I am getting those tingles I last had when I walked a lot.

Back to the hip hikes..and more back exercises.

Workout notes: weights, 2 mile run (11:02/8:38), goblet squats (50, 53, 53, 62, 62, sets of 6)
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine, military: 15 x 55 seated, supported, 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine. Headstand (easy?) lots of McKenzie. Teased Barbara; got a photo of her doing leg curls.

June 26, 2017 Posted by | running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

sciatica day 2

Last night: no trouble sleeping, though I did my McKenzie exercises before going to bed. I slept very well.

Weights; (some modification) rotator cuff, hip hikes, calf raises, pullups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (careful with the back), incline: 7 x 150, 10 x 135, dumbbell military: 7 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 40 (all standing), rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 200.

treadmill run: 2.1 miles in 20 minutes: 10:36/8:34 (2-2-2-2 5.2-5.5, then 6.7-7.2, last min. at 7.3), then goblet squats: 50, 50, 53 (kettlebell), 60, 63, 60

Lots of McKenzie exercises.


June 23, 2017 Posted by | running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

The cycle of athletic life

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

This is probably my favorite photo from the Steamboat 15K this past weekend. Background: the course features an almost 2 mile out, then two 2.7 mile loops starting out at the bottom of Glen Oak park, going up the hill, some hairpin turns and then back down. During this stretch, some of the faster runners lap some of the slower runners.

The runner in red is Jason, a Religious Studies professor; I’ve swam with him before. He finished the course in 1:01:xx a bit over a 6:25 mpm pace. I walked the course in about 1:56, a hair under a 12:30 mpm pace. He was literally close to twice as fast as I was; when the photo was taken, I was just past 5K and he was not quite at 10K.

I was never as fast as he is; in my 20’s I ran a hilly 15K in 1:04, and in my late 30’s I ran a low 1:08 and a high 1:07 (the 1:08 was in conditions very similar to this past weekend). But yes, my 1998 and 1999 self would have lapped my 2017 self (walking).

But I can still beat the time limit, even as a walker. So, I’ll do this race as long as I can.

Workout notes: weights, 3 mile track run (32:45; last mile was 10:30), which was after weights:
rotator cuff, pull ups (4 sets of 10, 7-3), incline: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 7 x 150 (good), military: 15 x 55 dumbbell seated, supported, standing: 10 x 45, 10 x 40, 2 sets of dumbbell rows (10 x 55), 10 x 110 machine.

Then the run, then a 2 mile walk (leisurely).

Note: platelet donation yesterday, so I backed off a bit.

June 21, 2017 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

The Peoria Steamboat Days race: changing character?

You can see my post of my personal experience at the Steamboat 15K here. The upshot is that I had a blast, even if my finish time was pretty lousy. This post will be about the race itself.

I first did this race back in 1998 (as a runner; did the 15K) and have participated in the event every year, except for 2003 (in Utah) and the fall 15K in 2000 (marathon the next week). For a few years, they split the 15K and 4 mile into a summer/fall event and for 2 of those, I did both races.

I’ve walked the race with my wife, walked both events for time, ran both events for time. Obviously, I’ve never been near the “front of the pack”, but I’ve experienced the race as a “just under 28 minute” 4 mile runner and a “just under 1:08 15k runner”, and yes, as a back of the pack person (walks with my wife, and well, the two times I walked the 15K).

I’ve always been pleased with the traffic control, aid stations, the course, etc. There was one year (2016) where some 15K aid stations were staffed by untrained volunteers and they ran out of water; I wasn’t affected as I typically only drink every 5K or so.

This year featured a “funnel start” instead of the usual “wide start”. I worried about that a bit, but given that age group awards were based on chip time, people were well behaved, lined up more or less where they were supposed to, and the first right turn was easy; no crowding. The crowd had been “lengthened out” and you really were with similar pace people.

In the past, the turn was hectic.

But there is something else: (I got data from “finishers”, not “starters”)

year 4m 15K 4k/2m big 2 all change 2 % change change all % change
2013 3124 866 98 3990 4088
2014 2613 776 111 3389 3500 -601 -0.150626566 -588 -0.143835616
2015 2443 805 156 3248 3404 -141 -0.041605193 -96 -0.027428571
2016 2347 822 157 3169 3326 -79 -0.02432266 -78 -0.022914219
2017 1781 666 151 2447 2598 -722 -0.227832124 -728 -0.218881539

Though there was a big decline from 2013 to 2014, there was a massive drop from 2016 to 2017. Note: the short distance was either 2 miles or 4 km. I compared the drop in all three races and the drop in the total of the “big 2” (15k and 4 m put together). I show the absolute drop, and the percentage drop.

I can’t say for sure what the cause was. I can say that in 2016, there was a big change made in the “Building Steam” programs (designed to prepare people for the race” and in 2017, the Building Steam program was eliminated completely, with the local running store offering a couple of programs.

I also note that there are other events 90 minutes away (one in the Quad Cities); I stayed with Steamboat as I just love seeing everyone.

One irony: I actually, well, I don’t want to say it, but…”liked” the smaller race as there was more room to walk and no n00bs just unexpectedly coming to a complete stop right in front of you (slow, out of shape beginners are prone to doing this and it is maddening).

But I wonder if these are healthy numbers for the event.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | running, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Steamboat 2017 and Gompertz’s law

How this post is organized: intro, race itself, social, photos, past races.

Introduction: Basically, the Gompertz Mortality Law states that the rate of decline as we age is an “exponential of an exponential”; the proportional rate of decline year by year increases exponentially with respect to time; that is: \frac{\frac{dD}{dt}}{D} = be^{at} where D can be thought of as a “failure rate”. How it applies: I walked the 15K about 48 minutes slower than my best running time, and almost 8 minutes slower than I walked it 6 years ago. There are some caveats there though; I was better trained in 2011, it wasn’t quite so hot, but there is no getting around that my 5K run time was about 1 minute faster too..and my half marathon was about 13 minutes faster (albeit on a much cooler day).

But never mind that; getting to spend time with a friend that I had mostly communicated with on social media really helped make this one special for me.
There was a downer too: Barbara had worked toward finishing the 4 mile, but was laid low by allergies and the heat; she couldn’t start the race. She did join in for socializing afterward though.

The race itself:

As you can see, the weather was suffocating: 73 F with 90 percent humidity at the start, rising to 77 F with 84 percent humidity at the end. And, I did NOT do myself any favors going out as fast as I did; in fact, I went out faster than I did in 2011 which was a big mistake. 5K splits: 37:04, 39:41, 39:07.

I warmed up by walking 2 miles with Lynnor and then took it out way too fast. At 11:28, I was sweating too heavily. My form: we’ll have to see the photos. I was not breathing heavily and my legs never went dead, but in the final 5K, I had no “gear”. It was “same old, same old”.

I bent my knees going up the steep hill; it was at this point Lynnor let me go and I passed T. I wasn’t serious about racing at this point; I wanted to get to the first 5K and I was still averaging under 12 minutes per mile; in fact, I got to mile 4 in 47:47. But the fade had started and while I knew better than to pay attention to my 5 mile split (it is long); I was creeping up to the low 13’s. At least I didn’t have to worry about getting in the way of the faster runners in the second loop.

And yeah, my “plan” to push the final 5K was a big fat bust. I did a back and forth with about a half-dozen ladies and talked to a few of them. The steep downhill mile cheered me some, but my dreams of going sub 11 in the final stretch didn’t materialize; I haven’t done enough fast walking. Ok, and I am slower. Period.

Mile by mile:

11:30, 11:48, 12:37 (steep uphill) 11:51, 13:16 (mile 5), 13:45(?), 11:41 (?), 12:24, (final mile: 12:51)

Looking forward: lots of work before that fall marathon. I have half marathons in July and August to perk me up.

Social: this is what I posted on Facebook:

I did my first Steamboat 15K in 1998 as a runner; I ran 1:08:xx and was somewhat disappointed in my time. 2017: did it as a walker in 1:55:52 (12:26 mpm) I was ok with my time. I was over 7 minutes slower than my fastest walking time (2011) but it was 70 F with 90 percent humidity at the start. And I STILL went out too quickly.

But I’ll be honest: the highlight of this experience for me was getting to know Lynnor better. We walked from the Bradley Campus to the start and, after the race, walked back to Campustown to have coffee.
Barbara was suffering mightily from allergies and couldn’t do her 4 miles as planned, but was a good sport and had coffee with Lynnor and I afterward.

I think that, for me, Steamboat is a reunion of sorts. There are longer races, and there are harder races (though the 15K is a bear to try to run hard). But I see many of my friends all at one place.
I missed Barbara being there, but I got to meet up with Tracy, Theresa, Vickie, Cathy Rupert, Cassie, Herb, Andrew McGlothlen.and my colleague Mat (who ran the 15K) went back on the course to jog a few steps with me. Also, Lori, a math colleague who I did not see at the race, finished her first Steamboat 15K in fine fashion.

It was fun to hear my name from the volunteers AND from some of the faster runners who lapped me in the “2 loop portion” Yes, my 1998 and 1999 self would have lapped me today!
And mid race, I got in a conversation with a woman my age who longed from the days when she was top 25 (she ran 1:11, I think…”in the day”) and it reminded me that time indeed takes its toll on EVERYONE. But I can still beat the cut off and I should savor that as long as I can. Even if Lynnor didn’t want to stay with me today.


Cassie and Lynnor together.

Cassie and me.

Herb Kasube, a math colleague

Lynnor finishing up

Lynnor, Rich and me.

Mama T and me before the start.

Waiting for the start; tattooed ladies.

Theresa, Cathy and Vickie (3 yoga teachers)

Tracy…in her cat shirt and no, she was not “the last one”, as she always says that she will be.

Lori, one of our newer math professors finishing up.

Another one of Lynnor.

My posture and leg do not look that bad.

Another good one of Vickie.

Mama T finishing up…yes, that is me in the background (Lynnor was about 1 minute back).

Toni from our walking group driving it home.

Evan from our walking group.

Barb finishing her race.

Evan and Brian from our walking group.

About 2.1 miles to go; I was to pass this lady and stay ahead of her.

Here, we had just come down off of the big hill for the last time; we had about 2.1 miles to go. My leg is not that bad. The lady in back was to catch me, and we went back and forth the rest of the way. She won.

I am where the red arrow is. I am still holding walking form; the woman in the camouflage tights is passing me.

Though this woman passed me, my “chip time” was still just a tad faster. Note that I kept walking.

Theresa, Katie and Georgia about mid way.

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

Colleen and me, having a conversation about 4 miles into it.

Cassie (in the black) about midway through the 4 mile event.


Mat chasing a runner

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.
2017: walk 1:55:52: 37:04/39:41/39:07 Just not in very good shape.

June 17, 2017 Posted by | Friends, running, walking | , | 1 Comment

A bit of fun…

I’ll say something about the Sessions testimony (lying sack of….) and the shooting of the Congressman (deplorable, but where was the GOP calling for “toning it down” when Giffords was shot?)

But for now, something pleasant:

From here:

Ok. Suppose you choose at random. A and D are the same answer, so you can choose A/D, B or C. So you have a 50 percent chance of hitting A/D or not. That means that the correct answer is 50 percent, (B) but you have a 25 percent chance of selecting B with a purely random selection, which puts you back in the A/D or “not A/D” which puts us back to 50 percent….
and so on.

This is a version of the “this sentence is a lie” paradox (a statement that can’t be assigned a truth value); there is no correct answer to the question.

Workout notes
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: went well), incline presses: 10 x 135, 5 x 160 (good..decent hips), 6 x 150, military: 15 x 55 seated, supported, 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 40 standing. One arm rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50, 10 x 60

Then a treadmill run: 2-2-2-2 to 8 minutes, (5.2-5.5), then up 2 (6.7-7.0, last 2 minutes were 7.1 to 19:12 (2 miles), 7.2 to 20 minutes (2.1 miles). That was harder than usual.
Then goblet squats: 50, 50, 60, 65, 70, 70 (sets of 5)

June 14, 2017 Posted by | mathematics, running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Loss of perspective

I work out more than the vast majority of non-athletes, especially non-athletes my age. Anyone who has even glanced my blog can tell that. So, there is no greater advocate of exercise (and living a reasonably healthy lifestyle) than I am.

Nevertheless, I also admit that I have been very, very fortunate so far. I make enough money to eat well. I live close enough to my job so I can walk to work, and my employer offers an on-site health club. I live close to a park which has suitable running and walking areas.

And I’ve made some good choices too: I spent money on a treadmill rather than for an in home movie theater caliber TV; I spend money on races rather than on cigarettes and beer.

But I have the kind of body that allows me to exercise; part of that is genetics and part of that is that I had health care while growing up (broken ankle, staph infections, broken shin..and later, knee problems, shoulder problems, back problems; all received proper medical treatment with proper physical therapy afterwards).

And this is why such memes irritate me:

How someone ages has a lot to do with genetics, illnesses, accidents and, yes, lifestyle is ONE factor.

I have nothing against the “fit” lady; in fact, I admire her. But she didn’t start working out hard until she was in her 50’s and …yes, she started with her sister who… sick and died.

Another example:

This is me with..Craig Virgin. If you don’t know who he is: NCAA national champion (XC), 2 time world cross country champion, 2n’d place in the Boston Marathon in 1981, 3 time Olympian in the 10,000 meter run; 10k PR 27:29. But when I saw him, I wondered “I wonder if I could run with him” because life had given him some serious blows:

As ecstatic as Virgin is about his induction, he has more he wants to do on the road. He doesn’t want to win, or even race; he merely wants to run a 10K again. Right now his body won’t let him.

During the last 15 years, he’s been involved in a head-on auto collision while driving 70 mph, suffered a fall on black ice that tore his right quadriceps from his knee and underwent 15 surgeries on various parts of his body. This year, he experienced pulmonary embolisms that would have killed most people. All this is on top of three surgeries related to a congenital kidney condition.

These days, he said, if he can eke out 2 miles of jogging and walking, it’s a good day. He’s been forced to become a gym rat to stay in shape.

Am I somehow more athletically virtuous than he is? Of course not. I am luckier in my old age (so far); that’s really it.

June 7, 2017 Posted by | running, social/political, walking | , | Leave a comment

Ok, I have something to work on…

Running. But walking…OMG…

These were relatively early. Sadly, the cut out the lady I was with at the time who was wearing bright turquoise running tights.

This is the start line (I am behind the lady in pink)

At about mile 6 or so…I am on the right, about midway. I am chasing the lady in yellow and the lady ahead of her; I caught them both.

Workout notes: weights, treadmill, walking.

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (4 sets of 10, then 7-3) good, incline: 10 x 135, 3 x 160, 7 x 150 (good hips), military: 15 x 55 (seated, supported), 10 x 50, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 10 x 60, headstand
run: 20 minutes treadmill: 5.2-5.5, 6.7-7.1, then 7.2-7.3 (7.3 at mile 2), 10:36, 19:11, 2.1 miles, then 5K walk outside.

I must focus on posture. Drills starting tomorrow.

