blueollie

The NCAA Basketball Trip: Gritty effort by Bradley, great women’s games too

We drove to Des Moines to watch Bradley play in the NCAA tournament.

First session: first game was Louisville vs. Minnesota. Minnesota started well and built up a 16 point lead and held off a late Louisville charge to win 86-76.

Then came the Bradley vs. Michigan State game; BU was given little chance. But BU lead 10-4 early and the game continued to be back and forth. BU lead 35-34 at the half and 55-54 with 7 minutes to go in the game. Michigan State began to pull away with 3:34 left in the game and held on to win 76-65. The Spartans shot 25-26 from the free throw line; that was a huge difference in the game. Yes, they WERE better but BU was able to hang with them for most of the game. I sure wish we had drawn a 4-5 seed instead of a 2 seed.

During the first session, I sat between Barbara and a very pleasant woman (Christy) who was there to cheer for Michigan.

Then it was off for some Asian food, and back for the second session.

The first second session game was Florida vs. Nevada and Florida built up an 18 point lead. Nevada rallied to cut it to 2 points with 3:30 to go in the game, but Florida hit big shots down the stretch to win 70-61, in what was billed as an “upset” (to me, it looked like the better team won, but whatever).

The second game was Michigan vs. Montana which was never really competitive. It was 34-21 at the half and the lead grew to 66-39 with 6 minutes to go in the game. Michigan put in everyone for at least a few minutes.

Next day: almost hung over, (no, I don’t drink but I was up late) we drove to Peoria, stopping at Iowa City (about half way) to catch two women’s NCAA games. The NCAA gives the first 4 seeds the option of hosting 2 rounds of home games. The arena: was dug into the ground..a huge 15K bowl. There were 10,700 there and there was a ton of energy!

First: a gritty Mercer Team gave Iowa fits..even leading 55-51 deep in the second half. But Iowa’s big center was too much. She had 30 points and 16 rebounds. But Mercer got several steals and several offensive rebounds to stay in the game.

Next: was a thrilling overtime between Missouri and Drake: Missouri won 77-76 with the key play coming when a Missouri player was fouled on a 3 point attempt with 1.1 seconds left in overtime. She made 1 of 3 and Drake’s last second shot…looked good but wouldn’t stay down. It was one of those games where both teams really deserved to win.

Afterward: Ethiopian food (very good) then the drive home.

5K run first:

Tip off: Minnesota vs. Louisville

company

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March madness!

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BU Michigan State

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Bradley up 10-4 early. Go Braves!

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Florida vs. Nevada

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Session 2: Florida v. Nevada.

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Michigan vs. Montana

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Michigan vs. Montana. Michigan up early.

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Dance team

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Montana Dance team.

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Big Screen

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Half time on the big screen.

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Rest Area I-80

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Rest stop off of I-80.

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Carver-Hawkeye Arena:

Cello for National Anthem

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National Anthem..with a cello?

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Player introductions

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Flames for player intros!

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Missouri player intro.

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Mercer vs. Iowa

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We are underway with Iowa vs. Mercer.

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Drake vs. Missouri

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Drake vs. Missouri

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64-64 with 2 seconds to go in Drake v. Mizzou. OT?

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Fan support

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Flames for player intros!

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Ethiopian Restaurant in Iowa City.

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Ethiopian food for the trip back to Peoria.

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March 24, 2019 Posted by | basketball, travel | , | Leave a comment

Interplanetary 5K 2019

This was my first race since Thanksgiving 2018 and turned out to be my fastest 5K since this race in 2017. Place: 5 out of 9 in my AG (median runner!), 58 out of 154. Time: 27:34 (9:06, 17:55 (8:46), 9:34 for final 1.1.)

Reality: my warm up was sluggish and, like last time, my first mile was slow and I picked up ..I did have a good pace going early in the 3’rd mile but started to fade down the stretch. I was racing the second place 60-64 AG finisher. My age group was won in 19:11…third was 22:xx and even 23:xx wasn’t enough to place. Tough competition!

Where to go: I think that my legs are weak. I wonder if I have some improvement left in me? I’ll need to be patient and focused.

Tracy was missed (she is recovering) but I did get to eat lunch with Barbara and a dear, dear friend.

