A few more photos

Another trip for medical..then a belated 5.1 mile run (55:03) at noon; felt reasonably good and I got some heat conditioning.

Going to nap for a bit. I did see some photos of the Galesburg Half Marathon:

Yes, I bought these photos so I feel no guilt in using them.

This was early on..and my “warm up yoga” (terribly done).

I have to make a decision on what I want to do.


Interesting article about Trumpism being really about victimhood. As others pointed out, it is also about identity politics. And I think here lies the rub: people who want that sort of politics for themselves cannot stop other groups from doing similar. And if the other groups outnumber you…

About the Democrats and 2020:

So, Sen. Warren appears to be channeling Sen. Sanders. Personally, I much prefer the approach: “here is where we are, this is where I think we can get to in a reasonable amount of time and this is how I’ve done such things in the past”, which is why Sen. Klobuchar is appealing to me.

I don’t have much patience with wild, bold promises. Still, there is one poll that shows Warren beating Biden head to head, though it is only one poll, and in many polls she is under 10 percent.

Workout notes: weights plus 2 mile walk: weight: started off bloated; after weights I was down to 188.5 (not much sweat). Walk was pleasant. Right foot: top is slightly sore.
rotator cuff, pull ups 5 sets of 10, one of 5 (went well) bench: 10 x 135, 2 x 185, incline: 10 x 135, decline: 10 x 160. standing military: 9 x 50, 10 x 45. seated, supported: 15 x 50. machine row: 3 sets of 10 x 110. weightless squats, 10 x 30 goblet (full depth toward the end). plank, headstand, crow (count of 40), knee stretches.

I wasn’t as tired as I thought that I would be; I have to remember that what I did was merely a training run intensity 13 miles…not really that much.

How Woke Are You? Here is a situation

Ok, a politician is at an event on stage, and someone from the audience rushes in to take the microphone away from said candidate to talk about their pet issue.

This is what I had in mind:

So here is my “woke quiz”: what do you think of this situation?

If you just say “someone rudely tried to co-opt someone else’s event to steal a captive audience …and perhaps said something about how rude the person was….
You get a “D”.

If you mention EITHER that the person interrupting is male and the person he interrupted and stole the microphone from is female OR if you mention that the interrupter is white and the person being interrupted is “of color”, you get a “C”.

If you mention a WHITE MALE interrupted a FEMALE OF COLOR, then you get a “B”.

If you mention what was said in the “B” answer AND note that he interrupted just when the candidate (Senator Harris, in this case) was talking about “equal pay for women”, then you get an “A”.

IF you think I am kidding…just look at the reactions on Twitter…instead of saying “kook rudely interrupts politician”, they say “white man interrupts “woman of color”:


If you mention that, yes, these kooks interrupt white males too and perhaps mention that this kook probably was unaware of what the Senator was saying, well, that is a micro-aggression.

Seriously: many liberals just cannot discuss anything without tossing in some victimization of a class interpretation (rather than a rude jerk co-opting someone else’s event). I believe such liberals to be our Bible Beaters…with a different canon.

Now if the kook is a conservative who is interrupting a protected minority…and even a female conservative…well…the woke answer is that this poor female internalized the misogyny of the patriarchy.

Reassessing the Democratic race

Yes, I know, the Democratic race will be won state by state and not by national polls.

And yes, Biden leads in the national polls by a comfortable margin:

36-17-8-5 (Harris poll: numbers are Biden, Sanders, Harris, Warren).

But in the same Harris poll, Biden leads Harris 41-38 in head to head, Sanders 43-41 and TRAILS Warren 39-41 (ok, all are within “margin of error”)

But the point is, it appears that Biden doesn’t go up that much from 36 on the head-to-head match ups, but the other goes up. So, things could get interesting. Will the D primary go to “Joe” vs. “not Joe”? And if so…the “not Joe” may well have an excellent chance.

And…it might be that Bernie hanging around will hurt the “not-Joe”.

Who knows. And CAVEAT The Harris is just one poll. The Echelon Insights poll have Joe blowing away the competition in the head-to-head, with 61-25 vs. Sanders, and 6x-(less than 20) for all other challengers.

Final Galesburg Half Marathon: recalibrating

This is the last year I will do the RunGalesburgRun Half Marathon. Reason: the RD is bring the race to a close. I understand why: it is a lot of work and it is tough to get someone to take it over. But it has had a successful run, and I’ll miss it. I’ll give heart-felt thanks to the RD and all of the wonderful volunteers.

I’ve done half of them: 2012 (walk 2:30), 2013 (run: 2:01), 2017 (walk 2:47), 2019 (run 2:26)

Stats: Time: 2:26:38, 163/188 overall, 21/23 AG (50-59 M), 91/99 among all males. Pace: 11:12. (yes, in the past, I’ve walked faster half marathons; last time being 2014) Yeah, pathetic, especially given that I was rested AND we had a nice, cool day (60’s, little humidity)

The issue: it was a combination of training and attitude. Training: I’ve had a slew of runs in the 6-9 mile range and that is adequate to get through a half marathon at a training run pace…which come to think of it..is what I did…but it is not adequate for running a half marathon at a pace consummate with one’s 5K pace. Today: my half marathon was 5.37 times my 5K race pace, and when I am in shape to run a half, the ratio is 4.6. The reason: mileage AND the lack of the 14-16 mile training runs.

My splits (some of them I suspect are inaccurate) tell the story:

9:51, 10:16, 10:31, 7:24 (38:03 for 4), 22:00 (next 2, stop to drink) 1:00:03 for 6, 11:21 (walks starting now), 12:15 (1:23:40 for 8), 11:33 (1:35:13 for 9, or 1:38 for 15K by someone’s garmin), 11:58 (1:47:11 for 10), 11:50 (1:59:02 for 11), 13:56 (2:12:59) (stop to loosen laces), 2:26:37 (13:38 for 1.1).

My second half was 15 minutes longer than my first; and most of THAT was due to my legs being completely shot. But note that my run/walk miles were, well, what my training miles often are. The issue: I went out too fast for my training.

Melody blew past me at mile 10 and though we were close at 11…well, she finished in 2:21. Those two 13 minute miles killed me. Also, “green top”, “pinkie” (pink spandex shorts) and “bro hat” all got away from me, though I had leap frogged with them up to 12. I really just didn’t care *all* that much toward the end, though I kept moving forward.

And afterward, my feet burned (toes too?) top of right foot ached from laces being too tight.

But the upshot: the training miles and the long runs just weren’t there and it showed. Good news: I was at 1:38 at 15K, though I doubt that Steamboat will be this cool…and there are those two hills. I had better start out a whole lot easier.

Note: the pros were awesome. The winner ran a 1:04 (averaged under 5 minutes a mile) and the female winner averaged 5:46, and had a competitor challenging her. She was a 56-57 minutes at mile 10 (you could see them on the out and back portions…amazing athletes).

Recalibration: I’ll just say it. Back in “the day” (yes, I am finishing a half marathon here: Madison, 2000)

I ran with a group of very fit looking people..most of them young.

Now, there are two types of people around me: older people, and “not so athletic” young people. Yes…2:26 sucks for just about anyone and it especially sucks for a young person. I get no “ego boost” from “running with the crowd” (and yes, I know, 1:35 is “young man’s slow” but it is a decent standard of fitness for a 40 year old man…as I was then).

I just have to remind myself of what my yoga teacher: “no judgement..just doing what your body allows”. And until I get those long runs in, my body won’t allow for much.

Humorous note A couple of photographers caught me doing yoga in the staging area prior to the race (not where you line up); I’m sure my form was awful. 🙂

Why I am an atheist (with disclaimer)

First, I should define the term “atheism”: I am using it to mean “lack of belief in a god, deity, supernatural spirit, etc.” This is not a statement of knowledge; it is a statement of belief.

Strictly speaking I am an agnostic in that I do not claim to have certainty in my belief; I remain open to evidence. For example, there may be some concept of deity that have never heard of…or perhaps some sentient beings in some other part of the universe have it all figured out and I am just unaware of it.

But, I do not label myself an “agnostic” in public because others tend to take that as a sign that I haven’t made up my mind about, say, the Abrahamic deity, or perhaps one of the several thousand Hindu deities. Trust me, I have. Oh sure, perhaps Joseph Smith really had those golden plates, or maybe Jesus really did die and rose from the dead. But I see those things as having what Richard Dawkins calls “fairies in the garden” probability that I just use the approximation that they are false. I take the probability of the existence of such deities as seriously as you might take the probability of the existence of, say, magic goats. (yes, some really do take this seriously….)

Anyhow, if you find the idea of a magic goat ridiculous, that is what I think about YOUR stories of supernatural miracles.

Yes, I know…there are “sophisticated theologies” out there; I am sometimes told that all I have done is to reject the simple minded deity of my childhood. And yes, there might be some “grand” deity that is out there that can’t be detected by humans. It does something like this (a discussion between Francis Collins and Richard Dawkins)

DAWKINS: To me, the right approach is to say we are profoundly ignorant of these matters. We need to work on them. But to suddenly say the answer is God–it’s that that seems to me to close off the discussion.

TIME: Could the answer be God?

DAWKINS: There could be something incredibly grand and incomprehensible and beyond our present understanding.

COLLINS: That’s God.

DAWKINS: Yes. But it could be any of a billion Gods. It could be God of the Martians or of the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri. The chance of its being a particular God, Yahweh, the God of Jesus, is vanishingly small–at the least, the onus is on you to demonstrate why you think that’s the case.

And the physicist Mano Singham puts it very well:

As another example, here is the statement made by a commenter to my post arguing that religious atheists are getting even more atheistic who said, “I would suggest that you might want to bone up a bit on theology a bit before you pontificate on this particular subject… Your knowledge on religion appears to be quite limited, and you might want to learn a little more about it before you pontificate on it.”

Or again, “[A]ny number of philosophically illiterate folks can pretend to deal with the existence of God and not refer to Aquinas or Descartes or Kierkegaarde or any other notable genius who has spent the time and effort necessary to think about such a difficult and weighty and fundamentally complex topic… Any arguments about moral atheism are just amateurish attempts at what Kant and Spinoza and Berkeley were doing when they wanted to hold on to all the trappings of Christianity but do away with Christianity, and I’ll lay odds that anyone in the modern day who’s making similar arguments is going to be roughly a jillion times less intelligent than any of those three.”

That’s putting me in my place, isn’t it?

What is being asserted is that sophisticated theologians and philosophers, people who are much smarter than me, have studied these issues in great depth and have already explained everything and we need to go to them to find answers. God is so subtle that it is only through immersion in the works of these theologians and philosophers that we can obtain an understanding of him. Those of us who are not professional theologians and philosophers should shut up about our demands for dumb old evidence and not draw any conclusions on the question of god’s existence until we have devoted years to carefully studying the works of these theologians and philosophers.

This idea that god is so hard to grasp will no doubt come as news to the billions of religious believers who think they know god pretty well and have a good relationship with him without such study.

But we atheists are not talking about understanding the nature of god. We are not talking about the meaning of god. We are talking about whether god exists or not. This should surely be the prior question and is one that depends on evidence for an answer.

What atheists like me say to religious believers is simply the following: If the existence of your god has empirical consequences, then provide empirical evidence that supports your contention. If it has no empirical consequences whatsoever, then say so and we will not interfere with your theological and philosophical ruminations because we do not really care to speculate on the properties of what we consider to be a mythical entity.

(emphasis mine; last paragraph is also Singham’s writing).

So, yes, I am not that well versed in philosophy. And yes, I am sure you can posit the existence of word-salad deities. But I have no interest in those. Sure, the deity of a deist (see “deism“) could well be undetectable. But so what? I have no interest in investing thought and intellectual energy in that area. The only deities that I am interested in are those who affect the day to day events of the universe. If your deity cannot even do that (or won’t), then I don’t care.

What about “belief in belief”? Some think that atheism is arrogant. It might be…people become atheists for many reasons.

Some see evil as a problem (e. g. the deity didn’t prevent the Holocaust or other genocides). Some see believers acting badly or irrationally. Others see how utterly ridiculous the religious texts are (e. g. the Bible is full of howlers: talking snakes, talking donkeys, miracles, etc.).

None of that really applies to me. Who is to say that a deity couldn’t be, well, evil?

No, my current state is the result of evidence that I’ve seen. And, ok, there is a certain philosophical appeal as well.

Think about how huge the universe is: galaxies are enormous and there are billions of those. And all of this was done by some deity for the benefit of Homo sapiens? That just makes no sense to me whatsoever.

And I admit that there is an emotional appeal. To me, it is the height of arrogance to think that there is some deity that will rearrange natural law for MY benefit if only I beg enough.

But sure, my finding atheism appealing both philosophically and emotionally doesn’t mean that it is true; I admit that. So, *in theory*, I remain open to changing my mind …though not about the religions and deities that I’ve already heard of.

But what about religious practices? Yes, I do believe that some religious practices have value. Fellowship can be life affirming. Yoga can both strengthen and relax both the body and mind. Prayer and meditation can calm the mind and emotions, and possibly make you of more service to others. And yes, sometimes, church (or temple, or mosque) is a place where someone challenges you to live a better life.
And yes, religious texts and myths can provide a poetic framework with which to discuss things (e. g. “writing on the wall”, “judge not”, “cast the first stone”, “do onto others”, etc.)

I just see these practices as being beneficial for secular, naturalistic reasons, not supernatural ones.

Pre-race reflection

There is this little 2 mile course I do when I am doing my “last warm up run” before a race that I am aiming for. For Peoria people: jog down Cooper St. past Bradley Ave. to Moss, turn left on Moss and run to MacArthur and then retrace my route. It is about 2.05 miles.

Way back in 1983-1984, it took me 24-25 minutes to do this course; I weighed 230-240 lb. and it was an effort. I huffed and puffed…but that was better than the 36 minutes it used to take me to walk 2 miles when I was 320 lb.

Anyway, this little warm up workout reminds me of where I came from, and no matter how poorly tomorrow goes, I cannot forget my progress. Of course, I have no intention of having a poor race. 🙂

It looks as if the weather will be good for it, and so I have no excuses. (half marathon: C goal is sub 2:20, B goal is sub 2:15 and A goal is sub 2:10…my real goal is to run the whole way and finish with a bit of dignity. Key is to keep the pace easy for the first 5 miles).

And all of this reminds me of a couple of 23:xx 5Ks I ran. Back in 1985, I was a first year graduate student at the University of Texas. I lifted weights regularly and had worked up to a bench press of 310 lb. at 230 lbs. I still ran 2-4 miles fairly regularly. I noticed there was a 5K race on the campus of St. Edwards University and that it finished in plenty of time for me to make the Texas Longhorns football game that day. So I entered and ran it in 23:00 (I recorded my time). Little did I know that this was to be my last running race for about 11 years.

In between: I was able to get my Ph. D, get a job, and gain about 90 lbs, and subsequently lose to about 185 in 1996. By then I was doing those little 2-3 mile runs and I decided to enter an on-campus 5K to test my fitness. It took me 23:15 to do and I finished “sort of in the pack” of mostly students. Yes, I wore high top basketball shoes!

When I walked home after the race..I …cried. Really. I was FINALLY “back home”, so to speak..and I’ve been doing races regularly every since. Since then I worked my way down to the high 19’s for the 5K, to a 3:38 marathon (and yes, a 1:34 half), a 100 mile walk (23:40) and then have declined…badly. Now, a sub 28 5K counts as “good” for me. Whatchagonnado???

Anyway, time to dig out my long distance race stuff (electrolyte tablets, clothes and socks I want to wear, etc.) as I haven’t done a long race since October 2018.

workout notes: easy 2 mile jog, 1 mile walk, stretching…knee stretching.