Some things haven’t changed

No biggie, I know, but I swallowed my 3’rd all time marathon DNF today, bailing at mile 20.


That’s why. I’ve always done poorly in heat. But now that I am slower, I am out in it longer and the effects compound. In the past, well, during the first Quad Cities marathon, it was brutally hot but I was at mile 20 in 2:50. The last 6.2 miles meant only 1:05 more running. This time it took me 2:10 longer to get there, and I had about 2 more hours to go, given how much I’ve slowed.

My margin of error is gone. I can only finish a marathon in cool weather.

I started ok; I mixed running and walking …but even at mile 1 I thought “oh-oh”; I was already sweating heavily and could just feel the heat…it was almost tolerable when the sun got behind a cloud but got downright miserable when it came out again.

Still…21:45 for 2, 45:05 for 4, 1:09:23 for 6, 1:34:03 for 8 then 2:02:56 for 10. At that point I mostly walked ..2:34:21 for 12…then death march. 3:05:46 for 14, 3:43:12 for 16 and 5:00:37 for 20.
Still, I was able to pick up the walking pace a bit..then the stomach went south. I stopped, unpinned my number, thought about it, pinned it back on, went out and almost got sick. Another 6 miles in that heat wasn’t going to happen…not any faster than 2 more hours anyway.

So I bailed and walked with my tail between my legs back to my car.

Upside: hey, my Bears vs. Lions tickets came! So at home I went to print…and found that my “lovely wife” had used all the printer ink and had not replaced it. Sigh. Sure, there is still a week to go but damn…I wanted an upside and didn’t get it.

Is “she didn’t replace the cartridge” grounds for divorce?

Oh well…I hope that the weather is cooler three weeks from now. If it isn’t, I am bailing and doing the half marathon.

September 25, 2016 Posted by | running | , | Leave a comment

Bring it…

2 miles around the Bradley University campus/Moss neighborhood. Pace: 11:17 more or less…super easy.

Aside from packing and driving….nothing more to be done. Yeah, it will be humid but hey..can’t do anything about that but to adjust to the conditions and to accept what my body can do.

September 24, 2016 Posted by | running | Leave a comment

Biding time…

Warm and humid conditions expected this Sunday. Bleah.

Workout notes: mini weights: rotator cuff, a few squats, (weightless), 15-(10-5) pull ups (second set: 10, then quickly change grip and get 5 more),
incline press: 10 x 135, 8 x 150, military: 15 x 50 (seated, supported), 10 x 40, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell, 1 round of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving bridges, headstand.
2 mile walk (BU loop, Bradley Ave., Moss, Cooper).

Just enough to take the edge off; I thought about some math while walking.

September 23, 2016 Posted by | walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Tough topics: Islam in the US, Racism …

Islam: Of course, one can be a good American and a good Muslim at the same time; millions are. But currently, Islam is more of a “total way of life” than other religions are, at least for the bulk of those who practice it. As Shadi Hamid
of the Brookings Institution writes:

This fact gets at something deeper, which often goes unsaid because it suggests there is — or at least there may be — a clash of cultures. Islam seems, at least by Western standards, unusually assertive and uncompromising. Critics might see it as full-blown aggressiveness. But Muslims often point to these qualities as evidence of Islam’s vitality and relevance in a supposedly secular age. To put it a bit differently, this is why many Muslims like being Muslim.

Whether consciously done or not, to be unapologetically Muslim today is to, in a way, show that other futures are possible, that the end of history may in fact have more than one destination. If Islam has been — and will continue to be — resistant to secularism, then the very existence of practicing Muslims serves as a constant reminder of this historical and religious divergence.

I realize that some of my fellow American Muslims will view such arguments as inconvenient, portraying Islam in a not-so-positive light. But it is not my job to make Islam look good, and it helps no one to maintain fictions that make us feel better but don’t truly reflect the power and relevance of religion.

In the West, the common response to the challenge of theological diversity has been banal statements of religious “universality.” All too often, interfaith dialogue, however well-intentioned, is about papering over what makes us — or at least our beliefs — different. It is a tenet of our American faith that we’re all basically the same and ultimately want the same things. This is true in some ways, but not in every way.

The crisis of culture and identity — one that sees the rise of the far-right and white nativism in our own country — makes it clear that our differences and divides are real. We would all be better off acknowledging — and addressing — those differences rather than pretending they don’t exist.

Racism/Black Lives Matter, etc. I was sickened by what happened in Tulsa, where an unarmed black guy was stopped and killed by police, though he posed no threat whatsover. And it saddens me that *athletes* are taking the lead in getting the conversation going.

Unfortunately, the conversation often goes off the rails, as this Brown University professor points out. It isn’t as simple as “it is whitey’s fault” or “black people should quit committing crimes” (which is what one often sees in the internet discussions). All too often, “activists” dismiss statistics that they don’t like as being “racist”:

Yes, it is true that blacks are far, far, far more likely to be simple murder victims than to be shot and killed by police. It isn’t even close.

But that misses the point. Law enforcement is there to serve *all* of its citizens. And all too often, law enforcement is seen as a THREAT to ordinary black people, rather than as an entity there to protect and serve. Just listen to what a Republican Senator has to say:

And as far as protestors: no, I don’t like many of the more strident ones. Frankly, I think that what the more strident ones are doing are turning people TOWARD Donald Trump.
But some of the anger directed toward them is irrational…and yes, even well off, well educated people have vented their irrational anger in public.


Yes, that is a Law Professor making that tweet.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | political/social, racism, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Yes, I miss George W. Bush…as an opponent.


Donald Trump has me missing George W. Bush…as an opponent. Yeah, I think that President Bush didn’t do a good job…not at all. But if my choices were him or Donald Trump, I’d vote for President Bush (after gulping quite a bit of pink bismuth)

Unrelated note
There really is no hope for me…at least I caught it BEFORE I left for work.


September 22, 2016 Posted by | humor, political/social, politics, politics/social | Leave a comment

Trump can win this election. But right now Clinton is winning.

Workout notes: 4 mile walk; easy. Cool weather; sure hope we have that on Sunday, but it does NOT look promising.


As it sits right now: the Electoral College map (via Electoral

The national polls: (via Pollster)


The bookies:


Trump’s paths to victory: he has less than half as many paths that Clinton does (via Upshot)


Sam Wang’s analysis (Princeton)


So it goes. To me, this is looking more and more like 2000 and 2004 (with Clinton being in the position that Bush was in) rather than 2008 and 2012…in the latter cases I was very confident that Obama would win.

I am not so confident this time around. I am not ready to call this a toss-up; Clinton does have the edge. But that edge could evaporate. It is far from being a comfortable lead.

Why I still have hope: though Hillary Clinton is NOT the campaigner that Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were, she isn’t as bad as Al Gore. And like him or hate him, George W. Bush was a good campaigner. Donald Trump isn’t the campaigner that he was, not at least as far as the “middle of the country” goes.

September 22, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2012 election, political/social, politics, politics/social, walking | | Leave a comment

getting there…

Workout notes: 3 miles on the treadmill after a mini weight workout.

Weights: 2/3 of a usual workout. rotator cuff, weightless squats, pull ups (3 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, incline: 7 x 150, 10 x 135. Military: seated, supported, 15 x 50, standing 10 x 45. Rows: 10 x 50 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine. 1 set of : 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridge. Then I did some headstand.

That followed by 2 miles of running on the treadmill in 21:30, 1 mile of walking which got me to 3 in 36:08. The legs ARE feeling fresher, though the forecast for Moline this weekend is warmer than I’d like.

News of the weird:


This might not be as strange as it might appear as I did get on Rick Santorum’s list once, and once I voted in the Republican primary.



Yes, I chuckled when I saw this posting.

But it brought back a memory that is now, perhaps 15 years old or longer. I went to the Franciscan Center (West Peoria) to pick up a packet for the Jamboree 4 mile race. There was a nice looking middle aged lady who was wearing form fitting, sort-of thin white pants. Somehow the discussion of stretching came up and she said: “is that stretch like this” and proceeded to bend over and fold herself in half. She gave me that “am I doing this right?” look.

I did my best to not smile “too much” and said something like “very nice…that looks right” when I should have said “ok, could you show me again?”. Ah, good times.

September 21, 2016 Posted by | butt, running, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Why this Presidential election really is different for me

Yeah, I get it. When you listen to a Presidential candidate, *every* election is “the most important of your lifetime”. No candidate will say “hey, this election is kind of like the others; our country faces challenges but it always has..and times they were greater.”

But when you look at the elections that took place in my lifetime, for me, it was a contest between at least two qualified candidates (IMHO, Ross Perot wasn’t qualified). It was always a Senator, Governor, Vice President (etc.) though, I acknowledge that President Eisenhower did ok, and he was a former Army general (one who was the top allied commander in Europe, put together Operation Overlord, played a role in the forming of the post WW2 order, etc.)

And there were times when I liked *both* candidates: during the elections that I voted in (all that I was eligible to vote in), I liked both then VP Bush and Gov. Dukakis, Gov. Bush and VP Gore, Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama, and again, Gov. Romney and President Obama. In each case, I thought that we had two good choices so I voted by platform (for the more liberal of the two candidates). And yes, I was dead wrong about then Gov. George W. Bush being a good choice; my Texas family warned me about that. Yes, I voted for Gore, but I honestly thought that either one would do fine.

So here we are. We have a former Senator and Secretary of State who has a ton of foreign policy and domestic policy experience; someone who is tough, smart, informed and rational…versus …Donald J. Trump.

Now you might view Mr. Trump as a “straight shooter” (but exactly ARE his positions anyway…they seem to constantly change), or as a practical, “I don’t have time for political correctness” person who will “get ‘er done”.
You might view him as an unpresidential bore. You might view him as an evil bigot who routinely stiffs contractors and cheats his investors (while remaining legal).

I will not comment on that.

I will say this however: his skill set seems to be making real estate investments and manipulating things like bankruptcy laws to his benefit, as well as knowing what he can get away with when it comes to contractors (do they fight him, thereby taking on an army of lawyers?)

I believe that is the wrong skill set for a president. Can Mr. Trump fire Congress? (ok, you might like to, but you can’t). Can he fire citizens and deport them for not going along? Can he rid the Supreme Court of justices that he doesn’t like?

Frankly, I think that he’ll trash our stock market…and I don’t see why people of “modest means” (say, 500K to 1 M) support him at all.

And yes, I am too old to go to war. My industry would probably survive a Trump administration. I’ve got enough time until retirement for my stocks to recover after a Trump presidency. I am not a Muslim nor am I routinely profiled by police. (disclaimer: I am of Mexican heritage). But, I don’t see him as doing the country any good. And I sure as heck don’t want someone that unstable with the nuclear codes.


I see him as unqualified, period.

September 20, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

My take on the Presidential Election (with my favorite sources and models)

Ok, at this time in 2008, Barack Obama had just taken a razor thin lead in the polls. I wasn’t worried though, as I was in the “Obama loop” and I knew what Obama’s ground game was up to and I knew that we were hitting our targets.

This year, I am out of the loop; I sent money to Hillary Clinton and probably will do so again. But I am not on conference calls or anything like that. So I am following the election as an “outsider”.

I am not paying attention to the “talking heads”. But I am paying attention to the following:

1. Models Each model weighs the poll data a bit differently, and some use economic data and other factors.

New York Times Upshot

This is the New York Times model. They have an interesting “pathways to victory” model for both candidates. They also link to the current forecasts of the other models.

Five Thirty Eight (Nate Silver)

This site offers three different models: “polls plus” (factors in other factors), “polls only” and “if the election were held today” forecasts. They do a decent job on being flexible to changing conditions while not being overresponsive to noise.

Princeton Election Consortium (Sam Wang)

This is another good model; this one is not as responsive to changing conditions but won’t overreact to noise either.

2. Betting Lines (odds)

US political odds (betting lines)

People with money to bet aren’t that sentimental. Now this might reflect “conventional wisdom”. But I use these as a hedge against my “wishful thinking”.

3. Poll Aggregators These just say “here are the polls in each state”. There is some crunching (don’t throw out a week old poll, but weigh the newer ones more heavily, etc.) And yes, they were pretty accurate since 2004.

Election Projection

This is run by a conservative but is competent.

Electoral Vote

This is run by a liberal but is also competent.

4. Poll Data

Real Clear Politics

This lists the various polls. Warning: state polls are included, so if several “blue state” polls come in, the “look” is too pro-Clinton; the reverse is true if many red states are polled. But you can see the polls for yourself here.

5. President Obama’s approval ratings (Gallup)

Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center

I like to compare President Obama’a approval ratings to President Reagan’s (The first Bush won) and to President George W. Bush’s (McCain lost). And remember that Al Gore won the popular vote (very narrowly) but “lost” (sort of) the Electoral College.

So what do these say?

1. President Obama’s approval ratings are above average for a 2 term incumbent and is tracking well with those of President Reagan.
2. Betting wise: Hillary Clinton is slightly less than a 2-1 favorite. This is down from 4-1 some time ago.
3. Polls: she retains a narrow lead both in the national polls (1-2 points on average) and in the Electoral College. It IS very close right now.
4. Models: the “robust against noise” models give her a 75-85 percent chance of winning; the “more responsive” models give her about a 60 percent (plus/minus 2-3 points) chance of winning.

This tells me: this race is NOT a toss up; Clinton has an edge but it is a narrow one, at least right now. Trump could very well win. But I wouldn’t want to trade places.
I am reminded of “Kerry vs. Bush” where Clinton is in the position that Bush was.

September 20, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

TMI (taper stuff)

Yesterday: 2 mile run in just under 21 minutes, easy walk outside. Today: 3 mile walk (untimed); last night I had lower GI issues. I am on pink bismuth…better now than later in the week.

The clock is ticking and fortunately I have grading to keep me occupied.

September 20, 2016 Posted by | running, walking | Leave a comment