Previous events:

2017 27:18
2016 25:54
2015 25:27
2013 25:14
2012 25:18

Later: did catch a great softball game..unfortunately Bradley lost the second half of a double header 7-6; BU fell behind 1-0 but tied it with a solo shot. Drake extended the lead with a couple of 2 run innings to 5-1 before Bradley rallied with 4 runs in the bottom of the 6’th…these came with 2 outs!

But in the top of the 7’th, Drake loaded the based, but BU got a strike out and a force out at the plate. But then a hit drove in 2 runs.

Bradley answered and got the bases loaded (walk and error) and drove in a run (2 outs) but the last better struck out, stranding 2.

It was a gritty effort by the BU women against the MVC’s best team, but Drake deserved to win.

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Bradley rallies to tie it after 6. Go Braves!

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March 24, 2019 Posted by | Friends, running | , | Leave a comment

Des Moines

But before I left, I did walk 3 plus miles and lift: rotator cuff, usual PT, pull ups 5 sets of 10, 2 of 5 (strong), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 150, decline: 10 x 160, military: 7 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 (single arm), squats: 2 sets of 6 with 25, 6 with 40, 6 with 50 (full depth), plank, headstand, wall handstand (getting used to it) knee stretching.

Weight: 189 before.

Two photos: one of the arena, one of the Iowa State capitol.

4 men’s games tomorrow (2 sessions), 2 women’s games on Friday in Iowa City.

Bradley plays Michigan State in game 2 of the first of two sessions tomorrow, and is an 18.5 point underdog. But there is a reason they play the game. Go Braves!

I am the one on the left.

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Kaboom and me.

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March 21, 2019 Posted by | basketball, travel, walking, weight training, yoga | , | Leave a comment

Impending trip: Spring Break

I do have things to say; I’ve thought about stuff.

But in terms of politics: sigh. Seriously, I see us losing the 2020 Presidential election; it is almost as if the rabid wing of our party is doubling down on what failed in 2016. Yes, Trump is a bold liar:

On its release last week, President Trump’s $4.7 trillion 2020 budget was pronounced dead on arrival, and was quickly lost in the cacophony of his presidency. The New York Times suggested it provides a “declaration of Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign priorities.” In fact, its pages include not only the president’s campaign rhetoric but also an accounting of his actual values and priorities that reveal the scope of his betrayal of the working men and women who voted him into office. This is not “A Budget for a Better America,” as its title reads. It is a budget for a bitter betrayal.

The first page of the president’s budget message promises to “protect future generations from Washington’s habitual deficit spending.” But tax cuts for the rich and corporations, not deficits, remain the president’s priority. Even with its laughably rosy economic projections, the budget projects trillion-dollar annual deficits for the next four years, while doubling down on the president’s tax-cut folly, calling for making them permanent.

Yet the deficits do provide the excuse for across-the-board cuts in domestic programs. Here, too, working people, their families, individuals with disabilities, and the most vulnerable of the elderly take the biggest hits. The president, once more, calls for ending the Affordable Care Act, reversing the expansion of Medicaid, and turning the latter into a block grant to states, capped at a level that does not keep up with rising costs. […]

And yes, Trump plans to cut Social Security and Medicare..stuff he pledged not to do.

Well…now, ok, I know, Trump’s budget is dead on arrival in Congress. But why do I think he will get away with it?

Well look at the stuff leading Democrats are running on: reparations for slavery. Now, I know, that is not the sole platform, but it sure appears that the Democratic candidates are trying to “out woke” each other (at least those polling at above 10 percent) and, well, I sure hope that the Democrat nominee does more than say “don’t you see what a racist/sexist/misogynist Trump is?” That works on liberal twitter and perhaps in college faculty lounges..but I doubt that will work anywhere else.

Yes, I know; this is Godfrey Elfwick, a satirical character. But this sure *sounds* like what I’ve seen:

So if it didn’t work last time..well. yell louder and double down.

Joe Biden looks as if he will run. That might clear out much of the field, leaving Bernie Sanders and perhaps 1-2 legitimate contenders. I sure hope this isn’t a Biden-Abrams ticket; I do not see Stacey Abrams as a fit representative of our party.

