Wet walk, climate change and women’s basketball

Today: I walked; I figured that I need to walk more. I did the hilly Cornstalk 5.1 course in 1:11:54 (14:05 mpm pace); it was overcast, dark and a bit slippery.

Climate change Last night I went to hear Harold Brooks speak: he is a NOAA scientist. He spoke about thunderstorms and climate change.

Of interest:

1. When it comes to rain, the total volume hasn’t changed much. BUT the way we get it has; we get a higher percentage of it from strong storms.
2. When it comes to thunderstorms, wind shear and available energy are the two big factors. Climate change has reduced the former and increase the latter; these are competing effects.
3. The models are pretty much in agreement as to what will happen (over time) during the winter, spring and fall. What is open is what will happen during the summer: more storms? Fewer? Wet? Drought? No one knows and the models can’t reach even a tentative conclusion.

Women’s basketball

Yes, there is a huge difference between the great powers and those lower seeds in the NCAA tournament. Attendance at the games isn’t so great either, but part of the reason might be the unusual start times.

March 25, 2015 Posted by | basketball, science, walking | , | Leave a comment

When ridicule works…

Today’s walk: well, it was shamefully slow (3:18 for a half marathon): I walked down to the river, past the Riverplex, around the Goose Loop, to the dam at the marina, then doubled back. When I got to the trail exit, I doubled back (1.5 each way) to add the miles. Day: sunny, chilly (just above freezing) and very windy; typical Illinois spring.

1. When I was coming back I saw two large buzzards land on a pole near the marina. I thought: “gee, I know that I am slow but do I look THAT bad?” Then I thought: “probably”.

2. I went out planning 10 miles, “maybe more if I felt better”. I didn’t feel bad but I could generate nothing in the way of speed. Then I thought: “you don’t feel that bad; why not make it 13 miles (21 km)?” I started to go through the list of excuses and then the thought came to mind: “do you want the “bling”? Don’t you want that car “mileage” sticker?” I laughed and when I got to the turn around to get the extra 3, I took it.

In other words, “if you think it is so easy…DO IT or STFU and GTFO!!!” I tell myself that a lot.


March 22, 2015 Posted by | walking | , | 3 Comments

My personality quirks…

Workout notes
Weights: went reasonably well.
Pull ups: 15-10-10-10-10 (best in a while); hip hikes, rotator cuff
bench: 10 x 135, 2 x 180 (stronger), 8 x 160
military: 2 sets of 10 x 50 seated, supported (dumbbells, 50 each arm), 1 set of 10 x 40 dumbbell standing, 10 x 90 (each arm) machine
pull down/row super set: 3 sets of 10: rows 110, pull downs 130

Then a hilly 4 mile walk to the top of Cornstalk and back; untimed.

I am coming to understand that I have a quirky personality; this post is part of that. No, this isn’t some underhanded attempt to brag about my “decent but nothing really special” intellect; after all many of my real-life friends have roughly the same degrees and level of intellectual accomplishment that I have (modest). There is a reason I am not tenured at MIT.

There are people a heck of a lot smarter than I am who don’t have this quirk.

Here is the quirk: the “intellectual” part of my brain simply doesn’t turn off; it runs all of the time.
Evidence: when I see a meme and show it even a tiny bit of attention, I critique the factual accuracy of it. I don’t immediately see (or even seek) the message, which may well be in metaphor form.

Same with religion: if I hear or read a creed, I want to know what the terms mean and how I can check the accuracy of the claims. It is the same for a religious text; for that reason religion simply doesn’t work for me.

How this hurts me: I am not very agreeable and I am terrible at giving encouragement. For example, if someone says “I am training for even X; do you think I can do it?” my answer is usually of the form “from my experience, x percent of people of your age, sex and current abilities have been successful”. Or if someone gets all weepy because they finished a FOUR MILE RUN (say, at 12 minutes per mile); I can’t turn off the part of my brain that says “for someone of your age and health, that is an extremely mundane accomplishment; it represents progress for you but is certainly nothing to boast about.”

I doubt that will ever change and this means it will always be hard for me to get along with people.

That is, I am a bit like this guy:

March 18, 2015 Posted by | Personal Issues, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Spring break day one (2015)

Workout notes Swim (2200 yards) then a 5K walk outside (Riverplex to the Goose Loop; 3 laps). Saw an eagle and a LOT of geese.

Swim: 500 yards easy, 5 x 100 (fist/free) on 2:10 (1:55 each), 5 x 200 on the 4 (3:35, 3:32, 3:31, 3:34, 3:32), 200 pull. Had a GILF share the lane with me for the last 600 or so.

TMI: weighed 180.4 prior to the swim; 178.7 afterward. You sweat when you swim.

Now to work on a “fun” project (mathematics)

March 16, 2015 Posted by | swimming, walking | Leave a comment

The relative honesty of sports relative to education

Workout notes: 31 F (0 C) at the start; I walked my 10.5 mile course (included the Goose Loop) and it took me 2:37 instead of the 2:34 it used to take me in 2012 (with the same effort). Time marches on. But there is a long time between now and October 18, 2015, so I have a lot of time to build up to a marathon and time to work on my 5K/1 mile run first.

Main Post

First, I realize that there are doping scandals at the highest level of sports and sometimes eligibility fiascos at lower levels.
And I also understand that academia at the higher levels, at least in my field (mathematics), tends to be honest. Sure there is a fake journal here and a fight over “who got the results first” there. But when one writes a math paper, it isn’t as if one can crib other sources.

I am mainly talking about the lower levels.

I remember my English class during my senior year in high school; it was the usual “British Literature” that is taught for college preparation. I had great teachers.

One of the things we had to do was to write a book report and present it in class. And so I sat through them; I specifically remember the one on Wuthering Heights.

The guy who gave it had an easel complete with charts, a circle diagram (concentric circles) with the various characters and relationships in the concentric circles, with Heathcliff vs. Heathcliff in the middle.

I rolled my eyes; I knew that the guy giving the presentation wasn’t smart enough to come up with this on his own.

Afterward, the teacher said “very good; perhaps you should look to sell this to Cliffs Notes. ”


Well, eventually I went to a book store, looked at Cliffs notes…and what did I see? You guessed it….and no, he didn’t sell his work to them.

That was just the beginning of my eye opening process.

The bottom line: many see education as nothing more than a credentialing process; a way of getting credits, a GPA and all that. The idea that one’s mind is supposed to be challenged and grow along the way really isn’t a popular one. It is all about “that piece of paper” and, perhaps, learning something along the way.

Yes, students search for solutions to homework problems on the internet; that is why I try to give some in class exams. The exception is for a courses in which I expect them to be able to use software.

I still remember my undergraduate days. I really did my homework and I really did find joy in figuring out things for myself. Not everyone else took the same approach, including some who had a higher GPA than I did.

Even funnier: some (almost all?) who got undergraduate degrees are completely unaware that what they learned was..well…baby stuff.
I wonder how many of these would have survived Ph. D. comprehensive examinations which, at least at my school, had a pass rate of 30 percent?

Then after sweating these, which seemed so difficult to me at the work on your dissertation and find out that your qualifiers were really just…baby stuff. :-)

Now contrast that with sports. Say you want to finish a marathon within the course’s time limit (and yes, the time limits are getting longer year by year).

If you don’t put in the miles, well, you aren’t going to finish (true for most of us, anyway, especially those of us who are older than 50). And to finish the marathon, you have to cover every step of the course.

True, there is some cheating (even in trail ultras!) and some who claim to do what they haven’t done. But the vast majority who finish a marathon really do finish it; there is no “cut and paste” available; no one to crib off of.

Of course, even in running where the results are there for all to see, there are those who don’t understand that, well, a 2-2:30 plus half marathon is really nothing to boast about (at least for someone 45 or younger) and that a strong marathon runner would have gone twice as far in close to the same amount of time. But I suppose there is a social aspect to it; the vehicle “mileage” stickers and the attitude face selfies..and of course, the “bling” (Showing off a medal for a half marathon finish? Really? should you award yourself a medal for finishing a medium long workout? ;-) )

Note: my current half marathon running time stinks; I ran a couple of 2:01 half marathons in 2013 but I have enough self awareness to know that those times stink. My “over 40″ PR is 1:34 (1999) and, for a 40 year old male in good health, that is more or less a “meh, fit but not a runner” time.

But no matter how sorry the performance is and how many grossly overestimate their achievements, there is no getting around that most have covered every inch of the course under their own steam…sans wikipedia. :-)

March 15, 2015 Posted by | education, running, walking | , , , , , | Leave a comment

No swim today

Lifeguard didn’t show up. But I did walk outside for about 5K and my hill course is clear. So perhaps outdoor running tomorrow morning. I have my vest.

March 12, 2015 Posted by | walking | Leave a comment

Trying to get back in it…

Well, no swim today. I did walk 5 miles on the treadmill in 1:03:30 (12:42 mph) which was reasonably brisk; enough to get sweaty.

Still, I have a slight, sporadic cough and some “warmth behind the eyes”; not quite 100 percent.

Comeback: Friday: 2 walk, Saturday: 5K run, Sunday: 4 mile run, Monday: 4 mile run. Tuesday: 5 mile run. Wed. 5 mile walk.
I hope to hit some weights tomorrow with a 3-4 mile jog afterward.

Comebacks after illnesses are oh-so-slow; it just takes a while.

I should be fine for the 5K runs at the end of the month; maybe I’ll even “participate” in an on campus 5K this weekend, if the streets aren’t icy.

Sorry for the low-quality posts
Though I am taking my teaching seriously and thinking about math, I can’t get excited about national and world events right now. I do like goats though:

March 4, 2015 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

Women’s Basketball: Southern Illinois 72 Bradley 66: turnovers and perimeter defense

Good news: I walked TWO MILES on the treadmill this morning. I didn’t die; maybe a bit more tomorrow morning.

27:54; I did enough to get warm.

Women’s basketball
Though Bradley stated out well, BU allowed SIU to hit 7 of 14 from 3 point land; two SIU guards just killed us: no. 10 with 25 points (8-15, 2/5 from 3) and no. 13 had 21 (6-13, 4/6 from 3). We also gave up 20 turn overs; rebounding (BU 33-30) kept us in it.

It was mostly back and forth with SIU not starting to get away for good until about 2 minutes were left; they stretched it to 7, though BU cut it to 3 a few times in the very long last minute.

Note: I blistered my mouth with too many cough drops; Barbara got me some ointment that really helps.

February 28, 2015 Posted by | illness, walking | , | Leave a comment

And my withering continues (at the Riverplex)

I was supposed to go to lunch and a basketball game with a friend. But she got the flu; she didn’t have to wait for the basketball game to get sick.

So I went to the Riverplex, changed, ate lunch and went to the game from there. I’ll talk about the game in another post.

Prior to the workout (after breakfast): 179.0. After the workout: 174.5 (lots of sweat). This is as light as I’ve ever been as an adult. My muscle mass is deserting me, though I did get 190 in the bench press earlier this year and 185 yesterday.

Treadmill: started at 5.5 mph, 0.5 incline and sped up 0.1 mph every 5 minutes; that got me to 5.6 miles in 56 minutes and 6 in 59:37.
Then 4 miles of walking on the Riverplex track (7 7/8 laps per mile): 56:36 total; 15:05 mile 1, 14:21, 13:54, 13:14.

Larry came by to say “hi” while I was on the treadmill; I lamented my slow pace and he said “you aren’t 21 anymore.” I saw Rich on the track; he was walking prior to his run. Evidently he has up and down days too; it is funny but on the down days, it is as if your blood is sludge. This wasn’t a down day for me and I felt pretty good…it is just hard for me to accept that 10 minutes per mile is no longer a “super easy, slow” pace for me any longer…and hasn’t been for years. Same for walking; right now 15 mpm or faster has to be intentional. I once averaged 14:12 mpm for 100 walking miles in a row…no longer. Right now my super easy, “slow running” pace is 11-11:30, and my “slow walking” pace is 16 mpm. That is reality.

But I left the gym having covered 10 miles and felt good about it. I could have done without the 4 F temperatures though. :-)

One thing that appears to be helping: the PT for the back and doing “progressive squats” after running: squatting as low as I can for sets of 5-10; the first few are shallow and eventually I can get all the way down..well…almost to baseball catcher’s depth. But that loosens the legs and back.

February 15, 2015 Posted by | Friends, running, walking | , | Leave a comment

Maintenance training

My maintenance training continues; I don’t feel as if I am ready to push toward any athletic goal as yet.

pull ups: 3 sets of 10 with rotator cuff (pulley exercises)
bench press: weak. 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 5 x 170, 8 x 160 (rotator cuff: dumbbells)
military press: 2 sets of 12 x 50 seated, supported, with
pull ups: 2 more sets of 10 (ok)
military press: 10 x 40 standing
pull downs: 1 set of 10 x 150 narrow, 2 sets of 10 x 130 wide.
rows: (machine) 3 sets of 10 x 110
military press: 10 x 80 machine (deliberate)

I felt ok. Then to the treadmill:
running: 5 x 4 minutes (0.5 incline) 5.5-6-7-8-9 to 20 minutes (21:10 2 miles) then 6.7 for 10 minutes (3 miles in 29:5x) then 6.8 for .5, 6.9, 7 for the last .25
4 miles in 38:36. Then I walked to 4.25 miles on the treadmill, went off to walk .75 on the track (outer lane) and wanted to quit.
So I went back on the treadmill and walked 1 more mile in 15:08, going up in incline 1-2-3-4-5 and stayed at 5 for .5 miles.

I felt good upon finishing.

February 8, 2015 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | Leave a comment


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