Run with Reagan…not my 1980’s 5K time

This may have been a Run with Reagan, but I was a whole lot slower than when he was still in office:


My numbers weren’t terrible: 42 out of 153 overall, 33 of 79 among the men and 2 out of 10 in my age group. But my time was bad (26:14 via 8:09. 8:18, 9:46 for the final 1.1)

The day was perfect and Barbara agreed to go with me; she walked the 1 mile and did an extra mile on her own.

My excuses: part of it was that I realized my training was not working, so I was a bit “off the mark” this week. Part of it was the course: for a road 5K course, it was quite “rolling”; you had two reasonably long inclines to climb.

The course was three loops around an “almost 1 mile” loop plus a straight away; the finish line was at higher elevation (30-40 feet?) than the start. That isn’t that much but the inclines, while shallower than what I often practice on, took their toll on my speed.

I did fall back on the first mile as the heavily student crowd passed me. I sort of found my place in mile 2, though I’d lose places on the uphill and regain them on the downs. Then on the 3’rd lap, I could tell that I was losing places; I was in the “just hold on” mode. Performance wise, this was comparable to 2 weeks ago, given that this course was more challenging. But I should have been faster than this, especially on loop 3, especially on such a good day to run.

I jogged about a 15 minute warm up and walked a mile cool down.

Now I have a Reagan t-shirt and a Reagan “age group” medal. The medal was funny, given that I just read an article about “bling”. No, 8:30 mpm running for a 5K doesn’t deserve an award but I didn’t give it back. 🙂

I suppose one’s attitude toward such trinkets really is more about one’s personality and what era one started running in; during my early days even finisher’s medals for marathons were uncommon. My trinkets are scattered all over the house in different places; I’d have to work to find them all. Many are with my stuffed frogs.

I suppose I feel this way: those whose opinions I value aren’t going to be impressed with “bling”; they will want to know how I performed. My best running/walking friends are those who will wince with “empathy pain” when they find out that I had a bad marathon (finished, but finished well short of my goals).

April 11, 2015 Posted by | running, social/political, time trial/ race | , , | 5 Comments

Japanese fighter pilots, Buffett’s mobile homes, desired failure and welfare steaks…

Workout notes
Weight in the morning: 185 (after breakfast).
Now I went to the Riverplex and ran to Wodruff (via the goose loop), 1 mile 7:51 (3:57 for 809, 3:54 for second 800), 3/4 mile walk, 9:22 mile in lane 2. (about a 9:14 mile), then 2.2 miles back for 7 miles total.
Very humbling; though the mile wasn’t all out, it was hard and I put forth quite a bit of effort.

Then to the weight room:
pull ups (5 sets of 10, rotator cuff)
military presses (10 x 85 standing, 8 x 85, 10 x 180 seated, machine).
incline presses: 2 x 135, 10 x 115 (different angle)

This was about 30 minutes worth.

That was humbling. Was it only 15 years ago that I ran a half marathon at 7:17 per mile? Now ONE sub 8 minute mile is difficult. I want to scream “what am I doing wrong?
The idea that I am merely slowing the rate of decline instead of improving is still tough to adjust to.


Well, Warren Buffett is one of those “favorite billionaires”. But he is still a billionaire and how does one become one? Of course, I don’t know how involved he is with the details of this operation and I don’t have a balanced view. And, well, no easy way to say it…I am not exactly a fan of those hurt by these policies. But people don’t deserve to be mistreated and cheated (even if legally cheated), even if I might not like them.

SNAP Yes, I approve of this program, knowing that here and there, a slacker might be taking advantage. So on this debate:

n 2013, Fox News proudly broadcast an interview with a young food stamp recipient who claimed to be using the government benefit to purchase lobster and sushi.

“This is the way I want to live and I don’t really see anything changing,” Jason Greenslate explained to Fox. “It’s free food; it’s awesome.”

That story fit a longtime conservative suspicion that poor people use food stamps to purchase luxury items. Now, a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri is pushing for legislation that would stop people like Greenslate and severely limit what food stamp recipients can buy. The bill being proposed would ban the purchase with food stamps of “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.”

