Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Day 413 -- Jogger's Progress

Time14 days, 13 hrs, 24 min
6 days, 4 hrs, 30 min
1 day, 1 hr, 23 min

Marathon training is definitely ramping up. July was my second longest month ever, surpassed only by April, when I was at the peak of my training for the half marathon. I'm scheduled for about 170 in August. We'll see what that actually turns out to be. July was also only the second month where I've run more than 24 hours in a month.

I ran an easy 5 miles today, after taking a much-needed day off yesterday. I was way too tired after Sunday's schlog. The heat and humidity continue, so all my runs are slow, but I finished my scheduled five today, which is what counts.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Which Ancient Language Are You?

As seen at Fumbling Towards Geekdom:

Your Score: Akkadian

You scored

You are Akkadian, a blend of the incomprehensible symbols of the Sumerians with the unwritable sounds of the early Semitic peoples. However, the writing just doesn't suit the words and doesn't represent everything needed, so you end up a schizoid mess. Invented in Babylon, you're probably to blame for that tower story. However, crazy as you are, you're much loved and appreciated, and remain actively in use by records keepers long after schools have switched to other languages.

Link: The Which Ancient Language Are You Test written by imipak on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

You should take this test, if nothing else, for the disclaimer, which is classic.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 412 -- Idaho Springs

According to Go-Colorado.com, Idaho Springs is "the birthplace of the Rocky Mountain Gold Rush." It boasts an "authentic nineteenth-century Main Street" Just behind my arm you can see the authentic nineteenth-century USAToday newspaper box. The site goes on, "The main draw of Idaho Springs, however, is the breathtaking scenery of the Rockies." I believe that. I'm well into the mountains, now, and when I Google for images, I see lots and lots of beautiful scenery. I must admit that the thin mountain air is getting to me, though.

Seventeen miles today stretched to about 17.5. It was, as predicted, pretty sweaty work. I drank and drank and drank, and felt pretty OK when I finished. I've still been thirsty all morning. But mostly I've felt a good sense of accomplishment.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day 411 -- Genesee Park

Here I am at the Park'n'Ride at Genesee State Park. RockyMountainRoads.com says, "It's hard to believe that mass transit has found its way this far up the mountain," but I don't find it hard to believe at all. We aren't that far from Denver, and I'm sure there are lots of people who prefer to live up here and commute.

Today's eight miler was kind of rough. It's still really humid. I made it, but I had to stop for a walk break. Tomorrow, I'm supposed to do 15 miles. Even with walk breaks, I may need an IV drip to keep hydrated.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 410 -- Golden

OK, I'm cheating. I'm about in Golden, a good 12 or 15 miles west of the state capitol building. But when I was in Cheyenne, I decided to drop in on Frank again, and so here he is. For new readers, Frank has visited all the state capitols by actually going there. I believe that he's too technologically illiterate to just photoshop himself into the picture. Why else would he bother to do all that real traveling?

Anyway, I thought I'd throw in this shot of Golden, which I lifted from the Mountain Project. And what is the Mountain Project, you ask. Only "The Premier Resource for the Climbing and Mountaineering Community." I have a soft spot in my heart for climbers, who are definitely crazier than runners. Running 26.2 miles is definitely saner than climbing a mountain.

I ran an easy 4 this morning, although in 103% humidity, no run can truly be called "easy." Better make that a "slow 4".

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 409 -- White Ranch Open Space Park

I think White Ranch Open Space Park is a cool name, although in some places, they seem to just refer to it as "White Ranch Park." From the website:
White Ranch is home to abundant wildlife and encompasses open meadows, forested foothills, a pristine canyon, buttes, rock formations and Van Bibber Creek along the southern border.
It's really quite pretty. No offense to western Nebraska, but there's a lot more interesting stuff to stand in front of than there was a month or two ago. This isn't the greatest photo, but it does clearly show the entrance to the park. I lifted it from the Golden Gate Fire Department.

