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:







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






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

Peoria Democrats Presidents Day Dinner 2017 version

It was the usual; good food, nice company, VERY sectarian prayer (have any of these pastors ever heard of the word “ecumenical”?), Cheri Bustos was the main speaker and she filled us in as to what is going on in Washington. She alerted us to the fact that Trump won IL-17 (Obama won it easily).

Socially, it went much better for me than last year, though I did socialize a bit more with others already at the dinner.

This time, Tracy was available and Larry met us there.


The largest crowd ever: almost 500. Open seating was in the back.

There was a lot of fried chicken there. Yeah, this photo was a bit blurry.


Maria got this one of me.


Here I am with Tracy.


I won the flower place setting in the raffle.


Here is Larry and Tracy together.


Oh, I did work out in the morning: 6 miles easy and some “no weight” squats.

February 21, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, Friends, IL-17, Peoria, Peoria/local, running | | Leave a comment

Caterpillar moving its headquarters to Chicago

And that means leaving Peoria, where they started. Though many Caterpillar jobs will remain, for now…this is a shock to the Peoria community and economy.

So, how long will it be before Caterpillar is totally gone? I was reminded of this post at Gin and Tacos:

These places are dead and dying because economically there is no longer any reason for them to exist. They were established at a time when their location near resources or now-outdated transportation links made them important. Now, and no politician will ever admit it in public, there simply isn’t any reason for Altoona or Youngstown or Terre Haute to exist anymore. The jobs are never coming back. Nothing is coming back. The Democrats have not given the white Rust Belt working class an answer to their problems because there is no answer. Nothing will resurrect these places, all of which have long since crossed the point of no return in their economic and population decline. Automation, union-busting, outsourcing (much of it within the U.S., to impoverished Southern states) and race-to-the-bottom subsidy wars among state and local governments are ensuring that the situation isn’t about to improve.

And Peoria’s inherent backwardness doesn’t help matter. After all, we have a mayor who sent the police to raid someone’s house, because of a twitter account (50-55 followers!) And we have a lot of people in this town who did not realize…do not realize..what a ridiculous thing to do it was..or how this made us a nation-wide laughing stock.

Why would highly educated people even want to live here?

Oh, Peoria isn’t all bad but, but…oh, don’t get me started.

January 31, 2017 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, social/political | Leave a comment

Sluggish 10 mile walk

Today’s 10.1 mile walk took 8 minutes longer than a walk on the same course back on December 29, but it did come after leg work and some intervals two days ago. And this was certainly “comfort, not speed” today. It was just under freezing and there wasn’t much wind. Footing was excellent; almost no ice was left on the sidewalks.

Below is a couple of photos of the “sort-of” frozen Illinois River. In the second one, there is a barge in the distance and some geese (hard to see). This is less frozen than it often is at this time of year (mid January).

Of interest:

1) There are some “labrador black” squirrels in the grass next to MLK just as I was turning onto Moss. They’ve spread; I did not see them 20 years ago; about 5-6 years ago I saw a few in Bradley Park.

2) No runners or walkers on the bike path..with one big exception. As I passed by some flocks of geese, I noticed that they were very, very agitated; much more so than when it was just me. It turns out that the Bradley University Men’s track/XC team was out training (perhaps 5:45-6 minute per mile pace) as a group; I moved over for them and many greeted me. I could lie and say something about age, but when I was their age, my “cruise training” pace was 7:30 mpm-ish…considerably slower than they were going.

Still, there was a “cycle of life” aspect to this encounter though.



January 15, 2017 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, running, walking | Leave a comment

My annual Steamboat flop (2016 version)

Well, this was my worst Steamboat 15K ever.


But socially, well, I enjoyed running “with the group” and I enjoyed the interaction with many. And it was a pleasure that Barbara was there; she walked her first Steamboat 4 miler in 7 years; a year ago she thought that her foot would no longer allow her to do these (1:18:29 was her time, or a 19:38 pace).

