Common memes/statements I have no patience with (why I don’t fit in)

First things first: I DO respect this lady’s attitude and accomplishments; both are impressive.

But I have little patience at how others present such things.

1. At times, there appears to be an attitude of “this septuagenarian can do it therefore SO CAN YOU” in some of these presentations. That, of course, is nonsense.
Think of it this way: when I was in my 20’s, there were guys my age and size who could bench press 500 pounds (days prior to bench shirts) and other guys who could run a marathon in 2:10 or faster. NO ONE said “if they can do it, so can you.” Reason: the people who could perform such feats are understood to be outliers (the Steven Hawkings of athletics).

Guess what? Outliers exist among the senior age groups as well, and this lady is one of them. Another example: I had a 70 year old friend who ran a 45 minute 10K; that is abnormally good for that age.

Now if you want to say “you can probably get stronger than you think that you can”, THAT would be honest.

2. While she is indeed strong for her age, sex and size, she cannot outlift me, nor should she be able to. So please stop saying such things; that is condescending. She is incredibly strong for a woman her age though and her age graded performance would blow mine away, easily.

3. And I’ve seen memes that talk about “feeling old”. Guess what: if you are habitually active, you WILL feel your age as time goes on and your performances will show your age, period.

In my case: I found that I had to reduce the volume of my training and I had to be a bit more specific about it. That is, if I trained for, say, the 5K run, my long distance stuff would suffer more than it did a decade ago. I have to be choosier if I want to “age group improve” in one event or another; moving up in the marathon hurts my 5K; getting better in the swim hurts my running, etc. I also need to be more deliberate about strength training (weights, hill work, faster swim intervals, etc.)

March 18, 2015 Posted by | running, sports, weight training | , , , | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday 17 July 2014

I am using these three photos for throwback Thursday: the first two are from 1974 (my freshman year in high school) and the last is from 1975. This before I left Yokota High School in Japan for Travis High School in Austin, TX; the latter didn’t have a wrestling team.

The story behind the first two photos: I wrestled as a freshman and basically got my butt kicked all year long. I was hazed in practice and got my butt handed to me in meets. It took me 6 tries before I finally won a match; I ended the regular season with a .500 record.

At the end of the season, we had a tournament consisting of all of the U. S. military schools from Japan and Okinawa and the private English language schools in Japan.

I won my opening bout and had to face one of the tournament favorites in the second round; he pinned me easily.

But the favorite got moved to the winners bracket where he faced the guys who were eventually to take first and second; he got a “loss by a pin” and a tie. By the scoring system at the time, that gave him “6 bad points” (4 for the loss by pin, 2 for the tie) which eliminated him.

I went to the elimination round where I faced two “not-so-good” opponents and pinned both of them…within a minute each!

So I was left with “4 bad points” (1 loss, 3 wins by pin) and there were only two other wrestlers left!

That put me into the medal round even though my season record, up to that point, was only 2 wins above .500.

In all honesty, I didn’t belong in the medal round and I ended up getting getting my butt kicked in front of everyone. I suffered two first round losses by pin. The one shown here was the match for second place.

The next year, I had improved; no more getting picked on in practice …and my record was 12-3 prior to the transfer.




July 17, 2014 Posted by | sports | , | Leave a comment

Blood donation time again…

My running season is officially over; I donated blood to the Red Cross. Yes, this was whole blood and NOT double red cells! I can expect a 3-4 point drop in my VO2-max due to the donation, and a slow down due to the heat. I’ll probably be back to normal within a month. (note: double red cells would have wiped me out until at least September; after one of these, even a warm up jog gets me out of breath).

This time, I have a plan.

1. One run a week, I’ll do short intervals to get some turnover and follow it with a modest run on the treadmill.
2. I’ll race often. I have 5K races scheduled for 4 July, 12 July and 26 July. These will probably be performance disasters (due to heat and blood donation effects) but they will be “push myself” type workouts.
3. The main focus will be the Wednesday and Sunday walks; the goal remains a powerwalk marathon on 28 September. The blood donation won’t affect this training very much.

