How much is too much?

A conversation with a friend got me to thinking about my training, life and long distance events.

She told me that one of her friends is always on her about “overdoing it”; hence when she posts “my feet are blistered” photos after ultra marathons, she excludes that person. is it. I’ve run for most of my life, lifted for most of it, and swam off and on. I started in 1972 to get ready for football.

It is now 45 years later and I can no longer handle significant volume. My knees have a dull ache much of the time (5 operations, mostly due to malaligned patellas and arthritis; these were in 1978 (major), 1979 (major), 1984 (minor), 1984 (minor), 2010 (minor). I haven’t really been the same since the 2010 operation.

I did most of my running in the 1997-2001 window and “serious” walking from 2002-2009; it has been a struggle since then. My walking marathon (best: 4:44, usual: 5:12-5:35) has migrated to 5:50 or so…and maybe not that fast. Running: LOL..I did run 3:38 in 2000, 3:33 in 1980…but my final sub 4 was in 2002 (3:57). That is gone forever.

Again, I am stiff most of the time (a return to yoga is helping that though), and there is the knee ache and tingling feet (soles)…calf/sole stretching appears to help that. And the back, the shoulder (PT for both). so right now, I walk about 40-50 miles a week and lift 3 times a week; 1-2 yoga classes too. I might add swimming later.

How much is too much? I have a friend who is in her early 70’s; she has run 4-5 miles, 4 times a week for years and years. But even she has aches and pains from time to time. And those who I know who do not work out: many are train wrecks, so it is hard to tell how many of my aches and pains are due to excessive activity.

Yes, I know: 100 miles is too much for me. There are people who are better designed for it..I am not one of them. 2009 was my last one. I have not given up on doing another 50 though; 2015 was my last one (in a 24 hour event). But yes, there comes a point at which excess activity harms the health.

My running/walking friends appear to be mostly healthy…but do they do the endurance sports because they are healthy, or does their activity enhance their health? It is hard to tell…

But, as for me, running might be over, at least in anything over 10-15 miles a week.

August 31, 2017 Posted by | marathons, running, walking | | Leave a comment

Chiefs “walk” one more step toward playoff baseball

Last night, my wife treated me to a Chief’s game for my birthday…birthday dinner was hamburger and fries! LOL…

The opponent was the Quad Cities Bandits, the best team in the league. And the first inning looked grim; the Chiefs starter hit two batters, gave up a double and two infield singles..and the infield made one official error (and one misplay)…and the result was an early 2-0 lead for the Bandits. The Chiefs got one run back in the 2’nd and it stayed that way until the 7’th, when the Chief’s reliever gave up a run. So it was 3-1 going into the bottom of the 9’th; the second Chiefs relief pitcher pitched very well.

But then the Bandits put in their second relief pitcher..who….walked 3 Chiefs in a row, sparking the Bandits into sending another relief pitcher. A long single scored 2 (catcher couldn’t quite hold on to the throw to make the tag on the second runner) so the Chiefs had runners on 3’rd and 2’nd with 0 outs. One Chief struck out and then they intentionally walked the next batter to set up a potential double play with bases loaded to preserve the tie.

But the next batter hit a chopping ground ball that went over the 3’rd baseman’s head to score the winning run…what a game!

In a nutshell, the Bandit’s “inning from hell” (9’th) was slightly worse than the Chiefs’ (1’st).

Workout notes yesterday, weights plus 4 mile walk: hip hikes, toe raises, rotator cuff, yoga afterward (with abs); pull ups (5 sets of 10), incline press: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 7 x 150, military press: (standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45 (dumbbell), 10 x 90 (machine), rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.

today; 5 mile walk; to W. Peoria, 8 laps (27:16, 16:10 for 43:26 for 3.3 miles of “on/off” walking), walked home. Yoga afterward (on my own).

August 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

Political Correctness, pushback and Trump.

Ok, here is another “why are so many white men” angry article. This one starts off with the usual….”you are upset because you are used to having all of the advantages…” but it does get better and is ultimately worth reading.

I’ll add a couple of things: first, change, no matter what kind, can be poorly executed. Sometimes a well intended program just ends up making extra work for everyone and ends up either detracting or adding no value. Sometimes a well intended program is wrong headed. So, I can see “diversity” programs being resented, at least at first. And second, sometimes the change is sold with a great deal of sanctimonious finger wagging …with no opportunity for dialog. It is “as a member of class X, I am offended and you must be quiet and listen..” I don’t think that finger wagging changes anyone’s mind.

