Saturday, September 30, 2006

Day 188 -- Jogger's Progress


I capped off the summer with a 10-miler. It felt really good. I was much stronger than I was for my 8-miler two weeks ago. In fact, somewhere around 8 miles, I went up a long (but not steep) hill, and I felt just as good at the top as I did at the bottom. Now I'll start out October with a day off, so I can rest my legs.

It's been a good month. I ran 25 days, with my previous high being only 23. A couple of those days were just short runs. In fact, my mileage was less than last month, when I only ran 21 days. But still, it was a good 120 mile month, and I feel really strong now. At this point, I'm really just trying to maintain my shape for spring, when I'll get to work training for the marathon.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Day 186 and 187 -- Blogging Ahead

I doubt that I'll blog tomorrow. I am leaving early in the morning for Madison. There is a middle school math contest at which I will be helping out. (I'm the M.C., actually.) Then in the afternoon, there is a meeting of the Executive Committee of a professional organization for which I am the communications officer. That these two are on the same day is not coincidence. There are four of us involved with both events, three of whom are from out of town. After the meeting, we'll go out to eat, and I probably won't be home until 9 or 10 at night.

Nonetheless, I'm planning to run in the morning. I don't want to face this long day without a shot of endorphins. So, for the first time in the history of JogAmericaBlog, I am blogging my run ahead of time. I am publicly committing to running two miles in the morning. If I should fail, lightnig will probably strike me dead.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer

I finished One True Thing. It was excellent, right through the end. I was surprised at how the ending, although factually similar to the ending of the movie, had so much more impact. It almost makes me wonder if the people that made the movie didn't read the book that closely. Or maybe they just thought that they couldn't do the real ending justice, so they watered it down a little. The movie was still clearly good enough to make me want to read the book. And I did.

But that's not what I want to talk about on this Reading for Pleasure Wednesday. I have also been slowly working my way through The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer, by David A. Whitsett, Forrest A. Dolgener, and Tanjalo Mabon Kole. I resisted picking up this book, because I was afraid it would be one of those books that tells you how to run a marathon without running too much. And indeed, it targets itself at people that don't like running. It is nonetheless worth while, because it talks a lot about the mental side of running. One of the authors, Whitsett, is a psychologist, and it shows. The book is really as much about building yourself up mentally to tackle this task as it is about building yourself up physically.

In fact, it's got an interesting structure. Whitsett is a pyschologist, Dolgener is an exercise physiologist, and Kole is one of the former students of their "Marathon Class" at the University of Northern Iowa. There is one chapter for each week of a sixteen week training program, and each chapter has three parts -- one about your mental preparation, one about your physical preparation, and one recounting the experiences of Kole and many other former students whom she interviewed. It's really kind of cool. The ideal thing, of course, would be to read a chapter a week for sixteen weeks, and then run a marathon, but I got it from the library, so I can't keep it that long.

Day 185 -- Tremont

I went a little out of my way today to drop in to Tremont, Illinois. My official jogging path is still straight on the road to Peoria, but I went a little south to grab a photo. This photo is from a blog called I'm not sure what it's really all about, but he had some cool photos from an auction here in Tremont.

I experienced something this morning that I haven't had in a long time: the urge to turn off the alarm and crawl back into bed. Fortunately, I was smart enough to know that the only thing that was going to make me feel better was a good run. Today was a rough day, but it would have been twice as rough if I'd tried to start off without exercise. As it was, I put in five miles, including some heavy hills. It felt good, but that was a long time ago, and I'm worn out, now. I'll probably slip into bed early.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Day 184 -- M

Today I hit the 1000 mile mark for the year.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Day 182 and 183 -- Menonites

I did run yesterday, just a quick two miles. I wanted to get warmed up so that I could stretch. I didn't really get a chance to stretch on Saturday, because I was running around, trying to find the kids, listening to see if I won the raffle (I didn't) and various other things. Then I ran another 5.5 miles this morning. I meant to go four, but somehow I just kept going.

Today, I dropped in on this meeting of the Middle District Conference of the Menonite Church in Danvers, Illinois. I was just a little late, as the meeting took place on October 1, 1898. At least I wasn't a full 108 years late.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Day 181 -- Zoo Run Run (Updated)

No, that's not a typo. That's what I thought, the first time that I saw it. The Zoo Run Run is a benefit run for the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison. This is a great little zoo. When it was chartered, it was on the condition that admission would always be free. But they do a lot of good fundraising and they keep updating and expanding the zoo.

I ran the 10K today. It went really well. I started (as I seem to do on race day) back in the pack. Which means that at first I had to do a lot of picking and juking past slower runners. But I don't really have the guts to push my way to the front before the race begins. Nor do I know how far up to go. I shouldn't be right in front, or I'll be in the way of a bunch of people. I'd rather have to go around people than to be in people's way.

After the pack thinned out, I ran a nice steady pace. My first two miles were about 8:10 each, and I finished in 49:35, which is just under 8 minutes per mile. I felt good the whole way, although I couldn't have run another yard when I was done.

I finished 103rd. I'm not sure how many people were entered, but my name was about 1/3 of the way down the list, so I'd guess 300 or so. Plus there was a 5K run and a 5K walk, so it was a big race. The biggest that I've been in so far. I was also 10th in my age group, which I think is pretty darn good. I also don't know how many men were entered in my age group. Probable eleven. ;-)

Tomorrow is the Quad Cities Marathon, which means that (assuming that it is the same weekend next year) one year from today I should run my marathon. That was not lost on me as I huffed and puffed home after running just 6.2 miles. All I need to do is add 20 miles to that.

Below, that's me, streaking towards the finish line. The oldest and newest little jogger took that shot, and I think it came out purty good. That woman ahead of me must have finished 102nd, because I didn't pass her.

Update: The results of the Zoo Run Run are posted here. There were 359 finishers in the 10K. And I finished 102nd, not 103rd. I don't know whether I misread it this afternoon, or whether they disqualified someone. There were 18 finishers in my age and gender group. So I was in the top third overall, but just below the median in my group. Note that the last place finisher was first in her group: women 65 - 99. Good for her! I hope that I'm still out there running in 25 years!

Update II: Oh, boy, don't get the mathematician started on a big list of numbers like that. The trivia that I can dig up!

I was the fourth 10th place finisher. The 10th place finishers who beat me were in the Men's 25-29 group (almost 7 minutes ahead of me), the Men's 35-39 group (about a minute ahead of me), and the Men's 20-24 group (also a minute ahead of me; interestingly, just behind the old coot in the 35-39 group, who was nine years older.) I beat the 10th place finisher in the Men's 30-34 group by a little over a minute. Hah! Take that, you young whippersnapper!

The only first place finishers whom I beat were in the Girls under 15 group (almost 4 minutes behind me), the Men's 65 and over group (almost 12 minutes behind me), the Women's 55-59 group (a minute behind him), the Women's 60-64 group (almost 20 minutes behind me), and the aforementioned Women's 65 and over winner, who finished almost a half hour after I did.

Of course, I know that this is all just silly playing with numbers. The only competition out there for me was me, and I'm happy with my performance. That wouldn't change if I were 1st or 18th in my age group, 102nd or 300th overall. That all just depends on who shows up, anyway.

Friday, September 22, 2006

"You're fired."

I got a letter from the Educational Testing Service, the entity that runs the Advanced Placement program. I have been an AP Reader for statistics in four of the past five years. No more.
The AP Program carefully reviews the performance of individual readers--both during and after each annual AP Reading--in order to ensure the quality of the Reading process that is of critical importance to the validity of the AP Program. A review of your past Reading performance, as documented in your Reading statistics and written evaluation, has resulted in the removal of your name from the pool of qualified AP Readers.


The galling thing is that I had no idea that this was coming. I've been doing this job for four years, and I didn't even realize that I suck at it. I don't know how many of these letters go out a year. Not many. The majority of readers return year after year. So here I am, in the bottom 5% of all readers, and I didn't even know that I was below average. Frankly, I thought that I was above average. I can be pretty thick some times, but this points to a serious communications problem.

I really do feel bad. I'm not a total perfectionist, but I take pride in the work that I do. I try hard to meet and in most cases exceed what's expected of me. I hate to disappoint, but apparently that's what I have been doing.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Day 180 -- Morton

Of course you recognize the scene behind me. It is contestants lined up for the annual "Pumpkin Chuckin' Contest" in Morton, Illinois. This year, it is on October 21 and 22. However, I don't think I'll hang around. Morton has a whole website dedicated to its pumpkin festival. The main festival this year was last weekend, which seems a bit early for a pumpkin festival to me. But the Pumpkin Chuckin' Contest apparently rates a weekend of its own.

I neglected to set my alarm this morning, so I got up a little late. I elected to forego my weight lifting, and just do a light run. The fact that I don't really like lifting has nothing to do with it, of course.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- More Quindlen

I'm still plugging away on One True Thing, by Anna Quindlen. I am beginning to realize that one of the things that makes it better than the movie is that Quindlen is a truly superior writer. She has a rare knack for telling a lot with a little detail.

Here's an example. The novel is about her and her family as her mother dies of cancer. Her father is rather remote, but the strain of the events manages to show. Quindlen writes
My father, before he went to work, had been merely distracted; his hair was awry, and there was a spot of blood on his collar to match the nick on the underside of his chin. All the lines on his face looked deeper, as though he'd had a bad portrait done, or an unforgiving black-and-white photograph.

A lesser writer could have written three times as much without creating as clear a picture.

Another. Ellen and her father are having lunch out together.
The waiter took our order, and there was a long silence broken by the sound of someone in the kitchen throwing pots and pans around in a fit of temper or extraordinary clumsiness.

How incredibly she sets the scene there. By focussing our attention on an inappropriate detail, she communicates the awkwardness of the moment without having to mention it.

OK, one more, and then you have to read the book yourself. She's talking about how awkward it is to meet friends who never come around, now that her mother is sick. She'd meet them in a store and they'd make small talk and say that they had been meaning to come for a visit.
Another small spark of anger would flare in my chest, then die through lack of oxygen...

Man, does that communicate Ellen's emotions. How raw she is, but how consumed by fatigue, literally too tired to be angry.

So one of the reasons that this book is going slowly (besides simply having less time for reading any more) is that I'm not just reading it to find out what happens. The plot is not extraordinary, and anyway, I know it from the movie. Rather, I'm savoring the storytelling. I sometimes read a long passage over, not because I didn't get it, but because it's so marvelous that I just want to experience it again.

Day 179 -- Deer Creek

The village of Deer Creek, Illinois, was founded in 1830. Major R. N. Cullom christened it and named the township Deer Creek. Deer Creek received its name from the creek that ran through the northwest part of the township and from the herd of red deer that roamed the woods and came to the creek for water. Now you know.

If I have one complaint, its that Deer Creek didn't put a lot of good pictures on their web site. But I figured you can't go wrong with the town library.

I did hills again today. That's a lot of work. I hope that it's making me stronger, cause it's killing me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Day 178 -- Bloomington Facts

According to, Bloomington, Illinois was the home of Adlai Stevenson and of Colonel Henry Blake. It's also the only place in the world where "Beer Nuts" are made. The things you can find out on the Internet....

I ran 4.7 miles this morning at a brisk pace. It was the only way to stay warm! Pretty soon, I'm going to have to give up and start running indoors on the track. But not yet.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Day 177 -- Bloomington

This statue of Abraham Lincoln sits on the grounds of the McLean County Museum of History, in Bloomington. According to this site, Abe would have been familiar with the area, because he tried cases right here in the McLean County courthouse. I didn't run into him in person, but I managed to get this photo with the statue.

It was an easy 3.7 miles today, plus weights.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hey, it passed the spell checker....

From a student's report on the first "Challenge Problem" of the semester:
In every fascist of life you will be forced to solve a problem

Yes, I suppose so....

Day 176 -- Moraine View State Park

I've been spending a lot of time in State Parks lately. I'm not sure why, other than it's fairly easy to get pictures of them. Here I am visiting with some ducks in Morainve View State Park. They were really quite tame, as you can see.

I ran eight miles today. The first five or six went fine, but I was pushing a bit in the last couple. I was kind of kicking myself about that. How do I expect to run a marathon if eight miles takes so much effort? But then I looked back and realized that this was only the ninth time in my whole life I've run as far as eight miles. The first time was just two months ago, on July 16. And I'm planning to work my way up carefully to 26 miles over the course of a whole year. So I'm not doing too bad.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Students can sure be funny

By funny, of course, I mean "idiots."

Our discrete math book has 58 sections, numbered 1 through 58. The sections are broken up into 10 chapters, numbered 1 through 10. So there's at least a little potential for confusion. In fact, I'm not really good at remembering the difference, so I'll say as often as not that we are in Chapter 2 when I mean Section 2. Having said that, just how long should it take students to catch on? See if you can decide when you might have tumbled to the difference.

On day 1, we did a problem not from the book. I announced that they should read "Chapter 1 and 2" (meaning Section 1 and 2.) I pointed out that "Chapter 1" was a short one, and said that we would begin with "Chapter 2" on day 2.

On day 2, I went in and talked about "Definition," the topic of Section 2. I assigned homework.

On day 3, we did a problem from Section 2 on the board. We talked about "Theorem," the topic of Section 3.

On day 4, I collected homework from Section 2. One student turned in the wrong homework (I still can't figure out where he got the problems from, although it was clearly later in the book.) The fact that his problem 8 had nothing to do with the problem I did on the board apparently didn't concern him. That day, I also talked about "Proof," the topic of Section 4.

On day 5, today, I handed back this homework (with a note to this student saying exactly what pages in the book he should have looked at.) We talked about "Counterexample," the topic of Section 5.

At the end of class today, the student approached me and said that he was a little lost, and asked what problems he was supposed to be doing.

OK, I understand that I was imprecise in my language. But come on, it can't be that hard to figure out. He really didn't have any clue until this point that he was even looking at the wrong problems?

technorati tag:

Day 175 -- Clinton Lake

Here's a photo that I snagged from the Clinton Lake Sailing Association. Clinton Lake State Recreation Area is a big ol' park (the lake itself is 4900 acres) SW of Farmer City. I'm probably past it, really, but I never like to miss a chance at sailing.

I ran 4.7 miles today. My legs felt pretty leaden. Tomorrow is definitely a good day to take off. I may stay inside the whole day. There's football to watch, and papers to grade. (Wait until I get my hands on the jerk who assigned homework to be collected and quizzes in all my classes today!)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"So, have I missed anything....?"

My Calc II class meets on MTThF. We started on Sept 5, so today was our sixth class meeting. We have reviewed Calc I, and covered four sections in the book. We have already had two homework assignments graded and returned, and two "skill drills," which is one version of quizzes I'm giving this semester. Somebody showed up today for the first time. To her credit, she did not utter the title of this post.

Apparently, she had planned to transfer to another school, but that fell through. So she decided just to go here for another semester or two. I hope that she's bright. She's got a lot of catching up to do. I have plenty of students who have been in class every day who are struggling with the material.

Anyway, I did what I usually do for students who arrive on the scene late. I told her what we had covered, and what the assignments were. I gave her a grace period to get in the back assignments, but told her that I expected her to have all the new assignments in on time, including taking tomorrow's quiz. We'll see what she does. Either she'll get caught up pretty fast, or she'll get buried. I've seen students go both ways.

technorati tag:

Day 174 -- Farmer City

Sometimes, in running across the country, I just get so heated up that there's nothing to do but to take a dip. Fortunately, Farmer City, Illinois, has a nice community pool for me to dip in.

I had an easy 3.7 miles today, and some lifting at the gym. I've been lifting for a while, but now the students are back, and I'm a little self-conscious about it. Today, the whole basketball team was there, lifting weights that I would need a forklift to move. And they're so tall. I felt like their little brother, only way older.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- One True Thing by Anna Quindlen

As you can imagine, I haven't been Reading for Pleasure as much as I was before school started, but I'm still getting some in. I have started reading One True Thing by Anna Quindlen. Mrs. Jogger and I rented the movie, with Meryl Streep, William Hurt, and Renee Zellweger, a couple of weeks ago. It was a pretty good movie, and I think it's an even better book.

The story is about a young woman and her complicated and often painful relationship with her parents, and how that plays out as her mother dies of cancer. The characters are very well-written, and achingly familiar. It sometimes makes me squirm to read it. Having seen the movie, I know that there really aren't going to be any easy answers, and I suspect the book will be even less rosy than the movie.

I can't help wonder how much this book was inspired by Quindlen's real life. The main character is a young and ambitious New York writer. Her name, Ellen Gulden, even seems to be a cognate of Quindlen's. I don't suppose it really matters. The real question is whether I believe it, not whether it's true. But that's the sort of thing that I seem to like to dwell on.

I'm not very far into the book, nor am I going very fast at this point. So next week's RfP Wednesday might be another installment on the same book, or I might have to go back and drag up a favorite that I'm not reading now, but that I wish to recommend.

Day 173 -- A stop with the bikers

I happened to meet this group of bikers on the CU Across the Prairie Bike Ride. OK, I didn't meet them. I found their photo at this Flickr site. But they looked like they're having a good time, and I'm sure that there's something good at this picnic.

Sorry about the relative dearth of interesting posts lately. (What do you mean, "What do you mean lately?"?) This reflect being back in school. I've just got less time to sit at the computer and blog, and I even have less time to compose blog posts. When I'm running, I spend a considerable amount of time thinking about my classes and what's up next. So I'm not thinking about what to blog about.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Day 172 -- Lake of the Woods

Today I visited the Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve near Mahomet, Illinois. As you can see, they have a very nice golf course, although I don't golf. I once golfed twice at once: the first time and the last time.

In Reality Land, it was still raining this morning, but I went and ran outside anyway. It felt good. It wasn't too cold, and once I got the blood circulating, everything was fine. I did get my brand new shoes muddy. Oh, well....

Monday, September 11, 2006

Day 171 -- West of Champaign

I like this shot a whole lot. I got it from Chris Main Photography. I'm probably violating about eight kinds of copyright, not to mention screwing up her beautiful shot by inserting my ugly self. But I'll give her a plug, and hope that she forgives me. Go, look at her stuff. It's really cool.

I ran an easy three miles at the gym today, and lifted weights.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Gary Bright rolled out of bed. It was a clear September morning in Union City, New Jersey. Gary was anxious to get to his new job at Aon Insurance in the World Trade Center. It was September 11, 2001. Gary Bright would never come home.

We remember Gary because of the circumstances of his death. He died as part of a horrible attack, that would change all our lives forever.

On the fifth anniversary of the attacks, we are being inundated with reminders. It's all over the news shows, the papers, the Internet. We are all reliving the awful moments when we found out about this horrible act. We are all reliving the sadness, and the fear.

"The lesson of 9/11" is now a political football. We use it to argue that our political policies are the best, and that other people are mistaken. We argue vehemently about who bears the blame, and whether the five years since have made us safer or not.

But let's not forget Gary Bright. Let's not forget Anna and William Bright, who lost their son. Let's not forget Michelle Hornback, who lost her brother. Our very public tragedy was their very private tragedy. It was a day of horror for all of us, but for the family and friends of Gary Bright, it was also the day they lost a bright and energetic young man.

Anna, and William, and Michelle, and anyone who reaches this page looking for a special tribute to Gary Bright, I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what it was like for you then, or what it is like for you now, looking back on that day. I'm sorry I can't do a better job of marking Gary's passing, but I pray for him, and for you, and for us all.

This page is part of a special blogging tribute to the victims of 9/11, called 2,996. I urge you go to there and to look around for more tributes.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Day 170 -- A Real Half

Virtually the last thing that I did last night was to read a little essay about the dangers of overtraining. So naturally, I got up this morning and ran 13.1 miles. I really, really wanted to make up for the run that I thought was a half marathon, but that wasn't.

That hadn't been my plan. My plan was that I would take an easy run down to the gym and lift weights, and then do my half marathon tomorrow. But a couple of things changed that. I woke up well before the alarm, so that if I were going to go to the gym, I would have had to kill time until it was open. Plus, because I was up so early, I had time for a long run without eating too much into my morning. Plus, they are predicting rain and possibly thunderstorms for tomorrow morning. I'm not sure I really want to run two hours in the rain, and I know I'm not going to run anywhere in a thunderstorm. Plus, I really, really wanted to make up for the run that I thought was a half marathon, but that wasn't.

So, now I will definitely take tomorrow off, no matter what the weather. If I go out at all on Sunday, I'll make it an easy day. I won't try another hard run until at least Monday. I am predictably tired, now, but it's a good tired. I'm pleased with myself.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Post a Comment Thursday

Sure has been quiet around here. Anyone want to post a comment? Let me know that you are out there? Last time I tried a "Post a comment Thursday," I didn't hear from anyone new. I would love to have a comment from someone who hasn't commented before.

Joe Henderson's Best Reason to Run

From the September issue of Runner's World:
My college coach believed second place wasn't worth a damn. If you weren't running for first, there was no reason to run. That really limited the number of people who could be runners. These days, the only reason I run is so I can run again tomorrow.

This is my new favorite running quote. I'm getting a t-shirt that says, "The only reason I run is so I can run again tomorrow."

Day 169 -- Urbana

I don't think I'm quite to Urbana, yet, but there's a big empty between St. Joseph and Urbana, so I decided to go ahead and visit the campus of The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Specifically, here I am standing in front of the building that houses the math department. I don't know anyone there, but my advisor did his research there, so my intellectual lineage passes through Urbana.

I just did a quick 3.4 miles today. I couldn't do it in the morning, because I had to go out early and get my blood drawn for my annual check-up. So I went to the gym at noon. Our school has just opened a new outdoor track, and today was the first time I have run on it. The surface is some sort of space-age rubber (or else recycled tires, I'm not sure) which is really nice to run on. I didn't really love running around in circles, but the surface was nice.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

RfP Wednesday -- The Dark Wind, by Tony Hillerman

Another Hillerman down. They really do go quite fast. They are easy reading, and interesting enough to keep you turning pages.

I don't think that this is my favorite of the ones that I've read so far, but it's still a darn good book, and a good mystery. As usual, Hillerman lays things out fairly, so when you finally catch the culprit, you think "Gee, I should have realized that a long time ago."

Hillerman also has a tendency to favor justice over law. Jim Chee doesn't always catch the bad guy and bring him in. In this one, he sort of lets things take their course, and the various bad guys eliminate each other. Then Chee smooths over the tracks and walks away.

I'm resisting starting the next one, The Ghostway. I expect that I will like it, but I don't want to rush into it. I want to savor it a little bit. It's also true that these last couple of days, right before school started, I haven't had the patience to start anything new, not even a Read for Pleasure.

Day 168 -- St. Joseph

According to the Village of St. Joseph website,
The Village is a growing community yet it preserves its small town feel. St. Joseph is a unique mix of old and new. The community relishes its past yet strides into the future.

If you can't believe them, who can you believe?

What with one thing and another, it had been a while since I'd had a long run, so I laid out an eight mile course yesterday and ran it this morning. It felt good, and I'm not too sore this evening.

The Forerunner has been behaving lately, undoubtedly fearing for its life. It agreed with the 5K course on Monday, and agreed with the mapped distance for yesterday's run and today's.

I can definitely tell that school has started again. I'm not running around like a chicken with its head cut off, as I will be all too soon, but I'm managing to fill my days. Mostly at this point it's little things, but a lot of them. I've met all my classes once, and it has gone well. I'll try to write more about it later, but not necessarily later today.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Day 167 -- Kickapoo State Park

A few miles west of Danville is Kickapoo State Park. I couldn't resist a stop. They also have a 7.6 mile running trail. I should give it a try.

I ran an easy 3.7 miles today, just loosening up after yesterday's race. I also went to the gym and lifted. I'm going to try to push my mileage a little tomorrow.

Today is the first day of classes, but my only class on Tuesday is at 2:00. So I'm just sitting around, waiting. I hate this limbo before class starts. Nothing for me to work on. I don't have patience to tackle an of my long term projects. So I bounce from one thing to another.

Monday, September 04, 2006


Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter

Teaching Carnival #11

Teaching Carnival #11 is up at WorkBook. As usual, there's some really good stuff, but as usual, I haven't gotten a chance to take it all in.

Day 166 -- Another Race

Today was the Dubuque Benefit Classic. I ran the 5K, although there was also a half marathon. I think I could have run the half marathon, but back when I signed up, I didn't have such ambitions. Anyway, it was just as well, because I wanted to get back up here to do some things with the kids, about which more, later.

I finished the 5K in 22:50, about 40 seconds under my July 4 time. As you can see (that's an actual photo shortly after the end of the race), I was pretty pleased with that. I figure that if I can knock off 20 seconds for every month of training, in five years I'll be able to run the 5K in less than 3 minutes. That should be good to win my age group.

The weather turned out OK. Yesterday, it looked like it might rain, but it held off until this afternoon. So it was cool and cloudy, which was good for racing. I'm sure that the half-marathoners were particularly glad. The 5K course was dead flat, but the half marathon course ran up the hills, of which Dubuque has plenty.

After the race, and after I cooled off, I jumped in the car and ran back up to pick up Mrs. Jogger and the Little Joggers. We piled in the minivan and drove out to the Labor Day parade in a little town nearby. I don't think we've hit this parade every year since we've lived around here, but we've gone more often than we've missed it. It's a really nice parade and a cute little town. The kids came back with a big bag full of Tootsie Rolls and other swag, which may last us a day or two.

