2018 Steamboat: sweltering, sweet failure (and climate change is killing me)

Ok, I complain about this race every year (MY PERFORMANCE, not the execution of the race, which is always stellar). And today, I did far, far worse that I’ve ever done; more than 20 minutes slower than my walking PB, and I actually ran parts of it.

I’ll get into the reasons a bit later in this post; some are on me (the excess weight I am carrying) and some are unavoidable (injury earlier in the year, age, and the suffocating temperatures)

But I got to spend time with a friend that I don’t see nearly enough of and that made it MORE than worth it. I enjoyed the morning, even with my comically bad performance.

The race itself: I jogged out of the gun easily (so I thought) and was 10:55 at mile 1 and 22:15 at mile 2. Yes, I would have loved to have maintained anything resembling that pace. But I was already sweating and knew I wouldn’t last much longer, so I basically slow walked it (mixing in a bit of jogging here and there) the rest of the way. My 5K splits were a complete joke:


I did talk to a few fellow stragglers. I saw Tracy and Jason before the race, and Vickie handed me water just past mile 7.
But the highlight of the race was the social aspect. Lynnor met me at our house at 5:35 am; we visited and walked 2 miles to the start. We started together; I got ahead, she passed me just prior to mile 3 and it was “see you later”.

We had an ongoing “war of words” on Facebook and she (good naturedly) rubbed it in when she crushed me (2:01). We visited afterward and then walked 2 miles back, stopping at Starbucks for coffee and refreshments (my breakfast).

Bad performance on my part, but a good time nevertheless.

Usual: my feet sometimes hurt; it feels as if there is a rock in my shoe at times, even when there isn’t. But mostly, I kept the effort below the “risk getting sick” threshold. My left heel ached a bit afterward but really didn’t affect me during the race itself.

Reasons for my poor performance: too heavy (199, that is MY fault), too hot (I never did well in heat and I am getting worse), and I didn’t start running (and seriously walking again) until March. Even then, it was short stuff and my longer stuff has been “easy intensity” (16-17 mpm). If I am serious about a fall marathon (7 hour time limit), I need to lose 10 lbs. and to do some walking speedwork ..get comfortable with a 14 minute pace again. And I need to choose a race where the weather is likely to be cool. A day like last year’s Quad Cites: I’ll just drop to the half. I cannot handle heat for any length of time.

Photos: (more will follow)

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Before she kicked my butt!

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Before our warm up walk. Steamboat 15k.

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Lynnor took the finish photo. Note the shirt: I got that at a half marathon in 2014…that I ran in 2:15 (ok, in cool weather).

Climate ChangeThe historical average for this time of years (days within plus/minus 7 days of today) has been: Low 61, high 82, which would translate to about 63-64 at the 7 am start.

But here are the past few years (at 6:54 am via Weather Underground)

2011 70 F, 90% humidity (+6)
2012 74/68 (+10)
2013 68/73 (+4)
2014 56/84 (-8)
2015 68/78 (+4)
2016 67/66 (+3)
2017 73/90 (+9)
2018 76/82 (+12)

Climate change is kicking my butt in this race.

Race data: yes, there was a tiny bump up from last year, which was unusually small, by historical standards.

year 4m 15K 4k/2m big 2 all change 2 % change change all % change
2013 3124 866 98 3990 4088
2014 2613 776 111 3389 3500 -601 -0.150626566 -588 -0.143835616
2015 2443 805 156 3248 3404 -141 -0.041605193 -96 -0.027428571
2016 2347 822 157 3169 3326 -79 -0.02432266 -78 -0.022914219
2017 1781 666 151 2447 2598 -722 -0.227832124 -728 -0.218881539
2018 1859 653 122 2512 2634 +65 +.0266 36 +.0139

Past Results

1998: 15K 1:08:22 183/844 (sticky) Was running just under 20 for 5K in those days. 22:50/23:05/22:27, 29/71 AG
1999: 15K 1:07:53 place was a bit worse; roughly 20:40 for 5K in these days 22:38/23:01/22:13
2000: 4m 27:51 After a 10K/half marathon double and 1:35 half a few weeks earlier.
2001: 4m 29:13 Lake Geneva Marathon 3:40
2001: 15K 1:11:16 (126/381) Fall 15K 23:20/24:04/23:51
2002: 4m 43:15 (walk)
2002: 15K 1:14:33 (run; fall) 167/405 24:10/25:07/25:16
2004: 4m 33:10 (two 24 hour walks in May; 101 and 88)
2005: 15K 1:23:13 (26:40/27:39/28:43) McNaughton 100 in April, Marathon on Memorial Day.
2006: 4M 42:10 (walk), FANS 24 in June (83 miles)
2007: Walk with Barbara
2008: Walk with Barbara
2009: run 1:27:23 (9:22 mpm) Place: 519/726 29:21/29:49/28:43, 34/43 AG
2010: walk 4 miles 39:32.
2011: walk 15 km 1:48:02 37:12/36:24/34:26
2012: run 15 km 1:36:55 29:26/33:54/33:35 679/835
2013: 15K 1:29:04 (29:34/29:53/29:38) 40/50 AG, 552/866
2014: 1:29:57 (29:22/30:46/29:49)
2015: 1:34:28 (30:49/32:49/30:50) (2 weeks after FANS 59.9) 579/804, 376/461 males, 173/219 male masters, 36/43 AG
2016: 1:41:57: 31:40/34:37/35:40 667/822, 413/458 male, 196/221 master male, 30/33 AG.
2017: walk 1:55:52: 37:04/39:41/39:07 Just not in very good shape.
2018: 2:15:55 walk/jog…gave up after 2 miles and mostly walked (22:15). 39:20/48:19/48:16

June 16, 2018 Posted by | Friends, running, walking | , , , | Leave a comment

Sometimes I get it right (workout wise)

Pink bismuth appears to have calmed my stomach down a bit…wonder what was wrong?

It was sticky when I went out this morning (76 F, 76 percent humidity) and well, gagging. But I wanted to do SOMETHING with a bit of quality and anything resembling distance would have been a foot dragging shuffle. So I settled for a hilly 5 mile run/walk where I jogged 1.3 miles to the bottom of Bradley Park and then ran the uphills hard (and one straight away) and walked/jogged the recoveries.

I did it right; by the time I got to the top of each hill, my legs were heavy and I was gasping for air. But I had enough recovery to do the next one hard; so in a 3 mile stretch I had 6 repeats lasting between 1:30-2:30, all were slightly different, and all eventually hurt. I focused on knee lift.

I need to do this workout more often. This isn’t enough work for the serious runner or the younger runner, but it was fun for this old man to do something other than a foot dragging shuffle.

And I didn’t even think about my foot..not even once.

May 31, 2018 Posted by | running | , | Leave a comment


73 F with 90 percent humidity at the start; 87 with 63 percent at the end. The whole walk took me 3:46 to do; 13.2 miles (modified Boredom to the Run to Remember turn around on Grandview and back plus a loop to Moss via Glenwood. It was 17:10 per mile at my “easy…leisurely even…but steady and deliberate” pace. Today: it was enough.

I had some foot ache yesterday and some slight ache today; nothing serious. But I’ve done enough.

May 27, 2018 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

Embracing Reality

This is an appropriate topic given that I gave my last final of the academic year; of course the reality is that I now have to grade them. 🙂

Political reality If you followed my Twitter and Facebook feed, you’d guess that Trump’s ratings are in the tank and that he is going down soon. But his actual ratings, while not good..ok, they are still bad, given where the economy is…are UP..not down.

Real Clear Politics 44.4 as opposed to the 37-38 they were in December 2017.

Fivethirtyeight 42.1, as opposed to the 36-37 they were in December. That is about 6 points below where Obama’s were at a similar period..though Obama’s numbers were taken when the economy was barely starting to recover.

Walking Walking weather was downright glorious this morning…I couldn’t have ordered better weather. I used “Map My Walk” to measure what I thought was a 5.2 mile course…to find it was 5.2 miles.

I averaged 14:15 mpm walking on a sort of hilly course. I was pleased as this was faster than recent walks (and I wasn’t really pushing it that hard; I was being “deliberate”)..and my feet did not hurt!

But the reality: I averaged about that pace back in 2004..during my 24 hour walk (23:40 for 100 miles). Sigh…

Peoria Chiefs: I caught last night’s 12-3 victory over the South Bend Cubs. I saw a couple of home runs, a “clear the bases” double with bases loaded, etc.

My yoga teacher paid me a visit and watched 2-3 innings with me:

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Here is the other one.

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Jedi Homer.

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Norm and Al are back!

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It was a fun evening.

May 5, 2018 Posted by | politics, politics/social, walking | , , | Leave a comment

Using the “block” feature liberally…

In my day to day life, I cannot avoid the “less than intelligent”, including some of these who are so sure that they are right.

But can on social media; I have gotten to the point where I block on the first instance of self-righteous stupidity, even if the person is likely to vote the same way that I do. I have to be tolerant at my job; not so on my free time, or at least on my “optional” free time.

Discussing any issue that is the least bit technical or contains any nuance at all is also a waste of time. Here is a post about evolution (written by a genuine expert). The issue: evolution is a stochastic process; there is an element of randomness to it, as it is based on genetic mutations. But there are forces which give certain mutations a higher probability of attaining a higher frequency in a given population; this is where multiple alleles come from. One such force, of course, is natural selection (and yes, genetic drift exists..some mutations are fitness neutral).

Well, that is too much complexity for some to handle; as soon as they see “random” (as in mutation) they think “how could we have come about by a purely random process?” This is the “wind blowing parts to make a 747 argument.

So, if I like the person, I might recommend a few of my favorite books written by genuine experts and remark that it would be interesting if so many fields, such as biology, paleontology, geology, physical anthropology and biochemistry, along with every major science department, science museum and science lab were in a conspiracy to deny the truth.

But I won’t be able to convince them of anything, and frankly, the probability that all of these expert sources will be able to is also next to nil.

It just isn’t worth my time and effort.

Workout note: I had a final and some student meetings, so I decided to just run my hilly 10K + course. It was 65 F, 97 percent humidity when I started. Yes, I was a sweaty mess when I finished. No, I did NOT even think about starting my stopwatch. At first I balked at trying; I think that my long history of failed training runs has turned me into a headcase, even though MOST of my runs turn out successfully.

This one did was fine. However I did notice that I got two green lights when crossing Main and was sort of disappointed; I was looking forward to “guilt free” rest. No heel pain at all, but then again, I did little other than just shuffle in place.

May 3, 2018 Posted by | evolution, running, science, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

Long way to go

About to get back to work on exams.

Pool was closed, so I ran outside (unfortunately after eating..ugh). Total: 6 miles, about half of it walking. Jogged 1.5, did a 1.25 mile loop in 11:18 (10:30 to 11 minutes 2 years ago), jogged and walked, ran the “to Upper Bradley Park) hill hard and got passed by a young guy doing the finishing part of his steady state run..that was embarrassing.

BUT…no heel issues. So I have only obesity and being out of shape to deal with..not a bad place to be going into the summer. I have to be patient though.


About “political correctness” on campus, this kind is the worst type:

Virginia’s largest public university granted the conservative Charles Koch Foundation a say in the hiring and firing of professors in exchange for millions of dollars in donations, according to newly released documents.

The release of donor agreements between George Mason University and the foundation follows years of denials by university administrators that Koch foundation donations inhibit academic freedom.

University President Angel Cabrera wrote a note to faculty Friday night saying the agreements “fall short of the standards of academic independence I expect any gift to meet.” The admission came three days after a judge scrutinized the university’s earlier refusal to release any documents.

The newly released agreements spell out million-dollar deals in which the Koch Foundation endows a fund to pay the salary of one or more professors at the university’s Mercatus Center, a free-market think tank. The agreements require creation of five-member selection committees to choose the professors and grant the donors the right to name two of the committee members.

This is a far greater threat to free thought than a few misguided, know-it-all snowflakes and a few kooky professors.

May 1, 2018 Posted by | education, running, walking | , , | Leave a comment

PF and outdoor running

I had a flare up of plantar fasciitis in my left foot this February and restarted light running in March. But I’ve kept it on the treadmill (walking outside, but running on the mill) until today, where I went outside and shuffled my hilly 8.1 mile course at a “I am so damned slow I don’t want to know” pace. Weather: glorious; sunny and 40’s. And I had no problems; minor discomfort on the final went away during my final flat mile. That’s it.

My guess is that the quicker (ok, somewhat less glacial) pace on the treadmill bothers it more than pavement. I still need to pick up the pace some; today was about finishing the “run”.

April 28, 2018 Posted by | running | , | Leave a comment

Something of a social/political change

You’ve probably heard about the “intolerant left”. That usually applies to people on college campuses, students, liberal arts professors and the like. But until relatively recently, the mainstream rank-and-file Democrats have wanted their lawmakers to reach compromises whereas the Republicans have stressed “our way or the highway”.

Well, a combination of Trump, The Turtle and noxious right wing media have lead to a change of attitude:

You know: if you keep reaching out only to get your hand bitten off (as Obama did) and to have the Republicans act so horribly, well, there are consequences.

And yes, there has always been an intolerant right wing…

(and no, I do not like it)

The results of this Pew Poll are interesting. Though there is certainly a correlation between belief in a type of deity and belonging to a religion, there ARE atheist Catholics and believing “none of the aboves” and “atheists who accept some sort of higher power”. A lot of belonging to a religion is ..well…social.

Workout notes

Kind of tired; last night: I went to the 5:30 core strength class instead of the 6:30 yoga class (Ms. V. put us through a good ab routine).

This morning: swim (low intensity): 500 free, 250 of fly drill/fly (fins), 250 of free/back, 250 of breast/free, 250 of side/free (last 50 side), 250 of 3g/free (fins) 250 pull then 100, 50 back, 50 free (strained in vain to keep up with Jason)

weight: 199.1 before, 197.5 after.

Then running: 2 miles of .25 froggy: 5.1-5.8, then 1 mile at 5.8 (10:20 pace), retreat to 5.1-5.4 (43:50 at 4 miles), last mile in 10:35 (54:25 for 5). No foot pain. Not that hard; not in the mood to push.

April 26, 2018 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, running, social/political, swimming | , , , , | Leave a comment

Progress: local, and non-linear

After having a few “I feel great” days, I had a more typical one. It happens. But the old injuries don’t hurt so that is good.

I was amused when I read about someone’s joy about getting stronger in running. Her feat, while not very good (she has done much better in the past), was an improvement from where she had been recently. And I “get” it; I really do.

So, I am someone who enjoys the workout posts, be they good (they uplift me) or bad (hey, I am not the only one who has a bad workout from time to time).

Workout notes: weights plus an easy 2 mile walk outdoors.
weights: usual PT
pull ups: 3 sets of 10, one 5-5, one 10 (not as good as Monday)
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 180 (getting there; no pain in the left shoulder but still being oh-so-careful)
incline press: 10 x 140
military (standing, dumbbell) 10 x 50, 15 x 45, 20 x 40
Hammer rows: 10 x 200
usual abs; headstand was easy
The 2:30 plank: I reeeeally wanted to skip this one today. Really.

April 25, 2018 Posted by | walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Up..then down…

Weight: 198.5 before swimming, 196.9 after. The swim: slow; 500 free, 250 of drill/swim, 250 of 25 fist, 25 free (with breaks), 250 of 25 fly drill, 25 fly (fins), 250 of 25 breast, 25 free, 250 of 25 free, 25 back, 250 pull, 4 x 50 free (tried to stay with was useless)

The run: 56:40 for 5 (34:17); did 5.1-5.5 every 5 minutes, then back down to 5.1-5.4, etc. I wanted to quit after 2 miles; not out of breath but bored and uninterested and unwilling to hurt. changing the pace kept me interested. Foot: some ache at 3.5, off and on the rest of the way. It is not 100 percent but still much better.

Touching: I got this from the Bradley Baseball team:

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Thanks Bradley Baseball!

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So, I’ll just say it: if you like sports, look beyond the mega crowd things. No, the baseball is NOT professional level, but it still very good and entertaining.
BTW, here is an excellent article about the various levels of minor league ball..and this clears up some questions I had. It also explains why I’ve seen some guys just crush the radar gun at the A level (90-100 mph at times) and yet not be quite ready for major league ball. At the pro level, the guys can hit the blistering fast balls if they know they are coming; the polished pitchers have to keep the batters off guard with a plan, change ups, moving pitches, etc.

BTW, I played at pony level, and I could hit bad high school level pitching. I couldn’t touch the better high school pitchers though.

April 24, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running, swimming | , , | Leave a comment