I ran a nice long eight miles today. It's not too hot, yet, but the humidity is sneaking up. However, I survived, which is always a good thing for any run.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 408 -- Eldorado Springs

Four and a half miles today took me somewhere near Eldorado Springs, home, of course, to Eldorado Natural Spring Water. Founded in 1983, they offer "a convenient, affordable way to bring the world's best bottled water to your home or office." Can't beat that with a stick.

We're in Grandma Jogger's hometown again for a few days. My sister is up from Georgia for a visit, and we've packed 12 of us into Grandma Jogger's house. It's noisy. But we're having a good visit. My niece is 7 and my nephew is 3, and they are cute and friendly. I'm a little out of practice with the moods of a 3-year-old, but fortunately, when he gets really, really, really whiny, it's not my problem. All yours, Sis!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Day 407 -- Boulder

Boulder is sort of a popular hang-out for runners and other athletes. They can train at altitude, and hang out in a pretty cool University city in between workouts. So why not visit the Boulder Running Company store?

I spent six weeks in Boulder one summer. I was studying the classics, of all things, in a program funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. We read the Iliad and the Aeneid, and I don't know what all. It was fun. I was going to say that the NEH didn't get their money's worth out of me, but maybe they did. I don't think that the program was meant to turn out new classicists, but more to broaden people like me who were going into other fields. And if today I study ancient mathematics, maybe at least a little of that traces back to my early education in classical literature.

One thing I remember about the program, that makes a lot more sense to me now, is how many of the participants were non-traditional students. Only a handful of us were regular 19- or 20-year-olds. The rest had at least a few years out of school, including at least one woman who had sons my age. I think that was probably a deliberate decision by the selection committee, who probably decided that non-traditional students would get more out of the program, by virtue of being more committed to their studies. So I guess I was pretty lucky to go at all.

I ran eleven miles today. It was a nice cool morning, and the run felt good. It's supposed to warm back up this week, so I'd better enjoy it while I can.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Day 406 -- Get the Lead Out

Today was the Second Annual "Get the Lead Out" Run in my little town. (My town is in an old lead mining area of SW Wisconsin, which sort of explains the name.) I ran the first one, last year, and I thought at the time that it would be cool to try to run every year, so that when they have the 10th, or the 15th, or the 25th, I can say, "Oh, yeah, I've run every one."

One little problem: We were way too busy today for me to run it. It started at 8:45, and I had to coach a soccer game at 10:00. The oldest and newest Little Jogger also had a soccer game, and Mrs. Jogger was taking the other three kids to a production of "Seussical, the Musical" this morning. So no way I was going to get to run this thing. So I cheated.

I got up at my usual time, jogged down to where the race would start, ran the 8 kilometers (finishing about a minute slower than last year), then jogged home. I took a shower, then went out and picked up my race packet. So, officially, I didn't run the race. No finishing time will be posted for me. But I did pay the entry fee, I ran the distance, and I have the t-shirt. I'm counting it. In 10 or 15 or 25 years, no one will know the difference.

The punch line is that I won a door prize. This race has a lot of door prizes. Last year, I won a nice reflective vest, that I've worn quite a bit. I figured this year, either I wouldn't be in the pool at all, because I didn't officially finish, or they'd draw my name, look around and see that I wasn't there, and draw someone else's name. But one of my neighbors stepped up and picked up my prize, a nice little windbreaker, and nobody complained. So, it was definitely worth entering. Next year, I'm planning not to coach, and I hope that I'll be able to run the official race.

(Get the Lead Out logo from Maumee RAP.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Day 405 -- Berthoud

Here I am in front of the Auserehlian Rug Cleaning School in Berthould, Colorado. To be honest, I'd never thought about where oriental rug cleaners got their training. In fact, I never thought about the profession of oriental rug cleaning. Seems like an awfully niche market, but hey, I guess someone has to do it.