After that, since we were halfway back down to Iowa, we popped back over to Dubuque, and went to Eagle Point Park. This is a lovely park with three or four different playgrounds and a frog pond and a view of the Mississippi River. So we spent an hour or so there, and came back up here for a late lunch. So it was a very busy morning, which was just as well, because it kept the Little Joggers from fighting. Now we're home, and they are getting warmed up for WWIII. Oh well, tomorrow they are off to school, where they can't get into too much trouble. And if they do, then their teachers have to deal with them.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Measure for Measure

Mrs. Jogger and I went back up to Spring Green to see another Shakespeare play, Measure for Measure. We've been back in Wisconsin for six years, and never went there once, but now we've gone twice this summer. I guess we were spurred on by the friends who took us to Julius Caesar, although today we went just by ourselves.

It was a terrific production. I wasn't familiar with the story at all, and I was a little afraid that I'd have trouble following it, but there was no trouble at all. It's a very interesting play. The main plot is of a Lord who uses his power to try to get a young lady to go to bed with him. It's disturbingly not outdated at all. When she threatens to tell everyone what he has proposed, he more or less laughs and says, "Who would believe you?" People haven't changed much, I guess. Being a comedy, it comes out OK in the end, but not before the characters undergo some turmoil.

We really enjoyed the show, and we're thinking ahead to going again next year. With Caesar and Richard III, that makes three Shakespeare plays we've added to our life list this year. We haven't had a year like that since we were undergraduates, and spent a semester in London.

Day 165 -- Danville

The Danville, Illinois, website, All Around Danville, has a lot of stuff in it. If I ever actually visit Danville (as opposed to this virtual visit), I'll be sure to check it out. For today, I just grabbed a couple of images from their history page. Above, the Fischer Theater. Below, Harmon Mansion.

I borrowed a couple of issues of Runner's World from the library a week or so ago, and one of them gave me a pointer to this site at USA Track and Field. It is a site that uses global mapping technology to help you map and measure a route. It's pretty precise. It can tell me all the streets in my home town (although I've found a few inaccuracies.) I can see how that would be useful, and a lot easier than going out and driving your route to measure it with your odometer. But of course I didn't need it, because I've got the Forerunner. Right?

Well, after yesterday, I don't trust the Forerunner. So I decided to put it to the test. I used the USATF site to map out a four mile route, and then ran it with the Forerunner. Sure enough, the Forerunner measured it at 4.72 miles, almost a 20% error. I even have a pretty good idea of when it happened, too. The first three miles went by just about as expected, and then somewhere in the fourth, I got the "Weak GPS Signal" beep, and the fourth mile ended much sooner than expected. I also used the USATF site to go back and approximate the mileage on my half marathon from Monday, and I'm pretty sure it was short, too. It was more like 11 or 11.5.

So, I don't know what I'm going to do. I guess I'll get rid of the Forerunner. It's no good to me if I can't trust it. I'm not going to go back and adjust my previous mileage. I'm going to trust that during the time I was estimating my mileage by my time, I underestimated by enough miles to make up for whatever overage the Forerunner has given me. So by golly, I really am in Danville today!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Day 164 -- Welcome to Illinois

Once again, I have managed to find the actual sign that I would be standing under if I were out there on the road where I claim I am. This one is courtesy of Jim Poserina, who is busy trying to travel to all fifty states.

Today is the day that I found out that the Forerunner doesn't work quite as well as I thought it did. I was just doing an easy run, but for some reason I kept an eye on my splits. The first mile went by in about 10:20, which was fine. The second was about 9:20, and the third about 9:00. Then the fourth came up incredibly quickly. In fact, it was about 4 minutes. So, either I lost my pace and accidentally ran a four minute mile at the end, or the Forerunner is screwed up.

The worst part is that I don't know what to trust any more. I'm thinking back to that half marathon on Monday. A couple of the miles at the end seemed to go by pretty quickly. And in the end, I was surprised by how quickly I finished. So it might not have been 13.1 miles after all. And there's no way for me to know.

Oh, well. I can't go back and change any of my recorded miles. I'll just have to pay more attention to my splits. The Forerunner beeps when it loses the sattelite signal, and it did beep during the mysterious four minute mile. So presumably it lost the sattelite, and when it found it, it was somehow off, and just made up the difference. That doesn't surprise me. I never imagined that it was accurate to the nearest 100th of a mile. I'm just surprised that it can be off by as much as a half mile at a time, which is what it must have been to suddenly have a four minute mile.