I am not a runner, not a walker, not a lifter, not a swimmer…certainly not an ultra marathoner…

And I am ok with that.

My current “physical activity” routine:
M, F: swim (2200 yards, or 2000 meters)
Tu, Th: run (about 10K each) and lift weights (40 minutes to 1 hour)
W: walk (about 8-10K)
Sat: run (10K or a 5K race); sometimes lift afterward.
Sun: walk (10 miles to half marathon at the moment; longer walks are planned in the near future)

So, I do a little of several things but not enough of any activity to get reasonably good at it.

As far as the ultras go: I have friends who continue to do these. Personally: I like to think that I paid a visit to these activities starting with a 50K in 2002; I probably peaked in 2005 (two 100 mile finishes) and slid downward pretty severely in 2006 and have pretty much flopped since then. I did have one more 100 mile finish in me (2009; severe mud; took me almost 48 hours) and a 50 miler in 2011 (at a 24 hour race).

I am not really an ultra athlete; I “visited” that sport and eventually became too weak to pursue it further, save a 30 miler here or there. My goal is ONE marathon (or longer) per year; 2012 I had a bad walking marathon finish, 2013 a bad “walk/jog” marathon finish and a bad 30 mile finish last year. But I’ve kept the streak alive since 1998.

Anyway, about my physical activities:

1) I enjoy them.
2) I am staying out of the doctor’s office
3) I still enjoy testing myself in events lasting 7 minutes to just over 2 hours (my half marathon these-a-days; I have NOT run a half marathon faster than 2 hours since…my goodness, 2003? My last “good” half (sub 1:45) was in 2002 (a couple of them) and my last sub 1:40 was in 2001.

I won’t kid you: I was never good at any sport, but right now, I really don’t have a “primary” sport. What I do is I go through cycles when I emphasize one goal or another; my guess is that I’ll aim for a marathon walk in October and therefore move to doing more walking..sometime this summer. But most of the time, I have a “generic, a little of everything” routine.

April 17, 2015 Posted by | running, swimming, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Quiz: which is the “earlier in the 24 hour walk” photo?

Workout notes running: I “ran” the park portion (and the “to the park” portion of a my 5.1 Cornstalk Hill course plus an extra 1.23 mile loop. I walked the final mile (run 5.3, walk 1). I didn’t feel sick or tired, but my legs…just nothing there; at all. This was truly a shuffle. My guess: the hill workout I did on Tuesday; I really did that one hard.

Then I lifted: super set of pull ups and Lifefitness rows (4 sets of 10 pull ups, 3 sets of 10 x 110 rows), then military presses (2 sets of 12 x 50 dumbbell, seated, supported), 10 x 85 barbell standing and 2 sets of 5 pull ups to get 50 total.

I did rotator cuff and bench presses (3 sets of 10 x 135, seriously!), 2 sets of 10 x 160 pull downs (traditional), 1 set of 7 traditional, 7 low (100), incline press: 1 x 135, 4 x 135.

This was a bit weird, but once again I gave myself little rest between sets; it was pretty much go-go-go.

I really am not that tired.

Quiz: was it really June 2006 when I did the FANS 24 hour and got 83 miles?

One of these was taken at about mile 20; the other at about mile 75. Which was which? :-)

April 17, 2015 Posted by | running, ultra, walking | | Leave a comment

Slackers and punishment…

Workout notes early morning: 10K walk in Bradley Park; 5.1 mile plus lower 1.23 mile loop. It was cool and pretty; it would have been peaceful too except our local ROTC contingent saw fit to run around and chant stereotypical military sounding stuff. They might have been more impressive had they not been going 10-11 minutes per mile. They aren’t exactly West Point material.

So, needless to say, I don’t like slackers. But sometimes one can be counterproductive when one attempts to punish them. This New York Times story talks about the poor who get into debt but are then hampered by losing their driver’s license …which makes many jobs off limits to them. I believe in paying one’s debts; perhaps wage garnishments are the way to go.

Charter Schools I have mixed feelings about these; and these can sometimes lead to increased segregation:

Parental preferences are part of the problem. The charter school admissions process is itself race-blind: Schools that are too popular conduct lotteries between their applicants. But if a school isn’t white enough, white parents simply won’t apply.

In previous research, Ladd discovered that white North Carolina parents prefer schools that are less than 20 percent black. This makes it hard to have racially balanced charter schools in a state where more than a quarter of schoolchildren are black.

“Even though black parents might prefer racially balanced schools, the fact that white parents prefer schools with far lower proportions of black students sets up a tipping point,” the authors write. “Once a school becomes ‘too black,’ it becomes almost all black as white parents avoid it.”

On the upside: this is the type of bipartisanship that I hope to see more of:

The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes in the way Medicare pays doctors, clearing the bill for President Obama and resolving an issue that has bedeviled Congress and the Medicare program for more than a decade.

The 92-to-8 vote in the Senate, following passage in the House last month by a vote of 392 to 37, was a major success for Republicans, who devised a solution to a complex policy problem that had frustrated lawmakers of both parties. Mr. Obama has endorsed the bill, saying it “could help slow health care cost growth.”

The bill, drafted in the House in negotiations between Speaker John A. Boehner and Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader, also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program for two years, through 2017.

Without action by Congress, doctors would have faced a 21 percent cut in Medicare fees on Wednesday or Thursday. Senate leaders cleared the way for final passage by allowing votes on several amendments sought by liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.

April 16, 2015 Posted by | education, health care, political/social, politics, poverty, walking | | Leave a comment

Making the decision to suck…(glorious morning!)

Last night, I went to bed amid flashes of lightning. It kept out throughout the night, so I decided to walk 5 miles on the treadmill when I woke up.

When I woke up; there was a break in the thunderstorms. The roads were wet, but it was one of those mornings where the sunrise caused the sky to be a wonderful collection of colors, including pink, light red, blue gray with the darker gray of the lower clouds racing across the sky.

I couldn’t resist; I ditched my “harder” treadmill miles for a slower 4.2 mile (6.6 km) hilly park course outside. It was rather slow and taken at a recovery effort; it was less training that I had planned.

But I did this one for my emotional health; it was just too lovely to resist.

So, this is one reason my running and walking performances are less than what they might be; these-a-days I make many small decisions such as this one.

Another decision: I stayed up later than normal to watch basketball games (men and women NCAA championships).

But let’s face it: for a 55 year old man, running a 24:45 5K isn’t that much different from running a 25:05; I no longer make every training decision based on improving my level of (sub)mediocrity. :-)

April 8, 2015 Posted by | running, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Not close to being ready for a marathon walk…

Well, while my wife was at Easter I walked. Sunny, brisk (42 F, or 5 C), somewhat windy. I chose a course near bathrooms. I walked the W. Peoria course, to the cemetery and none loop, then to the W. Peoria track (3.9 miles in 58 minutes); then 18 laps of the .44 mile track (with diversions to the port-o-potty), then .75 miles home. It all took 3:15 for 12.6-12.7 miles, which is revoltingly slow.

But I knew that this would be an off day, even prior to getting out there. And, my long walks are a struggle when I am trying to run hard.

And: the marathon isn’t until October 18

April 5, 2015 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

Training update: dead legs again

Yesterday’s run left me more dead legged than anticipated, and the only “difficult” part was the 7:51 mile and that was only one mile.

I am thinking that perhaps Thursday’s 10K run was a bit too hard for recovery purposes, so I never recovered from Tuesday’s hill/tempo effort.

So today: it is sunny, chilly and I’ll have to plan “bathroom” stops as I think that the parks still don’t have the public bathrooms open as yet.

Walk for 2-3 hours…and not worry about pace as it will be ghastly slow.

Was it really 6 years ago I finished my last 100 miler? Ok, 6 years minus one week; it fell on Easter, 2009.

April 5, 2015 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

Do not mess with a male who is with his female!

Given how slow my training walk was today (1:15 for 5.1 miles…albeit very hilly miles…glorious morning)…I WISH my time were an April Fools joke, but it is sadly very real.

well a post about tortoises is appropriate. Never mess with a guy with his woman!

Yes, it is April 1. My smallest class pranked me by sitting in the classroom with the lights turned off..and sitting on the back row so I couldn’t see them from the hall way..until I entered the room. I kind of guessed what they were up to as I walked to the room as they are very punctual and very consistent.

April 2, 2015 Posted by | nature, science, walking | | Leave a comment

wet “spring” walk…

Screen shot 2015-03-29 at 9.32.43 PM

My walk was a bit like that: at the start: 31 F (-1 C) windy and sunny. The outside portion ended in rain and high wind; I was cold and grumpy. I walked the W. Peoria then to the W. Peoria Cemetery and then..well, I had to use the bathroom 3 times; I saw that the W. Peoria track had its port-o-potty up so I did some “2.1 miles per 5 laps” on the track then walked home; that was about 8 miles. I did 2 more miles on the treadmill.

I was slower than all get out; not a good day to go faster.

March 30, 2015 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

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


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