College campuses are a frequent target of the right wing and some of the fire...SOME is justified. In general, people aren’t happy when their ideas get challenged.

Here is an example of that: take “race”. You hear about “race being an artificial construct” when, in fact, it makes scientific sense (in terms of clustering of certain alleles. And yes, evolutionary psychology is an honest science (even if it is abused too often). Too often, people dismiss findings that they do not like, regardless of the evidence and the quality of the study and the number of studies that confirm a result.

But on the flip side: much of political correctness is of the right wing variety (e. g. creationism..which has no validity at all). And the conservatives are gravitating toward their own identity politics, with Trump leading the way.

Workout notes 1 mile to the W. Peoria Track, 47:52 (24:46/23:06) for 10 laps (about 4.2 miles); Larry was with me for part of a lap and for the final 3 laps, I chased a cute bespandexed runner..she would not let me catch her (broke my heart…not).

While this is not the best I have done it was respectable for this workout…best in a very long time (10 years or so).

August 29, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

walking and baseball: Chiefs look like a team wanting to make the play offs

Walking: despite 20 yesterday, I felt ok this morning. So I walked 10.05 in 2:24:49; 2.52 segments were 36:20 out, 36:47 back (uphill); I was 1:14 at the dam after the goose loop. This was my fastest time on this course in about 2 years or more.

Ok, it wasn’t very fast; this used to be 2:10 during my “100 in 24 hr” days. Still, I was ok with it today.


I caught a couple of Chief’s game this weekend. On Saturday, they played well and steady and won 4-0 over a good Kane County team. Everything clicked: pitching, fielding, hitting; complete team effort.
Sunday: it could have been the same old story. The Chief’s first basemen hit his second home run of the weekend and the Chiefs were up early. But a rough 3’rd inning saw the first two Kane County batter hit home runs..back to back. But then the starter settled down to give 6 good innings and left with a 3-2 lead.

Then came the 7’th: the first relief pitcher gave up: a double, two walks, sacrifice fly, single, double …and 4 runs. He didn’t last the inning…rough day. So now it was 6-3 Kane County.

But the Chiefs battled back; good defense and 1 run in the 7’th and 8’th to trail 6-5 going into the 9’th as the rain started to fall.

They got the tying run on 2 errors: one to get the runner at first, then one error on a good bunt to put runners on first and second. A single scored the runner from second. A double play put a runner at 3’rd but a strike out send the game into the 10’th inning.

By then it was raining. The Chiefs held then got two walks to get runners on first and second. A ground ball moved the runners to 3’rd and second; hit batter to load the bases and a single won the game.

Upshot: Kane County made those two errors to give the Chiefs a window, and they went through it. Good, exciting comeback which saw almost all fans (save a dozen or so…me included) either leave or go up under the cover. I stayed in my seat..loved it.

August 28, 2017 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

And I am pessimistic for the country…

Take a look at this image, which I presume to be meant NON IRONICALLY (I sure hope that it is satire but doubt it..).

Realize that to 35-40 percent of the population of the United States, THIS IS A POSITIVE IMAGE.

So yes, every large country has its share of stupid, utterly ignorant people who think of themselves as “heroes for good”. But our country’s set up gives disproportionate power to the rural areas; every state (not matter how tiny) gets 2 Senators and at least one House Representative, and a combination of gerrymandering and population dispersion is often reflected in statistics like this one:

Republican candidates received 49.13% of total votes cast in 2016 and won 55.4% of U.S. House seats. Comparatively, Democratic candidates received 48.03% of votes and won 44.6% of races. Third-party and write-in candidates received 2.56% of votes.

And don’t even get me started on this:

According to vote tallies from The Associated Press, Clinton amassed 65,844,610 votes across all 50 states and Washington D.C., 48.2 percent of all votes cast. Trump received 62,979,636 votes, 46.1 percent of all votes cast.

The Associated Press announced today that all votes had officially been certified.

Clinton had 2,864,974 votes more than Trump, the largest popular vote margin of any losing presidential candidate in U.S. history, according to the AP.

The early forecast for 2018 has the Democrats picking up House seats, but not regaining power …while winning the aggregate popular vote.

Bottom line: I have no problem with a rural person’s vote counting the same as mine, and I understand that perfect equity is impossible. But what we have now is outrageous.

I think that our country is ungovernable. I believe that it is time for us to split into two countries.

But HOW? There is the rub: our divide is more “urban vs. rural” rather than state vs. state. Having an old Confederate vs. Union split might not solve anything; after all I live in Peoria, IL but have more in common with someone in Austin, TX than I do with the rural people in this state.

But I suppose if we had a Union vs. Confederate split, we could rewrite our Constitution to reflect our current reality instead of being hidebound by the way our country was in 1776.

But…I really don’t see a way to make it work….sad to say, I have gripes but no viable solutions.

My ideal solution (which would NEVER happen) would be to go to a single chamber system with more representatives…non-gerrymandered districts and the winner of that election chooses a Prime Minister. No majority = coalition government.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | laughing at myself, political/social, social/political | 1 Comment

Marathon preparation: time to worry?

Today I had a decent day for walking (60’s at the start (61 F. 70 percent at the start, 75 F, 57 percent at the end). I am still recovering from my cold and didn’t have much energy at the start. So, I played it safe: 2.52 miles to the river, three 5.02 mile segments (goose loop, dam), 2.52 back home for 20.1 in 5:15:51. That is 15:43 mpm, too damned slow, but, well, 2 minutes slower than I was on the same course in 2015 (in September). What can I say. And that was my 3’rd 20 mile walk this build up so….if the day isn’t hot, breaking 6 hours will be tough but a “realistic challenge”.

I did have to dodge a few bikes and some “Farmer’s Market” traffic but nothing serious. And I feel much, much, much better this afternoon than I did last Saturday.

The cough is slight; I did have some right knee ache but nothing serious.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | marathons, walking | 1 Comment

They aren’t going to change their minds…..

From time to time, I read articles about how Trump doesn’t know what he is talking about (example). But you know what? That will not matter to Trump supporters.

They voted for Trump as a big “fuck you” to their perceived enemies; what Trump does makes little difference:

The Rust Belt and Midwest more broadly speaking have experienced so much hardship and for so long that residents no longer care what policy prescriptions candidates promise; they firmly believe that nothing will work anyway. These voters are unlikely to care that Trump often flip-flops on issues, does things for which he vocally criticized Barack Obama, and fails to deliver on promises made during the campaign.

Similarly, pointing out that he has nothing but bile-laced Tweets to show for his first half-year in the White House is not persuasive. So long as he continues to give them a vicarious outlet for their anger toward convenient targets that are often blamed for the Rust Belt’s problems – urban elites, immigrants, gays and lesbians, the media, ivory tower academics, the Clintons, and so on – he serves a vital purpose for them.

It is not easy to watch one’s community slowly fall apart over decades due largely to forces beyond one’s control, nor is it easy to look to the future and see only the same downward trajectory regardless of endless (and ultimately fruitless) plans to “revitalize” the Huntingtons and Youngstowns of the United States. After five decades of bad news, Trump feels like a breath of fresh air. Rather than offering them economic or social policy proposals they have heard before and in which they have no more strength to believe, he offers them an opportunity to extend a middle finger to the established institutions of society and government. That is invaluable to people who have received nothing of value in exchange for their votes since the strong economic years of the post-War era.

So, we will never “win” among them; perhaps we can lessen the margin of loss a bit and get our own people to show up. But mass conversion: never.

So, when one attempts to engage, I try to make my point but when they reject my sources (say, a NYT article or some statistics), I just smile and wish them a good day..and move on.

The 2018 forecast: grim. We might well lose Senate seats and pick up a few House seats, but not enough of them to retake that chamber.

Workout notes: weights and rope skips only. Usual PT (hip hikes, rotator cuff, toe raises), pull ups 5 sets of 10 (grip problems on set 4), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170. incline: 10 x 135. military (standing, dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 90 machine. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer. Rope skips: two sets of 50; grabbed one young guy’s personal rope by mistake; I was embarrassed and apologized profusely but he was cool with it.

August 25, 2017 Posted by | politics/social, social/political, weight training | | Leave a comment

Statistical inference and the morning weight room

I know that this is far from perfect. But for a couple of years, the university had some smaller than average classes. And yes, the gym was more empty at 6 am.
Today: there were more people than usual in the gym at 6 am (start of classes). But that isn’t the only factor: our university is also tearing down buildings and replacing them with updated ones (yes, badly needed upgrades). That reduces the number of available classrooms, hence we have more afternoon/late afternoon classes than before.

So more students plus “being in class in the afternoon” means “more people in they gym” in the morning. Nevertheless, I got through the routine (weights only) in 42 minutes; then added 20 minutes of skips and legs then walked 4 outside.

Social media: it is interesting. In one case, somebody thought he was “calling me out” when, in fact, I was arguing about langue and not the concept. In another case, a Trump supporter refused to read anything from the mainstream media because…well, the election projections were wrong.

Note: the polls did pretty well with the national popular vote; even the state polls in the battle ground states were not that far is just that several were off by a little bit IN THE SAME DIRECTION (which Nate Silver said was a real possibility). The polls weren’t bad, but some (not all) of the inferences from the polls were. But try explaining that to someone whose mind is already made up.

I’ve learned to say “ok, I’ll leave your company for others to enjoy”.

And yes, I’ve had to do that with people who vote the same way that I do. Statements like “no, Bernie Sanders would not have won” or “Hillary Clinton really isn’t that good of a campaigner; Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were a lot better” or “yes, the Russians did spread disinformation but there is no evidence that they hacked the voting machines themselves” have earned me both ire and blocks on Twitter.

No big loss though.

Workout notes:
hip hikes, toe raises, rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10: ok.
incline: 10 x 135, 8 x 150, 4 x 160 (decent hip placement)
military: (standing, with dumbbells) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40
rows (Hammer) 3 sets of 10 x 200

The above took 42 minutes.

rope skips: 34, 50, 50 (last two sets: ended at 50 voluntarily). I am getting better.
goblet squats: 5 x 50 (window sill), 10 x 50, 10 x 53 (kettle), 5 x 70 (20 inch box)
4 mile walk in Bradley Park; kind of sluggish. Very good weather though; nice and cool.

August 23, 2017 Posted by | 2016, social/political, statistics, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

still ill..sort of

Workout notes: 4 mile treadmill run in 44:15 (5.1 for 10, then up .1 every 5 minutes to mile 3, then up .1 every .25 to the end). And yes, THAT WAS ACTUALLY WORK; I am a bit of a physical wreck. Then 1 mile of cool down walking.
Weight: 201.3 with shoes (about 5 lb. down) so that is headed in the right direction.

Social note: yes, classes start tomorrow, and this will be different as last semester, I taught calculus III (vector calculus), differential equations and Statistics II. I was dealing with the most talented students we usually see. Now, I have larger classes of more inexperienced students, along with one advanced class. The larger classes requires a different mindset from me; I’ll adjust but I am going to have to be very intentional at fist (e. g. get in the habit of explaining things more slowly, including the details that come naturally to experienced engineering and science students).

August 22, 2017 Posted by | education, illness, running | Leave a comment

Errors eclipse Chiefs’ chances of winning

Two days prior to classes: I decided to make a noon baseball game (12:30 start due to rain) and an eclipse watching party (30 minute break in the game to watch). I had some old glasses from 2012.

In fact, this was my 3’rd Chiefs game in a row. On Saturday, we took Tracy and the Chiefs lost 7-6, despite a grand slam. 4 errors killed them.
Sunday: pitcher’s duel. The Chiefs won 2-0 but committed 3 errors.
Today: lost to Clinton again 7-6; a disastrous 2n’d inning which saw 3 errors and the Chiefs leave home plate uncovered cost them 3 runs, and the game. There were 4 home runs, 2 by each team. One of the Clinton home runs cleared the second green fence that was to the left and behind the large visual screen. One of the Chiefs homeruns hit that said screen.

Now games where you have 4, 3 and 4 errors all in a row…there is a problem. I noticed and said something…yesterday and today.

And my thoughts: well, that team that fielded so well is now at Palm Beach! (the “advanced A” Cardinals affiliate). Ok, that is an exaggeration, but the Cardinals are good about promoting the players and a few Chiefs have earned promotions this season. This can lead to growing pains for the team that is left behind. Ah, the life of a minor league baseball fan. 🙂

Workout notes: 4 mile walk yesterday. Today: almost full weight workout: rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (5 sets of 10: went ok), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer machine, military (dumbbell, standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40. 2 sets of rope skips (16, 22), 2 sets of squats (50’s, 20 inch, windowsill).

Yes, I have a cold. So I drove to a game I normally walk to. Easy for the next few days.

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