Pandemic fueled change

It sure looks as if the US has decided that the pandemic is “over”; I see that as wishful thinking, though the omicron surge has come down quite a bit, and I feel safer doing things. I went to another basketball game with mask, though masks are not required anymore. I’ll stick with them for a while.

By the way, the women lost but they played a decent game against Illinois State, one of the conference’s better teams.

I think there will be another wave to come as this virus mutates quickly and we are so interconnected. We need to get the world vaccinated.

During the pandemic I started to work out at home; I was running at the time but that wound down a bit and a back/piriformis issue bit an end to my regular walking. That has gone on for some time, though, *finally*, I am starting to see some honest improvement. Yes, walking with Barbara (who is so slow) was a bit painful, but teaching is better, and my walk was better, for 10 minutes.

But as far as the body: 2013 vs 2022:

What is hidden: at the time of the top photo, I was running 5K races at less than 8 minutes per mile. Now…even if I were able to run train again…my 2019 5K races were, on my best days, 9:30’sh pace, and over 10 mpm on my worst days.

That is hidden in the photos.

The current definition is probably due to push ups. Now the number of pull ups I can do has regressed a bit (heavier body weight) and my bench press is down by 10 lb or so..but I haven’t had time to fully recover from the shoulder injury as yet. I am on my way back.

Workout notes:

Friday Pull ups: sets of 5 and 10; enough to get to 60. The wide grip felt extra good; it all was ok. I mixed in some of the PT here, and push ups: sets of 25, alternating sissy and feet elevated

Then even more PT..took me to 6:50.

Bench: a bit different as I wanted to practice going up evenly; I focused on my left arm. 10 x 145, 10 x 150, 1 x 189, 6 x 161

rows: usual 3 sets of 10 with each arm (60)

curls: 3 sets of 10

shoulder: lessened it here: 2 sets of 10 x 88 trying for better ROM

Then stretching

Today: warm up

Deadlifts 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234

main set: 285: 3, 3, 3, 3, 4 best sets were 3-5 .


15 minute walk (14:40 pace); great up to 10-11 minutes.

Finish PT (leisurely pace) and yoga series.

Total: about 2:10 or so…doesn’t seem like it should have been that long, given my workout was 1:10..then again, that is 1 hour of PT and I gave myself rest.

Workout catch up

The back/glute continues to improve; I no longer dread the walk to the office. Oh, I am not close to “being there” but I can at least envision walking a pain free 5K.

I do notice that incorporating a degree of “twisting” to my stretches helps.

Thursday Stretching, ton of PT, 17:00 walk (1.2 miles) on the treadmill, lots of PT, yoga (especially the Warrior 2, triangle, pyramid, revolved triangle, reverse warrior on each side). This took 1:50..much to my surprise.

Yesterday: upper body mostly. 1:50 worth, which included all of my PT.

pull us: 2 sets of 10 singles, 2 sets of 10, 4 sets of 5 (included wide grips, chins) These went fine.

push ups: 3 sets of 30 sissy, 20 flat indoors. Lots of PT.

Inside: bench press: 5 x 167, 5 x 167, 5 x 172 (best since April, when I hurt my shoulder)

rows: 3 sets of 10 with 60

curls 3 sets of 10 with 50 (?)

shoulder presses: 3 sets of 10 x 98, using a belt and elevated seat (with rugs)

Today: I will go into more detail; this took 2:30 to do; mostly due to the warm up/stretch routine. I was hesitant to do the deadlifts with 285 as I felt slight fatigue going in; it turned out not to matter.

My “stretches” usually include: McKenzie, cat/cow, spinal balance, laying hip twists, Half Frogs, lower lumbar twist stretch. These take 6-15 minutes to do, and I usually do them before and between different activities. They add a lot of time to my workout.

Warm up.
Dead lifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234, then on the 3 minutes, 5 sets of 3 x 285 (all low). My final set was ragged and so I did not try for extra reps. Belt for the 234 and up.

Then stretching.

PT (2 sets each): single knee lifts, single leg “stand from seating” (down stairs)

upstairs: leg lifts on the side (and behind the body..straight leg), prone knee lifts (including one extra 5 rep set in a more challenging position), dead bugs, clam shells, one legged half bridges, spinal balance (again: moving)

Outside: 2 sets of banded walks.

Inside: headstand, 3 minute plank.


30 minute bike (10 fake miles)

Stretch (6 minutes)

Videos: (PT and weight work..yesterday and today)

Back to work…

My standing desk converter is here! Now to put it to use when I teach.

This morning: I finished feeling like a million dollars. The back ached some during the day and the walks to and from the office were imperfect. But still..much improved.

What I did:

pull ups: 3 sets of 10 (sort of sloppy), 6 sets of 5 … in between:

3 sets of rows with the band, several sets of hip hikes, 2 sets of band walks, 3 sets of one armed rotator cuff moves

push ups: outside, 2 sets of 30 sissy, 1 set of 30 feet raised.

Inside: collection of stretches (McKenzie), twisted lumbar, light dead bug, spinal balance, 20 more push ups.

Basement: low dead lifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234

high dead lifts (8 inch), 10 x 285

The final set challenged me a bit.

Downstairs: I did one legged stand ups, (2 sets on each leg) and standing “knee ups” with a band (red)

Upstairs again: McKenzie, twist then 2 sets of 1 leg brides, leg lifts (side, behind the body) clam shells, dead bugs, prone knee raises (one set with legs lifted)

More McKenzie, piriformis leg stretch, twist stretch again.

The whole thing took 1:50, much of it was rehab. And oh, I did I feel great. Wish I could bottle it.

Reality: some lateral stuff to work on; left leg is still weaker.

Weaker leg:

Stronger leg.

Catching up..again

Thursday: snow day..caught up on backlog (sort of) and worked out (below)

Friday: went ok; back somewhat sore from shoveling. Ate at the office; went to the Women’s game (almost a 30 point loss)

Saturday: today; worked out ok; lots of back stuff; watched the men win 72-64 over Illinois State; latter team kept itself in the game with 50 percent 3 point shooting but the Braves made 12 more free throws.

Note: back felt ok today.

Workouts: Thursday: lots of back rehab exercises; in between: 15 minute walk on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the bike (1 mile and 10 fake miles)

Friday: weights; pull ups 4 sets of 10, 4 sets of 5 (went well)

push ups: 4 sets of 25 lots of rehab

bench: 3 sets of 5 x 167

rows: 3 sets of 10 each arm (60)

curls: 3 sets of 10

shoulder presses: with belt; 2 sets of 10 x 93, 10 x 98 (much better)

Saturday stretch, deadlifts (10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234, then 5 sets of 3 with 280), rehab, 15 min walk (1.1 miles), rehab, 30 min bike (10 fake miles)

Back feels reasonably good right now.

Much better

Now that I have a bad-back diagnosis the stretches I am doing are far more productive. This morning was the best I felt in several weeks; walk to the office was pain free, minor tingles going up the and from lunch was ok; some mild pain walking home this evening.

The secret: stretch the back.

Here is what I wrote for FB:

The diagnosis I got yesterday was a game changer almost immediately.

I had persistent butt pain since summer of 2020..but I’ve had bouts of this many, many, many times before as well as back issues.

This time, the x-ray showed it as clear as a bell. Disks in my lower lumbar spine were compressed..probably leading to a bulge against a nerve.

I had physical therapy which treated this as a glute issue. There was some improvement because part of the therapy strengthened the glutes and abs. But I now notice that the best exercises were the ones that helped the back.

And one other thing now makes sense: treadmill walking on an incline did not cause glute pain but it did make my back somewhat sore and stiff…that is entirely consistent with what I have.

Also, in my running/walking photos: I am often bent forward from the waist…my body was doing that to protect the back…

Yes, this is genetic; my late mom suffered from the same symptoms later in life.

Things are already better because I now know what is wrong and what sorts of things mitigate the pain. It is only day later and I know feel 70 percent better….just knowing what is wrong helps a great deal.

As you can see, the disks between the lower lumbar vertebrae are very compressed.

The workout: pull ups (2 sets of 10 singles, 2 sets of 10, 4 sets of 5 which included one wide, one chin)

push ups: 30, 30 sissy, 25 feet elevated, 10 deficit, 20 indoor flat. Also abs and back.

Deadlifts (trap bar): 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234 low (felt great)

10 x 280 8 inch handle.

Then more back and yoga; felt great walking to the office.


Well, what is going right:

COVID is down locally; now about 50 cases per day.

So, tonight, I’ll mask up and go to a men’s basketball game.

The academic year: ok, so far.

Glute: well, it hurt..well, the pain migrated to below the hip, on the side of the leg. BUT I seem to have found stuff that helps. Stay tuned.

Workout notes no cyling for a while.

Friday: pull ups (2 sets of 10 singles, 10, then 6 sets of 5, including wide grip and chins), push ups 25 flat (before pull ups), 30 sissy, 30 feet elevated, 15 deficit.

bench: 3 sets of 5 x 166, single with 184

rows: 3 sets of 10 single arm

curls 3 sets of 10

shoulder: 10 x 99, 10 x 104 (questionable ROM, 10 x 93 (better ROM)

Saturday: deadlifts, rehab and yoga
rehab included fire hydrants, clam shell, banded walks, dead buts, twist crunches, side leg lifts etc and yoga poses including Frog pose. (I keep my upper body higher and on a level with my butt..kind of resting on my elbows.) (source)

Headstand: 1:40 worth (not hard); did some sun salutes, warrior 2-triangle, pyramid, reverse warrior series, trees, and single leg Romanian deads (weightless)

I really felt some release.

Deadlifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234, then sets of the 3 minutes
280 x 3, 3, 3, 3, 4 (didn’t want to press my luck with a 5’th rep)

Note: deadlifts were first; rehab and yoga/stretching came later.

Who is wrong?

I think Bill Maher gets some important things right. But he is spectacularly wrong here:

Yes, some are more vulnerable to COVID than others; in fact, I tell my students that I have to take precautions that might not make sense for them.

But…with his take on what President Biden said about the vaccines: the vaccines DID have 90-95 percent efficacy with respect to getting infected..PRE DELTA. New variants came along, and now, the efficacy with respect to infection appears to be 50 percent or so, though efficacy with respect to death is about 95 percent.

Now his swipe at the hypocrisy of leaders and politicians (bipartisan): ok, THAT was well deserved.

Maher also seems to discount morbidity; even if you are young, COVID can cause conditions that can become chronic. This country will need a lot of oxygen tanks in the near future.

Workout notes

some slight shoulder soreness…I wonder…seems to coincide with doing too many “to the floor” push-ups. Glute: tingles still there, though I did feel a pop and some relief last night..and I noticed that when I stretch the back in different ways, the pain is relieved or alternately, reproduced. So there is an interplay with the lower back.

Today: light stretching, deadlifts:

10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234 (latter was more work than I had anticipated ..but no back pain, at all)

then 3 sets of 5 with 280, new set every 3 minutes, used a belt. These were ok, but were work. I had some in the tank when I finished, but..maybe next week, IF all goes well, seek a 4’th rep. on set 5?


Just getting caught up; due to a snowstorm we had classes online on Wednesday and Thursday; back to “normal” today. So, I went to my office in my sweats (short walk).

The snow was deep enough to get inside my tall boots; snow on the rug was from my socks.

Tonight: made a women’s game; hardly anyone there. Indiana State got so many second chance points; they raced to a 30-14 lead though Bradley cut it to 7 at the half.

But alas..back to a 65-47 lead going into the 4’th and the final ended 83-63. Rough year.

Yes, I hate cold weather, but the work..well. slowdown gave me time to relearn stuff and I enjoyed the math and interacting with students.


Down to 100 new cases a day…deaths were from the previous surge, including 2 in my age group and 4 in my spouse’s.

Workout notes first, note my Ned Flanders like neighbor used his snow blower to clear off part of our driveway and to do most of the sidewalk on the street! That is so sweet…really. I shoveled some more and it did set off the glute…though the cold, slippery walking didn’t help either. But the spinal twist stretch before bed helps, a LOT.

Shoulder: mostly ok.

Note: I’ve returned to the naproxen as it does take away a LOT of the body-ache.

Now about the workouts:

Wednesday: weights…it was COLD…managed 8 reps on the pull up bar; called it quits. strong wind, blowing snow..ugh.

Still got rehab and 4 sets of 25 push ups
bench press: 5 x 154, 5 x 154, 5 x 159, 1 x 181 (hips down); most I’ve done since April.

dead lift: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 234 then 8 inch: 10 x 270

Thursday 1:02 for 22 fake miles; 10 min medium then 15 reps of 1 hard, 1 easy, 4 reps of 1 easy, 4 medium, then finish medium, followed by a ton of rehab (clamshell, banded walks)

Friday Upper body: 4 sets of 5 singles, set of 10 (gloveless), sets of 5/5 singles to get to 50 reps, then 2 sets of 5 chins.

Inside: rehab and 4 sets of 25 push ups

bench: 3 sets of 5 x 161 hips down, 3 sets of 10 rows (60 each arm)

3 sets of 10 curls, 3 sets of 10 x 99 shoulder (better depth)

muddling through

I went to a Women’s game today: lots of social distance.

Well, it ended 60-36 and was never close; it was 31-11 at the half and BU shot 21 percent from the field; finding the right mix has been a struggle. The women played hard but were overmatched.

Yes, I do not feel comfortable going to men’s games at this time. I’d like to see cases back down to early December levels; pity we don’t enforce the mask mandate nor do we have a vaccine mandate for fans, the way that the University of Illinois does.

Yes, I sure wish the government or private entities would enforce mitigation measures but they won’t; the depth of public support just isn’t there. So it is just “protect myself”. So, while I am vaccinated and boosted; I limit what I do based on current conditions. I went to football games but sold my Jan 3 Colts vs Raiders tickets as omicron was in full fury by then.

And basketball games went on hiatus; I recently started back with women’s games.

I teach in a N95.

Workout notes: deadlifts, rehab (clam shell, leg lifts, dead bugs, bridges), 1:02:30 (22 fake miles) on the bike; all at medium intensity.

10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 224 warm up

belt: 3, 3, 3, 3, 5 x 275 with belt.

Wed-Th-F catch up

This is just a workout catch up post: busy being reasonably productive:

Wednesday: very cold, pull ups (60 reps), push ups (mixed the grip a bit), then repetition deadlifts: 10 x 134, 10 x 184, 10 x 224, and 10 x 270 high (8 inches)

Thursday: half hearted PT, 22 fake miles on the bike in 1:02

Friday: pull ups: 4 sets of 10 singles, set of 10, 2 sets of 5 chins,

push ups: 30 sissy, 30 feet elevated, 15 deficit, 25 floor (inside); some PT

bench: 3 sets of 5 x 161: hips got off of the bench; have to work on my arch.

single arm rows (3 sets of 10) curls 3 sets of 10

shoulder presses: 3 sets of 10 x 99

Basketball note: saw the women’s team get beat 70-58; it was 41-16 4 minutes to go in the first half, and the team did pull to within 11. Drake was too much.

Covid: well, just look: (sorry, but the editor is acting up; I know there is a triple post: 3 deaths are in my age group)