Thursday, August 31, 2006

Jogger's Progress


I failed in my goal to run 24 days in August, but I reached my goal of running over 12 miles in one day. I really don't know what goal to set for September...

I put myself down as travelling in one state in August, but it's darn close. I'm right at the Illinois border. I'm about four or five miles east of Danville, Illinois. As far as I can tell, I'm still on the Indiana side, but the system is just not precise enough to tell.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- Listening Woman by Tony Hillerman

I finished this one some time this past week. It is an excellent mystery -- one of the best I've read from Hillerman so far. It had a good plot; all the clues were right there, but the solution was not obvious. And the ending was really suspenseful. I read through the last 50 pages or so at a gallop, trying to find out what would happen. I suspected that Leaphorn would survive (since I've read later books in the series) but it sure didn't seem obvious!

I've now shifted to Jim Chee mysteries. I was surprised to find that People of Darkness, one that I had already read, was the first Jim Chee mystery. For some reason, Hillerman shifted from Leaphorn to Chee as his protagonist, and only later will he get them together. It will be interesting to see how. Right now I'm deep into The Dark Wind, which is proving to be a very interesting book. Right now, I have no idea how the various parts fit together, but I trust Hillerman enough to know that they will.

Day 162 -- Covington, Indiana

Well, the past two running days, I haven't posted any tourist photos. So today we get two. Above, Shelton Discount Fireworks. Yes, that is snow on the ground. Heaven knows why they decided this was a good image to put on their web page. Presumably Shelton is here in Covington because the laws are different in Illinois than they are in Indiana, so they are hoping to get people coming across the border.

Below, a tired dog from My Janee. I've used some of Janee's photos before. She has a lot of interesting Indiana photos.

Today was an easy day. I made 4.5 miles. I'm still a little sore from Monday, even after the day off.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Tim Wise

Today's workshop was by author/activist Tim Wise. I have to admit that he drew me in more than I expected.

The title was something about "white privilege," a phrase that usually makes my hair stand on end. I'm not denying that such a thing exists. I'll be the first to acknowledge that as a white, straight male, I take for granted some things that other people have to fight for. My problem is that most of the time people who talk about "white privilege" seem to be guilt-mongers.

Take the story that Wise led off his talk with. The question is how exactly this relatively young white guy came to be talking to us about racism. Well, of course, he has a certain reputation as an anti-racist activist. How did he get that? Well, he had a good start, working on the campaign against David Duke right out of college. How did he get that job? Well, he knew a couple of people who were organizing the campaign. How did he know them? From college at Tulane. How did he go to college? Well, his parents had to take out a loan, using his grandmother's house as collateral. His grandmother had bought the home relatively cheaply, and it had increased in value. Of course, if his family had been black, they wouldn't have been able to buy the home, and if they had, it wouldn't have increased in value. So he was here precisely because he was white. He had an opportunity that a black man of his age and background literally wouldn't have had.

OK, fine. So what are we going to do about it? We can't go back in time and give that opportunity to someone else. We can't erase America's terrible legacy of racism. So, we'll just sit here and feel guilty about how unfair it is.

Except that Wise made a pretty good case that there is a point to all this. It's not simply a matter of wallowing in guilt. It's also recognizing that institutional racism exists today, and that we -- the overprivileged -- have to be on the lookout for it. The story that he told at the very end of his prepared remarks really caught my attention. He talked about traveling to give some talk somewhere, getting on a plane, and noticing that both pilots were black. His first thought was something like, "Gee, I hope these guys know how to fly this thing." Of course he recognized instantly how silly that was -- if anything, these guys were going to be better than white pilots, because they had to work harder to prove themselves. But the point is that no one -- no one -- can rise above their stereotypes. They are part of the human condition. They are part of the culture we live in. Here's a guy who spends his life fighting racist stereotypes, but he still has them.

So we need to be aware of our own stereotypes. The deeper they are, the harder we have to work to uncover them. We need to do this so that we can reject them. If we pretend that we don't have stereotypes, we're fooling ourselves. If we pretend that the playing field is finally level -- for the first time in history, blacks have exactly the same opportunities as white -- we're fooling ourselves. We need to know about the problems, so we can work to fix them.