I’ve also had things to say about the Rep. Omar/criticism of AIPAC fiasco…let’s just say that it is ok to question money in politics and it is ok to question the relationship of the United States to its allies, and one should not have to walk on egg shells to do so.

The positive: It looks as if I have an interesting second half of spring break: NCAA basketball featuring Bradley vs. Michigan State (along with 3 other entertaining games: Louisville vs. Minnesota, Michigan vs. Montana and Nevada vs. Florida. Ironically, I have better tickets for the second session as those tickets aren’t as in demand as the first session..as all of the first session teams are driving distance away. And on Friday: I have tickets for the Iowa women’s subregional: Iowa vs. Mercer, Drake vs. Missouri.

On Saturday: the first spandex chase since last November. Am I in better shape now?

Math stuff: a professor I once TA’ed for won the Abel Prize (sort of like a Nobel Prize for mathematics) and I spent time writing this up.

Workout notes: slow 10.5 mile walk (River trail, Glen Oak park hill, Forrest Hill, etc.) 3:01 (good weather, just slow
Monday: weights (planks, rotator cuff, pull ups: 5 sets of 10, 1 of 5) bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, incline: 10 x 135, decline: 8 x 165, military: 15 x 50 seated, supported (could not get standing), 10 x 45, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, headstand, plank, did some other practice (wall handstand), light squats: 6 x 25, 35, 50 goblet, go all the way down, knee stretches (down to 4 lb. uncomfortable..heel sit), 3+ walk outside.

Today: yoga with Ms. V, 7 mile Glen Oak/Springdale hill run in 1:24 (freezing); 1 minute faster than a week ago, 3 minutes slower than Thursday. Felt stiff and awkward.

March 20, 2019 Posted by | basketball, Democrats, politics, politics/social, running, walking, weight training, yoga | , , | Leave a comment

When a loved one screws up

This has been embarrassing on several levels.

First, this.

And now, this.

Yes, the ad was corrected and yes, the athletic department apologized.

But man…talk about unforced errors.

Workout notes: today, 39 F and sunny, so I did 5 miles in 59 minutes (Cornstalk course) charging up the hills and walk/jog recoveries; I’ve done this workout before. This was 6 “harder segments” in total (5 uphill, one from the hill to the bridge on Parkside.) It felt good though I wonder if I was too timid on the hills.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | education, running | | Leave a comment

Spring break: perhaps more to say later

But for now, this will be “workout catch up”:

Thursday: 7 mile run (same as Tuesday..ok, oh-so-slightly longer in shorts (50’s, windy) in 1:21; mastered the tough hill. After yoga with Ms. V.
Friday: weights: pull ups 4 sets of 10, 3 of 5, bench: 10 x 135, 2 x 185, 1 x 190, incline: 10 x 135, decline: 10 x 160, military: standing, 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 40, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110, rotator cuff, planks, headstand, etc. Did some light squats (25, 35, then “to the sill” squats with 44 kettle bell..knee bends (to 4 lb green and white ball…eventually, 25 seconds)

Weight: 189 Thursday, 190 today.

Spent some time on this kind of math.

March 16, 2019 Posted by | mathematics, running, statistics, weight training | | Leave a comment

My anger over the college admissions cheating scandal

I admit that I was angered by this story:

The actress Lori Loughlin surrendered to F.B.I. agents in Los Angeles on Wednesday morning, a spokeswoman for the agency said. Ms. Loughlin and her husband, the fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters accepted as recruits for the rowing team at the University of Southern California, even though neither took part in the sport. Mr. Giannulli was arrested on Tuesday and released on $1 million bail.

The idea is, of course, that they do cut some academic entrance breaks to student athletes. And:

Gordon Caplan, a co-chairman of the global law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, who is accused of paying $75,000 to have someone correct his daughter’s answers on the ACT exam, was put on leave by his firm on Wednesday. Reached by phone, Mr. Caplan declined to comment.

Out and out cheating ..and

According to court filings, in a conversation with Mr. Caplan, Mr. Singer explained that for $4,000 or $5,000, a psychologist he worked with would write a report saying Mr. Caplan’s daughter had disabilities and required special accommodations. He assured Mr. Caplan that many parents did this for their children.

If you are unfamiliar, a student can claim a “learning disability.” If it is verified by the correct type of professional, the student can be given extra time, etc.

Obviously, I don’t like the cheating, the unfairness, and people buying results for their kids. But the stain goes deeper: there are people out there who honestly believe that no one achieves more than they do without cheating…seriously. This just fuels their paranoia.

(note: this is one reason I love sports so much; if I go to a 5K I have little doubt that there are people a whole lot better at running than I am! No one can doubt that!)

This is just a stain on academia.

Just as bad are some of the “meh…rich people buy stuff all the time” reactions. Yes, opportunities are not perfectly equal, nor will they ever be. But the inequalities are, well, somewhat complicated.

And no..we don’t have a perfect meritocracy. I get that. But we have a “sort of” meritocracy.

Think of it this way: take college sports. In most sports, say football or basketball, a division I team will (usually) easily defeat a division II team. But yes, a few D-2 players make it to the professional leagues. So it is not true that every D-1 player is better than every D-2 player. But on the whole, the recruiters get it right.

Same in academia. On the average, Harvard students are better than students from most other universities, though you’ll see some from other universities out perform most Harvard graduates. An elite school cannot take most of the highly qualified applicants. But the best students DO get into a good school ..it might not be their first choice, and they might be better than some that do get into their first choice.

But eventually, on the whole, the cream does rise. As evidence: this computer works, the computer network works, planes fly, and medicines work. That is because eventually, the highly qualified, talented individuals get credentialed in these areas and are successful.

I saw this in graduate school: I got my Ph. D. at the time the Soviet Union had broken up and super qualified Russian mathematicians were taking up the new R-1 job openings. And those colleagues of mine who got the best research job openings WERE smarter than I was, period. Ok, they still are.

So, in academia, I’d say that we have a “statistical meritocracy”, where some fall through the cracks, and some unworthy or “less worthy” rise.

Workout notes: 2 mile walk after weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, 1 of 5), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 150, decline: 10 x 165, military: 5 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell. Planks, headstand..and yes some before and after walk knee stretches..got 20-30 seconds on the green and white 4 lb. medicine ball AFTER stretching and light squats.

Walk: 29:10; 15:10 initial, then .25 speed up with 1-4 incline. I got distracted and almost missed my 2 mile split.

March 14, 2019 Posted by | education, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Could I be on your basketball team?

Yes, evidently, some wealthy people bribed colleges (and college officials) to admit their offspring “as prospective athletes” and did things like fake competition records, academic tests, etc.

I didn’t have trouble with academics…but sports were another matter. Example: between 4’th and 5’th grade, I went to two “part of the city” little league baseball tryouts and wasn’t selected for a team. But I received (and accepted) an unsolicited invitation to a math camp. (based on teacher recommendations).

So…if my parents were wealthy enough…could they have bribed some big time college sports team to take me as a walk on? (obviously, someone who never got to play).

LOL.

Workout notes: Monday: weights and a easy 2 mile run on the treadmill (22 minutes) followed by knee stretches. Pull ups: 5 sets of 10, one of 5. bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 6 x 165, incline: 10 x 135, military: 6 x 50 standing, 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 70 (each arm) machine, 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell rows, 10 machine rows, plank, headstand, etc.

Tuesday (today), yoga with Ms. V, then 7 miles outside in 1:25.

Not at all fast..but that course is brutal.

Body weight: 188.7 before running this morning. Pants are sliding off. Knees: better still.. a bit more comfortable kneeling with a “block on its side.”

March 13, 2019 Posted by | running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Bradley’s Missouri Valley Tournament Championship

Ok, first things first: I did see one of Bradley’s 3 MVC tournament games in person. I watched Friday’s game on TV (after my classes) and had a “pizza and watch” party with Tracy for today’s game. Yesterday, I drove to St. Louis to watch Bradley beat Loyola and then watch Northern Iowa escape a gritty, depleted Drake team. Yes, I cheered for Drake as I thought they’d be an easier “out”, given how many of the good players they are missing.

But prior to driving to St. Louis yesterday, I jogged an easy 6 miles (ok, 6.3, or just over 10K) before the rain hit; I used the Cornstalk 5.1 plus a 1.25 loop.
Today, I walked more or less the same course, using the 1.4 hill loop instead of the lower 1.25 lower loop (6 uphills on Saturday, 7 today). Weather was glorious; high 30’s and sun! My calves are a bit sore though.

