Last swim of the year…


Ok, maybe I am not quite that bad…:-)

2200 yards: 500 warm up, 10 x 25 drill, 25 swim (no fins)
5 x (100 pull, 100 swim)
150 back
2 x 25 fly.

Then to the weight room:
rotator cuff
5 sets of 10 pull ups
bench press: 10 x 135, 7 x 170
incline press: 7 x 135, 10 x 135 (changed the leverage a bit)
military press: 2 sets of 10 x 40 standing (dumbbells), 1 set of 10 x 180 machine
rows: 10 x 70 (too much), 10 x 55, 10 x 55 (the supine machine)
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunches, 2 sets of yoga leg lifts, headstand.

December 31, 2015 Posted by | swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

My 2015 in photos

I deliberately did NOT “caption” these photos, as this photo spread is really for me. I’d like to see this a year from now to see if I recognize the significance of these photos. These represent specific things to me, from the important to the trivial. Some photos were not taken at the time of the actual event (or series of events) that created the memory, and a few are highly symbolic. Some memories are fun (most are), a few are painful and some are just “are”. I have attempted chronological order.









































































































December 31, 2015 Posted by | Friends, Personal Issues | , , | 1 Comment

Sub 10 mpm is work for me now…

Today: I went to the track; didn’t know what I would do but it was snowy outside. I wanted to do something “moderately strenuous”.

I got going (lane 2): 10:10, 9:59, 9:45, 9:46 (39:42 for 4), 9:40, 9:50, 9:30, 9:20 (1:18:03, or 39:42/38:21). Basically, it was a 10 minute pace for the first 2, 9:45 for the middle 4, 9:25 for the final 2. Time: 1:18:03 (9:45 pace) This was one of my better *recent* efforts, and it was far from a “race” effort; it was “moderately strenuous”…just enough to get out of my warm, lazy cocoon.

I then walked 5 slow laps with Barbara (who was warming up for her workout), sped up a little for the next 3 and then walked another mile in 14:25 to finish 10 miles. Then I did a little bit of yoga.

I remember 78 minutes at this effort resulting in 10 miles, not 8. But that was last true 15 years ago. But that is how it is for a fortunate 56 year old. The pace you run now: it is slow compared to what you were able to do even 5-6 years ago. BUT 5-6 more years down the line, I’ll be wishing that I could run at my current pace, provided I am fortunate enough to enjoy my current state of health.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is relentless and merciless. The Gompertz Law is real. (I think that teaching the Life Contingencies class has ruined me forever. 🙂 )

The Gompertz law basically states that, for humans, the failure rate is an exponential of an exponential; your rate of decline accelerates rapidly as you age. Or put another way, the decline from 35-40 is much less severe than it is from 50 to 55. Or, if I am running the same pace as a 35 year old right now, in 5 years, that 40 year old will have slowed down a little, but I will have slowed down a whole lot more.

December 30, 2015 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Can you be friends with a member of the opposite sex?

Note: I am talking about heterosexual males and heterosexual females (“cisgender” heterosexual males and females). This is not to say that the friendship dynamics between, say, a gay male and a straight male wouldn’t be interesting. I think that they would be. I just know nothing about it; those who have something to say are welcome to do so.

I’ll be writing from the point of view of a married, straight male.

By “friends”, I mean: “someone that you do something with”, and not merely someone that you say “hi” to at work or in the gym, or work with on a professional level. I am not talking about things like internet discussion or interaction, though I realize that can be an interesting issue too.

Yes, I have female friends. Where this stems from: many years ago, “before kids”, I did have male friends that I did things with, such as go to games, go out to eat with, etc. But as kids came and I became a non-custodial parent “at a distance”, most of my “non-spousal” “doing stuff with” partners were single women, most who had either never had kids or whose kids were long gone. Simply put, that is who was available and interested.

The types of things I’ve done with female friends: spectator sporting events (football, baseball, basketball), yoga workshops, political campaigns/events, running races, runs, hikes, plays (one time to watch my wife perform!) and meals. The meals mostly came after events, meetings, or were workday lunches.

Yes, my wife has done things with male friends as well.

So, of course my answer to my question would be “yes”, but I will have to say that the dynamic is a bit different for me when the friend is a straight female as opposed to being a male. Here is why:

1. Of course, you are more limited in what you can do. Example: I did a half marathon with a male friend. We got a hotel room the night before. I probably couldn’t do that with a female friend, at least so long as I am married. Some time ago, I did spend the night in the guest bedroom of a single female friend and while the friend was fine, it did created a bit of unneeded tension at home. There was no such tension when I spent the night at a male friend’s house.

