Saturday, June 30, 2007

Day 390 -- Jogger's Progress

Time13 days, 12 hrs, 1 min
5 days, 3 hrs, 7 min

June was the first month of 2007 that I didn't surpass the mileage of the corresponding month in 2006. In June, 2006, I ran 138.8 miles, which was actually my longest month of the year. Of course, this June, I'm in the early weeks of my marathon training program, so it's not surprising that I didn't run that far. And 120 miles isn't bad, either.

The weather in Wyoming continues to be nice. It was 60 degrees and comfortably dry this morning. I ran a paced 6 miles, and I held the pace pretty well, but dropped off a little in the last mile or so. That's OK. It was a nice run, anyway.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day 389 -- Wyoming

As promised, here I am, entering Wyoming. This photo is from someone at I don't really understand what this website is all about. It seems to just be one person's vacation photos. I can't tell if this welcome sign is anywhere near where I am on the Nebraska/Wyoming border. But they all probably look pretty much the same anyway.

I ran an easy 3 miles today. A cool front came through last night, so the temperature was 12 degrees (F) lower than it was yesterday, and correspondingly drier, too. It was very pleasant. I was tempted to make a joke about how the weather was much nicer in Wyoming than it is in Nebraska, but I'm not sure how that would go.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dayy 388 -- Last Day i Nebraska

I've been in Nebraska since Day 319, which was March 24. Just over three months. And I was already halfway across when I entered, having come up from the south. Imagine if I had started in Omaha! Anyway, tomorrow I'll cross over into Wyoming.

Not much for pictures, so how about a generic Nebraska corn field, from

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 387 -- Oliver Lake

This is out of order. Oliver Lake is between Kimball and Bushnell, and I'm a few miles past Bushnell. But I could find photos of Oliver Lake, and couldn't find any photos of anything west of Bushnell. Besides, I wanted to go fishing.

I ran an easy 3.4 miles this morning. It had to be easy, because it was already 74 degrees and humid at 6 in the morning. It's going to be a long summer.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day 386 -- Bushnell

This photo of Bushnell, Nebraska, was uploaded to by someone with the handle USRoadman. We're brothers under the skin. Of course, he's actually going out and visiting all these places. I'm just riding his coattails.

I ran 12.5 miles today, my Sunday long run. It was a little warm, and terribly humid. I was dripping with sweat when I finished. I don't know why people run in the afternoons during the summer. The last couple of miles were pretty hard, but once I stopped and got some fluid into me, I felt OK. My legs aren't too sore.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day 385 -- Kimball

It's a busy weekend in Kimball, Nebraska. They are having the first annual Carp Festival out at the Oliver Reservoir. Accompanying that is a Kids Fishing Derby. And there's the summiting of Panorama Point, part of some fundraiser for juvenile cancer. Apparently, this morning people are climbing the highest points in all fifty states. As the Kimball website wryly points out, Panorama Point "looks less like a peak than like a tall spot in a pasture." Anyway, I've arrived just in time for all the festivities. Too bad I neglected to bring a fishing pole.

I ran six miles this morning. It felt good and relaxing, but I came home to a fight among the Little Joggers over whose turn it was to listen to a particular CD, so I'm all tensed up again.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day 384 -- Kimball County

According to, as highway 71 crosses into Kimball County, "the highway enters a more populous area than Banner County." It's not hard. Every Nebraska county that touches Banner county is more populous. I was surprised to find, however, that there are at least eight counties in Nebraska with fewer than Banner County's 819 people (Census 2000 data, reported by All of them seem to be in north central Nebraska.

I ran three easy miles today, just beating the rain home.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Day 383 -- Approaching Kimball

According to, somewhere in here, the road narrows from four lanes to two. This may present a problem, as I try to pass people in heavy traffic.

In other news, I found out why Harrisburg is the County Seat of Banner County. It is literally the only town in Banner County, according to Mapquest.

I ran six miles today, at a nice pace.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Move Over, Walt Disney...

via Shakespeare's Sister:

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Free Online Dating

Day 382 -- South of Harrisburg

I'm about five miles south of Harrisburg, Nebraska, and a good 15 miles, at least, from the next town. Not much around to picture myself in front of. Fortunately, has a whole series on Nebraska 71, the road I'm on. This is allegedly just about the right spot. I say allegedly, because it looks like any other road in western Nebraska to me. They could have photoshopped a sign that says "71" onto just about any road, and I would have believed them.

An easy three miles today. It has cooled considerably since Sunday, so I barely worked up a sweat. But I will tomorrow. I'll run six, and I'll try to pick up the pace a bit.

