Finishing it up…

Today’s walk: 12.5 mile walk:

I’ve had trouble with having to make bathroom stops (too much coffee prior to walking?) so initially I cut my West Peoria course to take in the track; it turns out that there is no porta-potty there (there used to be one) so I cut through the track, back through the neighborhood to Waverly then to Heading and then to Bradley Park. There I did three 1.4 mile loops (Cornstalk) then back to do the usual 4 mile return leg starting on Heading. Things had warmed up again.

Last leg: 59:39 or 3:07:02 for the 12.48 miles (just a hair under 15 minutes per mile).

Now the taper begins. I haven’t a clue as to how FANS will go; my goal will be to maintain the same pace I did last year, but this time: no break from walking. I’ll have to take my ego completely out of it and forget about my past results, good and bad, while remembering what worked and what didn’t work in terms of food, water, effort, etc.

Training: much more this time.

19 weeks worth, starting with January 16 (weekends listed): 13-8, 11-12, 14-13, 15-13, 14-13, 15-4 (sick), 4-10, 15-11, 15 (travel; Tuesday), 6 (5K)-15, 6 (5K)- 10, 18-13,18-14, 18-15, 20-16, 6(5K)-15, 20(5K)-15, 20-15, 20-12.
In between I had mostly 6-8 mile runs and some walking, and of course, lifting and swimming (until I heard a shoulder “pop”).

Last night: I took in a game between the Peoria Chiefs and the Beloit Snappers.


This was my 4’th Chiefs game of the year (I made 6 Bradley games) and yes, it was yet another loss: 10-1. The Chiefs lead 1-0 after 1 and it was competitive going into the 8’th inning. Then came 3 runs for the Snappers in the 8’th and 4 more in the 9’th; a “doable” 3-1 deficit became 10-1. So the Chiefs wasted 8 hits and gave up 15 hits, and made 2 errors as well. It was a good night to watch baseball though, and they had a large crowd.

May 22, 2016 Posted by | baseball, training, walking | | Leave a comment

I think that the training is working but…

Well, today my legs were sore so I jogged an easy 5 miles (hilly), walked 1 and then lifted. I did not have the clock running and I really did NOT want to know how slowly I was moving. The course: 5.1 plus 1.24 loop.

But I was fresh when got to the weight room and it showed.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (rotator cuff); reasonably strong.
incline bench (super set with Hammer rows): 3 sets of 10 x 135, rows: 10 x 200 (3 sets)
military: 1 set of 10 x 40 standing after:
2 sets of 10 x 100 (machine, each arm), 3 sets of pull downs (10 x 130)

As far as the “training is starting to work” last Sunday’s “sort of long” walk (14 miles) WAS easier than last time even though the pace was the slightly faster and I was on a harder course. That IS a good sign. But my short runs are suffering a bit.

That, I suppose, comes with the territory. I can train for short running or long walking but NOT both at the same time. If others my age can, I salute them. But I can’t.

Steamboat 15K
One of my female Facebook friends signed up for the 15K for the first time. My advice to her: “wear the tightest, most transparent spandex you’ve got”. 🙂

Ok, I didn’t say that. But I should have. 🙂

April 29, 2015 Posted by | running, training, walking | | Leave a comment

Why I don’t like to give advice to new runners, walkers, etc.

Today’s workout was nothing special (4 mile run, 10 K indoor bike, 1.25 mile swim (2200 yards)).

On the swim portion, I didn’t feel good after the first 100 yards; I just felt listless, lifeless, and I had an urge just to quit right there.

BUT, I knew from experience that sometimes one can work through those “rough patches” so I just did a mix of strokes (side, back, a few 100 IM reps) until I felt better; then I closed with an acceptable 10 x 100 free on the 2:05 set (more rest than usual). My best 100’s were the last 4.

However, you constantly hear about the warnings of “if you feel bad, stop”. So, I’d never tell a beginner to push through a “I should stop” patch.

But I do this all the time, and I did this during every single marathon/ultramarathon. Even during my best ones, I pushed myself to keep going when my body asked for me to stop.

August 1, 2014 Posted by | marathons, running, swimming, training, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Why I walk, run, swim and lift….

Workout notes: Lovely spring day so I went out for a 7 mile hike in the afternoon. I left the Peoria Heights Tower Park, hiked to the Forrest Park Nature Center: spur, outer loop, back on the spur and back. The time was 2:04 (from the Heights Tower); 8:20/23:51/1:01:46 (missed a turn)/22:55 (not bad for me) 7:35 for 2:04:30.

It was in the high 70’s; very pleasant.

Today’s race: not what I wanted but ok. A friend took this photo:


YES, I AM TRYING TO RUN. 🙂 For those who don’t know: my time for the 5K was 25:27, but the last 1.1 miles was sort of ugly; I went too fast for the hilly first 2 miles.

But on Facebook, a Facebook friend asked:

I have to ask, and although I only know you through FB and your blog, I respect your opinions and observations on many things but why do you kill yourself running? It seems more harm than good comes from that “sport”.

No, the person asking the question isn’t exactly…uh…athletic; I have doubts about him being able to climb the steps that I do in my office building.

But scientists have asked the question: “why do some exercise and others don’t?”

There is some research that suggests that both seeking to exercise and avoiding it might be genetic! Some appear to be genetically programed to enjoy exercise. Yes, exercise can be healthy but too much (intensity or volume) can have bad effects.

So what do I do on a regular basis?

Lifting: 3 times a week (typically 40 minutes to 1 hour; on rare occasion, I test my limits)

swimming: 3 times a week, typically 2200 yards (2000 meters); mostly crawl but also drills and some other strokes.

run/walking: 3 times a week: my running portion is typically 5-8 miles; sometimes includes a faster segment (1-3 miles) followed by 1-4 miles of walking at a relaxed pace.

walking: steady 10-15 mile walk on Sundays or maybe a half marathon walk (2:25-2:40) or a hike (7-10 miles on trails)

Why I do it?
My guesses:

1. I am genetically programed to enjoy it.

2. I get to pretend to be an athlete; I always wanted to be one (it is my Walter Mitty Time). My wife even called me a “pretend athlete” (in a moment of anger, but she was right)

3. I’ve always enjoyed “seeing if I could accomplish a task”. In math, I work on problems just to see if I can solve them. I do the same with computer coding, or with, say, the Daily Jumble. So when it comes to these sports:

“how fast can I swim 1000 yards? 5500 yards?”

“how fast can I walk a half marathon/marathon?” Years ago, it was even “how many miles can I walk in a 24 hour period?”

“how fast can I run 1 mile? 5K? 10K? The Steamboat course?”

“how much can I bench press?” “how many pull ups can I do?” (**)

I don’t know if other animals test themselves in a sporting manner (sans human intervention) but I do know that chimps will work to solve a puzzle just for the fun of it.

4. Yes, I like it that my body looks better with training. No, I do NOT look like an athlete. But I do look better than this.

Side note: when I was at my fattest…I STILL attempted to work out. I regularly went out for walks (sometimes enduring cat-calls about my obesity)..and yes, these were rather slow walks (say 2 miles in 38-40 minutes). In fact, I sometimes went hiking, though an 8 mile trail loop took me roughly 3-3:15 to do. (about 1 hour slower than now).

Yes, I timed myself even then. I still lifted weights too; even while obese I could still bench press 300 pounds (though I got too fat to do even one proper pull up).

There are other good side benefits (community, social, women in spandex) but I’d continue to exercise even if I had to do so all by myself…even if my “races” were just me, my watch, and a track or a measured pool. That is just how I am.

And NO, I do NOT work out for weight control. My current volume doesn’t really burn that many calories; I control my weight by controlling my eating. Working out to be able to eat more is a death trap for me; I won’t even go there. It might well work for others.

(**) to those who want to know what I can do: my 5K runs have varied from 24:17 to 25:27 this year. My half marathon walk was 2:25; my 1000 yard swim is in the high 17:xx range, and my best bench press for 2014 is: 5 reps with 180, though right now I can only get 2 reps. Body weight: right now, 180 but last year, it was closer to 190 and my best single rep bench was 205.

pull ups: once in a while I can do 15 proper pull ups; a typical workout typically includes 5 sets of 10.

It is what you’d expect from a dedicated but athletically untalented 54 year old “workout bro”.

Yes, I was stronger and faster 5-10-15 years ago, but hey, that’s life.

May 10, 2014 Posted by | hiking, running, swimming, training, walking | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pull ups, Republicans, Catholic Bishops, economic metaphors and access …..

Handicap access: not so good in China. Note: there is a different aspect to the body and the handicapped in China:

The continuing popular horror of disability today points to the strong grip of Chinese traditions that conflate biology and morality. One of the most powerful of these is the patriarchal Confucian notion of the importance of lineage. Confucianism sees the body, especially if male, as part of a chain of continuity stretching back to an individual’s ancestors and forward to his descendants. In this vision, a crippled or deformed body is a perversion – one often attributed to the moral or spiritual flaws of parents, especially mothers, who are blamed for their failure to follow medical superstitions, such as post-natal confinement or the avoidance of certain foods during pregnancy.

As a result, birth defects occasion far more fear and disgust in China than disability caused by accidents. ‘Sometimes people outside the city think I was born like this,’ commented one travelling businessman, showing me the prosthesis he’s worn since he lost a leg in the Tangshan quake in 1976. ‘And I tell them quickly, “no, no, it was the quake.”’

Hence, less empathy.

Speaking of bodies: The Marines will require that women be able to do pull ups. One (female) Major thinks that is a great thing:

First, to female Marines: You must understand that pullups will become the single standard measure of physical fitness (Marine administrative message 035/14). The flexed-arm hang is an antiquated test that is no longer applicable. Get it out of your head that it is an acceptable measure of fitness.

United States Marines, of any MOS or gender, should be required — and able — to pull their body weight up and into a window, over a wall or into a helicopter.

If you have not reached a minimum of three pullups by June 2014, you must fall into one of two categories: broke or lazy. Those of you who are broken: get healthy. Those of you who are lazy: get up and get training.

Remember: she is addressing young, healthy people (she is 37, but 17 years my junior).

Gosh, I miss attitudes such as this one. 🙂

Paul Krugman thinks that “simple thought experiments” are extremely useful in economics; this 1997 article is amusing:

One of the points of this column is to illustrate a paradox: You can’t do serious economics unless you are willing to be playful. Economic theory is not a collection of dictums laid down by pompous authority figures. Mainly, it is a menagerie of thought experiments–parables, if you like–that are intended to capture the logic of economic processes in a simplified way. In the end, of course, ideas must be tested against the facts. But even to know what facts are relevant, you must play with those ideas in hypothetical settings. And I use the word “play” advisedly: Innovative thinkers, in economics and other disciplines, often have a pronounced whimsical streak.

It so happens that I am about to use my hot-dog-and-bun example to talk about technology, jobs, and the future of capitalism. Readers who feel that big subjects can only be properly addressed in big books–which present big ideas, using big words–will find my intellectual style offensive. Such people imagine that when they write or quote such books, they are being profound. But more often than not, they’re being profoundly foolish. And the best way to avoid such foolishness is to play around with a thought experiment or two.

Go ahead and read the article; it discusses what happens when productivity goes up in a particular sector of the economy.

Catholic Bishops
The Bishop in question was with the Peoria diocese (is no longer), and yeah, he is right wing:

The 4,500-square-foot home sits on 8.2 wooded acres in the hills of Hunterdon County. With five bedrooms, three full bathrooms, a three-car garage and a big outdoor pool, it’s valued at nearly $800,000, records show.

But it’s not quite roomy enough for Newark Archbishop John J. Myers.

Myers, who has used the Franklin Township house as a weekend residence since the archdiocese purchased it in 2002, is building a three-story, 3,000-square-foot addition in anticipation of his retirement in two years, The Star-Ledger found. He will then move in full-time, a spokesman for the archbishop said.

The new wing, now just a wood frame, will include an indoor exercise pool, a hot tub, three fireplaces, a library and an elevator, among other amenities, according to blueprints and permits filed with the Franklin Township building department.

The price tag, the records show, will be a minimum of a half million dollars, a figure that does not include architectural costs, furnishings and landscaping.

Construction is progressing as Myers asks the 1.3 million Roman Catholics of the archdiocese to open their wallets for the “archbishop’s annual appeal,” a fundraising effort that supports an array of initiatives, including religious education, the training of future priests and feeding the poor.[…]

Very Republican, indeed. 🙂

But not all Republican districts are wealthy:

But according to a TIME analysis of county-by-county food-stamp-enrollment data compiled by the nonprofit Feeding America, it appears that House Republicans represent more districts with high levels of participation in the program than House Democrats. Of the 350 congressional districts in which TIME was able to estimate the percentage of people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), 76 had levels of 20% or higher. Of those, 43 are held by Republicans while 33 are controlled by Democrats.[…]

One caveat: Democrats may well represent more people on SNAP as Democratic districts have more people, on the average, than Republican ones. Part of that is gerrymandering, but much of it stems from the fact that Democrats tend to live in more densely populated urban areas.

February 20, 2014 Posted by | economics, economy, politics, politics/social, religion, republicans, republicans politics, training | , , | Leave a comment

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

Crossfit: Meh.


Hmmm, my workout is your warm up? Uh; my 100 mile (walk) PR is 23:41; so you warm up for almost 24 hours? 🙂
Ok, that was a race. But I’ve had workouts (albeit low intensity ones) that have lasted 12 hours. Typically, my workouts last 50-90 minutes (running) or 75-90 minutes (weight training). Warm up, eh?

Seriously, I was looking at stuff on the internet (and will look up warm weather marathon tips) and stumbled across some “Cross Fit Sucks” stuff. Of interest is the comments; it includes a comment from a self-described “current NFL player”.

I’ve talked about this 5 years ago.

I suppose that one point is that those who are really good at a sport might not be fit overall:

The enemies in the eyes of the CrossFit crowd are “Stairmaster chumps” (who log long, drowsy hours on the machines but huff and puff on actual stairs) and myopic “specialists” — athletes or exercisers who neglect versatility in order to refine one or two skills. The CrossFitters’ critique has chastened at least one specialist. An essay by a triathlete named Tom Demerly titled “How Fit Are We?” appeared on a biking blog, conceding that if triathletes “found ourselves in a jam that required overall physical fitness to survive, we’d probably be in trouble.” Further admitting that he could barely do a single pull-up, Demerly went on to praise the fitness of a CrossFit type he had met named Joe Sparks, who “gave a demonstration using a 50-pound kettlebell making it look like he was maneuvering a tennis ball.”

I find it hard to believe that a triathlete (one who does full ironmans anyway) would have trouble with pull ups; on swimming alone I can do 6-8 of them and that number shoots up immediately when I start weight training: (currently I can do 15 “decent but not perfect pull ups”; I don’t “kip” but the lower body isn’t totally motionless. )

But the ultimate point is this: Cross fit, bicycling, swimming, lifting, of whatever is a recreational activity for us (even if it is health enhancing). Do what you enjoy. If you like Cross Fit and can afford it, then do it. If you don’t: don’t. 🙂

I know three people who currently (or recently have done) cross fit, and it is probably not a coincidence that all three have finished multiple 100 mile races; one has won a couple of them and one has finished a 150 and a 200 mile footrace. So I wonder if Cross Fit appeals to those who push the extremes.

I doubt that it is for me; personally I am motivated by numbers (e. g. the bench press going up, the 5K time going down…ok, not going up by as much each year 🙂 ), and part of sports training is adapting to the motion, and from what I understand about Cross Fit, it changes things up to inhibit adaptation.

May 15, 2013 Posted by | training | , , | 1 Comment

No, I am not like this….


I suppose that I am neither a jogger or a runner; when I stand at a stoplight, I am usually grateful to have the guilt free rest. 🙂


Not me. After a tough workout my feelings are usually:

1. Good lord I am tired.
2. Thank (deity of choice) that THAT is finally over with!
3. I made it!
4. Will this ever get any easier?
5. Why do I keep doing this to myself?
6. Dang, why aren’t I faster/stronger/better by now?
7. Thank goodness I have X (weeks or month) prior to my upcoming marathon/ultra/whatever…I’ll need that time!


Just being honest….

January 24, 2013 Posted by | running, training, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

My Rough Work Commute

People sometimes ask “how do you get the time to train?”

There are two big reasons:

1. My commute to work is all of 300 METERS (under 0.2 of a mile!) on foot! It is literally 7 minutes from out of the door of my house to in the door of my office.
2. I live 400 meters away from a park that has suitable roads for running and about 400 meters way from the university gym. So there is little time spent “getting to the workout place”.

Those are huge factors.

My commute
From my porch, I walk to the road (see the stop sign)

Here is the view of the house from the street I turn on: (the second brick house)

Dead Ahead: the door (looks small; outlined in silver) is where I enter the office building. I do have to climb 4 flights of stairs (to that “castle top” section on the left).


By the way, this saves me a bundle on fuel costs too (for the car).

December 13, 2012 Posted by | Peoria, Peoria/local, Personal Issues, training, workouts | | Leave a comment

19 October: election stuff and something depressing.

Workout notes Rest day, but I did doubles over the past couple of days.

This makes me a bit ill; evidently the journal referees and editors didn’t do their jobs here.

We really don’t need this!

Romnesia: forgetting what you promised other people:

Yes, Obama is gaining in the swing states; little. Yes, a recent Gallup poll (national) looked good for Romney, but almost ALL of his margin came from the south. Here is’s look at the current state of the race.

Depending on what you look at, President O remains a 60-70 percent favorite but think about it: a decent NBA player will shoot 70 percent (or so) from the free throw line. So the chances of President Obama winning are roughly the same of a NBA player making a free throw. It is far from certain, but you’d rather be in Obama’s position than in Romney’s.

I heard some campaign metrics; our side is up (from where it was in 2008) in many metrics such as early voting.

October 19, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, mathematics, Mitt Romney, training | Leave a comment