oh my back!

Workout notes: swimming; I did see Ms. Vickie at the Riverplex.

500 warm up, 5 x 50 fly/free, 5 x 50 back/free
12 x 50 fist/free on the 1:05
alternate 100: pull, free (5 of these)
75 side, 25 free.

I went to the office to work. That chair just kills my back; so I invested in a better chair. Well, see how it goes; it sure felt comfortable at the store and more comfortable than the best chair we have in our house.

Last night: the pain referred to my right hip; stretching the back made it feel better. I need to be serious about my daily back PT and perhaps 10-15 minutes of yoga a day.

June 15, 2015 Posted by | swimming, yoga | | Leave a comment

Age, and why I don’t call myself a runner.

Workout notes
Usual PT: hip hikes, rotator cuff, Achilles, press ups (back), down/up dog, side plank, abs (3 sets of 10: crunch, v. crunch, twist, sit back)

pull ups: 5 sets of 10
bench: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 1 x 195, 1 x 205 (so-so; a bit weak), 4 x 185 (body weight: 191, gym scale)
incline: 7 x 150, 8 x 150
pull downs: 3 sets of 10 x 160
curls: 3 sets of 10 x 80 (machine)
rows: different machine, 10 x 70, 10 x 90 (2 sets)
military: standing barbell, 2 sets of 8 x 85, 10 x 75

Left shoulder: sort of wonky in spots; not that bad.

Yesterday, I ran some on the university track. A couple of young guys passed me; one was only doing one hard mile and the other; maybe 2? I was doing 4 (35:14; 9:30 for mile 1; 8:47 mile 2, 8:27 each for the next two.)

Reality: when I was their age 30-35 years ago (!), I typically ran 2-6 miles a day. My typical pace: 6:20-6:30 on a good day (for the 2-3 mile runs); 7:30-7:45 for a slow day on the 6 mile runs. Had my college age self been on the track, I would have lapped my current self repeatedly. Don’t even mention the guys on the track and cross country teams!

It is worse than that; in 1985 (28 years ago), I weighed 225 pounds and ran 3-4 miles a day, 4-5 times a week. I showed up at a 5K race and ran 23:00 (7:25 mpm pace)…and that is STILL about 2 minutes faster than I can do now. I can imagine how insulted I’d be so see someone as fat as I was at that time *easily* lapping me repeatedly.

Nevertheless, I need to force myself to remember that every run, every walk, every hike, every lifting session and every swim is a blessing. I have only a finite number of these left (HOPEFULLY thousands but you never know). I need to savor all of them.

Why I don’t call myself a runner

It is all in the language and in how one grew up, so to speak.

I remember back in my college days, I had a friend who was recruited to run cross country for our track team. Though it didn’t pan out for him, he still won the freshman 3000 “campus” run, the 8.1 mile campus run, and could still run a 32 minute 10K and a 2:38 marathon.

He found out that I had run a 5:33 mile for our PE class and said “wow, that’s pretty good…you’re not a runner!” and I was NOT insulted in the least. I knew what he meant.

In high school, I played football (offensive tackle), wrestled and threw the shot (not very successfully). I still ran to get into shape for these sports; I managed to clock a 5:58 mile and 13:40 2 mile (as a 210 pound offensive lineman).

In college, I wasn’t an athlete but I “won” a freshman letter in crew (rowing) and was on our club judo team; I also lifted weights regularly and, yes, ran. In fact I managed a 41:10 10K and a 3:33 marathon. But I wasn’t regarded as “a runner”; these were typical “in shape young men” times.

Later, while in the Navy, I attended a seminar for the world military XC championship event. Some guys from one of the African countries were there and asked if “I ran”. I told them that I had just broken 40 minutes for the 10K; the response: “oh, so you just run to keep fit”. Again, I wasn’t insulted; these were 29 minute 10K runners I was talking to.

And so it goes with me now. Sure, I run races and I walk races; I used to swim and hope to restart that this semester. I lift as well. But my “sports upbringing” has stuck with me; I still see myself as an ex-football player/wrestler/shot putter rather than a runner; I run, walk, swim and lift because it is convenient and non-time consuming to pursue these activities…and I like measuring myself and measuring the effectiveness of my schemes and plans. And I enjoy these activities.

To me, the fellow on the left is a runner, and the guy on the right is someone who is attempting to run. 🙂


August 23, 2013 Posted by | injury, Navel Staring, running, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

More back PT and too hard of a workout

Though I enjoyed today’s workout, I probably overdid it, given that I am racing this Saturday. Oh well; I’ll have to take it easy in the first mile.

I woke up with a stiffer back than normal.
Track: 32 laps of the indoor track: 4 miles in 35:14: 9:31, 8:48 (18:19), 8:27 (26:46), 8:27 (35:14). It was too hard to be a tempo run as I was talking myself out of quitting in the last mile. Since the first mile was about 4:50/4:41, call the 5K 25:43 + 1:10 = 26:53. That would have been an ok race time in 2011. But it was perhaps a bit too hard for a workout. I walked 2 laps after.

Then i jogged (with a walk break) 2 miles in 21:20 to finish with 6 for the day.

Back: at PT I was given the following routine, to be done 3 times a week: adduction, abduction, leg presses, leg curls. That is pretty much what I’ve done off and on…now I have a reason to be very deliberate about doing that. I can’t neglect the leg presses as I am very weak in that exercise.

August 22, 2013 Posted by | injury, running | , | Leave a comment

Like this everyday


No, I didn’t run with her. But do you see the “arch” in her lower back? Mine is flat as a pancake; that is the cause of my back problems. I need mine to be more curved.

So, when I run or walk, I tell myself “arch your back!” and my posture improves a bit.

Today: I didn’t go to the track; I did my hilly 8.1 mile course instead:
10:27 at 1.03, 42:25 half way, 1:24:28 total (42:25/42:03), 9:03 for the last 1.03. Perfect day; one of my “Ollie heaven” days.

I finished with an easy 2 mile walk to cool down.

Other stuff


Languages in the US
Pink: Spanish. Green: Native American languages. Orange: Pacific Island languages. Mustard: German.

Screen shot 2013-08-20 at 10.33.50 AM

Large map: here.

Sharia Law ban
Oklahoma passed it but it didn’t pass Constitutional muster in a Federal court.. Look: US law supersedes informal agreements, period.

Why I enjoyed the book Better off without ’em


August 20, 2013 Posted by | big butts, injury, running, social/political, spandex, walking | , , , , | Leave a comment

Slow walking is painful: One piriformis/back mystery solved

I have at least two more PT appointments for my back, though I was told that my back flexion (32 degrees cold, 35 warmed up) was now well above normal, and well above the 15 degrees that I had at first.

BUT: I had mentioned to my therapist that my piriformis usually ached a LOT more while standing and walking slowly (say, walking with my wife) than it did when I was walking hard/”fast”.

She pointed out that going slowly puts more strain on the stabilizing muscles than walking faster. If this sounds strange: imagine riding a bike. It is easy to stay stable when riding; what happens as you slow to a near stop for, say, a stoplight?

But this also points out that I probably need even more core work.

August 18, 2013 Posted by | injury, walking | , | Leave a comment

68 minutes…

The academic year is getting closer so I decided to time my weight workout. Of course the gym was empty so I might plan on adding 10-15 minutes to this, which means I’d still have time for a 30 minute swim afterward.

PT: hip hikes, achilles, rotator cuff, abs (3 sets of 10: twist, sit back, crunch, v. crunch)
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (easy?)
bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (tough), 8 x 170 (ok)
incline: 8 x 150, 7 x 150 (ok)
super set: 3 sets of 10 each: rows (Hammer, 200), pull downs (160), dumbbell curls (30), dumbbell military (50).

That took 68 minutes.

Then I did more McKenzie (back), Williams (back), side plank, more abs.

Note: I got a minor tweak in my LEFT shoulder (not the one that I had injured in 2010); it seems to have died down, but I had better watch that, and perhaps do my “pulley” rotator cuff exercises on this side as well.

Also: Barbara was there working with Sue Neff; there was some banter.


Why are goats such good climbers? Note: those who weren’t good climbers…well, didn’t reproduce as well as those who were.

Why are some males more attractive than others?
The male genes get expressed more and the female genes get expressed less, at least in some birds. Or, put another way, the big birds don’t like “girly men”. 🙂

Forgetting humanity
This is an interesting essay from a medical student. He talks about being excited that he got to see a transplant operation. Of course, the operation meant…that someone else had died and it was easy to forget that.


Ok, how does scientific knowledge get refined? The usual way: people come up with conjectures (potential theories) and then they are held up to experimental tests. The conjectures are refined, tested, etc. Yes, when the potential theories are in good shape, they are often discussed and changes/refinements and competing theories are “debated” but not in a “debate” format.

This all takes time.

But most creationists don’t know this; they are swayed by stuff like this:


“Gee, those scientists won’t even debate us because THEY CAN’T WIN!!!! (via: Jerry Coyne)

So, how would you discuss this with someone who might find the above photo persuading?

I’d say try this:

1. “How would you feel if the effective of a medical treatment or an engineering design was decided in a debate format?” This might open the door to their seeing that a debate format doesn’t lead to scientific truth.

2. I’d invite them to surf to the websites of science departments at the major research universities (including those in their home state) and see, for themselves, what is being taught.

These things won’t persuade the hard core religious fundamentalists but it might be effective with the “on the fence” types who haven’t thought about it much.

August 16, 2013 Posted by | creationism, injury, science, weight training | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Running: skewed memory

Today: Cornstalk 6.4 mile course in 1:06:03; 37:29, 13:56 (51:25), 4:45 (56:10), 9:53
Cool. Legs felt good; I tried to keep it easy. This wasn’t an exceptional time (kind of slow) but I have to remember: I wasn’t exactly an invalid a week ago.

The back continues to feel better and the tingles have much reduced. I have to say with it.

Then I did 3 sets of 10 with adduction, abduction, push backs (130 for the last 2 sets), leg curls, and more McKenzie exercises.

No, I didn’t see her:


Though I did see a full parking lot at the top of Bradley hill and I saw a group of young people with an older person (40’s?) going up a small section of a path in the park; were they being instructed on how to run uphill in a cross country race? Not sure.

August 15, 2013 Posted by | big butts, running, spandex | , | Leave a comment

Today’s Back PT: I love it..

Good news: I gained from 30 to 35 degrees of back bend.

I also used this machine: I LOVED it.

August 13, 2013 Posted by | injury | | Leave a comment

Bust workout…

From time to time, a workout will be a bust and today was one such time.

Cool, breezy weather; easy 2 mile jog to warm up (felt great)
Track: plan was for 4 x 800
800: 3:56, rest 3:11 (400)
800: 3:56, rest 3:29 (400)
then I blew up on my 3’rd 800 (at about 500 meters); was 1:58 at 400
400: 1:58 rest 3:47 (400)
400: 1:57, rest 4:03 (400)
400: 1:58, rest 4:03 (400)
400: 1:56, rest 400
then 800 jog, 2 mile walk.

My guess: I may have not rested enough between reps 2 and 3. Also, I need to adjust to my new gait. It feels better and looser but I am not used to it yet.

The good: I still got 2 miles of sub 8 minute per mile running.
And I enjoyed myself: I finished with my back exercises.

August 13, 2013 Posted by | injury, running | , | Leave a comment

Hope for my running?

Today’s race and workout
Cool conditions, and my overall result was similar to what I was able to do at this time last year.

5K: 25:42. Splits: 7:56, 8:10, 8:44, 0:51.
Place: 124 out of 320
Yes, the first mile, while it felt easy, was too fast.
BUT, I noticed that while warming up, I felt better than I did in a long, long time. Running almost felt “easy”; the gait was much freer than the painful, slothful, “almost running in molasses” slog that it had become.

I think the reason is that my new back exercises (McKenzie) has really “freed” my pelvis, so to speak. I am spending less energy fighting my own body and more moving forward. I just need to practice this motion some more.

I got 2 miles of warm up and about 1.5 miles of walking to cool down.

Then I drove to Jubilee State Park and hiked the trails…and yes, got lost. I ended up with about 90 minutes of walking which I estimate to be 5 miles. But even this walking felt much easier than before.

At the race I talked to Art Harris; he was someone who ran cross country in high school and burned up the area races (3:10 marathon at 50 years of age; 20:00 5K at 60 years of age). He is now 78 years old and his capacity has diminished with age. He still ran just over 31 minutes though.

At the end, I found myself (again) yelling encouragement at the older runners; well, at least a the few that were behind me. Bill Holmes (mid 60’s) passed me in the last .2 miles and though I caught Mike Rucker (70) at about half way, I wasn’t able to sustain it…today.

Still…I feel energized and encouraged; I just need to keep at these back exercises and to let my body adjust to the newer, freer stride.

2011 version 8:41, 8:43, 9:40, 0:48 27:52 (4 mile hike afterward!)
2009 version: 7:49, 7:46, 7:48, 0:44 24:09

I’ve done 20:50 for this course but that was back in 1999.


5K (or close)

2012 2013
25:42 Brimfield: 7:56, 8:10, 8:44, 0:51
27:59 Aug. 5: Math Fest 5K 26:56 Rocket Run July 20: 8:27, 8:42, 9:46
26:07 Run for the Health of it July 14 8:28 8:49, 8:49 (AG) 26:32 5K run for the health of it July 13 (AG) 8:03, 8:02, 10:26
27:46 July 4 Firecracker 8:09 8:43 10:53 27:40 July 4 Firecracker
25:03 May 26 River Run 8:08, 8:07, 8:47 24:56 May 25 River Run
25:13 Race for the Cure May 12 (8:25, 7:34, 9:12) (AG) 25:48 Race for the Cure May 11
24:34 May 5 Run to Remember (7:54, 7:45, 8:54) 26:12 (3.18?) May 4: Sam Fan 5K
25:41 Bradley U. April 28 25:29 (hilly) 20 April: BU women soccer 5K
25:14 CIDA March 31 (8:27, 8:17, 8:29) (AG) 25:14 March 23: New Interplanetary 5K
25:08 Interplanatary March 24 (8:14, 8:19, 8:34) (AG) 27:04 (3.25?) 2 March: 5K Jack Kenney (AG)

Note: So far, at the 5K, 2012 has been 23 seconds faster (per race) than 2013. But when we compare similar courses,(7 of the events), the difference is 13 seconds per race. However, the post marathon 5Ks have been remarkably similar (4 seconds per race).

best: 24:34 2012, 24:56 2013 (22 seconds)
median: 25:14 2012, 25:45 2013 (31 seconds)

PS: this is from 2005, when I was whining about not being able to break 23 minutes for a 5K.

August 10, 2013 Posted by | hiking, injury, running, Uncategorized | , , | 6 Comments