Archive for March, 2011

Day Thirteen Walking

Did two walks today. Went down to Julia Davis Park before going grocery shopping and walked for 30 minutes, mostly on the grass around the duck pond, over the bridge to BSU campus, and so forth. It was a very warm, sunny day for the first time in ages! I was actually overdressed the first time around.

Then the family went to the Boise City Zoo for family day. Walked around for a little under 2 hours, though of course there was a fair amount of standing and a bit of sitting interspersed with that. It was a good time with Lisa and the kids, though half of Boise seemed to have the same idea. Fortunately we parked at the University and walked over the bridge to the zoo (which is in Julia Davis Park), so we avoided the crush getting in and out.

I have to say that situations like this prey upon both my dislike of big crowds (mitigated at DisneyWorld somewhat by the sheer number of things to look at) and, I guess, what the Tea Party folks would call my elitism. I started going a bit crazy listening to people standing in from of animals saying things like “why won’t the lion look at me?” (because it’s a tiger), “it’s a monkey honey” (in front of the cage that says LEMURS), or just hooting at the gibbons and making their turkey calls in front of the condors and spending half the time watching everything through the tiny camera viewscreens on their cell phones. Watch the animals, read the signs, treat the animals with some respect, and consider keeping your private conversations at a low enough volume so that they could reasonably be considered private. Please.

But I survived and had a pretty good time.


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Weights Day Six

Working out late afternoon just before dinner.

Squats: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (95), 1×2 (125), 3×5 (167)

Played a little pickup ball with the kids yesterday and my left ankle and calf felt pretty sore, so I wasn’t expecting much from this work set, but it went fine. I decided that for the middle day of the week on squats and deadlifts I would scale the increase back to 2 lbs instead of 5 lbs to be careful (I have a nice set of microweights in increments of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 lb, so I can adjust the total weight on the bar with great precision.)  Still, a 5RM best. Inching toward being able to squat my body weight. The early stages of the program are where it is easiest to make these gains, so I’m milking them psychologically and parceling out the gains.

Bench Press: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (125), 1×2 (145), 3×5 (180)

Oops! I was in a hurry and completely forgot that today I was supposed to do the overhead press, not the bench press. But it seemed to go pretty well. New 5RM personal best. Getting closer to benching my weight for 5RM, whcih is a big goal. Probably switch to overhead press on Saturday.

Deadlift: 1×5 (75), 1×3 (85), 1×2 (95), 2×5 (137)

Well, the Getting Stronger book noted that doing heavy deadlifts (and believe me, heavy is relative in my case) three times a week can be pretty tiring due to the nature of the exercise, so I thought I’d (a) bump this middle set up by only 2 pounds and (b) scale it back to a 2×5 work set. Just to be on the safe side.

Back felt a bit tight, to be honest. I’ll see how it does tomorrow. I could conceivably scale back to a light deadlift set in the middle of the week, meaning I’d drop down to 80% of the previous max and do 3×5 for the work sets, to keep practicing the form but rest the muscles a bit for a bounce back. Always little adjustments that could be made. The deadlift seems to be more vulnerable than other exercises to how rested I feel before starting the workout.

Pullups/Chinups: 1×12 pullups, 1×12 chinups, 1×6 wide grip pullups

These were okay. They felt tough, but I pushed through a bit to eke out a few more reps on the later sets.

Whewh! Total time was only 44 minutes, which is actually pretty good, though I have to allow for time saved by not doing the third set of deadlifts. A 45 minute workout would be a nice sweet spot to hit as long as I am lifting with focus.

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Day Twelve Walking

Took a stroll around the neighborhood with my son and our dog, then played some basketball with my daughter and the neighbor’s kids.

My son and I talked about a superhero he thought up called The Cowl, whose costume triggers some sort of cellular transformation that gives him invisibility, energy blasts, and the ability to muffle any sounds he makes. I am not entirely clear on the origin story.

He asked me to make up two villains, so I created The Basilisk, who has laser vision so accurate that anything he can see, he can hit (of course, as I had hoped, my son was gleeful that The Cowl’s invisibility would thwart this power), along with Aquatica, a girl who can transform into water as well as swim really fast. He was a little taken aback at the idea of having a girl for an archenemy. No adventures have taken place yet as it was a short walk.

Also, when picking a plastic bag for carrying your dog’s poop, make sure the bag does not have a hole in it before you set out. Just sayin’.

Oh, and this cartoon is amusing in the context of what I’ve been doing lately with this blog.

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Day Eleven Walking

Had my last walk in the very posh Harrison Boulevard neighborhood in the early evening because my son’s piano teacher is moving . . . closer to our house, actually, which is nice. But I will miss the visits to this part of town and the chance to walk around the neighborhood during my son’s lesson.

Then the whole family went to this excellent old-fashioned ice cream parlor/candy store called Goody’s, where the kids got free fudge brownie sundaes for their straight-A report cards, Lisa had a sundae, and I had a delicious marionberry sorbet made with fresh pureed berries. Yum! I was tempted to swing by Boise Fry Company for the delicious locally sourced fries made half a dozen ways from half a dozen or more varieties of potatoes, but I opted to go for sweets with the family. Started raining after we got home.

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Weights Day Five

Time for the Tuesday lifting.

I decided to leave off one of the warmup sets this week to shave a little time and help me incorporate pullups and chinups into the daily routine.

Squats 1×5 (75), 1×3 (95), 1×2 (125), 3×5 (165)

I was really pleased to be able to up my max 5RM weight by another 5 pounds today. No problems with either knee. Felt like I had a better grip on the barbell this time, got into the low part of the squat a little better.

