back on the treadmill

Later today: half of a Bradley basketball game then I’ll leave to pick up my wife and go with her to a Memorial Service for someone that, well, I never liked her but she had a tough life on many levels..and still did some impressive things.

Earlier, I decided against getting up early to go to the Riverplex to swim/run and just try a short run on the treadmill. THAT was plenty; I did 5K in 34:25 (just over 11 mpm, albeit at a good incline) and that was enough to be actual work; I was sweaty and I coughed. The first 25 minutes was very easy but I tired quickly.

Oh well…I have to remember that I am still weakened from last week’s illness.

And it did feel good to get a deep sweat on.

February 28, 2015 Posted by | running, social/political | | Leave a comment

dry air..scratchy throat but???

I have an oh-so-slight tickle in the throat, but this COULD be due to very dry air. I hope.

Workout notes: I was up way too late last night due to the basketball game…more on “too late” later.
But I went in with the idea of getting a reduced workout and I almost got all of it.

Weights: 4 sets of 10 pull-ups, with 2 sets of 5 in between other exercises. Rotator cuff recoveries.
3 sets of 10: machine rows, machine lat pull downs (110 rows, 130 pull downs, wide grip)

rotator cuff (dumbbells) and two rapid sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell military presses, 2 sets of 10 x 135 incline bench presses
shoulders got fatigued due to little rest between sets.
10 x 90 machine military (90 each arm), 10 x 65 dumbbell bench presses.

Then running: 21:05 2 mile treadmill warm up.
5K on the track (25 laps, middle lane) 8:54, 8:52, 8:37 (26:25) 1:05 for 27:30.

Yes, not much sleep, and yes, after lifting. But this was work….though not race effort. Am I coming down with something? Damn throat tickle…but it is cold and dry.

Speaking of last night Yes, I talked about it here.

Let’s just say that we are getting a mixture of sympathy and scorn from Illinois State fans:


The rivalry has really taken a hit with the poor play of Bradley. I kind of feel bad for them in a way. It wasn’t long ago that I would make the trek over to Peoria for an ISU-Bradley game and you could just feel the buzz in downtown Peoria hours before the game started. That was the event of the week. The show.

Last night’s abysmal attendance for ISU-Bradley matchup in Peoria shows just how bad it is in River City.

It wasn’t long ago when these games were extremely intense hard-fought, in the spotlight, and mattered. Here’s hoping for a return of the intensity and anxiety that always was present when we played our rivals from up the road.


My general thoughts as a spectator at the game:
• 8PM games on a weeknight does not bring out the geriatric crowd – finishes past bedtime
• Carver was dead. I am wondering if a few of the Bradley alums/fans “passed away” last game at the arena and Bradley just left them in the seats to look better for the TV game
• This was the worst game atmosphere of the 10 years I have been going.
• I sat by the Bradley student sports casters, I could hear court sneaker squeaks way up there. I have not heard that since the world vision tourney at RA
• Bradley MBB is in dire shape.
• Bradley did not play with any competitive emotion or any competitive fire. This team is downtrodden and beaten. I would say the coach is definitely gone.
• Kaboom was not worth the money spent. He has boats tied to his ankles so that limits his movement. His head looks like a card board box with some carpeting on it…..just terrible.
• I liked QuickChange.


What I did not like from the game:

• The entire Bradley environment did not show up for this, the fans/team/students/AD
• In the end, this game was a huge let down. This was not a rivalry game, it was just a clubbing. BU is a shitbag team, the environment was shitbag, the weather was shitbag, it was a shitbag game, the smell otw to Carver from Bartonville was shitbag, and now I need to change my shitbag because it is full of BU.


February 20, 2015 Posted by | basketball, illness, running, weight training | , , | Leave a comment


Workout notes: weights went fine, the run was a mental struggle.

pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (ok), rotator cuff
bench: 10 x 135, 6 x 170, 5 x 170 (rotator cuff)
incline: 10 x 135
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell, standing.
machine stuff: 3 sets of 10 x 110 row
machine stuff: 3 sets of 10 x 130 pull down (wide grip)
machine: 10 x 90 (each arm) military

But I was surprisingly tired and thought my run would be iffy.

Still: it all went well for the first 12 of “start at 5.5, incline 0.5, up by 0.1 mph every 4 minutes” then at 49:33, I was at mile 5 and dialed it back..walked for 30-40 seconds at 5.3 and then got back up to 59:44 (mile 6) and walked .25 cool down miles.

But I was tired when I finished; was it the dinner last night?

During the day: grading marathon, and wondering about an a math problem that is bedeviling me.

Now: watching Wichita play Southern Illinois; lots of empty seats but an entertaining game.

February 18, 2015 Posted by | basketball, mathematics, running, weight training | , | Leave a comment

And my withering continues (at the Riverplex)

I was supposed to go to lunch and a basketball game with a friend. But she got the flu; she didn’t have to wait for the basketball game to get sick.

So I went to the Riverplex, changed, ate lunch and went to the game from there. I’ll talk about the game in another post.

Prior to the workout (after breakfast): 179.0. After the workout: 174.5 (lots of sweat). This is as light as I’ve ever been as an adult. My muscle mass is deserting me, though I did get 190 in the bench press earlier this year and 185 yesterday.

Treadmill: started at 5.5 mph, 0.5 incline and sped up 0.1 mph every 5 minutes; that got me to 5.6 miles in 56 minutes and 6 in 59:37.
Then 4 miles of walking on the Riverplex track (7 7/8 laps per mile): 56:36 total; 15:05 mile 1, 14:21, 13:54, 13:14.

Larry came by to say “hi” while I was on the treadmill; I lamented my slow pace and he said “you aren’t 21 anymore.” I saw Rich on the track; he was walking prior to his run. Evidently he has up and down days too; it is funny but on the down days, it is as if your blood is sludge. This wasn’t a down day for me and I felt pretty good…it is just hard for me to accept that 10 minutes per mile is no longer a “super easy, slow” pace for me any longer…and hasn’t been for years. Same for walking; right now 15 mpm or faster has to be intentional. I once averaged 14:12 mpm for 100 walking miles in a row…no longer. Right now my super easy, “slow running” pace is 11-11:30, and my “slow walking” pace is 16 mpm. That is reality.

But I left the gym having covered 10 miles and felt good about it. I could have done without the 4 F temperatures though. :-)

One thing that appears to be helping: the PT for the back and doing “progressive squats” after running: squatting as low as I can for sets of 5-10; the first few are shallow and eventually I can get all the way down..well…almost to baseball catcher’s depth. But that loosens the legs and back.

February 15, 2015 Posted by | Friends, running, walking | , | Leave a comment


No, it isn’t quite the Film/Book “Thinner” but when my wife travels for several weeks at a time, I lose weight.

Today, I weighed in at 181.5 (with shoes and workout clothes, after breakfast) before my workout and 175.5 afterward. The latter is the lightest I’ve ever recorded as an adult, though, to be fair, I probably would have weighed a bit less than that at some of my 24 hour/100 mile events, had I weighed toward the end of the event.

As far as the workout: I started a bit earlier and so went to the Riverplex.
Weights: pull ups (5 sets of 10: strong), rotator cuff recoveries.
bench: 10 x 135, 185 x 1 (easy), 170 x 5 (hard ?) 155 x 8 (pitiful) (rotator cuff)
super set of military, pull downs, rows on the machine. 3 sets of 10 each: military was with 40 pound dumbbells (standing), 137.5 for pull downs, 1 45 pound plate for the rows.

Then treadmill: 0.5 incline, then 5.5 increasing every 4 minutes; finally caught 10 mpm pace at 45 minutes and made it to 52 minutes before dropping and recovering. 58:55 for 6, 6.13 total; walked to 6.21. Then did 7 laps on the track to get to 7 miles total.

I admit that it felt good; physically I am feeling better than I have in a while, and I really didn’t didn’t feel that bad over the past couple of months. I just feel especially good right now, at least physically.

Don’t get me wrong; my athletic performances aren’t really good, but they aren’t that bad by my recent standards. I think that I might have found the right “mix” of workouts (3 swims, 4 runs/walks, 3 lifting sessions, and PT) that keep me peppy but not run down. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that I am especially enjoying teaching too.

February 14, 2015 Posted by | running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Taking it for granted

Workout notes running: 2 mile warm up in 20:36 (treadmill)
1 mile (middle lane, as opposed to the inner lane I used last year): 7:46 (1:58/1:55/1:55/1:56)
1 mile walk (slow)
2 mile treadmill (20:50)

Weights: pull ups (5 sets of 10, easy?) hip hikes, Achilles, rotator cuff rests
bench press/military press super set: bench (dumbbells) 10 x 65, 8 x 70, 8 x 70, military (dumbbell) 12 x 50 seated, supported, 2 sets of 10 x 40 standing
super set rows/pull downs: 3 sets of 10 each (110 rows, 130 pull downs, wide grip, “other machines”)

Though I thought that I felt tired going in, I felt pretty good afterward.

The run: hard enough to make me cough later (for 1-2 hours after), but not hard enough to cause pain in my teeth.
I’ve coughed after really hard runs (usually 1 mile or less; sometimes after a hard 5K when it was a 20 minute effort for me) almost all of my has never been serious.

Taking it for granted
One thing about teaching the basics of a subject like topology: it reminds me of how much I take for granted when I do my own research. Yeah, I’ve worked out all of the nuances, but for many of them, it was 25-30 years ago!

February 12, 2015 Posted by | education, mathematics, running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Lesson learned…

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to adjust my workouts.

I wanted to cut down on my workout time and still do a lifting session and a running session.

So: lifting (less rest between sets)
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (adjusted the grip after rep 8 of the final set); hip hikes, Achilles
incline press: 10 x 140, 10 x 140, 7 x 140 (gave up on the final set) (rotator cuff)
standing military (dumbbell) 3 sets of 10 with 40
pull downs/row super set (machines); 3 sets of 10 x 130 pull down (wide grip), 3 sets of 10 x 110 row.

Then I tried to run…lasted less than 1 minute on the treadmill, and not even one straight away on the track. I just felt …tired.
I almost gave up, but I sat and rested…and the period of my rest was almost exactly the duration of time I saved by taking shorter rests between sets.

Then I did 6 miles on the treadmill; 5.3 mph then upped it every 4 minutes up until 52 where I had to pare it back a bit. (at 6.5 mph) I got to 6 miles in 1:00:30 and then walked for .2 miles. It was fine.

I find that sometimes I need to recover between hard efforts.

February 10, 2015 Posted by | running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Maintenance training

My maintenance training continues; I don’t feel as if I am ready to push toward any athletic goal as yet.

pull ups: 3 sets of 10 with rotator cuff (pulley exercises)
bench press: weak. 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 5 x 170, 8 x 160 (rotator cuff: dumbbells)
military press: 2 sets of 12 x 50 seated, supported, with
pull ups: 2 more sets of 10 (ok)
military press: 10 x 40 standing
pull downs: 1 set of 10 x 150 narrow, 2 sets of 10 x 130 wide.
rows: (machine) 3 sets of 10 x 110
military press: 10 x 80 machine (deliberate)

I felt ok. Then to the treadmill:
running: 5 x 4 minutes (0.5 incline) 5.5-6-7-8-9 to 20 minutes (21:10 2 miles) then 6.7 for 10 minutes (3 miles in 29:5x) then 6.8 for .5, 6.9, 7 for the last .25
4 miles in 38:36. Then I walked to 4.25 miles on the treadmill, went off to walk .75 on the track (outer lane) and wanted to quit.
So I went back on the treadmill and walked 1 more mile in 15:08, going up in incline 1-2-3-4-5 and stayed at 5 for .5 miles.

I felt good upon finishing.

February 8, 2015 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Students: being honest with them and sleeping with them?

Workout notes 8 miles: 6 running and 2 walking. Running: 5.5-5.6-5.7 increasing every 4 minutes, then I played with the incline (2 minutes each) 2-.5-3-.5-4-.5-4-.5-3-.5-2-.5-2-.5-3-.5-4-.5-4-4-.5-3-.5-2 then .5 to get to 6 in 1:03:36.

1 walk on the mill, then 1 walk on the track.

Yes, the gym was filling, and there were grade school girls basketball games going on in the gym. Which leads me to..students.

One: how much honesty should you show them?

The problem is that almost none of my students have the aptitude or work ethic to become professional astronomers. Herrgott im Himmel, do they SUCK!

How bad are they? Most of my graduate students can’t understand significant digits, which is an error that first-year undergraduates are taught to avoid on their very first day of college. No matter how, and no matter how many times, I try to explain significant digits to them, the effect is NO EFFECT WHATSOEVER. That we only have undergraduate and M.S. programs (and no Ph.D.) is no excuse.

Yet another former M.S. student recently flunked out of a low-tier Ph.D. program, unable to pass their qualifying exams. Yet another M.S. student recently scored a single-digit percentile on the GRE physics exam. Good astronomy Ph.D. programs want them in the top 50th percentile. Great ones (like Caltech, some Ph.D. graduates from which get tenure-track jobs, albeit after many years as postdocs) want them in the top 25th. Typical ACT scores of professional astronomers are over 29; typical college students have ACT scores of 22-23; the 25th/75th percentiles of my students get 17-22.

Virtually none of my students ever come to meetings of the local amateur astronomy club, which are right here on campus. So much for how badly they want to become astronomers. Almost none stay up past 10 p.m. to take advantage of the fine observatory and weather we have on campus. I’ve had multiple students say to my face that staying up past midnight would be a problem for them. What in heavens’ name do they think it is that we do here?

That’s a good question, isn’t it? On one hand, one doesn’t want to pull the plug on a potential outlier or late bloomer. On the other hand…well what about the other 99 percent of low performers who won’t make it?

Then there is this:

From the Gawker Comments on Hooking Up With Harvard Undergrads. There Are Only 958 Comments So Far, So It Shouldn’t Take Long To Want To Blow Your Brains Out.

Yes, I am sure that sometimes some miscreant faculty sleep with their undergraduates. But the question I ask is: WHY??
Seriously. Forget that it is completely unethical (unless, say, one’s spouse has returned to school to get another degree or other such unusual circumstances). Again: WHY?

I don’t mind students in office hours or students asking me subject questions. That is what I am there for; I like to teach.

But let’s just say that, “after hours”, I want to get away from 18-20 year olds (at least the distance from the stands to the field or arena) and not to socialize with them.

Today, while on the treadmill, a couple of young college women got on the ‘mill next to me and I had to overhear some of what they were saying…it all but made my ears bleed.

Yeah, I know; women my age have bigger, floppier butts. (that is what spandex is for :-) ) But who cares? I am not built like an Olympic swimmer either. If I were suddenly single (and I have no plans to be) I seriously doubt that I’d consider dating a woman who was under 40.

And yeah, these-a-days I’d be far more interested in her resume than in her looks.

I can see it now: “potential date wanted. Here is a description of me. If interested, send resume/CV/publication list and transcripts to…” Dang…I’ve been on too many search committees!

February 8, 2015 Posted by | education, running | , | Leave a comment



My mood drops at times like these; at least all of my classes are inside my office building.

Workout notes
weights plus 6 mile run (59:20) I did the “0.5 elevation, start at 5.5 mph and increase every 4 minutes” thing until 48 minutes; then onto 5 miles (49:30) and then I backed off a little.

This came after weights:
rotator cuff mixed in
pull ups: 2 sets of 5 followed by 4 sets of 10
bench (weak) 10 x 135, 6 x 170, 4 x 170
military (dumbbell) 12 x 50 seated, supported, 2 sets of 10 x 40 standing
pull downs: 3 sets of 7 x 160 traditional, 7 x 100 low
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 (machine), rests were 2 sets of 10 x 90 military presses.

Fun and things

The article headline says “Scientists Say Moms With Bigger Butts May Give Birth To Smarter Kids”. What it really means is that certain types of fat from mothers end up in the breast milk and that is helpful. So, this article is mostly entertainment but what the heck: I love the photo.


Now on a more serious note: there is some research out there that indicates that, while moderate running might help extend longevity, long hard running might not:

“Long-term excessive exercise may be associated with coronary artery calcification, diastolic dysfunction and large artery wall stiffening,” wrote lead study author Dr. Peter Schnohr of Copenhagen’s Frederiksberg Hospital and his colleagues.

“To our knowledge, there has been no study of the longevity of marathon, half-marathon or triathlon participants, but such studies would clearly be informative.”

The researchers based their findings on data from the Copenhagen Heart Study, and followed 1,098 healthy joggers and 3,950 nonjoggers for about 12 years. By the end of the study, 28 of the joggers and 128 of the nonjoggers had died.

“Although joggers as a group appear to live longer than sedentary nonjoggers, light joggers and moderate joggers have lower mortality rates than sedentary nonjoggers,” the authors wrote.

However, strenuous joggers – people who ran faster than 7 mph for more than four hours a week; or who ran faster than 7 mph for more than 2.5 hours a week with a frequency of more than three times a week – had a mortality rate that “is not statistically different from that of the sedentary group,” the authors wrote.

The study is by no means the last word in the matter – the researchers themselves say the subject needs further investigation – but it may come as welcome news to those easygoing joggers who prefer shuffling along at modest speeds.

Note: 7 mph is 8:34 mpm. Note: I rarely run that fast for more than 25-30 minutes a week, and the bulk of my running is slower than 6 mph (10 minutes per mile). I do try to prepare for one marathon a year (mostly walking) and most of my training for that is walking at 14-15 mph (4-4.2 mph).

So almost none of this applies to me. I can see why years of banging out high mileage at high intensity might wear one down though; I know that I no longer have it in me to train the way that I once did. And I was never “good”.

February 5, 2015 Posted by | big butts, bikinis, running, weight training | , | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 665 other followers