Beautiful Day

Workout notes
Weights plus an easy 2 mile run on the track: 10:02/9:35.

pull ups: 2 x 15, 2 x 10
hip hikes, Achilles, rotator cuff
super set: 3 sets of 12 x 50 dumbbell military, 3 sets of 10 x 210 Hammer row
super set: 3 sets of 10 x 160 pull down, 7, 8 x 140, 10 x 135 incline (too much?)
abs: 3 sets of 10 of twists, sit backs, crunches
curls: 3 sets of 10 (machine)
I did a light set of chest presses with the machine.

side plank, McKenzie, abs, etc.

The day couldn’t be prettier though I felt it in my left shoulder. I have to be careful.

September 21, 2013 Posted by | running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Quad Cities Half Marathon tomorrow

Yes, I’ve done this race a few times before:

Past years:
1998: 3:55 as a runner (hot)
1999: 3:45 as a runner
2000: 1:40 for half of a relay
2001: 1:49 for half marathon (week after giving blood)
2002: 4:44 marathon as a walker
2004: 5:12 marathon as a walker
2005: 5:34 marathon as a walker.
2007: DNF at mile 23 (walker)
2008: 2:25 half marathon (walker)
2009: 5:28 marathon (as a walker)
2010: 2:39 half marathon (as a walker; knee surgery in July).
2011: 2:22:27 (half marathon powerwalk)

I’ve run 3 half marathons this year; one was a warm weather ugly event (2:29:50) and two were 2:01, but the 2:01’s came when I was doing long runs more or less regularly. We’ll see about tomorrow; the weather couldn’t be any better.

This reminds me:

This was from the Ottawa Marathon/Half Marathon event in 2000: it was called the National Capital Marathon in those days. I had run a 44 minute 10K on Saturday night (6 pm start) and then ran a 1:42 half marathon the following morning; 1:35 was my fastest half that year.

The guy behind me (in the photo) outkicked me at the end. I shook his hand and he told me that I “did well for my age”. I wanted to remark about the 10K the evening before, but just smiled and said “thank you.”

Anyhow…the point is that even if I have a fantastic day tomorrow, I’ll still be slower than my usual “second half of a full marathon” used to be, and about 20 minutes slower (or more) than my better races at this time.

The trick will be to focus on what I can do and not on what I wish that I could do. I think that if I keep the “4 hour marathon” pace group IN FRONT of me for the first 10K or so, I should be ok; no matter how good I feel I should make sure that I am never in front of them. The marathon/half marathon splits off at about mile 7 and that is deep enough into the race to have a feel of what is realistic for me to hold.

September 21, 2013 Posted by | marathons, running | , | Leave a comment

Social and political thoughts for the day

Workout notes Easy 3 mile (5K) walk and some back stretches; that is it.

Then I went to visit a new professor’s class (remedial algebra). During the class, the professor was leading a discussion and he asked “is \frac{3}{2} - 1 positive or negative?” A few said “negative” and one actually said “it can be either positive or negative.” Needless to say, many in the class won’t make it through.

The idea: if someone has credit for a class, it is reasonable to assume that they have had some mastery of the material listed in the course catalogue. Also, one has to give those who are capable of learning the material a chance to learn it; one can’t slow down and stop for the unprepared and the incapable.

Of course, not all faculty feel this way; read this professor’s finger wagging here. If there is any justice, if she ever needs surgery, her doctor will have made it through medical school by being taught by medical school professors who practiced what she preaches. Then again, perhaps her classes don’t have a wide variation of abilities and knowledge of prerequisites.

Food stamps (SNAP) has come up recently. In terms of doing what it is supposed to do, the program is a success. Of course, the Republicans want to cut this program.

Here is where the two sides (liberals and conservatives) talk past one another. The conservatives tend to view SNAP users as “grasshoppers” who are in their current predicament due to poor life choices, including doing poorly in school, not working hard, having more kids than they can afford on their salary, etc. Why take money from the industrious and give it to the losers?

Liberals see SNAP users as the kids who are born into unfortunate circumstances, the elderly who had a rough time, people who have been hit by untimely lay-offs or diseases, etc. They are willing to accept some slackers getting help to ensure that the truly needy get it too.

I see both sides: there ARE those who make dumb life choices, and those who are already on public aid who decide that they want kids, and yes, some of the public aid receiving poor act entitled and are very unpleasant to talk to. Some really are slackers who shouldn’t be on public aid.

On the other hand, many of us who appear to be comfortable now might not be so well off, given an untimely illness or, say, their employer closing up shop. Yes, that includes me.

But I admit that I support these programs for a more cold blooded reason: I might not like some of the recipients but this does provide some stimulus to the economy (they buy things thereby giving businesses reasons to hire more people) and programs like SNAP can help mitigate future poverty by feeding the poor kids.

Still, the fight goes on.

We see a threat of a shutdown, and the following interesting situation:

Fast forward a few days and the world looks very different. On Tuesday, Boehner set project slaughterhouse in motion, bowing to conservatives’ insistence that he make defunding Obamacare a condition for keeping the government open. The House plans to vote on this measure—known as a continuing resolution or CR—on Friday, at which point the Senate will promptly kill it. That puts us on track to have a shutdown on October 1 unless Boehner can somehow rally his troops behind a stripped down measure (a “clean” CR) that funds the government at its current levels for another few months. This is the most conservative piece of funding legislation Democrats will agree to. Unfortunately for Boehner, his caucus revolted against such a bill when he floated the idea last week. So a shutdown is where we’re headed.

Or at least it was where we were headed until yesterday, when the White House tipped its hand. According to Politico, the White House is hoping to persuade (or hoping Nancy Pelosi can persuade) 40-50 Democrats to vote for a clean CR if it comes before the House to ensure that it passes. To put it slightly differently: The White House believes Boehner won’t be able to pass the clean CR with House Republican votes alone, thereby putting him on track for the political disaster of a shutdown. In order to avoid this fate, the White House will urge Democrats to provide the margin of passage. (A White House aide tells me the Politico account is a bit overstated—there’s nothing being urged just yet, and certainly no directives issued to Pelosi. But the aide doesn’t deny that this would be the preferred approach should the situation arise. My understanding is that House Democrats, for their part, are more inclined to let the GOP hang itself, or at least demand a higher level of spending in exchange for their votes.)

A couple of observations while you pick your jaw up off the ground. First, it’s worth appreciating the irony here: If forced to guess how the government would avoid a shutdown, most of us who follow this would probably have said Boehner would blink, since Republicans have so much more to lose. In fact, it’s the White House rather than Boehner that appears to be blinking. I’d previously assumed the White House would make good on its tough talk from earlier this year and let Boehner to shut down the government if that’s what Republicans were determined to do. Despite the tendency of the White House to cave in these situations, it seemed like a relatively safe assumption thanks to all the political incentives that reinforced it. It turned out not to be a very safe assumption at all.

In short, some liberals are upset that the President might pass up an opportunity to let the Republicans hang themselves politically because it would be bad governing; this shutdown would hurt people.

In other words, some on my side would be upset that President Obama and other Democrats might put principle over politics.

Uh…that is what I voted for.

True, the current crop of House Republicans are stark raving mad:

How did we get here?

Some pundits insist, even now, that this is somehow Mr. Obama’s fault. Why can’t he sit down with Mr. Boehner the way Ronald Reagan used to sit down with Tip O’Neill? But O’Neill didn’t lead a party whose base demanded that he shut down the government unless Reagan revoked his tax cuts, and O’Neill didn’t face a caucus prepared to depose him as speaker at the first hint of compromise.

No, this story is all about the G.O.P. First came the southern strategy, in which the Republican elite cynically exploited racial backlash to promote economic goals, mainly low taxes for rich people and deregulation. Over time, this gradually morphed into what we might call the crazy strategy, in which the elite turned to exploiting the paranoia that has always been a factor in American politics — Hillary killed Vince Foster! Obama was born in Kenya! Death panels! — to promote the same goals.

But now we’re in a third stage, where the elite has lost control of the Frankenstein-like monster it created.

So now we get to witness the hilarious spectacle of Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal, pleading with Republicans to recognize the reality that Obamacare can’t be defunded. Why hilarious? Because Mr. Rove and his colleagues have spent decades trying to ensure that the Republican base lives in an alternate reality defined by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Can we say “hoist with their own petard”?

Of course, the coming confrontations are likely to damage America as a whole, not just the Republican brand. But, you know, this political moment of truth was going to happen sooner or later. We might as well have it now.

September 21, 2013 Posted by | economy, education, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, social/political, walking | , , , | Leave a comment