Bench Press 1×5 (75), 1×3 (95), 1×2 (125), 3×5 (175)

Pretty much rolled through this exercise today without any hitches. Got the bar up smoothly on each rep, hit another 5RM max by adding 5 pounds.

Deadlift 1×5 (75), 1×3 (85), 1×2 (95), 3×5 (135)

My back was hurting last night after I spent part of yesterday afternoon raking leaves, so I was initially concerned about this exercise today. However, a good night’s sleep helped a lot. For the first two sets in particular, I really felt as though I was pulling the weight up with my hamstrings and glutes and putting less pressure on my back, which felt great. Also, I’ve been using the same grip with both hands, instead of reversing the grip as is common with the deadlift. This makes it harder to grip the bar but puts less strain on my left shoulder. The weight I’m lifting is not all that heavy, so at this stage my grip can keep up with it. Anyway, very pleased to add 5 pounds to my 5RM max here as well.

Pullups/Chinups 1st set: 13 pullups; 2nd set: 10 chinups; 3rd set: 4 pullups

I did each set to failure, resting 2-3 minutes in between sets. As you can see, I got tired pretty quickly. Might try doing a set of these at the start of my workout and finishing the workout with two more sets, just to conserve some energy. We’ll see.

Total time today was about 55 minutes, right in line with previous weight workouts even though I added the chinups. I think skipping the very first, extremely light warmup set worked out well for me, as switching the plates from that set to the next series is always a bit time consuming.

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Day 10 Walking

Got a walk in while the weather was okay, sunny but a bit chilly. Walked by the local elementary school, through the playground, around the parking lot, and through the neighborhood a bit. Not taking the kids to school for Spring Break, which really cuts down on interesting places to walk. Typically I drop the kids off at school and then stop somewhere on the way home or in the vicinity of the school for my walk, which adds more variety. Also starting to run short on podcasts of interest and convenient length!

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Calipari=No Conscience

I’ve heard people say that you can feel good rooting for this Kentucky team and its coach, John Calipari. To me, that’s laughable.

Massachusetts vacated their Final Four run of 1996
because their star player, Marcus Camby, signed with an agent during the college season and took payments from the agent. Calipari was head coach; he jumped to the New Jersey Nets, where he squeaked into the playoffs his 2nd year and was fired his third year.

He jumped to Memphis and built that program into a national power, mainly on the strength of his recruiting. Memphis then vacated their entire 2008 season, including the Final Four, because their star player, Derrick Rose, was ruled ineligible after it was learned that someone else took his SAT for him.

By the time the NCAA had made this ruling, Calipari had already accepted a contract from Kentucky that paid him nearly $4 million a year. He immediately landed the top recruiting class in the country.

So far Calipari has never been personally indicted by the NCAA. I find this very hard to fathom given that he basically has two strengths as a coach: his ability to recruit blue chip talent and a close relationship with his players (he’s often touted as looking out for their interests away from the basketball court). The idea that he then has no knowledge of recruiting violations or infractions his players might commit while on campus seems laughable to me. He’s the only NCAA coach in history to have two Final Four runs vacated. Moreover, on both occasions he jumped ship before the ink was dry on the violations that penalized his former school. Only a rabid Calipari booster or a diehard Kentucky fan would not find that suspicious behavior.

But then, the NCAA hasn’t shown a lot of consistency or competence in these sorts of matters, as witnessed by the timing of how it hands out suspensions.

Kentucky’s AD admits that Calipari gets as close to the legal line of recruiting as possible but insists that he doesn’t cross it. Based on . . . wishful thinking, I suppose. And a desire to hang more banners in Lexington. Kentucky should enjoy this Final Four appearance while it lasts, because Calipari’s history says it will be coming off the record books in a few years once it’s discovered that his players haven’t attended classes or have taken money from an agent or never qualified for school.

But people will probably forget that as well. It’s amazing how quickly these things can be buried if a coach or player stays in the public eye and has success somewhere else. Derrick Rose is likely to be the NBA MVP, which I think he deserves based on his stellar play and leadership as a pro for the Chicago Bulls, but nobody praising his character comments on his cheating to get into school or the penalty it cost Memphis, nor does he express remorse. I had forgotten that the Michigan Fab Five’s trips to the Final Four were vacated in large part due to star Chris Webber accepting $200,000 from a local bookmaker while playing for the school. Webber became a popular NBA commentator on cable TV.

Of course, Kentucky’s opponent in the Final Four, the University of Connecticut, is led by Jim Calhoun, who recently received a–wait for it–delayed suspension by the NCAA for his own role in recruiting violations for the Huskies. Of course, that suspension didn’t impact Connecticut’s Big East tournament run or its current NCAA tournament run, because that would run the risk of costing the school money.

So, root for the school with the coach who has presided over two Final Fours nullified by recruiting violations but managed to avoid any personal indictments, or root for the coach who actually got tagged, this year, with a penalty for recruiting violations? If only they could both lose. That might still be possible. I suspect that if Connecticut loses Saturday, Kentucky will be losing down the line. That’s the Calipari pattern. And sadly, it’s indicative of the sort of cheating that’s rife at the major conference level in college basketball. The little schools aren’t playing on the same court, and it’s not all due to talent.


The taint on Calipari’s record. More on the Memphis situation. (Note the quote from the NCAA Infractions Chair, “No allegations were made against the coach, so there were no findings against the coach.” Doesn’t sound like they investigated his role at all.) His recent brushes with toeing the recruiting line. A list of the schools that have vacated Final Four appearances. (To my knowledge, Calipari is by far the highest profile coach from one of those schools who still has a coaching job. He might be the only one.) Jim Calhoun’s denial of wrongdoingWebber’s little pecadillo.

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