Taking nothing for granted

Yesterday started well enough; my walk was slow but ok (16:10 mpm)

3:01 for this course. Too slow but what the heck.

I even got 2 innings of baseball (Chiefs won in 11 innings)

Lots of elbow room. Was it something I said?

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The day ended with everyone being ok (nothing life threatening, or even long term life degrading) but it isn’t how I would have chosen to spend the day.

But it makes me more grateful for the many times when I DO have choices on how I spend my day..that really is “most of the time”.


May 21, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

Clogged twitter so

Well, my Twitter feed is clogged with news stories about two rich people getting married so I have some incentive to get out there and…train.

More and more: my mind wants to do this and that, but my body rebels at doing the training that will get me to do this and that. Is it time for me to look for a running buddy? Yeah, I am still getting out there.

Last night I caught an exciting Chiefs game; the starting pitcher went 6 innings, scattered 4 hits and struck out 10. The Chiefs got 4 runs in that span.
But his is A level ball (that is, it is a developmental league where winning isn’t the most important thing) and so they pulled him (had his desired number of pitches) and Kane County jumped on the reliever for 2 home runs and hit a couple of batters. A second relief pitcher came in and settled things down.

One of the home runs went over the berm and hit the sidewalk.

Still, it was a nice 4-2 win.

Friday Chiefs game: her first of the Chiefs season.

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I admit that I enjoy A ball and college ball. A level is a bit different than college in that there is more talent, there is less of a talent difference between the teams (e. g., no such thing as a game between a division I program and an NAIA program) and the talent is more polished. BUT, in A ball, winning is not the primary concern in A, though it is important. And the college game features a bit more scoring and it a bit less predictable.

Major league, of course, is the best, but the larger stadiums gives it a less intimate feel. I think that the AAA game I saw gave a bit of both; it was “major light” in terms of level of play, but had the smaller, but not too small, stadium for the intimate feel. You could get great seats without taking out a second mortgage.

BUT there was something a bit depressing about going to a Chiefs game when they have a good took me a while to put my finger on it.

I think it is this: I teach at a university and am used to seeing lots of young people. I go to gyms, run 5Ks, go to yoga classes..and run in parks. I tend to see people who are working out or are still healthy. The crowd at a Chiefs game…let’s just say that while on rare occasion I do see some fit people (one time I sat next to a national class racewalker) , most of what I see is pretty grim. For some reason, that gets me down a bit.

That is illogical as that has nothing to do with me.

May 19, 2018 Posted by | baseball, social/political | | 3 Comments

Sadness of Twitter; joy of a game…

Staycation day 3: workout, Chiefs game, a lovely lunch and then yoga class tonight. Love it.

But first about Twitter: there was a tweet from a pundit that talked about Trump “sinking”.
He really isn’t:

I added the smoothed green line to show the general trend. Not much to see here; it dipped a little and rose a little; right now it is between 42-44 percent, depending on which poll aggregate you use.

The above is from Fivethirtyeight (they weight the polls differently, according to accuracy, partisan bias, etc.)

And yes, on the whole, Trump ranks lower than Obama at the same point in their respective administrations:

So, that is clear enough? Well, no…I added that Trump was inching up but “still low” and some Trump supporter attempted to correct me by relying on the Rasmussen poll; the “most accurate” he says (not so fast; though it did have the most accurate “last national poll prior to the election” if one disregards margin of error and disregards how scattered they were in the previous days prior to the election)

And he really “got me” when he gave me a screen shot of the Real Clear Politics aggregate of the various states…one which called the close states ….toss ups (and did give Wisconsin a “lean Clinton”).
Clearly he does not understand what “toss up” means..never mind knowing what “stochastic” means.

And so it goes with Twitter discussions: people who don’t know what they are talking about decide to “educate” you. So I just up and blocked him; I am not going to waste my time with such people, even if they aren’t as nasty as others.

But on the other side of things: you see things like “Trump is sinking”, “blue wave” (unlikely…MAYBE we eek out a win in one chamber), etc.

I think that, when it comes to politics, I’ll just refrain from engaging and focus on reading articles.

The joy of a game

The Peoria Chiefs once again jumped on the relief pitching of the Clinton Lumberkings and rallied from 5-1 down in the top of the 8’th to win 7-5. The Clinton starter kept the Chiefs at bay and allowed 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 6 in 5 innings. But they went to a reliever in the 6’th (evidently his number of pitches were up) and the first reliever did fine for 2 innings. But the second one came in at the bottom of the 8’th and it was batting practice for the Chiefs: they got 6 runs off 2 walks and 5 hits as the Chiefs batted around.

Once again, it was a kid’s matinee and once again, Vickie was fun company.

Second kids matinee game. Vickie is on the left.

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And I got photobombed by Homer, the Chiefs mascot.

The work
Yes, I walked the 2 miles to the game and got a ride back from Vickie.

Weights: rotator cuff, pt, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (good), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 155, decline: 8 x 170, military: 10 x 50 standing, 2 sets of 10 x 45 (note: I could not swing the 55’s into position in the seated, supported)
Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.

usual abs, and yeah, the 2:30 plank sucked, as usual. It always does.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | baseball, Friends, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Athletic burnout, summer and more …

First things first: I did my 6.3 mile (just over 10k) run/shuffle in humid conditions. I’ll try a 12 miler shuffle this weekend; IF that goes well, I’ll sign up for a couple of half marathons.

I came back to a Facebook post from a competitive racewalker (someone who was national class at the masters level; walked a judged 50K at a 10 minute per mile pace) and she has dealt with a weird, chronic fatigue for 5 years. I’ve noticed that some other friends have had that; it seems that they peaked, backslid and then reached a zone that they could not get out of and just were never the same. That happened to me after my best long distance walk (101 miles in 24 hours in May, 2004). Though I had other tough performances after that (29:34 100 mile walk on a tough course in 2005, 5:14 after a trail 100 in 2009), I really was never quite the same after I pushed myself that hard. I still cringe a bit when I think about that night…I really gave it my all.

And so I wonder: if many of us have some sort of “that’s enough” reaction from our bodies that just won’t permit us to ever dig that hard again. I am unaware of research in this area.

Academic achievement There was a bit of controversy in my narrow twitter world; someone in my academic circle made disparaging comments about junior college professors.
In part of my response I remarked that I am sure that MIT math professors see me as an idiot..and compared to them, I am! No biggie; it is like the Chiefs game I saw today. These class A players are all awesome baseball players (or they wouldn’t be there) but fewer than 10 percent of them will see the field in a major league game. That is just reality. Having class A talent puts you well into the “outlier” region of the bell curve even if it doesn’t get you to the majors.

But it is really gauche to rub someone’s nose in it.

Don’t get me wrong; 2 year professors do have some challenges; their student body can have quite a bit of variation. We had someone transfer from a 2 year institution win a math department award for academic excellence. On the other hand, some come to us very unprepared. Trying to teach a class with both kinds of students in it can be very challenging, especially when other students are taking classes between other responsibilities. So a JC’s professors job can be very, very challenging. But meeting these challenges is respect worthy, IMHO.

But I digress. What I find interesting is my saying that “I am not as smart as an MIT/Cal Tech/Berkeley math professor as ..well, a bad thing to say! I don’t get it.

Now the ball game Vickie and her friend Terra made it to the game to watch with me. It was a kid’s matinee game.

The Chiefs won 13-1. It was 3-1 (and still much in doubt) when Clinton went to a relief pitcher after he walked the first runner in the 5’th inning (he met his allotment of pitches?) Then the Chiefs jumped all over the relief pitcher and scored 5 runs, including getting a towering home run to left field which cleared the second white fence beyond the berm. The second relief pitcher had no better luck.


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A game with some friends..

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May 15, 2018 Posted by | baseball, education, Friends, running | , , | Leave a comment

Ouch: Bradley Baseball has a rough series with Dallas Baptist

I honestly thought that Bradley would win at least one game of this series. But Dallas Baptist was too strong at the plate.

Yesterday’s game ended 7-3; Bradley threw its best starter and best relief pitcher.. and still DBU had an early 3-0 lead, mostly off of 2 solo home runs in the first two innings. Then came the fateful 6’th inning after Bradley had cut the lead to 3-2. The starter gave up a hit and a walk so the ace reliever came in with 2 on and no out. DBU executed a perfect bunt to load the bases, and with the infield in close, DBU hit a ground ball down the right field line past the “up close” infield..that was a double. A fly out scored another run and it was 6-2.

Though BU cut it to 6-3, in the top of the 9’th, there were two outs when BU made an error on a ground ball. A steal and then a wild pitch moved the runner to 3’rd, where he scored on a single.

Still, down 7-3 in the 9’th, BU loaded the bases but failed to score. Overall, BU stranded 10 runners. Highlight: BU got out of a “bases loaded, no outs” jam by a pretty unassisted double play by the short stop off of a line drive.

