And the Laplace Transform offends…

This Friday, we start Laplace Transforms in differential equations. By “Laplace Transforms”, we mean the usual simplified Laplace Transform we teach to beginning differential equations students; we do not know what a Lebesgue or a Stieltjes integral is.

That reminded me of what happened in my first differential equations course, back in the fall of 1978. I was sitting next to Vince and the instructor wrote the following on the board:

That, of course, is the gamma function (think of it as a way to extend the factorial function into a continuous function on the reals, though there is a more general version). If you must know, for positive real numbers, \Gamma(x) = \int^{\infty}_0 t^{x-1} e^{-t} dt . This is a convergent improper integral for x > 0

Never mind that.

Vince said “box of x, what is box?” I replied “that is the gamma function, Vince”.

“Box…what’s box? They are just making stuff up! They are making it up as they go along!” Vince was just so offended by the gamma function!

Anyway, that is a memory that made me chuckle; and yes, Vince ended up passing the course.

Workout notes: Not sure what was wrong; my nose is runny and I had a tough time breathing in the gym as the pace got harder (heat? dehydration? allergies?) So my planned 10 minute warm up, 10 x (2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3) workout became 10 minute warm up, 6 x (2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3) followed by a 5 minute walk, then enough running to get me to 6.1 miles in 1:05, and 1:44 more of walking to get me to 10K in 1:06:44.

I call that a “rescue of a workout”; for me, a 10K training run at under 11 minutes per mile is a valid training run, and I did get some pace changes.

March 22, 2017 Posted by | Friends, humor, running | , | Leave a comment

A beautiful day for humility…

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed today’s workout. But there was humility at every stage.

At the Riverplex: when I got there, there was a younger guy (early 30’s?) doing reps with 225 on the bench. He was working out with a bespandexed lady (wife? girlfriend?) whose butt was winning its war with the spandex.

Yeah, I did that when I was younger…actually much more but never mind. That isn’t now.

Then someone …middle aged?..a serious lifter entered. I think his arms were about the size of my lower thighs. I laughed and thought “I had better get out of here before he uses all of the 45 pound plates.”

Someone that Mamma T calls “shirtless Bob” was there; we talked and I noticed that he was running on the treadmill…I peeked at the pace…9 miles an hour (6:40 mpm). Yeah, he is a year or two older than I am.

We chatted; he ran a 5:44 mile last year. I last ran that fast..when I was 38. F*ck me dead!

So I went outside and then ran the 2.2 miles to the start of the Glenn Oak hill (same one that is on the first part of the Steamboat 15K course) and did 4 hill repeats (about .25 miles each, .25 miles back), and then ran the 2.2 miles back (roughly 10K to 6.4 miles total). Those just killed me; I tried to run them at a pace to get me way out of breath at the end and to make me heavy legged.

(logs at the bottom to the gate at the top).

I enjoyed it but…OMG…was I reminded at how badly I suck. 🙂

Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10…went well), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 7 x 170
dumbbell military: 10 x 50 standing, 2 sets of 10 x 45 standing
Hammer Machine incline: 3 sets; 10 x 180, 8 x 200, 8 x 180. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts. headstand: went really well with the wall for confidence (didn’t use it at all though)

March 19, 2017 Posted by | running, weight training | Leave a comment

Butts: less attention to hers, more attention to mine

Yeah, I’ve loved female butts for all of my post adolescent life. I still remember something from the 8’th grade, I believe. A female friend was sitting with me on the grass (she ran track and went on to be a Rams Cheerleader). She got up (in her tight jeans) and I teased her: “you’ve got grass all over your butt!” She said: “well, brush me off then…” and I about passed out. But I did my duty..and still remember it 44 years later.

I am open enough about it to teased about it by friends; from time to time my female friends send me joke memes about that.

But…all the while, I’ve neglected my own butt and the result is back pain, legs that get easily fatigued, etc. So I’ve been attempting to do something about it.

Today: I ran 6.07 miles in 1:05, doing a “5 minute froggy” for 50 minutes, then varying the speed after dropping back a bit, hitting 6 miles in 1:03:44. I was sweaty and out of breath and forced myself to do sets of 5 “goblet” squats:

0, 25, 45, 45, 50, 50, 60, 60. I made sure I “sat” below parallel then 10 x 270 on the leg press.

