blueollie

resting and more baseball

I wondered if I was getting rundown so I went to the Forest Park Nature Center (left from the Heights tower) and walked 2:12 (about 7 miles). Normally I don’t doubt the distance but this time Wakerobin was closed. So I took Deer run back to Possum Path to the Valley, then to Bee Tree to Cardinal, back to Valley and then to Wilderness (1:05 which is about my outer loop time) Spurs: 23:16 out, about 27 back (uphill..and tired).

Then it was time for some baseball. Bradley beat Illinois 8-6 to win the series 2-1. Of interest was the fielding. One one hand, 4 errors (3 in a 2 innings 5-6) kept ISU in the game. On the other hand, fielding saved the day. The center fielder made an “over the shoulder” catch on the warning track (near 400 feet) with 2 out and the bases loaded, and the first baseman made some great plays too.

A 2 run home run in the bottom of the 8’th provided the winning margin.

A Political Science professor and his wife (also a Ph. D. in political science) sat next to me.

April 23, 2017 Posted by | baseball, hiking, walking | | Leave a comment

Fun with the mundane….

Yes, I ran a 5K this morning. And yes, I cut the grass for the first time in 2017. That wasn’t fun, though I wanted to get a photo of the tulips for Barbara, who is in Cuba.

But I also saw something more gruesome: there were the remains of a bunny that became a meal for a predator. Nature…

No, the yard was not entertaining. But I did have dinner with a dear friend on Friday, and a different dear friend tonight. THAT was fun.

And there was Bradley baseball: it turns out that the starting pitcher and one of the relief pitchers were/are students of mine. Oh the game: that didn’t go so hot; Bradley lost to Illinois State 9-4 based on the first inning (3 runs) and the 7’th (5 runs, all of which came AFTER 2 outs). ISU got 4 hits and 3 runs in the first and were more or less held in check for the next 5 innings. But the ISU starter struck out 7 in 5 1/3 innings.

The day was sunny but windy which made it chilly in the shade; note the fans seeking out the sunny areas.

For a few innings, I had the volleyball team sitting next to and around me (they came next to my seat when I went to the restroom between innings; they were seeking the sunny areas.

So, the loss aside, it was a fun weekend so far.

April 23, 2017 Posted by | baseball, Friends | | Leave a comment

Running: I’ve gone very soft

Yesterday afternoon, I felt that 5K race would help me out. I did this race before (albeit on a slightly different course) High 40’s, and we started against a headwind. I warmed up about 15 minutes and walked about a mile afterward; call it 5 total miles.

I frequently joke that I’d love to have a pretty spandex woman running ahead of me at goal pace, and today I HAD THAT. And still, all I could do is waddle. Even the last guy to pass me in the final mile ran a time I was looking for. But I didn’t go with him.

Sigh..my watch time was 28:08 9:15, 9:13, 9:39 for the final 1.1 (tailwind on the way back). It is almost as if I have some mental block against making myself hurt. What can I say?

I did walk it off and then come home and then went to Markin to lift:

rotator cuff
pull ups (5 sets of 10: ok)
incline press: 10 x 135, 5 x 150, 4 x 150 (strict hips)
military presses: dumbbell: 20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 45 standing
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110
abs: 3 sets of 12 twist crunch, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 2 sets of 10 moving bridge
goblet squats: sets of 5: 25, 45, 45, 55, 55, 60, 65 decent depth..these went well)

Ironically, the weights went much better than they did in 2015, but the running went worse. Maybe I am heavier? Who knows.

April 23, 2017 Posted by | running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Hitting the bat with the ball… (personal and trivial)

My dad introduced me to baseball when I was quite young. I had a toddler bat and he would pitch to me. At first, he would lob the ball at my bat so I could hit it.

I also remember that I was promised a quarter if I hit the ball over the house (a rubber ball). I did that.

But ….when it came to an actual game…I wasn’t so good. I got used to my dad lobbing the ball..trying to hit a ball that was coming at different speeds, different angles…ugh.

I didn’t have the genes to be a good athlete.