Food Junkies Eat Well

I guess that's foodjunkies-eatwell. That's the new blog started by my cousin Robert, a frequent commenter on JogAmericaBlog. I like what I see so far. If only we can get Robert to find his CAPS LOCK KEY! ;-)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Cooperative Learning

The workshop that I attended today was on cooperative learning. I really wasn't all that excited about it. I've been to cooperative learning workshopes before. My experience has been pretty consistent. The facilitator puts the faculty into groups and has them work on a problem. The faculty gets all involved in the problem, does lots of interesting group processing, and has a good discussion. Then you try the same (or similar) problem in a class with actual students, and they sit there like a bunch of lumps, waiting for you to start lecturing. The main problem, in my estimation, is that the students aren't like faculty. If all my students were as smart, motivated, and capable as my colleagues, I'd be a great teacher!

Nonetheless, I was pleased with this workshop. The presenter, Karl Smith of the University of Minnesota, didn't oversell the product. He was very clear about what he thought it was worth, but also very careful to talk about the pitfalls and snares. He also spent a lot more time on the mechanics of cooperative learning. How do you set up groups to foster interdependence yet retain individual accountability? He said that he used to just demonstrate such things, but he realized somewhere along the way that faculty needed specific instructions about how such things could be done (and what to avoid.) I think some of the workshops that I've been to in the past have taken the "just demonstrate" path, and it hasn't worked for me because I haven't copied the right things.

So, I'm not going to run out and change all my classes so that every activity is cooperative and there are no lectures at all. Been there, done that. And I do already have some cooperative activities built into my classes, that I would have done anyway even without this workshop. But I think that it helped me to focus a little bit on the process, and gave me some ideas for things that I can try to make it more successful. What more can you ask from a workshop that occurs one week before classes start?

So, you academic types out there...What are your experiences with cooperative learning? Has it worked for you? What pitfalls should one avoid?

technorati tag:

Day 161 -- A Half Marathon

I ran my first unofficial half-marathon today. No crowds, no medal, no t-shirt. Just me running around until my little machine said 13.1 miles. That will probably be the longest run that I have for a while. School starts up next week, and I probably won't have time for runs quite that long any more.

I should admit one little thing. Up until today, when I've gone on long runs, I've stopped the clock when I pause to walk and rehydrate. Today, I let it run. I figure that that will better reflect what's going to actually happen in a half marathon or marathon race. When I pause to walk -- and I will pause to walk -- they aren't going to stop my time, nor are they going to add that much distance to the end of the course. So my official half marathon will be walking and running, and so was today's.

It wasn't a whole lot of walking. The Forerunner allows me to keep track of it, and I only walked for a total of about .4 miles. So I still ran for 12.7, which is longer than my previous long. The knowledge that the clock was running helped keep me from stalling too long.

I ran the half in 1:44, which was a great time. That's actually eight minute miles, including the walking time. So my running pace was even higher. I'm very pleased with that.

The one down side was that meetings started today (about which more anon.) Normally, sitting in one place from nine to five, with only a few breaks, is hard enough for me. After running so long in the morning, it was sheer torture. But it was good torture. Every time I'd get a twinge, I'd grin inwardly, proud of my accomplishment.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Day 160 -- More and Less

I did more and less than I meant to do today. I wanted to run 5K at a pace slightly faster than I did on July 4th. A week from tomorrow, I have a 5K race in Dubuque, and I want to practice my pace. However, I could only run about 2 miles at that pace. I blame the humidity. Also the fact that I worked hard yesterday. And the lack of adrenaline, since it's not a real race. Also the Bush Administration. I blame them for just about everything.

Anyway, I broke stride after 2 miles, and finished the 5K about a minute slower than I had intended. But then I ran almost another 3 miles, in penance or something.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Day 159 -- Shades State Park

This photo of an eastern box turtle was taken at Shades State Park, just south of where I am now. There are a whole bunch of cool reptile photos taken in this area by somebody on the faculty at Wabash.

I went 3.6 miles today. I meant to do more, but it was wicked humid. In fact, I meant to do more, but during the run I mentally readjusted my goal, and then I didn't even make the shorter goal. That's OK. I did get some exercise, and I'll be out again tomorrow.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Day 158 -- Hillsboro

I like this sign. Actually, there's a similar one in Readlyn, Iowa. It says, "721 friendly people and ONE OLD GRUMP!" or something similar. They even celebrate "Grump Days" No idea whether Readlyn or Hillsboro thought of the idea, first.

I got this sign from someone named Roopinder Tara, who biked across America this past spring. Or some spring. I can't find a year on his web site, although I may just have missed it. He started in California, and in only 22 days he was in Indiana. Of course, he can cover as much in a day as it takes me to cover in a month. So, I might be 22 months from finishing!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

10 thing you probably haven't done (that I have)

  1. Acted in A Midsummer Night's Dream at 13.
  2. Acted in five different Shakespeare plays.
  3. Adopted a daughter in Ukraine.
  4. Been to Ukraine.
  5. Seen John McCutcheon in concert five times.
  6. Walked the sidelines (as a student manager) at the Stagg Bowl.
  7. Lost 60 pounds (and kept it off, so far, knock wood.)
  8. Run 850 miles so far this year.
  9. Solved Rubik's cube.
  10. Eaten raw sea cucumber. (Can't recommend this one.)

Thanks to Addy N. for the meme.

A Lazy Morning

I took an unscheduled day off this morning. We went to the County Fair last night, and I spent a lot of time on my feet, and also got to bed late, so I just decided I could have a day off. I slept until almost eight o'clock, which was pure indulgence. It was aided by the fact that the kids got up and had breakfast without fighting, so we didn't have to jump out of bed to mete out punishment. I guess I'd better enjoy it. Once school starts, I won't be sleeping in until 8:00 very often.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- First Marathons

I know, I know...Enough with the marathon stuff! I tried to warn you that I was into an obsession.

I have read a couple of marathon books, and parts of a couple others, and I've got two or three that I'm trying to get through the library. The one that I would recommend to non-marathoners is First Marathons: Personal Encounters with the 26.2-Mile Monster, by Gail Waesche Kislevitz.

As the name implies, it is a collection of First Marathon stories from a bunch of different people -- 37, in fact. Some are well-known marathoners, but most are not. Some have run many marathons, some have run only one. Some have won marathons (Bill Rodgers won Boston and New York four times each) and some have barely finished. Some started young (one guy ran his first at 13!) and some started older. It's really an interestingly diverse group.

Most of the other marathon books that I've looked at are really how-to books. But this one is something different. The author describes the gap she was trying to fill:
I bought running books filled with important information: training routines, nutrition guides, stretching techniques, injury prevention, speed work, pace and performance guidelines. Everything I needed to know about the technical aspects of running amarathon, except the most improtant thing to me--its soul. No book took on the task of describing the feeling, the heart, the core of a marathon.

Well, now one book has taken on the task, and done it admirably.

I'm having some trouble convincing Mrs. Jogger that it would actually be a good idea for me to run a marathon. She supports my running, but thinks that a marathon is just too much. If I can get her to read this book, perhaps it will give her some insight into what I'm thinking. Or at least she'll know that there are at least 37 other nuts out there as well.

Day 157 -- Waynetown

Five miles west of Crawfordsville is the city of Waynetown, Indiana. However, in the absence of any good photos from Waynetown, I've gone ahead and visited another Crawfordsville attraction. Here I am in front of the statue of General Lew Wallace at the museum honoring him in Crawfordsville.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Random Quotes

A new thing going around the blogosphere: Go to the Random Quotations page and pick five quotes that appeal to you. Here are mine....

If the riches of the Indies, or the crowns of all the kingdom of Europe, were laid at my feet in exchange for my love of reading, I would spurn them all.
Francois Fenelon

Yeah, that's me.

Beauty is the first test; there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.
G.H. Hardy, in A Mathematician's Apology

This is one that probably doesn't make sense to some of my readers. Frankly, many of my students would protest that all mathematics is ugly.

It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much oftener succeed through failures. Precept, study, advice, and example could never have taught them so well as failure has done.
Samuel Smiles

This is a variation on a familiar theme, but one that I really think is true.

You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.
Matt Groening (1954 - ), The Simpsons

I do not agree with this one, but I couldn't help juxtaposing it with the previous one.

Education would be so much more effective if its purpose were to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they don't know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it.
Sir William Haley

'Nuf said.

Marathon Training

I've been reading a lot about marathon training, and visiting various web pages to look that their marathon training programs. The ones that get me are the ones that promise to get you ready for a marathon with as little running as possible. Get ready with just three days a week! I read one yesterday from a guy who bragged that he'd run his first marathon without ever running back-to-back days during training. What I don't get is why you would want to run a marathon if you don't like running.

Not that I'm above taking a day off, scheduled or unscheduled. And I've certainly gone through periods where three days of running a week seemed like plenty. Ask me again in the dead of this next winter and see how I feel. But right now, when I'm at my peak of interest in running the marathon, I just want to run. I took today off, with just a long walk and some weight lifting, but I didn't want to.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shopping with the Girls

We took the girls clothes shopping today. We had two gift certificates for Sears from my sister's mother-in-law. She has been really terrific to our kids, considering that she's so loosely related to them that there isn't even a word for the relationship. What is she, their great-aunt-in-law?

Anyway, we had to drive a little bit to get to the nearest Sears, which meant that we really wanted to use up the gift certificates in one try. Which was a study in contrasts.

The first Little Jogger doesn't like to shop, and doesn't really care about clothes. If she's not naked, she's fine. So she just wanted to get it over with. She got there and grabbed a pack of socks. "OK, I'm done, let's go." Her mother pointed out that that only used up $6 of the $25 she had to spend. So she went and grabbed three more packs. (She's good at math.) Eventually we got her to choose a few nice things.

The oldest and newest Little Jogger does like to shop and does care for clothes. Actually, she cares for just about anything. She'd happily buy anything that caught her eye, whether it fit or not. So our problem with her was trying to get her to narrow things down. She picked out a skirt and some Capris and three tops. OK, well, you have to put some things back. You can have the skirt and the Capris, or you can have one of them and two of the tops. She fussed and pouted, but hey, she has to make choices, right? It was a good lesson.

Except that it didn't quite work out. The stuff we got was all on clearance, and was actually cheaper than the lowest marked price. (I think it was 40% more off.) Oops. So we went back and grabbed the three tops. But that wasn't enough. So we went and grabbed a few more things. Great lesson in frugality for the kids.

Anyway, we survived, and we got some nice clothes. Thank you, Isabell!

Day 156 -- Crawfordsville

First year students have just arrived on campus at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Classes start on Thursday. Frankly, I had no idea that Wabash College was here. I had heard of Wabash College, but wouldn't have known where to look for it. The things you find out on a cross country run!

I ran 11.2 miles today, another new high, but still a long way from 26.2 miles. That's OK, I've got time. On the web site, they have a page with stories of people's first marathons. One story that I was reading the other day was from a guy who went from being unable to run a mile to running a marathon in 10 months. At age 50. More power to him, but it's going to take me a little longer than that. About eight years. But I'm determined to do it right, and arrive at the marathon in shape to not just finish it, but smile while I'm doing it. (If my smile looks like a grimace, I'm counting it anyway.)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Julius Caesar

Mrs. Jogger and I, along with a couple of our friends, went to see the American Players Theatre production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar last night. It was a wonderful night out. We went up early and had a picnic supper, then stayed for the show and got home late. All the kids were out of the house -- the boys with Grandma and the girls with friends -- so we didn't even have to worry about paying a babysitter combat pay.

The production itself was very good. I wasn't really familiar with the play. Of course I knew some of the famous lines. (The guy ahead of me couldn't resist saying "Et tu, Brute?" right before the actor. Like maybe we were impressed that he knew a line from Shakespeare.) But I didn't have a good feel for the flow of the play. I didn't realize that Caesar got killed so early in it. For a title character, he doesn't get a lot of face time.

The most disturbing part for me was when the crowd of Romans killed Cinna the Poet because he had the same name as one of the conspirators. It reminded me uncomfortably of patriotic Americans after 9/11 harassing and even killing Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs and just about anyone who had brown skin and a funny accent.

The production itself was pretty gory, I thought. They used an awful lot of fake blood in the death of Caesar, which then of course gets smeared on all the actors and stays on Brutus's hands for a good half hour of stage time. I'm not sure that I would have done things that way. I think the suggestion of blood would have been just as effective. But, that was an artistic choice that the director made, and I respect that.

I found myself when the play was over wondering who the hero of the play was. It didn't seem to be Caesar. He wasn't played particularly sympathetically, for all the praise heaped on him by just about everyone. I don't think that it was Marc Antony. He seemed opportunistic and cunning. Of course, Shakepeare goes out of his way to call Brutus "the noblest Roman of them all" in practically the last words of the play. So perhaps it was Brutus.

Day 155 -- Jamestown

The Tri-Area Library in Jamestown, Indiana, moved to "spacious new facilities" in spring of 1998. This according to the Boone County Community Network. This is a very thorough page of sight, events, activities, and information about Boone County, Indiana. Someone has put an awful lot of work into it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Actual Mileage May Vary

Just for grins, I went back and computed my weekly mileage for much of the summer:
Aug 12 - 18: 28.4 mi
Aug 5 - 11: 28.3 mi
Jul 29 - Aug 4: 19.0 mi
Jul 22 - 28: 30.1 mi
Jul 15 - 21: 26.8 mi
Jul 8 - 14: 38.0 mi
Jul 1 - 7: 23.9 mi
Jun 24 - 30: 29.4 mi
Jun 17 - 23: 38.4 mi
Jun 10 - 16: 25.4 mi
Jun 3 - 9: 38.1 mi

I don't know what it all means, other than I'm a compulsive geek, obsessed with recording and analyzing data. I should have been a mathematician or something.

Is that Obsession you're wearing....?

I tend to get obsessed with things, but only for a while. Take the whole crossword thing. A month or six weeks ago, I was so caught up in writing crosswords that I could barely walk away from it. If I had free time, I'd sit down and work on one. Now, I'm over it. I haven't worked on writing a crossword in a couple of weeks. I'm not even terribly interested in selling the ones that I have. All but one have been rejected, and if that one comes back rejected, I might just quit even submitting them.

I've also cut back on solving crosswords. I still have a few books around, and I'll work on them if I have a little time, but it's not like it was, where I'd start one puzzle after another after another.

I just get that way. I've had obsessions with photography, Rubik's cubes, different computer games...all sorts of different stuff. So now the question is: Will my current obsession with running a marathon last long enough for me to actually run one?

Day 154 -- Lizton

Here am I in front of Tri-West Middle School in Lizton, Indiana. This building won a Merit Award from the Indiana Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for its designers, Schmidt Associates of Indianapolis. I'm pretty sure that no middle school that I've ever been associated with has won an architecture award.

Today was an easy day, with a quick 4 miles and a little weight lifting.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Day 153 -- Pittsboro

No photo of Pittsboro, Indiana. Sorry, I just couldn't find anything that I liked.

I tried something different today. I ran what Hal Higdon calls a "tempo run." It starts with 10 minutes of easy running, then 10 minutes of sort of hard running, then 10 minutes of really hard running, then 10 minutes of easy running. It's supposed to speed up more smoothly than that, but I find that too hard to do. Anyway, it went pretty well, and I'm good and tired. Then I was in the car for five hours or so, delivering the two littlest Little Joggers to their grandmother, so I'm stiff this evening.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- Planet of the Apes

A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a crossword and the clue was something about the author of the book The Planet of the Apes. Sometimes, I can get these things just by getting the crossing words, but I was bogged down, so I looked it up. (It's Pierre Boulle.) In the course of that, I found a couple of reviews that were pretty excited about the book. "Read it," they said. "It's better than the movie." So I got it from the library. Big mistake.

I'm sorry. I'm not impressed. It wasn't a terribly interesting story. I didn't find the characters at all believable. And the science was simply atrocious.

In the book, the Planet of the Apes is not Earth. It is a different, separate planet, orbiting Betelgeuse. Which immediately brings up the question of how two worlds so far apart managed to have such astoundingly similar development. But OK, let that go. Boulle is hardly the first author to glide over something like that.

What's worse to me is his anthropology. How in the world could humans devolve? What would suck the intelligence and drive out of them. And it happens not just on a macro level, but also on an individual level. One of the members of the Earth crew gets put in a zoo, and in a matter of months he has forgotten how to talk. And in the next year, he can't relearn, even with his friend trying to teach him. What? In the movie, the apes did some sort of brain experiment on one of the Earthmen, which would at least explain it. And Boulle had the opportunity to make that happen, but he didn't.

The other gimmick that was totally unbelievable was how they finally found out about the history of the Planet of the Apes. (Small spoiler, but don't worry, because you don't want to read this tripe, anyway.) On the PotA, humans were originally the dominant species, and they were supplanted by apes. How do we find this out? The apes manage to hook into a human brain, and release "atavistic memories," carried by the species, complete with direct quotes. Gag me.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the difference between realism and believability. I think a big part of it is how well the author hooks you. Because I wasn't enjoying the story, I was free to notice all these ugly details.

So, in case you hadn't guessed, I didn't like this one. The only good thing about it is that it was short. So much for reading for pleasure.

Day 152 -- Brownsburg

One thing that the marathon books recommend in training is to alternate hard and easy days. So, after a long run yesterday, I did a very easy 3.7 miles today, plus a little weight lifting. I made it as far as about Brownsburg, Indiana. This is a picture of me with Jill Taylor's third grade class at Brown Elementary School, and their quilt featuring rural Indiana landscapes. (Source: America's Library.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Thanks to Addy N., I now have a way to visibly track my progress. The web site BuddyMapping, is intended, as the name suggests, as a way for someone to get the location of all their buddies and put them on a map. But I'm going to use it in a different way. I've posted my location at the beginning of each month, and you can see just how far I've gotten. This is so cool....

I've also added a link to the BuddyMap on the side bar, so you can check in any time. (I only intend to update it once a month, though.)

Day 151 -- Brickyard

I ran right past the Indianapolis Motor Speedway today, so I figured that I had to stop, even though I'm not a racing fan. Love football, like basketball and baseball if they are well-played, can watch soccer and hockey, but never really got interested in motor sports. I know a lot of people are, but not me. I'm sure that that's at least partly inherited from my father. I never grew up watching racing on TV, because he didn't like it, either.

I ran 10.3 miles today, and felt good about it. My long run was supposed to be yesterday, but Mrs. Jogger had to be out the door early to babysit for some friends, so I took a day off. I could have gotten up for a short run, but I didn't.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Marathon Man

I'm thinking about running a marathon. That's a pretty ambitious goal, but it's not the pipe dream that it once would have been. Once, "I'm thinking of running a marathon" would have been in the same category as "I'm thinking of making a million dollars" or "I'm thinking of winning a Fields Medal." But now I think I can do it, although it won't be easy.

Here's my plan:

  • Run the distance for a half marathon this fall. I'm not that far away. I have run 10 miles, and I think that I can work my way up to 13.1.
  • Run in the half marathon at the Mad City Marathon next spring. I have a friend who has run that race, so I'm hoping that I can get him to go with me.
  • Run in the half marathon at the Dubuque Benefit Classic next fall. I am running in the Classic this fall, but in the 5K, not the half marathon.
  • Run a marathon in 2008, presumably at Mad City.

I don't think that plan is totally wild. There's a lot of information out there about how to train for half marathons and marathons. I think I can do this.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Day 150 -- National Art Museum of Sport

I ended today just a little bit short of my original goal in Indianapolis, the National Art Museum of Sport, on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. One reason for visiting NAMOS (as it is known) is that I just love the name of this school -- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, or IUPUI for short. It just rolls off the tongue. I'm also interested in sport, and in art, so here I am. They have an exhibit celebrating summer sports, including this painting, Bonthron versus Cunningham, by Peter Cook. (I admit that the copy at NAMOS does not have me in it.) According to the NAMOS website
To know the special moment in sport that “Bonthron vs Cunningham” captures, you need to hear the story. In the early 1930s. Cunningham of the University of Kansas was the leading runner. Bonthron was Princeton University’s track star. In 1934, Bonthron set a world record in the 1,500-meter event against Cunningham. Princeton friends asked Peter Cook to record it in oil.

I ran five miles today. I set my "virtual partner" for 42:32, my time from Wednesday, which means I was basically racing against myself. My new self beat my old self handily, finishing in just under 40 minutes. There is a limit to how many times I'll be able to do that. Forty minutes is about the fastest time that I have recorded for five miles indoors, on level ground, so I doubt I'll be able to knock another two and a half minutes off it the next time I want to run five miles.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Day 149 -- Benton House

I find myself today standing in front of Benton House -- excuse me, The Benton House -- a 133-year-old example of the Second Empire style of architecture. No, I don't know what that means. It seems like a perfectly charming place. I love the sweeping stairway in the photo below, and all the lovely natural wood. I think it's a fair bet that no one will ever restore the house that I'm sitting in and set it up as a museum and a charming example of the Cookie Cutter style of architecture.

I ran 4.3 miles today, and made it to the gym to lift weights. Tomorrow is Saturday, traditionally a day off for me. We'll see how far I can get on Sunday.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Day 148 -- State Capitol

While in Indianapolis, I had to visit the state capitol. This is the third capitol that I have caught with Frank. I'm not planning to go to Springfield -- my plotted course takes me north of there -- but I should be able to hit DesMoines. It's a little late to decide that I'm going to hit all the capitols that I can. I passed within 15 or 20 miles of Columbus, but didn't stop.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman

For those of you just tuning in, Reading for Pleasure Wednesday is the brainchild of Dr. Crazy.

While I was visiting Grandma Jogger last week, I came across a load of Tony Hillerman books from Grandpa Jogger's collection. I stole them all, and I've already read all of Dance Hall of the Dead, the second book published in the series. It's a good, solid mystery, well-told and fun to read. The characters are very interesting, and there is enough action to keep your attention. It has an interesting "Lady or the Tiger?" ending. I highly recommend it.

I'll be interested to see how this series develops. There are actually two protagonists in the series, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. The first book in the series that I "read" (the one I actually listened to on tape) balanced the two rather nicely, in a pair of mysteries that came together. The second one I read (working backward in time) was almost all Chee, with Leaphorn just mentioned in passing. Now I've started at the beginning, and the first two books have only Leaphorn, with no Chee at all. So I'll be interested to see when Chee gets introduced, and how Hillerman shifts the focus from one to the other (and then at least partway back.)

Day 147 -- Children's Museum

I'm nearing the outskirts of Indianapolis. I don't think I'm really far enough to visit The Children's Museum of Indianapolis, but I have three different places I want to visit in Indy, so I'm going to go ahead. This is the largest water clock in North America, a museum icon.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest children's museum in the world, a fact that I just learned last week. They have tons of exhibits and programs. Perhaps some day, I'll be able to take the Little Joggers.

I made my five miles today, in only 42.5 minutes. I kicked that little Virtual Partner's butt, is what I did.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Home Alone

The kids have Bible School in the evening this week. It's not at our home church. We didn't even know about it until Mrs. Jogger saw it in the paper on Sunday, and it started Sunday night. But they must be doing something fun, because all four kids have agreed that it's worth going back. Which means that Mrs. J and I have had two and a half hours to ourselves for three nights running, and two more to go. Yipee!

The first night, we went all out, and went out to the Mexican joint. The second night, we popped over to the hospital to see a newborn baby. (Our friends just added their sixth, making us look like amateurs.) Tonight, we let our hair down and mowed the lawn. Do we know how to have fun, or what?

Garmin Forerunner

I have just gotten a Garmin Forerunner 201. It's basically a handheld (or wristmounted) GPS device that keeps track of how far and how long you run. It has a "virtual partner", so I can set it to, say, run 5 miles in 45 minutes, and it will tell me whether I'm ahead of or behind that pace, and tell me when I'm done. It's perfect for someone like me, who wants to keep close track of his mileage, but doesn't want to run a fixed route all the time.

I got it from eBay. It's one of those things that is fairly popular. At any given time, there are dozens of Forerunners for sale on eBay. So, since I wasn't in a hurry, I just kept bidding a reasonably low amount on one Forerunner after another. When I got outbid, I'd just bid on another one. Until finally one fell through at a reasonably low price. It came some time while we were away, and I picked it up with all the other mail yesterday. And then, this morning, I didn't run, because it was a day off.

Well, I did take a walk. It seems to work fine, although it lost the GPS signal a couple of times. I don't know whether it's the weather, or the terrain, or what. But it came up with a reasonable distance for my walk, so I don't think it got thrown off too far. Tomorrow, I'll test it out with a run. I think I'll try to run 5 miles in 45 minutes.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday Crab Blogging

We have new pets at our house -- hermit crabs. We've been talking about this for some time, and we finally got them. The one above belongs to the littlest Little Jogger, who has named her "Mrs. Keetso." We'll see if that name sticks. The one below belongs to the medium Little Jogger, who is still thinking about a name. The first Little Jogger also wants one, but the one remaining crab at the store was "too small," so we are waiting for a new shipment to come in. The oldest and newest Little Jogger is torn. On the one hand, she doesn't really go for anything that has more than four legs. On the other hand, if everyone else has one....

Day 146 - New Palestine

I ran 10 miles today, the first time in my life that I have run double digits (in miles, anyway.) It took a while. I stopped twice to walk and rehydrate, so I was out of the house for over two hours. When school starts, I won't have time to run this long.

Above, you will see some ceramic sheep from Pish Pottery in New Palestine, Indiana. (I'm not sure that I got the scale exactly right.) Matthew S. Carr has some cool stuff on his site, but I wish he had a little more. He seems to be behind in his web page. It says he's still setting up shows for the 2006 season. I hope not.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Day 145 -- Morristown

I've done a marching band before, but the pickings are pretty slim for Morristown, Indiana. Anyway, the Morristown Jr./Sr. High School Band is the "Pride of Morristown." The link gives some of their accomplishments.

I hadn't planned to run this morning, because I don't like to tote sweaty clothes in the car. But I woke up early, and decided to go anyway. I made a decent five miles, and now I'm planning on a longer run tomorrow.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Day of Rest

According to Hal Higdon, the distance-training guru, "Rest is as important a part of your training as the runs....Don't be afraid to take an extra day off now and then." Well, I just want to say that I'm not afraid of anything.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Update on Skinny Dip: Like it

I finished Skinny Dip yesterday, and I recommend it. It's funny, and it continues to be interesting right up until the end. I read the last 50 or 60 pages in a rush, trying to find out what would happen. I'm not Hiaasen's biggest fan, but this one is worth the read.

Blogthing: How weird are you?

You Are 60% Weird

You're so weird, you think you're *totally* normal. Right?
But you wig out even the biggest of circus freaks!

I wonder how you get to be 100% weird? Or do I want to know?

