Starting to feel more like myself: Whiskey Daddle 5K and half marathon

Saturday: it came up sticky; 69 with 100 percent humidity to 70 with 93 percent.

And so I I thought. Mile 1: 9:07 (some uphill) and used the little downhill for 8:52..18:00 at mile 2 with a chance, so I finally break 28. Nope..exhausted up the small hill and gave into it a bit on the last 1.1 miles (some walking) 28:43.

I lost places. Yes, my overall finish was better, percentage wise than last week’s 5K, but last week’s 5K featured a LOT of students versus this older crowd which had a ton of newbies.

Today’s half marathon featured overcast skies at a starting temperature of 57..and it stayed cool.

I was a bit worried at first as I had gotten ahead of the 2:30 pacer for a bit..but she (and her 5:00 marathon pacer companion) soon got a bit ahead of me. At 4 miles I was starting to worry..but I was holding a mid 11 minute pace. That was to remain true, save the uphill mile, and the mile 10-11 where I took a quick “slower walk” break..then got back into stride.

This felt a bit like my old self; and OMG…massive eyestrain….lots of incentive to keep going.

There were some slippery spots heading toward the cemetery and the Main Street hill hurt, but nevertheless, I managed to hold it together..realizing I was not going to collapse.

11:56 (with bathroom)
20:38 (next 2) 32:35
23:25 (56:00 at 5)
11:08 (1:07:08 at 7)
11:43 (1:30:37 at 8
11:20 (1:53:10 at 10)
12:24 (break)
11:50 for the final 1.1: 2:29:23 for the final.

I needed that; this was my fastest half marathon walk time since 2014, which was the last time I broke 2:30 for the half marathon walk. No, my knees were NOT “racewalk legal”.

What was weird: It was almost as if my slow marathon 2 weeks ago (6:14, walking) was training for this half, which was a maximum effort. I did that marathon VERY conservatively.

After I got home, I sat out on the sidewalk and cheered the marathon runners (who were almost at mile 23); this included a few that I was with on the first loop.

October 7, 2018 Posted by | running, walking | , , , , | 1 Comment

A bit of college football

I drug Mat to a game where Illinois State hosted Western Illinois. And this game sort of reminded me of the Western Illinois at Illinois game. In the Champaign game, Western drove for a touchdown on their opening drive. The Illini took a 14-7 lead at the half and then lead 24-7 off of turnovers and a blocked punt. But it was 24-14 with Western driving into the 4’th quarter and ended 34-14. Total yards: 376 to 361, Illini.

The Illinois State vs. Western game: ended 33-16; here Western lead 13-12 at the half and 16-12 going into the 4’th..when ISU took it over, thanks to good field position and a pick 6.

Total yards: Western won that 277-270 though Illinois State had the edge in yards at the half.

Opening drive: Western touchdown (much of the damage by passing) but ISU blocked the PAT and ran it back for a 2 pointer. Then 2 nice drives lead to a touchdown and field goal to put ISU up 12-6. BUT…a great punt return set up WIU with a short field and then “bam/bam”..a touchdown pass right before half time sent WIU into the lead.

Second half: at first the defenses dominated (ISU, WIU, ISU punts). Then on the next drive, WIU hits a 71 yard pass…but a desperation dive by the ISU DB tripped the WIU receiver just enough to where he lost his balance at the ISU 8. A TD was called back on a holding call, so WIU has to kick the field goal to go up 16-12, which was their last score of the day.

4’th: teams exchanged 2 sets of punts; then the ISU ground game gets going and they drive for the go ahead touchdown: 19-16. A pick-6 scores another touchdown: 26-16.

So WIU tries to get back in the game but fails on 4’th and 14 on their own 25; ISU takes over and drives it in, aided by one pass, which lead to the final score of 33-16. Yes, WIU took time outs during that final drive; they weren’t going to give up being down by 10.

Note the clouds moving in.

The weather was nuts: overcast and chilly, warm and sunny, rainy (for 10-15 minutes), warm, chilly again. Perfect Illinois fall weather.

More games:

The Illini beat hapless Rutgers 38-17:

Of course, Rutgers lost to Kansas 55-14 and to Buffalo (a MAC team) at home 42-13. This time, total yards weren’t that far apart 419-386, though the Illini got 330 yards rushing.

I’ll know more after the Purdue game.

Personally, I think that the Illini will win once more this season: 1 game from Minnesota, Purdue, or Nebraska. Northwestern and Maryland (road) will be tough sledding…and IMHO, forget Iowa or Wisconsin.

Navy got trounced by Air Force 35-7. Navy will be lucky to scrape up 2 more wins this season. Just not our year and Army looks great.

ND rolled 45-23 over Virginia Tech; they look as if they have hit their stride and..should be favored in each of their remaining games. That doesn’t mean that they will win them all though.

Texas: wild finish; up 45-24…OU rallies to tie, Texas FG with 9 seconds to go to win. After a loss to Maryland and a scare by Tulsa, UT has defeated 4 quality opponents: USC, TCU, Kansas State (road) and OU. But challenges remain vs. West Virginia, at Oklahoma State, at Texas Tech and the always tough Iowa State.

Predictions: I was 4-0 vs. the spread, and 3-1 straight up (missed the OU game).
Straight up: 15-7, spread: 11-10.

October 7, 2018 Posted by | college football, football | , | Leave a comment

Kavanaugh fiasco and the fissures in our country

Oh, did this fight over Kavanaugh open up a can of worms.

For one, the discussion of “ok, exactly how do you treat the testimony/stories of the alleged victims? The answer really can’t be put on a bumper sticker. And no, it isn’t as simple as “few allegations are false”…for many reasons.

And what was going on in THIS case? No, it isn’t always as simple as “one of them is lying” or “one of them got it wrong.”.

And as to who you believe or who you trust more or who you trust more to be accurate depends on many prior assumptions.
Liberals tend to see this as “yet another case of a powerful man getting away with it” whereas conservatives see this as yet another case of liberals besmirching a fine man for political gain.

And, the Republicans used the latter feeling, along with a discomfort with the “me too” movement to further political support. And given the make up of the Senate, the did not need as much total support as liberals would have needed.

Republicans aren’t going to be intimidated by “vote ’em out”, etc. Now about those midterms, here is the 538 forecast (Wang has the House as 50/50, Senate favoring the Republicans).

House forecast

Senate forecast

Senate composition

October 6, 2018 Posted by | political/social, politics, republicans, republicans political/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

I now have a list of “scroll past” words…

Much of the “discussion” I see online…especially on a collection of memes, cliches and slogans. It has gotten to the point to where, if I see those “buzz words”, I just scroll past. And if someone I do not already know (and like) tweets them to me, “instant block”. No, I won’t list them.

Workout notes: yesterday, easy, untimed run in Bradley Park (dark); 5.2 miles. Today: 2 mile walk on the track after a full weight workout:
rotator cuff, abs (plank, and some twist crunch and head stand): pull up (5 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185 (good), incline: 6 x 150, decline: 8 x 170 (good), military: 2 sets of dumbbell (standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 90 machine, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell, 10 x 60 dumbbell.

October 6, 2018 Posted by | running, social/political, walking, weight training | Leave a comment

College Football Predictions

Texas vs. Oklahoma in Dallas (yes, I watched this in person a couple of times)

OU is favored by 8; Texas has a 26.7 percent chance via ESPN. OU has had a couple of hard fought wins: 37-27 over a tough Iowa State team, and an overtime win over Army. They’ve blown away UCLA, Florida Atlantic (good record last year), and Baylor. UT has strong high profile wins over TCU and USC; and tough wins over Kansas State and Tulsa (got leads and let the other team come back) and a loss at Maryland.

I have to pick OU; they do appear to be better but, UT is stronger than the teams that gave OU trouble, so I predict a close, rockem, sockem game. Pick OU to win, UT to cover.

Navy -3 over Air Force; this is a mismatch by the ESPN power index which gives Navy only a 40.3 percent shot at winning. We’ve seen that before. Air Force has lost 3 in a row..albeit to teams that aren’t as good as the teams that SMU lost to. Navy lost by 1 in overtime to SMU, defeated an FCS foe easily and has a nice win over Memphis..and a blowout loss to Hawaii in the opener.

It is at Air Force. But ESPN power index be damned; on paper Navy appears better. It should be close. I just have a bad feeling about this..but is this a fan’s pessimism? I have to pick the Falcons to win..and yes, cover. It would not surprise me if this went into overtime or was won on a break.

Notre Dame -6 at Virginia Tech. The ESPN index has ND with a 64.6 percent chance. Va. Tech had an easy win over Florida State, a blowout win over an FCS team and they creamed a good Duke team…and…had a very embarrassing loss at Old Dominion. ND had an unexpectedly close win vs. Ball State, a tough win vs. Vanderbilt and 3 impressive performances (Michigan, Stanford and against a decent Wake Forest team on the road). ND appears to be rolling but Tech will play them hard. Still, maybe 7 points? I pick ND to cover …barely.

Illinois at Rutgers: battle for a Big Ten win? Rutgers has been dreadful. Period. Illinois..well…Illini fans are crowing about..a 39 point loss at home to Penn State? Oh goodness.
The Illini opened as 1.5 point favorites and now the line has moved to 4.5 to 5 points; the ESPN index says 62.8 percent. But this is the Illini’s first road game of the year and last year, they laid an egg on the road. The Illini can run the ball well..but cannot stop anyone.

Rutgers seems to have gotten worse from last year and the Illini, well, aren’t good, but aren’t quite as dreadful. Maybe the Illini win by, oh, 7?

So my picks: straight up: OU, AF, ND, Illini. Cover: Texas, AF, ND, Illini.

What I predicted last weekend:

Texas -9 at Kansas State (81.4 percent UT by ESPN)
K-state has gotten blown away by power 5 competition and has only a narrow win over an FCS team and a comfortable win vs. UTSA. UT has done much better. BUT after two big wins in high profile games with OU looming, is this a trap game?

UT to win; K-State..a bad cover.

Stanford + 5.5 at ND. Don’t know; Battle of undefeated teams; Stanford has beaten SDST (only loss), USC (not so hot) and had some good bounces vs. Oregon. ND: defeated Michigan, 2 narrow wins against “meh” competition and a blowout win against a not-so-good team.

I’d have to say that Stanford’s resume is better, though ND usually wins this game in South Bend. Got to go with my mind, not my heart.

Stanford to win and cover.

Win: UT, Stanford.
Cover: K-state, Stanford.

My season record so far: 12-6 straight up, 7-10 vs. the spread. Being a fan of these teams, I am prone to betting emotionally …in either direction. If I were to bet real money, I wouldn’t bet on these teams.

October 4, 2018 Posted by | college football | Leave a comment

Seeing it their way….

The Kavanaugh hearings has reopened some of the scars in our social fabric. Of course, I am hearing the old “how awful he is” stuff (and I tend to agree that he lacks the demeanor and temperament to be on the SCOTUS, and I deeply resent Sen. McConnell bellowing on about the politics of obstruction, when, in fact, he wrote the book on it).

But I think it is useful to remember that the set up the Senate gives vastly disproportionate power to smaller, mostly more conservative states and, on the average, conservatives have a different view.

Yes, even conservative women have a different view of the proceedings; many see them as deeply unfair to Kavanaugh. And, many see Ford as having political motivation…as either lying or exaggerating in order to help defeat the nomination. Hence they do not see Trump’s mocking of her testimony as mocking a victim, but rather the mocking of a dishonest political opponent who tried to pull a fast one on them. You see, to them, Trump had the “guts” to stand up to the feminist activists and tell them “forget about it…we see through you.”

And, to be honest, I think that there ARE problems with the #metoo movement, some of which are outlined here (and respectfully discussed; this isn’t some hateful hit piece).

The country is not monolithic and the people that we do not regularly associate with probably think differently than us.

Workout notesweights only; no yoga.

usual rotator cuff, back, plank (sucked) and headstand afterward.

pull ups: 5-5-5, 15, 10, 10, incline: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, decline: 6 x 170, military: 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 45, 10 x 90 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. It was “quick and dirty”.

October 4, 2018 Posted by | political/social, republicans, social/political, weight training | 1 Comment

Toxic Trump takes his toll…

So, what is Trump about? Some claim he is mostly supported by the entitled “elite” (both elite by economic birth and achievement elite..those who have a achieved but still feel cheated of honors and station)

Some say he is mostly about white nationalism.

Others contend he is about male privilege and misogyny …after all, he insulted a FEMALE reporter and, lately, mocked Dr. Ford’s testimony.

He sure provokes outrage. But not all of the outrage is expressed coherently and, well, people aren’t always at their best emotionally and logically when they are angry. And, at times, I find myself being unsympathetic to Trump’s critics even though I think that Trump is an awful president and unfit for office.

He has a way in bringing out the worst in everyone, I think.

Workout notes: 4 mile treadmill run, 1 mile track walk.
run: 11 minute mile (5.2-5.5 froggy for 10 minutes), 10 minutes at 6.7 (almost 2 miles in 20 minutes), 28:36 for 3 miles, 29:27 for 3.1, walk/jog to 39:30 4 mile.

October 3, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, running, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Watching dreams die

I’ve been fascinated by this topic for a long time; here is a post that I wrote 13 years ago.

What I am talking about: a young person grows up and maybe has a bit of success at something, be it academic, say, musical or in acting, or sports. They see the world around them and see the most successful getting public adoration and start thinking…”hey, that could be me!”

And the people around an attempt to pump up their confidence, encourage them. The result is predictable.

And yes, it is common…students routinely spout out lofty goals…and I smile and think to myself “if you achieve even 10 percent of that…you would have been successful.”

I posted some stuff about my life in the above link. The “TL;DR” version: making the varsity as a 10’th grader at a small high school doesn’t not mean that better things are ahead. And merely getting a Ph. D. from a genuine R-1 university in a STEM field is decent…but few of these are destined for science or mathematical greatness. I wasn’t.

And I see this is sports. I remember reading the account of a Hall of Fame football player’s son finding out that while his son was good enough to start for a SEC school (an awesome achievement), he simply wasn’t NFL material.

I remember watching a heavyweight boxing match. A prospect was making his first step to higher competition (but below “contender” competition). But he didn’t have it; the journeyman he was facing had little trouble with him…and afterward the boxer broke down and cried..realizing that his dream would be forever out of reach.

And I am seeing it in a former college player. He came to a Big Ten university having been “all state” in high school. But as time went on..his playing time went up, peaked..and went down in his senior year as he was beaten out by new prospects. But still, he had NFL dreams and the local media carried stories about his quest to get noticed by the NFL (participated in his university’s “pro day”…he talked about “IF he got drafted” or “what teams he might be called to try out for”.

Reality: he was not getting many snaps for a 2-10 team that failed to win any conference games. True, an Ohio State or Alabama might have 2-deep NFL talent at some positions, but not 2-10 teams, especially when they are coached by someone who has proven ability to recognize NFL talent.

And so the calls never came..and now he is on Twitter still begging NFL teams for a chance that will never come.

Facing up to “it is over..time to do something else” is very, very tough to do.

And yes, I’ve had to make adjustments at my profession.

Workout notes: weights and a 2 mile walk.
I was a bit bloated; 194.5 but..well, TMI…
PT, pull ups 5-5-5, 15, 10, 10, bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 6 x 170 (out of gas), 10 x 135 incline, military: 10 x 50 standing, 10 x 45, 10 x 45, rows: 3 sets with 10 x 50 dumbbell.
plank, headstand.

October 1, 2018 Posted by | college football, NFL, Personal Issues, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

In your face activism …

Just a question: have you EVER had your mind changed by someone getting in your face and calling you something bad? (e. g. an “idiot”, “moron”, “moran“, “heathen”, “un-American”, “sexist”, “racist”, “misogynist”, “rape apologist”, etc.)

My guess: “no”.

So why do so many continue to do this?

If it doesn’t work on you, what makes you think it will work on someone else?

Personally, my response to screaming is to put in ear plugs and to tune out. Get back to me when you are read to engage in a respectful, logical argument with verifiable facts.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | social/political | Leave a comment

The myth of an American meritocracy (NOT totally false)

Yes, I am using “myth” in the traditional sense: a commonly believed story that has meaning rather than “commonly held misconception”.

And yes, that is a common myth of America: there are no guarantees, of course, but you can go as far as your aptitude can take you, provided you make good choices and work hard (and, of course, avoid horrible luck..e. g., dying of a disease, etc.).

Now, many people will cry foul and point to, say, the most recent nominee to the Supreme Court (THAT is the “best and brightest”?), our current President, President George W. Bush or, to be fair, my current US Rep (who was basically hand picked by the party elite), or our current Democratic nominee for governor.

Ok, those, along with “the bosses offspring” might be highly visible “exceptions to the rule”. But there is data that confirms that we aren’t a pure meritocracy:

Figure A shows the percentage of people who have completed a college degree. It groups them into quartiles (groups of 25%) based on their performance in 8th grade mathematics and their SES. There are three test score groups—low score (kids scoring in the bottom quartile), middle score (kids scoring in the two middle quartiles), and high score (kids scoring in the top quartile). In each test score group (low, middle, and high) there are three bars shown, one for those in the bottom quartile in terms of SES (low income), one for those in the two middle quartiles in SES (middle income), and one for those in the top quartile (high income).

BUT…there is another side to things.

Our planes fly quite well. Medicine and science continues to advance. And you are reading this, aren’t you? Why? Consider the computer you are using, or smart phone, and the network that carried this post to you. Those didn’t occur by accident.

So yes, in many fields, the creme does rise to the top…though I admit that it is highly likely that many “diamonds in the rough” remain buried.

Therefore, I see us as a “sort of” meritocracy ..not quite a full one.

Workout notes: easy 6.5 mile walk (15:45 pace) on a hodgepodge of courses.

September 30, 2018 Posted by | social/political, walking | Leave a comment