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My 2017 in review

This is my 2017 in review. I did this for 2015 and again in 2016.

Of note: my daughter graduated college (her accomplishment, not mine) and I completed my first year at a new rank. Athletically the year was a bit of a bust (no 5K under 27 minutes, only one marathon or beyond finish, best bench press was 200 lbs.) but I was active throughout and I did take some local trips. Of most note: I had a good time with friends, a “tl;dr” collage is here:

January

February

March


April

May

June


I am getting lapped by Jason (1:01:22)

July

August

September

October

November

Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State waits for play to resume against Illinois State during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

December


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December 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, college football, football, Friends, NFL, Peoria, running, travel, walking, yoga | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

49’ers give the Bears the boot 15-14, but a fun time anyway.

I am probably the world’s worst football fan. This year, my NFL teams have lost every game I’ve watched in person. But the scores were 20-17, 23-16, 20-16 and 15-14. And yes, I enjoyed each because I like hard hitting, well executed rock-em, sock-em football.

This time, Lynn was my “victim” (as she was for the Bears vs. Packers).

The game: The 49’ers scored on their first drive (field goal) and took a 3-0 lead; they were to fail to score exactly 3 times: twice on punts (and gave up one touchdown on a punt return and one “called back” long return) and gave up one interception (which was spectacular)

Otherwise: while the Bears did score a touchdown that was set up by the interception (nice TD pass in the back of the end zone), the 49’ers rolled over the Bears outgaining them 388-147 (ok, the punt return skewed that a bit) and possessed the ball 38:47 to 21:13. Basically they would run on first down, not make much, same on second down, and then hit a medium pass over the middle to keep the sticks moving.

It was 14-9 at the half but the 49’ers kept driving and driving and eating up clock. They had only 3 drives in the second half and two ended in field goals; the first drive was 8:19 long. The final drive ate up 5 minutes and ended with 4 seconds left in the game.

A key play was a long pass completion on 3’rd down with 2 minutes to go; though the Bears still lead 14-12, fans started to leave! I’ve never seen that before.

Part of the drama was the 49’er kicker was cut by the Bears at the end of the 2015 season.

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks a game winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Chicago. The 49ers won 15-14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Socially: Lynn and I went to Mercat restaurant after the game and sampled stuff. That was a lot of fun: eating sampler plates and chit-chatting away. We always have good conversation. The walk through the park before and after the game was fun as well; we visited the Logan Statue in the park beforehand.

My photos:

Great company!

The skyline from the Logan statue.

The entrance

Early action.

TOUCHDOWN BEARS (2n’d quarter, set up by the interception)

Late action. This is the start of the game winning drive: SF 8 to the Chicago 4; key play was a 33 yard pass with just over 2 minutes to go. Then the Bears had to start to use time outs.

After dinner in the Mercat, we walked back to the car and saw the supermoon. This shot does not do it justice.

What a wonderful experience, even if “my” team lost.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | Leave a comment

My Thanksgiving 2017 post..

TL;DR rambling to follow.

My feelings about Thanksgiving continue to evolve.

1. Eating: yes, I can understand why stuffing yourself might have had an appeal, back in the days of scarcity. But I live in an affluent society and I can overeat at any time. And frankly, the feeling of an overfull belly just has no appeal. I just don’t want to. Now, there are some foods that I might eat that I don’t normally (e. g. stuffing).

2. Time off of work: yes, I do like that, though I spent some of the holiday working (trying to make sense of a calculation that I was doing improperly; I enjoyed having the time to focus). And I plan on enjoying two “live” football games this weekend, though “my” teams are likely to lose.

3. Socializing: well, both of my parents are dead, and my daughter lives a healthy distance away, and she really didn’t “grow up” here, so to speak (I was the non-custodial parent). So, aside from my daughter, I really have no family (aside from a few cousins, a couple who I really, really like but don’t see much of due to distance). The local family is my wife’s. And….she invites her mentally retarded adult nephew to stay with us. So…. well, let’s just say that I got what I wanted two days ago; 6 blessed hours with great company, 4 of those while running/walking. That made the break worth it. 🙂

Side note: I think that smart phones are the old “photo albums”; we had a good old time showing each other our photos on our phones.

But whether I like someone or not has little to do with genetic distance or the genetic distance to others. So, for me, this is more or less a duty.

We ate at a Chinese restaurant (which offered turkey and stuffing) yesterday and we noticed an elderly woman (who appeared to be reasonably well off) who was eating by herself. My wife seemed to feel bad for her, but to me, I *thought* that I saw the joy of “finally, some me time” to her face (possibly caretaking someone else?) Solitude is not bad, when it is optional or a treat.
But alas, loneliness is real and a genuine health risk.

Where I am different is that my remedy for loneliness is the companionship with a small number of people (say, 1-3 others). I love “couples dates” or “1-on-1” outings.

4. Personal prejudice: yes, I have these; I really do not like underachievement. Now, of course, there are many reasons for this, not all of which are under the control of the person. And, some whose company that I now LOVE to hang out with had periods in their life where they weren’t doing so well for one reason or another (abuse, poverty, sickness, among other things). So, things change, and sometimes they change for the better. Looking down on someone while they are down never helps anything, and if I want to enhance my self esteem, I should improve myself so I can have something to feel good about.

5. Others: I do know that there is some pain during the holidays (dead family, divorces, acrimonious family splits, genuine loneliness for some). And there are those on duty (e. g., when I was in the Navy, or when my dad was in the Air Force, first responders, etc.).

Workout notes: yesterday, slow 4.2 mile run on the Cornstalk classic course. Today: weights: rotator cuff, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (first 3-4 went very well), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (wanted 6, didn’t risk it in the empty gym), 2 x 170, 1 x 170 (not sure what happened here), incline: 10 x 135, military (standing dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 20 x 40, dumbbell rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50, 10 x 60 (single arm).

November 24, 2017 Posted by | family, Friends, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

One thing to be grateful for…

No, I’ll never run 19 minutes for the 5K again, nor will I ever break 4 hours for the marathon run..or 5 for the marathon walk. Heck, even 6 hours for a marathon walk would be good for me.

I can’t do what I once did.

But I can still walk/run 15 miles (more or less) at a good pace with someone who can go much, much further than that and still enjoy it thoroughly.

4 hours on the road..2 more in the coffee shop. Note: today’s photo albums are smart phones. 🙂

I have much to be grateful for.

I do not know what the rest of Thanksgiving break will bring, but I’ve already had a wonderful break! (ok, that also included a lovely lunch the day before).

November 22, 2017 Posted by | Friends, walking | Leave a comment

And I drag Lynn to a Bears vs. Packers game…

Ok it was dry for the walk over but rained during the game. Still, a poncho kept us dry and we were bundled up.

The game: The Packers won 23-16, though thanks to a botched snap/hold on a late field goal attempt, the Bears got the ball back with 1 minute to go and had a shot to tie it.

A key moment came in the 2’nd quarter (2:30 into the video; score was 10-3 Packers) when the Bears receiver made an excellent run after catch and dived for the end zone. He was ruled out at the 2 (first and goal at the 2) but the Bears challenged the call, claiming that he hit the pylon with the ball before going out of bounds.

Call was reviewed..and showed that he lost control of the ball just prior to hitting the pylon. Hence the ball went out of bounds in the endzone..”touchback” and the Packers ball at the 20 versus the Bears having it at the 2.

Overall, the Packers got just enough offense with their backup quaterback and a receiver running as running back. And they sacked the Bears quarterback several times.

An action shot via the Bears Instagram account:

kickoff. Yes, there were empty seats.

We were about where the arrow is: 2n’d row of the upper deck (442, row 2). GREAT seats..the best I’ve had in Soldier Field so far. This shot was retweeted by EmptySeatsGalore on Twitter. Shot by @RobDemovsky:

Some action.

More action

Some shots of the stands…it was rainy.

Yes, there were some unsold seats up in the upper corner of the upper deck:

Lynn and I in our ponchos.

Lynn and I before going in..it wasn’t raining as yet.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | 1 Comment

Trip to Iowa vs. Ohio State: wow!

My friend Tracy is an Ohio State graduate (Woody Hayes days). She wanted to see Ohio State play this year and when I saw that they were going to be playing at Iowa, I got tickets.

(tip: I paid face value for end zone tickets via the school; row 31 of section 215. I could have gotten sideline seats for the same price (with fees) the week of the game via the secondary market)

I’ll post my photos below. The game: it ended 55-24, Iowa; I sure did not expect that. It was a combination of big plays (4 interceptions by the Iowa defense, including a one-handed interception at the Iowa one; see the highlights at 10:50, a big trick play (polecat) off of a field goal formation (see 7:30 of the video) and domination of the line of scrimmage. Iowa running backs had huge holes to run through for most of the game.

It started with a pick 6 on the first play of the game. But 2 minutes later, Ohio State completed an easy long drive; receivers were wide open on almost every play. So, I settled in for a shoot out at 7-7. And so it went; the teams matched drives, field goals and touchdowns until Iowa took the lead at 24-17. With 1:4x to go, Ohio State started their drive, only to throw their second interception. Iowa cashed in with a last second touchdown to take a 31-17 lead into the half; both teams had a ton of yards.

So I figured it was still a competitive game.

Second half: Ohio State kicked off; pinned Iowa inside their own 10 and kept them bottled up. But the Iowa defense stopped them and wouldn’t let OSU take advantage of their field position. Then with 6 minutes to go, Iowa mounted a drive, mixing running and passing; that made it 38-17 and OSU was in trouble.

Another stop and Iowa was driving again and scored just into the 4’th quarter to make it 45-17. Another interception set up a field goal to make it 48-17.

Then Ohio State tried to rally; an interception (one handed) ended an OSU drive at the Iowa 1. A bizarre call (fake punt with 4’th and 9 at the Iowa 12) was stopped and gave Ohio State a touchdown. But an onside kick failed, and Iowa completed the rout with another drive (running up the middle) to complete the scoring at 55-24.

Now about the trip:

Tracy and me on the Hawkeye Express train from a remote lot to the stadium (15 dollars each way; kind of fun..and yes, this was an honest train on train track)

Tracy and me at the stadium; note that Iowa fans get there early.

The “hospital wave” between the first and second quarter.

Ohio State participated in the wave.

Early action

Toward the end of the game; the empties you see in the opposite end zone were where some Ohio State fans were.

Bedlam. Fans storm the field.

Yes, I got in a 4 mile Bradley Park run prior to making the trip. I got in a 15 mile walk this morning too.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, Friends, running, travel, walking | Leave a comment

DNF again (3 of 4)

No easy way to say it: I dnf’ed at close to mile 17, but I had to walk the “walk of shame” 1.2 miles to the start.
So, in terms of road marathons: 3 dnf’s in the last 4 attempts (2 QC marathons were heat related..mile 20); this one was my going out too fast for my abilities because of the 6 hour time limit.

Reality: I no longer have 2:25 half marathon speed (when I could walk in the 5:30-5:40 range); it now takes me 2:4x to do a half and that is not enough margin of error for a 6 hour time limit. To finish, I need to be trained AND have non-hot weather AND have a 6:30-7 hour time limit so I can take it out at a realistic 14 minute pace.

And I need to lose at least 10 lbs.; 15 would be better.

So, I don’t view this as a failure on my part as much as my taking an challenge that I am no longer up to. The writing is on the wall; my 2012 marathon: got sick; rested 1 hour; finished just under 7 hours. 2013, 2016: run/walks in the 5:40-5:50 range. 2015: walk in perfect conditions: 5:48. The trend is clear.

Splits: 1:02:55 (5), 2:08:14 (10; uphill), 2:50:20 (half marathon), 3:18:34 (15; included bathroom; crashed here) I could not longer even sustain a 17 minute pace at this point, so I told race officials that I was dropping.

Weather: warmed up quite a bit by about half way; first half was nice and cool (albeit humid)

But there was some fun too.

My plan: stay behind the 5:30/2:45 (half) pace groups for the first 8-10 miles, then see what I could sustain. I really needed to hit the half at 2:50 or so to stand a chance..and I did. But by then the legs were gone; I was about 3:03:30 at mile 14 and starting to slow badly. The half marathon had turned off and I was solo, solo, solo.

The 5:30 pace guy was going a bit faster than I wanted to; mile 1 was 12:18 (fine for a half marathon..not a marathon). So I dropped back and walked with Cindy, the 2:45 pace person who was more or less solo. We kept each other company until the hill at 7.5 miles and I let her go; we exchanged names. Chatting with her and some of the others was very pleasant.

Afterward, I waited for Mat to finish (5:07) and chatted with Jennifer and others.

Seeing others along the way was a real treat; Theresa, Barbara and Cassie took photos of me along the way.

I saw this shirt at about mile 2; it made me laugh.

Theresa took this shot of Cindy and me.

Barbara took these four photos near mile 10, near our house.

Cassie got this one of me, between mile 12 and half way; I was starting to crumble.

Mat finishing.

Jennifer and me after the race.

Workout notes: on the road; got a Riverplex workout first. rotator cuff, bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 10 x 165, incline: 10 x 135. pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (at least, maybe 6), military: dumbbell: 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 45 standing, 5 x 140 new machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell. light yoga, including headstand. squats: to the bench: 10 x 35, 10 x 50, 10 x 70.

October 9, 2017 Posted by | Friends, marathons, walking, weight training | 1 Comment

It is not every day that I get owned this badly…

September 8, 2017 Posted by | Friends, humor | Leave a comment

Goat Rant Two: how to get me to ignore your article, post, etc.

Ok, I know, I know, Mat, Mike, Tom, Carmen, Lynnor, Theresa, Lynn, Jennifer and others are saying “ok, how do you get him to ignore me?” 🙂

Ok, here is how you do it.

Issues posts: when you post that article, be sure to say:

1. “shut up and listen”. Uh, no. I won’t do either. Yes, I know what you mean; there are some experiences that I am not qualified to judge (say, being a black person in the USA, being a woman in a mostly male environment; yes, I get that). But IF you want me to read your stuff, do not start with “shut up…”

2. “you have to stop doing this right now…” Uh, no. I don’t have to do anything you say. Now IF I respect your opinion to give it some thought, I’ll entertain the thought. But you are not qualified to tell me what to do. IF you want for me to change, you need to convince me. And saying “as a member of protected class X, I don’t like that” is not convincing.

3. “this is not ok”. Uh, no. Yes, maybe it isn’t ok, but I am not going to take your word for it, no more that I’ll take, say, the Bible’s word or some preacher’s word for it. If you want me to change and you have no direct power over me, you need to convince me.

Seriously, you are not entitled to my attention and you are not entitled to be taken seriously by me. And, if your message is counterintuitive, I am going to blow you off unless you’ve build up credibility with me, and that means having a record of being right much of the time. Your self assessment of your own wisdom and intelligence is NOT a credential.

Personal posts

Let me make this clear: I do think that having some trusted friends to talk things over with is a wonderful thing; I can’t value a “trusted ear that doesn’t judge you” enough. I think that there is a place to exorcise our inner demons. And there is nothing wrong with discussing your problems and challenges of the day.

But there is more…

I read a post that said something about “why do we have to justify our suffering to others..” that I wanted to respond to. I didn’t as I don’t know that individual very well. But I’ll give a generic response

1. There seems to be a “normal” response to various bad things that happen, and by “normal” I mean a “normal range” of responses that vary from person to person. So, if we see a friend or loved one who *appears* to be well outside of the “normal range” of response, they may well be a candidate for professional help…and such help may well make them feel better, which is the goal.

2. Relationships, as far as I am concerned, are a two way street. That doesn’t mean that they are symmetric; in fact they rarely are. Example: there are some friends where I am usually the one making the invitation; there are others where it might be more appropriate for them to do the inviting (or at least to solicit an invitation from me). There are some where I do most (all?) of the physical helping…etc.

But both people have to get something out of it. And if someone is always reacting to events “in crisis mode” or if they are always the one suffering and expect to receive support that they rarely, if ever, offer..well, again, in a friendship, both people have needs that should be met. This isn’t to say that some go through some very rough things (say, death of a family member, severe sickness, job loss, divorce, etc.) where they will be taking more than giving..FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. But overall, it has to be a two way street.

3. As far as two way streets go: of course one should be polite to friends. But if I find myself constantly having to walk on egg shells…forget it. That is more stress than the friendship is worth…that is a time where I say “I’ll leave their company for others to enjoy”. And if someone makes a habit of flaking out of invitations due to “social anxiety” or whatever, well, that is a “time to leave their company for others to enjoy”. An occasional broken date happens…it is unavoidable. But when I have to wonder if they will show…time to move on and spend time with those who are more reliable. Again, friendship is a two way street and if I can’t (within reason) count on them to show, they aren’t meeting MY needs.

September 3, 2017 Posted by | Friends, social/political | 1 Comment

Tale of two walks…

Yesterday, I took Mat to Mahomet to do a half marathon. Weather was reasonably cool and the course was “gently rolling”. But I was tired from the start; while Mat ran very well (2:02), I was 2:52:33 (about 7 minutes over goal).

I was mostly doing 12:20 on the down stretches and 12:40 on the uphill stretches until mile 9. That was my first 13:xx (13:10) and I thought “oh crap”; I was 1:58 at 15K at 2:07:50 at mile 10. Then I fell apart and averaged about 14:20-14:30 the rest of the way, getting passed by the 3 young guys just before the overpass and the pretty young woman on the track. I was “just done”; legs were dead and I had no energy.

But…when we went to breakfast, I perked right up. Yes, I did not eat before the race, but then again, I didn’t eat before the Galesburg half either and I did get zapped this badly.

I think it is a combination of things, INCLUDING weighing over 200 pounds. That has to change in the next month, if I am to walk a marathon in under 6 hours.

Results: 2:47, 1:56 15K (2:45 half equ.), 2:42, 2:52. All were since the first week of June. Yes, that is too many to race optimally, but I am using these to train for a marathon. I remember that when I ran my masters PR marathon (3:38, back in 2000), I had a series of slow half marathons that, while they felt discouraging, got me ready for the goal marathon.

So, while my race stunk, I enjoyed the first 10 miles of it and had fun with Mat.

Note: I’ve done this half marathon as a runner many times; I had a 1:55 (1998, 2001), 1:48 (2000) and a 1:37 (1999).

Today, I went out for 4 hours (15.5 miles; 15:30 average pace). What was good is that the final 5 miles (of the first 14.9 miles) was done in 1:12:40 (14:32 pace). That got me to 3:51. I did a 9 minute final loop to get me to 15.54.

What was interesting is that about 6 miles into it, I slowed down a few times; I was really ready to quit. I felt tired, had no energy..was discouraged. The first 5 went fine but for some reason, the next two miles really, really sucked. I was ready to turn it in but the 10-15 minutes of slower walking seemed to revive me, so I turned TOWARD Tower Park instead of home…and then I could feel my pace pick up; I felt good again.

The rest of the walk went fine; I am sure glad that I didn’t miss it. What caused that “depression” in the middle still baffles me. But I really did my best walking in the final 6 miles. And I even got greeted, several times…and got encouragement from ladies in a van.

The course: my standard trek to the River (Cooper, Moss, Union, MLK, Kumpf) though I did an out and back through the Gateway (they were breaking down the area), in front of the Riverplex, back to the trail, around the goose loop, around the ball field wall (that was 5 miles today) then the standard through the cemetery.

I took the “right hand road” path up the hill in Springdale to get to Prospect, then to Forrest Hill, then up Central to Tower Park (the standard “Boredom” way. Then I returned via Boredown (Hansler to get to Broadway). I felt awful in Springdale, started to feel good going up Central and felt GREAT from Tower Park back home.

Photos from the race:

August 6, 2017 Posted by | Friends, walking | , , | Leave a comment