It was muggy at the start; 67 F with 66 percent humidity and it was to get to 76-77 by the time I finished. Time: 1:41:57; my worst as a runner. The wheels came off on the start of the second loop, after the second climb. I was just under 41 minutes at 4 miles but fell apart prior to the 10K mark.


What lead to this debacle:

1. Too fast of a start for the conditions: 9:50, 9:50 were my first 2 miles (slight incline). I am not in shape to sustain that.
2. I weigh too damn much. No, I don’t look fat and I don’t think I am. But 191-193 is too heavy for me to run long effectively. I can do lots of pull ups though. ๐Ÿ™‚
3. Heat; it was sweltering out there. This wasn’t the worst I’ve endured, but it was a factor.
4. 36 mile walk two weeks ago/
5. I accidentally made decaf coffee this morning. Yes, the one “bad” long run attempt I had this year came when…I had decaf by mistake. I think that I didn’t interpret my “feeling bad” correctly.

The race itself: I lined up close to the 10 minute per mile pace sign. I took it out at 9:50 per mile and was already feeling it. I tried to ease it up going up the first hill but I think that I was spent by then. While my first 5K was not horrible, (31:40) it took too much out of me. So while I was just under 41 minutes at mile 4, I was shot. I tried to hang in there on the second loop but started to walk just prior to the 10K mark; it was pretty much over by then.

I did the old “walk/jog” until there was 1 mile to go. Then I tried to pick up the pace (downhill mile): 10:35. Goodness gracious. I could tell that I was merely shuffling.

Athletic lesson I really wonder if my legs have become too weak for me to “run” longer distance and if I am not simply better off walking them instead. I do have two marathons on my radar screen: Quad Cities on September 25, and the PNC Peoria on October 16. I did the latter last year as a walker and made the 6 hour time limit with 11 minutes to a walker.

I had set a goal of running one of these in under 5 hours that possible? I know that I’ve been able to maintain 15 mile training runs at about an 11:15 mpm pace or so and do so comfortably. But that was in cool weather conditions. And 15.x is NOT 26.2. I wonder if I am better off focusing on walking training and walking these or perhaps walking one, running the other.

I really have some thinking to do; I suppose that I can sign up for these marathons right now and drop to the half marathon if my training doesn’t go well. Time will tell.

Social This was by far the best part. The Steamboat 4 mile/15 km is THE community race in Peoria. The 4 mile race attracts Olympic caliber runners (genuinely) and both races attract the hard core “club runners”. The 4 mile attracts many newbies and casual runners and fitness walkers.

I jogged a warm up from my house (and felt a slight headache; now I know why). In my usual “restroom/mill about” activities, I saw Tracy (my “bestie”), Mat, another Bradley person..and I exchanged head butts with Stephanie (my Facebook persona is a goat). And yes, I got a hug from T, who is out with an injury but worked the course. One female said “you got to quit hugging all of those men” and both T and I replied “no way, I like it” almost at the same time! I also got to see “shirtless Bob” who was running with..yet another female (as he always does).

Later I walked with Mat to the start line and we saw Tracy bending over to tie her shoes; I told her that I was “checking out her legs and butt”..and Mat whistled. All in good fun.

Then I saw Barbara who drove to the start line; more hugs all around.

During the first mile of the race, I saw a very fit, slender woman running with her grade school son; it was Peggy, someone who won the women’s 15K division multiple times in the past. I joked that I never dreamed that I’d pass her in a Steamboat race. Yes, she was jogging easily to help out her young son. ๐Ÿ™‚

There were the usual kudos and cat calls during the run (someone told me to quit sandbagging) and I got to yell at Cassie during the second switch back. I had been following her from a distance early but accurately figured her pace was too quick for me today.

I’ll post some photos later; as you can probably tell that I had fun, despite my…well, simply horrible performance. Basically, this was a “long run with friends” for me.

I’ll admit that I had bits of anger when it became clear that the wheels were going to come off yet again. But there was some acceptance too; I did things like chase Melody (didn’t ever catch her and stay ahead), chase one person or another, and that “last mile challenge”. And yes, some of the bad mood was about the coffee, though I didn’t know about it at the time. Realistically, that probably made a 1-2 minute difference; I was far more hurt by starting too fast for the conditions.

Next year, and yes, I’ll try yet AGAIN, I’ll line up with the 11 minute folks and try to take it out in 10:30 or so (if it is this warm again).

And I can’t stress this enough: I really enjoyed it that Barbara did building steam (the training program) and finished this race; this is an unexpected bonus. I think that it lifted her spirits to be able to participate again.

So, emotionally I have mixed feelings. I thought that I was in better shape than that. I was grateful that I can still “run with the group” (if you can call what I did “running”). But at times, I felt that I was just “getting in the way” of the more competent people (when the fast runners lapped us) and that I no longer belong “out there”.

Past results

1998: 15K 1:08:22 183/844 (sticky) Was running just under 20 for 5K in those days. 22:50/23:05/22:27, 29/71 AG
1999: 15K 1:07:53 place was a bit worse; roughly 20:40 for 5K in these days 22:38/23:01/22:13
2000: 4m 27:51 After a 10K/half marathon double and 1:35 half a few weeks earlier.
2001: 4m 29:13 Lake Geneva Marathon 3:40
2001: 15K 1:11:16 (126/381) Fall 15K 23:20/24:04/23:51
2002: 4m 43:15 (walk)
2002: 15K 1:14:33 (run; fall) 167/405 24:10/25:07/25:16
2004: 4m 33:10 (two 24 hour walks in May; 101 and 88)
2005: 15K 1:23:13 (26:40/27:39/28:43) McNaughton 100 in April, Marathon on Memorial Day.
2006: 4M 42:10 (walk), FANS 24 in June (83 miles)
2007: Walk with Barbara
2008: Walk with Barbara
2009: run 1:27:23 (9:22 mpm) Place: 519/726 29:21/29:49/28:43, 34/43 AG
2010: walk 4 miles 39:32.
2011: walk 15 km 1:48:02 37:12/36:24/34:26
2012: run 15 km 1:36:55 29:26/33:54/33:35 679/835
2013: 15K 1:29:04 (29:34/29:53/29:38) 40/50 AG, 552/866
2014: 1:29:57 (29:22/30:46/29:49)
2015: 1:34:28 (30:49/32:49/30:50) (2 weeks after FANS 59.9) 579/804, 376/461 males, 173/219 male masters, 36/43 AG
2016: 1:41:57: 31:40/34:37/35:40 667/822, 413/458 male, 196/221 master male, 30/33 AG.

June 18, 2016 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, running | | 2 Comments

Last long one..



I “ran” the first course in 2:53:15 (11:12 pace; 1:27:11/1:26:04) and walked the second course in 1:19:46 (15:20 pace) for 20.7 miles in 4:13:01 (12:17 pace). It was a good day; some northwest wind (mild, by Illinois standards) and though the run was nice, the walk was a zoo. There was a high school graduation at Bradley and the West Peoria massive yard sale…cars parked EVERYWHERE. I wonder if people were merely swapping the contents of their respective garages and attics. ๐Ÿ™‚

Temperatures were in the low 60’s at the finish.

I got waved at by a couple of people who knew me (one was a yoga teacher) and…whistled at by some lady. I think that my walking pace improved by a few seconds a mile after that.

May 21, 2016 Posted by | Peoria, running, walking | | Leave a comment

Peoria Democrats Presidents Day Dinner

Cheri Bustos was the speaker. She did a good job explaining what Democrats are about and spoke up for Hillary Clinton and Tammy Duckworth.

On the social side, I sat with old friends and got to catch up with others. Of course, I’ll go to the next one.

Someone with Parkinson’s disease gave a moving testimony about how well the late Rep. Lane Evans did despite having this cruel, debilitating condition.

Of course, there were multiple shots taking at the Illinois governor.

February 16, 2016 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, politics | | Leave a comment

Peoria City Council: one decision I agree with (sort of)

Yes, the City Council agreed to sell a developer some of our green space (at a bargain basement price) for development of “high end” apartments.

It went something like this: “oh wow, this looked like a lovely spot.”
“Hey, this is the public’s land”
“Hey I am rich”
“Ok, we’ll sell you the spot”.

Yes, the majority of my local friends were against this sale, as was I.

But, there was a wealthy person to cater to. And despite letters to the editor, organized protests, and people showing up at the meeting, the Council understood that the large majority of Peorians do not regularly use this park or trail; if they’ve even been to it at all it was perhaps one or two times.

The majority of people in this town care not at all. Seriously: the place is mostly used by sand volleyball players, walkers, runners and cyclists.

The average middle aged Peorian smokes and resembles Jabba The Hutt. Do you think that the tiny fraction of old hippies and fitness buffs really outweigh big money?

On a related note, a bicyclist wrote this letter in response to a “cyclists are just like ISIS” letter:

Re. Sept. 8 Forum letter by Dave Hughes, โ€œBicyclists the โ€˜ISIS of rural roadsโ€:
Almost every day I ride my bike for exercise or to do errands. I have seen more traffic violations than you can imagine. Like the driver lighting up a cigarette with a dog in her lap (your dog will be smashed when the airbag goes off in an accident). Or the Mom texting with two kids in car seats on the way to school. Or drivers still using old-school cell phones up to their ears., Or turning right on red without stopping while pedestrians/bikers having the crossing sign. Or unwrapping fast food and eating in the car.
Some of us are trying to stop the stereotype of Americans being overweight and lazy. I love to take advantage of the few days of summer in which we can exercise outside. I admit that I have to illegally ride on some sidewalks to avoid all of the distracted drivers.

Yes, I do use local bike paths, but they donโ€™t connect to every area. There are many cities โ€” such as Austin, Texas โ€” that are way more biker-friendly than central Illinois.
So if anyone thinks people trying to enjoy the few months we have of nice weather and trying to avoid the health problems associated with being sedentary and obese are ISIS, they need to move to a country that really is affected by ISIS. We are far from that!

Yep. She nails it. Heck, think about what our city does with the sidewalks during winter: they see them as a place to put snow.

But back to my original point: in my opinion, our City Council accurately reflects their constituents.

September 24, 2015 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local | | Leave a comment

Learning to adapt to age, attitudes, etc.

Workout notes: untimed 4 mile Cornstalk classic run, then weights.

Run: untimed. The weather was beautiful; almost as if I ordered it. While in Bradley Park I saw two young women coming my way as I ran down the Dog Park hill. I moved way over (it is a wide road) and they smiled. Then as I turned to go up the hill to upper Bradley Park, I saw them ahead of me. I thought “OMG I am slow; they did 1 mile in the time it took me to do 400 meters? ” Then I realized they didn’t do the full lower loop; they are faster than I am but not THAT much faster. ๐Ÿ™‚

Then going along Parkside, I saw a fellow gray-hair that I’ve been running “against” since 1997 or so. We greeted each other, and, the difference between us is still about the same (he is maybe 1-2 minutes faster in the 5K…just as he was in 1997). We both have been reduced to “shuffling” during our runs. But we are still out there moving forward…at least I think that I am moving forward; not so sure of that at times. ๐Ÿ™‚

And yes, the traffic on Columbia Terrace and Parkside has gone up dramatically since the city made Main Street all but impossible to drive during morning rush hour. So that formerly “low traffic quiet neighborhood street” is no longer that. My guess is that the Uplands will no longer be a nice neighborhood in 10-15 years…if it takes that long.

pull ups: 10, 10, 10, 15, 5/5 (change grip) for 55 total. This was my first set of 15 in a long, long time. And these were decent reps…but I had to dig deep to get that set.
rotator cuff
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (hips down!) 7 x 170
incline press: 10 x 135 (tough)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell standing, 9 x 100 (each arm) machine, 1 x 70 to get 10 reps
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbell (each arm)
pull down: 2 sets of 10 x 160 traditional, 10 x 150 other machine
yoga (back, headstand)

Dealing with age
When it comes to running, I have to remember that 15 years ago, an “easy” 4 mile run was 32-36 minutes. Now it is 44-48; it takes me 1/3 longer to do the same distance. I have to factor that in when it comes to considering how long to go.

As far as my 5K times; they are now roughly what my 4 mile times used to be, and I remember thinking that the 4 mile was really more similar to a 10K than a 5K. So if I want to do well on the 5K, I will probably have to train the way I did for my old 10Ks.

And forget that nonsense about 5K being “95 percent VO2 max”. That is true for a trained athlete who will finish between 13-18 minutes, but not remotely true for me.

Effort Still, there is a time and place to “go for it”, though those times have to be more spread out. Today, I really wanted to see if I could do 15 pull ups in one set. And I could, but it did cost me; the next set was harder than normal. And I told myself “I have to WANT this”; I often don’t want to push myself.

Discipline I am going to a football game this Saturday and thought about doing a marathon on Sunday “as training”. That would be, well, dumb.
First of all, I know that once I pin a race number on and get with the crowd, I’ll go hard to try to keep contact. I am not rested and tapered either. So, the result would be: bad finish time, and exhaustion, 3 weeks prior to my “goal”.

10-15 years ago…well, I couldn’t really get away with it then either, but now the effect would be greater. I remember my days as a runner: I ran a hot weather 3:55 at Quad Cities 3 weeks prior to my goal at Chicago. At Chicago, I blew up at mile 20 and limped in at 3:46. Walking is easier on the body running, but that was 17 years ago. I recover more slowly now.

So, I’ll do a longish 5+ hour walk at a more relaxed pace; I KNOW that I can finish come race day. I’ve already hit 22 in training. I am aiming to walk that race HARD; aim for 5:30-5:40. And yes, that isn’t my old sub 5 hour (done once, in 2002) or even 5:15 (2009). If I think that my goal race will be easy because my finish time is likely to be slower than my old ones, I am kidding myself. It is still going to be tough, and I had better be ready mentally, emotionally and physically.

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Stuck in neutral (walking/running)


The above was for yesterday’s course.

Today: late start; weight 186 after breakfast.

Weights then running:

5 sets of 10, 1 set of 5 pull ups (hip hikes and rotator cuff) varied the grip
incline press: 10 x 135, 7 x 145, 9 x 140 (pushed myself a bit)
military press: 7 x 45, 8 x 45, 10 x 40 (standing dumbbells)
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110
pull down: 3 sets of 10 x 150 (double pulley machine)

Note: I did a super set with the military, rows, pull downs.

Then 1 mile in 11 minutes on the treadmill:
5K (25 laps, middle lane): 28:40. 9:04, 8:42 (17:47), 9:45 (27:33); I walked a few steps two different times on the last mile. I just didn’t have it; the last mile was feeling a bit like a race and I didn’t want that.

I had a good walk yesterday and the weights took a little out of me. Afterward: I cut the grass in the front yard.

By the way, we’ve gotten creamed by rain in June. This was the wettest June on record, and the second wettest month on record (September 1926 was 0.09 inches wetter).

illinoisweather (snapshot from the Illinois Climatology blog run by James Angel. )

I did a poor job of outlining Peoria County (where I live) but you can see that while we were not the wettest region in the state, we were above the state average. We’ve gotten water in the basement almost non-stop (on the order of perhaps 8-12 gallons a night, as measured by buckets and our new Shop-Vac wet vacuum).

And the yard is absurd; the weed trees grow back almost as fast as you chop them down. When you cut the grass, when you finished, the part of the yard you started with already needs to be cut again. (ok, that is an exaggeration… ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Rain, plus ample periods of sun plus very fertile soil = lots of growth. And the rabbits are having a field day; on Monday I counted 5 in the yard at one time! I wish I could have trapped them and brought them to our yard.

July 1, 2015 Posted by | Illinois, Peoria, Peoria/local, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment