My 2017 in review

This is my 2017 in review. I did this for 2015 and again in 2016.

Of note: my daughter graduated college (her accomplishment, not mine) and I completed my first year at a new rank. Athletically the year was a bit of a bust (no 5K under 27 minutes, only one marathon or beyond finish, best bench press was 200 lbs.) but I was active throughout and I did take some local trips. Of most note: I had a good time with friends, a “tl;dr” collage is here:







I am getting lapped by Jason (1:01:22)






Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State waits for play to resume against Illinois State during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor



December 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, college football, football, Friends, NFL, Peoria, running, travel, walking, yoga | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back in Peoria

Drive: ok from Kentucky to the Indiana/Illinois State line.
Sucked from the state line to Peoria; rural parts were ok but Bloomington and Peoria sucked.

Time in Kentucky: ah…more later. The people I spent time with: elderly but mentally fit, elderly, physically incapacitated and mentally unfit, and physically fit but mentally limited.
Not what I am used to.

I did get to watch the Navy vs. Virginia Military Bowl. Navy played great!

More later.

Home: shoveled; going to be frigid tonight.


The drive

First morning: 4.3 miles on a dark, cold trail

Second morning: 4.3 run on the same trail

Briskets! (and Colts hat)

Haircut. The lady who cut my hair “liked” my Instagram photo.

Eastern Kentucky: I went there because they had a small Barns and Nobel bookshop.

Nothing to add to this one.

Workout notes:

Wednesday: 4 mile walk on a bike path. 4 plus really. It was part of the Artisan Bike Path.
Thursday: 4 mile “run” on the same path.
Friday: 2 mile treadmill run in 21:22 (second mile was 9:22; increasing pace)

December 30, 2017 Posted by | family, running, travel, walking | Leave a comment


Workout notes: lifted, ran 16 laps in the second outermost lane in the Riverplex (22:25).
rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 5 x 185, incline: 10 x 135, military: 3 sets of 10 x 45 standing dumbbells, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.

Pretty empty in the Riverplex

Drive: some snow leaving Indianapolis. Pre dinner: an adventure of sorts. I am not used to being the only physically strong and mentally capable one in a group; I couldn’t afford to lapse into my usual absentminded state.

December 27, 2017 Posted by | running, travel, weight training | Leave a comment

Christmas 2017

Home after a (mostly) fun trip to Chicago. I say “mostly” because the “hour longer than usual” drive there was nerve wracking.

This was from this morning.

It is cold and I am about to go on a “3 night” trip that I am not looking forward to.

Workout notes: 4 mile run on the hotel treadmill, which had the “stop” button at a place where my arm swing kept causing me to hit mile .7 and again at mile 1.7
Finally, I managed 2 miles in 21:35 to get 4.4 total..a decent enough workout.

December 26, 2017 Posted by | running, travel | Leave a comment

Browns give, Bears happily receive, win 20-3

Game highlights:

So, as far as the snowy game itself: total yards were close, 258-253 Bears, though the Bears went into a “run out the clock” shell in the 4’th quarter with a 20-3 lead. But the key stat was turnovers: 3-0, with the Browns losing 1 fumble in the end zone and throwing 1 interceptions, one in the end zone. There was also a key penalty where it appeared that the Browns ran in an interception for a touchdown, but one of their linemen lined up offside!

(via: Bears Instagram account)

The Bears stopped the Browns then had a nice drive for a touchdown; a botched snap/hold threw off the timing for the extra point, which was blocked.

In the second quarter, the Browns were thwarted on one drive with an interception in the end zone. But they eventually got the ball back with just over 30 seconds on the clock and had a nice drive for a 48 yard field goal, which BARELY cleared the bar.

A key turning point happened in the 3’rd quarter. The Bears threw an interception which was run back for an apparent touchdown, but one of the Browns linemen lined up offside. The Bears took advantage and drove for a touchdwon, using screen passes and a nice 16 yard run.

The Bears took advantage of a good punt return to set up another touchdown drive (again, lots of passes to the running back) and had a 20-3 lead.

Still in the 3’rd, the Browns drove and hit a medium pass; the receiver slipped down near the 10 but wasn’t touched down. He got back up and ran inside the 4, where he was stripped of the ball while going down, and the Bears recovered.

That basically took most of the wind out the Browns’ sails; the 4’th quarter saw the Bears mostly burning clock and one more Browns interception.

I was worried about getting there. Roads were terrible, and there were a couple of accidents on the southbound lanes of I-55. But, though the trip took 1 hour longer than normal, we ended up in our parking area by 11:15 and made it in time for the National Anthem and kickoff.

Afterward, we ate some Indian food (stayed at the Essex Inn…a good idea)

There was steady, light snow, but temperature wise, my feet got cold an my hands did, at times. I will get some warm boots for next football season; my boots are waterproof but not insulated; even double wool socks didn’t keep my feet warm. The rest of me: fine.

December 25, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | Leave a comment

36 Hours of Jack Monkey Flunker 50K…almost dead last BUT…

I had not planned on this race, but when I bombed out of both of my marathon attempts (too hot for attempt 1..90 F, and went out too fast for attempt 2 due to the 6 hour cut off), I wanted to keep my streak of “at least one marathon finish or longer each year starting in 1998” streak alive.

So I searched, found this 36 Hours of Jack race which had an associated 50K with a 12 hour cut off and decided to give it a go.

Up shot: 8:42:42 for the 50K, via splits: (each is 12.5 km) 2:01, 2:05:46, 2:15, 2:20:50. Slow downs were 5, 10, 5 minutes respectively. I walked 100 percent of the time. I was 7:16 at 42.5 km (just past a marathon).

The course: downhill from the start line to the trail, via a park road (maybe 200 meters?) then about half a mile along side roads with moderate traffic; aside from one street crossing, you had the grassy shoulder which was suitable for running/walking. There was a short trail to the main trail, and that was crushed limestone/gravel, similar to the Rock Island trail near Peoria, IL.

There were a few very shallow inclines/declines that were not significant; the closest thing to an uphill was along the road from the trail back to the park, and it was, at most, a minor hill.

Aid stations: one at close to mile 3, one at the turn around and one at the start/finish (hot food). Volunteers were outstanding.

Oddities along the trail: near the start, you pass by an automobile junkyard. And I did see some goats actually on the trail; they moved off as I went by. My photos: the finisher’s award (unusual, and the goats)

More detail: the 100 milers start 1 hour earlier; we started with the 100K and the 75 K; a 25K and 15K (and 30K) started an hour later.

I was a little annoyed that 2 of the people behind me dropped down to the 25K; I finished ahead of a lady being dragged along the course by a male (husband? friend? coach?) but didn’t catch her until toward the end of the first out and back.

I saw many in the longer races and a few speed burners in the shorter race while I was out there; I had long stretches of “alone” time out there. 23 finished the 50K.

Going out one could see the “5K turn around” check point, the “last lap of the 100 mile” check point and the “15K turn around” checkpoint. In a way, these were good because you could see where you were. But they were also bad because you could see how much longer it took you to get to each point; the slow down was real, and frustrating. Yes, I used to slow down when I was younger, but well, it isn’t fair to have to slow down when you are slow to begin with!

My Walter Mitty goal was 3:45/4:10; my “b” goal was 4:00/4:25 and what I got was 4:06/4:36. Yes, I know; I was 7:11 for the opening 50K of my “101 miles in 24, and my best 3 50K walks were 6:20, 6:22, 6:29. What can I say? (those were in 2004, 2002, 2005).

I never got nauseated; it was cool (high 20’s at the start, low 40’s later); I ate a small bag of pretzels at 7.8 miles and at 19 miles; had some juice at mile 15.5 and some Heed at mile 23. I was able to have soup at the finish. I did feel slightly sick later; more on that later. Chinese buffet on the way home helped.

My legs started to get heavy half way, but I told myself “you didn’t drive all that way just to do 25 km” and at mile 23.5, I was determined to finish. My feet started to hurt around then; I felt the pebbles and stones.

What can I say? In away, I was embarrassed to be so slow. But part of me feels like an “old warrior” and I feel good about completing another one, even at a pace slower than one of my 100 milers.

Effect on my older body
I had an interesting effect. I thought that I would drive at least part of the way home after the race (drive is about 6:30 total) but, on the highway, I started having double vision (side by side); I was seeing a second set of lane stripes which went at an angle and I had a hard time seeing what lanes the cars ahead me was in.

Stopping for food helped only momentarily. Stopping for gas and to clean my glasses really didn’t help much either. So I pulled into a hotel to sleep it off and that did the trick. I suppose that I was both “jacked up” and “so tired I couldn’t see straight” at the same time. And today, I am much more fatigued that I feel that I should be, though…I am not that sore.

About the 36 Hours of Jack event: it was well organized; good aid, good trail markings, etc. I’d do it again. But for my politically minded friends: it is conservative (National Anthem, a prayer before the start of the 100…very churchy and religious). Since it is a private event, that didn’t bother me, but some might be bothered.

What I would do differently next time: I’d go ahead and arrange for 2 nights in the Carthage hotel (I used the Quality Inn) instead of attempting to make it part of the way home.
I like the barbecue place in Carthage.

December 10, 2017 Posted by | marathons, travel, ultra, walking | 1 Comment

Irony: time to write..nothing to say.

I am in my hotel room; was on the road for most of the day (Peoria, to Joplin, MO, then to Carthage, MO). Carthage is a bit more affluent than I imagined..yeah, I looked up the median household income and was surprised at how low it was..I must have seen a nicer neighborhood…..Joplin a bit more busy.

No workout; not much news (listened to CDs along the way); caught up on FB and twitter.

Tomorrow: we shall see.

I did have some interesting conversations which involved abrasion rashes between the legs, bruises, dropping one’s pants, dropping one’s skort and scars that meet the butt crack. Don’t ask…let’s just say that endurance athletes sometimes do interesting things to their bodies.

December 9, 2017 Posted by | travel | Leave a comment

Trip to Iowa vs. Ohio State: wow!

My friend Tracy is an Ohio State graduate (Woody Hayes days). She wanted to see Ohio State play this year and when I saw that they were going to be playing at Iowa, I got tickets.

(tip: I paid face value for end zone tickets via the school; row 31 of section 215. I could have gotten sideline seats for the same price (with fees) the week of the game via the secondary market)

I’ll post my photos below. The game: it ended 55-24, Iowa; I sure did not expect that. It was a combination of big plays (4 interceptions by the Iowa defense, including a one-handed interception at the Iowa one; see the highlights at 10:50, a big trick play (polecat) off of a field goal formation (see 7:30 of the video) and domination of the line of scrimmage. Iowa running backs had huge holes to run through for most of the game.

It started with a pick 6 on the first play of the game. But 2 minutes later, Ohio State completed an easy long drive; receivers were wide open on almost every play. So, I settled in for a shoot out at 7-7. And so it went; the teams matched drives, field goals and touchdowns until Iowa took the lead at 24-17. With 1:4x to go, Ohio State started their drive, only to throw their second interception. Iowa cashed in with a last second touchdown to take a 31-17 lead into the half; both teams had a ton of yards.

So I figured it was still a competitive game.

Second half: Ohio State kicked off; pinned Iowa inside their own 10 and kept them bottled up. But the Iowa defense stopped them and wouldn’t let OSU take advantage of their field position. Then with 6 minutes to go, Iowa mounted a drive, mixing running and passing; that made it 38-17 and OSU was in trouble.

Another stop and Iowa was driving again and scored just into the 4’th quarter to make it 45-17. Another interception set up a field goal to make it 48-17.

Then Ohio State tried to rally; an interception (one handed) ended an OSU drive at the Iowa 1. A bizarre call (fake punt with 4’th and 9 at the Iowa 12) was stopped and gave Ohio State a touchdown. But an onside kick failed, and Iowa completed the rout with another drive (running up the middle) to complete the scoring at 55-24.

Now about the trip:

Tracy and me on the Hawkeye Express train from a remote lot to the stadium (15 dollars each way; kind of fun..and yes, this was an honest train on train track)

Tracy and me at the stadium; note that Iowa fans get there early.

The “hospital wave” between the first and second quarter.

Ohio State participated in the wave.

Early action

Toward the end of the game; the empties you see in the opposite end zone were where some Ohio State fans were.

Bedlam. Fans storm the field.

Yes, I got in a 4 mile Bradley Park run prior to making the trip. I got in a 15 mile walk this morning too.

November 5, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, Friends, running, travel, walking | Leave a comment

low energy all around but life is good

I was sort of low energy today. I slept in..that felt good but I still had time for 10 miles:

My time: 2:33…15-15:10 mpm. Not much energy but I got it in.

Then I had lunch with Tracy and assembled a chest of draws for her; I am just terribly incompetent.

By the time I was done…I was tired and resolved to go home and rest..I had given up on making the Chiefs game; it was 5:45 and the Chiefs game started at 6:30. But I said…”what the hell” and left the house at just before 6.

I had time to get a ticket, get a cheeseburger and watch the game (3-1 Timber Rattlers winning; 2 run home run and then an insurance run in the top of the 9’th).

Contrast the above to the 7 dollar ticket that I got for Friday night’s White Sox vs. Cleveland game:

It was a full, if unproductive, day.

I have much to write about, re: my Chicago trip, but this trip, my nights were taken up by 2 White Sox games (one with a buddy) and travel. I also had a very pleasant lunch with a friend.

With Pat at the Cubs vs. White Sox game (Cubs won 6-3; good game though)

Our view (better than the other one)

Michelle agreed to go to lunch; I had not seen her since 1974 (in Yokota High School, Yokota Air Force Base, Japan). I played football with her brother Johnny.

I walked a bit; I did two Lakeshore path courses. This is from Northerly Island. You can see some of the skyline and Soldier Field.

From below the Shedd Aquarium

There was some great mathematics too. There were a couple of talks I wish that I had prior to teaching certain courses, and one that I wish that I had early in graduate school.

This is Dusa McDuff. She was the main speaker and gave three great talks. She is a professor at Columbia and..a member of the National Academy of Science (a very elite list, very elite; most Ivy league faculty do not make it). And yet..she rode the L to get to the airport. Someone of her accomplishment in, say, economics, would have been given a personal limo.

July 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, Friends, mathematics, travel, walking | , , | 1 Comment

Chicago day one

Took the bus from Peoria to O’Hare airport (got a bit carsick) then the L from the airport to downtown (went fine). Sox vs. Cubs tonight; lunch with an old friend tomorrow!

On the L; a lady went to sit next to me but lost her balance a bit and fell partially into me. She apologized (and yes, I had my wallet; this was really an accident) but hey, worse things have happened to me. 🙂

So it is day one; I should practice my talk a few more times.

Workout notes: though the gym is extra, it is a genuine gym. So I got 56:30 on the treadmill (threat of thunderstorms kept me off of the Lakeshore path, which I hope to visit later today or tomorrow) and I did 2 sets of 10 squats to the 20 inch box (50, then 60 goblet style). The run felt good, for a change. I varied the pace, starting at 5.1; I did back off a bit in the final .75 miles.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | running, travel, weight training | Leave a comment