Day 144 -- Heavenly Acres

Today I visited Heavenly Acres, a horse breeding farm in Arlington, Indiana. This is me with Honky Tonk Heaven, one of their prize stallions. How could I resist a visit to Honky Tonk Heaven?

The weather has broken here. It was a gorgeous 62 degrees or so, and I ran 6.1 miles. I could have run more, but I didn't. I decided not to take a long run -- that is, trying to extend my previous long -- at all this week. I'll save it for Monday, which is my regularly scheduled day. I will try to run tomorrow and Sunday, though, to make up for two missed days already this week.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Post a Comment Thursday

As far as I know, there is no such thing as "Post a Comment Thursday". But it's been over a week since anyone has posted a comment on JogAmericaBlog. According to my hit counter, people are still reading. So: Who's out there? Drop me a note, particularly if you are reading this and haven't posted a comment before.

Family Togetherness

It occurs to me that I haven't even posted anything about our current trip. Right now, we are in Iowa, visiting Grandma Jogger. My sister, her husband, and their two kids have come up from Georgia for a visit. That makes an even dozen of us in what is basically a two-bedroom house. If I were to describe the experience in one word, it would be "noisy". With six kids, even when they are being good, they are noisy, and when one or more of them is being grumpy or stubborn, look out.

Nonetheless, we are having a good vacation. The cousins get along pretty well. We don't get to see them often enough. They are leaving already tomorrow, since it will be a three day drive back home. We are going to stay on at Grandma Jogger's for a few more days.

The nice thing is that we have a good healthy adult-to-child ratio. This morning, for example, right about the time that my head was about to explode, Scanners style, I just went out for a long walk. Since I left five adults to deal with the six children, I didn't feel too guilty, as I would have if I had left Mrs. J alone with the four of them. I'm home now, supervising the youngest four as they dance to Raffi, and Mrs. J took the first Little Jogger out to do some shopping downtown.

I did not run this morning. I thought it was raining when I peeked out. Grandma Jogger says it was done by then, but what does she know? She didn't go out, either.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiaasen

This one almost lost me from the very start.

At the stroke of eleven on a cool April night, a woman named Joey Perrone went overboard from a luxury deck of the cruise liner M.V. Sun Duchess....The impact tore off her silk skirt, blouse, panties, wristwatch and sandals, but Joey remained conscious and alert.

Her panties? I can see the impact tearing off her skirt and perhaps blouse, if not all the way, then so much that it would be better to ditch them than try to struggle them back on. But her panties? I can't see that if it were all she were wearing and she went in head first. But of course, if the impact doesn't tear off her panties, then Hiaasen can't have his catchy title.

This points up the difference between a novel being unrealistic and being unbelievable. Nearly all novels are unrealistic to at least some extent. Hiaasen makes a living with unrealistic characters. This book has a marine biologist who doesn't particularly like nature, a police detective with two seven-foot boa constrictors, and a good ole boy who picks up crosses from highway-side memorials because he likes the look of them on his lawn. These are not meant to be people about whom you say, "I know someone like that." But for the most part, Hiaasen makes them believable. You don't think about how unrealistic they are, because you're caught up in the story.

This particular incident, however, struck me as wrong. Perhaps it was because I wasn't caught up in the story, yet. Or perhaps it was because it seemed like such a blatant effort to titillate. It was gratuitous nudity, in the worst sense of the phrase.

Fortunately for Hiaasen (as if he cares), I was too lazy to put the book down and look for something else. So I just kept reading, and I did get caught up in the story. Joey survived, of course, and she is now plotting revenge on her husband, who pushed her. The characters, as I said, are the usual South Florida loony tunes that populate Hiaasen's books, if not the actual South Florida. It's enjoyable, if not deep.

Day 143 -- Rushville

To make up for the lack of pictures the last couple of days, today I have included two. Above, courtesy of MyJanee (whom we have visited before) a rock in front of the Rush County courthouse. Janee doesn't tend to fill up her pages with a lot of extraneous text, so I have no idea why this particular rock is there, or why it might be worth posing with. Because it's there, I guess.

Below, an advertisement from City Awnings. The same image is on all of their pages, from Bangor, Maine, to Wailea, Hawaii. I don't know why I haven't hit them before with a Google search, but I haven't.

The weather may break today, but it hasn't, yet. It was quite warm and humid this morning. I managed to eke out 5.3 miles, but I don't think I could make much more. As of right now, they are predicting storms in the morning, and, since I'm out of town, there is nowhere to run inside. So I may take another day off.