I was tempted to skip the final 2 sets with 60, but I saw the guy who won my AG in the trail half marathon (1:59, to my 3:02) and decided to finish all of them.

My back does feel better…we will see if this eventually translates into a better 5K run.

March 18, 2017 Posted by | butt, political humor, political/social, running, weight training | Leave a comment

And I waste my spring break….

I am just having too much fun on the internet.

Now THAT is my kind of toaster! (this is what this is making fun of: Kellyanne Conway, of couch kneeling fame, claimed that some microwaves have spy cameras)

Cheetocare My “friend” Carmen Johnson and my twitter buddy Diana Archer dubbed this health care train wreck “Cheetocare”. Roughly, it cuts taxes on the upper 2 percent in return for underfunding the Medicare trust fund and not expanding Medicaid …and effect, kicking older people off of Obamacare by allowing the insurance companies to increase the multiplier from 3 times to 5 times (how much more an older person must pay for insurance). Here are some sources: New York Times, Vox, Vox on Medicaid.

If there is a silver lining, it is that poor, red, southern states will be hit the hardest with a “per-capita” Medicaid rating.

But, it is my guess that this bill will either crash and burn in the house or be DOA in the Senate. Even conservative outlets such as Newsmax and Breitbart are denouncing it as Ryan’s plan. In fact, Newsmax is actually proposing “Medicaid for all”; weaker than “Medicare for all” to be sure, but..well…when Newsmax moves somewhat close to what I can live with…these are strange times.

As far as the rest of the Trump agenda: well, lots of CEOs seem to like what they see. I get it: they spend a LOT of time on their own businesses and are pretty good on managing things on a short term basis. Of course if things get so bad that few have money to patronize their businesses…well, I suppose in their eyes, that is some theoretical construct that they don’t have time for now. Micro is their thing, not macro.

Upshot: don’t expect them to move away from Trump for all of Trump’s shortcomings.

Basketball notes: Fun NIT game in Champaign last night; another one in Normal tonight. I’ll write a complete report tomorrow.

Workout notes:
Treadmill run: 10 minute warm up (every 2 minutes), then 10 x 2:30 at 6.7, 2:30 at 5.3 recoveries. I had an extra break when the fire alarm went off (false alarm) so I did one 3 minute interval with a 2 minute rest to make up somewhat. 1:00:44 for 6 miles, 1:02:52 for 10K.

March 15, 2017 Posted by | health care, politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Cactus Classic, 2017 version

I’ve only attempted this race once before. That time I signed up for the marathon and bailed/DNFed half way; I did take a 15 mile version for the first 13.4 mile loop.

This time, I wasn’t even tempted to sign up for the marathon; I did not have the long run/walk background necessary for success. But when I saw the potential for dry conditions, I thought “why not; it is a pretty course and will get me about a 3 hour run/walk” …and that is what happened.

The day could not have been much better; a few degrees below freezing at the start and to freezing at the end (of my half), dry …just a pretty day.

And there were old trail friends here, many who I have not seen in a long time. My knees just do not permit comfortable trail running in bad conditions, hence I have become more of a road person. But today: great.

And, Mamma T (and her (new?) friend) and Jennifer (who suffers next to me in exercise class) was there too. Oh hell, though I like a good run/hike in most circumstances, there are times when I’ll do a race that I am not really prepared for because I am in the mood to socialize. And that is a good thing.

Oh, the race. I started back in the pack and, as things settled, I moved in a very loose group of 5 runners or so, one of who was to finish the marathon (and Julie’s second loop was only 30 minutes or so slower than the first…great pacing for this course).

I let Mary go..she was moving swiftly and she too did very well in the full marathon.

I was figuring on a 15 minute per mile average pace as the sand was dry and quite deep for much of the course (about ankle deep, and soft). I tried, as did others, to run on the part with grass. I seemed to be averaging about a 13 minute pace for the first few parts (1:06 for the 5 mile aid station, 2 hours for for the 9 mile, 2:30 for the 11 mile station.

But I never really knew where I was on the course; it was well marked but I didn’t have a good feel of when to start a “finishing kick”; so I mostly tried to keep within sight of Jason and a couple of ladies (one tall and close to my age, one shorter and younger).

I lost to Jason about 5 minutes and finished 1-2 minutes ahead of the ladies in 3:02 (40 out of 55 finishers; winning time was 1:34, which is my old road PR).

Though I wanted to finish 3 minutes faster, well, I didn’t completely embarrass myself and never got grouchy; the race ended while it was still fun.

March 12, 2017 Posted by | Friends, running | Leave a comment

The shallow level of discussion about poverty in the US

Articles like this one drive me nuts. Yes, it is statistically accurate in that if someone is born into grinding poverty, they are likely to stay there, even if they behave reasonably.

What it overlooks is that many do NOT behave reasonably, as this liberal friendly article admits:

Edin sees in these obstacles to full-time fatherhood a partial explanation for what’s known as “multiple-partner fertility.” Among low-income, unwed parents, having children with more than one partner is now the norm. One long-running study found that in nearly 60 percent of the unwed couples who had a baby, at least one parent already had a child with another partner.

That is pathological and irresponsible, no matter how one spins it. But try getting a liberal to admit that…OMG.

Now, of course, there are also these aspects:

1. Which came first: pathological behavior or poverty; which caused which? There is strong evidence that poverty is the CAUSE of such behavior and not really the result of it. (slso here)

2. While I agree that poor people can make themselves even poorer via poor choices, it does not follow that good choices will lead one OUT of poverty.

I’ll use a sports analogy. Those in my age group who run the fastest times and win the most awards train more than I do. And were I to quit lifting weights so much and to run more, I might improve…but only so much. I might, might, get into the 24s..maybe 23’s with super training. But I can forget getting anywhere the winner’s circle in my age group; guys who do that were generally “college track team” quality in their youth (or the equivalent).

So good behavior will only move the needle so much; only rarely is it enough for someone to escape.

But yet discussion of these issues often causes he heartburn.

Here is what I think is going on: I have people who went to the same schools as I did and had parents who were of the same economic class as my parents. They had the opportunity to apply to the same colleges as I did. I had no special influence as to getting into my undergraduate college, and no “pull” in getting into graduate school. Then years down the line…guess who is said to have been “lucky”???

While one can make statistical inferences about how a general population will do, there is variation between individuals of the same group. Yes, my parents did right by me…more so ..and I was lucky enough to avoid horrible things (abuse, diseases, accidents, etc.) None of that was due to any merit on my part; I admit that.

Anyhow, I DO see quite a bit of “excuse making” by people that I know made bad choices that hindered them down the road. But …that is at the individual level..not a statistical average.

Still, I struggle to accept a life experience that was so different than my own..especially when initial circumstances seem to be so similar.

I suppose that some truths are simply counter intuitive to me.

Workout notes: weights plus my 2 mile treadmill run: 5.2-5.6 for the first 10 minutes, then 6.7-7.0 (every 2:30, 1 minute at 7.1). 11 minutes for mile 1, 19:40 for mile 2.
Weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: decent), incline press: 10 x 135, 5 x 150, 10 x 135 (strict, planted those hips), military (dumbbell), 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. abs: 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, head stand…not that bad this time.

March 10, 2017 Posted by | poverty, running, social/political, weight training | Leave a comment

“Speaking Truth to Power”…yeah, sure….

I’ve heard this phrase many times. Liberal activists say it. Trump supporters say it.

And I roll my eyes with contempt.

To “speak the truth” one must first “know the truth” and frankly, to many, “the truth” is what “makes sense to them.”

Often, the “truth” is horribly complicated. And so many of these types are so sure of themselves, even though they have no special qualifications nor accomplishments to speak of.

So unless I am reasonably sure that the person knows what they are talking about, I just dismiss them.

workout notes: treadmill run; 5.2-5.6 (2 min) for 10 minutes, then 50 minutes of 2:30 on, 2:30 off (on: 6.7, off: 5.3). I got to 6 miles in 1:00:50 and 10K in 1:03:00. I found out that my having to walk during past versions of these was due to trying to go faster during the “on” sections”. Next time: try the last 4 “on” at 6.8 and go from there.

Later: exercise class.

March 9, 2017 Posted by | ranting, running | Leave a comment

Feeling my age: no “wife carrying” competition for me

Workout notes: 5 mile shuffle; 50 and drizzling. Really, that isn’t that bad for this time of year.

