Being resentful when I should be grateful

Sigh…my dream was to be a professional football player, or at least, an athlete. I ran the steps, did the off season conditioning, lifted weights, did sprints and…alas…my best 40 yard dash was a bit under…SIX seconds. (a decent lineman’s time in those days was 5.2-5.3)

The above photo: when I played for Yokota High School in the Fall of 1974; I started on the varsity as a sophomore and that was to be my peak (small school). JV in Texas the next year, and mostly rode the bench my senior year (played just enough to letter).

How rotten of an athlete was I?

  1. I failed the Air Force Academy’s physical fitness test (too slow on the shuttle run..not enough pull ups, etc. Barely passed West Point’s and Navy’s.
  2. In the Navy…1982, I could run a sub 40 10K, sub 19 5K. I aced the Navy Flight cross country run (“PT-ed it”), the swim test, did well on pull ups, aced sit ups, passed the broad jump…but…flunked the obstacle course the first time I tried it..even though I practiced. I got it the second time, but still…best shape of my life, and I struggled with a task that required me to show some body control and agility…though the strength and endurance speed was there.
  3. As a kid: I frequently failed PE tests…I got laughed at because I was one of two guys who could not climb the rope. The gym teachers berated me and ridiculed me.

    When it came to athletic ability and kinesthetic intelligence, I was basically “special needs.”

But all of my effort to become an athlete (or at least be a 40th-50’th percentile high school athlete) drew me to running and weightlifting and general fitness stuff.

Fast forward to now.

Yep, that is my back. And the only way I can stay active in lifting and walking is to do a LOT of physical therapy…a LOT of it.

So, every day, prior to working out, I do about 30-35 minutes of back/glute/core/rotator cuff exercises..and if I switch from a lifting session to a walk, I do at least 10-15 minutes more (mostly hamstring stretches and “open book” stretches. I need to. A year ago, even walking 0.5 miles was painful.

And so, today, PT/stretching added 45 minutes to my workout and there are times when I resent that I need to do it. But the other choice: don’t stay active, and that isn’t an option.

Yes, yes, I know, a cancer patient or a heart patient would gladly trade places. That is why I need to remember to be grateful that my chronic condition can be made tolerable with some extra effort (and time) on my part.

So today: again 8:45 to about 11:45, with lifting taking 70 minutes (with farmer’s walks) and walking taking 60; the rest was PT (before, and in the lifting to walking transition and after walking) and time to put equipment up, change shoes, top, etc.

Today: full PT

deadlifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 190, 10 x 225 low handle

10 x 265 4 inch handle.

5 x 300 8 inch handle

Farmer’s walk: 100 feet: 52, 68 lb and 2 sets of 70 feet (to the garage door and back) with 79 lb (44 plate, 2 13.2 plates, (6 kg), 8 lb handle, .5 lb collar).

Then my 4 mile walk; started off as a 5K but felt good enough to make it 4 and get 25 miles for the week. That is what the PT gets me.

Note: this was the final day (March 5) for my old walking shoes. I started to use them on May 29, 2022. I’ve walked 822 miles since then, but given my commuter walks and my “to the stadium and back” walks, I’d say I put about 700 miles on these old shoes.

Shared public spaces and the lack of nuance online

I used to go to gyms frequently; now I have my own stuff. I sometimes had issues (usually when a gym goer tried to tie up several pieces of equipment while doing “super sets”) but for the most part, it was fine.

There is a recent account that calls out toxic gym are a few examples:

And his videos have been welcomed by many, including me. guessed it…his work has been co-opted into the broader culture wars:

Example of some of the pushback can be found here. And this is frustrating.

On one hand, *some* of his stuff has been picked up by social conservatives.


And some liberals decry this..they claim that Swoll’s work gives some men permission to be misogynistic.

And this is why online discussion of sensitive topics is becoming increasingly worthless.

In a shared space, there will be looking at each other; there will be glances. And a glance is not the same as a prolonged stare.

But some liberals divide the world into “privileged” vs “not privileged” and if you are in the not-privileged category, your feelings rule; others must acquiesce to them. If a woman says she “feels uncomfortable” because of a quick glace, the man is in the wrong.

But any shared space has to have some sort of reasonableness standard to work.

You see these “reasonableness standards” debates all the time at any public place: how much standing is ok at a ball game, cell phone use in public areas, when is filming in a public place ok, behavior of kids in a public area (some just let their kids run amok), dogs (leashed vs unleashed), movie theater behavior, etc.

And I admit that, increasingly, my solution is to avoid public spaces more and more, though I still go to live sporting events. (note: I pay a premium to sit in first row worries about standing there).

Aging: friends and loved ones

Axiom: the longer your life, the more friends and loved ones will suffer from ailments of various kinds, and yes, die.
I’ve lost 3 good running friends from 2008-2015 or so (all I ran with, all who could beat me) and now another one has lung cancer.
I don’t know the stage (discovered by biopsy) but even best case is 70 percent survival rate in 5 years; worst is 5 percent.

My bestie also had cancer, but hers is “the best cancer to have if you must have cancer.” I took her to her biopsy.

My wife is recovering from hand/wrist surgery (should restore functionality of her hand) but, well, only 11 days out and yes, there is still pain.

My back issues: not functional; I can manage my chronic conditions (knee, shoulder , back) by not being stupid.

But, well, here is a vow to make time for friends and to enjoy them while we still have each other.

Last YMCA swim of the season

500 of 100 side, 100 free

500 of drill/swim

1000 in 21:47 (10:54, 10:53)

I felt a bit of sadness..I’ve grown to love swimming here. I didn’t like my first swim but it grew on me.

My times from 2001: 1:39 100, 3:32 200, 7:30 400 I am not close to those now.

Later: commuter walk to campus, back home 16:xx pace.

Not much to say, other than B went to the doctor for her wrist; hope is one the way.

“Back” in to speak.

What happened: in June-July 2020, I started to get glute pain upon walking…it became more and more severe until even 2 miles was enough to bring it on. Weight lifting: it did not appear during workouts, though I grew to understand that certain exercise (heavy deadlifts, arching while bench pressing, arching while shoulder pressing) brought on the referred pain AFTER the fact…not during.

I also had foot tingles/leg tingles at night; sometimes extensive.

As you can see, I am quite bent forward when I walk; I think it was my body’s attempt to take pressure off.

I sought out PT for it in summer of 2021…fall of 2021..even walking from my car to a game was painful. I tried resting from all walking, this stretch, that stretch.

Well, I’ve had this spondylolisthesis for many years; it was first noticed in ..yes, 1978 (summer). I have a pars defect (fracture of the pars; aka spondylolysis) which lead to the L5 vertebra slipping forward, ahead of S1 (top of your tailbone). I’ve had episodes for some time, most lately in 2006, 2011, 2013, 2016 and this time, conservative treatment could not quite clear it up.

Update: I just looked at my records online; in addition to my spondylolisthesis (due to pars defect) I have lumbar spinal stenosis (due to the nerve root impingement) which causes neurogenic claudication. (heaviness and pain in the leg due to the nerve root being impinged

My S1 is tilted forward and the L5 slides down, even when standing straight (shear force).

This leads to a lack of space for my L5 nerve root, hence foot tingles, sometimes shin tingles, and glute pain on my left side at about .8-1.5 miles of walking (warmed up); .4-.6 miles of walking (no warm up).

PT has helped and strengthening my glutes and core has helped. But not enough.

So, after meeting with the non-surgery back doctor, he referred me to a surgeon.

The surgeon explained that the definitive treatment would be spinal fusion, but that while the operation would probably relieve the symptoms, it would probably lead to different problems down the road and start me on the road to more surgery.

So…epidural steroidal injections have a decent success rate and possibly stop the cycle of irritation.

I get mine a week from today.

Workout catch up part N+

I forgot to log my Thursday weight workout so here goes: about 2 hours plus of PT and weights/strength.

Pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (some sloppy), 2 sets of 5 wide

push ups: 20 incline, 30 decline, 30 incline, 20 regular (went well)

Swiss bar bench: 10 x 134, 4 x 156, 6 x 145, 6 x 145

curls: 3 sets of 10 x 50

trap bar deads (all low) 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 184 (being “squatty”)

Felt good afterward.

Today: ok…walking has been rough this week; it seems as if symptoms come on about 1.3-1.4 miles; to be honest, whether I make it to 2 depends on if I can get the right degree of ab tightening and do some mini back stretches on the fly. Yes, this is better than the old 0.8 miles but …adding .5-.6 miles in a month’s time? Gads.

I wonder if it is past time to put the ego on hold and just stop when symptoms appear.

So far, this week looks like:

Monday: 1.11, 1.0, Wednesday: 2.02, Friday 1.58, Saturday 2.03 (really 1.8)

But really, the symptom free distance is 1.3-1.5 on a good day, 1.1 on a bad one.

Today’s workout:

Swim: ok, that went ok.

800 of 50 side, 50 choice (choice being 50 breast or 50 back)

200 of 25 front kick (no fins), 25 free

200 in 3:38 (felt fine, if slow)

100 back

350 fins, consisting of 200 free kick (SFS, font, side), 100 dolphin kick, 50 free with fins)

1650 yards in all.

Then I drove home as people showed up at the playground and were on the path.

PT (second round…mini round in the morning)

A very rough 1.8 mile walk..and because I was near Bradley Hall, I did a 20 second stretch (if that) and walked it home.

Lot of nothing

More grind; another 2 hour workout where most of the time was spent on physical therapy with a lot of shoulder squeezes.

Note: the shoulder feels…pretty darned good. And..I did NOT do the crawl yesterday. I am sensing a pattern…I need to wait for the shoulder PT to kick in, and then introduce crawl back oh-so-slowly, and stick with fins, side, back and breast ..for a very long time.

Getting older sucks. My issue here: OS acromiale. In my case, the bones in the top of my shoulder never fused together properly and there is a tendency for the acromiale to tilt forward and impinge my rotator cuff.

Yes, there was a lot of back PT too; most of it was that. Root nerve impingement (L5-S1); mostly it affects walking.

The actual exercises: 40 singles pull up, 10 singles chin ups, 2 sets of 5 wide.

Push ups: this time, 5 sets of 20 working on keeping the elbows further in. 1 incline, 1 decline, 1 deficit, 2 regular.

Bench presses (Swiss bar) 3 sets of 10 x 135 (focus on squeezing the shoulder blades and not hunching my shoulders)

One armed rows: 3 sets of 10 slow..
Curls: 3 sets of 10

deadlifts: 10 x 134 low, 10 x 184 low, 10 x 235 4 inch..all felt GREAT.

Marathon and beyond list

Note: most links are broken.

And…this is probably my final list; body can’t take it anymore. Total is 62.

Maryland Marathon: 3:33

San Antonio Marathon 3:48

East Lyme Marathon (CT) 4:24

1998 (2)
Quad Cities Marathon 3:55 (hot: 207 out of over 1000)
Chicago Marathon 3:46

Quad Cities Marathon 3:45

2000 (2)
Lake Okoboji (IA) 4:25
Indianapolis Marathon 3:38

Lake Geneva Marathon 3:40

2002 (4) (13 total)
San Diego Marathon 3:57 (run)
Fairfield (IA) 50K 6:22 (walk)
Quad Cities Marathon 4:44 (walk)
Rocket City Marathon 4:04 (run)
(injured going in; had to run/walk)

2003 (5) (18 total)
McNaughton 50K (run) 7:04
Ice Age 50K 7:18 (walk)
Park City Marathon (UT) 5:17 (walk)

Judy Birthday 50K (walk; informal-Fat ass type)
Quivering Quads (MO) 50K 8:11 (walk)

2004 (7) (25 total)
McNaughton 50 mile 12:46 (walk)
Cornbelt (IA) 24 hour (101 miles), walk
Wandleweekend (NED) 24 hour (88 miles) walk

Fairfield 50K 7:16 (walk)
Quad Cities Marathon 5:13 (walk)
Chicago Ultra 50K 6:20 (walk)

Ultracentric (TX) 24 hour 81 miles (walk)

2005 (8) (33 total)
McNabb (IL) FatAss 50K 6:25 (run, sort of)
Chicago Ultra 50K (spring) 6:42 (walk)
McNaughton 100 34:16 (walk)
Andy Payne Marathon (OK) 5:25 (walk)
Lean Horse 100 (SD), 29:34 (walk)

Quad Cities Marathon 5:34 (walk)
Chicago Ultra 50K 6:29 (walk)
Ultracentric 24 hour 70 (walk)

2006 (5) (38 total)
McNabb (IL) FatAss 50K 6:37 (run, sort of)
Houston Ultra 24 hour 76 mile (walk)
Stigma 8 hour 27 mile (trail) (walk)
McNaughton (100 DNF), got to mile 50 then 20 more.
Ice Age 50K 7:36 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 83 miles (walk)

2007 (4) (42 total)
FANS 24 hour 66 mile (walk) (couldn’t train until 5-6 weeks prior)
FX 12 hour 34 mile (walk)
Farmdale 33 miles 9:27 (walk)
Ultracentric 24 hour 58 mile (walk)

2008 (3) (45 total)
McNaughton 50 mile (staged; 31:37 walk)
Andy Payne Marathon 6:16 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 47 miles (walk)

2009 (5) (50 total)
McNaughton 100 miler (47:45; staged, walk)
(brutal conditions; the drop out rate was astounding: 74 started the 100 and 27 finished; 47 started the 150 and 27 made it to 100 (including the 12 who finished all 150); in total 54 out of 121 starters made it to 100 miles and I was one of these)
Rockford Marathon 5:14 (walk)
FANS 24 hour 66 miles (walk)
Mulshoe 44 (DNF, ran out of time at mile 29) walk
Quad Cities Marathon 5:28 (walk)
McNot-aGain 30 mile 8:55 (walk)
(fought through injuries for these last two; almost no training was possible)

2010 (51)
McNotagain 30 mile 9:52 (knee surgery 3.5 months prior)

2011 (52)
Fans 24 hour: 54.5 miles

2012 (53)
We Walk Lake Wobegone marathon 6:58:58

2013 (54)
River City Marathon (run/walk) 5:44:55

2014 (55)
McNotAgain 30 9:54

2015 3 for the year (58 )
FANS 24 hour 59.9 miles

PNC River City Marathon (walk) 5:49:23

McNotAgain 30 (walk) 11:03

2016 2 for the year, (60 and counting)

FANS 24 hour walk 38 miles (35.9 in 10:40)

PNC marathon (run/walk) 5:52

2017: 2 DNF, one 50K
36 Hours of Jack Monkey Flunker 50K 8:42.

2018: Quad Cities Marathon (walk) 6:14:11.

2019: Quad Cities Marathon (walk) 6:42:02


Lots of pebbles in the shoe today: toe blistered from fin use..still can walk though.

Back was ok..better than a week ago. Kind of got tired about 1.3 miles but I got stubborn and went for 1.7…maybe not enough press ups beforehand.

Weight: 202.8

Swim: no fins: 500 of side/free, 500 of 50 drills sans fins, 50 free

200 in 3:40 (bleah), 100 in 1:49, 100 in 1:46, 50 in 50, 50 in 50.
Intervals: 4:30, 2:30, 2:30, 1:30

50 pull, 100 breast.

The walk: felt pretty good up to about 1.1-1.2…had to focus and pain (mild) had started at about 1.6.


I honestly feel better. I did catch a Bradley Baseball game last night (11-1 win) and got to talk to a mother of a Western Illinois outfielder at length.

Talk about sparse: there were perhaps 48 people at first pitch; maybe maxed at 70? 50 F, drizzle and this was a make up game.

The Sunday Chiefs game was better attended..and warmer..and it was great that the Chiefs won to stay over .500.

Oh, about my back: part of the improvement might be my not going up and down the damned steps all day..and part of it, I think, is my adjusting my weight exercises:

  1. Feet up on the bench press
  2. High incline rather than shoulder press
  3. No strain allowed on high incline
  4. Trap bar deadlift; only light weights with low handles; use less weight with 4 and 8 inch handles WITH a belt..getting the lumbar out of it.

And, in walking, doing one session and stopping before it gets too bad.

Workout notes

Swim: watch the shoulder..feeling pings from time to time.

500 of alternating 50 free, 50 side

1000 of alternating 50 drill with fins, 50 free

100 pull

100 breast

Weight: 202.5 best in a while

PT: a LOT of it; even used the bosu ball..did it indoors. Wore my mask, stuck to myself, etc.

Then a 1.28 mile walk; cut it short because I wanted to finish while I still felt good.