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

Here we go again

Today was a bit weird; my only exercise was an easy 2 mile jog in the morning.

I caught part of the women’s basketball game over lunch (game started at 11 am; had class at 1) and I needed to eat lunch. They had a ton of elementary school kids at the game so eating there was impossible.

The women trailed Illinois 52-41 at half but came back to win 98-92.

Now I’ll catch a lecture tonight, make part of a men’s game and then …tomorrow.

I last did the 30 miles in 2010 (after surgery; hiked) and in 2009 (with a torn meniscus).

I don’t know how it will go. But it won’t be all bad. I hope. :-)

November 8, 2013 Posted by | hiking, running, ultra | , | Leave a comment

Still relearning old lessons, Goodwill’s Forward March, McNaughton Park, etc.

Today’s workout.

Thoughts on Trail races and Farmdale.

Goodwill’s Forward March remarks.

Today’s workout McNaughton Park walk/jog in 2:57. (To see most of the course, go here)

I was a bit sore from yesterday’s hard 8 mile road race but decided to do a few more McNaughton miles. I made a mistake: I ate leftover pancakes a couple of hours prior to getting to the course; hence my body was still digesting food when I started.

So, I found jogging difficult and had a hard time keeping moving. I was already a couple of minutes off my usual pace at Tanner’s pass and then was at 43 minutes at Totem Pole. Not good; the next stretch (through Bluebird prairie) didn’t feel good at all; I was walking at a 3:30 loop pace (if that fast).

So I called my wife and told her that I’d be late (anticipating a 3:30 loop). I was over 1 hour at the stream crossing and 1:18 at the foot of golf hill; 1:34 at the “half way” bridge.

But I noticed that my next uphill went easier and the Heaven’s gate section started to feel good. I was 2:08 exiting Heaven’s gate.

Evidently, my body was done with digesting; I was at 2:28 at the 8 mile plus bridge and 2:34 at the creek and 2:50 upon exiting the woods. So, it was 1:23 for the second half; I am usually slower on the second half of the course.

This wasn’t a great loop, but I was relieved that I am not in as poor of shape as I thought.

The day was lovely and the trail was in pristine condition.

Trail Races and Farmdale

Yesterday was the Farmdale Trail runs, which was moved to Jubilee State Park due to the government shutdown (Farmdale is an Army Corps of Engineers property). I’ve done the Farmdale series a few times (33 miler once; 8 miles and the 10 miles a couple of times)

I am glad that I didn’t try that race. Here is why:

1. It rained and slick mud really makes my knee ache.

2. My slowness: though I was never a good runner, I have slowed down even more. Farmdale usually has several events starting at different times: 50 miles at 5 am, 30 mile (50K) at 7 and 10K/half marathon at 8. So, unless I started with the 50 milers, i would be guaranteed to spend much of the time getting out of the way of faster runners who are lapping me.

So, you see, my issues are with my OWN body in my current condition. Were I faster and if my knee were better equipped to handle slick mud, I’d probably be still interested in the event. The event itself is well run; trails are marked well; there is lots of aid and friendly people helping out.

More Remarks on Goodwill’s Forward March event

I like the road event that I ended up doing. I had time to think about it some more and here is what I liked best: the 8 mile course was interesting, both athletically and mentally.

You start near a ball field and run through downtown. Then you run through an old neighborhood, then do a small (.6 mile) stretch through a shaded bike path, and then do a very hilly 5K loop through a cemetery which features two very tough hills. Then you leave the cemetery, reverse your path except that you enter the stadium and finish along the warning track of the baseball field.

In difficulty: it is 1.3 miles shorter than the Steamboat 15K but in a way, it is tougher. The Steamboat 15K has you going up a huge hill twice, but each time, after the uphill, you have about a mile (maybe more) of flat prior to going downhill then back uphill…then a flat then downhill.

The Forward march gives you no “flat” between the tough hills; that is where the distance comes from.

You THINK that you can use the remaining 2 miles of flat to stretch it out a bit, but by then your legs are rocks; it is challenge enough to keep moving.

October 13, 2013 Posted by | hiking, running, time trial/ race, training | , , | 1 Comment

Lazy Sunday

Workout notes: easy 10 mile run/walk/hike at McNaughton Park (2:41); it was cool but I felt the effects of yesterday’s 5K. I was 1:18 at the bridge and never pushed it; 2:08 at the final woods bridge, 1:51 leaving Heaven’s Gate; 1:00 at the foot of Golf Hill and 51 at the first Lick Creek crossing; 38 at totem pole, 11:30 at the foot of the hill leading to Tanner’s pass. I only saw a few people out there.

The wife gets home early tomorrow morning (1 am) so I will sleep, wake up, sleep.


I saw this photo on facebook and recognized her; I took yoga-lattes and yoga from her. :-)

October 6, 2013 Posted by | big butts, hiking, running, spandex | | Leave a comment

Back to McNaughton Park

I had a hard time getting off of the couch this morning. I just was tired and listless, and strangely enough, feeling a bit down.

So I felt that a trip to McNaughton Park for a 10 mile loop would help; it turns out that I’ve been going there for over 10 years now. I finished in 2:35, which was once my “quick but not all out” walking time.

Though the bottoms were still a bit wet the course was 90-95 percent dry; the first Lick Creek crossing, which is typically knee deep or deeper:



The first 5 miles were empty; then came hikers, kids and a couple of people walking/running. That got me to push it a bit; 1:20 at the bridge and 1:15 for the back half; 45 minutes for the last 5K.

I felt better when I got back. Now to do a little grading (not try to get it all done).

September 29, 2013 Posted by | hiking, running | | Leave a comment

Hope for my running?

Today’s race and workout
Cool conditions, and my overall result was similar to what I was able to do at this time last year.

5K: 25:42. Splits: 7:56, 8:10, 8:44, 0:51.
Place: 124 out of 320
Yes, the first mile, while it felt easy, was too fast.
BUT, I noticed that while warming up, I felt better than I did in a long, long time. Running almost felt “easy”; the gait was much freer than the painful, slothful, “almost running in molasses” slog that it had become.

I think the reason is that my new back exercises (McKenzie) has really “freed” my pelvis, so to speak. I am spending less energy fighting my own body and more moving forward. I just need to practice this motion some more.

I got 2 miles of warm up and about 1.5 miles of walking to cool down.

Then I drove to Jubilee State Park and hiked the trails…and yes, got lost. I ended up with about 90 minutes of walking which I estimate to be 5 miles. But even this walking felt much easier than before.

At the race I talked to Art Harris; he was someone who ran cross country in high school and burned up the area races (3:10 marathon at 50 years of age; 20:00 5K at 60 years of age). He is now 78 years old and his capacity has diminished with age. He still ran just over 31 minutes though.

At the end, I found myself (again) yelling encouragement at the older runners; well, at least a the few that were behind me. Bill Holmes (mid 60’s) passed me in the last .2 miles and though I caught Mike Rucker (70) at about half way, I wasn’t able to sustain it…today.

Still…I feel energized and encouraged; I just need to keep at these back exercises and to let my body adjust to the newer, freer stride.

2011 version 8:41, 8:43, 9:40, 0:48 27:52 (4 mile hike afterward!)
2009 version: 7:49, 7:46, 7:48, 0:44 24:09

I’ve done 20:50 for this course but that was back in 1999.


5K (or close)

2012 2013
25:42 Brimfield: 7:56, 8:10, 8:44, 0:51
27:59 Aug. 5: Math Fest 5K 26:56 Rocket Run July 20: 8:27, 8:42, 9:46
26:07 Run for the Health of it July 14 8:28 8:49, 8:49 (AG) 26:32 5K run for the health of it July 13 (AG) 8:03, 8:02, 10:26
27:46 July 4 Firecracker 8:09 8:43 10:53 27:40 July 4 Firecracker
25:03 May 26 River Run 8:08, 8:07, 8:47 24:56 May 25 River Run
25:13 Race for the Cure May 12 (8:25, 7:34, 9:12) (AG) 25:48 Race for the Cure May 11
24:34 May 5 Run to Remember (7:54, 7:45, 8:54) 26:12 (3.18?) May 4: Sam Fan 5K
25:41 Bradley U. April 28 25:29 (hilly) 20 April: BU women soccer 5K
25:14 CIDA March 31 (8:27, 8:17, 8:29) (AG) 25:14 March 23: New Interplanetary 5K
25:08 Interplanatary March 24 (8:14, 8:19, 8:34) (AG) 27:04 (3.25?) 2 March: 5K Jack Kenney (AG)

Note: So far, at the 5K, 2012 has been 23 seconds faster (per race) than 2013. But when we compare similar courses,(7 of the events), the difference is 13 seconds per race. However, the post marathon 5Ks have been remarkably similar (4 seconds per race).

best: 24:34 2012, 24:56 2013 (22 seconds)
median: 25:14 2012, 25:45 2013 (31 seconds)

PS: this is from 2005, when I was whining about not being able to break 23 minutes for a 5K.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | hiking, injury, running, Uncategorized | , , | 6 Comments


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