So what does this have to do with my life now? I teach college mathematics for a living. And yes, the students need practice on elementary problems before they can develop the expertise to tackle “real world” mathematics problems.

And this is one of the toughest things to do: encourage an appropriate amount of confidence: “yes, your showing that you can solve the canned problems that we ask on exams shows that you have some ability and knowledge, but solving an uncanned problem is several orders of magnitude harder, and you’ll have to work up to that.”

I still remember the day after finishing my undergraduate mathematics program. I thought that I was hot stuff. So I strolled into the library, picked up a mathematics journal, attempted to start a mathematics article…and never made it past the abstract. I understood a few of the words (“compact” was one of them) but that was about it.

Later, just prior to starting my graduate program, I went to the mathematics section of the book store..and perhaps understood the TITLES of maybe, 5-10 percent of the books.
After getting my PH. D., I understood 20-26 of them. 🙂 But by this time, that did not shock me.

Weekend agenda Spouse is in Cuba. So I had dinner with a friend last night (yay!), do a 5K run (plus weights, yay!) this morning, cut some grass (boo…I hate that), see a couple of baseball games (yay!), dinner with another friend (yay!), more grading…boo. I guess that isn’t a bad “yay” to “boo” ratio.

April 22, 2017 Posted by | Personal Issues | Leave a comment

Finding the happy medium

Today: my 4.15 mile walk in 56:45, which had a 13:58 first mile (plus) then a 13:16 finish; 29:30 middle part. pace: 13:42 or thereabouts.

I skipped leg weights as I might do a spandex chase tomorrow..in fact, I am planning on it.

It is too soon to say how my training is progressing. I notice that my walks have gotten better and I am feeling it more in my butt; I wonder if that is a consequence of my goblet squats? Time will tell.

I’ll say something else: I may have gone overboard in “taking it easy”. Either I ran/walked sans the watch, or I did a race/speed workout.

I am finding that I need to do a few “in between intensity” workouts too: workouts that involve running or walking at a “deliberate but not hard” effort. There is a place for a leisurely stroll/jog but I can fall into the trap of only “leisurely ” or “race pace”. I need to do some medium effort stuff, like today.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

Dropping the ball for baseball…

I’ve disconnected a bit due to..well, baseball games. Tuesday night I saw the Chiefs lose to the Cedar Rapids Kernels 5-0.

The highlights were a couple of great outfield catches; one was just off of the ground and the other was over the shoulder.

Then last night I watched Bradley rally from 4-1 down in the 7’th inning to win 6-4, getting 2 in the bottom of the 7’th and 3 more in the bottom of the 8’th. The 8’th inning was really the key. The first batter singled and the coach put in a fast pinch runner. The next batter made an excellent bunt…but Iowa made a bad throw to first which lead to the fast runner rounding the bases to score and the batter to make it to 3’rd. Then the runner at third was singled in, and another double gave Bradley the padding it needed.

A crowd of 571 enjoyed the game.

I also came to notice that Bradley uses the third base dugout as the home dugout whereas the Chiefs use the first base dugout. It has to do where the respective clubhouses are.

I’ll really OD on Bradley baseball, as there are 5 home games from Friday to Wednesday. I should make 4 of these (Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday).

Workout notes: PM: walk with the group; 3 miles. We lollygagged on the way out (27 minutes or so) and then on the way back, Tammy wanted to turn it up a bit; that only took 24 minutes for us.

AM: I slept in (Bradley games are usually about 3 hours; more scoring than in pro ball) So I worked out after my 9-10 class. I’ve got some catching up to do.

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: good), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 9 x 170 (empty gym, basically), 10 x 135 incline, dumbbell military: 20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine rows. Then run: 20 minutes on the treadmill: 2-2-2-2-2 (5.2-5.6) then 2-2-2-2-1-1 (6.7-7.2) 10:57/8:40, 2.04 miles total.