The biggest effect blood donation has is on the warm weather, “anything faster than an easy pace” run. Oxygen simply doesn’t get to the muscles very well and it is doubly bad when it is hot outside.

I still remember the day when I learned this lesson. It was 2001; I was running the Quad Cities Half marathon. I took it out at my usual 7:30 mpm pace (normal for me in those days; my best that year was 1:37) and I found myself fading during the SECOND MILE! Oddly enough, my hands began to get cold too.

During this period another runner came up beside me and said that he liked what I said on television. Then I remembered; I gave blood after the Fall Steamboat 15K and gave a statement to the press; it was 9/11 related.
So, I smiled, cut back on my pace and struggled (but no walking!) in with 1:49…of course I’d love to run that time now-a-days. But in those days, that was a slow time for me.

Speaking of sports: this 15 minute TED talk about athletics and the progression of world records is very interesting.

1. Better equipment (high tech swim suits, rubber tracks, wave minimizing gutters in pools).
2. Better training.
3. Athletes drawn from a wider pool.
4. Selection pressures: shot putters are bigger, smaller distance runners…and people who have the ideal body type finding their sports. Example Hicham El Guerrouj held the mile run world record and is only 5′ 9″. Michael Phelps won numerous gold medals in swimming and is 6′ 4″. Yet: both of these athletes wear the same pants length! Short legs are good for swimming; longer legs are good for distance running.

The video is excellent.

Workout notes
Weights plus swimming. I was 180.0 prior to lifting.

Pull ups: 5 sets of 10 with hip hikes and Achilles exercises as rest.
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 100, 6 x 170.
incline press: 7 x 140. rotator cuff rest.
military press: 2 sets of 10 x 85 standing (barbell), 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)
pull downs: one set of 7 x 160 traditional, 7 x 100 low. Then 2 sets of 10 x 160 traditional, 10 x 90 machine low.
rows: 2 sets of alternating arms with the Hammer Machine: 105 each arm, then 10 x 200 both at once.

1000 easy
500 of 25 side, 25 free
4 x 100 hard (on 2; 1:42-44)
2 x 50 hard
200 of 25 fly, 25 back (fins). 2200 yards (2000 meters) total.

Note: I did a few reps where I chased the faster swimmers; they didn’t seem to mind. I even talked to one afterward. Basically, when I catch them, they realize that they are dogging it and pick it up.
That makes it fun.

June 30, 2014 Posted by | sports, swimming, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Behind the scenes at the winter Olympics….

Hey, that is Julia Mancuso’s tag on Instagram, not mine.

Some of what you’ll find on her photo page (with a paragraph describing the scene…)

Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 9.12.07 PM

Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 9.13.03 PM

Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 9.13.45 PM

Screen shot 2014-02-18 at 9.14.15 PM

February 19, 2014 Posted by | big butts, spandex, sports | | Leave a comment

Running, sports and bullying…

This video was taken of a race (hilly 8 miler) that I did two weekends ago. At 1:23-1:28 you see me puffing up a large hill chasing a woman. I looked TERRIBLE! But still…somehow, I managed to finish a few minutes ahead of her.



Each week there are football blowouts across the nation. Rarely are they more one-sided than the 91-0 rout Aledo High (Aledo, Tex.) put on Western Hills High (Fort Worth, Tex.). Now, one parent has apparently been so concerned by the final scoreline that they took the extraordinary step of filing an official bullying report with the school district because of the thrashing.
As reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and other Dallas-area outlets, the official bullying report was filed by a Western Hills parent on Saturday, hours after the final whistle ended the most one-sided game so far this year in the Lone Star state. Texas regulations require Aledo’s principal to launch a full investigation into the bullying allegation.

The administration is then to produce a written report addressing the bullying complaint.

If it was surprising that Aledo racked up 91 points on Friday, it was no shock that their win was a dominant one. The Bearcats are among the state’s most powerful squads year-in, year-out. Friday’s victory improved the team’s record to 7-0, with Aledo now averaging a whopping 69 points per game. They’ve outscored their district foes by an incredible 77 points-per-game.

In the immediate aftermath of the most recent rout, both coaches agreed that there was no intention of the near 100-point gap in the scoreline. The two coaches spoke to the Star-Telegram about the blowout, and in a unique twist both expressed a sincere sense of regret about the way the game played out. In particular, Aledo coach Tim Buchanan spoke to multiple outlets asserting that his team’s frequent blowouts have become a source of embarrassment for the program.

“I think the game was handled fine,” [Western Hills coach John] Naylor said. “They’re No. 1 for a reason, and I know coach Buchanan. We’re fighting a real uphill battle right now.
“We just ran into a buzzsaw, you know,” Naylor said. “[Aledo] just plays hard. And they’re good sports, and they don’t talk at all. They get after it, and that’s the way football is supposed to be played in Texas.”

Sometimes “concerned parents” really suck.

But hey, I got beat pretty badly in the race shown in the video. Perhaps I can complain that I was bullied? Good lord…

October 24, 2013 Posted by | running, social/political, sports | , , | Leave a comment

Way before I sucked at running, I sucked at throwing

And back in 1974, I won my first JV shot put competition with a throw of 33 feet, 10 inches (12 pound shot); but I never got to 40 feet. The better varsity throwers were throwing 55-60 feet (in local meets). 😦

I had no speed across the ring.

But this brings back memories.

And, even as a failed shot putter, I could run a 5:58 mile.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | sports | | Leave a comment

Degradation: of one’s own body (with age) and of others…

Workout notes
Weights only: I slept late (until 6:20!) and got to the weight room late.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10, with hip hikes and Achilles and rotator cuff as rest
bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 3 x 185, 7 x 170 (tired on the last set); ab routine
(sit backs, twist, crunch, vertical crunch; 3 sets each) as rest.
incline press: 10 x 140, 6 x 140 (very tired on the last set)
dumbbell military: 3 sets of 12 x 50 lb.
rows: Hammer: 3 sets of 10 x 210
curls: 2 sets of 10 x 57.5 pulley, 1 set of 10 x 70 machine
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
Note: I super setted most of the stuff after the bench; I was tired during my last sets.
I felt strong on the bench but didn’t push for that extra last rep.

Degradation with age
In the locker room, I talked to a former university basketball player; he is now in his early 80’s.
I asked him when he started to notice the decline in his physical abilities: he replied “mid 30’s”.

My guess: those who know how to push themselves notice the decline earlier than those who are merely active but don’t test limits often.
Here is how it worked for me:
30’s: I noticed my mile time getting slower; that 5:30 became a 5:40. 5K, and even the weights were roughly the same.
40’s: early 40’s, my mile took a big hit (breaking 6 became VERY difficult, then impossible) and the 5K started to slow: the half marathon and marathon stayed ok until 2001 (early 40’s).

Now: everything is slower and weaker (in my early to mid 50’s). Master’s athletes told me to expect it; in fact the former basketball player that I talked to, who still looks good and still works out, told me that now that he is in his 80’s, getting out of a chair is harder than it once was.

Someone who was (is) fit told me that when he got into his 70’s, he had to quit taking the 4 flights of stairs as it took too much out of him (to be able to teach).

Degradation of others
A friend (who racewalks) was on a plane to a race where she encountered someone else going to the race. She was asked “are you going to run half-marathon X”? He reply: no, I am racewalking it with someone.

Travelling on a plane of race people can be either great or suck. A gal just said “oh you running Nike?” Me: “Race walking.” “Oh” she said with a snotty tone. “You slow walkers better stay out of my way! I run!” Her anticipated time – 3:15:00. And yes I do have her face memorized. I promise to smile when I walk damned strong & proud past. Don’t mess with Shep!

No, that is NOT 3:15 for a full marathon….”I run????” OMG.
Yes, my walking friend passed her easily and had a friendly reminder for her.

But seriously folks: unless this 3:15 “runner” was making a joke ….goodness. What is wrong with people?
Yes, I’d say something about “hey you walker, I hope you don’t slow me down” but I’d be sure and say it to my friends who can WALK a half marathon at 7:45 minutes per mile and a marathon at 8-8:30; I’d say it to people who I knew were way faster than I. (note: an Olympic medal contender racewalker could do 6:20-6:30 for the half and 6:50-7:00 for the marathon).

For the record: since 2010, my walking half marathons have ranged between 2:22 and 2:40; my single half marathon run was 2:01. (power walking; I can no longer legally racewalk as my right knee does not straighten 100 percent of the way)

April 29, 2013 Posted by | running, sports, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Bad Arguments Don’t Imply False Conclusions

I admit that I haven’t followed the Steubenville rape case closely. I know that some of the people have posted angry rants about some of the media pointing out that the rapists ruined their own lives (they did) and about “rape culture” (huh)? And much of the reporting from the left wing media has been poor. Here is an example. Most of it is a “jocks are an entitled bunch who feel that they can do whatever they want and coaches should be..uh….

In thinking about Steubenville, thinking about my own experiences playing sports, thinking about athletes I’ve interviewed and know, I believe that a locker room left to its own devices will drift toward becoming a breeding ground for rape culture. You don’t need a Coach Reno or a Bob Knight to make that happen. You just need good people to say or do nothing. As such, a coach or a player willing to stand up, risk ridicule and actually teach young men not to rape, can make all the difference in the world. We need interventionist, transformative coaches in men’s sports that talk openly about these issues. We need an economic setup in amateur sports that does away with their gutter economy. But most of all, we need people who recognize the existence of rape culture, both on and off teams, to no longer be silent.

As for Steubenville, Coach Reno needs to be shown the door, never to be allowed to mold young minds again. Football revenue should go toward creating a district-wide curriculum about rape and stopping violence against women. And “Jane Doe,” the young woman at the heart of this case, should be given whatever resources she and her family needs to move if they choose, pay for college or just have access to whatever mental health services she and her family require. After the trial, testimony and verdict, they deserve nothing less.

“Teach young men not to rape?” Uh, well, our society teaches people not to steal, yet some do. We teach people not to murder, yet some do.
We teach people not to drive while intoxicated, yet some do.

While the campus sexual assault prevention programs HAVE been correlated with reductions in sexual assault rates (I learned this from Steven Pinker’s book Better Angels) and they should be continued, people are foolish if they think that rapes will be eliminated and that an example of an incident can be extrapolated to a whole so-called culture. That is not sound reasoning.

Now, at the college level, we do have some data:

Male athletes in big-time college programs are responsible for a significantly higher percentage of reported sexual assaults than other students, according to the first national study on the subject.

While athletes constitute 3.3 percent of the total male student population, they were involved in 19 percent of the sexual assaults reported to judicial-affairs offices at colleges, according to a Massachusetts-based study released yesterday at a sports-sociology conference in Georgia.

Sex crimes involving athletes are less often reported to campus police, suggesting that women are particularly reluctant to accuse athletes of wrongdoing unless they can do it quietly and efficiently, as the more private, campus judicial-affairs system allows.

The authors of the study are Todd Crosset and Mark McDonald, professors in sports management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Jeffrey Benedict, a graduate student at Northeastern University.

Without getting into the causes behind the relationship between athletes and sexual assault, the report provides evidence of a problem consistently discounted by coaches and administrators.

“Obviously what it warrants is the question: Is sports contributing to the incidence of rapes and sexual assaults?” Benedict said. “In some cases it’s probably coincidence. But in many cases it may be that being a player in a big-time program makes it more difficult to determine what’s criminal and what isn’t.”

The authors leave to future researchers the question of whether the culture of contact sports creates attitudes that foster sexual crimes against women.

However, what I haven’t seen (and need to see) is correction factors: is there a correction factor for, say the athlete’s IQ versus the IQ of the general student population (low IQ correlates with increased violent crime). Is there a correction factor for socio-economic background? In other words, does belonging to a sports team increase the chances that an individual will commit sexual violence? Or, is there a correlation between the person who is good at sports (especially the violent ones) and the ones who are prone to commit sexual violence?

Remember it has been shown that there are genetic factors to behavior.

Also from the above study:

But, the authors warn, “even here, reports were not uniform from school to school – suggesting that the social environment of programs may vary significantly and have a substantial impact on the rate of sexual assault.” Rates often jumped after coaching changes, indicating that coaches may have a strong influence on player attitudes, the authors wrote.

Although campus police records also showed that athletes were involved in sexual assaults at a higher rate than other male students, the authors concluded that the difference was not “statistically significant” on that basis.

Police records, however, are the least accurate gauge of sexual assault on campuses, Benedict said. As in any criminal matter, victims must file formal charges against the accused perpetrator and submit to a public, sometimes lengthy legal process.

Victims showed a preference for going through the campus judicial-affairs office, which cannot impose jail time but can offer relief to the victim by such measures as removing the alleged perpetrator from the same class or residence hall. The office also handles matters behind closed doors.

Now some might say: “athletes have a high profile and are therefore more likely to be charged falsely”. But another report talks about this:

Athletes, and some of their supporters, have also contended that because of their notoriety, athletes are more likely to be scrutinized or falsely accused than nonathietes and that no real differences exist in their behaviors. The findings here do not support this contention since the athletes in this sample self-reported higher levels of physical and sexual abuse yet none of the athletes in the sample had been publicly accused of abuse. Further, the victims of sexual abuse in this sample reported higher rates of victimization than perpetrators admitted to, implying that perpetrators do not always acknowledge the sexual abuse they commit.

So the study (the one with the data) is an example of a reasonably good article; Dave Zirin’s The Nation article is pretty much junk (one reason I quit subscribing to that rag; I mostly agree with their conclusions but their arguments tend to be terrible; it is “Newsmax for left wingers” caliber stuff).

I also looked at the Boston University hockey case and read an article about a “task force” recommendation. I found the following to be interesting:

A six-month assessment by a special task force appointed to examine the culture and climate of the BU men’s ice hockey team has found significant deficiencies in the structures and processes that are designed to provide oversight of the program. These weaknesses, in turn, resulted in the supervision of student-athletes’ conduct falling disproportionately and inappropriately to the coaching staff, whose oversight was also lacking. The task force also found that a culture of sexual entitlement exists among some players, and that this, combined with the absence of sexual assault prevention training and education, led to risky behaviors.

Hmmm, ok…but…

The report concludes that the hockey team’s disciplinary history does not show a pattern that is significantly different from the undergraduate population as a whole,

Emphasis mine. Of course, in this case, “n” might be too small to make a conclusion.

Anyway: there is SOMETHING going on here even if it isn’t the “cultures” that some are talking about. I have to remember that many “know” things because they construct a model that “makes sense to them”, which, of course, is NOT evidence. This may be a result of their thinking or the data that they have access to, or their own life experiences.

I know that I am sometimes guilty of this: I’ve played sports in high school (and, ok, I sucked) and didn’t find any “rape culture” in the locker rooms. I know some elite athletes…who are….well, let’s just say that racewalkers aren’t a representative sample of athletes. 🙂

So, I haven’t been in these locker rooms; then again, neither have the ranters who think that they “know” so much.

My conclusion I am not sure as to what is going on; there is a problem but I am unconvinced that it is a “culture” problem.

March 19, 2013 Posted by | ranting, social/political, sports | , | 1 Comment


Superstition This has an interesting part on how living things (with brains) really operate on a “correlation equals causation” program: Skinner’s pigeon experiment:

You hear this a lot. But in reality, you really can’t; if you split your attention you will do a poorer job at everything. That might not be a problem if you are blogging with a game on, but if you are in a classroom, if you attempt to “multitask”, you will miss a LOT and possibly distract others around you. Now there is evidence to bolster my claim.

A Pakistani argues that Pakistan has more of a “reality” problem than an “image” problem.

The South (in the US)
They can’t wrap their heads around the fact that they were in the wrong during the Civil War.

Seen on facebook

Not true for me but that is because my workout sessions are competitions of sorts, and I regularly test myself. Hence I can see the bench press getting weaker (4 x 225 is now 4 x 180), pull ups getting more difficult (sets of 10 instead of 15), and the 5K taking longer to complete (just under 20 to just under 25).

But, on the other hand, I am still doing those activities and the degradation of my performance is really a “numbers” thing. Ok, it is an appearance thing too; the muscles just aren’t as tight as they once were. And, I don’t notice much of a difference during my “day to day” activities; only in the gym, at the race, and in the pool (which I need to return to).

March 17, 2013 Posted by | education, science, sports, superstition, world events | , , | Leave a comment

Exodus, Broken Toes, Teaching the Controversy, Budget Hocus-Pocus, etc.

Workout notes part II
Weights: due to crowding I did the bench/incline presses last, and they didn’t go so well: 10 x 135, 3 x 175, 5 x 160, 5 x 160 bench, 2 sets of 5 x 135 on the incline. The stuff prior: pull ups, rotator cuff, rows, pull downs, curls, military presses (machine); all of these went really well. I also only did 4 sets of 10 sit ups (varied incline) and lots of different types of stomach crunches; my back has been chronically sore.

I am willing to work to improve athletically. But I am NOT willing to do this:

Would you break your own toe to win a Paralympic medal? Would you sit on a sharp object or strangulate your testicles? It’s cheating, but a scientist who will be monitoring athletes at the Paralympic Games says a third of competitors with spinal injuries may be harming themselves to boost their performance.

The practice, called “boosting”, is designed to increase blood pressure and enhance performance.

It’s banned by the International Paralympics Committee (IPC), but some researchers say these are the desperate acts of athletes trying to compete on a level playing field.

“There have been times where I would specifically give my leg or my toe a couple of really good electric shocks” says Brad Zdanivsky, a 36-year-old Canadian quadriplegic climber who has experimented with boosting in the gym.
Continue reading the main story
Common boosting techniques

Overfilling the bladder, by clamping a catheter
Sitting on a drawing pin
Use of tight leg straps
Twisting and/or sitting on the scrotum
Cracking or breaking a bone

“That would make my blood pressure jump up and I could do more weights and cycle harder – it is effective.”

One British journalist with years of experience covering the Paralympics says he has heard of athletes using small hammers to crack or break a toe.

The point of these activities is to raise the athlete’s blood pressure and heart rate.

High blood pressure causes millions of deaths each year around the world, so it may come as a surprise to hear of athletes deliberately “boosting” theirs.

But a raised heart rate and blood pressure are advantages during exercise, as they help deliver more oxygen to hard-working muscles, enabling the athlete to keep going.

For most people, heart rate and blood pressure rise naturally when physical activity increases. But this is not always the case after a spinal cord injury, meaning competitors could tire sooner.

In the world of elite sports, “boosting” could make the difference between winning and losing. But it also boosts the chance of a heart attack or stroke.

When able-bodied competitors engage in hard physical activities like running or swimming, blood pressure and heart rate increase automatically. Athletes with spinal injuries do not get that response.

Yikes! I suppose the way that I could “cheat” would be to take performance enhancing drugs ….but why? Improvement for means placing 1853’rd instead of 2014’th. Big whoop. It is times like this that I am glad that I suck! 🙂


This is interesting and true…

So does this means that the the exodus story is pure fiction? Of course the woo-woo stuff was, but was there any truth to it at all? This scholarly paper (PDF) deals with this question.

Unfortunately, I lack the historical knowledge to have an informed opinion; my “gut” tells me that there may have been some kernel of truth somewhere…but that is uninformed, untrained intuition.

A guy who later became President of Ireland OWNS a tea party type:

Liberal Hollywood? Rambo think “not”. 🙂
Sure, you CAN find liberal-leaning movies but they are hardly the norm, especially for the big box office draws.

Texas Judge: wants to raise taxes to oppose President Obama’s One World Government. No, I am NOT quoting The Onion or some other satirical site.

Mike Huckabee: doesn’t understand why some Republicans have told Todd Akin to stand down.

I want to drive this home: these idiotic responses are coming from TOP Republican officials and spokespersons and not from fringe bloggers. Why a Republican wouldn’t die of embarrassment is beyond me.

So, I suppose that Paul Ryan is “more serious” by comparison, though his budget proposals are fraudulent. Heck, even I could propose a budget that eliminates the debt and lowers taxes if I don’t specify how I am going to do that!

August 24, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, creationism, economy, huckabee, moron, morons, political humor, political/social, politics, republicans, sports, weight training | Leave a comment