Monday, June 18, 2007

First Day of Summer

My semester was over about a month ago. But the Little Joggers had school up until June 8, and then I turned around and went off to DC. So in a very real way, this was the first day of summer -- the first day that I was home with the kids all day. I'm ready for September to come.

Not really. But it was quite a day. The two boys had tennis practice first thing this morning. That went OK. Then I started to take the oldest and newest Little Jogger and the medium Little Jogger grocery shopping, but the oldest and newest said she felt sick to her stomache. So I turned around and brought her home. She basically moped around in bed most of the day. I missed my noon book club meeting, because I didn't want to leave her. Then it started to rain, so I had to call all the soccer parents to cancel soccer practice. But the littlest Little Jogger's team did have practice (in the rain!) so I had to run him out and then run out and pick him up. Then, after supper, we played a rousing game of Animalopoly, and the kids are now in bed.

Tomorrow, more of the same.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I felt safe...sort of

Security is a much bigger deal in Washington than it is in my hometown. Just this evening, we went off for an hour or so and left the house unlocked. We weren't gone that long, after all.

I stayed in a dorm at George Washington University. We had scanner cards, like you get at hotels these days. To get in, you had to scan your card outside the building, just to open the door. Then you had to walk in 10 feet and scan your card under the watchful eye of the security guard. Then you had to walk another 10 feet and scan your card to call the elevator (or, in my case, to get into the stairwell.) It's all just meant for redundancy, of course. If it were just the front door, you could slip in while someone was going out. If it were just the guard, you might slip past when they weren't looking. If it were just the elevator, you could hang around and pop on when someone got off. But the odds of doing all three without getting caught are pretty low.

And that, of course, is just the security for a little dorm with no particular value. The security at the important buildings is really impressive. I didn't try to get into the White House or the Capitol, but I did see guards outside some important building looking under a car with mirrors, to make sure nothing was hiding underneath.

So, I was probably just as safe in Washington as I am here. I was never really far from a guard, and never even close to alone on the streets. But it sure did feel different than it does in small town Wisconsin.

Day 381 -- Harrisburg

Nebraska Highway 71, near Harrisburg. You probably can't read the signs at this size, but one says "Harrisburg," and the other says "No Services." That shouldn't be surprising, as Harrisburg only has 100 people in it. Oh, maybe it's a little surprising, since it's the county seat of Banner County. I truly am in the middle of nowhere.

I ran eleven miles today. It was hot and humid. I'm sure that it will get worse before it gets better.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Catching Up: Days 376, 377, 378, 379, and 380

Day 376 (Sunday) 6.2 miles, 58 minutes (Wisconsin)
Day 377 (Monday) 3 miles, 29 minutes (DC)
Day 378 (Wednesday) 5.8 miles, 55 minutes (DC)
Day 379 (Thursday) 4.5 miles, 45 minutes (DC)
Day 380 (Friday) 6.3 miles, 61 minutes (DC)

The distances in DC are all estimated, based on my time and what I guessed my pace was. I also did a huge amount of walking, none of which counts towards my journey. It was about a mile from the dorm where I was staying to the conference site, and I walked that six times each way. I also walked down the National Mall three times, two of which were also museum visits. And I did more assorted walking than I usually do around here.

I had a great time. Washington, DC, is very unlike my little hometown in southwestern Wisconsin. (It's this kind of keen observation that makes this blog what it is.) I will write more about it as I get caught up this week, but right now, I have a bed calling my name that doesn't have a plastic coated mattress, but does have Mrs. Jogger. A vast improvement over the bed I've been in for the last few days.

This picture is not me, but it could have been. I ran right there.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

And...I'm Off!

What am I doing in front of the Lincoln Memorial? Have I suddenly turned around and run back to the East Coast? No, my virtual journey will continue in Western Nebraska. But my actual running will take place in Washington, DC. I'm off to a workshop on the Mathematics of Asia's Past.

I'm not sure how much web access I'm going to have this week. I'm not bringing my laptop, so I'll be at the mercy of the conference site. Rest assured, even if I'm not posting, that I'm getting my runs in. If nothing else, I'll be back here on JogAmericaBlog next Saturday.

Photo from Arrakeen.

Day 375 -- More Bridgeport

Finally, some real runners on this page! This is the Girls Cross-country team from Bridgeport High, which placed 2nd in the state in 2000. Not much seems to have happened in Bridgeport since 2000. At least, they haven't updated their web page very often.

I ran five miles this morning. It was nice and cool. I know the warm weather is coming. But for right now, I'm enjoying the cool mornings.

Friday, June 08, 2007

USJogger and the Fib From Outer Space

The story Larry Boy and the Fib from Outer Space is a VeggieTales video from Big Idea Productions. In it, Junior Asparagus breaks his father's favorite souvenir bowling plate. Rather than confess, Junior tells his father a little fib, that his friend Laura broke the plate. Of course, the fib grows into a monster that almost destroys Bumblyburg. The only person who can stop it is Junior, by telling the truth.

Sometime between the ages of 7 and 13 (I remember because I know what house we lived in), I did something similar. I was the kind of kid who snuck snacks when I shouldn't. Actually, I still am. I ate two pieces of cake. It must have been someone's leftover birthday cake, although I don't remember whose. I was insufficiently expert to cover my tracks. My mother knew someone had eaten the cake, but she didn't know who. She called us all in and asked her to look her in the eye and tell her that we hadn't taken the cake. I looked her straight in the eye and lied. I have a memory (no idea whether it's real or not) of her telling my father that the thing that she was really mad about was that some child (she still didn't know which one) had been able to look her in the eye and lie. I've forgotten a lot of my youth, but I haven't forgotten that. I've never told anyone that story until now. (And Grandma Jogger reads this blog. Sorry, Mom.)

Why bring it up? Because some version of one of those stories is almost certainly being played out in our house right now. Someone took a pack of gum. We know which Little Jogger likes gum, which one is most likely to take something without telling us, and which one is most likely to lie to our faces. But we don't have evidence.

We aren't sure what to do. There should be a penalty for having gum when you aren't supposed to, for stealing, and for lying. But, what about that one-in-a-million chance that the Little Jogger is innocent? Maybe it was one of the others. Or Mrs. Jogger accidentally dropped the gum behind her desk. Or something.

In the Veggietales version, Junior comes clean. The fib disappears, and Junior has learned a valuable lesson. I never came clean (well, not for 30 years), but I did live with the guilt involved. I grew. I matured. As an adult, I have a very hard time lying, which is probably just as well. I wasn't cut out for a life of crime.

And what will happen to the Little Jogger? I don't know. It may be 30 years before I find out.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

More Blogthings

Your IQ Is 130

Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Above Average

My "Logical Intelligence" is below average? Please don't tell anyone. Oh well, at least I passed eighth grade science:

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

OK, I'll stop now...

When I get bored, I play with Blogthings

I've visited Blogthings before, mostly in response to someone else finding one that sounded interesting. It's a whole bunch of on-line quizzes like, "What kind of wine are you?" and "What's your vampire name?" Usually, they ask a few questions with forced choices. From "What kind of wine are you?":
If you were giving a casual toast among friends, what would you toast to?
* To friendship
* To world peace
* To fun times
* To life
* To health

Then they compute your score somehow and give you something to post on your blog. Some people really have too much time on their hands.

Anyway, the test "What April Fool's Prank Should You Play?" is a bit different. It has one question: "How would you describe your sense of humor?" Instead of a forced choice, it has a box to type in your answer. I typed, "Understated." I believe that the blogthing had a little trouble with that word....

Your April Fool's Day Prank Should Be

Putting eyeballs in your friend's coffee

Day 373 and 374 -- Bridgeport

Not much to see out here but big rocks. Courthouse Rock and Jail Rock are just outside Bridgeport. If you've played Oregon Trail on the computer, you probably recognize them. They are "erosional remnants composed of clay, sandstone and volcanic ash. The rocks are listed in the National Register of Historic Places and in the Nebraska Natural Areas Register."

Not much reason why I didn't post yesterday. Just really didn't get around to it. I ran five yesterday and three today, and now I'll take tomorrow off.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Coach Jogger Redux

Longtime readers will remember that last year, on two occasions, I stepped in to coach the medium Little Jogger's soccer team. And that I was undefeated. On the basis of that record, I've been asked to coach full time this year.

Well, sort of.

What happened was that one of the coaches who had volunteered decided not to do it. So they were clutching around at straws, and my name came up. I very reluctantly agreed to do it, even though I don't know much about coaching 8- and 9-year olds. Or anybody else, for that matter.

I won't start right away. I'm going out of town all next week, so another coach is going to do double duty for the week. Then when I get back, I'll take over.

Day 372 -- Chimney Rock

This is about as close as I'm going to get to Chimney Rock. It's maybe five miles west of where I am, but I'm going to go on south for a while. I'm sure that you can see it from here. In fact, you can see it from pretty much all over the county. Chimney Rock is engraved on the Nebraska State quarter, as we are reminded by the Nebraska State Historical Society.

After yesterday's long run, I ran a really, really slow three miles today. I really didn't feel that bad. My legs are barely sore. But I didn't want to overdo it.

It has been nice weather for running. It was 56 degrees and overcast this morning. A little humid, but not as bad as it will get this summer.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Day 371 -- Angora, Nebraska

I finally got my long run in today, and I ran right through Angora, Nebraska. Alas, there were no good pictures of Angora, Nebraska, on the web. How about some Angora goats?

Today was kind of a mixed up day. First of all, I couldn't get out and run early, because Mrs. Jogger had a meeting this morning. I had to stay home to see the kids out the door. As soon as they were gone, I laced up my running shoes and headed out.

Then I wasn't sure how far to run. I could have run six miles to complete the nine mile run that I only ran three of yesterday. Or I could have run nine miles to replace that run, and let the three be a bonus. So what I finally did was to run six, stop for a drink, then just take off running. I didn't follow any measured route, and I didn't worry about time. I just ran for the joy of it. Well, it turned out that I ran about 10.5 miles total, further probably than I should have. But it felt great!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Day 370 -- Cut Short Again

I was less than a mile into my nine mile run when I heard thunder. I looked over my shoulder and saw that, yes, there was a storm front on the way. I dithered for a while, then decided to just finish the first three mile loop and call it a day. The lightning didn't seem particularly near, but, as a commenter to this post points out, you can get killed by the first bolt of lightning just as easily as by the last. Anyway, I plan to finish the nine miles tomorrow, rather than take the day off.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Photos from Madison

My photos from Madison are available from, the official photographer of the Madison Marathon. There aren't any really good ones. I have to remember for the Quad Cities Marathon to take off my cap and smile at the finish line. I never planned to buy photos from the half, but I think I probably will buy a finish line photo from the marathon. If they get a good one.

Day 369 -- Back in the Middle of Nowhere

As is obvious from my map, I'm not really concentrating on a direct route across the country. These last couple of weeks, in particular, have basically been a detour up to Alliance to see Carhenge. I didn't leave Alliance on the same road that I went in, but I am heading back south, through the same big empty that I've just come through. I'm ten miles out of Alliance, but still 10 miles from Angora. Tomorrow is supposed to be a nine miler, so I'll probably post a picture from Angora then. But for now, here's another empty field.

I ran five miles this morning, the last two in a steady rain. A run and a shower at the same time. Very efficient.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Liberal Education

Friday is a day off, so no addition to the journey today. However, there are a couple of posts about the conference that are brewing in my mind, and this is one of them.

Our keynote speaker the other night was Carol Geary Schneider, the president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She talked about the changing nature of a Liberal Education, which is something close to my heart.

She (and the AAC&U in general, I guess) sees a Liberal Education as shifting from an elite, non-vocational curriculum, designed for the fortunate few, to a necessity for all students to succeed in the global economy. She doesn't see it as getting less broad. She just sees that breadth as being what students need for academic success. In her mind, then, our chief job is to convince students, parents, employers, and politicians of that need.

She was somewhat negative about "learning for learning sake." There were those at the conference who disagreed with her, but I think that I see her point. I have long advocated learning for learning sake with the argument that you never know when you're going to need it. A math major should study literature because it will give them insight into the human condition that could make it easier to handle some real person somewhere down the line. Of course, in the back of my mind, I think that a math major should study literature because it's so much fun.

Schneider seems to be arguing for taking that argument public. A broad education is necessary becaue narrowly trained people can't do their jobs as well. That argument bothers the purists, but face it, it's going to be a better sales pitch. It will attract students, please employers, satisfy funding agencies (such as the government.)

She even went as far as to suggest, I think only half jokingly, that we simply abandon the language of a Liberal Education, in favor of a new "brand." She reported an employer who asked her (in jest, I think) "Couldn't you call it the 'moderate arts'?" I think that this is a suggestion worth taking seriously, although the inertia that would need to be overcome is tremendous.

Anyway, the AAC&U has a major program, called Liberal Education and America's Promise, with three initiatives: public advocacy, a Campus Action Network, and a research initiative. The program is designed to make sure that a "Liberal Education" meets the needs of students, and to make sure that everyone involves understands that it meets the needs of the students. Any of my academic-type readers are advised to check it out. For the rest of you, I promise I'll be back to pasting my photo into the Nebraska landscape tomorrow.