Now, here is what I said a week PRIOR to the tournament. I looked at the “recent” Sagarin ratings..and noted that no team stood out..though the best two were..yes, UNI and Bradley. But we were talking about margin of error differences between the teams and thought that the top 6 teams had roughly equal chances:

The games: well, today saw Bradley trail 27-15 and then fall down by 18 points ..it looked terrible. BU only shot 22 percent in the first half. The second half appeared to get worse; UNI lead 35-17 with 17 minutes left in the game. But..somehow…BU regained composure and rallied to cut the lead to 38-34 and it was mostly 3-6 point leads after that..BU actually took a 49-48 lead with just under 3 minutes to go. A key play: it was 50-49 when a BU small forward was fouled on a shot..and after the play was dead, he caught an elbow to the head which was ruled a “flagrant 1 foul”. So that lead to 4 free throws…ALL MADE…then possession which Bradley scored on. That put BU up 55-50 with 90 seconds to go. UNI rallied to cut the lead 55-54 but couldn’t convert; BU sealed it with 2 more free throws with 2.4 seconds left in the game. BU outscored UNI 42-27 in the second half.

Now I am hoping that BU gets in the Columbus or Des Moines sub regional…or..not hoping they are in the first 4, but if they are, those are in Dayton. If any of those happen: ROAD TRIP.

But first, BU had to get past defending champion Loyola, which they did, in style.

Ok, it was 53-51, which was the score with 1 minute to go…in this case, BU used their 3 fouls go give to slow down the Rambler attack. BU’s 6’th man lead the way with 19 points (5-8 from 3 point range). BU appeared to control the action with aggressive defense inside the paint, but Loyola got just enough outside shooting to stay in the game. It was a tough one.

In the second game, UNI and Drake went back and forth which lead to an exciting final minute. Basically UNI had a 2 point lead with 12 seconds to go, Drake tied it at 58 with 8 seconds, and UNI hit a basket with 2 seconds to win 60-58. I was limp from the Bradley game and still found myself yelling during this one…a great game where a gritty, injury depleted Drake game gave its all against a tough, hard working UNI team. Great basketball game.

Bradley had a contingent at the Loyola game:

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Bradley is well represented.

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This seat was similar to our Carver seats.

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5-4 Loyola early.

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Down to the wire:

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I am too old for this.

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I moved to the Loyola section for the second game.

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Northern Iowa vs. Drake. Winner plays Bradley.

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And I was treated to a “bonus thriller.”

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Another good game!

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March 11, 2019 Posted by | basketball, Friends, running, walking | | Leave a comment

I’m working this evening

because I took the afternoon off to watch Bradley Basketball advance to the semi-final round of the MVC tournament. It was an exciting game; BU trailed 29-22 at the half but Missouri State hit some tough to lucky shots.

But eventually took the lead about half way to go and then held on for a wild ride. BU lead 58-52 with 1:30 left. But eventually the Bears cut it to 58-56 and stole the ball on an inbound pass with 13 seconds to go but missed a long 3; BU got the rebound and got fouled. 60-56 when BU hit 2 free throws; Mo. St. got to 60-58 with 2 seconds but had to foul; BU hit 1 of 2 free throws with 1.4 seconds left and the desperation heave failed.

So…off to St. Louis for me for the two games tomorrow (I’ll say for both) and then return. I have some work to do on Sunday, should Bradley whip Loyola. Right now, Drake is pounding Illinois State but it is early and Southern Illinois plays UNI tonight.

Workout notes: morning; weights with a 2 mile warm up intensity run, followed by light squats (25, 35) and knee stretches; managed to work to the 4 lb. medicine ball (uncomfortable).

Rotator cuff, pull ups (5-5-5, 5-5-5, 10, 10, 5), bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, incline: 10 x 135, decline: 8 x 165. military: 6 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, 10 x 45 standing: rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 each arm, 10 x 125 machine.

planks, headstand (2:30 front plank, as usual), then the knee stretches.

I use either 2 yoga blocks stacked in the manner shown (photo from here), or a medicine ball (hard rubber one); 8-10 lb. is getting comfortable; 4 lb. is uncomfortable though I can “touch”.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | basketball, running, weight training | , | Leave a comment