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.

Vikings Dominate Bears

I chose this game over the Texans at Colts game; it was cheaper and made for a shorter day…sort of. Harry wanted to visit his sister, which we did..and enjoyed it.

Oh, the game, the cold game (loved my new wool socks, toe warmer and hand warmers) The Vikings won 29-13. It wasn’t that close , really…yards were 482-259 and the Vikings used their second quarterback in the second half and ran the ball a lot. But basically, the Bears could not cover the Vikings receivers, at all. The Vikings did miss a field goal at the end of the first half when they had to rush their team on and got a “too many men on the field” penalty. So it was only 16-6

This was a new place for me to sit. For more: here is my Soldier Field post.

Jan 2: football

Just watching the scary incident with a Bills football player during the Bengals game. Had a grand old time watching the Illinois game (lost it with 12 seconds to go), the end of the Cotton Bowl and some of the Rose.

But I worked out first:

long PT, included 4 sets of 20 push ups, 2 sets of chest tap push ups (100 reps total)

Sets of 5/5 singles to get to 50 pull ups.

Bench: 10 x 134, 3 x 165, then 5, 4, 4 with 160

curls: 3 sets of 10

Swiss bar high incline: 3 sets of 10 x 94

Then the walk, which felt great. painless..perky, the lot.

That is 9.3 miles (15K) for 2023; can I keep up this pace?

Whirlwind trip to Indianapolis and back

Monday: got up, worked out.

PT and push ups (6 sets of 10, set of 30, 10 chest tap push ups)
pull ups: sets of 10 singles, 10 reps, 5 singles, 5 reps, enough to get 50

bench: 10 x 134, 3 sets of 5 x 155

curls: 3 sets of 10

high incline: 3 sets of 10 x 94

treadmill walk: 3.18 miles in 40 minutes

Adventuresome drive to the hotel, pick up the boys, and watch the Colts stink (lost 20-3)

Then finally back engine there due to burst pipe..not in our building.

Then drive home today; malfunctioning tire pressure indicator …

Walked 1.1 miles in the slop; did PT in the hotel before leaving.

Bah Humbug.

Back: some stiffness on Monday, (parked at the Hyatt Regency Center; used their online ap parking..0.6) but stretching took care of that. Took the stairs up and down, with no problems. Last year, I could not walk to the parking lot without having to stop several times due to pain.

The Game Icy roads spared me watching the Bears get blown out 35-13. But not the Colts getting hammered 20-3.

Though the first quarter ended 0-0, the Colts could muster no offense. A field goal, set up by a turnover was all they could muster. And tough the Colts defense limited the Chargers to a pair of field goals (even after Colts interceptions), well, a touchdown drive in the 4’th sealed the deal.

We sat in Section 613, row 2. These were not awful seats, but some drunk Chargers fan was berating the older Colts fan…I think I like the 500 section better as there are fewer around you, even if the almost 50 yard line perspective gave you a better view of the game.

Workout catch up

I’ve been somewhat busy..and working on a “revise and resubmit.” I should be good to go with that by the end of the week.

Lots of sleeping in until..6 am!

Saturday, 17 December: Workout, graduation, TV football.

The workout was PT and a 5 mile walk that went ok; flat West Peoria course.

Sunday: the before game workout was a quick PT session and a 2 mile treadmill walk. Harry and I also walked ..more than I expected; perhaps 3.5 miles total to and from the parking lot to the game.

I’ll talk more about the game further down. Harry, as usual, was great company.

Monday: Weights, and a sort of brisk 3 mile walk in chilly conditions.

Workout: PT mixed with pushups; 5 sets of 10, one of 30, one of 20

Pull ups in 20F weather: did sets of 10, 5 and 5 singles; enough to get 50 reps.

Downstairs for weights: bench: 10 x 134, 4 x 161, 4 x 161, 4 x 161, 3 x 161 (missed lock out on rep 4)

curls: 3 sets of 10, Swiss bar high incline; 3 x 94

Then the walk.

In the evening: caught some Bradley basketball. Kind of a boring game as Stonehill was overmatched; BU lead 41-19 just before half time and won going away 79-50, with lots of guys getting minutes toward the end. Sparse attendance.

Then today: I laid around way too much this morning; did PT and then went to the Riverfront to do some miles. I didn’t have the confidence to do a 3.5 mile out and back, but I did 2.5 miles to the ball field and added a dam section, 2 different loops and one more extra loop at the end to get 7 miles. Some discomfort from 4.5 to 5.5 on the outside of the left hip; paying attention to my gait seemed to help. Temps were 30’s and breezy.

Bears vs Eagles: the game

Seats: Section 432 (upper grandstand) row 3. Like these; got them for 89 dollars before fees (117 with fees). Got a cool scarf

The Bears lost 25-20 but put up a great fight. The Eagles WERE the better team and sacked the elusive Bears QB 6 times; 4 times in the first half. They also forced a fumble that stopped a Bears drive.

Bears missed an extra point and the windy conditions made the Bears punt from the Eagle 30 yard line (got the ball on an of 2 but went backwards)

The game was marred with 2 injuries within the first 2 minutes; fortunately the neck injury for the offensive lineman was not life altering.

After a scoreless first quarter (Bears thwarted one Eagle drive with an interception) the Eagles drove for a field goal. Spectacular running from the Bears quarterback lead to a Bears touchdown, but the Bears missed the PAT.

The Eagles responded with a touchdown of their own; spectacular 20 yard run up the middle by the Eagles quarterback. So it was 10-6 at the half.

Third quarter was explosive. Kick was returned by the Eagles to about midfield, and a drive (spectacular pass to the right flag) set up a touchdown sneak. So, 17-6, but then, after the Bears punted, they forced a fumble after catch, and then from the 15, drove it in on a short pass. It was now 17-13 and it was getting interesting.

Now in the 4’th, one Eagle drive ended on a doink field goal attempt. But a second drive, lead by a long pass inside the Bears’ 4 yard line set up a sneak and a nifty 2 point conversion (quarterback roll out to the weak side off of an unbalanced line) made it 25-13.

Bears did not give up; they had one time out and just under 4 minutes; in fact, they scored a touchdown off of a long pass and a roll out. So it was 25-20 with just under 3 minutes left, and the Bears had one time out.

An onside kick failed and the Eagles put it away on a 3rd down pass (slant route).

Great game.

Cold: yes; some wind, and the high reached 21. It was in the teens early and late; I was bundled up enough and did not have to button my coat. But my hands and feet; especially my feet. I will look into electric socks or insoles.

Finals and Army-Navy

Well, gave a final exam:

1 forgot the tests

2. brought the wrong exam
3. then had trouble with zoom (stupid computer updates/connect to the internet)

But I got PT and walk 1 (slight glute tingle/pain toward the end)

and walk 2 (slight discomfort)

The first walk had a 14:49 mile (two uphills) and I still finished averaging 13:5x

Army-Navy: Navy lost in 2 overtimes; key play was a blocked punt for an Army touchdown, and in the second OT, Navy fumbled it away inside the 1.

Packers vs Bears..

I told myself I might not go. But who was I kidding?

I sat in a new-to-me section: 121, row a great deal on a ticket (117 with fees, 89 without); I could hardly believe it.

The scan: I need to clean my case, or maybe get a new one.. eventually it worked. And I got hassled because of my bag; the coat inside the bag made it appear larger than authorized, but it was an official stadium bag. walk to the stadium was a joy; no pain (wish I had worn my walking shoes instead of boots) and I never got cold. Never needed my second sweatshirt.

The second walk was about .2 miles further, but it didn’t matter. It was so unlike last year. Damn; that walk hurt last year. And it took a LOT longer; it was dark by the time I got to the highway. This time: I was home by 6:47.

Oh, what about the game itself? It started out promising enough; the Bears drove for a field goal then their star QB busted a long touchdown to put the Bears up 10-0. Later it was 16-3 due to a long drive (aided by a spectacular long pass..but a botched hold on the extra point kept it 16-3; Green Bay made it 16-10 at the half.

3’rd quarter: long pass..field goal…19-10 but when the Packers retaliated in the 4’th to make it 19-17, the Bears hit a long pass, stalled, and then got a kick blocked. Sigh…you could hear the Bears fans anticipating what came next.

And yes, it did..with just about 4 minutes left the Packers kicked a field goal to take a 20-19 lead.

Then..on the drive INTERCEPTION …..still time to get the ball back.

Then the Packers pulled off a superb end around (I saw the runner play for North Dakota State vs Illinois State). I was fooled..I was looking toward the misdirection was the Bears defense. I didn’t see the runner until he was already inside the 20.

The Packers hit a two point conversion. The Bears tried to fight back, but threw another interception to end the game.

I took a few short clips.

And so…no problems with the trip or the walking. I like that. And I got to sit in a new-to-me place in Soldier Field.

For my suggestions for Soldier Field, go here.

Illinois 41 Northwestern 3

It was an interesting trip with Harry: about 3 hours each way. Got there way too early. Had time to eat, lounge around and see the game.
What surprised me is how residential it is around Ryan Field. The stadium is antiquated (more so than the East side of Memorial). Most of the sightlines are ok though there are some sections I’d say away from.

They do rent chairbacks for 10 dollars (cash only); highly recommend them for people with older or achy backs.

Ah, the game itself: check out the stats. While the Illini did have success on the ground, with the no. 2 back doing most of the damage, the offense didn’t do *all* that much.

Yep, it was the turnovers. Northwestern repeatedly clowned themselves with bad throws that where intercepted (one pick-6, one almost pick-6) a botched hand off that the quarterback flipped over his head that was returned for a touchdown, etc.

The scrimmage line play was not as one sided as the score would indicate.

The game started off with an exchange of punts; then the Illini got a decent drive, mostly off of running to take a 7-0 lead. NW got a good drive, but then through a dreadful pass which set up an Illinois field goal.

The defenses took over again until the Illini mounted a decent 2 minute drive to take a 17-0 lead at the half.

The Illini got a field goal to take a 20-0 3’rd quarter lead,when on consecutive drives: the NW quarterback botched a hand off, flipped the ball over his head which was returned for a touchdown.

Then another drive, another interception, pick-6. By then it was 34-0 and all that remained was for the Illini to try to pad the stats of their no. 1 running back (didn’t happen, though he did get a touchdown and literally limped into the end zone..he was playing with an injury), and a face saving field goal.

Overall: decent trip; I do wonder about the historic stadium. The facilities are lacking (our restroom had one urinal and one toilet) though the sightlines were ok; had a good view of the game. It is probably time to tear it down and rebuild, as they are planning.

Some sights: “Do the math” (has to be Northwestern!)

I’d say “50 percent” Illinois fans

Lakeview of where we stopped to eat

Some tailgating

The large Bahai temple

Harry and me: balcony, just under the basically empty “club seating” that they have.

Illini drop 2 in a row at home but..

Well, we can talk about questionable or downright bad calls.

But we cannot dismiss how badly Purdue outplayed the Illini. Yes, it ended 31-24 when the Illini kicked a field goal with 22 seconds to go to pull within one score (a good call; down by 10, we need the FG anyway so may as well get it)

Anyway, to the game.

It was COLD.

Fortunately, my buddy Tom showed up and, well, a “slightly rubenesque” (and attractive) Purdue fan showed up and she sat to my right for most of the game, so I had some wind protection (and Purdue fans to talk to)

This was the coldest Illini game I remember. It was only in the mid 30’s, but there was a strong wind, so it felt colder than some Bears games did. I felt good, except for my feet; should have worn boots.

We were fortunate; there were a LOT of no-shows (announced attendance was 45K, but there were far fewer at the game) Technically, I am in this photo, off to the left.

So, how did the game go down?

Purdue got the ball and drove into the wind; turned it over on downs at the Illini 25. It was too windy to have a reliable FG attempt.

The Illini promptly marched it 75 yards for a touchdown, looking sharp. I was feeling good.

Purdue drove it again, got close again, but missed a field goal. Then the Purdue defense started to stiffen just a bit. Purdue threw an interception, but then the Illini had to punt, and finally, given a short field (the Illini let a Purdue punt roll)..Purdue drove it in to tie.

The Illini responded with a beautiful 10 play drive to score, then forced a Purdue punt..but then went 3 and out themselves, but they gave themselves 3 minutes to work with.

Then came the aformetioned questionable PI call..followed by the game tying touchdown pass and..that is where the “here we go again” feeling came back.

The Boilers gained momentum in the second half; forced a punt, then got another touchdown drive..90 yards! This was the key play…set up a spectacular pass to the tight end (we’ve had trouble with that; the Iowa tight end hurt us too)

Still, the Illini did fold; the offense got ANOTHER nice, long drive to tie the game again…so going into the 4’th quarter, it was all even at 21.

I still felt ok; though I worried our defense could not stop them.

And of course, we couldn’t. A long drive with a pass to the right end who drug our DB over the goal line gave Purdue the final touchdown of the day.

The Illini could go nowhere and though the D forced 2 Purdue punts, an interception with 3:4x left allowed Purdue to make Illinois use their time outs and gain just enough yards to kick a FG into the wind to go up 31-21 with 1:05 to play.

A last gasp Illinois drive lead to an Illinois FG with 22 second to play, but an onside kick failed.


Of course, I did my own workout before the game: PT followed by a 5K walk where I got gassed in the final mile; blood donation yesterday.

Did a second exercise walk on campus (carrying a bag full of gear) trying to be mindful to not get too sweaty. The weather WAS pleasant for walking.

Other remarks: didn’t see Illinois State get smacked at South Dakota State (not a surprise).

Navy: bless them; down 35-13 at the half in Baltimore to ND, rallied to cut it to 35-32 but didn’t get the final onside kick. ND was coming off of a big win vs Clemson.

Texas: I openly wondered why UT was favored over TCU, and the more I watched the game (a defensive slug fest at first), I wondered some more. It finished 17-10, but that was because TCU fumbled a read option hand off (no defensive pressure causing it) and UT got a scoop and score. It really wasn’t that close of a game.

Illini lay an egg; it is ok

Eventually, the Illini were going to have a bad game. They did: 23-15 loss to Michigan State, though MSU mismanaging the clock with first and goal at the Illini 9 and no time outs (ended up missing a field was very windy) gave the Illini life..which was extinguished.

A highlight for me: I got their early and walked 3.2 miles to get there (and another 0.8 to get to the car afterward) no pain.

I got 5K prior to leaving for the game due to my having to cut down sagging tree branches.

The game itself:

It was a weird one. It was windy….goal posts shook..kick offs didn’t go far (into the wind)

So, Michigan State got the ball; threw an interception on the very first play. Illinois drove it to the 3 to get first and goal..and got stuffed.

Ok, Michigan State couldn’t move, punted into the wind, and first play on the second drive: touchdown pass to the star wide receiver (mostly on running after the catch). It is 7-0.

But then Michigan State mounts a nice drive of their own (they had several) and drove it close enough for a chip shot field goal.

The second quarter; mostly dominated by the defenses though Michigan State had a nice, long drive with the wind but “doinked” the extra point. It ended 9-7 at the half, though there was more action. Illinois was driving and fumbled. Defense held. Illinois offense drove again but went on 4’th and long at the MSU 30; too windy to kick a field goal in that direction. Note the goal posts.

Second half: exchange of punts, then the second Illini punt of the half was a disaster.

Michigan State converted the short field into a touchdown.

Then on the next series, the Illini go for it on 4’th and short; the keeper play was the Illini 41. Michigan state converts the short field into another touchdown and now it is 23-7.

The Illini managed a touchdown drive to cut it to 23-15, but then excellent punting kept the Illini with bad field position.

Next to final drive: Illini start on their 13 and end up losing 4 yards to turn it over on downs at their own 9; 2:45 was left and the Illini had no time outs.

But Michigan State didn’t move; missed a 3’rd down pass and missed a short field goal on 4’th down.

Just over a minute the Illini have life.. but then:

Oh well. Stats were deceptive. Michigan State’s punting left the Illini with long fields, and they outgained the Spartans 441-294, but the Spartans converted their short field opportunities, and we were 0-4 on 4’th downs.