resting and more baseball

I wondered if I was getting rundown so I went to the Forest Park Nature Center (left from the Heights tower) and walked 2:12 (about 7 miles). Normally I don’t doubt the distance but this time Wakerobin was closed. So I took Deer run back to Possum Path to the Valley, then to Bee Tree to Cardinal, back to Valley and then to Wilderness (1:05 which is about my outer loop time) Spurs: 23:16 out, about 27 back (uphill..and tired).

Then it was time for some baseball. Bradley beat Illinois 8-6 to win the series 2-1. Of interest was the fielding. One one hand, 4 errors (3 in a 2 innings 5-6) kept ISU in the game. On the other hand, fielding saved the day. The center fielder made an “over the shoulder” catch on the warning track (near 400 feet) with 2 out and the bases loaded, and the first baseman made some great plays too.

A 2 run home run in the bottom of the 8’th provided the winning margin.

A Political Science professor and his wife (also a Ph. D. in political science) sat next to me.


April 23, 2017 Posted by | baseball, hiking, walking | | Leave a comment

FCS football can be fun: Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State

Workout notes: Yesterday, weights then an easy 4 mile walk along the Illinois River. Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (reasonably good), bench presses were weak: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 5 x 170, 7 x 155. Incline: 7 x 135.
military presses: 10 x 45 (2 sets) 10 x 40. Rows: 3 sets of 10 with last two 45/25 on each side. Abs: 2 sets of twist crunch yoga leg lifts and then headstand.

This morning: my usual route from the Heights Tower to the Forest Park Nature Center, 1:14 lower loop, 28 minutes for the spur back. Lots of leaves but good footing; pace was deliberate.

Along the way I chatted briefly with someone who was at last night’s Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State football game, a mom with her 15 year old son and some scavenger hunters. Total time was 2:30, about 10 minutes slower than the usual.

When I finish this, I’ll finish off some paperwork for my job.

Well, you didn’t expect me to miss the chance to see a football game, did you? When I saw that North Dakota State (winners of the last FIVE FCS national championships in a row) was visiting, I took the 90 minute (each way) trip to Macomb to watch the game.

I got there way early; it actually takes about 80 minutes and parking is plentiful…and there is a free lot right next to the stadium:


And tickets: 10 dollars for general admission and 15 for reserved; actually though I bought a reserved ticket, I moved to general admission so I could use the top row for its backrest and for standing. Even the top row seats are equal to prime seats at a Big Ten game. The concessions were more “hot dogs and chips” stuff so those with special dietary needs to take stuff in or tailgate (and there was a large, active, festive tailgate area). They had nice game programs which were free!


The post sunset sky was lovely; it was a perfect, crisp night for college football.


The teams walk from locker rooms which were about 100 yards away from the field.


As far as the FCS level: the teams don’t have the depth to complete, say, a Big Ten schedule. But their starters are excellent; just ask Northern Illinois (lost to Western Illinois), Northwestern (lost to Illinois State) or Iowa (lost to North Dakota State). My guess is that at least a couple of players I saw have a shot of playing on Sundays.

The game itself: it started off well for NDSU: they got a stop and then on their opening possession, drove it 60+ yards for a touchdown. It looked way too easy.


They used a mix of formations including a two tight end “pistol” package, the I and the conventional spread.

WIU countered with a drive and a field goal; they used a clock burning “run the clock down before running a play” scheme. NDSU got a touchdown and, on their next possession, threw an interception. WIU converted it to another field goal and it was 14-6.

NDSU ran an excellent 2 minute drill to score its third TD before the end of the half; WIU got the ball with 45 seconds to go and drove it close enough to get a field goal attempt, which was blocked. So it was 21-6 at the half.

I noticed that the WIU secondary made some fine open field tackles to prevent long touchdown runs; I wondered if NDSU would blow it open in the second half.

WIU actually controlled play the rest of the game, but mistakes cost them dearly.

WIU got a stop and then made a nice drive to cut the lead to 21-13; it appeared to me that momentum was shifting.

Then came the first of 2 key plays. WIU intercepted the ball and ran it back inside the NDSU 5 yard line. But a late hit on WIU pushed them back to the 20…the NDSU defense held and then blocked the field goal attempt.

WIU got the ball back and got first and goal at the 8. A pass made it to the 1 (I thought the runner was going to score, but he was turned back by a hard tackle. The next two plays from the 1 were stuffed, but NDSU was offside on 4’th down, so WIU got another chance. The runner fumbled the ball just prior to entering the end zone and NDSU recovered.

Still, WIU wasn’t finished; they stopped NDSU (who botched a field goal on a bad hold), threw another interception, but got the ball back again.

But at the end they were on their own end of the field with 40 seconds to go and no time outs; a final interception finished them off.

It was a great game to watch and extra exciting if you were a fan of either team (I was cheering for Western Illinois)


October 23, 2016 Posted by | college football, football, hiking, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Fun hike and other topics

I did my 7 mile hike from the Heights Tower with T. Yeah, she took a tumble and I had a momentary ankle twist, but for a couple of old people, we got through it ok. It took us 2:25 but it was done at a “social” pace. It was 77 F with 90 percent humidity at the start; 85 F, 77 percent humidity at the end. Yes, I was soaked and T was also “dewy”. I really, really enjoyed it.


Marathons: The Olympic marathon will be run on the next two consecutive weekends; women this Sunday and men the next weekend. Though it is “winter” in Rio, the conditions will not be ideal for a fast time.

Politics Lessons from previous era: a political campaign is tough stuff and the politicians need to bring brass knuckles …or they will lose. Michael Dukakis found that out the hard way.

And temperament matters, as the 1990 Massachusetts race showed. (thanks Carmen!)

August 11, 2016 Posted by | Friends, hiking, political/social, politics, walking | Leave a comment

More reality (and a fun hike)

I did an untimed 10.5 mile hike at Forest Park Nature Center: Peoria heights tower, the 1.25 mile spur, 2 3.5 mile lower loops (Wakerobin), 1.25 miles back, the back to the Tower. It took close to 4 hours (perhaps a bit less) and it was warm.

But there was an all time first. While on my first Wakerobin loop I passed a young man who had stopped to do something with his phone. Later as I climbed the second hill, the young man passed me while merely hiking his pace.

I had NEVER been passed by another hiker before (I had been passed by runners). Ever. Sure, he was in his 20’s and had what one would call an “athletic slender” build (like a distance runner) and at a 5K, you’d bet the rent that he’d beat me by a tidy margin (say, 5-7 minutes). So I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise.

Still, I enjoyed the hike, even as the temperature hit in the 90’s.

But that was a startling revelation. I used to think of myself as a “fast hiker”.

I am no longer that. My legs are too weak to handle the large uphills at a quick pace, especially when I am tired.

Life marches on.

Oh yes, I saw an older friend out there too; he used to run the 440 yard dash for Bradley (before it became the 400 meter dash) and ran a 64 second 400 while in his 50’s. He was out there as well.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | hiking, walking | | Leave a comment


I am still on Spring Break, and I really don’t do well with unstructured time. But I did get out for a 10K training run and should hike a bit in just a little while.

The run: untimed on my Cornstalk course, but I did pick up the pace for one of my “lower loop” laps, which I did in 10:29 (8:30-8:35 pace) and that feel good; it felt “sort-of” hard …er…harder.

Along the way: when i was entering the park I saw a fit, perhaps 30-40 year old man running on the grass…he passed me and I wasn’t even tempted to pick up the pace. Then in the park, young woman in tight running leggings..again I wasn’t even tempted.

The reality is that I am now slower than most “regular runners”, at least on most days. I do a bit better than “the average” at those little 5K events but that is mostly because there are so many new runners; I get my doors blown off at things like marathons.

One tidbit: yesterday I was in the Bradley locker room with two other professors; ALL of us had finished last year’s Peoria Marathon…and all of us were slower than average. Oh yes..all of us have grey hair. Coincidence? The topic of discussion was the Chicago Marathon, which I had done. They asked me when I did it and my response: “I’ll put it this way: I ran a 3:46”. In other words, a loooooooong time ago (1998).

BUT: I have the health to do it at all, and that might not always be the case. is to be savored.

Later: I went to Forrest Park Nature Center with Barbara. It took her a good long while; my outer loop was 1:01:38, which included having to go under a tree; I did enough to make 4. Barbara hung in there and got about 3 miles. Then Indian buffet.

March 17, 2016 Posted by | hiking, running | | 2 Comments

Track and Wildlife Prairie Park

First: went to the Riverplex. Ran 2 miles to the old Woodruff track and did 5 x 400 with 200 walk jog, 200 with 200 walk jog (3200) then jogged 2 miles back. Day: cool, low 60’s.

runs: 1:57-1:55-1:55 (9:01)-1:54-1:55-0:58 (18:52)
rests: 1:32-1:39-1:41-1:39-1:42

Then 2 mile jog back, followed by 10 minutes on the bike to help my knees.

Slower intervals but quicker miles than last week and the week before that.

Then I went to Wildlife Prairie Park with my wife (HER idea!) and I fed the goats, listened to the frogs (heard the bull frogs and green frogs) and got 4 miles on the Floodplain trail. The trail has been restored, but I didn’t pay attention and wandered off very briefly. There is a sandy portion that is sandier than I remember it. You can see my photo tour here.

I did not time the walk; but I got 10 miles total (run plus walk).

Political note I wear a hat when I run; usually I just grab one randomly. I can tell when I am wearing the one you see here:


I get both smiles and frowns; I can’t help but notice that this hat is unpopular with many white people but popular with many black people. My “inner Larry David” just itches for someone to say something negative to me about it. 🙂

July 29, 2014 Posted by | hiking, running, walking | , | 2 Comments

Part II

“Deliberate hike” at the Forrest Park Nature Center. I did the Wakerobin full loop (1:04) and then added 37 minutes (Deer run plus Cardinal) to make it just over 5 miles. Pretty day; saw a couple of young deer.

My quads are weak; the hills with steps are tough for me. I need to strengthen my quads somehow.

July 15, 2014 Posted by | hiking, walking | , | Leave a comment

Why I walk, run, swim and lift….

Workout notes: Lovely spring day so I went out for a 7 mile hike in the afternoon. I left the Peoria Heights Tower Park, hiked to the Forrest Park Nature Center: spur, outer loop, back on the spur and back. The time was 2:04 (from the Heights Tower); 8:20/23:51/1:01:46 (missed a turn)/22:55 (not bad for me) 7:35 for 2:04:30.

It was in the high 70’s; very pleasant.

Today’s race: not what I wanted but ok. A friend took this photo:


YES, I AM TRYING TO RUN. 🙂 For those who don’t know: my time for the 5K was 25:27, but the last 1.1 miles was sort of ugly; I went too fast for the hilly first 2 miles.

But on Facebook, a Facebook friend asked:

I have to ask, and although I only know you through FB and your blog, I respect your opinions and observations on many things but why do you kill yourself running? It seems more harm than good comes from that “sport”.

No, the person asking the question isn’t exactly…uh…athletic; I have doubts about him being able to climb the steps that I do in my office building.

But scientists have asked the question: “why do some exercise and others don’t?”

There is some research that suggests that both seeking to exercise and avoiding it might be genetic! Some appear to be genetically programed to enjoy exercise. Yes, exercise can be healthy but too much (intensity or volume) can have bad effects.

So what do I do on a regular basis?

Lifting: 3 times a week (typically 40 minutes to 1 hour; on rare occasion, I test my limits)

swimming: 3 times a week, typically 2200 yards (2000 meters); mostly crawl but also drills and some other strokes.

run/walking: 3 times a week: my running portion is typically 5-8 miles; sometimes includes a faster segment (1-3 miles) followed by 1-4 miles of walking at a relaxed pace.

walking: steady 10-15 mile walk on Sundays or maybe a half marathon walk (2:25-2:40) or a hike (7-10 miles on trails)

Why I do it?
My guesses:

1. I am genetically programed to enjoy it.

2. I get to pretend to be an athlete; I always wanted to be one (it is my Walter Mitty Time). My wife even called me a “pretend athlete” (in a moment of anger, but she was right)

3. I’ve always enjoyed “seeing if I could accomplish a task”. In math, I work on problems just to see if I can solve them. I do the same with computer coding, or with, say, the Daily Jumble. So when it comes to these sports:

“how fast can I swim 1000 yards? 5500 yards?”

“how fast can I walk a half marathon/marathon?” Years ago, it was even “how many miles can I walk in a 24 hour period?”

“how fast can I run 1 mile? 5K? 10K? The Steamboat course?”

“how much can I bench press?” “how many pull ups can I do?” (**)

I don’t know if other animals test themselves in a sporting manner (sans human intervention) but I do know that chimps will work to solve a puzzle just for the fun of it.

4. Yes, I like it that my body looks better with training. No, I do NOT look like an athlete. But I do look better than this.

Side note: when I was at my fattest…I STILL attempted to work out. I regularly went out for walks (sometimes enduring cat-calls about my obesity)..and yes, these were rather slow walks (say 2 miles in 38-40 minutes). In fact, I sometimes went hiking, though an 8 mile trail loop took me roughly 3-3:15 to do. (about 1 hour slower than now).

Yes, I timed myself even then. I still lifted weights too; even while obese I could still bench press 300 pounds (though I got too fat to do even one proper pull up).

There are other good side benefits (community, social, women in spandex) but I’d continue to exercise even if I had to do so all by myself…even if my “races” were just me, my watch, and a track or a measured pool. That is just how I am.

And NO, I do NOT work out for weight control. My current volume doesn’t really burn that many calories; I control my weight by controlling my eating. Working out to be able to eat more is a death trap for me; I won’t even go there. It might well work for others.

(**) to those who want to know what I can do: my 5K runs have varied from 24:17 to 25:27 this year. My half marathon walk was 2:25; my 1000 yard swim is in the high 17:xx range, and my best bench press for 2014 is: 5 reps with 180, though right now I can only get 2 reps. Body weight: right now, 180 but last year, it was closer to 190 and my best single rep bench was 205.

pull ups: once in a while I can do 15 proper pull ups; a typical workout typically includes 5 sets of 10.

It is what you’d expect from a dedicated but athletically untalented 54 year old “workout bro”.

Yes, I was stronger and faster 5-10-15 years ago, but hey, that’s life.

May 10, 2014 Posted by | hiking, running, swimming, training, walking | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Break: vacation day!

Tasks are mostly done (I still need to total points and record grades for 2 sections)

So I took today off: leisurely weight lifting, hike at Forrest Park Nature Center then a haircut plus some errands.

Weight lifting: weaker than I had hoped:

pull ups: 2 sets of 15, 2 of 10
bench (very weak): 10 x 135, 2 x 180, 3 x 180 (weak), 7 x 160.
military (very weak): 2 sets of 12 x 50 dumbbell; failed at 3’rd attempt so 8 x 85 standing (barbell)
upright rows: 3 sets of 10 x 25 dumbbell
bent over rows (each arm) 3 sets of 10 x 65
curls: 2 sets of machine: 10 x 70, 10 x 30 dumbbell
pull downs: 10 x 150, 8 x 150 newer machine, 10 x 160 conventional machine.

Then I went to Forrest Park Nature Center to hike.
The trail was “soupy muddy” in spots and had ice in other spots (including some underneath leaves): so it was a leisurely 6 mile hike: 3.5 outer loop (about 1:20; not timed) and 2.5 out and back spur.
I didn’t walk hard at all; I am unused to hills.

On the way out I saw some woman in very clingy spandex (grannies underneath) put on some “finger shoes”; evidently she wanted to trail run. That reminded me that the McNaughton, er Potawatomi Trail runs are coming up. I’ll work a shift somewhere, maybe. Two years ago, I signed up for the 50 but retired after 2 loops (knee pain: muddy trail). Last year, I signed up for the 30 but got sick the day before and didn’t start. Last fall: I signed up for the 30, took the first loop (10 miles) too fast and had to retire.

So…none for me this time around. My running has gone in a different direction.

The course is bound to be a complete mud bath.

March 21, 2014 Posted by | hiking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Jacob’s Ladder Machine




This Monday (snow day) I tried this for 2 minutes and then again for 10. You go faster when you go higher (speed is determined by the tension on the waist tether). This reminded me of going up the steeper hills at McNaughton Park (e. g. Golf Hill)

I might use this machine from time to time, especially between treadmill sessions.

January 28, 2014 Posted by | big butts, hiking, running, spandex | , , | Leave a comment