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

Indian Buffet …

Barbara and Lynn a week ago:



Good food, better company. Miss you Lynn!

October 18, 2016 Posted by | Friends | Leave a comment

Has it really been 25 years?

Workout notes: slow paced weight workout (low energy), 2 mile walk in the neighborhood.

rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185 (off), 7 x 170 (normal), incline: 10 x 135, rows (3 sets with 50), military: 2 sets of 15 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), 10 x 40 standing. A few free squats, 10 x 25 (not a misprint), abs (2 sets of yoga leg lifts, twist crunch, moving half bridge). Headstand was easy today??? Then an easy 2 mile walk around the neighborhood. Very warm day; good thing the marathon wasn’t today!

Marathon fall out:

1. Some people saw me in the weight room and asked me. I felt…well, embarrassed. Yes, I am happy that I hung in there and finished; the time is long, long passed when I could take a marathon finish for granted. But I was well over TWO HOURS slower than I used to be, and that is embarrassing to me. But what am I going to do?

Then I saw my friend’s time. He had run 3:07 earlier this year, but got leg cramps and had to walk it in this time; his time was “only” 3:58 (he was blazing along at a good 3:05 pace earlier in the race.
Yep…something similar happened to me in 1999; I hit mile 20 in 2:37 but cramped up and limped the last 10K in 1:08; I wasn’t really hurting but my legs cramped up so much that all I could do was walk.

It is relative to one’s abilities, age, fitness, suitability for the marathon, etc.

And then I watched the 70 year old guy finish something like 8 minutes behind me. No way I’ll be that fast at that age.

25 years: today, I get my “25 years at the University” pin. My good friend agreed to be my guest. I got to this university before most of my students were even born.

Well, what can I say. Though the year is far from over, it has been a good one so far.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

FCS football can be fun too…

I caught an Illinois State game this past Saturday. It was a last second decision; I bought my ticket about 2.5 hours before the game started. They seated me in row 3, with some of the athletes (volleyball players), coaches and parents.

Though it was a fun experience, I think that I’d prefer higher up; plays toward the corner of the end zone were obscured by the players on the sideline. Still, I was close enough to hear the coaches, players and the hitting.

Yes, this was FCS, but Illinois State beat Northwestern this year and Southern Illinois has competed with big time teams before.

Southern raced out to a 10-0 lead before ISU rallied. ISU’s offense was mostly big plays: a 55 yard run here, 42 yard pass there. ISU took momentum and lead 14-10 before a key play at the end of the half. Southern made a long drive and hit a pass to the ISU 1 yard line. But only 10 seconds were left, but they had time outs. A running play into the line was called, and the runner fumbled the ball while going into the end zone, at it was recovered for a touchback. So the half ended 14-10.

The third quarter was just a ton of action; a field goal cut the lead to 14-13; a long ISU pass pushed the lead to 21-13, but Southern came right back to tie the game with a touchdown and a 2 pointer.

But ISU burned Southen with another bomb to put the lead 28-21 going into the 4’th.

A nifty 50 yard field goal (each team had a 50 yarder) pushed the lead to 31-21. But Southern still had life. The got the ball for one final drive and scored to cut the lead to 31-28. But ISU recovered the onside kick and ended up running out the clock. Southern had time outs but an offside penalty on 3’rd down lead to a time run off and the end of the game.



First quarter action.


Southern punting later in the game.


ISU scored their first TD on this play; it was set up by a 55 yard run.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | college football, football | | Leave a comment

PNC Peoria Marathon 2016 version: in the “just finish” mode..

Just the facts. The splits that are recorded are the 6.25, 13.45, and the 19.1 mile splits.


What I did: I did a reasonable “jog with 1 minute every mile walk” up until mile 10, walked a bit more often than that from 10 to 16, then just walked the whole way from mile 16 (3:17) to the finish; that is about 10.2 miles in 2:35 (15:11 pace). I was averaging about 14:30’s up until mile 20 when I wore down. I did make a mistake at mile 23: I took in water that didn’t digest. But I was only 3 miles from the finish and so could gut it out a bit, even if I had a couple of 16 minute miles there.

I can no longer run a marathon, and the humid conditions made it unlikely for me to finish with a pure walk. So I mixed the movements.

2: 23:19
4: 22:21 (45:41)
6: 23:02 (1:08:43)
8: 24:09 (1:32:53) (hill)
10: 22:43 (1:55:36)
12: 25:14 (2:20:51)
14: 26:51 (2:47:48) (note: 2:34 at 13)
18: 56:14 (3:44:02) (note: 3:02 at 15; started to “walk 100 percent) at 16
20: 29:02 (4:13:06)
22: 30:19 (4:43:26)
24: 32:23 (5:15:49)
25: 15:38 (5:31:28)
26.2 20:58 (5:52:27)

Yes, 100 percent humidity. It wasn’t the steambath that Quad Cities was 3 weeks ago (due to cloud cover), but it was sticky and suffocating.


I was doing ok early; the pace felt fine. I kept reminding myself: save it. I had to hold back a bit. Every mile (or 12 minutes) I forced myself to walk a minute. Things went ok until mile 10.
The stretch through Bradley was interesting: the various sports teams were helping with the water (basketball, soccer, XC, etc.) and the frat guys made a wall for me to run through. I got high 5’s and the like.

I saw Cassie at mile 8 and then again at mile 16 or so; I saw Tracy and Larry just past 14, and Jennifer at mile 13.4. That was fun.

My “crisis came at about mile 10 after I had sped up to get away from a woman running with both a stroller and a dog on a leash. That took just a bit out of me..and it was starting to warm up some. It was humid but it wasn’t the sauna that the Quad Cities was.

I gave some thought to turning off at the part where the half separated from the full, but I told myself “finish what you started”. I knew that I couldn’t sustain the pace much longer.

By mile 12 I was walking more than I was running, but I’d still jog a few steps just to keep things going. By mile 16, I realized that my walking pace would be enough to get me in, so I switched to the old, more comfortable motion. I noticed that I wasn’t losing distance on those in front of me; in fact I gained just a bit.

I kept from getting sick; I was just dealing with the usual pain of a marathon; the only issue is that my right foot hurt. Some Naproxen helped.

Toward the end a young woman passed me saying “that last mile is the longest of my life”. I laughed and said “but nothing can stop us now”…and we both made it.

It wasn’t pretty, but this isn’t my kind of weather; heat and humidity have always been tough on me.

It was some time before my stomach could hold anything; I laid down a bit..and after a nap I could feel my stomach clear. So then it was off to eat some Mexican food with Tracy; it was then that I really perked up.

I had lower leg cramps in the night; guzzling 32 oz of water helped.

Some photos:



Jennifer took this one.


Cassie took this one.


Maria took this one at about mile 24.5


This was taken by Crystal at mile 7; don’t know what is going on with my posture.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | marathons, running, walking | , | 1 Comment