“The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,” said Rick Brattin, the representative who is sponsoring the proposed legislation. […}

On one hand, yes, SNAP is to help people out with the basics and, no I don’t want to see it used for luxury items. But, on the other hand: how often does that happen? Do you see poor people buying caviar?
Seriously, saying “I was this a couple of times” doesn’t justify changing the law; I’d like to see some data as to how often it is abused prior to seeing the time and effort being put toward a change in the law.

More Republicans: evidently, some are actually upset that Ben Bernanke took steps to prevent a failure that they predicted:

Ah: I see that there was a Twitter exchange among Brad DeLong, James Pethokoukis, and others over why Republicans don’t acknowledge that Ben Bernanke helped the economy, and claim credit. Pethokoukis — who presumably gets to talk to quite a few Republicans from his perch at AEI — offers a fairly amazing explanation:

B/c many view BB as enabling Obama’s spending and artificially propping up debt-heavy economy in need of Mellon-esque liquidation

Yep: that dastardly Bernanke was preventing us from having a financial crisis, curse him.

Actually, there’s a lot of evidence that this was an important part of the story. As I pointed out a couple of months ago, Paul Ryan and John Taylor went all-out conspiracy theory on the Bernanke Fed, claiming that its efforts were not about trying to fulfill its mandate, but rather that

This looks an awful lot like an attempt to bail out fiscal policy, and such attempts call the Fed’s independence into question.

Basically, leading Republicans didn’t just expect a disaster, they wanted one — and they were furious at Bernanke for, as they saw it, heading off the crisis they hoped to see. It’s a pretty awesome position to take. But it makes a lot of sense when you consider where these people were coming from.

Krugman goes on to say that this doesn’t exactly instill confidence that the Republicans will do what is best for the country, with regards to the proposed Iran deal.

A former Japanese fighter pilot recalls the hell of war and explains why he never wants to see it again:

“Nothing is as terrifying as war,” he began, before spending the next 90 minutes recounting his role in battles, from Japan’s early triumph at Pearl Harbor to its disastrous reversals at Midway and Guadalcanal. “I want to tell you my experiences in war so that younger generations don’t have to go through the same horrors that I did.”


In an interview after his speech, Mr. Harada described himself as “the last Zero fighter,” or at least the last pilot still alive who flew during that aircraft’s glory days early in the war with the United States. He recounted how in dogfights, he flew close enough to his opponents to see the terror on their faces as he sent them crashing to their deaths.

“I fought the war from the cockpit of a Zero, and can still remember the faces of those I killed,” said Mr. Harada, who said he was able to meet and befriend some of his foes who survived the war. “They were fathers and sons, too. I didn’t hate them or even know them.”

“That is how war robs you of your humanity,” he added, “by putting you in a situation where you must either kill perfect strangers or be killed by them.”

This is a very powerful article about someone who has been there.

Science Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg lists his “best 13 science books” for the layperson; I have read one of these and much (most?) of two others.

April 4, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, running, social/political, time trial/ race, weight training | , , , , | Leave a comment

CIDA/CIAND 5K: relearning old lessons

Conditions: Not much wind, some sun, 26 F (-4 C). Brrr… I’d predict about a 2-3 percent slow down due to the cold as happened in the past.

I did this race last year when I was further along in training and it was 6 degrees F warmer. Like last year, I went with Tracy to the race.

Upshot: 25:50 for 5K; 15 out of 68 finishers (8:19), 4’th in the age group.

There weren’t many people here and Pat O’Bryan was a bit stiff in starting hence I went out ahead of her. I closed on some ladies and passed them on the way out; mostly I chased a younger, tall guy who was to finish 22 seconds ahead of me.

The lesson: though I was familiar with the course, I didn’t remember where the splits were. According to people with Garmins, the course was accurate enough, but the mileage markers were off (long) as explained by my splits: 8:30, 8:42 (17:12), 8:38 for 1.1.

When I saw the first mile (still chasing one of the two runners I would catch), I thought “I know it is cold and I am not used to it, but I thought that I was doing better than this!” So I attempted to put a bit more into it. I could see Terry and Jerry in the distance (they are very tall) and my distance to them didn’t seem unusual.

We circled and headed back; I was in the place I would finish in and could see the tall younger guy up ahead. Mile 2: 8:42????? That discouraged me; and I am not deep enough into the season to be confident as to what I can do. So I thought “ok, low 26 finish?) and started to let up. But I saw the tall guy and said to myself: “Race. Try to catch him; forget about your time.” So I tried and I did close the gap just a bit. But as we turned toward the start I could hear some quick footsteps; I could tell that was Pat breathing down my neck (not literally; I am about a foot taller than she is). I’ve raced her often enough to recognize her footsteps.

