Monday, July 31, 2006

Day 142 -- Jogger's Progress


For the third month in a row, I ran 23 days. I should set a goal of 24 days in August. I had been thinking that my goal would be to extend my maximum run. Right now, my maximum is 9 miles. I want to extend that to 12 by the end of the month. We'll see if I can do that. It wouldn't be a goal if it was easy.

Not reflected in the above statistics is the fact that I ran my first two races in July. I don't have any races scheduled for August, but on Labor Day there is a 5K in Dubuque that I am signed up for.

I took Mrs. Jogger's advice* and did not do the long run today. I only ran 3.3 miles, just enough to be able to say that I got my exercise. The weather is promising to break on Wednesday, and I'll try to make a long run on Thursday.

*For the record, I always take Mrs. Jogger's advice.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Day 141 -- Mauzy

I'm just about to Mauzy, Indiana. Sorry, no photos. I couldn't find out much about Mauzy on the web. It's just a tiny town between Connersville and Rushville. How tiny? I'm not sure. I can't even find out its population.

I did find out that the weather there is just about as nasty as the weather here. It was 75 degrees (F) at 6:00 this morning when I went running. And humid. I did not go far. Tomorrow is supposed to be my long run for the week, but Mrs. Jogger has threatened me with certain death if I'm foolish enough to try to run 9 miles in this weather. I may listen to her. I don't think I want to become a statistic, either of heat-related death or of spousal homicide.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Day 140 -- Bunker Hill

Longtime readers will remember that in April, I visited the World's Largest Coffee Pot, in Bedford, PA. Today, I am visiting an oversized chair in Bunker Hill, Indiana. I'm afraid I can't say it's the World's Largest. According to The World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things, the World's Largest rocking chair is in Penrose, Colorado. That baby is 21 feet tall, which I think is much bigger than this one in Bunker Hill. My source for the Bunker Hill chair doesn't give a size, and the photos don't really give much of a sense of perspective. I had to guess what size it really is. This is a problem with only virtually seeing the U.S.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Day 139 -- Lexington Motor Company

Ever hear of the Lexington automobile? Me neither, but apparently it was manufactured in Connersville, Indiana, from 1910 to 1927. Connersville shows no particular sign of competing with Detroit for the title of automobile capital.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- Tony Hillerman

Today is the first ever Reading for Pleasure Wednesday, as declared by Dr. Crazy. I assume that I'm going to have an easier time of it than some others, because all my reading is for pleasure. I never have to read for teaching the way the lit people do.

Right now, I'm reading The Blessing Way, by Tony Hillerman. I'm still making up my mind on Hillerman. I've experienced two of his books. (One was actually a book on tape, which is an unusual experience in itself.) They are serviceable mysteries -- clever without being Byzantine. I think that he does character development pretty well, which is why I am going back and reading the series from the beginning. Unlike, say, the Nero Wolfe books, you really have to read these guys in order to keep up with how the characters grow and change.

I'm halfway through The Blessing Way, and it's pretty good so far. We've got one body, and one character who has mysteriously disappeared, presumably to turn up dead later. At this point, I haven't the slightest idea who the culprit is, or even what the motive is. We'll see as things unfold. One thing about mysteries is that the denouement makes a huge difference. A regular novel can be pretty good but have a weak ending. A mystery cannot.

Day 138 -- Connersville

I'm not quite to Connersville, but I should be through it tomorrow. And I couldn't resist the urge to link to Concrete Disciples. I'm not a skateboarder, but I still think it's a cool name.

I ran an easy 4.5 miles today. I'm still sore from Monday, but I decided not to take another day off. It's rainy here, so I had to go to the gym.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

USJogger, Soccer Star

Last night was the last practice for summer soccer for the Little Joggers. The medium Little Jogger's coach has a tradition of playing a "Kids v. Parents" soccer game. It wasn't anything formal. Everyone was on the field at once, kids pointed in one direction, parents in the other. With all the siblings and what all, they had us outnumbered two to one. (But I think we still had them outweighed.) The kids won 2-1 in a spirited game.

I played goalie for the first half, and I'm happy to report that I didn't allow a goal. Not that that was entirely to my credit. One shot went just wide, although if it hadn't been wide, I think I might have gotten it. Another shot went right past me, bounced off the post, and came back into play, where I managed to misplay it again. Fortunately, it dribbled out of bounds, and the resulting corner kick did no damage.

The second half, I played forward. I wanted to score! Mrs. Jogger accused me of playing as if it was the World Cup Finals, but I said Nonsense, those guys are much better. I had two good scoring chances. Ironically, one went off the post. The other the goalie touched right before I booted it home, so they called the goal back, ruling that I had kicked it out of his hands.

I'm sore this morning. Playing soccer is a whole different ball of wax than running. There's a lot more starting and stopping and cutting back and forth, and you have to run all-out a lot more. Not to mention that I had warmed up by running nine miles that morning. So I didn't go anywhere today, and I don't even feel bad about it. I got at least two days worth of exercise yesterday.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 137 -- Liberty, Indiana

Welcome to Liberty, Indiana, the county seat of Union County. There are about 2000 people in this cute little town. Above, you see me in front of the main drag. Below, the county courthouse. (Photos from

I ran 9 miles this morning. I ran the same 8.6 as last week, plus just a little extra at the end to push it up. I took a break in the middle, again, but still, it was a good run. And, I've already gone on a walk with the kids this morning. So I'm getting my exercise. I think that I'll have a double fudge chocolate chip ice cream sundae for lunch.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Day 136 -- Salem

A short three-mile jog today took me somewhere near Salem, Indiana. Probably lots of wonderful things to say about Salem, but the most significant, to me, is the Elvis sighting.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Day 135 -- Indiana

Five miles today took me somewhere close to the Indiana border. If I didn't cross it today, I will tomorrow (or Monday, if I take tomorrow off.) This image is not from the right road, of course, but it's not too far off. It's from Richmond, just up the road a piece. I picked it because it's from this page of "vintage" Indiana road photos. Its date? 1986.

Today's run wasn't just any old run. It was an 8K race, my second organized race. I just found out about this one on Tuesday, but there was still time to sign up. I felt pretty good about my performance. I was shooting for 40 minutes, and I finished in 39:03.

The big problem with races is that they totally screw up my schedule. On a normal day, I'm up between 5 and 5:30, I change, stretch, and run, and I'm back and eating breakfast by 7:00 or so. Today, I got up at 5:30, ate a little yogurt and Grape-Nuts, and then hung around all morning. The race didn't start until 8:45. And it probably didn't even start then. (I didn't have a watch.) So I ended up standing around down there, stretching and pacing and waiting. But, once we finally got going, I enjoyed the race.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Odds and Ends

A few odds and ends, collected here because I'm too lazy to put them in separate posts:

  • I have decided that last yesterday I had an experience that only a father could truly appreciate: Sitting in the pouring rain, watching your daughter's winless soccer team losing again by a score of 8-0, and still playing hard and having fun.
  • Overheard at the other soccer game:
    Player from one team, to friend on the other: Are you a left forward or a center forward?
    Friend: I'm the rover.
    First player: What's that?
    Friend: I don't know.

  • The editor of the New York Times Crosswords has rejected my second crossword puzzle, the one that I liked so much. I'm being philosophical about it. (Translation: I'm really disappointed, but trying not to show it.) He was quite polite about it, and his rejection e-mail wasn't a form letter. It specifically talked about my puzzle, and what he saw as the weaknesses. Since he's the long-time editor of the nation's most prestigious crossword puzzle, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he knows what he's talking about.
    So, I'm going to try again. He didn't say, "It was a good effort, keep trying," but he didn't say, "It sucked big time, loser," so I'm interpreting that as encouragement. And I'll look to see if there's somewhere else I can send that one. It may not be good enough for the Times, but I still think its publishable.

Day 134 -- Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

Well, here I am in Oxford, home of Miami University. There are lots of very nice buildings on campus. I chose to pose in front of the Sesquicentennial Chapel, which is dated 1959. By my calculations, that must mean that Miami is approaching its bicentennial, which is a tremendous run for an American University. My alma mater just had its own sesquicentennial a few years ago.

Above is the Black-Pugh's Mill Covered Bridge, recently restored and rededicated.

Addy N. offered to take me out to the High Street Grill, but I opted instead for Skipper's Pub, because they have a web site. I couldn't find any photos of the High Street Grill on-line. Also, Skipper's Pub sells the following very attractive t-shirt:

This is the sort of thing that must make one proud to be a professor in this town.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Day 133 -- Somerville Road

I now perceive one problem with virtual running in territory which your audience knows. They catch you when you lie. In the comments to this post, Addy N. correctly points out that one running from Dayton to Oxford would not go through Hueston Woods State Park and then through Somerville. For posting purposes, I'm just grabbing photos from the general area where I am. For logging purposes, I'm following Mapquest's "Shortest Distance" route from Wooster to Oxford. So, I dutifully and honestly report that today I am on Somerville Road, almost to the intersection with Hamilton Richmond Road. According to Mapquest, I am 5.4 miles from my ending spot, 501 E. High Street, which is a mailing address I got from the University web site. Be there tomorrow, most likely.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Quote of the Century...The First Century

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.

