Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Year's End Meme

I stole this one from Addy N. two years ago. She did it again this year, so I'm doing it again this year. The first sentence from each month of 2008:

  • January, 2008: I'm vaguely near Shaftner (Hey, there's not a lot out here!) so I thought I would use this pic of the Nevada Northern Railway as it passes, well, vaguely near Shaftner.
  • February, 2008: I'm not thrilled with this cover layout, but I do like the band name.
  • March, 2008: Got March off to a good start, with a four mile run at a brisk pace.
  • April, 2008: Now this is what I expect Nevada to look like!
  • May, 2008: So, it turns out that the International Bird Rescue Research Center has a location in Cordelia [CA].
  • June, 2008: Look at the cool twisted chimneys on this building in Cloverdale [CA].
  • July, 2008: Humboldt Redwoods State Park is California's largest redwood state park.
  • August, 2008: So I'm strolling along here in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and I run across this totally normal sized tree stump, with a tiny little man pushing on it. [You have to click through and scroll down to get the joke.]
  • September, 2008: One thing that I got to practice this morning -- and I really need to practice it -- is my patience, waiting for the race to start.
  • October, 2008: After two long days in a row, I couldn't get myself going this morning.
  • November, 2008: I won't be to Arlington until tomorrow, but as I keep saying, there's not much out here, so I went ahead and plopped myself into this photo of the Village Inn Motel, from Epinions.com.
  • December, 2008: I'm a bit past Connell, at this point, but their Fall Festival looked like so much fun, I just couldn't resist it.

So, what does it tell you about my blog? That it's mostly about the towns that I virtually visit. Eight of the 12 sentences are about my location on the map. Two more are about my runs. One is about taking the day off, and the last is about a fake album cover (a thing I was doing a lot of back in January and February.)

Jogger's Progress...and 2009 Goals

Time29 days, 21 hrs, 10 min
11 days, 17 hours, 45 mins

OK, I'm officially not going to run again this year, so it's time to record my progress, and to look ahead for next year.

Mileage: This ends my third year of JogAmericaBlog, and each year, I've increased my mileage, from 1375 in 2006, to 1550 in 2007, to 1650 in 2008. So my mileage goal for 2009 is 1658.4, one tenth more than 2008. Or more, of course.

Time: Naturally enough, I've increased my time each year, too, from 8 1/3 days in 2006, to just over 10 days in 2007, to over 11 1/2 days in 2008. So my time goal for 2009 is at least 12 days. (Or should it be 11 days, 17 hours, and 46 minutes?)

Days: I have not increased my days each year. In both 2006 and 2007, I ran exactly 257 days. In 2008, I only ran 243. So in 2009, I would like to run at least 258 days, making it my best year on record.

States: Only 4 states in 2008, because I ran most of the width of Nevada, half the length of California, and pretty much corner-to-corner in Oregon. (I ran my first four states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, in about five months.) I can hardly set a high states goal for 2009, since I'm going to be running in these wide western states. I'll get as far as I get.

Off the blog: I would like to work on my speed. I set no Personal Records (PRs) in 2008, and I'd like to set at least one in 2009. I would like to run another fall marathon. I'm not sure where, yet. I would like to run the fourth Get the Lead Out Run, if there is one. The sporting goods store that was the principle sponsor went under, so I don't know if it will happen. I am thinking about a triathlon, if I can find one that doesn't involve too much swimming.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 757 -- Washington State University

I don't currently know anyone at Washington State University. I had a friend from my undergraduate days who came here for graduate school. He was a couple of years ahead of me, so he was off to graduate school while I was still dreaming about it. He got a Master's degree in physics, then went to work for Lockheed and now makes much, much more money than I do.

With nothing better to do, I thought that I would drop in on the ice cream social for the WSU math department. Virtual ice cream is better for my cholesterol level than the real thing.

I did an easy four miles this morning. I was definitely sore, but I wasn't sure if I was going to get to run again this year, so I toughed it out. It wasn't pretty, but I made it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 756 -- Pullman...almost

I'm not quite to Pullman, but it's big enough for me to get a couple of days out of. Today's photo is courtesy of the Pullman Fire Department.