Reliever in action.

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Today: again, DBU’s bats came out blazing; it was 7-0 after 3 innings (3 runs in the first, 4 in the 3’rd). Eventually it went to 9-0 before BU rallied in the bottom of the 8’th, scoring 4, including a 3 run home run. But DBU added 2 insurance runs in the top of the 9’th. I did see one spectacular catch off of the wall by the BU left fielder though.

11 to 4 Dallas Baptist. Still a good home season.

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So, this isn’t the way Bradley wanted to end their home season, but there is one conference series left and the MVC tournament. DBU plays Missouri State in a series in a battle of the top 2 MVC teams. BU’s conference record is 10-8, with 5 of the losses coming from Missouri State and Dallas Baptist.

Still, it was fun home season and I enjoyed the games.

May 13, 2018 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment

What sports can teach college students (and their parents)


Well, I’ve run the Race for the Cure several times. It isn’t what it once was (5500 signed up, as opposed to the 20K plus of yesteryear) and I wasn’t what I once was: 29:00.04 (I am hoping my chip says 28:59.xx); 9:20 pace. Yeah, that stinks but at least I didn’t have to walk, AND this course is one of the more challenging ones. I’ve posted my history with this race below. Here: I did my best though by no means, was I ready to race. I didn’t restart running until early March and I wasn’t confident enough to get off of the treadmill until a couple of weeks ago or so. The foot was fine during the race but ached slightly afterward. Temperatures were in the 50’s.

It had stormed before the race and cleared up..hoping the same happens for tonight’s baseball game.

Yes, Bradley opened its series with Dallas Baptist and frankly, DBU just tore the cover off of the ball. It was 6-0 after 2 innings and in the second inning, every out was a fly ball caught on the warning track. It ended 13-2 after 7 innings; they had 15 hits.

BU tried to fight back; the Braves got a solo home run in the 3’rd and then, while it was 7-1, twice loaded the bases to end up stranding 3 runners in both innings and deriving exactly one run. In this game, BU had no margin of error. The Patriots were simply a lot better last night. Maybe the Braves can right that today.

Rough start: Dallas Baptist up 3-0 early. Go Braves!

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Better than average crowd trying to rally BU. Bases loaded.

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These two unrelated things I think provide a nice life lesson. Yes, practice and training makes you better. But when it comes time for the competition, only your performance matters. Yes, you need to prepare and prepare hard..that is what will help you with your performance. But in the end, there is no box score for your practice time, no place on the finish results to record your workout. Your time and place is what gets recorded.

When you watch a game and your team lines up for a field goal: you don’t think about the kicker’s practice sessions. You expect them to make the kick. You expect the pitcher to throw strikes and to befuddle the batters. You expect the batter to hit the ball well and for the fielders to make plays.

In more serious situations: the engineer’s design has to hold up..the doctor has to operate properly and the pilot has to fly the plane correctly. There is no “oh I tried so hard” box to check.

In short, in the eyes of others, you are your results. Now yes, you might have more self peace and serenity if you can become indifferent to outcomes (“let go and let god”) and that is a wonderful thing…just don’t expect that to “count” in the eyes of anyone else. And yes, the vast majority of us (myself included) will never be more than mediocre, though we can possibly improve our degree of mediocrity. But it is the results that count…

And how I wish students understood that their grade on an exam or in a course is a measure of their performance. Performance can suffer for reasons within their control (not enough study) or outside of their control (talent, life circumstances). But the grade is a measure of their performance on the subject material, period. It is possible that a lazier but more talented person will do better than they do.

And again, effort matters to the degree that it enhances performance. But it is the performance that is measured.

Past Race for the cures:

Split 2009 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018
Mile One 8:15 8:25 8:18 8:18 8:39 8:46 9:20
Mile Two 7:11 7:34 7:56 7:25 8:02 8:28 8:52
Final 1.1 9:03 9:12 9:34 9:43 9:32 10:17 10:48
Time 24:29 25:13 25:48 25:27 26:14 27:32 29:00

Note: in 2010, I power walked it in 32:55. In 2011, I signed up but skipped to rest an injury.


Graduation duties prevented me from doing the 2017 race.

May 12, 2018 Posted by | baseball, education, running | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A safe lead is a win ..