Another example: my yoga teacher (when I did that regularly) suggested that we practice “partner yoga” together so we could present it at a workshop. So we did. Some of the partner poses..might be described as being somewhat intimate. Yes, we did this one, both this version and the wide leg version.


The stretch WAS deeper than I could have done on my own, which was part of the point. But there was the “trust” thing too. When it is two males, the trust would come in expecting the other partner to not let you fall. But with a female..and a fit, firm one..they are going to feel good to me and so I had to put my mind in a correct state.

And one time, my teacher was a bit tipsy (wine) when I showed up; so she was a bit bolder, laughed more and, well, things were fine. But other yogis told me that I had taken a risk, though one said he “envied my situation”.

2. There are the old memories from my early adult/teenage days too. What I’ve found is that “the first time” with a female…well…*feels* but a bit “date-ish” to me. New friendships (male or female) always has a “sorting out” phase, but for me there is an extra bit of nervousness when it is a female, AT FIRST. I suppose that, even on a “just friends” outing, rejection is a bit more painful if it comes from a female, even if it is a “well, we didn’t hit it off” rejection that sometimes happens with male friends. And there is this: even if it is subtle: if she finds you attractive: warning! If she doesn’t, there is the “what is wrong with me?” hurt feelings reaction.

I still remember going to a basketball game with a female friend who invited herself (“hey, if your wife doesn’t want to go, take me!”). She was openly nervous at first; almost stammering when we first met. It went fine.

3. If the friendship lasts long enough for things to get comfortable (no nervousness): I’ve noticed that almost all of my female friends (with perhaps one exception) usually make a remark or gesture to remind me that, while they are friends and are NOT hitting on me, they are still a female with the power to attract. They might tell a story, or say something like “I’ll be you are glad that I am wearing yoga pants” or even give a playful wiggle. I think that most people (at least ones that I am friends with) don’t want to be viewed asexually during their “off work” hours. Sexual attractiveness is part of the ego (and “power struggle”), even between friends.

4. Then, there is “the look”. Yes, straight guys sometimes give each other: “you are one cool guy to hang out with..I like you” look to each other. There is no danger that the look will be taken any other way. But when the friend is a straight female, there is the added “OMG, a straight female finds me to be desirable” reaction and that pumps the ego up just a tiny bit more.

5. Now this is the part that I am the most ashamed of: when it comes to male friends, my ONLY criteria is “do I find them to be good company”. I have friends of many different types, although given the things that I like to do, my male friends tend to be either smart (regardless of educational credentials) or athletic; most are both. I can think of some who aren’t athletic but all are smart to one degree or another.

But with women, there is another factor. I’ll explain: when you are out with a female friend, others in the public often make the assumption that you are “together”. That can lead to a bit of awkwardness: some have thought that I was married to my running buddy. Once we went to a game and she wore the opposing team’s sweatshirt. Someone joked that if my team won, I wouldn’t “get any”. Another time, we were featured in the “Kiss Cam”. (peck on the cheek is what I gave).

But, more often, the “public assumption that you are together”…well, I’ll say it this way: every female friend I’ve done something with is someone that I would have been proud to be seen on a date with, were both of us single. I suppose that it feels to me that a female companion reflects on me more than a male one does. It shouldn’t be that way, but to me, it is.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Friends, human sexuality, social/political | , , , | 1 Comment

NFL binge…and road tripping

Well, given that the Colts have a really, really, really, really long shot at making the playoffs (and thereby hosting a playoff game)

Indianapolis clinches AFC South division with:

IND win + HOU loss + IND ties HOU in strength of victory tiebreaker and clinches strength of schedule tiebreaker over HOU

Note: IND ties HOU in strength of victory tiebreaker and clinches strength of schedule tiebreaker over HOU if BOTH of the following occurs:

All of the following teams win: ATL, BAL, BUF, DEN, MIA

OAK win or tie + PIT win or tie as long as both teams don’t tie

If Houston and Indianapolis end up tied in strength of victory and tied in strength of schedule, the teams would then go to the next tiebreaker, which is best combined ranking among AFC teams in points scored and points allowed in all games.

Barring an impromptu trip to, say, Cincinnati, or Minneapolis or Kansas City or even Green Bay, my football watching days are over…until next September. 🙂

I think that my football wanderlust is the result of my no longer going to Texas, my no longer being able to do multiple marathons, no political campaigns to work on and my love of the impromptu road trip.


So this season, I watched 8 college games (6 Illinois home games, 1 Baldwin Wallace home game, 1 Illinois State playoff game) and 8 NFL games.

The NFL experience was interesting. A season ticket holder sees 8 regular season home games, which means that they see 9 teams, with no team being seen twice.