I ran 10.7 miles today, which will be my longest run of the month. I had meant to get in at least a 13 miler every month of the winter, but I didn't quite make it in December. I probably had the energy for a 13 miler today, but I didn't really have the extra half hour that it would have taken. We're planning to travel down to visit Grandma Jogger and the Photographer tomorrow, and so we have some packing and cleaning to do.

Today's run felt very good. I managed to hold a 10 minute per mile pace for the whole way, which is pretty good. I was tired at the end, but by no means dead. I may slip out to the gym for a quick five tomorrow, and that will probably be it for the year. There is no indoor gym available in Grandma's town, and I doubt it will be nice enough to run outside.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 755 -- More Colfax

On Tuesday, I finished several miles short of Colfax. Today, I ran through it, and I'm a mile or two down U.S. 195. I'm hoping to be in Pullman by the end of the year, depending on how many more times I get to go out.

This is the Whitman County courthouse, which, according to Seth Gaines's Flikr page, is very ugly, but the part around the doors is cool.

I got to the gym this afternoon for a smooth six miler. After a two-day rest, I had energy. I could have done more, but I didn't really want to take the time.

Please don't...

The Courage Campaign has a wonderful slide show that puts a real face on the Proposition 8 issue in California. It's a sequence of people carrying the message that Prop 8 supporters are now advocating forced divorce for over 18,000 legally married couples in California. Many are photos of the couples themselves, with the message "Please Don't Divorce Us." Others are families, saying "Please Don't Divorce Our Moms" or "Please Don't Divorce Our Dads." Some are just people, with a generic message "Please Don't Divorce Californians."

The sad, sad thing about it is knowing that the people who really need to see it won't. Even if someone sends it to them, they will look and see perversion where I see love. They will look at those happy families and think that it's right to break them up. Because somehow they are less deserving than opposite sex couples.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Christmas from the Jogger Family...

...or whatever holiday you are celebrating!

New Map

Longtime readers will remember that for a while, I was tracking my cross-country journey with a site called "BuddyMapping". Then BuddyMapping seems to have disappeared, and for a while I had no map at all. This morning, inspired by the Virtual Run Across America, I sat down and made myself a new journey map, using Google Maps. It seems unlikely that Google Maps will disappear any time soon. It actually took quite a while. I had to go through the archives, figure out where I was at the beginning of each month, find that spot on the map, and create a pin. But now I only need to add one pin per month. And you'll be able to see me wend my way back across the U.S.

Virtual Run Across America

There's a highway in Cedar Rapids that goes north and south at the same time. Three highways come together, so that you are driving on 151 north, 30 east, and 218 south, all at the same time. This amuses me.

I thought about this, because for the next year, I will be running east and west at the same time. I have decided to participate in the Virtual Run Across America, developed by NikeMom.

Her idea is somewhat different from mine. While my journey has been solo, hers will be a group effort. If I understand the rules correctly, what she will do is to add the mileage contributed by everybody and lay it end to end. So if, on a given day, she runs 6 miles, I run 3 miles, Pat runs 8, and Greg runs 5, that will add 22 miles to the combined journey. If she gets enough participants, she should be able to get across the country in a year easily.

Meanwhile, of course, I will continue my own second solo trip across the country. She will be going east to west (as I did on the first leg) and I will be going west to east. I hope that we can meet up partway. Then, I suppose, I really won't know whether I am coming or going.

For the record, NikeMom, I thought of it first.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 754 -- Colfax

Today's trivia fact, from Team Washington Real Estate: Colfax was named after Schuyler Colfax, vice president of Ulysses S. Grant. Grant is a particular favorite here at JogAmericaBlog, for several reasons:

  • The Jogger family claims him as an ancestor (although I admit that I haven't done the genealogy to determine if this is true.) In fact, my brother's middle name was "Grant".
  • He lived for a while in Galena, Illinois, not far from here.
  • He is the source of my pseudonym.
  • His vice president gave his name to a very nice town in western Washington.

OK, that last is a bit of a late addition.

I ran another eight miles today. My legs were sore, but my energy was high, and the miles went by pretty quickly. I knew I should get in a good run, because the gym is going to be closed the next two days, and they are not predicting good running weather. It's supposed to snow on and off through Christmas morning.

I have run twenty miles in the last three days, and I'm definitely feeling the effects. But I was happy with my effort today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 753 -- Almota

There is nothing at all on Washington 26 between Dusty and Colfax. Almota is a bit north of here. I went back to Flikr for this shot, so not much to say about it. This is Todd, on the road near Almota.

I set out to run eight miles this morning. By the time I was halfway through, I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Yesterday's run was late afternoon, after all, so I was still a bit tired. That's the point where you start making deals with yourself. "At least let's run the 40 laps. Don't quit earlier than usual." When you've done that, you tell yourself, "Five more laps is an even six miles." When you've done that, "Five more laps is an even 50." When you've done that, "Two and a half more laps for seven miles." When you've done that, "One more mile." The last five laps, you count down.

And I made it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 752 -- Dusty

Robert Ashworth has posted this sign from Dusty, Washington. I think it might be part of his bike tour across America, but I'm not absolutely sure. His web site is a little hard to navigate.

So, I did get out to run this afternoon. I braved the cold to clear the driveway. I ran a quick 4 miles, which felt good. I'll try to run a little longer, tomorrow. I'm not sure how much running I'll get in before New Year. It's certainly doesn't look like I'll be doing much running outside.


We ain't going anywhere today. It's a thousand degrees below zero, with windchills of minus infinity. Or something like that. I may have the details a little off.

We skipped church this morning. I am imagining the conversation at the Pearly Gates. "Well, you are decent people, you raised four good kids, you helped the poor and marginalized, but you skipped church once in 2008 when it was too cold. I'm afraid that we're going to have to turn down your application. The good news is, you won't have to worry about being too cold any more."

I don't know if I'm going to get to run today. The gym is open from noon to six. But it's really, really cold out. And I'd have to shovel out the car before I could go. I haven't run in two days, so I really want to go. We'll see if I have the motivation or not.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Now that I have a little time on my hands, I'm trying to do some fun, relaxing things. I took the oldest and newest Little Jogger and one of her friends to a men's basketball game at the University.

Going out in public with a fourteen year old and her girlfriend is a particularly tricky proposition for any Dad. The trick it to be as near to invisible as possible. You should carefully avoid any action, word, or intention that might call attention to yourself, and thus establish that you are, in fact, connected to these two young ladies. I believe that I managed the task, since the Little Jogger admitted afterward that it was fun, and even thanked me.

The game itself was not very competitive. I didn't think our guys played very well, but they still won by 21. With most of the students off on break, the crowd was small and quiet. But it was fun. Perhaps we'll even try to make it to another game one of these days.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pardon me while I vent

I had a student in one of my classes this year who is taking it for at least the third time. His previous grade was a D, and he really wanted to get it up to a C. However, he had trouble with one particular course component. So he stopped doing it.

He was doing OK on the exams -- an A on the first, a B on the second -- but his course average was still a low C. He asked me what he could do to get it up, and I suggested that he start turning in the assignments. After the drop deadline, he came to me and asked if he should drop. I told him that it was too late, and that anyway he could get that C. I suggested again that he should start turning in the assignments. Every little bit helps, I told him.

You'll never guess what happened. Apparently, he would never have guessed what was going to happen. He did relatively poorly on the final, and dropped himself to a D. He had only done 3 of the 20 assignments, and had 14% in that component of the course. If he had gotten 33%, he would have gotten a C.

It frustrates me how predictable this is. And how easily avoided. He didn't have to do stellar on the missing assignments. He just had to do them. But he was too busy, and now he has himself another D.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 751 -- East of La Crosse

No picture today. It's late, and I'll be oozing into bed soon, and I'm too tired to find a good one.

I shouldn't be tired. I slept in this morning. I didn't mean to, but I forgot to set the alarm. When Mrs. Jogger's alarm went off, I had the choice of going over to the gym late, or of waiting to run at noon. Since I had nothing firm on my schedule, I really did have the choice. I decided to wait until noon.

