What to do?

Well, I am at a crossroads with some research. We shall see. I need to rewrite a large section. But the rewrite will be easier than the original.

Workout notes: 3 miles on the treadmill, 3.1 on the track. The track walk came after a break (TMI) and the treadmill run was 10 minute warm up, 10 minutes medium tempo, 10 minutes faster tempo (11:17, 21:06, 29:53; going 6.1 mph for the second 10, then 6.7 for 5 minutes, 6.8 for 3, 6.9 for 2).

Long goal: try to rebuild walking speed then focus on a 2 week cycle with main workouts as follows:

running tempo
walking pacing (sub 13 walking for 4-6 miles)
Then one long workout per week: one week building up to 15 with segments at “marathon walk” pace (say, sub 15 minute per mile walking), the next being a conventional getting in the distance (up to 18-20).
Sprinkle in a 5K here and there for social reasons (and this replaces the running tempo)

Aim for either Quad Cities (late September, 7 hour time limit) OR Des Moines (mid to late October, 7 hour time limit..if QC weather is hot). Tentative goal: 6:20 (14:30 mpm pace).

Now my plan is to get on the road shortly to check out the Normal Cornbelters (independent baseball; Frontier league; roughly low-A level of competition)


June 19, 2018 Posted by | marathons, running, walking | Leave a comment

Attitude adjustment part N

Today’s workout was nothing special. Weight: 200 after working out (weights), but I did have nachos last night and it was after breakfast and a gallon of coffee (ok, latter was an exaggeration)

But the weights: usual PT, abs (and yes, planks suck: 2:30, headstand was good)
pull ups: 15, 15, 10 , 10 (very good; best in months)
bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185
incline: 7 x 150 (good hip plant)
decline: 7 x 175
military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 180 machine
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine

warm 2 mile walk in the heat…social, relaxed pace.

Though my running and walking has decline since 2010 …and REALLY declined over the past 2 years, my strength in the weight room has remained more or less constant; if there has been a decline it has been oh-so-slight. And that is something to savor.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

And I sour on “identity politics”

If you hang around enough liberals either in person or on the internet, you will find the following:

women’s issues activists perceive a society dominated by patriarchy, complete with “rape culture”, misogyny and ‘mansplainers”
civil rights activists: see racism everywhere and many will reject statistics on crime, etc.
And people in minority religious communities see discrimination against them and others being out to get them.

Now, of course, there ARE legitimate issues that government should deal with, no doubt there. ISSUES.
But too often it appears that the pitch is “you belong to group X ergo you should vote with us.
Now of course, not all members of group X agree with that.

But, the issue is, as I see if: if group X can be persuaded to vote as a bloc, so can group Y and group Y might be a lot bigger than group X.

Ann Coulter, yes, THAT one, warned of what might happen if whites voted as a bloc.

So, I just as soon see issues emphasized and, yes, some issues will appeal more to certain groups than others.

But I seriously doubt that we will win a bloc voting war.

June 18, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | Leave a comment

Road Trip to see Bees and River Bandits

My “hostage” (aka “”wife” ) was out of town, so it was the perfect time to make a 90 minute (each way) road trip to see a A league game at a different minor league park. The Quad Cities River Bandits hosted the Burlington Bees; this game was especially interesting to me as I just saw both teams play the Chiefs last week.

The Bandits won 2-1 in a game that clinched the “first half the season” title for them; hence they will be in the playoffs. As I type this the Chiefs are leading 8-2 against Cedar Rapids in Iowa; if they win they will lock up a wild card playoff spot at the end of the season.

Now back to my trip: the game itself was tight pitcher’s duel. Both teams scored in the first inning; Burlingon benefited from a walk followed by an error on a pick off attempt; that put the lead off runner on 3’rd and a single brought him home. The Bandit starting pitcher struggled with control (4 walks in the first two innings) but the first relief pitcher was very strong.

A double in the 3’rd inning drove home the winning run; it was 2-1 then and that is how it stayed. The pitchers controlled things the rest of the way.

There was an interesting thing: in the 5’th inning, there was a delay because the fire alarm went off. So we had to exit the stadium; it turns out that a pipe for a fire system fire but extra water.

The stadium: it is along the river; very scenic. And there is a carnival ride next to the stadium, along with a Ferris wheel behind the berm in left field. There are several seating sections, including bleachers, ordinary chair seating, club seating and a special section called “dugout” (super close, walled off, bigger chairs, more leg room, and right on the field. However, the visiting team “on deck” batter will block some of your view.

It is fancier than Dozer…and “right next to the stadium” parking is only 2 dollars. Really.