I saw 10 different NFL teams: the Rams plus 5 opponents, Colts plus one opponent (one in common with the Rams) and Chiefs plus one opponent. In the process, I saw teams from every division EXCEPT the AFC East and the NFC East.
NFC west: Rams, 49’ers, Cardinals
NFC central: Lions and Bears
NFC south: Buccaneers
AFC west: Chiefs
AFC central: Browns
AFC south: Colts, Texans

So I saw more variety than a season ticket holder. And yes, in my opinion, the Cardinals were, by far, the best team I saw this year, though the Bears played very impressively *when I saw them*.
The Bears: 1-6 at home, but 5-3 on the road, with victories over the Packers, Chiefs and Rams? Hmmm. They are hard to figure out.

But I digress.

Past years to 2009 when I started watching again:

2014: 10 college (2 bowl, 1 D-3), 4 NFL (one playoff)
2013: 8 college (1 bowl), 4 NFL
2012: 7 college, 2 NFL
2011: 8 college, 3 NFL (first year of Illinois season tickets)
2010: 2 college, 2 NFL, 1 NFL exhibition (part of a Cardinals/Rams doubleheader)
2009: 1 NFL (wife took me…got me hooked again)

And no, I do not plan to stop. A note as far as bowls: I’ve seen several through the years (13 ?) but have only seen one of “my” teams 6 times: Texas once, Navy twice, Notre Dame twice, Illinois once. Most of the time I just went to..well…roadtrip. And once I just happened to be travelling through Dallas on the day of the Cotton Bowl, so I stopped and bought a 5 dollar ticket from someone!

December 29, 2015 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | , , , | Leave a comment

Public WiFi, Trump and Obama’s job creation record…


Yes, President Obama has been a much better “jobs” president than President Bush, though one could argue about the quality of the jobs (new ones pay less?)

Now Donald Trump is leading the Republicans. One danger is that Trump’s perceived extremism might make the bad “mainstream” Republican proposals look good by comparison. It is good to avoid that trap.

Public Wi-Fi: if you don’t take security measures, using the wifi in public areas can really open you up.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | economy, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Personal Sports: what is ahead for 2016?

Workout notes: swim then weights.

Swim: 2200 yards; low energy. A nice lady allowed me to share a lane with her; she even moved over. And there was a MILF type in the next lane in a bright red workout bikini..she was fast too. One time I caught up to her and she made it a point to speed up. 🙂

500 warm up, 10 x 25 drill (3g or fist), 25 swim (no fins), 5 x 200 on the 4: 4 were 3:31-3:33, one was 3:29. 200 back to cool down.
Weight: 186 prior to swimming; 184.5 after.

Then upstairs; gym wasn’t that crowded but I had low energy. pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (challenging), rotator cuff
bench press (weak) 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 6 x 170
incline press: 10 x 135 (ok)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 standing
row: basic machine, 3 sets of 10 x 45
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunches, 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, moving bridge recoveries

2016: what am I going to do? I’ll break it down by spring/fall. I do want to do at least one marathon (spring or fall?)

Option 1: focus on FANS 24 in June; this means that I need to walk a LOT and do some butt and leg strengthening so I might be able to finish the McNaughton 50 in April.
Option 2: focus on 1 mile/5K running. Still, I’ll need more leg/butt strength than I have now.
Option 3: focus on swimming and lifting; let running and walking supplement that. Find some open water swim this summer as a reward? Get the bench press to 210 again?
Option 4: no goals; just do “whatever” I feel like doing (a mix of everything).

Oh well, it just isn’t important, is it?

Spandex note: Girls in Yoga Pants has a shot of what they claim is a (grade school?) teacher in see through yoga pants…in the classroom. I can’t imagine a school finding this appropriate teaching attire; my guess is that this is probably some college snowflake doing student teaching.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Navel Staring, swimming, weight training | Leave a comment

Back in Peoria from KC

Workout notes: 4 mile run (hotel treadmill) in 42:25; it took about 22:20 for the first 2 miles. It was steady as it was warm in the room; then come cycling to cool down.

The drive: it was a sloppy mess. It was 32 F (0 C) for the first half of the drive (3-3:30 or so) from I-435, I-35 then Mo-36. Then about half way I could see the trees without ice and it was just sloppy rain after that (whiteouts caused by trucks, etc.). I’ve had easier drives, and I had a whole lot worse. With eating, gas, etc. the whole drive took 6:40 or so. The winds kept my gas mileage down.

I missed seeing Navy’s big bowl win.

December 29, 2015 Posted by | running, travel | Leave a comment

You won’t keep that New Year’s Resolution to workout unless…

I saw this on a friend’s wall and it made me laugh:


And yes, many of my sports and fitness minded friends have laughed about seeing the gym crowded early in the year only to become empty later.

Jan1st Gym

There is some research that talks about this. It appears that some of us are programmed to like working out and others are not.

And, let’s face it: all of us HAVE to do stuff we don’t want to do.

So, what about those who don’t have the desire to exercise built into their nature?

One approach that works for some is to make exercise a social thing. One can do this with a spouse or good friend (some have used me for this purpose) and one can either join an exercise class or develop a “community feeling” for a set workout period. I see many in the Riverplex who do this, even with me (e. g. someone noticed that I had a hair cut and a shave).

It is also my personal opinion that one should find an activity that they either enjoy or at least are more tolerant of.
I am lucky in there is a lot that I like to do (though I am not good at it) but even I need people; that is probably why I do more of those 5K races than I should.

If someone knows that they are goal oriented, one can make it a goal to, say, finish the local major race (e. g. the Steamboat 4 mile in Peoria) and join a group that is designed to get people to do that (like, say, the Illinois Valley Striders Building Steam program).

All of the well-intended resolutions in the world have a low probability of success if there is no concession made to a person’s nature.

I note that several of my friends who are very, very fit (finished marathons or beyond, lead several exercise classes, etc.) workout mostly in groups or with a friend.

This is why I am not a big fan of home exercise equipment. It can help…those who are genetically programed to do it anyway. And I do use our home treadmill when I am pressed for time OR when it is snowy/icy outside. But I am one of those who will “do it anyway.”

December 28, 2015 Posted by | workouts, yoga | , , | Leave a comment

My trip to Arrowhead Stadium (Browns vs. Chiefs)

I wrote about the game itself here. This will be more about the trip and “the experience”.

I’ve made a LOT of NFL games this year; in fact I’ve made 8. I’ve spent less than a season ticket holder does though (thanks internet!) and, the most expensive tickets I had were the “worst seats” (not bad seats, but a bit high up) for the high demand Bears vs. Rams game. And yes, the Rams got stomped..though they swept the Seahawks? Don’t get me started.

This trip was in lieu of a bowl game; 6 hour drive, reasonably priced tickets and a good ticket (30 yard line, 38’th row). And it was a chance to ESCAPE (holidays drive introverts crazy).

I started the day with a treadmill run: 11 minute warm up, 17:45 for 2 miles (8:57/8:48), some elliptical, then 10:40 cool down mile. It was warm in the exercise room and it got to me. There was some cutie (MILF) who flew through 10K at about 8:3x per mile (yes, I glanced at her display).


Then came the hotel breakfast; the venue is smaller than the St. Louis Drury Inn, but it was full of fans. There were a couple of Browns fans, but mostly Chiefs fans (as expected).

I bundled up: 2 socks (one wool), boots, long underwear, fleece jeans, thermal top, nylon top, wool sweater, high tech jacket, thin sweat shirt top with a hood, stocking cap, light gloves. It was enough for the cold day (just below freezing) and windy.

I had to be careful to not sweat too much on the walk to the stadium from the hotel. You can see the stadium from my hotel window; the nearer stadium is for baseball and the one further away is for football. It was about a 15 minute walk away.


Arrowhead from the hotel

Arrowhead is one of the NFL’s iconic stadiums. It opened in 1972 and it has been updated.

Though it was a cold day, the tailgate community was undeterred. Cars got there 4-5 hours prior to the start of the game. As you walked you saw it in the distance:

They are used to such weather here.


The entrance:

The stadium features exhibits a mini museum to Chiefs football and to the old AFL. I toured it after the game. Yes, there is a red and gold lit room and there is a team roster on the wall. There were more exhibits than I’ve shown here.





I had seats on the 30 yard line, at the top of the lowest deck.

One caveat: the people in the lower deck stand the entire time, only sitting during time outs. So, if you are short or have a short companion, either splurge for club seats (twice as expensive) or try to get first row, upper deck seats. Those in the upper deck did NOT stand nearly as much.

And yes, there is always some guy who is 6′ 6″ and has a size 8 head who will be in front of you. I could see over/around him, but a shorter person would have had trouble. He was nice; he asked the guy next to me if his wife’s animal hat was obscuring his view. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that, even with her hat, he was about a foot taller than her. 🙂

Yes, the fans were friendly, supportive and LOUD. LOUD…dome loud in the outdoors. It was a fun experience for me. I’d go again, and if I went with someone, where I got seats would depend on how willing they were to stand and how tall they were.

In short: Mat, Lynn or Jason: I’d get seats where I was. Barbara, Tracy or Linda: first row, upper deck or club seats. There is a slightly less expensive club seat available for about 30 dollars more than I paid for my seat.

Pregame/game photos:



You could actually feel the heat from the fire here; this is when the Chiefs entered the field.



The cheerleaders wore red spandex and I didn’t bring my binoculars.


December 28, 2015 Posted by | football, running, travel, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment