driving a lot and trying to run

Whew. I went on the treadmill to try to get some running at a non-survival pace. 20 minutes of 5.2-5.5 (every 5 minutes), 10 at 6.7, 10 at 6.8, (39:45) then walked to get to 54:55 (5 miles). I was drenched with sweat.

Yes, I shuffled a slow 5 yesterday. Trying to snap out of the “driving a lot” mode is tough; I can feel for the trucker who wants to stay in shape.

I did watch a baseball game last night; the Chiefs lost to Cedar Rapids 4-1.



The Chiefs lost talent to promotion but the new players have some time to jell with the rest of the team in time for the playoffs.

I also caught some boxing on replay; I watched the super heavyweight quarter finals; though the fighter from Nigeria lost, I think that he has talent that a trainer could bring out. And I saw a replay of the gold medal match in the heavyweight category; I think that the decision was highway robbery.

August 18, 2016 Posted by | baseball, boxing, running | , | Leave a comment

Mismatches in boxing, football, basketball and baseball…

I watched Bradley University play Illinois College (D-3) and Robert Morris (Springfield, NAIA) in baseball. Needless to say, Bradley won both games easily. But the thing was, the games were still relatively fun to watch; I wondered why.

Here what I think is going on: in baseball, the real “player to player” duel is between the pitcher and batter; once the ball is hit, it is the player versus the ball. Hence the losing team can still make great fielding plays and hence it can still be entertaining, even if lacking in drama.

Basketball: Yes, D-III Eureka can still play Bradley, but the game was boring; the Bradley players were too quick, too fast, and too strong. The action in basketball is player versus player. But the competition is still “safe”; there is little extra danger of injury.

Football: too big of a difference in level can lead to unsafe conditions; I can only imagine the bloodbath a D-III team versus a Big Ten team would be. The difference in strength, speed, quickness and power could well lead to injuries.

Boxing: a tough sport, but could well be dangerous, even fatal if the mismatch is too great.

May 5, 2016 Posted by | baseball, basketball, boxing, football | Leave a comment

Bias of many types…and a walk

Today’s workout: end of “leisure” workout. I did my 8.1 cornstalk course in 2 hours (some rain…I didn’t get that wet) and then 2 more miles on the treadmill: 12:00/11:20 to get 23:20. I wanted to do at least a little faster than marathon pace.

RIP: BKS Lyengar, famous yogi and author of Light on Yoga.

Here he is in 1977 when he was in his late 50’s. What flexibility, strength, and body control!

Survivorship bias: this is the annoying tendency to see, say, a dozen successful companies, see what they have in common, and then conclude that what they have in common is what made them successful. Nope; you have to see how many companies did those same things and WERE NOT successful, among other things. From the article:

This is what Pomona College economist Gary Smith calls the “survivor bias,” which he highlights as one of many statistically related cognitive biases in his deeply insightful book Standard Deviations (Overlook, 2014). Smith illustrates the effect with a playing card hand of three of clubs, eight of clubs, eight of diamonds, queen of hearts and ace of spades. The odds of that particular configuration are about three million to one, but Smith says, “After I look at the cards, the probability of having these five cards is 1, not 1 in 3 million.” […]

Smith found a similar problem with the 1982 book In Search of Excellence (more than three million copies sold), in which Tom Peters and Robert Waterman identified eight common attributes of 43 “excellent” companies. Since then, Smith points out, of the 35 companies with publicly traded stocks, 20 have done worse than the market average.

Depression I talked about depression in an earlier post. Here is some of what science knows about it right now:


See the subtle racism here? The idea is that this black Attorney General who has spoken out about race relations is somehow too “emotionally invested” or biased to be even handed. Why would a black Attorney General be any less evenhanded than a white one? And shouldn’t we be far more concerned with an Attorney General who did NOT see race relations as a problem?

Here: Kansas City police officer posts a snarky post about Michael Brown’s character (the dead teenager in Ferguson) and shows a photo of a young black man with a gun and money in his mouth. But this black man is some guy in Oregon…not Michael Brown. It is amusing that police officers everywhere are telling us to not to rush to judgement but… 🙂

I suppose that given that we have 300+ million people in this country and a lot of police officers, a few are bound to be crackpots.

Racism in sports
Sadly, some African American athletes have racist stuff directed at them. Here is an example (Eddie Chambers, an elite boxer)

August 20, 2014 Posted by | boxing, racism, science, social/political, statistics, walking, yoga | , | Leave a comment

Boxing: Body shot knockdowns and knockouts part II

I had a previous post on this topic. This always surprises me when it happens as one frequently sees boxers go to the body, but you don’t see boxers go down that often because of them. But sometimes they do:

And, though this wasn’t a body shot knockout, it was a body shot that got the first knock down:

Remember, these are tough, tough people going down via body shots.

August 14, 2014 Posted by | boxing | , | Leave a comment

8 by 400 workout and giving up too soon.

I’ve changed my workouts somewhat; the emphasis is my walking marathon and so my 5K run will suffer some. That isn’t a big deal though.

First I jogged 2 miles outside. Then I did the Deek 8 x 400 with 200 jog (not quite float), 5K in 28:34 8:51/9:14/9:26 were the mile splits. I used lane 2, hence my splits were somewhat slower than in the past.

Then I walked 1 more mile (lane 3) and then did 10 minutes on the bike.

Note: one doesn’t expect the miles to be even, though the slowdown from mile 2 to 3 is fatigue as there is the same amount of “faster” running involved.

mile 1 is 400/200/400/200/400 (3 “fast 400’s)
mile 2 is 200/400/200/400/200/half 400 (2.5 “fast” 400’s)
mile 3 is half 400/200/400/200/400/200 (2.5 “fast 400’s)
then 200 “fast”.

11 March 2014 28:14 (lane 1) 8:36/9:04/9:30
29 Nov. 2011 27:33 (lane 1) 8:45/8:47/9:00
8 Nov. 2011 28:10 (lane 1) 8:42/9:07/9:17

I was ok. Now about the marathon: part of the mental preparation is getting ready to push through the rough spots. It is very human for even stellar athletes to give up when they get discouraged, even though they might not be doing that badly and they still have a chance to win.

I’ll draw from boxing: in the Clay (later known as Ali) vs. Liston fight, Liston quit after 6 rounds, even though the score cards were 57-57, 58-56 (Clay), 58-56 (Liston). When Duran quit against Leonard, the cards were 68-66, 68-66, 67-66 Leonard…Duran was still very much in contention.

When Foreman didn’t exactly rush to get up when he was knocked down, the cards were 68-66, 70-67, 69-66 Ali. Of course had he beaten the count, he would have been down 78-74, 80-75, 79-74 after 8 (out of 15). He was definitely behind but not completely out of it.

Anyway, I don’t want to make that mistake during discouraging moments.

August 5, 2014 Posted by | boxing, running | , , , | Leave a comment

One thing about boxing: you see dreams being made and being crushed

In the major team sports, it is hard to follow the upward path of an individual player, or to watch a dream vanish.

In running: you can always see someone’s results before hand; e. g. if someone’s 10K best is “only” 29:xx, they won’t be in the lead pack of the Olympic Marathon, or probably even IN the Olympic marathon to begin with (save the exemptions for “developing countries”).

In tennis, though the matches are person against person, there are tournaments and seeds and a tennis player plays a lot more tennis matches than a boxer has fights, for good reason.

So, in boxing, when an “up and coming” prospect attempts to move up, their attempt is right in front of you, against one other person. And you know not exactly how it will go; this isn’t like a 3:50 miler racing a 4:10 miler.

So the prospect usually starts against fighters than aren’t highly regarded (by professional standards) and after a bit of seasoning, they make their first step up. So, you have “undefeated prospect vs…….” and the “step up opponent”, depending on the level that one is stepping up to, is usually:

1. a journeyman who has fought (and often lost to) tougher competition or
2. a ranked but not “title shot ranked” fighter or
3. a former champion or formerly ranked fighter who is trying to work themselves back into title contention.

Yes, sometimes the prospect passes the test. But, many times: they don’t. Last night saw a couple of examples of 1 and 3.

In the case of 1, a 9-0 prospect faced a 6-7 journeyman and was in trouble; Teddy Atlas had the fight tied going into the final round (6 in this case; I had the prospect ahead by 1 point) when late in the round, the prospect managed a strange TKO. Super middleweight Immanuwel Aleem was struggling against Juan Carlos Rojas (who was only 6-7-1, but had fought harder opposition) but landed a right hand which put Rojas out on his feet…while standing up. Since he didn’t go down, there was no opportunity for a count, and he was defenseless. So the referee correctly stopped the fight.

I’ve seen it go the other way as well, when the journeyman ended the prospect’s rise to the top.

In the case of 3, light heavyweight former WBA champion Gabriel Campillo gave prospect Thomas Williams Jr. is first loss by giving him a cut over his eye, which lead to a stoppage. But prior to the stoppage, Williams was clearly bothered by not only the cut, but by Campillo’s boxing. That struck me as a bit strange as it appeared TO ME that Williams was landing a lot of good body shots, but he was getting hit too and the latter really got to him.

Afterward, Williams went over to Teddy Atlas and apologized for “letting Atlas down” (Atlas was high on Williams prior to the fight), and Atlas gave him some excellent “mentor like” advice. It was very touching to me; this is the best of “older men to younger men” relationships that I remember having in sports, the military and in graduate school. I suppose that I sometimes act that way with my students.

But back to the boxing: a few weeks ago, junior lightweight Mark Davis (then 18-0) stepped up to take on Michael Farenas who was 38-4-4; Farenas had fought for the title twice and had faced far, far tougher opposition. The step up proved to be too much for Davis; the referee stopped the carnage in the 8’th round.

It is my (highly non-expert) opinion that both Thomas and Davis can come back from these setbacks, IF that is what they have a burning desire to do. I see these defeats as harsh lessons that they can learn from.

But I’ve also seen the case in which a fighter steps up in competition, and as the fight goes on, comes to realize that they are not only in over their heads at the current time, but lack the fundamental natural ability to reach that level.

One (cruiser weight? heavy weight) actually broke down and cried as he realized his dream wasn’t in the cards for him.
I know the feeling (not from boxing).

Of course, there is the case where an elite boxer doesn’t quite have what it takes to become champion, but in my book, they are already wildly successful as they made it to elite status.

Example: here is heavyweight Eddie Chambers, who is attempting a comeback of sorts.

If you are qualified to get in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko AND take him to 11.9 rounds, you are pretty awesome.

August 2, 2014 Posted by | boxing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

midweek workout change

I need to get some more walking midweek and so will replace a lifting session (Wednesday’s) with a medium walk (10 miles). I’ll keep this up until marathon taper week.

Today: from the Riverplex to the first road crossing on the East Peoria trail (about 8 miles) then to the Marina. 2:32 was the total time; it was a lovely day but it was an effort. Yesterday’s workout took something out of me.

I also did 10 minutes on the bike afterward.

It sure looks as if someone is trying to promote a Wladimir Klitschko vs. Shannon Briggs match:

I’m not sure if fight fans will buy this; Briggs is tough but is 42 years old, and his outing against Vitali Klitschko was, well, rather ugly:

Here he was, in the hospital after the fight:


How he got there:

Are the fans really clamoring for this?

July 30, 2014 Posted by | boxing, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Boxing: “best rounds” compiled

Now some may argue with the choices. I, for one, would have loved to have seen that epic Holyfield vs. Bowe, round 10 (which I provided). But these are excellent choices nevertheless.

June 30, 2014 Posted by | boxing | | Leave a comment

Quite a knock out…

Last night’s Friday Night Fights featured two 8 found middle weight matches as part of a boxing tournament (Boxcino). But to me: the (scheduled for 6 round) heavyweight match prior to these fights (which WERE good) stole the show. Nate Heaven was an underdog to Donovan Dennis and Dennis appeared to be winning round 1 when this happened.


The middle weights: yes, Brandon Adams beat Raymond Gatica by a split decision which, well, puzzled me. On my card, I had it 79-71 Adams (too many big shots) but the judges had it: 78-74, 78-74 Adams (which I could understand; some rounds WERE close) and one had it…77-75 for Gatica (????)

In the second bout, Willie Monroe “upset” the favored Vitalii Kopylenko (not sure why Kopylenko was favored); I too had this one 79-71 for the winner. The judges saw it 79-73, 79-73, 78-74. These scores, IMHO, were more reasonable. Kopylenko did land a couple of very hard shots but was mostly beaten to the punch all night long.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | boxing | | Leave a comment

Outliers and society

I think that this is common in this day and age: I have some students who are struggling in our “elementary conceptual calculus” course. They come to class, but work a large number of hours at a job in order to make ends meet. So…they are often left with very little time to study.

And yes, IN THIS COURSE, most of the students need to study quite a bit in order to have a chance at even a “C”.

In short: most students need to have a certain number of hours in order to sleep and to addition to making the classes and their part time jobs.

Now, some might say that this is nonsense.

I remember a professor I had at the Naval Academy. He said that when he was an undergraduate he studied very little for his math classes as he paid his own way through school by waiting tables. He made up for it by PAYING ATTENTION IN CLASS.

That is well and good…..but then remember that he had an earned Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT.

Most of us don’t have that type of natural ability.

Yes, Mohammed Ali could break the conventional rules of boxing (dangle his arms, lean away from punches):

But most, including most other professional boxers, don’t have that kind of ability.

Yes, there are people who can run a 2:15 marathon on 35 miles a week of training:

Following the 1976 trials he trained by running 35 miles per week and ran “a 2:14:37 for second place at the Nike-Oregon Track Club Marathon in Eugene in 1978. After that, he ran 2:15:23 for 15th place in the Boston Marathon in 1979.”

But most of us aren’t that gifted (this was Tony Sandoval, cowinner of the 1980 US Olympic Trials Marathon)

Yes, some can make a successful film while being stoned on marijuana, but most of us aren’t as talented as the Beatles.

The list can go on and on. The bottom line: you can gain inspiration from the incredibly successful, but you won’t be able to get away with taking the short cuts that many of them got away with. Neither you nor I are outliers.

Public policy should reflect this. Yes, it is great that a tiny minority of people might strike it very rich. But MOST WILL NOT. It is unjust to orient society that way.

February 25, 2014 Posted by | boxing, education, marathons, social/political | , | Leave a comment