FCS football can be fun: Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State

Workout notes: Yesterday, weights then an easy 4 mile walk along the Illinois River. Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (reasonably good), bench presses were weak: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 5 x 170, 7 x 155. Incline: 7 x 135.
military presses: 10 x 45 (2 sets) 10 x 40. Rows: 3 sets of 10 with last two 45/25 on each side. Abs: 2 sets of twist crunch yoga leg lifts and then headstand.

This morning: my usual route from the Heights Tower to the Forest Park Nature Center, 1:14 lower loop, 28 minutes for the spur back. Lots of leaves but good footing; pace was deliberate.

Along the way I chatted briefly with someone who was at last night’s Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State football game, a mom with her 15 year old son and some scavenger hunters. Total time was 2:30, about 10 minutes slower than the usual.

When I finish this, I’ll finish off some paperwork for my job.

Well, you didn’t expect me to miss the chance to see a football game, did you? When I saw that North Dakota State (winners of the last FIVE FCS national championships in a row) was visiting, I took the 90 minute (each way) trip to Macomb to watch the game.

I got there way early; it actually takes about 80 minutes and parking is plentiful…and there is a free lot right next to the stadium:


And tickets: 10 dollars for general admission and 15 for reserved; actually though I bought a reserved ticket, I moved to general admission so I could use the top row for its backrest and for standing. Even the top row seats are equal to prime seats at a Big Ten game. The concessions were more “hot dogs and chips” stuff so those with special dietary needs to take stuff in or tailgate (and there was a large, active, festive tailgate area). They had nice game programs which were free!


The post sunset sky was lovely; it was a perfect, crisp night for college football.


The teams walk from locker rooms which were about 100 yards away from the field.


As far as the FCS level: the teams don’t have the depth to complete, say, a Big Ten schedule. But their starters are excellent; just ask Northern Illinois (lost to Western Illinois), Northwestern (lost to Illinois State) or Iowa (lost to North Dakota State). My guess is that at least a couple of players I saw have a shot of playing on Sundays.

The game itself: it started off well for NDSU: they got a stop and then on their opening possession, drove it 60+ yards for a touchdown. It looked way too easy.


They used a mix of formations including a two tight end “pistol” package, the I and the conventional spread.

WIU countered with a drive and a field goal; they used a clock burning “run the clock down before running a play” scheme. NDSU got a touchdown and, on their next possession, threw an interception. WIU converted it to another field goal and it was 14-6.

NDSU ran an excellent 2 minute drill to score its third TD before the end of the half; WIU got the ball with 45 seconds to go and drove it close enough to get a field goal attempt, which was blocked. So it was 21-6 at the half.

I noticed that the WIU secondary made some fine open field tackles to prevent long touchdown runs; I wondered if NDSU would blow it open in the second half.

WIU actually controlled play the rest of the game, but mistakes cost them dearly.

WIU got a stop and then made a nice drive to cut the lead to 21-13; it appeared to me that momentum was shifting.

Then came the first of 2 key plays. WIU intercepted the ball and ran it back inside the NDSU 5 yard line. But a late hit on WIU pushed them back to the 20…the NDSU defense held and then blocked the field goal attempt.

WIU got the ball back and got first and goal at the 8. A pass made it to the 1 (I thought the runner was going to score, but he was turned back by a hard tackle. The next two plays from the 1 were stuffed, but NDSU was offside on 4’th down, so WIU got another chance. The runner fumbled the ball just prior to entering the end zone and NDSU recovered.

Still, WIU wasn’t finished; they stopped NDSU (who botched a field goal on a bad hold), threw another interception, but got the ball back again.

But at the end they were on their own end of the field with 40 seconds to go and no time outs; a final interception finished them off.

It was a great game to watch and extra exciting if you were a fan of either team (I was cheering for Western Illinois)


October 23, 2016 Posted by | college football, football, hiking, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Debate and demise of expertise

Workout notes: still feeling a bit rundown and my throat is a tiny bit scratchy. Sleep: still limited.
weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, reasonably good), weightless squats, incline presses: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, 6 x 150, military (standing, dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine.
Head stand, 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges.

Walk: 5K outside (to Lower Bradley Park); perfect walking weather. It was just a bit chilly.

Debate I was sad to see no handshake before OR after. That is just a shame. How I saw it: it was “everyone’s drunken uncle” vs. an expert and, well, I am sure that the other “drunken uncles” think that Trump did well.

It actually started off as a more conventional debate at first but then got ugly in the last hour or so. Trump refused to say that he’d accept the outcome of the election (thereby lending fire to the crazies…but also giving nervous downticket Republicans a reason to dump him) and he called Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman”

The election It appears as if the betting markets have stabilized; most sports books have Clinton as a 1/6 to 1/7 favorite.

This election is a bit different from previous ones though. For starters, the battle lines are a bit different (despite Trump’s pivot to abortion):

It’s a very different story from 2008, when Barack Obama built a big national lead by attracting white working-class voters in states like Wisconsin and Indiana.

Instead, Mrs. Clinton’s gains come from big margins among well-educated voters and an electorate that’s much more diverse than it was even a decade ago.

The result is a sharp increase in polarization along demographic lines of race, education and gender — yet a decrease in geographic polarization. The predictable electoral map of the last four elections, born in part of the culture wars and split along familiar regional divides, might not look quite the same this November.

This dynamic helps explain why reliably red states are now on the verge of competitiveness, even as some traditional battleground states haven’t budged.

It seems as if the Clinton coalition consists of women, educated white people (many went to Romney in 2012), and minorities. So, even if some formerly blue states stay blue, the votes will be coming from different regions of the said states:

That struggle is playing out across the North, where Mr. Obama fared well among white voters four years ago. Ohio, the anchor of Mr. Obama’s so-called Midwestern firewall, remains very close. Mrs. Clinton has fared better in Wisconsin, but she’s not necessarily doing better there than she is nationwide.

The dynamic is also keeping many of the red, working-class states where Mr. Obama was competitive in 2008 — like Missouri, Montana and Indiana — out of the Democratic column.

Mrs. Clinton may yet sweep the Midwest, winning in places like Iowa and Ohio. But if she does prevail, she might do so in a very different way than Mr. Obama did four years ago.

She is making up for her weakness with strength in some of the most reliably Republican turf in the country. She’s running even with Mr. Trump in the Milwaukee suburbs; she leads in Western Michigan; and she’s posting huge leads in suburbs around Columbus, Ohio, and Philadelphia.

She’s struggling mightily in some traditionally Democratic or competitive areas like Green Bay, Wis.; northeastern Pennsylvania, including Scranton; northeastern Ohio, including Youngstown; and Macomb County, Mich. — the place that inspired the term “Reagan Democrats.”

This balance between Mrs. Clinton’s weakness among white working-class Northerners and her strength among well-educated voters might be enough to preserve a relatively similar electoral outcome in the Midwest, even as the underlying coalitions shift significantly. But this trade-off is not nearly as favorable for Mr. Trump in the states where there is much less room for him to make gains among white working-class voters.

And there is something else going on. How could a rank amateur like Trump have ever obtained the GOP nomination to begin with? Years ago, I grew up thinking of Republicans as the wealthier, more educated people. They valued competence and expertise.
Now, not so much:

Americans — or, at least, a particular subset of Americans — have had enough of experts, facts, math, data. They distrust them all.

This rising cynicism, sown recklessly by opportunistic politicians, will not only make it increasingly difficult for policymakers to make good choices and govern peacefully; it could also become a significant economic challenge.

The latest evidence of this anti-evidence trend comes from a Marketplace-Edison Research Poll released last week.

The survey found that more than 4 in 10 Americans somewhat or completely distrust the economic data reported by the federal government. Among Donald Trump voters, the share is 68 percent, with nearly half saying they don’t trust government economic data “at all.” […]

Offered sober-minded, nonpartisan analyses that Trump’s fiscal plans would add trillions to deficits and jeopardize the economy, his supporters claim these assessments must be lies because (A) the analysts are biased against him, and (B) Trump would obviously never let bad things happen to the economy, duh.

In other words, ignore the experts, ignore the math, trust the message.

Or as World’s Worst Surrogate Ben Carson said Friday on MSNBC, “Let’s throw the economists out, and let’s use common sense.” Presumably Carson believes that all forms of expertise, including neurosurgical, should be similarly disposed of in favor of “common sense.”

This paranoid anti-evidence trend long predates the current election, of course.

There was also a poll “unskewing” cottage industry in 2012, when supporters of Mitt Romney were convinced their candidate would win the White House handily. Then, as now, large rally crowds were cited as evidence that pollsters simply had to be wrong.

Why do voters continue to buy this nonsense?

Of course, experts aren’t always right. But they are right most of the time; after all, our planes fly, our medicine works and you are reading this via a computer/smart phone via a computer network.

And of course, distrust of expertise isn’t solely a conservative thing; witness the behavior of the Third Degree Bern Victims and the Stein supporters. Yes, we liberals have our crackpots and their supporters. But they don’t reach the top of our ticket…not yet anyway.

October 20, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Slow marathon finish: inwardly happy; outwardly embarrassed ….

Today in the gym, a couple of the professors asked me if I had run in this past weekend’s marathon. I found myself embarrassed to answer “yes”.

Why? Well, I admit that I felt joy in crossing the finish line in under the time limit: 5:52 (time limit was 6 hours). Yes, this was my slowest Peoria Marathon (River City, PNC, etc); my other two were 5:45 (run/walk), 5:49 (walk 100 percent, but on a cool day).

But..I remember that this was 1:08 (one hour, 8 minutes) slower than my powerwalking PR (2002) and 2:14 (two hours, fourteen minutes) slower than my masters running PR (2000). Back then, I never dreamed I would become so unbelievably slow.

In fact, as recently as 2006…wait that was 10 years ago…I did training marathons (on my own) at about this pace….walking.

I suppose that if when I continue to slow down more, I’ll have to seek out long time limit marathons or, say, 12 hour events.

But, as I get ready to resume training (in say, 2 week’s time), I’ve got my eyes on either First Light (January in Mobile, Alabama) or Little Rock (March, Arkansas) and doing it as a walker (long time limits). Maybe I’ll get it out of the way early.

October 19, 2016 Posted by | marathons, running, walking | | Leave a comment

Has it really been 25 years?

Workout notes: slow paced weight workout (low energy), 2 mile walk in the neighborhood.

rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 3 x 185 (off), 7 x 170 (normal), incline: 10 x 135, rows (3 sets with 50), military: 2 sets of 15 x 50 dumbbell (seated, supported), 10 x 40 standing. A few free squats, 10 x 25 (not a misprint), abs (2 sets of yoga leg lifts, twist crunch, moving half bridge). Headstand was easy today??? Then an easy 2 mile walk around the neighborhood. Very warm day; good thing the marathon wasn’t today!

Marathon fall out:

1. Some people saw me in the weight room and asked me. I felt…well, embarrassed. Yes, I am happy that I hung in there and finished; the time is long, long passed when I could take a marathon finish for granted. But I was well over TWO HOURS slower than I used to be, and that is embarrassing to me. But what am I going to do?

Then I saw my friend’s time. He had run 3:07 earlier this year, but got leg cramps and had to walk it in this time; his time was “only” 3:58 (he was blazing along at a good 3:05 pace earlier in the race.
Yep…something similar happened to me in 1999; I hit mile 20 in 2:37 but cramped up and limped the last 10K in 1:08; I wasn’t really hurting but my legs cramped up so much that all I could do was walk.

It is relative to one’s abilities, age, fitness, suitability for the marathon, etc.

And then I watched the 70 year old guy finish something like 8 minutes behind me. No way I’ll be that fast at that age.

25 years: today, I get my “25 years at the University” pin. My good friend agreed to be my guest. I got to this university before most of my students were even born.

Well, what can I say. Though the year is far from over, it has been a good one so far.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

PNC Peoria Marathon 2016 version: in the “just finish” mode..

Just the facts. The splits that are recorded are the 6.25, 13.45, and the 19.1 mile splits.


What I did: I did a reasonable “jog with 1 minute every mile walk” up until mile 10, walked a bit more often than that from 10 to 16, then just walked the whole way from mile 16 (3:17) to the finish; that is about 10.2 miles in 2:35 (15:11 pace). I was averaging about 14:30’s up until mile 20 when I wore down. I did make a mistake at mile 23: I took in water that didn’t digest. But I was only 3 miles from the finish and so could gut it out a bit, even if I had a couple of 16 minute miles there.

I can no longer run a marathon, and the humid conditions made it unlikely for me to finish with a pure walk. So I mixed the movements.

2: 23:19
4: 22:21 (45:41)
6: 23:02 (1:08:43)
8: 24:09 (1:32:53) (hill)
10: 22:43 (1:55:36)
12: 25:14 (2:20:51)
14: 26:51 (2:47:48) (note: 2:34 at 13)
18: 56:14 (3:44:02) (note: 3:02 at 15; started to “walk 100 percent) at 16
20: 29:02 (4:13:06)
22: 30:19 (4:43:26)
24: 32:23 (5:15:49)
25: 15:38 (5:31:28)
26.2 20:58 (5:52:27)

Yes, 100 percent humidity. It wasn’t the steambath that Quad Cities was 3 weeks ago (due to cloud cover), but it was sticky and suffocating.


I was doing ok early; the pace felt fine. I kept reminding myself: save it. I had to hold back a bit. Every mile (or 12 minutes) I forced myself to walk a minute. Things went ok until mile 10.
The stretch through Bradley was interesting: the various sports teams were helping with the water (basketball, soccer, XC, etc.) and the frat guys made a wall for me to run through. I got high 5’s and the like.

I saw Cassie at mile 8 and then again at mile 16 or so; I saw Tracy and Larry just past 14, and Jennifer at mile 13.4. That was fun.

My “crisis came at about mile 10 after I had sped up to get away from a woman running with both a stroller and a dog on a leash. That took just a bit out of me..and it was starting to warm up some. It was humid but it wasn’t the sauna that the Quad Cities was.

I gave some thought to turning off at the part where the half separated from the full, but I told myself “finish what you started”. I knew that I couldn’t sustain the pace much longer.

By mile 12 I was walking more than I was running, but I’d still jog a few steps just to keep things going. By mile 16, I realized that my walking pace would be enough to get me in, so I switched to the old, more comfortable motion. I noticed that I wasn’t losing distance on those in front of me; in fact I gained just a bit.

I kept from getting sick; I was just dealing with the usual pain of a marathon; the only issue is that my right foot hurt. Some Naproxen helped.

Toward the end a young woman passed me saying “that last mile is the longest of my life”. I laughed and said “but nothing can stop us now”…and we both made it.

It wasn’t pretty, but this isn’t my kind of weather; heat and humidity have always been tough on me.

It was some time before my stomach could hold anything; I laid down a bit..and after a nap I could feel my stomach clear. So then it was off to eat some Mexican food with Tracy; it was then that I really perked up.

I had lower leg cramps in the night; guzzling 32 oz of water helped.

Some photos:



Jennifer took this one.


Cassie took this one.


Maria took this one at about mile 24.5


This was taken by Crystal at mile 7; don’t know what is going on with my posture.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | marathons, running, walking | , | 1 Comment

Time for talk is over

2 mile walk at 14:46…breakfast has been eaten. Tomorrow’s weather won’t be ideal, but it won’t be hot and sticky as it was 3 weeks ago.

I have no excuses.

October 15, 2016 Posted by | walking | Leave a comment

And the Trump Train comes off of the rails

Workout notes: mini weights plus 5K warm up pace walk. Weights: rotator cuff, a few light squats, pull ups: 15-10-15-10, bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (easy), incline: 7 x 150, dumbbell military: 7 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50, headstand, moving bridge. Walk: Bradley Park (untimed).

The debate:

clownstalkhillaryr Trump sniffled, looked sick and almost melted down during the first 30 minutes. He “recovered” somewhat; toward the end he was merely getting beat by a normal amount. Clinton knew what she was talking about; Trump merely repeated bumper stickers and said that he would put her in jail were he to win. Yes, really.

Of course, the Trumpbillies loved that but what do you expect.

The pundits (e. g. PBS pundits) tried to pretend that there was symmetry there; there really wasn’t. The debate didn’t go well for him at all; flash polls (the scientific ones) had Clinton winning. The betting lines now range from 4-1 to 5-1 in favor of Clinton (though they moved BEFORE the debate).


The polls looked bad before the debate (too soon to see if the debate affected them)


(via Electoral Vote) Election projection differs by only 1 electoral vote (gives Trump Maine CD 2) and Upshot has HRC with an 84 percent chance of winning. Princeton has it well over 90 percent (though they have HRC with only 326 EVs) and 538’s polls plus has HRC at 79 percent and the now-cast at 87.

This close to the election: those are horrible numbers for Trump.

October 10, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Trump’s remarks and young men: the messenger matters


Cool, easy but deliberate effort, 8.1

Trumps remarks Of course, many people deserve a voice in developing policy. And yes, when it comes to “winning hearts and minds”, there are many hearts and minds out there and many appropriate messengers for them.

So, I thought about Trump’s remarks and I thought about “which is the best way to reach young men”? And I thought back to my life 35-40 years ago (yes, I am old) and I thought “whose words made an impression on me”?

When it came to “women and the military” the discussion of “should women serve on submarines” came up. The “pro-integrating women” voice that stuck with me: the engineer of a fast attack submarine (a Naval Lt. Commander). I thought about the submarine captains.

Earlier than that, I thought about the younger men who I admired, sports coaches and the like.

That is when it occurred to me: the voices that will most reach the young guys are those who come from “those who have what I want”; that probably includes CEOs, military officers (both commissioned and non-commissioned), athletes, etc. And because I was a nerd, well, I respected the engineers and scientists. Liberal arts professors and outspoken feminists: not so much; I had no desire to “be like them”.

I suppose a version of that still holds for me today. When someone posts a Salon, Huff-po, or Vox article with the title “here is what men get wrong about X” , I don’t even bother to click the link. On the other hand, if Paul Krugman or Steve Pinker say something, I listen (or read). If someone is where I want to be (or wished that I were there), I pay more attention to them.

October 9, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, social/political, walking | Leave a comment

Fall Break 2016….


Workout: easy 5.3 mile walk in 1:22 (15:16 pace for the dark, hilly course). I’ve come to accept the fact that I am no longer a fast walker. For me, 15:xx is now a “deliberate” pace, the way that 13:xx once was.

But I can still walk, and I enjoyed seeing the bunnies and dark squirrels (some are labrador black). And it is fall break and I’ve got a football game tomorrow (Illinois vs. Purdue).

Note: over the last 4 meetings, the visiting team has won each time. The last time Purdue was here…well watch from 7:30 to 10:30, IF you have a strong stomach.

Still, the Illini are favored by 11 and should be able to win..but I said that 2 years ago.

October 7, 2016 Posted by | college football, football, walking | | Leave a comment

And the race approaches “steady state”…

Workout notes: weights then 5 miles.
Weights: some weightless squats, rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10: strong)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185
incline press: 7 x 150, 10 x 135
military: dumbbells: 2 sets of 15 x 50 (seated, supported), 10 x 40
rows: dumbbells: 3 sets of 10 x 50
head stand (ok)
abs: 2 sets of: 10 yoga leg lifts, 10 moving half bridges, 12 twist crunch.

run: frog boil (2 minute intervals: 5.2 up to 7.1, getting to 4 miles in 39:13, then 15:43 mile walk.

Electoral Vote and Election Projection are almost in agreement, differing on 2-ME (323-216 or 322-215). Probability of an HRC victory: upshot: 81 percent, 538: 74 percent (polls plus), 85 percent “now cast“, Princeton has it at 92 percent. Odds: vary from 2/5 to 3/10, with most bookies having it at 4/11.

Yes, Trump might still win, but it is looking terrible for him.

My maps: Clinton landslide (improbable), Clinton squeaker, Trump win (improbable). I think that Electoral Vote-Election Projection have it right (322-323 to 216-215)




October 6, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, running, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment