Pre-turkey vacation day…

Workout notes 4000 yards of swimming; I didn’t swim well at all. 500 warm up, 500 fins, 500 pull, 5 x 100 on 2 (1:42-43???), 5 x (50 “fast, 50 paddle) on 2, 5 x (25 fly, 75 free) on 2 (1:47-1:50), 10 x (25 fly, 25 free) fins on 1, 5 x 100 on the 1:50.

I just had no energy at all.

Yesterday’s race: there was an article about in the Peoria Journal Star.


After placing second in his age bracket at the Turkey Trot through Detweiller Park, Thomas Harayda was faced with an unusual question.

“What does a 16-year-old do with a free turkey?” the Richwoods High School cross country runner asked himself after the race. “I think I’m going to give it to my coach. He’s the one who got me here.”

Harayda was among about 150 runners who took on the 4-mile race on Sunday, a tradition now in its 38th year. The challenging course includes a lengthy jaunt through the park and a strenuous uphill climb, which he said he wasn’t looking forward to but somehow managed to conquer.

“I thought I was going to get dusted,” said Harayda, who finished with a time of 22:35. “I had some harsh competition.”

The top two male and female finishers from each age bracket received a trophy as well as a gift certificate for a turkey, donated by Kroger.

“I’ll probably take it back to school with me and eat it with my cross country team,” said Matt Peharda, 20, of Peoria, a junior at Monmouth College.

Peharda won the race for his age bracket and placed second overall but admitted his decision to run was made at the last minute.

“I did it last year and said I’m never doing it again because of my memories of that hill,” he said with a laugh. “But I didn’t have a great Cross Country season this year, so this was kind of my redemption race.”

The Turkey Trot, organized by the Peoria Park District, Illinois Valley Striders and Running Central, is Peoria’s oldest race. […]

The article features a link to some photos.

Update I saw the results; I was 73 of 138 (bad, but I’ve been worse)

There are also some photos.


I am on the right side of the road (left as you look at it) and there are 10 runners ahead of me; I am the tiny figure in a white shirt, white hat and gray “almost tights” under black shorts. Further back you can see part of the hill we just came up; there is another part of the uphill coming up. The first 2.5 miles features 400 feet of climbing (800 feet of elevation change)

Can’t get enough of the parsing of the presidential election results? Evidently Science Avenger can’t and I am not quite full yet. See what the maps look like if only the voters from demographic x, y or z were counted.

What caused the economic collapse? The War on Christmas?

Bill O’Reilly is as usual valiantly at the forefront of the defense of Christmas. His Fox News ally in the past John Gibson, however, has lost his show (probably as a result of an anti-Christian purge) and so no longer has a highly visible platform to show his love for Jesus.

But this year brings a new defender of the faith, one Daniel Henninger, and he has a startling new theory. He claims that the current economic crisis was actually caused by the War on Christmas! Yes, indeedy.

Henninger paints with a broad brush.

And so it will come to pass once again that many people will spend four weeks biting on tongues lest they say “Merry Christmas” and perchance, give offense. Christmas, the holiday that dare not speak its name.

This year we celebrate the desacralized “holidays” amid what is for many unprecedented economic ruin — fortunes halved, jobs lost, homes foreclosed. People wonder, What happened? One man’s theory: A nation whose people can’t say “Merry Christmas” is a nation capable of ruining its own economy.

Of course, that is quite a leap and he labors mightily to get there from here.

Read more of the wingnuttery here.

What really went missing through the subprime mortgage years were the three Rs: responsibility, restraint and remorse. They are the ballast that stabilizes two better-known Rs from the world of free markets: risk and reward.

Responsibility and restraint are moral sentiments. Remorse is a product of conscience. None of these grow on trees. Each must be learned, taught, passed down. And so we come back to the disappearance of “Merry Christmas.”

It has been my view that the steady secularizing and insistent effort at dereligioning America has been dangerous. That danger flashed red in the fall into subprime personal behavior by borrowers and bankers, who after all are just people. Northerners and atheists who vilify Southern evangelicals are throwing out nurturers of useful virtue with the bathwater of obnoxious political opinions.

Oh, so what about the other far more secular countries? In fact, they do better than we do; in fact we may be better off doing away with religion all-together.

[18] In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies (Figures 1-9). The most theistic prosperous democracy, the U.S., is exceptional, but not in the manner Franklin predicted. The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developed democracies, sometimes spectacularly so, and almost always scores poorly. The view of the U.S. as a “shining city on the hill” to the rest of the world is falsified when it comes to basic measures of societal health. Youth suicide is an exception to the general trend because there is not a significant relationship between it and religious or secular factors. No democracy is known to have combined strong religiosity and popular denial of evolution with high rates of societal health. Higher rates of non-theism and acceptance of human evolution usually correlate with lower rates of dysfunction, and the least theistic nations are usually the least dysfunctional. None of the strongly secularized, pro-evolution democracies is experiencing high levels of measurable dysfunction. In some cases the highly religious U.S. is an outlier in terms of societal dysfunction from less theistic but otherwise socially comparable secular developed democracies. In other cases, the correlations are strongly graded, sometimes outstandingly so.

Well, at least our current President Elect isn’t making a big, fake show of piety:

Oh No! Hotlist
by BarbinMD
Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 07:40:03 AM PST


President-elect Barack Obama has yet to attend church services since winning the White House earlier this month, a departure from the example of his two immediate predecessors.

On the three Sundays since his election, Obama has instead used his free time to get in workouts at a Chicago gym.


I admit that I quit going to church when I started to train for ultras; I did a 4-5 hour workout on Sunday morning and services started at 10:30. So either I had to start at 5 am or I had to do my workout in the afternoon, and my wife insists on eating at the Indian buffet for lunch. Hence, my choice was between Indian food with my wife or church services and my wife chose lunch.

Now I have the time to make it but usually opt to catch up on the Sunday talk shows or to read some more articles off of the internet.

Besides, at the Church I used to attend, they had an ever growing slot for “announcements” and then another for “joys and concerns”. Never, never, never give a Unitarian a captive audience and a microphone. Ever.

Science: here is an article on the future of the universe. Does the universe end “hot” or “cold”? Does it begin either “hot” or “cold”? Believe it or not, “resonance” has a role to play.

The way I described it above, one pictures the decay of the inflaton as rather like a pendulum swinging in air, gradually transferring its energy to the air molecules through friction, and gradually coming to a halt. Indeed, this is a possibility, but it is not the only one. In fact, now that we’ve mentioned swinging, you might be able to imagine what else can happen. Anyone who has sat on a swing knows that if you are given a big push, and just sit on the swing, you will swing back and forth, and gradually come to a halt, as I described for the pendulum. However, one doesn’t have to be so passive, and every child knows that by kicking ones feet at just the right times, one can actually get the amplitude of the swing to grow larger and larger. This is a phenomenon that physicists call resonance.

How might this apply to the inflaton? Obviously, the inflaton doesn’t get to kick its feet – it has a natural frequency governed by the curvature of the potential, and roughly speaking that’s all there is to it. However, if one thinks in Fourier space, one can see that the equation governing how the inflaton decays into other matter fields depends on the wavelength (and therefore frequency) of those fields, or modes (it is, for you experts, a Mathieu equation). For a given inflaton potential, the natural frequency of the inflaton’s oscillations has no particular relationship to the frequency of a randomly chosen mode. However, there are certain ranges of mode frequencies for which the oscillations of the inflaton are just right to excite those modes resonantly, pumping lots of energy into them, just like the child on the swing. This is called parametric resonance, and for the case of the inflaton’s decay into matter, the whole process is referred to as preheating.

Although preheating is an out of equilibrium phenomenon, eventually almost all the energy produced equilibrates, and produces a plasma at a given equilibrium temperature. One might therefore wonder how there could be any observational consequences of this hypothesized early cosmic phase (and hence whether such considerations are scientific at all). But it turns out that some of the energy may never equilibrate, and that there are therefore a number of possible fascinating consequences of preheating. Some of these tightly constrain particle physics and inflationary models, others provide novel ways of approaching some unresolved cosmological conundrums. Next time I’ll tell you about them.

Follow the link to read the rest of the article.


November 24, 2008 - Posted by | 2008 Election, Barack Obama, John McCain, Peoria, Peoria/local, religion, running, science, swimming, training

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