Bodyweight: 195.7 before, 193.8 after.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | baseball, running, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Democrats: always a tough sell…

I’ve spent some time on twitter discussing the 2016 election, and the fine line between critiquing the Clinton campaign (which, IMHO, was terrible) and Hillary Clinton herself (yes, I STILL think that she would be a good president) and going over the various factors that worked against her (sexism of some, Russian collusion, Comey’s ill timed letter, and yes, Trump’s campaign skill, which, IMHO, was underrated).

I might post a link to that long twitter conversation because it started with hostility and ended with understanding; I found myself actually liking the people I was talking to. That is always a good thing.

And so that was true…Obama understood the showmanship side of campaigning AND had the knowledge and deportment to be a good president. Trump has only the showmanship to get elected.

But think about what a tough sell the Democrats have. Read the Facebook feed of liberals sometime. What do you see:

1. People advocating for the poor
2. People advocating for those with criminal records (as my IL-House representative is…and she too has a criminal record)
3. People advocating for someone with this disability or that challenge

On the other hand, Republican politicians usually preach “success” and “achievement”. They deride liberals as those who want to take from the successful and give to the losers and slackers.

Now riddle me this: which “club” would YOU rather belong to? And when someone speaks, who would you take more seriously: someone who is chronically on welfare or someone who has some professional success?

Now, yes, there are those with Nobel prizes in subjects (science, economics, medicine) who are liberal and one doesn’t get more successful than that. And many of my liberal friends hold advanced degrees and/or professional credentials. So we have some success on our side too. But the politicians never say “vote Democrat to become more like someone with an advanced degree”; it is almost “vote Democrat to help out some single mom or someone making minimum wage”. Advocating for those on the lower runs of society will always be a very tough sell, IMHO. And at the national level, we are going to need a Bill Clinton /Barack Obama caliber politician to pull it off.

April 20, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, politics/social, social/political | | 2 Comments

Not giving up on a workout too early

I decided to try to run outside. And my first .25 miles were TERRIBLE; it was almost as if I could barely breathe and my legs felt like lead. I even walked a few steps.
But I stayed with my shuffle and made it to the first downhill section (Bradley Park) and by then, I had started to sweat and all was good from there out.
For some reason, there are days when the first mile feels like death.

The weather was pretty and I did my “jog, then run up the hills “hard” (say, 1 mile race intensity), walk a few steps to recover, jog and repeat. So I did 6 “hard” repetitions total and I even timed my final hill: 2:10 (better than any of my repetitions a week ago). This was from the gate in lower Bradley park to the parking lot entrance in upper Bradley Park. The whole workout took 1:02 to do (5.1 miles) and I am glad I stuck with it.

By the way: in statistics class, I am teaching about ANOVA. I used my own 5K run data from 2012 to now; my slowdown is about 20-25 seconds for the 5K per year. That adds up and seems to fit back to the late 1990’s.

Grading on a curve
I joked with my wife about the following: if she posts that she, say, finished a 4 mile walk at, say, an 18-19 minute per mile pace (she is, well, “elderly”..though it is hard for me to think of her that way), get gets 100+ “likes” and tons of complements (“you go girl”, etc.). If I post that I finished a marathon, MY FB friends critique my time and give consolation if it is worse than expected, kudos if it is better than expected.

Why I mention this: I have a FB friend that I’ve grown quite fond of. But she has serious injury history; I jokingly referred to her as “Humpty-Dumpty”. She finished a mile walk and I was genuinely overjoyed; I like her and love it that she is working toward taking care of herself and pushing through some pain to do so. So my praise WAS genuine, even if it was less than what my wife can currently do.

And we had a talk about having a “1 mile body but a 6 mile mind”; pre-injury she could easily walk 14 miles (albeit many years ago).

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Friends, running | | Leave a comment

Introspection: good medicine, though not everyone agrees…

A book called Shattered has caused a mini-sensation in some Democratic circles:

Donald J. Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in November came as a shock to the world. Polls, news reports and everything the Clinton campaign was hearing in the final days pointed to her becoming the first female president in American history.

