Day 2 ..

Monday: so so 5K treadmill walk. Maybe the roads tomorrow morning?

Today: weights around some chores and picked up my new professional laptop; I have it ready to go now.

pull ups: lots of singles and 5’s; enough to get 50. I didn’t feel THAT badly.

usual rotator cuff/hip hikes.

bench: 10 x 134, 2 x 184 (sort of ugly), 3 x 184 (VERY ugly; lock out took forever)

3 sets of 5 x 165

rows: 3 sets of 10 x 134

shoulder: 3 sets of 10 x 94 (I kind of prefer a narrower grip.

shoulder stand.

Push ups outside: 40, 30 , 10

Commentary: yes, these came at the end of the workout. But every time I see myself in video…I am…well, in one sense, disappointed. In another sense I am “oh, I see why.”
My technique, while far from perfect, is good enough.

But…it is weird. When I am working out, my insides feel much like they did 30 years ago, with the main difference is that I can’t move very much weight. So, it seems as if something is wrong.

But when I see myself in video…I am “OMG, that poor old man…” and I don’t EXPECT him to move much weight.
Internally, I don’t feel that I should be this weak, but when I see myself from the outside, it is clear why I am: the muscles just aren’t very tight; they are “impressionistic”

And they feel “hollow”; as if someone put a straw into my muscles and sucked out 1/2 of the mass and filled in the void with jello.

Yin/Yang: not getting weaker but…

Well, I looked it up. My max bench press in 2010 was 2010. I got 205 in 2017. I got 200 last year and 198 (at home) this year. At this bodyweight, my max was about 255-260, though 250 was more typical. I did get 300 at 226 lb of bodyweight in 1985 and 310 at 240 lb. I didn’t keep up with my deadlifts but I did get 415 as a 20 year old (ugly..probably red lights at a powerlifting meet) and about 330 in 1995.

This year, I get 267 in February ..ONE TIME, with the straight bar; best was 260 sumo style and, until today, 250 was my best with the trap bar (low handles).

But I have to remember: last fall, I it was a real struggle to work up to 225 and I got 240 at the start of the year..245 with the straight bar. So there is little doubt that I have improved, but, well, anything over 250 just feels so damned heavy, and it shouldn’t.

Today’s workout: deadlifts plus a walk, where I quit as soon as the thunder came along…course was to Dozer (31:30) then to the Riverfront (old Hooters) and back via Moss.

The walk actually felt good and easy, but deliberate. Yes, there was a 16:40 mile, uphill. 15:48 wasn’t a bad pace though..and I might have done 2 more miles but the thunder was coming and I do have to watch my right knee just a bit.

But to the deadlifts: trap bar, low handles:

back/glute warm up

10 x 134
10 x 184
1 x 228 (22’s)
Now it get interesting:
miss 255 (barely off the ground)
miss 255 (to the knees?) it; slight knee inward (just enough to have a bit of residual effect)
5 x 217 (couldn’t make myself get 10)
10 x 217 (got it..all good reps)>

Weird facts:

(via here)

This says I *should* be able to do 289. But…

What the heck? I am much better at reps than I’ve ever been at an all out max..I’ve always been that way.

Just for the hell of it…bench press:

shoulder press

pull ups (best this year, on my new bar)

All this is nice. But, but…though I find the above entertaining (and it tells me that pull ups > bench press > repetition dead lift > shoulder press > max deadlift FOR ME…

IT DOES NOT MATTER. i’VE become an Alan Thrall fan…no, he isn’t an elite lifter, and there are higher profile trainers. But he is so down to earth..and humble. And his instructions are easy to follow. Yeah, I know..superficially, he looks like someone that I’d cross the street to avoid.

And to my constant whining…

Including push ups

Well, though I’ve done bench presses, pushups might help as well. I can feel them as I type this, in a good way.

Today: AC repair (part will do part II later)
modules (yuck)

Weight workout:
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (decent), 2 sets of 5 chins
in between: rotator cuff and glute exercises
shoulder presses (standing) 3 sets of 10 x 44
rows (single arm) 3 sets of 10
pushups: regular and deficit: 3 sets of 15, 1 of 10 (see photos)
bench presses: 10 x 132 OMG…trying these after push ups..whew…
Trap bar deadlifts: 2 sets of 10 x 184, second set was deficit (standing on 22 lb plates)
plank: 2:30

The whole thing took 1:10-1:20

It really doesn’t look like much.

The shirt is from a 50K I walked in October, 2004. It took me 6:20 to do; just over a 12 minute pace. I couldn’t run that this year..note that my marathon that year was 5:12

Alas, the shirt still fits.

Acceptance: working out will NOT make me look like an athletic 25 year old. It will make me look like a 60 year old who works out.
I so hate having to be graded on a curve.
Numbers for the year (no running/walking races)

Bench (touch and go) 198
Deadlift: 267 (straight bar)
pull ups: sets of 10..haven’t tried for a maximal set as yet.
Shoulder press: 115

Catch up part XX

I am losing track of time, but I did make some progress on a task.

Yesterday, I did what I think was a 7 mile walk (to the end of the sand volleyball course and back, via Moss) Just over 7.
It alternated between drizzle and hard rain; it was an uninspiring walk.

Today: weights only; more rain so I mostly stayed inside;
usual rotator cuff
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 pull ups, 2 penalty sets of 5 chins, 1 extra penalty rep.
inside: bench press: 10 x 134, 3 x 184, 10 x 161 (decent)
superset of rows, goblet squats, seated shoulder presses
3 x 10 with 44 shoulder
8, 8, 10 x 134 of hex rows
6, 10, 10 with 44 goblet squats
curls: 3 sets of 5 with 62
hex dead lifts: 3 sets of 10 x 184
2:30 plank.

I put something into it..and still…well, not great…though…well, pull ups and bench were not that bad.

On to new challenges

Well, grades were turned in yesterday. And so ended the online semester. I did walk 5 miles prior to that (my hill course).
Today, I didn’t walk at all (right knee is not quite right) but I did have an interesting lifting session:

rotator cuff and some free squats.
pull ups: 10, 5, 5, 10, 10, 5, 5, 5, 3, 3 (5 of the sets of 5 were chin ups; I did a few wide drip, and the final 5, 3, 3 were a penalty set for sloppy reps.
then to the basement for bench presses, and taking weights outside as rests:
10 x 132 , 5 x 176 (hard), 5 x 170, 5 x 170 (reasonable)
3 sets of 5 x 94 “clean and press”: one clean for each press. Ugh. Got them all; wasn’t easy.
3 sets of 8 x 134 trap bar row.
dumbbell shoulder press: 6, 10, 10 with 44 lb. dumbbells.
trap bar dead lift: 10 x 178, 2 x 200, 5 x 200, 5 x 200, 10 x 178
farmer’s walk: to the side door to the garage and back: 2 44 lb dumbbells, then 134 (trap bar)
If you don’t know what a farmer’s walk is: (ignore that she is doing MORE than DOUBLE what I did my heaviest with today)

And “my” bunny paid a visit..hopped right past me and wasn’t really bothered by me at all.

Yeah, I admit that seeing myself in a sleveless shirt was distressing. 20 years ago, I looked a bit different:

But you know what? That isn’t coming back.
As my wife likes to remind me: “be grateful you aren’t cutting tennis balls to go on the bottom of your walker.”
And the old body..the visual of helpful. Sometimes I think “maybe I am just not putting enough effort into it” when in fact, “”it” just isn’t there.” You can SEE it ..or the lack thereof.

The reality is my choices are: “do it and suck” or “don’t do it at all.” That’s it.

Something more hopeful: I wonder how a farmer’s walk up a hill might go? Do I take my trap bar to Bradley Park with some 45’s and try? The hill from lower to upper Bradley Park is blocked off.

Age and lessening visibility

I admit that though I’ve been busy with work and personal tasks, I’ve thought more and more about the current elections, at least on the national level.
I am going to have to do some homework about local level stuff to see who to support in the primary; the national stuff is more or less settled for me.

I do admit to having some doubt and confusion as to what “will sell” with the public. My wife is older than I am BUT seems to understand what sells better.

Example one: back in 2008, I was excited that a bunch of Nobel Laureate scientists endorsed Obama. Wife: “Honey, no one cares about that.” Of course, she was right…an endorsement from Oprah meant a whole lot more, in terms of winning votes.

Example two: early in the primary I became an “Amy-bro”…I LOVED Amy Klobuchar. Wife: “Honey, no one knows who she is; she has no chance.” As soon as Biden announced, she went and contributed to his campaign I asked why: “Honey, I am a realist.” She did admit that Amy “grew on her”, but she had too low of profile to start with and she doesn’t have that magnetic stage personality that Obama and Bill Clinton had.

So…I do have doubts about my abilities to gauge. I admit that when I “chose” Klobuchar, I was admitting that *I* liked her and felt obliged to try. I also knew that she was a long shot.

But many of my (soon to be former?) friends liked Elizabeth Warren. Now she is someone that I have an immense amount of personal respect for (stellar scholar, extremely knowledgeable and technically competent) but…OMG, when she spoke, I felt I was at yet another boring faculty senate meeting. I just wanted to mute the volume. And her campaign was “woke” (e. g. she listed her gender pronouns, used phrases like “Latinx” which are popular with activists and academics…and no one else)

So I didn’t want her as a candidate…and “felt” that she wouldn’t be successful. BUT, I have the aforementioned doubts about my ability to gauge what the public would want.
It turns out that THIS time, I was correct. But that doesn’t cancel all of the times I was wrong.

I think that this gets it wright: it sure appears as if Warren’s campaign was run by Liberal Arts faculty:

And I am sure that those who listen to NPR just looooooved her.

And that leads me to the VP discussion. It seems that many on my feed want…Stacy Abrams???? Good lord..she has held no office higher than the Georgia State House, lost an election for governor (in a wave year), and image wide…morbidly obese with bad teeth..a terrible image with a POTUS candidate nearing 80.

Sorry..Joe or Bernie needs someone relatively young with experience who can step in right away..and they do NOT need a drag on the ticket.
Hate me all you want, but when it comes to politics at a national level, image matters. And yes, it matters more for women (men are judged by power and money). And women in the US spend (at least) hundreds of millions of dollars every year to NOT look like Stacey Abrams.

Now to the topic of this post:

On a professional level, I have enough achievement (modest amount) and seniority that I do get some deference on campus. So in that sense, age has made me a bit MORE visible. I am no longer an “Young Turk” but I still am given the most intellectually demanding courses to teach (even out of area), committees to chair, etc. People run things past me.

But in the gym…well, actually on the campus gym, the 6 am regulars (students) appreciate that I have not totally given up yet. But about the weights I can actually handle… that is viewed has changed.

Example: there was a time where I would get glances in the gym. And, for example, when a powerlifting coach was looking for spotters when a lifter was going to attempt a 700 lb. squat, I was one of the first ones chosen and I was asked to be the “behind the lifter” spotter. The weights I was handling..while not especially strong, were noticed.

That does NOT happen anymore. Nor should it.

From time to time, my pull ups get noticed but that’s about it. And that is what amused me about this retweet.

Yes, this kid, an Illinois football lineman, retweeted this. And it is literally 7 times more than I currently use….and yes, I clean and press more than I squat.
I have issues.

Well, almost time to stretch for my deadlift session. Current max is 266 and it is time for me to focus on “learning the lift” and training…and to stop the “finding out my max.” I have a baseline to work from.

Current baselines (go ahead and laugh…I suck)

Pull ups: 50 per session (15-15-10-10 or 5 sets of 10)
bench press: 3 x 185 (hips down)
clean and press: 1 x 115, or sets of 5 with 95 (full reps)
dumbbell press: 5 x 50 standing or 10 x 45, lower to parallel shoulders
deadlift: 266 regular, 260 Sumo, 5 x 233 regular or Sumo.
Squat: 5 x 85 (not a joke…I suck that bad) or 6 x 70 goblet.

Don’t lament what you can’t do; celebrate what you CAN do.

No, I am not going to publish a math paper in Annals of Mathematics But with diligence, maybe I CAN finish the two outstanding projects I have the end of the summer. There is no reason I can’t make a bit of progress with an hour or two on non-exam weekends.

No, I am not going to deadlift 500 lbs. Probably..not even 400 anymore (my old max was a bit over a 2x year old). But I can work to add 5-10 lb. to what I can do right now…and maybe 3 wheels some day?
No, I won’t run 19:xx for the 5K again. But…maybe 10 minutes slower than that would be a good goal to aim for? No more sub 4 hour marathons, but finishing another walking marathon MIGHT be possible this fall?

This isn’t one of those inspirational videos but rather a practical one.

And as one ages and as stuff happens in life, one can either quit what one loves deep down, or one can make compromises.

Yes, I know..the beard, the type of music ….all kind of eye-rolling for me. But I like this guy’s stuff. He seems to give good advise (I can now do dead lifts without back pain…of course, I am not lifting heavy enough to hurt anything…) and he talks about his own issues and how he resolved them.

Finding balance

Ok, when to rest, when to go easy, when to go hard? For an older athlete (or, in my case, “athlete wannabe”) this is a challenge because:

1. The formula changes with age, and the older you get, the more rapidly the formula changes. What worked 5 years ago won’t work now.

2. There is, at least for me, an almost constant background of “soreness/aches and pains” that every older person has. If I only trained when I did not have these, I’d never train at all. That is just how it is.

So last weekend’s dead lift session and 6.6 mile “run” (shuffle) left me with sort of tired legs.

Upper body was good to go though:

Rotator cuff
pull ups: 4 sets of 10 at first, then a scattered 3 sets of 5 later.
bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185, 3 x 185 (left warm limited me)
incline: 10 x 135 (slow set; almost 10 singles where I did not rack the bar)
decline: 10 x 165 (easy)
clean and press: 9 x 95, 8 x 95 (regular sized 25 plates) superset with
stiff legged dead lift: 2 sets of 6 x 95 (felt good; strict form)
dumbbell shoulder press: 2 sets of 10 x 45 superset with
machine rows: 3 sets of 10 x 115.
The above took 45 minutes

Then 2:30 plank, McKenzie (forgot to do head stand)
Walked home: did super set:

hex bar: 2 sets of 6 with 176
front squats: 3 sets of 6 with 67
sumo dead lift: 6 x 188

This took about 20 minutes and got me out of breath. But I think it was enough to make the tired legs feel better.

Lessons are over..last classes of 2010-2019

Yeah, I know, people will claim that the decade is really 2011-2020, blah, blah. 2010-2019 works for me as the “201x” decade…a 10 year period.

First, a bit of workout catch up:
Monday: weights only; was a bit on fumes due to not sleeping well:

rotator cuff
pull ups (5 sets of 10: kind of strong)
goblet squats: 2 sets of 6 x 25, 6 x 50, 6 x 60
bench: 10 x 135, 3 x 185 (disappointed)
incline: 10 x 135
decline: 10 x 165
military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110
hex dead: 6 x 135, 6 x 185, 5 x 205, 6 x 185 (felt it)
2:30 plank plus head stand

Today: yoga, then a sluggish 5 mile run (1:05) in 17 F and windy..full sweats. Very sluggish.

Commentary: Look at this. Well, later today I went to a couple of ball games: women at 12 and men at 6. The women’s game was “field trip” day so there were 3300 fans there, mostly school kids. The bottom 6 rows were reserved for “the regulars”, which included some faculty, school officials, the men’s coach and the usual: old people. Several needed assistance to walk; old age takes its toll.

No, I am NOT there yet..not by a long shot. I am at the point where my times are slowing, my maximum lifts are getting noticeably weaker, etc. But my degradation is in sports performance; I am probably still a bit stronger than the average man who does not work out or doesn’t do labor for a living. Kid is done with college and no debts, and I am doing ok financially (NOT rich by any means!)

So..this might be a high point of life; certainly NOT in terms of what I can do physically; that is in the rear view mirror and growing further distant. But I am still thinking in terms of sports performance and NOT on what kind of walker to use. I have to remind myself to count my blessings.

Time WILL take its toll though…teaching actuarial science reminds me of this.

Bradley Basketball

In the day game: Bradley played Jacksonville State, who came in with only 1 win but had played a tough schedule (ACC, Big Ten, SEC teams). And though Bradley raced to a 16 point lead in the first half, J State cut into the lead and was only down by 1 in the 3’rd quarter. BU rallied and secured a hard fought 9 point victory. It WAS good to see the energy in the gym though.

The night game (6 pm start); well there weren’t many there and it was a game for about 10 minutes: Bradley lead 18-15. But talent took over and it was 46-19 at the half; the lead eventually reached 40 points with just over 4 minutes left in the game and it ended 91-58. A former Bradley player started for Maryville (D2) and got an ovation before the game and late when he was taken out.

Anger at what you cannot change: useful?

Yeah, this is very minor: record cold weather in November. And no, I cannot change the weather. So what good is my anger?
Here is my guess: it drives my response. Instead of burying myself under the covers, I get out there and do what I can do (and that is most things); be it running or walking (IF the footing is suitable…that matters) or going to an outdoor football game, etc.

I suppose it is more “tapas” than anger but whatever works.

Yes, it was 11 F again, and very windy this morning, and the roads were mostly icy. So the walk was indoors.

Weights: 15-15-10-10-5 pull ups (good), rotator cuff, goblet squats: 6 x 25, 45, 60, 65 (65 was “to the bench” and I did 7 reps but only counted 6 since I missed a touch), 70 (to the all 6), military: 2 sets of 15 seated, supported, with 50, 1 set of 10 with 45 standing, 3 sets of one armed rows with 50.
then track walking: lane 1: 13:07, 12:00, 1:36 “penalty lap” for 26:44 (just over 2)

Age note: OMG, I get out of breath when I do a set of 15 pull ups, or when the squats are with 60 or more.


You know you are getting old (or are already there) when most of the memes you see in the gym do NOT apply to you. No, I am NOT progressing…I am slowing the rate of my demise. Yes, I am making slight adjustments (adding squats and hex dead lifts) but..well, in the dead lift, I am not going to see 400+ lb again and probably not even 300 again. 250-270 would be nice.

I am sliding down the hill and all I can do is reduce the rate of my slide.

BUT….BUT.. at least I am not deciding on what pain medications to use or how to adjust my walker…and that is something to be grateful for.