June 7, 2017 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Paying the price for a double…

Today: absolutely perfect day for a run/walk. So I started out with a was too tiring so I switched to a leisurely run/walk (jog the uphills and downhill, walk the flats) and toured my lovely 5.1 mile course. Barely broke a sweat.

I knew that I’d pay a price for this weekend (4 mile 37:20 Saturday, …yes, that used to be my recovery pace, 2:47 half marathon powerwalk on Sunday)

So I looked backwards to see similar doubles in my past:

1998: 19:53 5K on Saturday, 1:39 half marathon on Sunday…2 weeks prior to the Quad Cities Marathon
2000: 44 minute 10K on Saturday night, 1:42 half marathon on Sunday (National Capital races in Ottawa, Canada)
2000: 21:43 5K run on Saturday, 1:40:50 half marathon on Sunday (first part of a relay)
2002: 1:06 10K racewalk (judged) on Saturday, 6:22 50K powerwalk on Sunday
2003: 30:43 5K judged racewalk on Saturday, 2:17 half marathon powerwalk on Sunday (this one drained me; both were hard efforts)
2004: 28:59 5K walk on Saturday, 7:15 50K walk on Sunday
2008: 25:13 5K run on Saturday, 2:25 half marathon powerwalk on Sunday (cool weather)
2011: 27:45 5K sun on Saturday, 2:22 half marathon powerwalk on Sunday (cool weather)
2012: 33:52 4 mile run on Saturday, 2:30 half marathon powerwalk on Sunday (sort of warm) Ratio: 4.44
2012: 25:27 5K run on Saturday, 2:24 half marathon powerwalk on Sunday (rugged IVS course)
2013: 25:31 5K run on Saturday, 2:27 “run” half marathon on Sunday
2014: 25:53 5K run on Saturday 2:24 half marathon powerwalk on Sunday (cool)
2017: 37:22 4 mile run on Saturday, 2:47:22 half marathon powerwalk on Sunday (hot). Ratio: 4.48 (consistent with 2012, no?)

Bottom line: in addition to my becoming increasingly slower, recovery from these doubles is becoming harder.
I thought I might claim “weight” as an excuse, but even in 2004, when I was walking my best, I was about 5-6 pounds lighter. That is a difference, but not that much different.

Where to go from now: train for a fall walking marathon; make that my first priority. Reduce running to 3 times a week, keeping it short, with perhaps a little “pepper” . Key workouts: longer, slower workout (weekend), harder, medium-long workout (midweek), some repeat 1-2 miles to get readjusted to 12-13 minute per mile walking…rest is recovery. Keep up the squats.

Add some half marathon tune ups (3 more plus a 15K) to ramp up the pace a bit.

June 6, 2017 Posted by | marathons, running, walking | | Leave a comment

Round one: I lose but only 10-9

Weather: 64 F, 78 percent humidity (a bit sticky). The facts: 9:06, 9:07, 9:32, 9:35 (37:21) (walked a few steps in each of the final 2 miles). 19/33 overall. Try as I might, I could not closed the gap on MarySue.
Note: Larry ran with me the whole way; he slowed down to do that. I could not have stayed with him; not even close.

Social: huge success; got to mingle with Tracy, Mat, Cassie, and of course, run with Larry. I was not a factor racing Jerry or Dianne.

Yes, this was my slowest run on this course, ever, by quite a bit. I first did this race 20 years ago (27:54) and my next two were 25:58, 26:58. (1999, 1999). In 2005, I did 30:53. In 2012, I did 33:52. In 2014, I did 33:25(slightly tougher conditions). I can’t express how far back in my past those times are.

BUT: well, I am 10 pounds too heavy (that one is on me, of course) and I really haven’t been doing the “1 hour, steady state at a slightly uncomfortable pace” run that I really need to run this one to my potential.

Tomorrow: Galesburg 1/2 marathon walk. The weather will be warm and sticky; better be prepared. 2:40 would be fine. Maybe I can bring this to a draw.

June 3, 2017 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment