Ultramarathon walking: once a spectator sport?

Workout notes
Early AM: swim. 2200 yards. Basic: 8 x 250 on the…well…5..then 4:45. Reps were between 4:25-4:40 (faster as I went on), then 100 fly drills (fins), 2 x 25 fly (fins), 2 x 25 fly.

Weights: pull ups (5 sets of 10…tired), hip hikes, Achilles, rotator cuff.
dumbbells: 3 sets of 12 x 50 military, 3 sets of 10 x 25 upright row, 3 sets of 10 x 30 curl, 3 sets of 10 x 70 bench.
Hammer Machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull downs: 10 x 150 machine, 2 sets of 10 x 160 (usual machine).

Barbara was there with her trainer, so I made sure that Barbara saw a couple of sets. 🙂

Ultra walking: in the days of “live only” action, races of 6 days were actually professional.

Ha! I suppose I am 100 years too late? Well….no. My best ultra walk is 101 miles in 24 hours, and world class is upwards of 200 km (124 miles). I would have sucked then too. 🙂

March 31, 2014 Posted by | swimming, walking, weight training | , | 1 Comment

“Viral” math common core meme

(cross posted on my math blog)

This is making the rounds on social media:


Now a good explanation as to what is going on can be found here; it is written by an experienced high school math teacher.

I’ll give my take on this; I am NOT writing this for other math professors; they would likely be bored by what I am about to say.

My take
First of all, I am NOT defending the mathematics standards of Common Core. For one: I haven’t read them. Another: I have no experience teaching below the college level. What works in my classroom would probably not work in most high school and grade school classrooms.

But I think that I can give some insight as to what is going on with this example (in the photo).

When one teaches mathematics, one often teaches BOTH how to calculate and the concepts behind the calculation techniques. Of course, one has to learn the calculation technique; no one (that I know) disputes that.

What is going on in the photo
The second “calculation” is an exercise designed to help students learn the concept of subtraction and NOT “this is how you do the calculation”.

Suppose one wants to show the students that subtracting two numbers yields “the distance on the number line between those numbers”. So, “how far away from 12 is 32? Well, one moves 3 units to get to 15, then 5 to get to 20. Now that we are at 20 (a multiple of 10), it is easy to move one unit of 10 to get to 30, then 2 more units to get to 32. So we’ve moved 20 units total.

Think of it this way: in the days prior to google maps and gps systems, imagine you are taking a trip from, say, Morton, IL to Chicago and you wanted to take interstate highways all of the way. You wanted to figure the mileage.

You notice (I am making these numbers up) that the “distance between big cities” map lists 45 miles from Peoria to Bloomington and 150 miles from Bloomington to Chicago. Then you look at the little numbers on the map to see that Morton is between Peoria and Bloomington: 10 miles away from Peoria.

So, to find the distance, you calculate (45-10) + 150 = 185 miles; you used the “known mileages” as guide posts and used the little map numbers as a guide to get from the small town (Morton) to the nearest city for which the “table mileage” was calculated.

That is what is going on in the photo.

Why the concept is important

There are many reasons. The “distance between nodes” concept is heavily used in graph theory and in operations research. But I’ll give a demonstration in numerical methods:

Suppose one needs a numerical approximation of \int^{48}_0 \sqrt{1 + cos^2(x)} dx . Now if one just approaches with by a Newton-Coats method (say, Simpson’s rule) or by Romberg, or even by a quadrature method, one runs into problems. The reason: the integrand is oscillatory and the range of integration is very long.

But one notices that the integrand is periodic; there is no need to integrate along the entire range.

Note that there are 7 complete periods of 2 \pi between 0 and 48. So one merely needs to calculate 7 \int^{2 \pi}_0 \sqrt{1+cos^2(x)} dx + \int^{48 - 14 \pi}_0 \sqrt{1+ cos^2(x)} dx and these two integrals are much more readily approximated.

In fact, why not approximate 30 \int^{\frac{\pi}{2}}_0 \sqrt{1+cos^2(x)} dx + \int^{48 - 15 \pi}_0 \sqrt{1 + cos^2(x)}dx which is even better?

The concept of calculating distance in terms of set segment lengths comes in handy.

Or, one can think of it this way
When we teach derivatives, we certainly teach how to calculate using the standard differentiation rules. BUT we also teach the limit definition as well, though one wouldn’t use that definition in the middle of, say, “find the maximum and minimum of f(x) = x-\frac{1}{x} on the interval [\frac{1}{4}, 3] ” Of course, one uses the rules.

But if you saw some kid’s homework and saw f'(x) being calculated by the limit definition, would you assume that the professor was some idiot who wanted to turn a simple calculation into something more complicated?

March 30, 2014 Posted by | education, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Arguments against single payer insurance


Note: in some places, Democrats ought to run on the accomplishments, sans apology. Of course, as this blog post points out, we are defending many red state Senate seats…and the message has to be different there.

March 30, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, health care, social/political | Leave a comment

Back to Boredom….more to explore..

32 F (0 C) at the start; 5.8 mph wind. 15 mph wind, 48 F at the finish. Sunny. 3:18:41; 2:24 at 10 miles. To put it in perspective: when I was in 5:14 marathon walk shape, I could do this course in 2:57-2:58.

Right now: maybe I’d be in 6 hour marathon walk shape. Maybe. Fortunately, my goal marathon isn’t until September (6 months!)



In all honesty, I went out very conservatively and never really pushed it. But I also have to admit that I am sore (an hour or two later)

I have a long way to go but I’ve got a long time, and I am starting from a good place.

March 30, 2014 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

Spray on yoga pants….

March 30, 2014 Posted by | spandex | , | Leave a comment

Spring is here: the first sounds!

What are your “first sounds of spring”?

Is it things like “chirping of birds”?

In this neighborhood: it is power tools. During the winter to spring transition period, you can estimate the outdoor temperature by how loud it is; during a pleasant day, it sounds like a construction zone.

Then during the summer, you’ll have the daily Stanley Steemer rounds; OMG do these make an annoying racket.


But, at least one doesn’t have to bundle up that much to go outside….and NO SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 29, 2014 Posted by | social/political | | Leave a comment

Women cutting their feet to fit in shoes?

This isn’t as noxious as the foot binding that went on in China but:

After Dr. Hillary Brenner completed a toe shortening procedure for a patient who was constantly in pain, she noticed an influx of women asking her to provide toe shortening services for themselves — for completely cosmetic purposes. She’s turned them all down.

“I only do surgeries for people having pain,” Brenner, a podiatric surgeon with Tribeca Private Medical Group and a member of the American Podiatric Medical Association, said to “If you’re not, you don’t have surgery.”

Despite the risks, women are increasingly requesting cosmetic foot procedures — including shortening their toes, adding collagen to their heels and even removing their pinky toe — in order to fit into those sky-high stilettos. Others opt to lop parts off in order to fit into a smaller size.

One woman who had foot surgery done, Susan Deming told that she had her toe shortening procedure done on her left foot because she was constantly forming calluses on some toes that were so long she had to buy her left shoe one size larger than her right. She could no longer find a comfortable pair of shoes due to the rubbing. The surgery cut off a centimeter from her second toe.

One could buy shoes that fit.

So, I told my wife: “well, you can’t blame men for THIS.”

She said “but women want to look good in heels; men like the way their butts stick out”.

Me: “when I check out women’s butts, they are usually wearing flat running shoes or gym shoes”.

(that’s ok: Barbara works out in running/gym shoes and on RARE occasion I might notice a female runner or gym user… 🙂 )

She conceded the point.

March 29, 2014 Posted by | butt, social/political | | Leave a comment

CIDA 5K: chilly, overcast but fun…getting there

The facts: my 5K was 25:09; I beat that time 4 times in 2012 (out of 16 races) and once in 2013 (out of 16 races). This grades out to a 7:14 mile (my mile time trials have been 7:32, 7:23 and 7:17…these were solo trials though).

Weather: overcast, freezing (32 F, or 0 C) and breezy. No snow, no rain, no ice. Great footing. The course was out and back with an extra parking lot lap around the end to get the correct distance.

Splits: 7:46 (wind aided?) 8:06 (15:52), 8:23 (24:15) (paid for that first mile), 0:54. I was straining to stay ahead of Pat O’Bryan and to try to catch Jerry K. Place: 29 out of 86:

The splits would indicate that I went out too fast, BUT I actually moved up from mile 1 to the finish; no one passed me in the final 2 miles. So, it might be that we had the breeze at our back going out.

The death on the final mile: part of that was my going too hard during Thursday’s 10K training run.

Socially: I enjoyed it. I went to the race with Tracy; she finished in just over 39 minutes and won the women’s 65-69 division. Yes, I remember her being in the 28 minute race oh-so-long ago. It happens to all of us…eventually.

I also got to visit with Jennifer (Athena class winner), Pat, Terry , Crystal (Female 50-54 winner), Bill and Diane (Female 55-59 winner). It is kind of neat to keep up with each other’s ups and downs; people tend to know who is doing well at the moment and who is in a performance valley.

As far as my performance: definitely one of my better 5Ks but hopefully, this is a stepping stone on the way up and not the destination.

Afterward: weights (after dropping Tracy off):
I didn’t have much energy.
Pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (got better)
rotator cuff, hip hikes, Achilles, McKenzie (I spend a lot of time on PT stuff)
incline press: 10 x 135, 10 x 135, 9 x 135 (not easy)
military press (supported, seated): 2 sets of 12 x 50
military press (standing) 8 x 85
upright rows: 3 sets of 10 x 25 (dumbbells, each arm)
rows (Hammer): 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

So it went ok; definitely not my worst. I felt dumb: I wore my leggings under my shorts (too lazy to change) and a pink sleeveless (Komen race). But it was about getting it done.

Data and records

Last two years 5K runs. My first one of 2014 (equivalent to 26:10).

Who is on my radar: For now, Jerry to Diane. Crystal is a pipe-dream for now. 🙂 And I am well aware of Pat…at least when I am running well AND the distance is short. When I am not, she is too far ahead. And I am no match for her in the 10K and up.

Screen shot 2014-03-29 at 3.02.42 PM

March 29, 2014 Posted by | running, time trial/ race, weight training | , | 9 Comments

Night out with my bros


I wish.

Via: Why Evolution is True.

March 29, 2014 Posted by | Barack Obama, health care | , | Leave a comment

I don’t look quite this bad….


But my legs already feel heavy and it is 32 F (0 C) outside…clear roads. Today’s 5K won’t be a thing of beauty.

Reason: Thursday’s workout. I ran on the track (10K) and aimed for a moderate pace. It stayed seemingly moderate until the 3’rd mile where the pace crept down to 8:50 mpm or so…it didn’t FEEL hard at all…until 2 miles later.

So: lesson learned…just run today and not get freaked out about time and enjoy the spandex.

March 29, 2014 Posted by | big butts, spandex | , | Leave a comment