Feeling my age: no “wife carrying” competition for me

Workout notes: 5 mile shuffle; 50 and drizzling. Really, that isn’t that bad for this time of year.

Age: The first sign that age was affecting me was back when I was getting close to 40; I tried a series of mile races and found that I actually had to work hard and train to get under 6 minutes (it was routine for me up until I turned 39 or so). I noticed that my 5K times were stuck at just under 21 minutes, though I improved to 1:34 for the half marathon.

But I switched to ultra walking; and that hid my decline a bit. The first time it really, really hit me was in 2009 after I had just turned 50. I was doing a hilly trail 30 mile walk and found myself really suffering in the final 8 miles or so; I strained, strained, strained to stay ahead of a pack of guys and wasn’t able to.

So at the “5 miles to go” aid station I lamented that I couldn’t hold the guys off…that the final set of hills was just killing me. Another ultra type (my age) said “remember that they (the guys I was trying to beat) are 30 years younger than you are.” THAT is when it hit me.

I was to get my knee repaired in 2010 (bucket handle tear in my meniscus) and when I finally got back into it, I was never quite the same. The knee does NOT hurt so I am glad that I had the surgery, but running and walking distances has gotten progressively harder since then.

Oddly enough, weights are still not that bad. I am weak (bench press: 5 reps with 185-190, 8-10 with 170; sets of 10-15 pullups until I get to 50 total) but not getting that much weaker.

And then I saw this:

And I thought: “well, if only I had a slender wife…” but in reality, that wouldn’t really help me. Back in, say, 1998-1999 I might have been able to pull this off with a smaller running friend, but no longer.

And, if the guy is strong enough (and I am not), the wife doesn’t always have to be THAT small (middle 2 photos).




02 Jul 2011, Sonkajärvi, Finland --- epa02806849 USA couple David and Lacey Castro make their way through the water hazard during The 16th Wife Carrying Championships 02 July 2011 in Sonkajaervi,Finland. They finished fifth. EPA/MARKKU OJALA FINLAND OUT --- Image by © MARKKU OJALA/epa/Corbis

02 Jul 2011, Sonkajärvi, Finland — epa02806849 USA couple David and Lacey Castro make their way through the water hazard during The 16th Wife Carrying Championships 02 July 2011 in Sonkajaervi,Finland. They finished fifth. EPA/MARKKU OJALA FINLAND OUT — Image by © MARKKU OJALA/epa/Corbis

March 6, 2017 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

Sore butt but…

This is not “butt hurt” in the metaphorical sense but rather “sore gluteal” muscles.

I’ve been trying to do squats


Main sets 4-5 sets of 5 with 45-50 lbs. done in this style. Lately, I’ve been getting more depth; I am getting below parallel now. In the past, I’ve overdone it and pulled a muscle. So I am approaching it slowly and yesterday’s sets left me a bit sore.

So today’s warm up was a bit sluggish; I felt tugs and pings at first. But eventually I warmed up and I did my “sprint the hills” workout…jogging and deliberately walking a few steps prior to each hill rep and walking a few steps after. If I can keep running after cresting the hill, I did not do the hill hard enough.

The idea is to feel “mile race” intensity during each rep (6 in all; one is a flat rep from the bottom of Cornstalk hill to the parking lot)

When I got going, I was fine. But I wonder if I went hard enough? The total is 5.1 miles and it took me about 1:04-1:05 to finish it all.

We’ll see where this leads; my guess is that stronger gluteal muscles will lead to fewer problems with my back. And the next time my yoga teacher yells “nice ass” at me…maybe she’ll be actually telling the truth? 🙂 Nah.

February 15, 2017 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

Short but sweet…and painful ….indoor workouts

Winter is coming; we will have the usual snow, sleet and cold. That is typical for this time of year. And yes, I already did my usual blood donation, so my aerobic capacity is down.

And yes, I am dealing with the effects of aging; while I might run faster, say, this week than last week, my running times from a decade ago are all but impossible for me to meet. And there is the fact that I’ve had some injuries too.

But at times, I get the feeling that “I just can’t get “into shape”, no matter what I do!”.

The same applies for swimming (which I need to get back to) and lifting (which I do regularly).

This year: I am going to try to reclaim a bit of 5K “speed” (can’t say that with a straight face) which means doing some indoor workouts. I’ll also have to have, say, a “once a week” “sort of long” run (1:30 to 2 hours).

But what about the intense stuff? These typically take less than 1 hour to do, even with the “loosen my back” stuff to start with.

Yesterday, I did the “Deek” workout (which is one of the favorites of Robert De Castella, a famous marathon runner)

Warm up (1 mile on the treadmill works)
8 x 400 at a 5K effort pace, with 200 run between 800’s..NO WALKING..this 200 should be at my “basic training pace”, 200 to make 5K. My time was 30:44; typically I am about 2-3 minutes slower than my 5K race pace. I could do this in 22-23 when I was running a 20 minute 5K, and 26-27 minutes when I was running 24 minute 5K races
cool down.

Others: warm up, a few strides, 1 mile HARD, cool down (track)

warm up: then 3-5 of the following on the treadmill: (2.5 minutes at increasing speeds (6.7, 7.0, 7.5, then 6.0 for 2.5 in my 25 minute 5K days), cool down. or
warm up: then 3-5 of starting at a tempoish pace (say 6.3-6.5 mph) and doing the following elevation changes: (1-2-3-4-0), cool down

Anything to mix it up and not make it too emotionally tough. 🙂

December 10, 2016 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

building back up…

Workout notes: treadmill: 10 minutes of warm up (4 at 5.2, 4 at 5.3, 2 at 5.4), then 20 at 6.7, 6 at 6.8, 1:52 at 6.9, 15 minute mile walk to cool down (52:52).
Technically: 3.128 miles in 27:52 or 8:54 mpm, very close to what I averaged for the race this past Thanksgiving.

But it was easier as it was indoor (0.5 elevation) and I started out a bit slower.

Then I did some light leg stuff, (goblet squats, dumbbell lunges); some of the stuff I discussed with Mama T this past Sunday. My left hamstring has a very minor ping.

What should my goals be? A 24:00 5K at 49 years of age (my 2009 best) translates to 25:38 at 57; I was in the 25:50’s this year at my best. Ah…that is doable. Going under 25 …ugh..going to have to work hard for that.

November 28, 2016 Posted by | running | , | Leave a comment

Congratulations to us for not being out there shopping…

Yes, that is what one lady said as she ran past me out on the Riverfront trail. I was out for an easy 5 mile walk on a gray, but seasonal day…after lifting weights.

One my way back to the locker room, I heard two Trump supporters talking; one mentioned that he hoped that Trump’s 35 percent tariff would “bring back manufacturing”.

The walk: I was thinking about running but my legs said “no way”. Building back up is going to be a long process.

The gym was not crowded at all.

Bodyweight (after weights, before walking) 191.7 on the Riverplex gym scale

Rotator cuff, pull ups (4 sets of 10, then one 5-5 where I switched grip)
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 10 x 170 (strong)
incline press: 10 x 135
military presses: 2 sets of 8 x 50 dumbbell (standing), 10 x 180 machine.
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm.
headstand (shaky), 2 sets of 10 yoga leg lifts, 12 twist crunches

Running: from yesterday’s waddle:


I wanted to catch these two women who beat me by 11 seconds (by the clock, 3 seconds by the chip). And I wanted to catch the gray beard (10 years older than I) who beat me by a few seconds. No dice.


What gives? I haven’t done those 1:30 runs that give me strength, nor those steady, good effort 1-1:10 runs. Everything, save one little tempoish run a week has been at recovery pace, and not much of that.

Plans: I think that it is time for me to focus on getting some 5K “speed” back and not worry about distance for a while.

November 25, 2016 Posted by | running, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Damned course keeps getting longer every year (Chocolate Turkey run)

Ok, I did the Peoria Chocolate Turkey Race again, and did it slower than ever: 26:54 for 3 miles: 8:48, 8:47, 9:20. Yes, that last split was for a mile, not 1.1 miles. I faded; I could tell by how much I got passed. Oh, I could make an excuse; I was tracking a MILF who was rocking some cute VPLs and she stopped to tie her shoe..and that took away some of my spirit. But mostly, my legs were getting heavy.


My place wasn’t terrible; almost upper 1/3 of my 50-59 age group (I am 57), just better than half of all males and a bit better than upper 1/3 overall. That is what happens at large races.

And yes, this was simply a glorious day to run (high 30’s, no rain, usually that means a fast time for me).

Highlight of the race: as I was warming up, a nice looking lady yelled “nice ass” as I ran past. Those who know me well know who yelled that.

2013 24:56
2014 24:53
2016 26:54

Note: the race has grown steadily; over 800 finishers this year; just 187 the first year, then 400 then 610.

No, it isn’t all age; I’ve gained a few pounds…and am lifting heavier weights than I could a few years ago. Bodyweight: 193.0 Bradley gym; 194.5 home digital.

The other factor is that in the two “slower” years, I did a marathon in the fall. I did NOT do one in the two “faster” years (did a spring marathon or longer instead).

November 24, 2016 Posted by | running | , , | Leave a comment

I’ve given up…this has been coming for a long time

This morning, I wasn’t under work pressures so I slept in longer and reluctantly pushed myself out of the door.

I ran..shuffled really…10K plus on my hilly Cornstalk/Bradley Park course. It was a lovely fall day; sun..chilly windy, and leaves everywhere. Traffic was mostly minimal.

And I didn’t bother with my stopwatch; in fact, MOST of my runs and walks over “known” courses are like that. I might do a timed track or treadmill run; and once in a while, I’ll do a race.

But, more and more, performance during a workout has become less and less important to me, at least in most workouts. And GodDAMN, I am slow. I am more shuffling than running.

I’ve reached the point where I really don’t want to know my workout times, at least for most of them. Even in weight lifting, I’ll do more when I can, but getting a spotter so I can squeeze out “one or two last reps”…just not what I do anymore.

Who knows; maybe I am still in the “post marathon blues” period.

But I sure enjoyed today’s run/shuffle or whatever you want to call it.

November 22, 2016 Posted by | running | | 1 Comment

That was DISGUSTING (my run, not the RNC)

The plan: “run” 15K at something approximating my planned marathon pace (11 minutes per mile)

The reality: 75 F, 87 percent humidity at the start; 81 F. 74 percent at the end.

I decided to do away with the final 1.2 mile loop but that wasn’t enough to get me to finish sans walking. I was at mile 4.05 in 45 minutes and started to walk 1.5 miles later. I walked/jogged for a bit..challenged myself to run up the last large hill and didn’t make it, and then “ran” the final 1.03 miles in a blistering 10:55. Yes, it actually “felt fast”. OMG. Time: 1:37, which is actually about 2 minutes slower than my “slow, easy jog” pace for this course.

It was a joke and I was soaked in sweat. Even my shoes were squishy. I never do well in the heat. If it is this hot on marathon day (and it might be), I’ll use the 6:30 time limit to walk/jog it at a moderate pace and aim for running the October one under 5 hours (my ultimate goal)

Early on, when I had hopes of finishing the workout on schedule, a youngish woman (30?) blew past me; she was wearing black spandex tights, a spandex top and had tattoos on her shoulders..and long black hair. She said a cheery good morning; I’d estimate her pace to have been high 7, low 8. I didn’t even think about attempting to keep her in sight; this was “she isn’t for you” moment for me. Despite my weakness in the weight room and snail like running and walking pace, I still have a 7 minute a mile, 250 pound bench press mind but a 10 minute per mile, 200 pound bench press body. I keep reminding myself “it is ok; you were never any good at sports to begin with (compared to athletes) so it isn’t as if you’ve lost much” but I still get annoyed at the degradation of my abilities.

Then I took Barbara to the eye center and, well, there you had mostly old people who didn’t walk all that well. So, I suppose it is a “be grateful that you can still do it at all” sort of thing.

And hey, I can still keep up with the hot grannies (at least MOST of them anyway). And there will be a time when the bespandexed 50 year old hot grannies will be too fast for me (one of the hottest local ones already is, but she looks like an athlete).

July 19, 2016 Posted by | marathons, running | | Leave a comment

One reason I struggle athletically

Workout notes: treadmill: 4 miles in 37:55; 10 minute warm up, 10 minutes at 6.7, 5 minutes at 6.8, 5 at 6.9, .5 miles at 7.0, .25 at 7.1..then I said “this sucks” and walked/jogged for .15 or so before picking it up.
26:49 was my time for 3 miles; 27:43 for 5K (more or less)

The point: when it got too intense for me, I backed off; there was no desire to try to “break through the pain”

Yesterday, when I did incline presses, I cut my set with 150 pounds to 8 (usually 8-10). A friend offered to spot me. But I confessed “I sometimes don’t use a spotter so I can quit a couple of reps early” and…well, that is the bare bones truth.

I really lack the mental fortitude to push myself hard in the gym or on the track; when my body says “this sucks” I back off.

So yes, part of this is age. But part of it is that I am mentally tired of pushing hard.

I am trying to strengthen my legs with squats; right now my weights are comically light. And still…squats plus trying to run is leaving me with a “background soreness” in my legs that is hard to shake. It is going to be tough to balance it all out when the semester starts up again.

But I think that after my “two marathons in 3 weeks time” adventure (goal: run one of them in under 5 hours, walk one of them in under 5:45), I’ll back off of the distance and focus on leg strength.

July 14, 2016 Posted by | running | , | 1 Comment

Walking, running and Bradley Baseball (personal and trivial)

Bradley Baseball: scroll down.

Today ended a step back week:
Monday: weights and light swimming (sore shoulder: 1000 yards)
Tuesday: 8 miles running, 1 walking
Wednesday: am: 4 mile harder walk (with weights). PM: 2 mile walk with the group
Thursday: 8 miles running
Friday: weights only
Saturday: 6 miles (5K race in 26:04)
Sunday: 15.7 mile walk

Total: 44 miles, after having been in the 50s

Today’s walk; overcast, light headwind early: I wend down to the river path via the goose loop and then continued to the Heights Tower and then returned via the Boredom to my House via McClure


I extended it by 1.1 miles by adding a Cooper/Ayers segment:


4:03:44 total (15:32 pace); I was so sluggish when I started. The last 4 miles of the Boredom part took 57:14 (14:19 mpm) and the final 1.09 miles was done at 14:35. But I was really, really sluggish on the first 10 miles. I think that I needed a step back week.

Yesterday’s 5K Yes, it rained pretty hard. And there is something I want to say. First, the “social photos”: I’ve cropped a few of these



As you can see, it was quite the downpour. Now for some Cassie:


Then for Tracy (you can see me over her shoulder; I went back to bring her in, as I often do.


Now for some commentary: I followed this young lady for a while; I remember thinking “she isn’t going to last”. It turns out that I did catch her and pass her and finish 4 seconds ahead of her, “by the gun”. But my chip time was 1 second SLOWER than hers; evidently she started behind me and blew past me quickly. And she did stay ahead of me for about 60 percent of the race.


Now yes, she is 32 years younger than I am; she *should* be faster than I am, but, as you can see, she doesn’t have a classic runner’s build and I *thought* that I should have taken her.
But I have to remember this: when I was just a bit older than her (she is 24; I was 26) I weighed 230 pounds (45 lbs. heavier than I do now) and I was THREE MINUTES faster in the 5K. Yes, a 23 minute 5K is NOT a good time for a man in his 20’s. Time marches on…though I wonder what sports that young woman plays/played. She must have been an athlete of some sort.

Bradley played an 8 pm, and the weather was foggy and chilly.



And Bradley trailed Dallas Baptist (ranked 17’th in the nation) 1-0 going into the bottom of the 8’th. But a 2 out run tied the game.
Then came the bottom of the 9’th, after Bradley made them go 3 and out in the top of the 9’th. It was 2 outs, no one on base and I had resigned myself to “extra innings.”

Then came a singe. Then the runner advanced on a wild pitch, and the Bradley coach put in a fast pinch runner. Then came another single and the fast runner was able to score.

Bradley won 2-1 to take its first “conference series). The game was way more exciting than the 2-1 score would indicate; though the pitching was good on both sides, both team’s batters hit the ball well only to be robbed of hits by excellent field play (on both sides).

It was just an excellent, exciting college baseball game in..less than traditional baseball weather.

May 1, 2016 Posted by | baseball, running, Uncategorized, walking | , , , | Leave a comment