I enjoyed some Bradley Baseball last night. It started off strong (3-0) after 2 innings…and was pushed to 6-2, with the relief pitcher (a math honor student) striking out the side in the 7’th. Then the next relief pitcher came in..there was an out missed on a bad throw to first based (it was 6-3) then..ooops. Bases were loaded and SIUE tied it at 6 after 8. BU got 2 runs after an intentional walk (with a runner on 2’nd)..evidently they wanted 1’st and second covered..but why pitch to 3’rd in order?

So it was 8-6 and that is how it ended though SIUE made it interesting getting the tying runners on base. The game lasted over 3 hours but had so much action, it went quickly.

Perfect weather, and finals are over. SIU-Edwardsville at Bradley (make up game)

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May 11, 2018 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment

Quitting: physical vs. mental

My Cornstalk 8.1 was dreadfully slow (hilly) 1:36:50: 48:21/48:29) 11:57 pace, BUT midway through I was about to bail. I wasn’t tired; I wasn’t injured; I just was tired of it and was tired of shuffling.

Yeah, that is slower than I was doing 2 years ago (when I was in the high 25’s for the 5K) but given where I recently came from and given that my foot hurt not at all..and that it was to turn out to be a warm day (80’s during the day) it really wasn’t THAT bad.

Yes, I’ve bailed due to nausea, fatigue, injury, cramps, etc. But today: it was all mental.

Later: making up for yesterday’s “play plus booooring church event”, I made a Bradley softball game (BU won 4-2, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning; increasing it to 4-1 in the bottom of the 6’th and then surviving a late Evansville rally, getting the final out when the second baseman held on to a pop fly despite being run into by the right fielder after the same fly…

Go Braves! Bradley Softball hosting Evansville.

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Evansville at Bradley.

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We went to Indian lunch; I dropped Barbara off and caught the last 6 innings of the Chiefs 5-4 loss to the South Bend Cubs. It was 5-1 when I got there and the Chiefs climbed back into it. But good relief pitching saved the day.

My personal double header: made it at inning 3. Chiefs down by 3.

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Stretching in Peoria. Chiefs down 5-4.

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May 7, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running | , , | Leave a comment

Two games, two teams, very different results.

First, I did walk 8 miles today (slowly; 16-17 mpm or thereabouts). It was in the high 30’s F when I started (perhaps 1-2 C). Like yesterday: no stop watch. I didn’t want to know. Saw a massive groundhog and this sign:

Seen on my walk. 😆

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I never knew that dogs being on marijuana was such a huge problem. 🙂

This was the course; it was a nice mix of hills and flat ground; adding another loop should make it a decent Steamboat simulation.

Now the games.

Yesterday: dominant pitching, plus a home run robbing catch in the outfield gave Bradley a hard earned 2-0 win over a strong Missouri State team. It got tense in the 8’th when Missouri state loaded the bases. But BU came up with some plays and a strikeout to end the threat. The starting pitcher went 6 2/3 innings, struck out 11 and allowed 2 hits; he faced 18 batters in the first 6 innings (one hit, but that batter was caught while trying to steal second).

8th inning action. Go Braves!

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You can watch me getting excited (behind the plate..but in two different locations) here:

The spectacular catch here:

Then came today’s game:

Go Braves! I found a buddy for this one.

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Nice day for a double play. Still 2 to 0 Mo. State.

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And it was competitive, for the first 4 innings. It was 2-0 and the Missouri State pitcher was pitching very well; he was to face 25 batters in 7 innings, allow 1 hit and strike out 6.

But then came the nightmare 5’th and 6’th inning which saw Missouri State blow it open; 4 Bradley errors didn’t help (though 1..I thought was a hit..a hard line drive to the shortstop that left him shaking his glove hand out.) It ended 13-2 after 7, when it was called after the “mercy rule”.

But Missouri State is a strong team and Bradley got 1 of the 3. And two of the 3 games were thrillers.

April 29, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

BU comes up short in series opener vs. Mo. State..5-4

Well, Bradley outscored Missouri State 4-1 in the part of the game that I got to watch. But due to a commitment, I showed up after the second inning and BU was down 4-0. The Braves fought back gamely but stranded too many runners (including 3 in one inning) though, to be fair, the Bears also stranded a few.

This game featured a towering home run, bunts, key strikeouts, double plays and some thrilling catches; I wish BU would have won but it was a very entertaining game to watch.

Bradley down 4-1 early..playing Missouri State.

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It is tough to come back from 4-0 down..and doubly tough against a strong team like Missouri State.

There are two more games left in this series.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | baseball | | Leave a comment