blueollie

Running gear store ambivalence

I started running regularly back in 1975 (to get ready for football) and have been at it, with an interruption for knee issues and, yes, morbid obesity, here and there. Yes, I ran a 5:58 mile as a 220 lb. offensive tackle and a 23:00 5K as a 230 lb. graduate student (1985) But the point is that I’ve been buying running shoes for a very long time.

I restarted running back in 1996 and because my feet are hard to fit, I mostly used running shoe stores, especially Running Central. The store used to be a small “hole in the wall” at Sheridan and Main street; it employed a few people (often very young) and had almost an off-beat, cult feel to it. People were personable and friendly; at times it appeared that the profit motive was secondary; it was about running first and foremost.

But eventually that store was sold and now it is a large, open, almost upscale “a bit of everything” store…offers not only the essentials but extras ..lifestyle extras. And they employ many more people and they are trained to SELL. And they are good at it; after my last purchase I got a nice postcard from the person who sold me the shoes. (several pair). They work with you, fit you, etc. And they have a system to ensure that you get served in a timely manner..but “the sell” is always on.

So: more items, but definitely the profit motive is first and foremost with a lot more selling pressure.

To me, the new atmosphere is almost alienating; there is no “I want to see what the guys are up to” feeling about it. But at the same time, I get what I need and they do have buyer’s club discounts. And they appear to be good “public citizens”, sponsoring races and events.

So…I really wonder if my ambivalence is about change ..and perhaps the older, cozier store might well have gone under by now? I do get the feeling that the running community is much more diverse now..not just the hard core road runners who are hell bent on PR’s, trophies, etc.

And yes, though I have a model of shoe that works for me, I’ll probably get fitted for a new pair..at the store. And I did like it that an older lady worked with me the last time.

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August 9, 2018 Posted by | Peoria, running | Leave a comment

Gag…gag…

Ok, perhaps it isn’t THAT hot..for my 8.3 mile walk (W. Peoria plus Bradley hills) it was 76 F, 87 percent at the start; 80 F, 76 percent at the end, and for the walk home from Dozer, 89 F, 63 percent.

The walk (in the morning); somewhat tired legs, but still 2:03 for 8.3 miles (14:50 pace) and untimed from the park.

Sunday action at Dozer. Hot.

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A fan got in a quick stretch:

Stretching between innings. Peoria leads 2-1..still.

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And the Chiefs won a fine pitcher’s duel 2-1; the first runner got on base when the batter alertly swung on a wild pitch for strike 3 and got to first; a single got him to 3’rd and a sacrifice fly brought him in.

The heat caused the fans to drop like flies; this was the 7’th inning stretch and even Barbara had gone home.

Baseball commentary I’ve read that actual attendance at games is down. My guess: our part of the country had a frigid “spring” that was really an extended winter followed by a hot, humid summer. This season has not been a pleasant one to be outside (for the most part). Will this be the norm for future years?

Now the walk home: featured Peoria’s perpetually “under construction” streets.

Welcome to my world. This is the norm.

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July 15, 2018 Posted by | baseball, Peoria, Peoria/local, walking | | Leave a comment

Peoria is one city people are fleeing from

Peoria is no. 18 on this list. Rockford is no. 11 and Chicago (area) is no. 1.

Why? People will talk about high taxes. But, at least in my area, while property taxes might be high in terms of rate, property VALUES are low so what comes out of your pocket is less than what it is in other cities.

We do have an income tax but are regarded as a middle income tax state, but “high tax” when one considers both income and sales tax.

BUT…in terms of services…well, our State Police are always at the ready to give you a speeding ticket…is that a service? 🙂

And our highways are dreadful. Oh, they’ll say we are right in the middle but don’t believe them.

High overall taxes, and mediocre state services and complete state government dysfunction. But I’d say mostly it is the decline of economic opportunities which leads to less money to invest in the public good, worse schools, etc. and all that leads to a talent drain.

The weather doesn’t help; over the past few years we’ve had the dreaded “polar vortex” giving us a traditional winter, and climate change leading to Texas caliber summers. I can’t complain today though..last night a rainstorm dumped 2.25 inches in 2 hours…and knocked down the temperature about 10 degrees F.

It isn’t all bad though: I can afford a house where I can walk to work, I have two gyms and a park just a walk or medium run away, and close by sports action (minor and college baseball, college basketball); football requires just a bit of a drive (45 to 2:30 of driving, depending on whether I want I-AA, Big Ten or NFL).

Workout notes yesterday, warm 5 mile walk, followed by some very warm yard work.

Today: weights; usual PT, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (good), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, decline 8 x 170, incline 10 x 170, military: dumbbell 10 x 50, 10 x 45, machine 10 x 180, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. Usual abs, plank.

Bodyweight 199.

July 6, 2018 Posted by | Illinois, Peoria, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Brrrbaseball and other trivial topics

The unusually wet, cold and snowy spring has played havoc with baseball schedules and kept fans away in droves.

But ironically, I got one free game out of all that: Wisconsin played the Chiefs this past weekend, but faced heavy snow at home.

So, some calls were made, and Wisconsin stayed in Peoria and “played host” to the Kane County Cougars. I couldn’t make today’s noon game but I did make yesterdays “clear but chilly” game.

It was a wonderful game; the Timberrattlers started strong and took a 4-1 lead; they hit a couple of home runs. But the Cougar relief pitching was strong and their bats woke up; Wisconsin also made some fielding errors. Kane County took the lead in the 8’th and held on. Still, the game was fun to watch.

It was even colder for tonight’s Western Illinois at Bradley game and there was some snow showers in the last hour. Western started quickly and scored 2 runs in the first inning; BU helped their cause with a walk and an error. But with bases loaded and 1 out, BU got a double play. Then BU promptly got 3 runs (first two batters got hits) and lead 3-2 after one inning; that inning took about 38 minutes to play.
From then on Bradley’s defense dominated and though the Braves came up empty when they had the bases loaded with no outs, they scored enough in the rest of the innings to win 9-2. BU had a bit of everything: bunts, a home run, extra base hits, etc.

I was impressed that Western had some fans; many (most?) of the BU fans took advantage of the “suite” seats that had an indoor section.

And yes, at the start, the snowflakes were very well defined.

Yes, it is snowing. Those are snowflakes. #baseball #whereisspring

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Workout notes
The shoulder continues to improve.

Usual PT, pull ups: 2 sets of (5-5-5-5), 1 set of 10. Note: the 5-5-5-5 were a bit higher quality and burned in a good way.
bench: 10 x 135, 8 x 165, not much pain at all…very slow reps. 10 x 135 for the incline.
military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 45 standing, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine. Rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer. Usual abs; did the plank at first; everything else burned.

I didn’t want to run so I walked 5K outside, briskly.

April 19, 2018 Posted by | baseball, Peoria, Peoria/local, walking, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment

Tragedy strikes

An otherwise fine day (save a baseball game getting..yes, snowed out…due to incoming weather and the visiting team’s travel plans)…a day which featured lunch with a very dear friend and a nice (but snail slow) 11 mile walk, partly in West Peoria and partly in Bradley park…heel wasn’t even noticeable until mile 8…

was marred by the shooting death of a student and another young person.

This took place about 3-4 blocks from my house, along my usual walking route.

I do not know the circumstances but do know it was a tragic, senseless loss.

April 8, 2018 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Voting: it matters.

We had primary elections yesterday; none of my major candidates won (or even came close), though the incumbent governor almost got beat in the primary by a whack-job.

So, now it is the “battle of the unqualified billionaires” for governor.

But of local interest, there was this referendum on the ballot: should Peoria County make “auditor” a professional, non-political position (one that is appointed). I voted “yes” to make the auditor to be a professional, appointed job rather than an elected one. More than 22,000 people voted and “no” won by 14 votes.

14 votes!

Workout notes:

weights (usual pt), pull ups (5-5-5, 5-5-5, 10, 10) decline press: 10 x 135, 10 x 165, incline press 4 x 155, 10 x 135, military (standing: 10 x 50, 10 x 45), seated: 15 x 50, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 (single arm) with dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine.

abs: twist crunch (50, 24), yoga leg lifts (10, 10), moving bridge (3 sets of 10), headstand (tough to get into), plank 2:20, side plank

run: treadmill: 5.1-5.4 5 minute froggy, then 6.1 then 6.2-6.5 every .25 miles (31:58), 32:55 for 5k, 45:25 4 mile (walk final .9 miles).

foot: ok, iced.

March 21, 2018 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

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


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.

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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.

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Maria got this one of me.

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Here I am with Tracy.

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I won the flower place setting in the raffle.

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Here is Larry and Tracy together.

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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.

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