Salvaging it (still under the weather slightly)

I’ve got this malaise that I can’t quite shake; I’ve had it for about 2 weeks, now going on the third. I am not quite sick but I am a little warm, a little weak, and a little tired, with eyes burning (slightly), nose running, digestion not quite right but not terrible.

So I am just a “bit off” but not terrible.

Today: on the treadmill, I just was horrible on the warm up part; after a minute or two of 5.2 mph jogging, I walked! So I did “walk/jog” for the first 10 minutes, slow jog for the next 10 and decided to try to do my 2:30 repetitions at 6.7. I modified it to 2:40 (10 seconds longer in the work interval) and allowed myself to walk 20 seconds to 1 minute of the recovery (mostly 20 seconds) and then jog at 5.0-5.1 mph.

And I finished with 8 repetitions; hit mile 5.92 in 1:05; jogged to 10K in 1:07:30. (mile 6 in 1:06). So it was better than nothing..and I didn’t have to bail on the workout like I had feared.

April 5, 2017 Posted by | illness, running | Leave a comment

Unintended benefit

A few months ago, I set out strengthen my legs. My “run” had become a “shuffle walk” (more so than normal) and stairs were getting harder; I figured that my legs were weak. And my butt: (TMI): gluteals were mostly small, useless sacks of jello that jiggled and did little else.

And yes, I’ve noticed a difference. I am still as slow as hell but…my….back feels better. Seriously: this leg work has made my back ache a whole lot less! Go figure; that wasn’t the intention but it is motivation for me to stick with it.

Yesterday: 5 mile shuffle (2 lower loops of Bradley park).
Today: 4 mile walk (15:30 average overall; 14:30 or so on the flat parts..Cornstalk classic from Markin after weights.

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10; first 4 sets were really good; last was a struggle)
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 4 x 185, 10 x 170 (strict)
standing dumbbell military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45
Hammer machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200
Hammer machine incline: 8 x 160, 2 sets of 10 x 140 (did I slack here?)
abs: 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving bridges, 12 twist crunch
headstand (not quite as steady as I’d like)
legs: goblet squats; 1 warm up set, then 5 x 45, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65 (last set: pushed me; I felt it)
leg presses: 10 x 250 (too shallow), 10 x 210.

At times I was very internally whiny. Part of it is that I still have a “sort of” cold. Part of it is that I am a whiner by nature. I kept telling myself “GET GOING YOU BIG BABY.”

April 4, 2017 Posted by | illness, injury, walking, weight training | 1 Comment

Minor League Baseball and Friends: happy to let them go…

The Peoria Chiefs (low A, Midwest League) start up this month, but I’ll spend most of my “baseball time” watching Bradley and pick up the Chiefs in May.

The Chiefs made the playoffs the past two years. But last year: by the time they got to the playoffs they weren’t the same team; most of their good players had been promoted.

And that is how it goes in minor league ball: you start to get attached to a player and you want them to do well. But when they do well, they leave, as they well should. And though you miss seeing them, you are happy for them.

Sometimes, something similar happens to one’s friends. A few weeks ago, my wife said “you probably won’t be training with X now that they have a love interest that runs”…and my reply was “I hope not.” She looked surprised, but then understood exactly what I meant.

Workout notes Weird. I still have a scratchy, “sometimes” cough and feel slightly weak; this is a continuation of what I had last week. But weights went very well:

rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: strong)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190 (wanted to keep the hips down), 10 x 170 (strict)
military press: dumbbell, 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
incline: 3 sets of 10 x 160 (45/35 on each side) Hammer machine

I tried to run…no dice, walked 5 miles outside instead. The gates to the hills of Bradley Park are now open; beautiful day but some traffic. I got shocked into picking it up on the way back..a young woman who was walking deliberately was gaining on me. My “mind wandering walk” is no longer fast; I have to be deliberate and concentrate.

April 2, 2017 Posted by | baseball, Friends, illness, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

weird bug?

For some of last week, I felt “out of sorts”; weak, watery eyes, athletically slightly degraded. I felt good prior to the weekend 5K though. Today’s run: aside from an extremely rare case of lower GI (cut run short to 3.3 miles, then walked 1.8 after the pit stop), I felt ok.

Now my wife is under the weather. The difference: she is normal.

Me: if I feel sub optimal, I try to workout anyway, albeit at reduced intensity, duration or both.

March 28, 2017 Posted by | illness, running, walking | Leave a comment

End of a football weekend

Workout notes I have a scratchy throat and am feeling a bit less than 100 percent. So I didn’t run the race today but instead walked a gentle 8 miles.

Illinois Football: the big news is that they are retaining their interim coach for 2 more years. We shall see; remember that he was fired from Western Michigan after the 2012 season; that year his team lost to Illinois 24-7, one of 2 wins for the Illini that year.

Illinois promptly went on to lose to Northwestern 24-14 in Chicago, playing a “home game” in Soldier Field.


Now you see why Illinois was offering half price tickets over the past 2 weeks.

Yes, the last NW game in Champaign was played in a sparsely populated stadium but not quite this bad:

Of course the team was 4-7 going into the 2013 game and 5-6 into this year’s game.

So, I am not sure that anything was gained by moving the game. This year, the Illini finish 5-7 overall and 2-6 in Big Ten play.

Illinois had a touchdown in the first quarter and a pick-6 in the 4’th quarter.

Bradley Basketball

The men played hard against Mississippi but lost 67-54; the Braves came out with high energy but eventually the inexperience showed.
The women came out flat and were barely ahead of Division III Eureka 38-34 at the half. I don’t know what the coach told the team at the half, but it ended 87-47.

Update I just watched Stanford rally from 36-35 down with 30 seconds to go to beat Notre Dame 38-36 with a last second field goal. That was one heck of a good game. ND finishes 10-2 with 2 very narrow losses to excellent teams.

So the score for me (football): 0-4 (my teams)

Texas Tech 48 Texas 45 (got it right, win and spread)
Houston 52 Navy 31 (missed this pick)
Northwestern 24 Illinois 14 (got it right, win and spread)
Stanford 38 Notre Dame 36 (got it right, Stanford won but ND covered)

November 29, 2015 Posted by | basketball, college football, illness, walking | , | Leave a comment

Planet Fitness in the news….

Workout notes: first swim after a 2 week lay off. UGLY.

500 (drowning in place)
10 x 100 on the 2:10 (1:50/51/52/53/50/49/48/49/47/46) I realized after the first 4 that I wasn’t putting any effort into it.
200 of drills with fins
2 x 25 count (21 strokes per length)
50: tried to stay with another swimmer. couldn’t.

Saturday: I had mentioned that I did an “almost 5K” (2.9 miles in 24:42; 8:31 mpm pace). I finished 39 out of 81, which is one of my worst overall placings in a public 5K, ever. Yes, part of it was that I wasn’t 100 percent, but even if I were, I would have, at best, placed 6-10 places higher. That’s it. The real reason is that this was a “mostly student” crowd; perhaps there were a half dozen people over 22 there and the public races are, statistically speaking, a much older crowd.

I really don’t want to face that reality, but..I have no choice. BUT, I can make it a goal to run this time on a legitimate 5K course sometime this year.

Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness is in the news again; a woman complained about a transgender woman (man? not sure of the actual status) using the women’s locker room and was subsequently kicked out of the club. I do find it curious: on one hand “activists” argue that sexual identity “what “gender” someone identifies with” is independent of biological sex and that not everyone is either “male or female”. Ok…then if there are other classifications than “male/female”…why does someone get to be “female” because they say that they are?

I can understand the discomfort that a woman might feel.

Personally: well, the situation isn’t symmetric; I wouldn’t care if some “male with 2 x chromosomes” wanted to use the male locker room, but that is me. I am not a female and my life experiences are different (and feminists are constantly reinforcing that point, aren’t they).

But Planet Fitness is known for other things:

They found a woman’s bare midriff to be too threatening and, well, they don’t actually seem to support people seeking to be the best that they can be.

Now if you follow my blog you might well say “hey, you aren’t strong enough to run afoul of PF’s rules”, which, well, is true. Sadly.

But I still enjoy the gym because, in part, I am around others pushing themselves and that helps me deal with the emotional pain of getting weaker with time. It is just like my attempting (and failing) to stay with the students this past Saturday. 😉

March 9, 2015 Posted by | illness, swimming | | Leave a comment

Clinging to outliers: hope springs eternal

Workout notes: though it has been a while, (it started with a scratchy throat on 18 February and peaked Sunday, 22 February; first workout back was 27 February) I am STILL not back near 100 percent. Yesterday’s “almost 5K (2.9 miles)” at a 8:35 pace left me sore. So I did work out, but I have an ever-present “mild fatigue” that hindered my performance:

Weights: pull ups, 4 sets of 10, 7, 1, 5. I couldn’t get that 5’th set of 10. Rest: rotator cuff and back exercises.
bench press: 10 x 135, 1 x 180 (not really strong), 4 x 170 (and THAT was hard),
incline: 135: 1 set of 3 (weights slid off; forgot to set one of the clips) and then a set of 5.
circuit: 3 sets of 10 on machines: rows (110), pull downs (130), military (90 each arm).

I was feeling a bit run down so I walked indoors though it was a pretty day: 4 miles in 50:09 (middle lane): 13:13, 12:36, 12:33, 11:46. It wasn’t a bad walk, but it wasn’t exactly blazing fast either.

Hope and outliers
Yesterday’s 5K run chopped off part of the usual course; this was apparent when I got to what should have been mile 2 (14:30…ok, 10 years ago…maybe?) and finished in 24:42; this was my best time last year (certified course). I came in tired and had heavy legs during the warm up; this was about 2.87-2.9 miles and equates to a 26:30-26:40 on a true 5K course, and THAT reflects where I was yesterday.

But I wanted to believe that this was a full 5K. It wasn’t.

That got me to thinking a bit more about denial. Early this season, our Division I basketball team lost to a Division III team 58-56. Now of course, many fans didn’t want to admit the obvious: our team was a very bad basketball team. Some fans went back to memory lane and remembered famous upsets like this one. And it is true: you can comb the annals of basketball history to see some legitimately good teams suffering embarrassing losses in the preseason or early in the season.

But those are the exception: the vast majority of a time, a D-1 team loses to a D-3 team because they aren’t any good. And yes, we finished 9-24 overall and 3-15 in conference play, though we did beat a 9-22, 6-12 team in the conference tournament…only to lose by 25 the next game.

And yes, you see this with regards to test scores; witness the satirical treatment of this rather dumb facebook meme:


Yes, on rare occasion, someone with a math ACT of 19 makes it past calculus 3; there is a CEO of a company who did poorly on a standardized test, and I know of one language professor whose GRE scores were a disaster…and her logical abilities were limited..but she was/is a genius with languages. No, those tests didn’t pick that up.

But those are outliers. Most of the time, the tests reflect reasonably well what the student knows and what their academic abilities.

It works the other way too. I remember watching the Boston Marathon in 2001 and seeing Lee Bong Ju win. During the race, the announcer said that, while he was in high school, he had set national records in Korea. At first I thought “wow”…then “DUH….what kind of person leads (and wins) the Boston Marathon?” That he had run some fast times while as a youngster is the least surprising thing in the world.

Yes, one Boston Marathon winner had started his running career as a recreational runner to lose weight! But that is the rare exception.

But dreams die hard. Think about lottery mania. I tried to tell my dad that he was wasting his time and money by buying a ticket. His response: “someone wins”. Well, “someone dies on their way to buy their ticket too” and, as we can see, the odds of dying while picking up a ticket are greater than buying the winning ticket!

The odds of dying by a car accident are 1.58 \times 10^{-8} per mile traveled. The odds of winning a lottery jackpot are about 5.7 \times 10^{-9}

So there you go.

March 8, 2015 Posted by | illness, running, sickness, statistics, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Losing a week…

My goodness, I am still trying to catch up. And yes, one exam this week, two the next.

I am not 100 percent yet, but I did an easy 4 miles on the home treadmill (43:20); terrible but 1 minute faster than yesterday with less effort. Who knows, at this rate of improvement I should be at my 1998 level in under 3 week’s time? 😉

Yes, that is a joke, but given how bad science writing is in the media, you can’t really be sure!

Note: my wife is having a horrible time with her chronic coughing; on her previous trip sitting behind a cat in an airplane made her ill for a month; this time she got her cough reactivated by bad air in a city that they visited.

So…I will NOT let her take a trip to tour coal mines or, say, to China.

Now to head home; the weather is supposed to be downright dreadful this week (ice storm tonight; down to 2 F by midweek) but well…maybe by June the snow will finally be gone? 😉

March 2, 2015 Posted by | illness, running | , , , | Leave a comment

Women’s Basketball: Southern Illinois 72 Bradley 66: turnovers and perimeter defense

Good news: I walked TWO MILES on the treadmill this morning. I didn’t die; maybe a bit more tomorrow morning.

27:54; I did enough to get warm.

Women’s basketball
Though Bradley stated out well, BU allowed SIU to hit 7 of 14 from 3 point land; two SIU guards just killed us: no. 10 with 25 points (8-15, 2/5 from 3) and no. 13 had 21 (6-13, 4/6 from 3). We also gave up 20 turn overs; rebounding (BU 33-30) kept us in it.

It was mostly back and forth with SIU not starting to get away for good until about 2 minutes were left; they stretched it to 7, though BU cut it to 3 a few times in the very long last minute.

Note: I blistered my mouth with too many cough drops; Barbara got me some ointment that really helps.

February 28, 2015 Posted by | illness, walking | , | Leave a comment

Feeling strong enough to complain

Ok, no 100 percent; I still have some illness “afterglow”. I’ll put this on my virus post.

But I didn’t cough much when I shoveled snow (about 3 inches of easy, fluffy stuff) in very cold (14 F) weather. I cursed the idiot plow drivers as they buried our walks instead of putting the snow on the useless median and did the walks…again.

Peoria is simply a horrible place to live; Canadian winters (last 2 anyway), incompetent city government and idiotic people.

But when I finished shoveling (AGAIN), walking to school and climbing the stairs I was soaking with sweat…and did not cough…once. I can’t tell you what a huge improvement that is. I’ll probably walk on the treadmill tomorrow.

But my wife is home, taking up space and coughing away…no rest of the wicked, I suppose.

No relief from the brutality of this winter either; yes, THIS YEAR, and LAST YEAR have made the “top 10 coldest Februaries on record:

February 2015 is on track to being one of the coldest February’s on record for Illinois. Data through February 24 puts the statewide average at 19.4° F. This is 11.5°F below average and slightly colder than last February’s 19.4°F. Before February, this was shaping up to be a mild winter with near to above-average temperatures (see graph to the left, click to enlarge).

At this point, February 2015 is ranked as the 8th coldest on record, edging out 2014 (see table below). The NWS forecasts show that temperatures for the rest of February will be 15 to 20 degrees below average. Therefore it is possible that it could move up the ranks. I will post more on this at the end of the month.

Yes, it will get colder:


And yep, we will get slammed with more snow again.

We have the worst of both worlds: Canadian winters and US conservatives in the same place.


Yes, some college administrators, even those with academic Ph. D.s really are this stupid:

When I started as an assistant professor, our Provost insisted that to be tenured, all tenure-track faculty had to have scores on their anonymous student evaluations that were above their department’s averages. I tried to explain to him that if this were sustained over time, the result would be that all tenure-track faculty would be required to have perfect scores. After that happened, no one would get tenure, since it would no longer be possible to score higher than average. He gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look.

(by department average, they mean vs. all tenure track and tenured; this is the “everyone should be above average idiocy”)

And yes, they expect you to view whatever “research” they did on a level with yours.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | education, illness, Peoria | , , , , | Leave a comment