When not every result was “AWEsome!”

At today’s 5K race, I had a conversation with a runner that I met back in 1997. We talked about how we met; she said “those were good times”. I immediately agreed.

Now what was meant by that?

The situation: I had joined a running group (“Team Steam”) in the summer of 1997; the idea was to get “group coaching” so as to improve my running times. Then in the next year, I joined the IVS marathon training group in hopes of running a decent marathon.

I have vivid memories: I remember all of the colorful running gear. I remember the sense of community, people pushing each other, etc. I also remember how the interactions went. Most people knew who could run what sort of time, and we shared both joy and disappointment when we saw our results. I was disappointed with my 3:46 at the Chicago marathon, and one of the Running Central guys winced in sympathetic pain upon hearing my time. I WAS looking for 3:30.

So, I’ll list some factors which might be missing today:

1. I was recently “born again” into running; I had a hiatus from the running community from 1985 to 1995, at which time I gained to 320 pounds and lost it all. So this was a “return of the Prodigal Son” sort of thing. I wept when I finished my first “post morbid obesity” 5K (23:15 in 1996).

2. The body worked better; though I wasn’t a “runner” I still finished much higher up the pecking order than I do now.

3. I was in the “improvement stage” of my running. I never got to my “early 20’s” times, but I moved from 23:15 to 19:53 in the 5K.

4. I was meeting new people.

5. The atmosphere was slightly different. Today the conversation goes something like this: “I finished a 5K in xx:xx”. Reply: “Oh, that’s AWEsome!” In that era: “I finished a 5K in xx:xx” was met by “Wow..that’s a PR, isn’t it? Or “sounds rough; there are days like that” or “wow..conditions must have been tough”. When the response you get actually depends on the result you give, you get the impression that the person you are talking to has made an effort to get to know you! There was something a bit more intimate about that than a token “AWEsome” response.

I think that this “happy face, everyone is AWEsome” culture is colder and less intimate.

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Friends, running | | Leave a comment

2016 River Run: muggy, windy

Today: it was overcast, 69.8 F, 83 percent humidity and there was a 10 mph (gusting to 17) headwind. Yet, it was easier to run against the headwind as it felt downright sweltering with the wind. We aren’t used to the heat yet.

I drove down with Tracy and I got a good feel for the conditions as I warmed up. I knew it would be a tough race though I felt ok.

The results:

The first person in my age group had the same chip time I had; he just lined up near the front and I couldn’t catch him. BUT, the older age groups actually had faster times.

One hilarious incident: an older couple had accidentally switched bibs; hence the lady got credited with a 10 minute faster time than she ran. They fixed it, and happily both got the medals they earned.

I held back and even tracked Cheryl for a bit. I had Dianne and Jerry in my sights, but early on I trailed a bespandexed lady with sweet, subtle granny VPLs. She fell off the pace a bit so I went after Cheryl and kept three other “targets” in sight. I was ok with my first mile split as it was against a 10 mph wind; I knew conditions would be hard later. The next mile I slowed, but not as much as others. Some experienced runners faded here.

Then on the way back, I did talk myself out of walking. It was tough to keep going, but I was encouraged by my gaining on Dianne. I even caught her but she got me back. When I finished: yep, I felt it.

Afterward: I went back for Tracy and then got to reconnect with some old running friends. Finish photos below:


Past years: 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013., 2014 2015

mile 2009 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
1 7:35 8:19 8:08 8:03 7:54 8:07 8:26
2 8:43 8:49 8:07 8:01 7:56 8:15 8:44
3.1 9:21 9:48 8:47 8:52 8:52 9:21 9:35
final 25:40 26:56 25:03 24:56 24:42 25:45 26:46
place 82/148 144/283 89/255 71/258 47/146 53/109 50/119



Cheryl: looking good at the finish


The “Maybell” like lady and Mike at the finish


Dianne: I am just out of sight. Behind her is the guy who beat me out in my AG


Closing in, trying to not to walk


Clicking my watch; you can see the results of my weight training


Tracy closing in; I am in the background


Tracy puts another one in the books

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Friends, running | , | Leave a comment

Safe spaces: utility and inappropriateness …

Workout notes: just a 5.1 Cornstalk course run after a rain; it was a bit humid and I didn’t bother with a stop watch. I’d guess I ran at 11-11:15 mpm or so.

Safe spaces

I’ve thought about the “safe space” concept. This has been a topic of discussion on college campuses. In some cases, the “safe space” concept is used to shield students from ideas that, well, they don’t like and to keep away speakers they don’t like (including: Hillary Clinton!). Of course, one can protest a speaker and counter their ideas with other ideas; in the article I linked to, we see one student saying that Clinton ought not to have been permitted on campus.

Ironically this concept has been used against activists (e. g. the very presence of activists might violate the “safe space” of campus staff members).

So I’ll say that I have serious reservations about this concept.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for private conversation for certain groups of people. I’ll give some examples.

Example: I find it useful to have a private place to discuss dealings with students. Faculty sometimes get frustrated and there should be a place to deal with said frustration where one doesn’t have non-academic administrators, parents and students present.

Example: sometimes the self destructive habits of the poor come under fire. This can be an especially sensitive subject when, say, birth rates among unwed and underemployed African Americans is brought up. In fact, this very topic IS frequently discussed in private in African American circles. One famous African American columnist said that the privacy was to “keep the bigots from having another stick to beat us with”, or something along those lines.

Example: it is sometimes useful to have a place where one can discuss their prejudices in private. Sure, some might think that they have no prejudice but I am skeptical. Sometimes a good way to deal with them is to discuss them in private. One example: I was walking to an event and I saw a young man with his pants pulled down below his butt; his boxer shorts were visible. I had some non-flattering thoughts. But, when he saw me, he….held the door open for me. Go figure.:-)

I admit that I’ve joined a “secret” Facebook group for Hillary Clinton supporters. This doesn’t meant that I am afraid of challenges to my ideas. However, it had gotten to the point where if I posted a Democratic primary election article, I’d be attacked by Sanders supporters. And the attacks were often illogical, factually incorrect, or were laden with hidden assumptions. Correcting basic errors is part of what I do for a living. I don’t want to do that on my off time, especially with people who seem themselves as logical and informed, even when they aren’t.

Now the risk in joining such a group is that one is, by definition, in a bubble when one is in such a group. That is why I value some individuals who, while they might differ on candidate of choice (e. g. support Sanders or a Republican), know the basic facts and understand basic logic. These sorts of friends are also good to discuss science related issues with.

So I’ll say that I value private conversation groups, though it is a very bad idea to turn public spaces into “safe spaces”. Private groups can be joined by choice. The latter affects all of us, and I don’t want someone else dictating what is appropriate for ME to see or hear.

One other comment On social media, I treat people differently. If I know a person (either in person or online) and I’ve had history of interaction with them, I’ll cut them some slack. What I won’t tolerate is some moral scold going onto my wall and wagging their finger either at my friends or at me. I’ll accept (even welcome) correction of my factual errors, my error of omission, or my hasty inferences. I sometimes get things wrong or I sometimes am blind to an important factor. So yes, I’ll accept those from strangers.

But if you want to be a moral scold on my wall, I had better have a history with you, like you and respect you. But until you’ve shown me something, I won’t tolerate it. And no, a high self opinion is not a credential that impresses me.

May 26, 2016 Posted by | running, social/political | , | Leave a comment

stomach not quite right (TMI)

Sunday: evidently I ate some bad meat; had “the runs” (minor) and I still feel it a little. I worked out with it yesterday and today, I got it. I have minor cramping and it affected my run, just a little.

Treadmill: 1 mile in 11:03. Track: 9:03/8:39 (4:33/4:30/4:23/4:16 were my .5 mile segments, lane 2). Then 2 miles of walking. it wasn’t bad; and by “affecting” my running I am talking about perhaps 5-10 seconds per mile on my run. It wasn’t bad; I was just a bit off.

I should be ok though.

May 24, 2016 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

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.:-)

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

The end game of a losing candidate is often not pretty

Workout note: 8.1 mile run (hilly) in 1:26:46 (43:43, 43:03). I was stiff going out. The improvement on the second half was basically the difference on my last mile. It was a pretty day and long sleeves was too much.

Jumble though this is 5 seconds slower than my PB, this was my first “perfect score”.


Main Focus

Yes, tempers are flaring among the Democrats. One might wonder why Sanders is still in the race. This article gives a conjecture: yes, Sanders is more pragmatic than one realizes (e. g. he has been good about getting amendments added to bills he initially didn’t support) but his life has been a case of succeeding as a long shot. So, though the odds against him getting the nomination are slight (18-1 underdog in the sports books as of today), he still has a mathematical chance (say, winning 80 percent of the pledged delegates in California and flipping a ton of the super delegates). So he’ll keep fighting.

However, while many Sanders supporters ARE bright people (and I enjoy the company of several of these people), others have been mislead by articles like this one. Yes, *even* when you factor in the caucus state votes, Hillary Clinton still has about a 3 million vote lead.

Sadly, a significant minority of Sanders supporters either don’t know that or haven’t accepted that. A minority of these supporters have behaved very badly.

Yes, I know; some of the violent reaction has probably been exaggerated by the press; one Sanders supporter pointed out that there was no video showing chairs thrown in the Nevada Convention (though this had been reported in some articles.).

And yes, Hillary Clinton made some cringe worthy statements toward the end of the 2008 campaign, when she was being asked to drop out (and yes, she was much closer to Obama in delegates than Sanders is to her).

So, hopefully, we can come together after this, though I am sure that a few of the “Bernie or Bust” people will sit this one out.

May 19, 2016 Posted by | 2008 Election, 2016, politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

All cylinders?

Today: treadmill for the first 8 miles:
Frog boil: 0.5 incline, 5.2 mph then up 0.1 mph every 3 minutes. 21:51 at 2, 41:12 at 4, 50:11 at 5, 58:58 at 6, 6.14 at 1 hour, 6.6 at 1:04:40. Then 1.4 in 14:12 (5.7 mph, up 0.1 every 3 until 9, then up 0.1 every 1 until done)
That was 8 miles in 1:18:52. Then I walked 4.2 miles outside in the cool, overcast weather.

These 12 miles gave me 150 miles for May. Of course, after this weekend, I start to cut back drastically.

Gym tomorrow. Yes, my wife is working out regularly and she probably feels a bit like this:


Ok, she is a bit older and less athletic than the woman in the video..but what the heck.:-)

And yes, there ARE more women at the races than there once were. Though this has changed the culture just a bit, the change isn’t all bad.:-)


(this is screenshot from a business commercial …seriously)

May 17, 2016 Posted by | big butts, running, spandex, walking | Leave a comment

Windy run/walk

Another 20 miles in the bank:


And yes, the first part was windy.


Out leg (7.74 miles) 1:29:34
Return leg: 1:26:12 (2:55:46 for 15.48 miles, 11:21 mpm pace) The 3 minute difference reflected the downhill and not going into the wind quite as much, as it was a northwest wind.

Break for water then 5.1 mile walk in 1:18:29, or 4:14:16 for 20.58 miles

I did run this course slightly faster once, on a less windy day. I was ok with it, given I felt anxious about the workout, as usual. But it ok.

That left me enough time for Indian buffet with Barbara and then a Bradley Baseball game.


It was a well played game but Bradley lost to Indiana State 4-2. It started off rough; a bunt for a hit then 2 more hits and it was 1-0. But good fielding got BU out of the inning giving up just 1 run, which they got right back at the bottom. The pitching took over, with Indiana getting a solo home run (right into the kid’s area) and Bradley getting that run back late.

So it was 2-2 going into the 9’th when Indiana State got 2 run home run. Bradley started the bottom of the 9’th with 2 hits and a bunt moved the runners to 2’nd and 3’rd with one out. But alas, there was a shallow fly into the outfield and a strikeout. That was a situation in which a single would have tied the game, a home run would have won it, but an out lost it; it was pretty intense drama.

So the series is tied 1-1 (BU won 5-3 yesterday) and we have one more game tomorrow. I hope to be there.

Weather wise: I was bundled (thermal underwear, sweatshirt, jacket, etc.) but the sun came out and I took my outer jacket off.

May 14, 2016 Posted by | baseball, running, walking | | Leave a comment

My good weather use of the treadmill: Frog Boil workout

Today’s run: 10K in 1:02; 6.14 miles in 1 hour; last 3.14 in 27:20. How I did it: treadmill, 0.5 incline. Start at 5.2 mph and raise the speed by 0.1 mph every 3 minutes. I got to mile 3 in 32:40, 4 in 41:13, 5 in 50:11 and 6 in 58:48.

Yes, it was a cool-ish, overcast day outside. But my legs were somewhat heavy and my knees..not really achy but they could use a break.

Why I sometimes use a treadmill in good weather:

1. Knees and feet; I like the soft surface.
2. Change in gait (helps with “overuse injury” prevention.
3. Zone out effect; sometimes I end up going too slowly outside. Here I have to quicken my gait a bit and focus (lest I fall off of the treadmill).

Now while I know that some have used the treadmill exclusively for good effect (e. g. the single member of the 2000 women’s US Olympic marathon team) it is different and I do need to get used to the surfaces I’ll be running or walking on. And yes, even with my variety of workouts (constant adjustment of speed or incline, or both), it gets kind of boring.

So, for me, it is a tool to be used from time to time, but not a staple (unless it is snowy/icy outside).

And I’d use it a bit less if the packed limestone trail wasn’t 30 minutes away; packed dirt/cinders/limestone trails are the best, IMHO.

May 12, 2016 Posted by | running | Leave a comment

My workouts are not for weight control

Workout notes 1 hour treadmill, 4.2 mile walk outside (Cornstalk classic course…after a rain..wet)
Treadmill: I did this to save my legs and to do something different. Incline: 0.5. 5.2-5.3-5.4-5.5, every 5 minutes: 1.78 miles in 20 minutes.
Then 6.7-6.8-6.9-7.0 (every 5 minutes to 4 miles) then every .25 miles: 7.1-7.2-7.3-7.4. This was 3.22 miles in 27:38 (8:35 mpm pace). Then 5.2-5.3-5.4-5.5-5.6 (every 2 minutes) to get to 6.11 miles in 1 hour.

This was just the break that I think that I needed.

The walk felt great.

Weight loss: I control my weight so I CAN run and walk, not the other way around. Eating right is the key.

May 10, 2016 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment


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