Confessions of a wimpy lifter…

Ok, an older wimpy lifter.

No, I am not this bad.

But I’ll confess to a few things:

1. I often quit a set when I still have a few reps to squeeze out. Yes, I know this goes against everything I believe in. But here is an example of what usually happens: I was doing decline bench presses.

No, I look nothing like this guy. 🙂

I had 7 reps with 170 and felt that I had a few more in me. But, I also remember tweaking my shoulder a few weeks ago…when I tried to squeeze out those final two reps. So I just set the bar on the rack.

I am at the point where the extra potential gains from an extra rep or two do not offset the potential of having to lay off a month or two due to injury. That is just how it is.

2. I haven’t improved in years. Oh yes, in 2017 I did get up to 7 x 185 in the bench (do 4-5 reps lately) but I had let my weight get up to 205 lbs. That hasn’t changed since, oh, about 2009-2010 or so. I’ve been weak for a long time and it isn’t getting any better. I do hit mini peaks and mini valleys but those are really local.

3. Pull ups: those last couple of reps in each set; probably would not count in a competition..especially on my 4’th a 5’th set of 10. I do NOT swing much though; too afraid to. And yes, the middle finger of my left hand is a bit sore right now, so I used a grip that protects it.

4. I am embarrassed at how weak I am; I try to get to the weight room when there are few people there. Reality: a younger guy who lifts regularly and is within shouting distance of my weight (200 lb or so, though I’ve been as light as the high 180’s), well, they will be a LOT stronger than I am.

5. The weights do not feel any heavier than they once did; it is just that I don’t have enough strength to make the lift. E. G., 200 lb. on the bench feels like it always did; but now I can get it..ONCE as opposed to the 11 times I could get bodyweight when I was in my 20’s. And forget 300-310…that felt heavy to me, but I got it (albeit at a bodyweight of 226). Now I could not even get it off of the rack.
It is as if someone put a straw into my muscles and sucked out all of the muscle and filled it with jello. My height, weight, and even waist size hasn’t changed much but the “filling” has changed.

Workout notes: weights (usual pt and abs, yes, I did plank and yeah, I hated it (2:30)), pull ups: 4 sets of 10, 5-5, incline: 10 x 135, 7 x 150, decline: 7 x 170, military; 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer, walk on the track: 2 miles in 27:47 (14:15, 13:32), lane 2, deliberate to modest effort. Did enough to get sweaty.

Baseball: caught a game with Barbara last night; Vickie was there too but did not sit with us.

Early before the Chiefs vs. Snappers.

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Though the Chiefs started out with a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Beliot rallied and just whipped the Chiefs 6-3. Sometimes a team with a worse record whips a team with a better record. The Chiefs started a pitcher that threw a no-hitter a week earlier; he gave up 8 hits and 3 runs this time. Beloit got strong relief pitching.

The game lasted 3:10 and the stands were pretty empty toward the end.


June 13, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Monday noon baseball: Chiefs win 1-0

Today was a noon game; this time, it wasn’t one of those “school/daycare” type of games. So the crowd was down, though there were a ton of “seniors” there.

I was there too, wearing the free shirt that they passed out yesterday.

Wearing yesterday's free t-shirt to today's game.

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Goat in the stadium.

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This time, the Chiefs won a tense pitcher’s duel 1-0, getting their lone run in the first inning when a runner scored off of an “off the wall” triple. That was it. Later, the Chiefs were “robbed” of a run when, with two outs and runners on 1’st and 3’rd, a hard line drive which was destined for the outfield hit the runner running between first and second, thereby causing the 3’rd out.

There were some tense moments though. In the 5’th inning, 5he starter, who pitched well, loaded the bases by walking one batter and hitting 2 other batters. But a short ground ball was fielded by the catcher who made the force out at home. Then in the 9’th, the lead off batter was hit by a pitch then, instead of bunting, the second batter hit into a double play. But then a hit and an infield hit made things interesting. But a ground out force out at 3’rd ended the game.

The Chiefs starter allowed 2 of the 7 hits in 5 innings, walked one and hit a couple of batters. Much better pitching than yesterday!


The had old, wheelchair bound people throw out the first pitch. Needless to say, neither old man threw it much past the mound. Some clapped. I could not.

"First pitch". I had mixed reactions to "cheering".

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These are men, not kids. I can see encouraging a kid to keep trying. But, well, there is fine line between being realistic about one’s abilities and being condescending.

Workout notes: Lovely 2 mile walk after the game; I walked to the Riverplex parking lot from the stadium and back.

Before the game: weights: (felt bloated and my left middle finger is sore from Saturday (?)

usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10..trouble with the “palms facing each other grip”, bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, decline: 7 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military: 10 x 50, 10 x 45 (thick dumbbells), 10 x 180 machine, rows 3 sets of 10 x 110. Usual abs, and yes, plank still sucks (2:30).

June 11, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Now that was ugly

I did a brief 4 mile run between rainstorms. It wasn’t much and yes, I had to walk in the first .75 miles. But then I settled down to a steady jog.

Later: saw a Chiefs game. Ugh; the game was delayed by 1 hour due to rain.

Rain delay?

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But the tarp came up and we played.

First pitch, Bandits at Chiefs.

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Many did not show up.


And even Al, the corn who dances when the Chiefs score, lost interest.

We got pounded 9-0; The Bandits (whose record is within 1 game of the Chiefs record) shelled us for 13 hits, including 3 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs, one of which completely over the berm. The Chiefs pitcher also walked 8 batters. Chiefs: 4 hits, 2 walks. It was really no contest; their pitching was a whole lot better than ours today.

Note the shift that the Bandits used against certain left handed batters.

I circled the infielders in yellow.

Still, despite the bad day, the Chiefs are sitting very well for a playoff spot (based on the first half of the season; minor league clubs do this as rosters change with call-ups).

June 11, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running | | Leave a comment

Sticky, sticky

Stayed up too late after last night’s Chiefs game (they beat Quad Cities 5-1 behind some fine pitching and fielding)

Chiefs game; beautiful weather.

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Toward the end of Peoria's 5-1 over Quad Cities.

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So I didn’t get started with my walk until almost 9 am. Temperatures: 70 F, with 81 percent humidity at the start, 82 F with 62 percent humidity at the finish. Needless, my walk wasn’t very fast: 10.4 miles in 2:52 (16:33 pace) but it featured the 10 hills on the two 3 mile out and back segments, then 2 hills on one Cornstalk loop (1.4) and 2 more on a mini .93 mile loop. That is 14 all together. And, to be fair, the hills never felt that bad.

June 9, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

Chiefs vs. Bees: good series for the Chiefs, so far

I was blessed to catch a double header two nights ago, and a single game last night.

The double header: game one was won by the Chiefs 2-1 in the 8’th inning (double headers are 7 inning games). The Chiefs fell behind 1-0 and it remained there until the bottom of the 7’th when they tied it up. The pitching and fielding dominated (both sides). There was more action than the score might indicate though; the first inning ended 0-0 though Burlington managed to load the bases. Note: the Chiefs benefited from the “starting the inning with a runner at 2’nd base” rule in the first extra inning.

The second game wasn’t nearly as close; the Chiefs scored 1, 2, 3 runs in the first 3 innings and won easily 7-2. Though Burlington didn’t score in the first 3 innings, they still hit the ball well; they just didn’t get the runs to show for it. They did have a nice home run thought.

Last night: I went with Barbara, Tracy and her friends Debbie and Dave. It was fun time and the Chiefs dominated 5-0, getting outstanding pitching (starter allowed 1 hit over 7 innings) and the closer was smoking 96 mile per hour fastballs. The whole team fielded well…Burlington got 2 hits total, but strong fielding robbed them of some hits off of well struck balls.

Double header vs. Burlington. Muggy!

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"Who Let the Dogs Out" dance at Dozer.

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Torii Hunter Jr.

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Yes, that is Torii Hunter’s son…evidently talent runs in the family.

Wednesday game with Barbara, Tracy and her two friends Debbie and David.

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Stretching in the 7th with Tracy

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

Taking nothing for granted

Yesterday started well enough; my walk was slow but ok (16:10 mpm)

3:01 for this course. Too slow but what the heck.

I even got 2 innings of baseball (Chiefs won in 11 innings)

Lots of elbow room. Was it something I said?

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The day ended with everyone being ok (nothing life threatening, or even long term life degrading) but it isn’t how I would have chosen to spend the day.

But it makes me more grateful for the many times when I DO have choices on how I spend my day..that really is “most of the time”.

May 21, 2018 Posted by | baseball, walking | | Leave a comment

Clogged twitter so

Well, my Twitter feed is clogged with news stories about two rich people getting married so I have some incentive to get out there and…train.

More and more: my mind wants to do this and that, but my body rebels at doing the training that will get me to do this and that. Is it time for me to look for a running buddy? Yeah, I am still getting out there.

Last night I caught an exciting Chiefs game; the starting pitcher went 6 innings, scattered 4 hits and struck out 10. The Chiefs got 4 runs in that span.
But his is A level ball (that is, it is a developmental league where winning isn’t the most important thing) and so they pulled him (had his desired number of pitches) and Kane County jumped on the reliever for 2 home runs and hit a couple of batters. A second relief pitcher came in and settled things down.

One of the home runs went over the berm and hit the sidewalk.

Still, it was a nice 4-2 win.

Friday Chiefs game: her first of the Chiefs season.

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I admit that I enjoy A ball and college ball. A level is a bit different than college in that there is more talent, there is less of a talent difference between the teams (e. g., no such thing as a game between a division I program and an NAIA program) and the talent is more polished. BUT, in A ball, winning is not the primary concern in A, though it is important. And the college game features a bit more scoring and it a bit less predictable.

Major league, of course, is the best, but the larger stadiums gives it a less intimate feel. I think that the AAA game I saw gave a bit of both; it was “major light” in terms of level of play, but had the smaller, but not too small, stadium for the intimate feel. You could get great seats without taking out a second mortgage.

BUT there was something a bit depressing about going to a Chiefs game when they have a good took me a while to put my finger on it.

I think it is this: I teach at a university and am used to seeing lots of young people. I go to gyms, run 5Ks, go to yoga classes..and run in parks. I tend to see people who are working out or are still healthy. The crowd at a Chiefs game…let’s just say that while on rare occasion I do see some fit people (one time I sat next to a national class racewalker) , most of what I see is pretty grim. For some reason, that gets me down a bit.

That is illogical as that has nothing to do with me.

May 19, 2018 Posted by | baseball, social/political | | 3 Comments

Sadness of Twitter; joy of a game…

Staycation day 3: workout, Chiefs game, a lovely lunch and then yoga class tonight. Love it.

But first about Twitter: there was a tweet from a pundit that talked about Trump “sinking”.
He really isn’t:

I added the smoothed green line to show the general trend. Not much to see here; it dipped a little and rose a little; right now it is between 42-44 percent, depending on which poll aggregate you use.

The above is from Fivethirtyeight (they weight the polls differently, according to accuracy, partisan bias, etc.)

And yes, on the whole, Trump ranks lower than Obama at the same point in their respective administrations:

So, that is clear enough? Well, no…I added that Trump was inching up but “still low” and some Trump supporter attempted to correct me by relying on the Rasmussen poll; the “most accurate” he says (not so fast; though it did have the most accurate “last national poll prior to the election” if one disregards margin of error and disregards how scattered they were in the previous days prior to the election)

And he really “got me” when he gave me a screen shot of the Real Clear Politics aggregate of the various states…one which called the close states ….toss ups (and did give Wisconsin a “lean Clinton”).
Clearly he does not understand what “toss up” means..never mind knowing what “stochastic” means.

And so it goes with Twitter discussions: people who don’t know what they are talking about decide to “educate” you. So I just up and blocked him; I am not going to waste my time with such people, even if they aren’t as nasty as others.

But on the other side of things: you see things like “Trump is sinking”, “blue wave” (unlikely…MAYBE we eek out a win in one chamber), etc.

I think that, when it comes to politics, I’ll just refrain from engaging and focus on reading articles.

The joy of a game

The Peoria Chiefs once again jumped on the relief pitching of the Clinton Lumberkings and rallied from 5-1 down in the top of the 8’th to win 7-5. The Clinton starter kept the Chiefs at bay and allowed 3 hits and 1 run while striking out 6 in 5 innings. But they went to a reliever in the 6’th (evidently his number of pitches were up) and the first reliever did fine for 2 innings. But the second one came in at the bottom of the 8’th and it was batting practice for the Chiefs: they got 6 runs off 2 walks and 5 hits as the Chiefs batted around.

Once again, it was a kid’s matinee and once again, Vickie was fun company.

Second kids matinee game. Vickie is on the left.

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And I got photobombed by Homer, the Chiefs mascot.

The work
Yes, I walked the 2 miles to the game and got a ride back from Vickie.

Weights: rotator cuff, pt, 5 sets of 10 pull ups (good), incline: 10 x 135, 5 x 155, decline: 8 x 170, military: 10 x 50 standing, 2 sets of 10 x 45 (note: I could not swing the 55’s into position in the seated, supported)
Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.

usual abs, and yeah, the 2:30 plank sucked, as usual. It always does.

May 16, 2018 Posted by | baseball, Friends, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Athletic burnout, summer and more …

First things first: I did my 6.3 mile (just over 10k) run/shuffle in humid conditions. I’ll try a 12 miler shuffle this weekend; IF that goes well, I’ll sign up for a couple of half marathons.

I came back to a Facebook post from a competitive racewalker (someone who was national class at the masters level; walked a judged 50K at a 10 minute per mile pace) and she has dealt with a weird, chronic fatigue for 5 years. I’ve noticed that some other friends have had that; it seems that they peaked, backslid and then reached a zone that they could not get out of and just were never the same. That happened to me after my best long distance walk (101 miles in 24 hours in May, 2004). Though I had other tough performances after that (29:34 100 mile walk on a tough course in 2005, 5:14 after a trail 100 in 2009), I really was never quite the same after I pushed myself that hard. I still cringe a bit when I think about that night…I really gave it my all.

And so I wonder: if many of us have some sort of “that’s enough” reaction from our bodies that just won’t permit us to ever dig that hard again. I am unaware of research in this area.

Academic achievement There was a bit of controversy in my narrow twitter world; someone in my academic circle made disparaging comments about junior college professors.
In part of my response I remarked that I am sure that MIT math professors see me as an idiot..and compared to them, I am! No biggie; it is like the Chiefs game I saw today. These class A players are all awesome baseball players (or they wouldn’t be there) but fewer than 10 percent of them will see the field in a major league game. That is just reality. Having class A talent puts you well into the “outlier” region of the bell curve even if it doesn’t get you to the majors.

But it is really gauche to rub someone’s nose in it.

Don’t get me wrong; 2 year professors do have some challenges; their student body can have quite a bit of variation. We had someone transfer from a 2 year institution win a math department award for academic excellence. On the other hand, some come to us very unprepared. Trying to teach a class with both kinds of students in it can be very challenging, especially when other students are taking classes between other responsibilities. So a JC’s professors job can be very, very challenging. But meeting these challenges is respect worthy, IMHO.

But I digress. What I find interesting is my saying that “I am not as smart as an MIT/Cal Tech/Berkeley math professor as ..well, a bad thing to say! I don’t get it.

Now the ball game Vickie and her friend Terra made it to the game to watch with me. It was a kid’s matinee game.

The Chiefs won 13-1. It was 3-1 (and still much in doubt) when Clinton went to a relief pitcher after he walked the first runner in the 5’th inning (he met his allotment of pitches?) Then the Chiefs jumped all over the relief pitcher and scored 5 runs, including getting a towering home run to left field which cleared the second white fence beyond the berm. The second relief pitcher had no better luck.


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A game with some friends..

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May 15, 2018 Posted by | baseball, education, Friends, running | , , | Leave a comment

Quitting: physical vs. mental

My Cornstalk 8.1 was dreadfully slow (hilly) 1:36:50: 48:21/48:29) 11:57 pace, BUT midway through I was about to bail. I wasn’t tired; I wasn’t injured; I just was tired of it and was tired of shuffling.

Yeah, that is slower than I was doing 2 years ago (when I was in the high 25’s for the 5K) but given where I recently came from and given that my foot hurt not at all..and that it was to turn out to be a warm day (80’s during the day) it really wasn’t THAT bad.

Yes, I’ve bailed due to nausea, fatigue, injury, cramps, etc. But today: it was all mental.

Later: making up for yesterday’s “play plus booooring church event”, I made a Bradley softball game (BU won 4-2, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning; increasing it to 4-1 in the bottom of the 6’th and then surviving a late Evansville rally, getting the final out when the second baseman held on to a pop fly despite being run into by the right fielder after the same fly…

Go Braves! Bradley Softball hosting Evansville.

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Evansville at Bradley.

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We went to Indian lunch; I dropped Barbara off and caught the last 6 innings of the Chiefs 5-4 loss to the South Bend Cubs. It was 5-1 when I got there and the Chiefs climbed back into it. But good relief pitching saved the day.

My personal double header: made it at inning 3. Chiefs down by 3.

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Stretching in Peoria. Chiefs down 5-4.

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May 7, 2018 Posted by | baseball, running | , , | Leave a comment