New Year’s Eve Eve

Counting 2020 down, though, frankly, 2021 might prove to be rougher.

I did some stuff (water, car) and I managed a workout:

This was some deficit deadlift work.
Light “high handle” deadlifts

This shows what happens when I lose concentration.

Same weight; better concentration (a few days ago)

The workout itself:

pull ups: sets of 5 and one set of 10 singles. 50 total; better quality.

In between: rotator cuff and hip hikes.

Shoulder presses: 10 x 40, 10 x 48 dumbbells

Three sets of 3 x 114 (52 kg) barbell

10 x 48 dumbbells.

rows: 3 sets of 10 x 134 trap.

Deadlifts (in between shoulder press reps)

10 x 134 neutral

10 x 184 deficit (shown)

10 x 214 deficit (harder than I expected it to be)

10 x 226 high handle (shown)

2:30 plank.

Still on stay-cation

Outdoor: pull ups, chin ups; sets of 5, one set of 10 mixing the grip up a bit. Rotator cuff and hip hikes (won’t neglect these again)

Leisurely bench press: 10 x 134, 3 x 184, 3 x 184, 4 x 174, 4 x 174, 7 x 154 (all with brief pauses)

trap bar squats: 10 x 134, then deficit: 10 x 134, 10 x 156

shoulder presses: 3 set of 7 x 44 kg (96 lb) 1 set of 10 x 40 dumbbells (couldn’t swing the 48 into action)

rows: 4 sets of 10 x 134

push ups: 40, 30, 10

Got the burn on.

Protecting against what might be unlikely to happen

I remember the 2010 midterm elections; the Democrats took a beating. Some of it was some districts that were won in 2006 “coming back home” to the Republicans. But some of the losses were due to the ACA being passed.

So, what exactly did the ACA do? Who really benefited from it?

Here is a simple list.

Roughly, Medicaid was expanded and there was now coverage for preexisting conditions; in the past, you could be denied coverage or, if you got really sick, your coverage could be rescinded. Insurance companies claimed that happened only to a small percentage of policies (0.5 percent) but was reasonably likely if the bill reached 30,000 or more (50 percent chance).

The ACA did not allow junk plans to qualify and it did end the practice on setting limits for covering chronic conditions.

And yet, members of Congress who supported the ACA paid a big political price.


Here is my opinion: most people don’t need Medicaid and most people will NOT get extremely sick, at least not before Medicare starts. Things like cancer, on the average, tend to be old people’s diseases. (Yes, I know all to well non-elderly people die from this too, but the percentages tend to be small)

Junk policies: you tend to find out they are junk when you really need them.

So, it appeared to many that the ACA raised premiums for no additional benefit; you only saw the benefit when something went really wrong.

I think we are seeing a similar dynamic with respect to the COVID response. Yes, our hospitals are filling up and our health care workers are way overextended. But that is invisible to many of us..because:
1. Many who get COVID recover after a while; only a relatively small percentage die

2. Those who get very sick and suffer from longer term effects are still on the order of 10-20 percent of all who get it (and yes, I know one of these: healthy fitness buff female in her early 40’s; she is STILL struggling with the after effects after several weeks)

3. You can engage in non-recommended behavior and still be unlikely to get it, on the first few episodes. Think of it this way: if a type of behavior carries a 1 percent chance of getting you infected, the average number of times it takes to get infected is about 100 ; so you’ll probably get away with it several times. (I just made these numbers up for demonstration purposes)

Bottom line: taking precautions vs. COVID is really guarding against a low probability event (low in any given situations) and that is difficult for people to wrap their heads around.

Here are some handy charts and risk assessors. Note these are from October and November 2020; the risks have gone up since then.

Walking progress

Yeah, I still need to roll/massage the piriformis.

Hip hikes for the piriformis

End of the year: well, I will make another montage but will be somewhat limited due to you know-what.

Not much pain; felt it a bit at the very end. But I maintained the pace the whole way..unlike last week.

13:49, 13:19, 13:21, 13:35 were my mile splits, as opposed to:
14:34, 13:55, 14:21, 15:04 last week, which was much more painful.

More progress

The skinny: deadlift session followed by a walk. I had more hope for the walk but I felt the piriformis start to tire just past mile 2 and so I cut it at 5K.

15:30 pace today, in great, sunny weather.

Oh, the deadlifts:

Low handle: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 1 x 224, 1 x 254

High handle: 1 x 314 (didn’t budge the first attempt but got it on the second)

Three 45 lb. plates!

Work sets: high handle: 5 x 279

low handle: 5 x 254

Then the walk:

Next project: get 3 plates in the low handle position. Current best is 284 but I was close to 301 last weekend, when I didn’t feel that good.


Yes, Alan Thrall makes some good points here.

But, but…I find said standards “fun” and a nice goal to try to attain.

So here they are (trap bar dead lift; my AG, and yes, I am in the lower part of it)
(from here)

Note: the strength level listed here are for open; my age group and for the 50-59 age group (because I am early in my current age group)

I like aiming for titles like “advanced” even if, yes, it doesn’t mean much. It is my “competition” and, let’s face it, for age groupers, unless you are at a national competition, how well you do in your age group depends on who else shows up…unless you are really good, and I am not.

It is harmless fun, period. And yes, I’ll keep aiming for “more”.

My progression:

August 5, 2019: managed a High Handle hex dead 225 (1 rep)
August: typical sets were 4 x 175, 4 x 195 (handles up)
September: 4 x 205 head dead (handles up)
November: got 4 x 225 hex dead, handles DOWN
December: got 1 x 225 bar dead, then 4 x 225
December 20, 2019: got 1 x 230 bar deadlift
DEcember 25: got 1 x 233 bar deadlift (home)
Dec 27: got 1 x 235 dead
Dec 29: got 1 x 240 dead (bar)

Jan 11: got 245 hex dead (handles down)
Jan 25: got 255, then 260 conventional dead
Feb 1: got 255, 260 Sumo, 6 x 233 conventional
Feb 8: got 266 conventional, 5 x 238 Sumo.
April 5, 5 x 244
April 18: 5 x 244

Gap for sore back: switched to low handle trap deads

May 23: 10 x 206
June 7: 10 x 217
June 20 1 x 250 trap
July 4: 10 x 222
August 1: 4 x 250 (trap, low handle)

Gap for Virtual ultra (24 hour)

August 22: 4 x 254 (trap..low handle)
August 29 1 x 274 (trap, low handle)

September 5: switched to full stop deadlifts: sets with 244
September 12: 10 x 222 (full stop)
September 27 4 x 254 5 x 244 (full stop)
October 4deficit: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 5 x 224
regular: 2 x 259; didn’t try a 3’rd rep as I felt a tug in my right hamstring (high)high handles: 10 x 224:
October 17: High handle: 5 x 254, 5 x 264 (fairly easy)Low handle, neutral: 5 x 244
October 24: High handle: 5 x 264, 5 x 274, low handle: 10 x 224

October 31: 1 x 254, High Handle 1 x 284, 1 x 274

November 7: High Handle: 5 x 274, Low Handle: 5 x 249

November 14: Low Handle: 1 x 254, High Handle: 1 x 289, 1 x 294, Low Handle: 10 x 224

November 18; High handle 10 x 234 (by accident; added an extra 5 to each side)

November 21: Low Handle deficit: 1 x 254. High handle 1 x 301, 10 x 244. Low Handle: 10 x 224.

November 28 Low handle 5 x 254 (no bounce)

December 5 Low Handle 1 x 284, 10 x 229. (no bounce)

December 12 High handle: 1 x 274, 1 x 304 (easier than the 301 2 weeks ago), 1 x 274, 10 x 244
Low handle: 10 x 224 

December 19: 5 x 274 high handle, 5 x 254 low handle. (missed 301 low handle 4 times)

December 26: High handle: 1 x 314, 5 x 279, low handle: 5 x 254

About 90 lb. gain in 17 months. Better than no gain.

Comparison using the 50-59 age group standards for males 190-200 lb, the hex bar standards are about 22, 24, 26 lb. heavier than the trap bar:

numbers: 190; 22, 24, 26. 200: 22, 23, 25 (novice, intermediate, advanced categories)

When superstition kills

Yes, I was once a Catholic and haven’t been one in many years (30+) I did outgrow believing in much of the hocus-pocus ..though even when I was still going, I didn’t take it seriously.

I remember once describing the throat blessing ritual (with the candles) and my date just laughing hysterically. She asked “do you REALLY believe that?” I said: “Well, I did get my flu shot so…draw your own conclusion.”

That might seem harmless. BUT:

But you should see some of the responses! Oh goodness..
Believing in the mumbo-jumbo can kill.
It is NOT “all symbolic” to them.

Christmas workout (brrr)

Just B and me this morning.

Weights and a 2 mile walk in 10 F weather:

pull ups: 5 sets of 10 outside, came inside for hip hikes and rotator cuff stuff in between sets.

bench: 10 x 134, 3 x 184, 4 x 174, 5 x 164, 8 x 154 (pauses at the bottom; very brief pauses)

rows: 3 sets of 10 x 134 trap bar

shoulder press: 2 sets of 10 x 48 dumbbell, 7, 6 x 96 (44 kg)

push ups: 40, 30, 20


2 mile walk at 15:40 per mile (still cold)
My goodness, I look…old.

Doing the right thing: not so hard for me. It is for others.

First, the workout:

13:18 mpm today; it was cold;

Yesterday, I had a strolling 2 miler at 19:20 mpm pace (that is my “city walking” pace, with stops for cars, dodging other pedestrians by giving them a ton of social distance, etc.

Today: I felt some tingles but declined at extending the distance; MAYBE 3.5 miles next week? Better to be conservative.

The topic:

I’ll be upfront: I’ve been pretty careful about social distancing in this pandemic; my one extra interaction is a socially distant visit to a friend about 1 hour per week (masks, extreme distancing, no consumption of anything, no touching). That’s it. Even work has been remote; solo office.

But, for me, a “just the Mrs. and me” holiday is no sacrifice. I do miss all of the games but, giving those up are, as the Bible says, “giving from my excess” (Note: I am not a believer, but I won’t discount a truth because it appears in a religious text)

Personally, I do not care for the forced socializing that comes with the holidays. I am FINE with missing it; what I miss are the one on one interactions (or small group gatherings..small as in 3-4 people at once). But, again, that is giving up “excess.”

I do miss the gym and the races, but I haven’t had to miss working out.

I have been employed, had no one get severely sick, have my own gym equipment, have a treadmill and mostly empty neighborhoods to run or walk in and internet connections to talk about said interactions.

I’ve even been able to attend math talks remotely. (I enjoy such things).

My kid is a young adult (mid 20’s) and no elderly relative to tend to (other than, well… LOL) . And there are other blessings I will not mention here.

So, I’ve had it easy.

But, there are some out there who do feel some family tensions from some friends and relatives who “want to have everyone over.”

Again, I have no such problem; if anything this might give me an excuse to disown people I already do not care for.

But..there are others who do care …who want family approval..those who are hurt by family disapproval.

And there are those who simply miss the company…and who feel tempted by “granny is lonely and wants all of her kiddos..she’d rather get covid and die than to do without.” (disclaimer: my dad…and I…spend holidays on remote military duty…yes, you can do without, if you have no choice)

But I know that others are struggling and that people are torn in so many ways.

You have people who are doing the right thing..but seeing friends and loved ones who aren’t and some who have paid the personal price (and yes, perhaps spread it to others). What do you say to a friend or loved one who does the right thing but saw THEIR loved ones NOT do the right thing..and get COVID?

I doubt that judgement from me does much good.

But what might do some good is to let others know that there ARE others out there, doing the right thing. It helps to know you aren’t alone:


Lazy day. Made some arrangements for some work on the house (plumbing)

Weight workout:

pull ups: sets of 5 and singles; 50 reps total (under handed grip, 2 sets with wide grip, mostly conventional grip)

bench press: 10 x 134, 10 x 154 (pause reps; felt it)

deadlifts: 10 x 134 conventional, deficit: 10 x 184, 10 x 206 (pull stops)

shoulder press: barbell: 5 x 96.8, 3 x 114.6, 3 x 114.6, 8 x 96.8 (full repts)

dumbbell: 10 x 48

rows: 3 sets of 10 x 134 trap bar

2:30 plank (challenging)

First two photos: show the deficit and neutral position; the set with 184, and lastly, the set of 3 x 114.6. Yes, those are 20kg (44 lb) plates, but the bar is only 10kg and the collars only 1 each.