This has a few photos of the stadium (not just me)

Torii Hunter Jr.

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the view of the action

Fire alarm! Seriously. Play is halted.

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Burlington Bees team…fire alarm halts play.

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Ferris wheel in left field.

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June 17, 2018 Posted by | baseball | Leave a comment

Readjustment of attitude

It was hot again. It was 79 F, 80 percent humidity when I started (close to 9 am, due to a late night) and 87 F, 71 percent humidity when I finished. Whew!
What I did: first 3.37 mile walk on the bike path/sidewalk at 15:30 mpm (went out at 16:15, came back under 15 trying to go a little less slowly) and then I stopped, wondering if I were too tired to do the rest.

I decided to try..and yes, I scaled back the effort. And yes, the rest of the walk (right around 7 miles) was fine..took a long time though. The lower loop of Forest Park Nature Center took about 1:16 (by time of day). There are 5 good uphill sections and several smaller inclines that I don’t notice unless I am fatigued. Today I noticed them. πŸ™‚

One hiker joked that I should be running the hills…I just smiled and said “no, not today..nah nah nah nah…I killed myself yesterday” and he laughed. I was wearing the Steamboat t-shirt.

And that is the deal: I CAN move when it is hot and I am a bit tired…IF I adjust the effort accordingly.

My plan for the fall: do some slow 20 mile walks (5:20-5:30) and do some half marathon length walks in the 3-3:15 range (aiming to do these as effortlessly as possible) and aim for the Quad Cities in September….and drop down if it is another burning hot day. Climate change is playing havoc with my plans..though after looking up history..last year was unusually brutal, even by the standards of the past few years.

Steamboat photos from yesterday

Looking back, I wish I had just lined up at the 13 minutes per mile sign and walked from the get-go. Couda-wouda-shouda.

June 17, 2018 Posted by | Friends, walking | Leave a comment

2018 Steamboat: sweltering, sweet failure (and climate change is killing me)

Ok, I complain about this race every year (MY PERFORMANCE, not the execution of the race, which is always stellar). And today, I did far, far worse that I’ve ever done; more than 20 minutes slower than my walking PB, and I actually ran parts of it.

I’ll get into the reasons a bit later in this post; some are on me (the excess weight I am carrying) and some are unavoidable (injury earlier in the year, age, and the suffocating temperatures)

But I got to spend time with a friend that I don’t see nearly enough of and that made it MORE than worth it. I enjoyed the morning, even with my comically bad performance.

The race itself: I jogged out of the gun easily (so I thought) and was 10:55 at mile 1 and 22:15 at mile 2. Yes, I would have loved to have maintained anything resembling that pace. But I was already sweating and knew I wouldn’t last much longer, so I basically slow walked it (mixing in a bit of jogging here and there) the rest of the way. My 5K splits were a complete joke:


I did talk to a few fellow stragglers. I saw Tracy and Jason before the race, and Vickie handed me water just past mile 7.
But the highlight of the race was the social aspect. Lynnor met me at our house at 5:35 am; we visited and walked 2 miles to the start. We started together; I got ahead, she passed me just prior to mile 3 and it was “see you later”.

We had an ongoing “war of words” on Facebook and she (good naturedly) rubbed it in when she crushed me (2:01). We visited afterward and then walked 2 miles back, stopping at Starbucks for coffee and refreshments (my breakfast).

Bad performance on my part, but a good time nevertheless.

Usual: my feet sometimes hurt; it feels as if there is a rock in my shoe at times, even when there isn’t. But mostly, I kept the effort below the “risk getting sick” threshold. My left heel ached a bit afterward but really didn’t affect me during the race itself.

Reasons for my poor performance: too heavy (199, that is MY fault), too hot (I never did well in heat and I am getting worse), and I didn’t start running (and seriously walking again) until March. Even then, it was short stuff and my longer stuff has been “easy intensity” (16-17 mpm). If I am serious about a fall marathon (7 hour time limit), I need to lose 10 lbs. and to do some walking speedwork ..get comfortable with a 14 minute pace again. And I need to choose a race where the weather is likely to be cool. A day like last year’s Quad Cites: I’ll just drop to the half. I cannot handle heat for any length of time.

Photos: (more will follow)

Before she kicked my butt!

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Before our warm up walk. Steamboat 15k.

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Lynnor took the finish photo. Note the shirt: I got that at a half marathon in 2014…that I ran in 2:15 (ok, in cool weather).

Climate ChangeThe historical average for this time of years (days within plus/minus 7 days of today) has been: Low 61, high 82, which would translate to about 63-64 at the 7 am start.

But here are the past few years (at 6:54 am via Weather Underground)

2011 70 F, 90% humidity (+6)
2012 74/68 (+10)
2013 68/73 (+4)
2014 56/84 (-8)
2015 68/78 (+4)
2016 67/66 (+3)
2017 73/90 (+9)
2018 76/82 (+12)

Climate change is kicking my butt in this race.

Race data: yes, there was a tiny bump up from last year, which was unusually small, by historical standards.

year 4m 15K 4k/2m big 2 all change 2 % change change all % change
2013 3124 866 98 3990 4088
2014 2613 776 111 3389 3500 -601 -0.150626566 -588 -0.143835616
2015 2443 805 156 3248 3404 -141 -0.041605193 -96 -0.027428571
2016 2347 822 157 3169 3326 -79 -0.02432266 -78 -0.022914219
2017 1781 666 151 2447 2598 -722 -0.227832124 -728 -0.218881539
2018 1859 653 122 2512 2634 +65 +.0266 36 +.0139

Past Results

1998: 15K 1:08:22 183/844 (sticky) Was running just under 20 for 5K in those days. 22:50/23:05/22:27, 29/71 AG
1999: 15K 1:07:53 place was a bit worse; roughly 20:40 for 5K in these days 22:38/23:01/22:13
2000: 4m 27:51 After a 10K/half marathon double and 1:35 half a few weeks earlier.
2001: 4m 29:13 Lake Geneva Marathon 3:40
2001: 15K 1:11:16 (126/381) Fall 15K 23:20/24:04/23:51
2002: 4m 43:15 (walk)
2002: 15K 1:14:33 (run; fall) 167/405 24:10/25:07/25:16
2004: 4m 33:10 (two 24 hour walks in May; 101 and 88)
2005: 15K 1:23:13 (26:40/27:39/28:43) McNaughton 100 in April, Marathon on Memorial Day.
2006: 4M 42:10 (walk), FANS 24 in June (83 miles)
2007: Walk with Barbara
2008: Walk with Barbara
2009: run 1:27:23 (9:22 mpm) Place: 519/726 29:21/29:49/28:43, 34/43 AG
2010: walk 4 miles 39:32.
2011: walk 15 km 1:48:02 37:12/36:24/34:26
2012: run 15 km 1:36:55 29:26/33:54/33:35 679/835
2013: 15K 1:29:04 (29:34/29:53/29:38) 40/50 AG, 552/866
2014: 1:29:57 (29:22/30:46/29:49)
2015: 1:34:28 (30:49/32:49/30:50) (2 weeks after FANS 59.9) 579/804, 376/461 males, 173/219 male masters, 36/43 AG
2016: 1:41:57: 31:40/34:37/35:40 667/822, 413/458 male, 196/221 master male, 30/33 AG.
2017: walk 1:55:52: 37:04/39:41/39:07 Just not in very good shape.
2018: 2:15:55 walk/jog…gave up after 2 miles and mostly walked (22:15). 39:20/48:19/48:16

June 16, 2018 Posted by | Friends, running, walking | , , , | Leave a comment

Sign of the times: efficiency at the expense of the participant/customer

Yes, the specific situation isn’t that big of a deal.

I went to pick up my packets for the Steamboat Classic races.

In the days of old, you’d find your name (and the names of those you were picking up for) on a list. You’d write down the number and walk over to the table with that number. You’d be handed a preformed packet with the race number in it, and then walk to the “shirt” table and you’d be done; in and out was usually less than 10 minutes, if you were so inclined.

Not now. Now, you stand in line to be waited on by a volunteer with a computer. They would listen to you give the name and (often unsuccessfully, at least on the first try) type in the name, at which the number would be assigned. Then you’d get your number and walk over to get your shirt. Though this might not seem like much of an extra step, it actually is…and the time from start to finish (given the lines) was tripled.

Of course, this method requires fewer volunteers and no time spent packet stuffing and the like (I used to do that). And yes, there is less waste (numbers are only assigned as they are claimed).

We can debate the merits but, without a doubt, the process has changed. I remember this computerized check in process causing problems in a couple of other races (the now defunct Screaming Pumpkin, and the first Peoria Marathon back in..2012?)

This particular type of process works ok for the smaller races though.

Workout notes reduced weights, easy but warm 2 mile walk.

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (3 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 6 x 185, decline: 10 x 165 (not bad)
military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45 standing, 10 reps machine, machine incline: 2 sets of 10 with 140, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.
No abs. πŸ™‚

Weight: 199 before. Still too much; I’d like to drop 10.

June 15, 2018 Posted by | ranting, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

The end of my baseball seasons, 1970 and 1974

We lived on Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City, South Dakota in 1970. I tried out for the little league baseball team with hopes of making a minor league team (9-10 year olds, major was for 11-12 year olds). Each major league team could pick one 10 year old, and I was chosen, due to my size.

And…I sucked. I was mostly a bench player though I did see game action from time to time.

We won our league and played in a 4 team “tournament of champions” versus the other league champions.

And I remember the final game of the tournament. I was put into left field and, in the final inning, the other team hit a short fly ball toward me. I raced in..not being able to decide to race in for the catch and out, or to play it safe and take it on one hop. I blew it..I was indecisive and the ball skipped past me and rolled to the wall. I got it and made the throw but the other team scored the go ahead run.

But we had one more at bat…and I came up…with 2 outs and a runner on base. And…I promptly grounded out to lose the game.

All those years and I still remember that game.

Ok, my final organized game was in pony league, 1974 (13-14 year olds). My last at bat..I hit a hard ground ball that popped over the second baseman’s head for a single..I drove in a run and made it to second as the other team threw for the runner who scored. It was the last inning and we were still down by 1 (2 outs) and our coach put in a pinch runner for me (much faster guy). I approved of the move (as did my dad) but my teammates complained….I said “hey, X is faster than I am”. Response: “yes but X is an least you know WHEN to run”.

Oh we lost that one too.

Ah good times.

June 14, 2018 Posted by | baseball | Leave a comment

Yelling F-Trump…

The twitter discussion here is..well, interesting.

It is “oh no, saying “F-Trump” won’t make our case more appealing! And no it won’t, but the person saying it is an entertainer. And yes, those cheering are those who would hate Trump anyway.

But look at some of the comments:

“we have to fight” (uh, yelling curse words isn’t exactly fighting)

“look at the ovation” (yeah, but within that group…)

“it feels good” (ok, I buy that one)…

Bottom line: yeah, some are going to be butthurt over this, but those will never be with us anyway.

IMHO, this means …well…nothing, either way.

Rant: Democrats will always have a tougher time of things. Reason: so many of our causes benefit (or are aimed at benefiting) people who do not vote:

refugees, legal and illegal immigrants, convicted criminals and public aid recipients (ok, some of the poor vote, but not in large numbers). Appeals to the heart are tough political sells; appeals to one’s own well being are political winners.

Oh yes, wait, you might say: “don’t lower middle class and poor white Republican voters benefit from liberal policies?” Sure…but many, I think, vote their aspirations and not their reality.
Example: you say D’s are for expanding Medicaid and raising the minimum wage. True, but who wants to BE on Medicaid or to be stuck in a minimum wage job for very long? Accepting that is your reality is pretty grim.

Think about it: which message has more appeal:

1. We are doing things to help the lower and lower middle classes and these will benefit YOU right now?

2. You are a winner..or would be one if only that stupid government would get out of the way and quit over taxing your hard earned salary and giving it to lazy poor people…”Them”.

Accepting “1” means accepting the reality that you are probably destined to stay where you are; “2” means that you have some hope of moving up.

workout notes easy 3 mile run in Bradley Park (heavy legged, just a bit) and a 1 mile walk.

Past: the one showing the 1:35 was from the 2000 Madison Half Marathon. The other one: was taken a few weeks earlier in Ottawa, Canada. I had done a 44 minute 10K on Saturday night and did the half marathon on Sunday morning just to see the course (the marathon was two loops; half was only one). I ran a 1:42. I tried to hold off the guy in black behind me but could not. He shook my hand and said “sir, you did very well FOR YOUR AGE”. I just said “thank you” and did not tell him about the 10K the night before.

And…let’s just say that I almost certainly won’t run 1:35 for Saturday’s 15K (about 4 miles shorter than a half marathon) and will be lucky to “run” 1:42. Sigh…

June 14, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political | Leave a comment

North Korean Summit

Quick take (I still have to read the various articles)

1. I am glad that we are talking. The status quo sucked.
2. I did not like Trump’s ridiculous praise of a ruthless, utterly brutal dictator. Yes, I know; in WW2 we worked with Stalin to defeat the Axis. But I wish Trump would have been the type to have studied that; how to work with a brutal person without lavishing them with praise.

3. I wonder what we got out of it..I know that we agreed to not do the joint exercises with South Korea. I have to make up my mind about that, but this does mesh with Trump’s isolationist tendencies.

4. And Trump claiming that this means peace with North Korea and that they are going to be denuclearized: is way too soon to be dancing in the end zone. It is a first step.

Yes, it is an important first step, but that it all that it was.

June 14, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, world events | | 1 Comment