In their compelling new book, “Shattered,” the journalists Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes write that Clinton’s loss suddenly made sense of all the reporting they had been doing for a year and a half — reporting that had turned up all sorts of “foreboding signs” that often seemed at odds, in real time, with indications that Clinton was the favorite to win. Although the Clinton campaign was widely covered, and many autopsies have been conducted in the last several months, the blow-by-blow details in “Shattered” — and the observations made here by campaign and Democratic Party insiders — are nothing less than devastating, sure to dismay not just her supporters but also everyone who cares about the outcome and momentous consequences of the election.

Now this has been tough to talk about in public. IF you dare bring this up and your list of “social media” friends includes followers of liberal/Democratic politics, you’ll get the following:

1. Some will tell you how unelectable HRC was from the get-go and how we should have rallied around BERNIE (no, I am not making this up)
2. Some will bring up the very real factors of Russian collusion (a fact) and the Comey letter (another fact) and mention sexism/misogyny and say that was IT, period.

Many are simply not open to the fact that, even given that a woman is going to have a tougher time of it than a man, and given the Comey letter and Russian collusion, the Clinton campaign WAS a disaster; they neglected areas were Obama campaigned hard. Evidently, HRC and company learned nothing from the 2008 primary. If one remembers: the 2008 primary was essentially tied after Super Tuesday. But the Obama campaign had set up field offices in the next 10 states; HRC did not and she got creamed and fell hopelessly behind in the delegate race. When she recovered, it became even from there on out (more or less) but she was in too deep of a hole to catch up.

So, Clinton campaign incompetence is all too easy to believe.

And one wonders: where was OUR Cambridge Analytics “get out the vote” operation?

I liken it to a football team that goes on the road, gets a few bad calls and loses a close game. Sure, the bad calls matter, but so do the unforced fumbles and missed field goals. It is several things, and the race should have never been close enough to lose to begin with.

And yes, the loser of the election (with perhaps the exception of Walter Mondale, who had zero chance against Reagan) gets raked over the coals. That comes with the territory.

Sure, Hillary Clinton has had an outstanding career; she not only won a major party nomination, but was a Senator and a Secretary of State. That is awesome. She is a success. But she is NOT a natural politician (as she admitted) and her final two campaigns still stunk.

And this leads to the concept of introspection: I’ve found that, at least on a personal level, I benefit from looking at my failures and asking myself: “what could I have done better”? “what will I do differently next time?”

No, this is NOT the same thing as “self loathing”; after all, beating myself up for not being as smart as Stephen Hawking or being a professional athlete is useless (not that I don’t do it anyway, from time to time). But what I am talking about is my critiquing myself when I fall short of MY potential.

And, frankly, I am surprised at how many do NOT see this as a valuable thing to do. So many times, I see people blaming everyone else but themselves (other people, society for not appreciating them, etc.). I’ve never seen that turn out well, but people do it all of the time.

Workout notes yesterday, weights and a 2 mile walk.
Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, easy), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 4 x 185 (no spotter), incline: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell): 20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 40, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110, abs: 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 12 twist crunches, head stand , goblet squats (sets of 5) warm up, 45, 45, 55, 55, 60, 65.

today: easy 5 mile run after dropping Barbara off.

Better get to grading: I want to watch baseball tonight!

April 18, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Walk and Baseball…

Today was consumed by a 3:37 walk and a 2:40 baseball game, Indian dinner (plus a good hamburger) and writing up a statistics exam.

The walk:

It was similar to last week’s walk, but slightly slower: 1:46 out (as opposed to 1:41:30 last time) and 1:48 (correcting for an extra loop; I was almost 1:52) back, as opposed to 1:41:30. But the 8 miles the day before did tire me out a bit. It was still an acceptable effort, if a slower one.

It was all but deserted; I saw two pairs of cyclists, one solo cyclist and perhaps 3-4 walkers total.

Then to the Bradley vs. Wichita baseball game; this time Wichita won 8-5 (so BU takes the series 2-1). Wichita had a 4 run 3’rd inning and Bradley could not quite close the gap. Each team hit 2 home runs.

It was a pretty day for a game though:

Barbara joked about “womanspreading”

One of Bradley’s better crowds among the games I was able to make (they had more the day before).

6’th inning action.

April 17, 2017 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment