Out of sorts

This has been a bit of a weird semester. I don’t have that high of a teaching load, but I have 2 “preparation intensive” classes (probability, linear algebra) to teach. We are somewhat understaffed due to high enrollments (higher enrollments are good) so …it will be interesting.

And my wife has been away for a few days as she cares for a loved one undergoing some tough treatment (and things ARE going well…that is good news).

So my solution has been…BASEBALL (so far, no papers to grade…yet…THAT is coming)

Workout notes: 1:04:30 for 6 miles on the treadmill, which was put in a sweltering part of the gym. That is good for heat conditioning and I got 4 reps of 5 minutes at 7.0 mph, with walk/jog recoveries. Then 30:28 for 2 miles of walking afterward (thunderstorms outside); I might walk instead of lift tomorrow, but I’ll lift for sure on Friday and on Sunday.

Baseball: my Sunday game was rained out but I did get to see the Chiefs sweep a doubleheader from the Bees. Both were exiting games; the first was won 7-6 when a single got under the glove of the left fielder, enabling 2 runners to score. Then they won 4-3 in the second game, this time with an earlier rally.


The rained out game was “take your dog to the park” day.


I framed this selfie so you could see Homer in the background.


4 pm weekday start…


Conclusion and celebration…

August 31, 2016 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

My rant….who cares what entertainers think?

Is someone a famous musician? That makes them good at music.
Are they a famous actor? Then they are good at acting.
Do they swim fast or play in the NFL? Then they are good at football.

My point: who cares what these people think? They aren’t public intellectuals; they aren’t scientists, political leaders or judges. They are good at things that entertain us.

I am not opposed to such entertainment; after all I had a wonderful time at yesterday’s double header baseball game (Peoria Chiefs vs. Burlington Bees; Peoria swept the games 7-6 and 4-3; both were exciting games)

But I certainly don’t take any civic or intellectual cues from those players.

I am much more concerned with the attitudes that, say, a sitting politician or a sitting judge has.

Time to hit the treadmill; huge thunderstorm outside.

August 30, 2016 Posted by | social/political | , | Leave a comment

Uncertainty …

Workout notes weights only; I was going to walk but I ended up thinking that I needed some rest.

pull ups: 15-15-10-10 (good)
rotator cuff
squats: a few weightless sets
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170
incline: 10 x 135
military: 2 sets of 10 x 45 standing (dumbbell), 15 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported0
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 110 machine, 10 x 50 (single arm) dumbbell
2 sets of: 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga lifts, 10 moving half bridges
headstand (easy today)

It seems that on most days, I have a few exercises where I feel good, others where I am “meh”. Today, pull ups were very good. Friday: bench press was good.

Uncertainty Ok, I am 57 years old (minus one day) and I’ve never trained for a marathon at this age. I get the sense that I am saturated with training, and I should probably start a loooong taper..a very gradual taper. Yes, the first marathon is 4 weeks away, and I do have some more 15 milers planned. And yes, I’ll be walking during my marathons; these will be “run/walk”. My days of “racing” these bad boys are over.

And the uncertainty extends to teaching as well. I am always wondering “how much detail do I provide” in a first course? Too much: loses all but the best students. Too little: I end up shortchanging the students. This is the challenge of teaching “a first course”.

Baseball: what a fun season. I saw more games last weekend; yesterday’s was rained out but there is a double header tonight.




The Chiefs have split with the Bees: they won 3-0 on Friday, getting all their runs in the 3’rd inning, and fell 7-5 when the Bees hit the ball very well (2 home runs). And there is this aspect of minor league baseball: some parent clubs have decided to keep their minor league teams more or less intact. On the other hand, the Cardinals have been promoting many Chiefs; hence the team you see in the play offs might not resemble the one that got there. It should be interesting.

August 29, 2016 Posted by | baseball, education, walking | | Leave a comment

Argh…I am gagging!!!


Yes, I was tired even before I stared to the weather:


Literally 100 percent humidity at the start…low 80’s but still high humidity at the end. But 15 slow miles (about 4:08) is better than zero miles. I just hope that marathon day is cooler than this.

I did see a couple of very fast Bradley XC runners (with a companion on the bike), a few cyclists and other runners.

Later: well, with all of heat and humidity, plus our very fertile soil….back yard was a jungle again. THIS is one reason why Central Illinois is farm country.

Political Posts Even when one corrects for race, Trump supporters tend to be …a bit more affluent than the average American. Yeah, we can laugh at the misspelled signs and the like. But Trump does well with those…whose jobs have NOT been hurt by trade..and live in areas really not affected by immigration. The conjecture: it is a kind of tribalism; those who don’t like “pressing 1 for English”, so to speak.

And as far as prejudice: well, most of us don’t like one group or another. WHO our ire is directed at depends on things like affluence and educational level.

August 28, 2016 Posted by | walking | , , | Leave a comment

And I hit a negative milestone: it was bound to happen eventually …..


I remember back in 2001 reporting on a 10K run; I had…horrors or horrors…came perilously close to running over 50 minutes (44-45 was typical for me in those days). It was a hot weather summer 10K race in Wisconsin.

Well, I’ve finished 5K races in over 30 minutes before. Once, I was “running” in a snowstorm. Once, I went out too fast (charmed by Mamma T’s purple spandex) when I wasn’t in shape..and ended up doing the old “walk and jog” toward the end. And of course, I’ve walked them slower than that (judged 5K PR is 30:42; though I’ve gone under 30 in non-judged walks)

But today is the first time I “ran” a 5K, didn’t get sick and have to walk, and still failed to break 30 minutes (30:01)


Yes, I was one behind the median male, and just ahead of the median runner. Yes, conditions were brutal; it had just quit raining, the course was a bit slick in some downhill spots and..71 F with literally 100 percent humidity.


ALL those things were true. And ….well, I was just over 1 minute slower than last year, and just over 2 minutes slower than 2011.

I could go on and on about being physically tired, doing long running/walking training, just getting into the semester routine, etc. But the splits tell the story; I just had no drive at all until the last loop. If I feel good during a 5K run, it means I am not giving it the appropriate amount of effort.

And as far as the fatigue: I think that I’ll try a 3 week taper prior to the Quad Cities…one more “big” training week.

BUT it isn’t all bad. I did see Kevin who used to burn up the local 5K courses; he won my age group with a time under 22 minutes. He still looks super athletic, even though he is my age (I look terrible right now)

More importantly, I had a delightful time with Tracy, especially after the race. The Zoo opened the animal exhibits to the runners and we took advantage …








August 27, 2016 Posted by | Friends, running | , , , | Leave a comment

End of week 1

workout notes: easy 2 mile walk after weights.
pull ups (5 sets of 10), rotator cuff, various squats and 1 set of leg presses
incline press: 10 x 135, 5 x 155, 10 x 140
military: 8 x 50 dumbbell standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 single arm
abs (2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts)

It was tough to get the back lose today.

Election: yeah, I am bored. Hillary Clinton is somewhere between a 70-90 percent favorite. Gary Johnson’s 7 percent is holding steady. But, for what it is worth, I don’t want to see either him or Jill Stein (LOL) taking up space during the debates.

I’ve got some baseball coming up and …next weekend….FOOTBALL!!!!

August 26, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Hooray! My shirt is “right side out” today!

Workout notes: ugh…legs were sore and …while not dead, did NOT feel good.
So I took it on the treadmill for 10K (6.21 miles), starting at 5.2 mph and increasing speed by .1 mph every 5 minutes until 50 minutes, then 6.2-6.5 for the last 10 minutes (increasing every 2.5 minutes). That got me to 5.75 miles in 1 hour, then to 10K in 1:04:40 (machine gives you 5 cool down minutes).

Then I walked outside. I didn’t time myself nor did I have my smart phone; I figured this was “about 2 miles”: ha ha ha ha!


Academia I applaud the University of Chicago for this. They notify their incoming freshmen that there are no “safe spaces”, “trigger warnings”, etc.

Friendship Yes, a lack of friends can be deadly. Ironically, those who complain to me about loneliness have done their best to make it impossible to be friends with them to begin with.🙂

August 25, 2016 Posted by | education, running, walking | , , , | Leave a comment

Day one, Fall 2016

Yes, Lynn, I did show up for my first class and taught it…with my shirt inside-out. It was a Bradley polo.

I am doing the usual adjustment to the academic year routine (up early to workout prior to classes)

Weights: rotator cuff, squats (a few with no weights, a few with 25s, then 2 sets of leg presses)
pull ups: 15-10-10-10-5
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 9 x 170
incline press: 10 x 135
military: 5 x 50 dumbbell (standing..had trouble), 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 40 standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell (each arm)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts
headstand (not so good)

Then 25 laps of lane 1 in 42:12 (1:40 for the last lap): 13:37, 13:26, 13:28. There were some young women lapping me every other lap or so…yes, they were track team members (6:30 pace of so for them).

So my true pace was 14’ish…which was my old 100 mile walk pace. Sigh. No, this didn’t kill me but it was not a super easy stroll either.

August 24, 2016 Posted by | walking, weight training | | 1 Comment

Semester about to start

So for a bit of “mathematical physics” humor:


So go ahead and unfollow this blog.🙂

1.5 hour department meeting, plus an extra 20 minutes for us older folks…

Workout notes: run on the treadmill (to break in new shoes): 5 minute segments for the first 50 minutes (0.5 incline)
5.2-5.3-5.4-7.0-5.3-7.0-5.3-7.0-5.3-7.00, then walk jog for 4 minutes, 6.7 for 3, 6.8 for 2, 6.9, 7.0 for 1 minute each; 6 miles in 1:00:04
3 mile walk (I think) and it felt good…until I tried to get up after sitting down. It WAS work but work that left me feeling refreshed.


Time: about 52 minutes (by the time of day), or 15:0x ish minutes per mile, which felt like the pace I was walking.

August 23, 2016 Posted by | Personal Issues, running, walking | | Leave a comment

Athletics: who gets to compete as a “woman”?

Workout notes: weights only; I had “fasting blood work” this morning. I did lift though:
rotator cuff
squats (several sets of 5, with and without weight..goblet..focus on posture) then some leg presses
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (first one was terrible)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170
incline press: 10 x 135
military presses: standing: 7 x 50 dumbbell, 15 x 50 (seated, supported; trouble getting into position), 10 x 200 machine
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell (each arm)
yoga leg lifts (2 sets of 10), twist crunch (2 sets of 12)
head stand (surprisingly easy)

The issue of “who gets to compete as a woman in the Olympics” has popped up again, mostly thanks to success of Saster Semenya. For an overview, see here.

On one hand, I think that this is a great issue. On the other hand, the discussion of this issue has been, well, brain-dead. (example). This issue concerns many female athletes.

Any discussion of this issue (or discussion worth having) should start here: why do we have a female category for competition to begin with? I think that the reason is clear: without such a restricted category (and yes, this means “fitting into a box” of sorts), women would not be competing.

Yes, all Olympic athletes are genetic outliers and the male outliers run faster and are stronger than the female outliers. So if you don’t want “all male” competitions, you need a female category, and that means that the female category is, by design, a restricted category. If you don’t meet the restrictions for the “female category”, you have to try to compete in the “open category”.

Of course, there will be genetic variations within the restricted category; I think that anyone with a rudimentary understanding of athletics knows this.

So what should the restrictions be? THAT is where the discussion needs to be. Sadly, the discussion that I am seeing is of very low quality. For example:

Eero Mantyranta, a Finnish cross-country skier who won seven Olympic medals in the 1960s, including three golds, was found to have a genetic mutation that increased his hemoglobin level to about 50 percent higher than the average man’s.

There is “no fundamental difference” between a congenital disorder that produces high testosterone levels and a genetic mutation that produces elevated hemoglobin levels, according to a recent commentary, “The Olympic Games and Athletic Sex Assignment,” in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Yet elevated levels of naturally occurring hemoglobin do not disqualify athletes.

Again, the “men’s category” is really an “open category”; one need only be a member of the homosapien category to qualify.

God made me the way I am, and I accept myself,” Semenya told You, a South African magazine, in 2009. “I am who I am, and I’m proud of myself.”

It would seem unfair to tell her, Sorry, you can’t run in the Olympics because of the way you were born.

Again, no one is saying that this athlete shouldn’t be allowed to compete for a spot in the Olympics. However, if Semenya (or anyone else) doesn’t qualify for the restricted category (female), then they have to attempt to qualify for the open category. And if Semenya isn’t naturally gifted enough to qualify for the Olympics in the open category, then Semenya can join the club of billions of the rest of us who aren’t genetically gifted enough to qualify for the Olympics.

Let me be clear about something though: I am not qualified to weigh in on what criteria should be met for a human being to compete as a female. I am interested in the question though.

August 22, 2016 Posted by | weight training | , | Leave a comment


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