So I said: “pick it up; don’t let Pat catch you” and so I tried to push.

The end of the course is a “once around the parking lot loop (just over 400 meters)” and I saw Terry finishing in 23:28 and knew that I’d be done in about 2:30…time to pick it up as I had a shot of going under 26. So that, plus chasing the tall guy plus trying to stay ahead of Pat sped me up enough to get under 26 (25:50); Pat was 5 seconds behind me. Note: she beats me most of the time.

So, this was 41 seconds slower than last year but I was further along then and this was a tougher day to run.

Afterward, I went out to bring Tracy in and yelled for the other runners; Tracy (F 70-74) won her personal battle to break 40 (39:38) and to beat two women that she had been leap-frogging with.

After the food, conversation (hi JJW) and awards, I had a nice conversation with one of the directors of Building Steam. We talked about a few issues and now I am raring to go.

Another issue
I like this race (well organized, decent course, decent food afterward) but am concerned with its future; it used to have 5 times the current participation. But the small crowd lead to a curious statistical result:

1. Joe Hanks 50-54 19:56
2. Daniel Ball 55-59 19:58
3. Leo Vanvervlugt 60-64 20:08

These are wonderful performances for this age group. But this was NOT the Senior Olympics. This reminds me of this “Slowest Generation” article. Though the competitive young people (e. g. team members) train very, very hard and really get after it, the non-team members…not so much. Then again, who has time to be concerned with times when one is texting and taking selfies while they are running? 🙂

If you want some amusement, google “slowest generation” and read all of the butt-hurt.

March 28, 2015 Posted by | running, time trial/ race | , , | 7 Comments

Progress and regression

I decided at the last moment to do a least a race billed as a 5K.

Day: crisp (40’s, breezy, sunny), though I felt warm when I started my warm up.
Course: flat; some wind. But it was a bit short; the Garmins that I saw got 2.96 to 3.02 miles; I’ll go with 2.96 though I might believe 3 miles. Garmins tend to read short.

Splits: 7:38 (wind aided), 7:55 (realistic), 7:55 (realistic for 1 mile, NOT for 1.1). Total: 23:27 (chip), which grades to 24:41 for 5K. Pace: 7:56. How I knew that I was doing better: I actually had a small lead on Dianne who got me back at the very end and she is usually 24:xx for this distance (around 24:30) and I was drawing a bead on Jerry Kolb; I could close on neither. Still I finished 37 out of 257 overall, and 25 out of 104 men.

The course did feature several hairpin turns (I counted 4 total) that slowed you down a bit.

When we started off, I told myself to calm down and enjoy the light show (the sun was behind us and the feminine spandex just shimmered…:-) )

I was unprepared to see people on their way back so quickly, but you do arrive at the first hairpin turn fairly quickly (half mile/800 meters?). I was even more shocked to see people behind me.

As we passed mile one we came to an intersection and I could see runners off to the left. We were told to “go straight” and so we did; we followed the signs. It turns out that the group in front of us had gone the wrong way (no direction) and evidently they went in a loop(?)…full loop…opposite direction.


I was gaining on people who were fading and picked out Jerry and Dianne. I didn’t get them at mile 2 (15:33); the wind was now in our face. It wasn’t bad, but it was noticeable.

I finally moved on Dianne but she was to get me near the finish line. I was feeling “bad” but within reason; once again I didn’t attack the pain.

Afterward, I chatted, went to a path to walk a cool down, drove home, got a quick bite to eat and then hit the weight room.

There seems to be a rule when I lift after a 5K race: the better the race, the worse my lifting.

I did the following (more machines than normal)

pull ups: 5 sets of 10; first sets were weak; latter ones were better.
rotator cuff
rows: Lifefitness machine: 3 sets of 10 x 90
abs: 3 sets of 10 of twist, sit back, crunch
bench: 10 x 135, 9 x 160, 7 x 160
military: I couldn’t even swing the dumbbells into position, so I used the Hammer Machine: 3 sets of 10 x 140 (70 each arm)
curls: machine: 3 sets of 10 x 70
pull downs: Lifefitness machine, 3 sets of 10 x 150

I did NOT do upright rows (sore forearm/elbows)

This year’s 5K-ish distance results:

19 April: 23:27 2.96 (24:40 5K, or 23:45 3 mile)
5 April 22:31 (2.8 miles) 25:05 5K
29 March CIDA 25:09 5K
1 March: 27:27 for 3.25 miles: 26:10 5K.

April 19, 2014 Posted by | running, time trial/ race, weight training | | 4 Comments

CIDA 5K: chilly, overcast but fun…getting there

The facts: my 5K was 25:09; I beat that time 4 times in 2012 (out of 16 races) and once in 2013 (out of 16 races). This grades out to a 7:14 mile (my mile time trials have been 7:32, 7:23 and 7:17…these were solo trials though).

Weather: overcast, freezing (32 F, or 0 C) and breezy. No snow, no rain, no ice. Great footing. The course was out and back with an extra parking lot lap around the end to get the correct distance.

Splits: 7:46 (wind aided?) 8:06 (15:52), 8:23 (24:15) (paid for that first mile), 0:54. I was straining to stay ahead of Pat O’Bryan and to try to catch Jerry K. Place: 29 out of 86:

The splits would indicate that I went out too fast, BUT I actually moved up from mile 1 to the finish; no one passed me in the final 2 miles. So, it might be that we had the breeze at our back going out.

The death on the final mile: part of that was my going too hard during Thursday’s 10K training run.

Socially: I enjoyed it. I went to the race with Tracy; she finished in just over 39 minutes and won the women’s 65-69 division. Yes, I remember her being in the 28 minute race oh-so-long ago. It happens to all of us…eventually.

I also got to visit with Jennifer (Athena class winner), Pat, Terry , Crystal (Female 50-54 winner), Bill and Diane (Female 55-59 winner). It is kind of neat to keep up with each other’s ups and downs; people tend to know who is doing well at the moment and who is in a performance valley.

As far as my performance: definitely one of my better 5Ks but hopefully, this is a stepping stone on the way up and not the destination.

Afterward: weights (after dropping Tracy off):
I didn’t have much energy.
Pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (got better)
rotator cuff, hip hikes, Achilles, McKenzie (I spend a lot of time on PT stuff)
incline press: 10 x 135, 10 x 135, 9 x 135 (not easy)
military press (supported, seated): 2 sets of 12 x 50
military press (standing) 8 x 85
upright rows: 3 sets of 10 x 25 (dumbbells, each arm)
rows (Hammer): 3 sets of 10 x 210
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160

So it went ok; definitely not my worst. I felt dumb: I wore my leggings under my shorts (too lazy to change) and a pink sleeveless (Komen race). But it was about getting it done.

Data and records

Last two years 5K runs. My first one of 2014 (equivalent to 26:10).

Who is on my radar: For now, Jerry to Diane. Crystal is a pipe-dream for now. 🙂 And I am well aware of Pat…at least when I am running well AND the distance is short. When I am not, she is too far ahead. And I am no match for her in the 10K and up.

Screen shot 2014-03-29 at 3.02.42 PM

March 29, 2014 Posted by | running, time trial/ race, weight training | , | 9 Comments

Mile “time trial” (sort of)

Well, I decided to see how fast I could run a mile….sort of.

I warmed up with 2 treadmill miles (first .25 miles at 5.3 mph and increased by .1 every .25)

Track (mostly empty): 1:58, 1:53, 1:49, 1:50 (3:52, 3:40) for 7:32. It was enough to hurt, but it wasn’t quite “mile pain”. After all, my start was too slow.

This is about a 6:59 1500 meters (“ran” a 7:08 back in June, 2012). I ran the main street mile (100 foot drop) in 7:18 (2012) and this was probably a better performance as it was on a flat surface and solo.

This grades to about a 6:27 “young person’s mile” which isn’t so hot.

Then I walked .5 miles, got on the treadmill and ran 3 more in 31:40, walked 2.3 more and then walked for 1.2 (hills) on another treadmill to finish the 10.


Oh well…not great but my fastest mile in close to 2 years. I can say that I felt it in the lungs and my legs started to get heavy. But my first lap was by far the slowest.

I should probably do this once a week.

March 8, 2014 Posted by | running, time trial/ race, walking | | 1 Comment

Drumstick 3 mile (4.8 km) run, and a curious age related statistical result.

Screen shot 2013-11-28 at 9.42.00 AM

Splits: 8:19, 8:18, 8:23 = 24:56. This grades to about a 25:53 5K.

My race: I jogged the 2.2 miles from my house to the racecourse, (got there with 10 minutes to the start of the race), ran the race (if you call 8:19 mpm running) and then power-walked a cool-down home (another 2 miles, this time uphill). I had overdressed slightly and so was a bit too sweaty.

There were 187 people who showed up on a 22 F (-6 C), 10 mph (16 km/hr) wind and sunny day. Hopefully, this race will grow as it was a well managed event.

My race: well, I knew that I hadn’t done many “faster” workouts over the past month aside from a quicker treadmill mile here and there; my last hard run was a 33:07 4 miler back on November 3, and that was done if 40 F conditions. It was almost 20 F colder today, and that does slow me down just a little (nothing like the heat does though).

slow down with cold

I lined up midpack and went out; this course starts with a mild upgrade for the first mile (8:19); I was trying to keep the effort under control and started to pass people 6-7 minutes into it.

I saw Lupe pass me (he starts slow and usually runs 7:4x-7:5x) and it was useless to try to stay with him.

But I told myself “stay steady” and more or less held position; it was just a tiny bit harder than “tempo effort”. The side turn put us with a cross wind and took us to the River bike path. That mile took 8:12 and I had delusions of picking it up some more.

BUT: we faced a stiff headwind at that point (which explains why the upgrade didn’t hurt as much as expected) and I noticed a guy up ahead of me; he is a couple of years older than I am and whipped me soundly at this spring’s marathon. He was wearing a bright orange shirt so I made it my goal to “get him”.

And eventually, with about 1200 meters to go, I did. Then I made it my goal to hold him off; I KNEW that he would fight me to the end. And he did. 🙂

As we got to the straight away I kept hearing footsteps; it was his…and those of a young, short woman coming up behind me. I told myself: “COME ON YOU WORTHLESS %$$##@!!!!!! GET GOING!!!!!! ARE YOU SAVING YOURSELF FOR MARRIAGE???”. So I tried to go as hard as I could without coming up empty short of the finish line.

My last mile was 8:23 so I did slow a bit (wind?) but I kept my place and that was the goal.

I congratulated my opponent and went back on the course to cheer for Debbie, Jennifer and Herb; I was slightly bummed that Jen had wrapped her jacket around her waist…. 😉

Then I walked the 2 miles home, going past the Medical school and up the hill; it was a good cool down.


I noticed something curious. There were 84 males who finished the race; 9 of those 50 years old and up finished in the top half (42); 10 of the 50 and up crowd finished in the second half. The top places were 8, 10, 24, 33, 34, 36, 39, 40, 41. So being over 50 diminished one’s chances of being first, it didn’t really diminish one’s chances of being in the upper half of the males. (9 in the first half of all males, 10 in the second half).

Now looking at the 103 females who finish: only 3 women 50 and up finished in the top 52; 9 finished in the second half of the women. The top places: 15, 40, 50, 53.

I don’t know exactly what this means, but the conclusion (based on this one small race) is that being older hurts women more than it hurts men. BUT it could be that more men of my generation started earlier (races in the early 1980’s used to me mostly men; my first marathon (December 1980) saw 2000 male finishers and just over 200 women finishers!) so it could be that today’s 50 year old (and older) woman started sports later in life than the typical 50 year old man.

I don’t know; it is interesting to think about.

5K (or close)

2012 2013
Drumstick 3 mile 24:56 (25:53 eq) Nov. 28
Homecomeing 5K 25:45 (3.16?) Homecoming 5K 25:31 (3.16?)
Stride to Unite 5K (3.2) 25:53 22 Sep. 27:34 Hilltop 5K (72, 91 percent humidity)
25:12 Hanna City Hustle 25:22 Hanna City Hustle (AG)
25:47 Yates City. 26:05 Yates City
25:42 Brimfield: 7:56, 8:10, 8:44, 0:51
27:59 Aug. 5: Math Fest 5K 26:56 Rocket Run July 20: 8:27, 8:42, 9:46
26:07 Run for the Health of it July 14 8:28 8:49, 8:49 (AG) 26:32 5K run for the health of it July 13 (AG) 8:03, 8:02, 10:26
27:46 July 4 Firecracker 8:09 8:43 10:53 27:40 July 4 Firecracker
25:03 May 26 River Run 8:08, 8:07, 8:47 24:56 May 25 River Run
25:13 Race for the Cure May 12 (8:25, 7:34, 9:12) (AG) 25:48 Race for the Cure May 11
24:34 May 5 Run to Remember (7:54, 7:45, 8:54) 26:12 (3.18?) May 4: Sam Fan 5K
25:41 Bradley U. April 28 25:29 (hilly) 20 April: BU women soccer 5K
25:14 CIDA March 31 (8:27, 8:17, 8:29) (AG) 25:14 March 23: New Interplanetary 5K
25:08 Interplanatary March 24 (8:14, 8:19, 8:34) (AG) 27:04 (3.25?) 2 March: 5K Jack Kenney (AG)

November 28, 2013 Posted by | running, time trial/ race | , , , | 4 Comments

Still relearning old lessons, Goodwill’s Forward March, McNaughton Park, etc.

Today’s workout.

Thoughts on Trail races and Farmdale.

Goodwill’s Forward March remarks.

Today’s workout McNaughton Park walk/jog in 2:57. (To see most of the course, go here)

I was a bit sore from yesterday’s hard 8 mile road race but decided to do a few more McNaughton miles. I made a mistake: I ate leftover pancakes a couple of hours prior to getting to the course; hence my body was still digesting food when I started.

So, I found jogging difficult and had a hard time keeping moving. I was already a couple of minutes off my usual pace at Tanner’s pass and then was at 43 minutes at Totem Pole. Not good; the next stretch (through Bluebird prairie) didn’t feel good at all; I was walking at a 3:30 loop pace (if that fast).

So I called my wife and told her that I’d be late (anticipating a 3:30 loop). I was over 1 hour at the stream crossing and 1:18 at the foot of golf hill; 1:34 at the “half way” bridge.

But I noticed that my next uphill went easier and the Heaven’s gate section started to feel good. I was 2:08 exiting Heaven’s gate.

Evidently, my body was done with digesting; I was at 2:28 at the 8 mile plus bridge and 2:34 at the creek and 2:50 upon exiting the woods. So, it was 1:23 for the second half; I am usually slower on the second half of the course.

This wasn’t a great loop, but I was relieved that I am not in as poor of shape as I thought.

The day was lovely and the trail was in pristine condition.

Trail Races and Farmdale

Yesterday was the Farmdale Trail runs, which was moved to Jubilee State Park due to the government shutdown (Farmdale is an Army Corps of Engineers property). I’ve done the Farmdale series a few times (33 miler once; 8 miles and the 10 miles a couple of times)

I am glad that I didn’t try that race. Here is why:

1. It rained and slick mud really makes my knee ache.

2. My slowness: though I was never a good runner, I have slowed down even more. Farmdale usually has several events starting at different times: 50 miles at 5 am, 30 mile (50K) at 7 and 10K/half marathon at 8. So, unless I started with the 50 milers, i would be guaranteed to spend much of the time getting out of the way of faster runners who are lapping me.

So, you see, my issues are with my OWN body in my current condition. Were I faster and if my knee were better equipped to handle slick mud, I’d probably be still interested in the event. The event itself is well run; trails are marked well; there is lots of aid and friendly people helping out.

More Remarks on Goodwill’s Forward March event

I like the road event that I ended up doing. I had time to think about it some more and here is what I liked best: the 8 mile course was interesting, both athletically and mentally.

You start near a ball field and run through downtown. Then you run through an old neighborhood, then do a small (.6 mile) stretch through a shaded bike path, and then do a very hilly 5K loop through a cemetery which features two very tough hills. Then you leave the cemetery, reverse your path except that you enter the stadium and finish along the warning track of the baseball field.

In difficulty: it is 1.3 miles shorter than the Steamboat 15K but in a way, it is tougher. The Steamboat 15K has you going up a huge hill twice, but each time, after the uphill, you have about a mile (maybe more) of flat prior to going downhill then back uphill…then a flat then downhill.

The Forward march gives you no “flat” between the tough hills; that is where the distance comes from.

You THINK that you can use the remaining 2 miles of flat to stretch it out a bit, but by then your legs are rocks; it is challenge enough to keep moving.

October 13, 2013 Posted by | hiking, running, time trial/ race, training | , , | 1 Comment

Goodwill “Forward March” is great race though I absolutely suck!

On a whim I decided last night to run an 8 mile race that I hadn’t heard about: it was the Goodwill “Forward March” which was a benefit for Goodwill and a benefit for local veteran’s organizations.

As a race it had everything I would want: great traffic control, an interesting (and challenging) course, and a nice meal afterward (chili, bananas, bagels, sandwich wraps, various types of crackers) and, for a change, the goodie bag was interesting. It included a hat, shirt, and journal (to write in).

Unfortunately, the racing calendar around here is saturated; even today the Farmdale Trail Run took away much of the local running talent. (run in Jubilee State park due to the government shutdown). Farmdale isn’t my favorite race for reasons I’ll get into later (these reasons are due to my current physical limitations; the race itself is well organized).

So, the race field was small (the thunderstorms early in the morning didn’t help either). I don’t know how many did the “1 mile march” but there were 69 finishers for the 4 mile (the winning male ran in the 25:xx, female 33:xx) and 59 finishers for the 8 mile (first male 47:39, second male 55:38, first female 1:05:06 (8:09 mpm), second was 1:08:29). The slow times were in part due to the small field, the diluted talent and the tough course.

Veterans were honored and we got to wear a special bib.


My race: interestingly enough, my (slow, net uphill) 4 mile split would have placed me 20’th out of 69 though I finished 36 out of 59 in my race, 22 of 26 among the men (almost last) and 2/2 of the 51-55 age males.

Time: 1:17:58 (9:45 mpm average). Splits:

8:56, 9:01, 9:41, (27:45), 10:09 (37:54), 9:15 (47:10), (?), 1:07:56 (7), 10:01 (1:17:58)

My race:

It was cool (low 60’s) but humid (87 percent!); the pavement was wet from a recent thunderstorm.


I got in a mile warm up and felt ok. At the start I made sure I stayed behind a local woman who I figured would beat me by 3-4 minutes (it turned out to be 5:30 today). Here is the course with elevation profile:


So heading out, I held back (though I was probably going a bit too hard for my conditioning at this time). The 8:56 first mile saw me hold more or less the place I would hold the whole way; I may have lost 3 places and gained 1 over the last 7 miles.

As we got closer to mile 2 I saw the leaders on their way back on the 4 mile. We gained a slight bit of elevation as we ran on the “back portion” of the Steamboat 4 mile course. Then the elevation gain became more pronounced as we entered lower Glenn Oak park and went through the small bike path.

Then came Springdale:


The uphill was wearing on my legs and maintaining sub 9 minute miles was out of the question. But today, I accepted it. I just did my best to conserve, maintain and not die.

Then came Soldier Hill in Springdale; this is a gut wrenching climb. I just told myself to relax; two young women got me here. One told the other “here is where we can pass people”. The more experienced one did and opened distance on me; I never saw her again. The less experienced one was to race me throughout the Cemetery. I’d pass and she’d strain to get ahead of me..for the next two miles. It helped.

We finally went down hill and I FiNALLY saw mile 4. I noticed: no runners on their way back so this meant: another hill. Millet hill isn’t as steep but it is still tough and features some gravel. I finally saw mile 5 on a downhill (a bit short 9:15 and I knew that I was slower than that). But it meant that I could pick it up a bit (so I thought) and I lost my companion, only to pick up another old guy.

The old guy and I worked together going out of the cemetery and I hoped I could use this level/gentle downgrade to pick it up some, but my legs were toast.

At around mile 6.5 the guy said that he was going to back off; I didn’t believe him. He got a bit behind me only to, you guessed it, blow past me at 7.2 or so. I just wanted to maintain.

That looked like a long way to the ball field:


As we turned into the field they had a chip reader read your bib chip and the announcer read your name…and he called me a “race walker”. Yeah, my “run” is really a bent knee walk. As you entered the stadium they had people handing little US flags but I didn’t take one; I am just too clumsy at the end of the race; I would have probably dropped it.

Wrap up
My performance was poor. But the effort was steady from start to finish so I feel good about how paced myself and my effort; I never quit.

Note: noticed that two runners who did the September Bridge to Bridge 4 mile race ran about 2.17 times slower on this course (for 8 miles). My slow down was 2.32. Part of that is that I have poor endurance and a large body. But part, I think, was that I tried to add mileage and right now I am in the “fatigued most of the time” stage.

October 12, 2013 Posted by | running, time trial/ race | | 8 Comments

Bridge to Bridge 2013 version

Last year’s version.

The course (this year, we didn’t do the little rectangle at the start)

Last year: it was held on September 30. This year: Labor Day. But the start was at 7 am, so I could finish the race prior to my 9 am class.

And yes, I did that. I parked a 3-4 minute walk away from the baseball stadium that marked the finish of the race. So: the race started at 7:02, I was back at my car at 7:40 and back home at 7:52.


The course featured starting downtown, crossing the Bob Michael Bridge


running on a bike path plus some road, crossing the Cedar Street bridge (80 foot climb)


then back through the warehouse district and finishing in the Chief’s baseball stadium (A minor league team).

In all honesty, I ran “hard” but I didn’t kill myself; I was thinking of making it to class during the last mile.

The day was unusually cool: 64 F with 81 percent humidity. I warmed up about 2 miles and felt ok, but a wee bit sluggish.

Splits: 7:58 (some downhill), 8:18 (flat), 8:58 (up the Cedar Street bridge), 8:22 (mostly flat; one upgrade and a downgrade to the baseball field).
Time: 33:38. Note: when you account for last year being 4.2 miles (35:29 for me), I was about 4 seconds faster this year. 🙂

I was a bit taken aback by the first mile split. I was tracking Bill but knew that he had raced hard Saturday so I thought that he might fall back a bit. I basically held position from mile 2 onward until the final sprint where I lost some. I was tracking a bespandexed GILF and Cheryl and actually caught Cheryl at mile 3; she got me back with 400 meters to go; I also got nailed by 3-4 other runners.

I was surprised at how quickly miles 2 and 3 came; though I was working hard in the last mile, I have to admit that I had a “don’t get sick” mentality too. Realistically that may have cost me 10-15 seconds and 3-4 places (out of 800 plus).

Then I went home and made my 9 am differential equations class. 🙂

Note: during the race one runner passed me and told me that I was doing better than “I normally did”; one of the faster runners was doing the race “with the crowd”, taking photos, etc. He joked “it is 4 miles this year”; the reason is that I had publicly asked “I wonder what the distance is this time”.

Also, last year, the local newspaper reported this:

Guillermo Rolon was the first to finish the inaugural Bridge to Bridge Run on Sunday, but he wasn’t the first to cross the finish line.
“When I got to the gate (at Peoria Chiefs Stadium), it was closed,” said Rolon. “So I made one more lap (of the ballpark).”
That may have been the only glitch on an otherwise perfect day for a road race.
Nearly 800 people signed up for the event, which started across from the Peoria Civic Center, crossed the Bob Michel Bridge, traversed downtown East Peoria to the Cedar Street Bridge before finishing near home plate inside the stadium.

So I had joked: “I hope that they have the gate open this time”. However, the race director e-mailed me and told me that the runner had mistakenly followed the police car and ignored the directions of the volunteers who told him to turn into the park. That makes sense; after all, they gate would have to have been open to set up the finish line equipment.

I should have checked before saying something on the internet!

Moral: be careful what you say on the internet.

Upshot: I can recommend this race without reservation and I HOPE that they keep the 7 am start time. 🙂

Trivia: the weekend prior to Labor day in 1983, I did a race in Springfield, Massachusetts. That one took me 33:2x. So you might say that I was consistent, but the Springfield race was a 5 miler. So I lost 1 mile over the past 30 years, or an average of 53 meters per year.


This is Cheryl; I was just behind her when this was taken.


I can’t seem to ever get off of the ground. True, this is me at the top of the hill but still…the difference between my walk and my run is the straightness of my knee.


There was spandex to chase. But note: these runners finished behind me and yet…still look better than I do. $#@!!!


Cheryl at the finish. I am still on the course; my head is obscured by the lower right corner of the clock. Almost everyone in front of me here got me in the last 400 meters or so.


I am in the background toward the bottom of the hill. These runners are only 10-15 seconds ahead of me near the 3 mile/5K mark, and look at how much better they look than I do. I don’t understand why I ALWAYS look so horrible, even compared to those who run a comparable pace.

September 2, 2013 Posted by | Peoria/local, running, time trial/ race | , | 5 Comments