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?)
255..got 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…

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 going..by 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 that..as 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.

Nearing the final phase of my life as a “runner”

Super slow (1:24) sort of 10K shuffle (walked gingerly past a few ice patches here and there) along a plowed part of the trail behind the Riverplex; it was about 1.5 miles long (not quite) and I did two out and backs, with a spur from the Riverplex to the start and back again.

It WAS cold.

But sunny (started about 8:20 am).

Gear: I weighed 204 in all of it (198 is more typical for “shoes and shorts”): leggings, shorts, sweatpants, two shirts, high tech jacket with a sweatshirt over it, hat, heavy duty mittens..and of course wallet and phone and car key.

But all of the sweats ..reminded me a bit of this cartoon, which reminded me of an older one:

Many years ago; 1981-1983 or so, a cartoon appeared in a running magazine; I think it was Running Times. It described the various phases of a runner’s life.
Phase 1: once around the block in gray sweats.
Phase 2: enter a race; finish..get annoyed when you get passed at the end.
Phase 3: expensive (remember this was the pre spandex, pre GPS era)..races, gear (nylon in those days), sweatband, expensive shoes and socks…
Phase 4: competitive (aim for 70 minutes in a 10 miler..try to place ..) family starts to worry…boss starts to worry.
Phase 5: obsessive..try to qualify for Boston (2:50 in those days), run yourself into a family separation, get fired, get injured …
Phase 6: quit altogether
phase 7: return..family returns, job comes back…gray sweats come back…running is now 4 times around the block, 4 times a week, smiling all the way..

My phase 5 was the quest to walk 100 miles in under 24 hours, phase 6 was brief (knee operation) and now I am firmly in phase 7…gear is old and antiquated (no Garmin, leggings are 20 years old and worn under shorts and sweats, and I wear old race hoodies.

And yea, runs tend to be between 4 and 8 miles; walks tend to be between 2 and 10, which a longer build up during marathon build up season and, well, however fast I go is what I do.
I mostly enjoy it, though sometimes the first 10 minutes feel like death; then the body warms and it feels good to keep going and I have to stop myself before I get injured.

And I’d rather not mention pace but…these paces are pretty accurate for me. My “easy run” pace is slower than my “walk hard pace” (about 13 min. per mile for today’s “run”; right around a 12 minute pace for yesterday’s 5 mile treadmill walk.

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.

Illinois State home opener and IVS Half Marathon

Yesterday, I was a bit of a slug; I jogged 4 miles (untimed), watched Illinois hold off Connecticut 31-23 and then drove to Normal to watch Illinois State beat Morehead State 42-14.

The game: ISU got the ball and drove for a touchdown; the key play, if there was one, was a long pass. Then on the next drive, pick 6 and with was 14-0 with 12 minutes to go in the first quarter.

It never got better for Morehead; the Pioneer League team (bottom rated FCS conference) was completely over matched, in terms of athletes.

It was 21-0 when an Illinois State fumble gave them the ball inside the 15, and they managed one first down, but were repelled.

It was 35-0 at the half. Second half: ISU played a LOT of people and won 42-14 in a game that really wasn’t that close.

Total yards: 489-252, but even that gap was deceptive; Morehead got much of that vs. the ISU reserves.

This morning: I power walked the IVS half marathon (a very tough, hilly, gravelly course). Sadly, there were only 40 finishers. The course is interesting and well organized. But..well, no bells and whistles…certainly NOT a PR course….it is really “a trail half marathon on the road” so to speak.

And I walked a personal worst: 2:54:21. I’ve never been that slow in a walking half before; it was an ugly positive split: 1:22:30/3:01:51 I had company (sort of) for the first half…second half, the quarter marathon finishers left the course and it was me being left in the dust by Julie.
1: 11:57 (too fast)
2: 23:47 (way too fast)
4: 48:23
5: 1:01:37 (uphill)
8: 1:41:19
9: 1:55:37
10: 2:09:36
11: 2:23:55
12: 2:38:43
13.1 2:54:21

and it was an effort.

So…I wasn’t really disappointed..it was more that I was taken aback at how age is affecting me. It is the Gompertz law: I am at an age (60) where the downward slide is accelerating. I lose more ability per year than I did 10 years ago; I am significantly worse that I was even 4-5 years ago, and it is not due to excessive weight (I am at 188-190) nor due to a lack of effort, though I cannot train as much as I once did. My abilities are declining, period, and I need to adjust, especially at my upcoming marathon.

Yes, my form became flat footed but that was due to a lack of concentration and fatigue; I CAN do something about that. But even with better form..I am still slower, period.

Past half marathon walks

September 2003: 2:17 (Appleton Fox-Cities powerwalk division)
January 2008: Austin 30K 3:50:56 (about 2:40 for the half marathon split)
September 2008: 2:25:13 Quad Cities
September 2010: 2:39:13 Quad Cities (surgery that summer)
September 2011: 2:40:53 IVS
September 2011: 2:22 Quad Cities
January 2012: 2:34 First Light
June 2012: 2:30:18 Galesburg
September 2012: 2:24:46 IVS
April 2014: 2:25:26 Peoria Heights
May 2014: 2:19:15 Peoria
September 2014 2:35 (IVS)
September 2014 2:24:17 Quad Cities
September 2015 2:38:13 IVS
June 2017: 2:47:24 Galesburg
July 2017 2:42:19 Chicago RR
August 2017 Mahomet Half marathon 2:52:33
October 2018 Whisky Daddle Half Marathon 2:29:23
September 2019: 2:54:21 IVS

Facing Facts (walking)

I walked 4.3 with Pat (maybe 17 mpm-ish pace) then 8.26 on my own (15:48 pace). It was a pleasant morning. I feel much, much better, but it felt good to not have the fanny pack (belly does not like the pressure)

I felt like my old self during my 8 mile segment.

Reality: there was a time in my life where I was a “fast” walker..not “racewalker” fast but “reasonably fast”; my marathon powerwask PR is 4:44:34 (10:51 pace) and my judged 5K PR is 30:42 (9:53 pace)
Training was somewhat slower than that; 11-14 mpm was typical. But when I went to a trail, bike path, or just walked around the neighborhood, I was usually, by far, faster than anyone else who was walking.

That is no longer true. Though I sometimes dip into the 11 mpm range during interval work, my training is typically 14-17 mpm, with 15-16 more typical. And yes, I sometimes get caught and passed by other walkers, and sometimes walkers can hang with me for at least a little while.

And that will get worse. Savor every walk; one day, one of them will be my last. Probably not today’s though. ūüôā

Aging changes the formula

One thing about trying to run as an older person: the training formula that worked in your late 30’s/early 40’s fails to work 20 years hence. I figured I needed to do at least a little bit of faster (less glacial) running so I jogged to Bradley Park and did 2 lower loops (featuring Dog Park Hill); it is about 2.5 miles for 2 loops. Time: 22:18 (11:15, 11:03) or just under a a 9 minute pace. This is faster than I did last October but in Spring of 2016, my times were 11:04/10:52 and 11:05/10:34 (and one loop was 10:29). But I think that more “faster running” can help; I’ve been mostly on a diet of slow 7-9 mile runs as 12 minutes per mile.

We’ll see where this leads.

Embarrassed but still trying

To the Riverplex via a 2.5 mile segment and 7.6 home. It was windy going out. On the way back a young person smiled at me and said “great job”…I think that I was losing steam. And I KNOW I looked terrible. But I smiled and said “thank you.” My yoga teacher upped the ante in class…gave us a flowing, high energy, lots of plank/side plank movements. And my knees…side block is easy..not *quite* to sitting on one flat yoga block.

Weight: 186…getting there.

I can’t imagine doing that

After last Friday night’s trail event (I walked, finished¬† 10 miles muddied but feeling good with a lot left “in the tank”, I though about the 30, mile finishers, the 50, 100, and of course, the 150 and 200 (yes, there is a 200 mile option)

I thought: “I can’t even imagine.”¬† But here is a critical difference between my saying that and a younger newcomer saying that:¬† I finished the 30 several times (2003, when it was 50K, and the fall 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015 (latter is not listed due to an “early start”, but it took just under 12 hours), and I finished the 50 twice (12:46 in 2004, 31:3x in 2008…DNF’ed and then came back the next morning to “finish”, and yes, I got credit) and the 100 twice (34:16 in 2005, 47:48 in 2009).¬† ¬†When I DNF’ed the 100 in 2016, I was 15:2x at 50 and came back for 2 more loops the next day..and I also DNF’d the 50 a few years ago.


So yes, I did finish some of these longer events..or at least someone with my name and history did.¬† I just can’t imagine doing that¬†with my current body.¬†

Ah…so onward to do what I can this morning.