I also call your attention to the web site ImagesOfColorado.com, where they have a lovely photo of a bald eagle in front of Long's Peak, near Berthould. I had downloaded the photo, and stuck myself into it (completely ruining the artistic balance) before I read their restrictions that specifically prohibit the use of their images on other web sites. I'm not too careful about copyright law on this blog, but I can't bring myself to simply ignore a restriction like that. Nonetheless, go to this site and click around. They've got some lovely shots.

I was scheduled for an easy four today, but I stretched it to almost five. Feeling guilty about stopping yesterday, I guess. Which is silly, considering that I ended up finishing the run. I only took a break; I didn't quit completely.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Day 404 -- Loveland

The Kroh Park Shelter in Loveland. Loveland has a very extensive city government site.

I surprised myself today. I stopped short four miles into a five mile run. I was running a pretty brisk pace, and it was very, very humid, but still... Usually when I stop short, it's after I have to talk myself out of it two or three times. I'll be tempted to quit, but talk myself into keeping at it. Then I'll finally pack it in on the second or third round of that. But today, I just suddenly stopped.

Anyway, I walked around the block and then ran the last mile. So I did get my five miles in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Day 403 -- Colorado State University

I shouldn't leave Fort Collins without dropping in on Colorado State University. Here I am, standing in front of the building that houses the Math Department. I don't know anyone there. Actually, at one time, I looked into taking some on-line statistics courses from CSU, but I never actually did.

I ran an easy four today. I'm really halfway between Fort Collins and Loveland, well south of CSU, but what the heck!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Day 402 -- Ft. Collins

Fifteen miles today took me through Fort Collins. As some of you know, I have a special reason for wanting to visit Fort Collins, although frankly, I'm really just on my way through to Boulder. This is the Fort Collins Museum, which seems quite nice.

One of the great things about my Sunday long runs is the anticipation. During the week, I just basically get up and run before I have time to wake up. But for a long run, I start thinking about it the day ahead. I lay out my clothes, so I don't have to look for them. I decide what I'm going to eat. For a regular run, I don't eat until it's over, but for a long run, I'll have an energy bar ahead, and one or two energy gels on the run. I mix up my Gatorade and put it in the fridge. Then I'll go to bed early, thinking about my route.

Today was a good run. It's the longest run I've had since my 20 miler on May 6. It was tiring, but it was fun. Now I'll take a day off, and get back to work on Tuesday. This is a "step back" week, so I'll be taking it easy.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day 401 -- Wellington, CO

Wellington, Colorado is "a rural haven of 1500 residents." This according to the Relocate America web site. I know that I would definitely move here, if I were moving.

I ran seven miles this morning. It was nice and cool, and I managed a decent pace, even over some rough hills. The day off yesterday did me some good.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Got lucky today

It didn't start out like luck. The medium Little Jogger and I mowed the yard, and when we done, even though it is somewhat cooler than it has been, we decided to have a couple of popsicles. Well, we ate the last two of the good kind of popsicles. And when the medium Little Jogger found that out, he was upset. So, I went down to the chest freezer downstairs to see if there were any more of the good popsicles. There weren't, but oddly, the bad popsicles were kind of slushy. So we felt around, and realized that the chest freezer had become a chest non-freezer. But, because we noticed so early, only the stuff like the popsicles had thawed. The meat was all heavier, so absorbed less heat. So we got it all out into the little freezer upstairs. But it could have been really bad. So I'm glad that we ate the last of the good popsicles.

Day 400

Day 400 since I started this cross-country run at the beginning of 2006. Back on Day 300, I projected Day 400 to be July 8, so I missed it by four days. I must have taken a few extra days off. That's OK, because the days I did run, I ran long. The first 100 days I ran 537.4 miles, the second 100 days I ran 539.5 miles, the third 100 days I ran 517.7 miles, but the latest 100 days I ran 643.2 miles! And I don't even want to think about what productive work I could have accomplished in the time it took me to reconstruct those numbers.

I ran an easy 4 today, and even so, I felt pretty flatfooted. I just plodded along. Time for a day off.

Oh, the image is from the MySpace Page of the 400 club, a place in Miami that is way, way too hip for an old jogger like me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Day 399 -- Carr

This bison is a cellular tower. It was designed by Kramer.Firm, Inc. They have a wonderful gallery of photos of their various sites. I love some of their "camouflaged" sites. I'm really guessing as to the scale of this one. How big is a cellular tower, anyway?

The weather has broken, here, so I went for a good long run, at a nice pace. Yesterday I did 4.9 miles in almost 50 minutes, over a 10 minute per mile pace. Today I did 6.7 miles in 57 minutes, an 8:30 pace. And yesterday I was sweatier. I was tired at the end, but it was a good tired.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Day 398 -- Welcome to Colorado

After spending three months in Nebraska, I just cut across a corner of Wyoming, so I'm in and out just like that. Today's "Welcome to Colorado" image comes from the Geography Club at Southern Connecticut State University. They went to a meeting of the American Association of Geographers, and brought back a few photos.

I ran another easy 5 today. I was pretty pooped at the end. The humidity is still thick enough to cut with a knife. It's supposed to cool off and dry off a little tonight. Won't be soon enough for me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Um....Is this thing on?

The esteemed Shakespeare's Sister has added me to the Big Blogroll of Infinite Awsomeness, and has done so in a very public way. So all of a sudden I'm getting a few extra hits. (OK, a lot of extra hits. 1% of the Shakesville audience is probably way beyond my usual daily traffic.) Only problem is, these people are used to witty and articulate analysis of current news and trends, not some bozo Photoshopping himself into the western landscape. So now I feel pressure to be witty and articulate, preferably from a left-leaning, progressive point of view. Let's try this:

W Sucks!

Thank you. Anyway, welcome, Shakers. If you are trying to figure out what this blog is, try clicking on "About My Journey" at the right. Feel free to leave a comment, and come back for more wit and articulateness, any day now.

Day 397 -- More Cheyenne

Here's a cool web site from someone who just likes funky signs, and commercial architecture. I stole this picture of the Wyoming Motel from him. If you go visit, do click around. He's got some cool stuff.

I'm a bit south of Cheyenne, and should cross into Colorado tomorrow. I ran an easy 5 miles. The weather continues to be hot and brutally humid, so even an easy 5 miles was hard.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Venting (Just a Little)

I haven't posted much about the medium Little Jogger's soccer team, which, you will recall, I am coaching this year. It hasn't been real pretty. They won their first game (the one that I missed while I was in D.C.) and have lost every game since. But they don't seem too discouraged. These are seven-, eight-, and nine-year-olds, and they just want to play. Literally, one kid asked me after the game today what the score was, and when I replied "4-2", he asked "Who won?" Which is what makes today's little peeve all the worse.

One thing that these kids have problems with is goal kicks. Depending on who is kicking, they sometimes have trouble getting them out of the goal box. In the first half, my goalie really struggled, to the point where a couple of times I had someone else take the goal kick. That's OK. Generally, what the ref does is call it back if it goes really, really short, but lets them play if it goes close to the edge of the goal box.

In the second half, their goalie had similar struggles. So on one kick, my guy took to goal kick, kicked it back at their goal, hit it off the post, then followed that up and scored. I was proud of him. He kept his head, followed the shot, and got a goal. So that's when their coach complained about the ball not going out of the goal box. He bent the ref's ear, to the point that the ref asked me if it was OK to call the goal back and let them retake the goal kick. (The ref was just a fifteen year old kick with a tube of Oxy in his back pocket, or he would have known never to change a decision like that.) I said, "Sure. Let's just play soccer." So Cole lost his goal, and we eventually lost 4-2, instead of 4-3. I'm just mad that their coach made a big deal out of it, especially right then. Let my guy have his goal. These kids just want to have fun.

Anyway, I didn't make a big deal of it at the time. I'm trying to get my kids to be good sports, and I didn't think that arguing over this goal would be a good example. I just filed it away to gripe about on the Internets.

Day 396 -- Cheyenne

It's been a while since I crossed paths with Frank. He has taken pictures of himself in front of all the state capitols. I last encountered him almost a year ago, in Indianapolis. Then I managed to miss Springfield, Des Moines, Jefferson City, and Lincoln. Perhaps I'll make it to Denver. In any case, good to see you again, Frank.

I switched my long run, which I usually do on Sunday, to today, because tomorrow promises to be nasty hot and humid. Today wasn't that much better, but I survived by taking lots of water breaks. I ran 14 miles, my longest long run in quite a while, actually. It felt really good.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Day 395 -- Archer, Wyoming

The Winged Warrior, a photo shot by Bob Krieger and posted at TrainNet.org. You have to look close to find me in this photo. It was taken near Archer, and I'm near Archer, so I figured that was OK.

I ran four miles this morning, relatively easy. My schedule has been thrown off by the race on Wednesday. I didn't run yesterday. But I'm planning to get back on schedule for the weekend. Seven miles tomorrow, and 14 on Sunday. We'll see just how hot it gets.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

My First Blog

Long ago, before there was any such thing as a web log, before there was any such thing as a World Wide Web, not quite before there were Personal Computers, but before everyone had one, I had this friend...

We were in high school. It was a typical high school, in a typical small Iowa town. We were Smart Kids(tm), which wasn't the key to popularity. We weren't reviled, but we were marginalized. And we became friends.

We lived on the same street. We hung out together, usually at his house, but sometimes at mine. We watched TV, played basketball in his driveway, teased his younger sister and brother, and generally did high school boy things.

We also wrote notes. Most years, we had some classes together, so we'd see each other, but we also wrote notes to each other. Sometimes three or four a day. We didn't have to work too hard in class, of course, so that was something to do. Our notes were filled with inside jokes, mocking references to our teachers and to other students, and general surrealism. That was my first effort at writing just because I wanted to write. Writing whatever was on the top of my head. In other words, blogging. But of course I didn't publish it for anyone to read. I gave it to Stu.

Nobody has ever gotten me quite as much as Stu did. I've been married to Mrs. Jogger for 20 years, but still there are some ways that I'm not as close to her as I was to him.

He went to school out of state, married his his high school sweet heart, and moved to Arizona, of all the Godforsaken places. So we don't see each other very much any more. The last time was before the first Little Jogger was born, more than 12 years ago.

Stu and his wife and are in Iowa this week. They came through Grandma Jogger's town, our old home town, and we had a picnic with them, their two kids, my four kids, Grandma Jogger, and her housemate. It was really good to see him. In some ways, we picked up a conversation that we dropped suddenly 25 years ago. In other ways, it was weird to talk to this stranger with our long-ago shared history.

I hope that we can keep in touch. It's easier now than it ever was. We just need to decide to do it. And we should. I think I'm going to try.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Day 394 -- Freedom Fun Run

Today I ran in the Freedom Fun Run in a little town near Grandma Jogger's town. It was fun. We're down here for a week, and I figured (correctly) that I could find something to run on the Fourth of July. I was just going to pop over and run, and leave the kids with Grandma, but it turned out to be a family outing. Everyone else did the 1 mile, and I did the 5K. The oldest and newest Little Jogger, the first Little Jogger, and the medium Little Jogger all ran it. Grandma, her housemate, and the littlest Little Jogger all walked.

It was a good race, although not fast. In fact, this is the first time in my six organized races that I failed to set a Personal Record (PR). Of course, the previous five races were at four different distances, so it wasn't hard to set a PR. This was, in fact, my third 5K, and the slowest of the three. But that's OK. The weather was pretty hot, and I haven't been training for a 5K. I messed up the pace, as usual. I went out too fast, and faded at the end. You might detect that by comparing the above photo, of me just crossing the starting line, to the below photo, of me about three blocks from the finish line.

The Little Joggers enjoyed themselves. They are talking about doing it again next year. We'll see where we are for the Fourth next year, but we will undoubtedly be able to find something nearby.

The rest of the day was jam-cram packed with activity. They had a kids fishing thing, where they threw some fish into a little artificial pond in a local park. That was not really successful. There were too many kids, and not enough gullible fish. The littlest Little Jogger was devastated that he didn't catch anything. But he got over it when we took him to the rest of the fun -- frog racing, sack racing, pony rides, and the dunk tank. Hot dogs, root beer floats, and ice cream. A great parade. It was pretty hot. By the time we'd been out in the sun for five or six hours, we were medium well. But it was worth it.

Tonight, there will be fireworks, of course. We'll all stay up late, and then, I hope, sleep in tomorrow. I'm not committing to running. If I get up, I will, but if I sleep in, so be it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Movie Review: Ratatouille

We took the Little Joggers to see Ratatouille, the new Pixar movie, last night. Pixar doesn't do bad movies. They range from good (Cars, A Bug's Life) to great (Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Finding Nemo). This one is well along the spectrum towards great. It was funny, interesting, and enjoyable. The plot was complex enough to keep you guessing, but not too complex for the littlest Little Jogger. Like all kids movies, it has a few fairly simple morals, but it doesn't get too heavy handed with them.

The animation was incredible, of course. But Pixar long ago figured out that great animation doesn't make a great movie. They just tell good stories, that's all. This one is definitely a keeper.

Day 393 -- Hillsdale

According to real estate agent Joe Prunty, Hillsdale is in the Cheyenne metro area. According to what I can see, there's still 10 or 15 miles of open country between here and Cheyenne.

I ran 4 miles today. It's still reasonably cool, but the humidity is way, way up. This afternoon is going to be brutal, I'm afraid. Then thunderstorms overnight. I might not get in a run at all for the fourth, although, if the weather is OK, there's a 5K race that I might run. We'll see.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Day 392 -- Burns, Wyoming

More from Wyoming Tales and Trails. This is the water tower in Burns, about 1915. So, in running my 3 miles today, I traveled backwards in time about 5 years. At this rate, by the time I get to California, there will be dinosaurs!

Today wasn't actually a running day on the schedule. But I felt like running, and the weather forecasters have threatened that this would be the last cool morning of the week.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Peace Patroller

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Peace Patroller, also known as an anti-war liberal or hippie. You believe in putting an end to American imperial conquest, stopping wars that have already been lost, and supporting our troops by bringing them home.

Via Misty at Shakespeare's Sister

Happy Birthday, Little Jogger!

Today is the oldest and newest Little Jogger's official birthday. As I said last year, we don't know her actual birthday. When she was found, she knew her age, but not her birthday, so the Ukrainian government arbitrarily assigned her a birthday of July 1. Good as anything, I guess.

So now she's officially 13. I think she must have been 13 for a while, really, because she's certainly working on her teenage attitude. And we all know that you can't start being a surly teenager when you are really only 12.

We've actually been without her for the last week. She came down to spend the week with Grandma Jogger. They've had a good time together. It's been a bit quiet around our house. Not too quiet, though. The other three Little Joggers still managed to stir up some trouble.

Day 391 -- Pine Bluffs, Wyoming

Actually, I'm well past Pine Bluffs, somewhere near Egbert. However, I couldn't find any good photos from Egbert, but there were these lovely old photos from Wyoming Tales and Trails. This is downtown Pine Bluffs, sometime around 1920.

I ran 9 miles today. It's a step back week. I did 12 last Sunday, and I will do 14 next Sunday, but this week I'm taking it a bit easy.