23

McNotAgain 30 (walk) 11:03

2016 2 for the year, (60 and counting)

FANS 24 hour walk 38 miles (35.9 in 10:40)

PNC marathon (run/walk) 5:52

October 20, 2016 Posted by | marathons, ultra | | Leave a comment

Still tired

Yes, I am still tired from the marathon; even though I had sufficient training miles, it took something out of me. And I am sleeping in a segmented way; I used to do that the week after a long ultra (say, 24 hour event or 100 miler).

I’ll be rested enough to restart training after my sleep has switched to my normal pattern.

Workout notes: easy 5k mile run; not timed. The weather was just perfect for running; cool (50’s) and dry. Just perfect. I even “picked it up” a little toward the end.

Later in the day: flu shot. I don’t want to risk it.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | marathons, running | Leave a comment

Slow marathon finish: inwardly happy; outwardly embarrassed ….

Today in the gym, a couple of the professors asked me if I had run in this past weekend’s marathon. I found myself embarrassed to answer “yes”.

Why? Well, I admit that I felt joy in crossing the finish line in under the time limit: 5:52 (time limit was 6 hours). Yes, this was my slowest Peoria Marathon (River City, PNC, etc); my other two were 5:45 (run/walk), 5:49 (walk 100 percent, but on a cool day).

But..I remember that this was 1:08 (one hour, 8 minutes) slower than my powerwalking PR (2002) and 2:14 (two hours, fourteen minutes) slower than my masters running PR (2000). Back then, I never dreamed I would become so unbelievably slow.

In fact, as recently as 2006…wait that was 10 years ago…I did training marathons (on my own) at about this pace….walking.

I suppose that if when I continue to slow down more, I’ll have to seek out long time limit marathons or, say, 12 hour events.

But, as I get ready to resume training (in say, 2 week’s time), I’ve got my eyes on either First Light (January in Mobile, Alabama) or Little Rock (March, Arkansas) and doing it as a walker (long time limits). Maybe I’ll get it out of the way early.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | marathons, running, walking | | Leave a comment