Age: The first sign that age was affecting me was back when I was getting close to 40; I tried a series of mile races and found that I actually had to work hard and train to get under 6 minutes (it was routine for me up until I turned 39 or so). I noticed that my 5K times were stuck at just under 21 minutes, though I improved to 1:34 for the half marathon.

But I switched to ultra walking; and that hid my decline a bit. The first time it really, really hit me was in 2009 after I had just turned 50. I was doing a hilly trail 30 mile walk and found myself really suffering in the final 8 miles or so; I strained, strained, strained to stay ahead of a pack of guys and wasn’t able to.

So at the “5 miles to go” aid station I lamented that I couldn’t hold the guys off…that the final set of hills was just killing me. Another ultra type (my age) said “remember that they (the guys I was trying to beat) are 30 years younger than you are.” THAT is when it hit me.

I was to get my knee repaired in 2010 (bucket handle tear in my meniscus) and when I finally got back into it, I was never quite the same. The knee does NOT hurt so I am glad that I had the surgery, but running and walking distances has gotten progressively harder since then.

Oddly enough, weights are still not that bad. I am weak (bench press: 5 reps with 185-190, 8-10 with 170; sets of 10-15 pullups until I get to 50 total) but not getting that much weaker.

And then I saw this:

And I thought: “well, if only I had a slender wife…” but in reality, that wouldn’t really help me. Back in, say, 1998-1999 I might have been able to pull this off with a smaller running friend, but no longer.

And, if the guy is strong enough (and I am not), the wife doesn’t always have to be THAT small (middle 2 photos).




02 Jul 2011, Sonkajärvi, Finland --- epa02806849 USA couple David and Lacey Castro make their way through the water hazard during The 16th Wife Carrying Championships 02 July 2011 in Sonkajaervi,Finland. They finished fifth. EPA/MARKKU OJALA FINLAND OUT --- Image by © MARKKU OJALA/epa/Corbis

02 Jul 2011, Sonkajärvi, Finland — epa02806849 USA couple David and Lacey Castro make their way through the water hazard during The 16th Wife Carrying Championships 02 July 2011 in Sonkajaervi,Finland. They finished fifth. EPA/MARKKU OJALA FINLAND OUT — Image by © MARKKU OJALA/epa/Corbis

March 6, 2017 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

Why so tired?

The good: I found out that yesterday’s Bradley 5K was on the “long” course and not the “short one”.


So, maybe I was closer to the 27:30 where I thought that I should be; not that I was ok with my last mile collapse.

And today, I walked a slow, untimed 10.1 miler and overdid the “slow” part. Now: it appears as if I’ve been drugged.

I am just going to DIE next Saturday when I have a half marathon (13.4 miles in this case) planned; the course isn’t that hilly but it is mostly sand. This time, there might not be snow. And rain might actually pack the sand down just a bit. So I had better take Thursday and Friday very easy.

March 5, 2017 Posted by | running, walking | Leave a comment

A slap in the face…

Well, this was my first race since Thanksgiving of last year and it showed.

It was blustery but 40’s…really not a bad running day. It was a student crowd (a few faculty; one was to pass me in the final mile). I took a 1 mile indoor warm up and perhaps 1/3 of a mile outside.

I went out at what seemed to be a reasonable pace and oh man, I felt it early. Mile 1: (so they said) 9:15???? Oh-s**t. I didn’t think that I was going THAT slowly; the second mile came at 17:25 which appeared to be more reasonable. But by then I was hurting and talking myself out of walking. There is where I got passed. The last mile (this time around the campus circle) was a slog. I saw the clock at 27:0x when I made the run and even a small burst could not get me under 28…28:09 was my final time. And yes..I was tired and out of breath.

That is my current shape. OMG….

I walked 2 miles to get to 6.

Then weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 9 x 170, military: dumbbell: 10 x 50 standing, 20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 180 (90 each arm) machine. row: 3 sets of 10 x 110, incline: 10 x 160 (80 each arm) Hammer machine.

That was fine..though I had a hard time catching my breath between sets.

So there you go: reasonably strong in the weight room (by my standards) but just awful at running. And yes, I walked an easy 4 yesterday so I wasn’t tired.

I need to do some steady state 8 milers to get ready to race these.

March 4, 2017 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | Leave a comment