--Philo of Alexandria

via Hugo Schwyzer. He's got a meme about your favorite quotes, which I may join in, but no quote comes immediately to mind.

Day 132 -- Somerville

I'm not real fond of Wikipedia. I think it's a dumb idea. When I want information about something, I want actual, reliable information, not somebody's guess as to what might be true. I hate that Google thinks Wikipedia is so great, and almost always has it way up on the list.

However, today, it turned out to be interesting, because I found that Somerville, Ohio, has its own Wikipedia entry. I don't know how small you have to be to not be in Wikipedia, but at 294 people, Somerville is in. (I suspect it's hit-and-miss. There are probably a whole lot of larger towns that don't have articles, although I couldn't find any.) The most interesting statistic to me is "The racial makeup of the village was 99.66% White, and 0.34% Asian." That's right, folks, one of the 294 people identifies himself or herself as Asian. Glad we got that cleared up.

By the by, I won't be in Oxford tomorrow. Turns out I wasn't as close as I thought I was. I thought I was about 10 miles out, but it was more like 15. And, having only run 4.7 today, it's not guaranteed I'll even make it by Thursday. But I should be there Friday, unless I take an unscheduled day off. Sorry for the wait, Addy N. Hope that you didn't have a souffle in the oven.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Day 131 -- Light Day

As promised, I took it very easy today. I ran only two miles, plus a little weightlifting and a lot of stretching. I'll pick it up again tomorrow, but something less than eight. I expect to be in Oxford on Wednesday. Are you ready, Addy N.?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day 130 -- Hueston Woods State Park

Here I am at the Raptor Rehabilitation Center at Hueston Woods State Park. This land was originally bought by Matthew Hueston in 1797, and has been preserved in more or less its natural state for all that time.

I finally broke the eight mile barrier today. I've been flirting with it for a while, running as much as 7.7, and I finally went over. Usually, I just run around until I'm tired and then quit, but today's run was carefully planned. On Friday, I clocked out a 4.3 mile route that begins and ends near my house. Then this morning, I ran it once, stopped, walked a while and drank some water, then ran it again. Hey, Presto: 8.6 miles.

It's just as well I took the break, too. It was already in the 70's at 6:00 this morning, and humid. I managed to work up a sweat. And it doesn't promise to be any better for the next four or five days. But, having pushed myself today, I'll be content with shorter runs the next couple of days.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Tuba Diva

The first Little Jogger has taken up the tuba. They had a thing this spring where the fifth graders came in and they tried them on all the instruments, and the band teacher decided tuba was the one for her. She started lessons this week, and brought home her instrument for the first time last night. To her credit, she's really trying. Of course, after four lessons (of 45 minutes each, with three aspiring tubists at once), she sounds a lot like a dying hippo. Some day, when she's playing Carnegie Hall, we'll look back on these days and laugh.

Day 129 -- Germantown

A pleasant morning in Germantown, Ohio. I'm standing here in front of the Mudlick Mill, which dates back to 1817. There's a lot of old stuff in this part of the world. Well, relatively old stuff. They say that the difference between an English person and an American is that the English person thinks that 100 miles is a long distance, and the American thinks that 100 years is a long time.

I had a pleasantly short run this morning. I've been pushing my distance, and I decided I'd better give myself a little break. So only 4 miles this morning, and none tomorrow. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Day 128 -- Miamisburg

Welcome to historic Miamisburg, Ohio. The main historic place in town seems to be the Daniel Gebhart Tavern. It was originally built in the early 19th century, and restored in the 1970's. The web page has tons of pictures of the restoration, if you're into that sort of thing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 127 -- Dayton

I couldn't visit Dayton without stopping to see my friends Stephanie Edwards and Darren Parker at the University of Dayton. We were in graduate school together a million and a half years ago. Like me, they kicked around a while before settling down. I just wish it weren't so far away. They're good people, and I'm sorry I don't see them very often.

I ran a little over 7 miles today, but it felt like 100. The humidity has hit the upper Midwest (where it will probably settle in for a few months) and I was covered with sweat by the time I got home.

So here's a question for my regular readers (all both of you). Where should I head next? I want to slant back up north, so that I can run across Iowa. So I should head towards Indianapolis and then into Illinois. Any suggestions for a new goal?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Day 126 -- Wright Patterson, Part II

As predicted, I'm not even to the end of WPAFB today. It's kind of oblong, and I'm running the length of it. I wasn't sure which sight were at which ends, so I just decided to go on a bombing run with one of the jets.

It was raining steadily this morning, so I went to the gym. I ran 5 miles in just about exactly 40 minutes, which was a good pace.

Tomorrow: Dayton.

Monday, July 10, 2006

How not to get into Grad School

A former student, whom I shall call Josh, mistook the fact that I like him for the idea that I respect him, and it's probably going to cost him a spot in graduate school.

Josh took three classes from me. He took Modern Algebra twice, and failed it both times. (He finally passed it when he took it from someone else. In fairness to Josh, the person who was teaching it that semester does not have a reputation as an easy grader, so Josh clearly did learn something. Finally.) He also took History of Math, and withdrew. So he never actually passed one of my classes. What in the world made him think that I would be a good reference?

Well, one thing is that I was his advisor for his Senior Seminar. The way our Senior Sem works, there are a couple of instructors of record, and then each student has an advisor who works with them on their paper and presentation. And I must say that Josh's paper and presentation went better than I had expected. It was darn near the best that I could possibly have expected from him. And if that sounds like I'm damning him with faint praise, you should have heard me talking to the lady from graduate school.

One problem is that Josh didn't give me a chance to decline. He sent e-mail that sounded like he was asking permission to use me as a reference. I wrote him back (not right away, I'm afraid, but not weeks later, either) suggesting that perhaps he could find a better reference. You know, like someone who had actually passed him in some course. But before he replied to that, I got this call. Josh had given my name as a reference, and I didn't see any graceful way to get out of it.

I did my best to put a good face on it. I talked about the fact that he is a nice guy and a hard worker. I talked about his Senior Sem paper and presentation, and what a good job he did with them. But when it came down to questions about his academic preparation, I had to be honest. Also, they talked about this program being an accelerated one, and asked whether he could handle the pace. Let's see, when it took him three tries to get through Modern Algebra....

So, I'm afraid that Josh's grad school bid is through, for now. Maybe not. Maybe he gave another reference who was more positive. But for my part, I'm afraid I didn't do him much good. I feel bad about that, but not particularly guilty. He asked me to give them my opinion, and I did.

technorati tag:

Day 125 -- Wright Patterson AFB

I'm about to the beginning of Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I say the beginning, because it will probably take me a day's run to pass it. This thing is ginormous. It's 11.8 square miles, which is 1/5 the size of Dayton itself. (It's about half the size of Manhatten.) About 22,000 people work here (10,000 of them civilians), making it the fifth largest employer in Ohio.

This photo comes from Kallahar's Place.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Day 124 -- Enon

Enon, Ohio, is a little village of only 2600 people, nestled in the space between Dayton and Springfield. However, they seem to have a pretty active web presence. There's the Village of Enon web site. There's the Enon Area Business Association. There's the local newspaper, The Enon Messenger. There's the Enon Community Historical Society.

From this last site, I learned about two interesting Enon attractions. Above, you'll find me in front of the Enon Adina Mound, the second largest conical mound in Ohio. Interestingly, there has been no modern, professional excavation of the mound. We don't really know what's in there. [Mound photo from The Archaeo Art Gallery.]

In October, Enon hosts the Apple Butter Festival. Eight to ten thousand people cram into this little village for two days. I'm sure it's a grand old time.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Coach Jogger, Part II

I coached the medium Little Jogger's soccer team again today, running my record up to 2-0. We had them pretty well overmatched. We played most of the game in their end, and the few times they did get shots, our goalies held strong. We won 4-0. I'd take the credit for it, but I didn't do much except try to make sure that everyone got playing time.

Meanwhile, the oldest and newest Little Jogger's team lost. Again. I only watched the first half, and that was something like 7-0. They were missing one or two pretty good players. She's getting kind of frustrated.

There's a clear difference in the level of skill of the players. At both age levels, there are some players who have had a lot of practice. They can dribble, they can pass, they can kick the ball hard. And at both levels, there are players who haven't done much more than whatever they do in PhysEd for a week or two per year. They lose control of the ball, they have to set it up to get a good kick. The best teams are the ones (like the medium Little Jogger's) that have a higher ratio of the first type of player. The worst teams are the ones (like the oldest and newest Little Jogger's) that have a lower ratio. And there's not much that a coach can do to change that.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Day 123 -- Springfield (Ohio, that is)

"It's been said that every state in the USA has a Springfield. This isn't true; 35 states have a Springfield or a close cousin..." This from FTL Design. This gives me an idea for what I could do when I'm done running across the country. I could run to Springfield. All of them. Perhaps in alphabetical order by state. Or perhaps not. That would have me run, for example, from Georgia to Idaho and then back to Illinois.

This page is, I think, another example of the sort of oddity you can find on the web. I've no doubt that 20 years ago someone knew exactly how many Sprinfields there are the in country, but they didn't have a way to make that information so widely public.

A little over seven miles this morning, taking me well into Springfield.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Day 122 -- Buck Creek State Park

Just outside of Springfield, I decided to stop at Buck Creek State Park, which seems very attractive. I opted for a nice pontoon boat ride. The lake is over 2000 acres, and the land area of the park is only 1900, so it's really more lake than park.

I had a good long run this morning -- 7.7 miles -- and I'm feeling good.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A scene from last night's fireworks

Our friend John, to his almost-four-year old son: Samuel, when you were not even born -- when you were still in Mommy's belly -- we went to see fireworks. Every time one exploded, you would kick!

Samuel: I remember that.

Day 121 -- Freedom Bound

In 1856, a man named Addison White found himself just about where I am now, Mechanicsburg, Ohio. He wasn't a pudgy college professor sitting in the comfort of his home, running once in a while for exercise and pleasure. He was a runaway slave, who feared for his life. He worked on a farm there for a while, but eventually the slaveholder tracked him down and called federal marshalls to take him into custody, no doubt to drag him back to Kentucky, where he could legally be beaten and even killed.

The people of Mechanicsburg did a remarkable thing. They stood up and fought the feds. Four townspeople were arrested for harboring and protecting a fugitive slave, and the Clark County sheriff was shot by the U.S. marshals. Eventually, the case was settled when the people of Mechanicsburg bought White for $900.

White's story (in brief) can be found here and here, and has been made into a play by the Mad River Theater Works of West Liberty, OH (which isn't all that far away from Mechanicsburg.)

Oh, yeah. I ran 5.5 miles today.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Day 120 -- Fun Run

Today I took part in my first ever organized road race. It was just a 5K fun run right here in town. I'm guessing there were about 50 participants. In a little town not far from here, there's a 5 mile run that gets hundreds of participants every year, but I decided it would be too much hassle. As it was, I actually walked to and from the race, adding about another mile on each end.

It's probably just as well that I didn't try 5 miles, anyway. I had trouble with my pace. I started out very fast, running the first mile in 7:20. Well, I couldn't keep that up. The second mile was 8:10, and I finished the whole 5K (just over 3 miles) in 23:34. That's a good pace overall, I think. And only one person passed me at the very end, so I didn't slack off too much.

The photo here is not the start of today's fun run. It's the start of the Boston Marathon, lifted shamelessly from here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Streak Continues

I didn't run again today. I was up, but it was raining steadily, and the gym is closed for the holiday. I'm not dedicated enough to run in a steady rain. So, back to bed.

I did get in quite a bit of walking. The whole Jogger clan drove up to Madison to see some friends from grad school who now live on the East Coast, and who are just in town for a few days. We walked around the zoo, and then went to the UW campus to get some of their famous Babcock Hall ice cream.

The medium Little Jogger immediately bonded with their nine-year-old. They have a common interest in Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. Within minutes, they were joined at the hip. Our two girls took turns looking after their little girl, who is a cute three-year-old. The oldest and newest Little Jogger entertained her so well that by the end of the day, we couldn't tear them apart. We offered them the medium Little Jogger in trade for their little one, straight up, but they turned us down. Who can blame them? They went all the way to China to get her because they thought three boys was enough.

So yes, that is eight kids that we herded around all day. It was a great time, and I can't help but wish that our friends still lived closer to us. Perhaps we'll get out to see them one of these years.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

New July Goal

OK, I have a new goal for July. I want to actually get out and run, at least once. So far, that hasn't happened this month.

When my alarm went off this morning, I turned it off and went right back to sleep. No internal debate. No brainwave activity whatsoever. I have been feeling bad about that all day, but I've tried telling myself that I must have needed the sleep. A couple days off isn't a total disaster.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Birthday, Little Jogger!

Today is the oldest and newest Little Jogger's birthday. Well, today is the day we celebrate her birth. When she was found, in November of 2000, she knew that she was six, but didn't know when exactly her birthday was. So the Ukranian government just made a guess and called it July 1. (I understand that July 1 and January 1 are the default birthdays for Ukrainian orphans.) We talked about changing it on her official adoption papers -- one fictional birthday is as good as another, I guess -- but never got it done. So today is the day.

We celebrated by going over to some friends' house and doing yard work. (Do we know how to party, or what?) We helped them take down a mulberry tree, and then came home for a little rest, and went back for a cookout, complete with birthday cake and s'mores. I'm now so stuffed I can't move. I'm going to have to run 20 miles in the morning in penance.