It was a good run. I was pretty stiff, so I just plodded along. I actually thought about quitting early, but a friend showed up and ran the last couple of miles with me, which helped a lot. While we were chatting, I might have miscounted a lap. Or I might not have.

A winter storm is currently blowing across Iowa, and threatening to blanket southern Wisconsin. I have no place to go tomorrow, and I'm going there. The Little Joggers will likely have no school, so it could be a three-day weekend. Yea! I have just a little grading to wrap up, but it's stuff that I can do at home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 750 -- La Crosse

With only 350 residents, La Crosse, Washington is less than 1/10 the size of the La Crosse that I'm used to, here in Wisconsin. But they seem very friendly.

I did something today that I don't think I've ever done before. I got up early, as usual, and went to the gym to do my 40 laps. I came home, cleaned up, ate breakfast, and got down to school to meet my two stragglers who had to take the stats exam. I spent the whole morning grading, then at noon I went back to the gym and ran another 40 laps. That's 10.7 miles in two shifts.

It was pure indulgence. I did it because I could. Because so many times, over the last month especially, I've wanted to run, but I've been too busy, or too tired, or the gym has been closed. Today I didn't have any commitments, so I went and ran a second time. It felt heavenly. I admit I'm a bit sore, now. But it was worth it.

The grading is coming along. I have graded the exams for stats and for Math Ed. I haven't quite set the final grades, yet, but there don't seem to be any tough calls. For the second semester in a row, all but one of my Math Ed students will get a C or better. That's pretty high, compared to other instructors. The department chair will probably call this to my attention. I didn't try to make it an easy course. And I feel confident that they've learned lots of good stuff.

The exams are not going particularly well in Discrete Math. I have four or five more questions to grade, and I hope that they will go pretty well. Discrete Math is the one course where my D/F/W rate is pretty darn high.

Anyway, I'll be done with the grading by the end of the week, and ready for a nice rest. I've earned it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 749 -- Hooper

McGregor's General Store in Hooper, Washington, from Chris's Picassa Web Album.

I made it back to the gym this morning for another 40 laps. Forty slow laps. But I made it. If I make it to the gym tomorrow, that will extend my running streak to two days in a row.

I gave my other two exams today. The schedule was pretty generous to me this semester. Exams go through Friday, but mine are done. Well, almost done. I have a couple of stats students who had three exams on Monday and asked to take the exam later. They will both come in to take it tomorrow morning. Technically, I didn't have to reschedule the stats exam. But I'm a nice guy. And I can spend that time grading, anyway, so it isn't any big deal.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Cousin Jogger just called me up to chastise me for not blogging for three days. (OK, he called me up to chat, but while he was at it, he chastised me for not blogging for three days.) I said, of course, that that's because I haven't run for three days. I had planned to take Saturday and Sunday off. It was actually nice enough that I could have run outside on Sunday, but I chose instead to watch the Packers lose yet another close one. Sunday evening, a cold front came through, and the temps dropped from near 50 on Sunday afternoon to near by Monday morning. Brrr.

I didn't go to the gym this morning, because I had a final at 8:00. I planned to run in the afternoon, but it turns out that the indoor track isn't open in the late afternoon. They are open for an hour at noon, and then not again until 7:00. Rats. Anyway, I'll get out and run in the morning.

The final went OK this morning. It was actually the exam period for most of the multi-section math courses, so I gave exams to my stats class and my Math for Educators class. Discrete Math has their final tomorrow. None of my students burst into tears, so I guess the final wasn't too hard. I have graded a couple of questions of each, and it's going much like I anticipated.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 748 -- Washtucna

The Washtucna Medical Clinic, which seems to be somewhat smaller than the Mayo Clinic.

I finally broke out of the 40 lap rut this morning. I ran 60 laps, which is 8 miles. It felt really good. It was a faster pace than my run yesterday, and yet seemed easier. I just had more bounce this morning. I hope that it will last me all weekend, because it doesn't look like I'm going to be able to run. It's too cold and slick out, and the gym hours aren't really convenient.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

His Karma Ran Over His Dogma

Via Amanda at Pandagon, I found this wonderful episode of This American Life. I sat and listened to the whole thing, and I really enjoyed it.

It's the story of Carlton Pearson, a man who grew up in the evangelical tradition. He was a protege of Oral Roberts, who sometimes referred to Pearson as his "black son." Pearson was a well-known and influential fire-and-brimstone preacher. He was the head minister of a Tulsa church with two thousand members and eight ministers. Until, one day, Pearson decided that there was no hell.

It seems to have come to him gradually and then suddenly. He thought about what he had been taught -- what he had been teaching -- and realized that it didn't make a whole lot of sense. God is a loving parent, who roasts people in hell for all eternity if they don't toe the line. As Pearson now says, Hitler only killed six million. He didn't torture them forever. Is God worse than Hitler?

Pearson decided no. He didn't (as Amanda suggests) lose his faith in God or in Jesus. Rather, he decided that God's grace -- and Jesus's sacrifice of atonement -- extends to all people, even the ones who don't happen to believe the same thing as Carlton Pearson. It extends to Jews, Muslims, atheists, gays...everyone. Pearson started preaching that the reason to be a good person isn't for fear of hell, but for the love of your fellow human beings.

Two stories that Pearson tells stuck with me. The first is a parable, really. He tells the story of a kind Buddhist. A man who lived a simple life, loved his neighbors, tended his sheep, and never did anyone harm. One day, the man went for a walk, slipped off the path, and fell to his death. Who was there to catch him? The old Carlton Pearson would have said the Devil. The man wasn't a Christian, after all. The new Carlton Pearson is convinced that it is Jesus. This Buddhist's life is every bit as precious to God as Oral Robert's life is.

The second story is one that really happened. Pearson -- the new Pearson -- was visiting a church that was much more liberal than any church in his upbringing. I think it's safe to say that the old Pearson never would have set foot in this place. He tells a vividly detailed story of watching a man dance for joy. He later came to hear this man's story. He is gay and HIV positive, and his fundamentalist family had disowned him. He was dancing for joy because he had found a new family, in this church that accepted him for who he was. It struck me that Pearson had found out something wonderful -- that loving someone for who they are just feels a lot better than hating them. Moral superiority just isn't as rewarding as empathy.

Needless to say, all this went over poorly with Pearson's former associates. His church membership dropped from the thousands to a couple of hundred. His associate ministers resigned en masse. He went through financial and spiritual hard times, but never stopped believing that he was right. And I understand that things are looking up. He has a new ministry, with a new sort of congregation. He's still an engaging and charismatic preacher, but now he's teaching love instead of judgment, and acceptance instead of exclusion.

I truly believe that Carlton Pearson has heard the voice of God. It's clear to me that his current teachings are much more in line with Jesus's message than his old teachings. I wish him the best of luck.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. J!

Today is Mrs. Jogger's 44th birthday. You will recall that my 44th birthday was in October. Call me a cradle robber.

Happy Birthday, my love! Many, many happy returns, hopefully with me by your side the whole time.

Days 746 and 747 -- Othello

Wait, wait, wait! That's not right...Let's try:

Nope, still not it. One more try:


Othello, Washington, is actually well behind me by now, but I had this joke set up on Monday, and then Blogger wouldn't let me upload any photos. Well, I'm not going to let a good joke go to waste.

I didn't run Tuesday. It didn't seem to be worth it to brave the storm. Public school was canceled, but of course University classes weren't. So Mrs. Jogger got the pleasure of an extra day at home with the kids.

I did run yesterday. I had a nice tempo run. The first, second, and fourth legs were faster than last Friday's tempo run. The third leg, the fastest one, was a little slower than Friday, but my overall pace was quicker. I didn't blog about it yesterday, because there was a Christmas program at church, featuring the littlest Little Jogger on vocals, and the first Little Jogger and the medium Little Jogger on percussion. The oldest and newest Little Jogger is too cool for church Christmas programs.

This morning, I ran 40 miles. OK, it was only 40 laps, but it felt like 40 miles. It was just one of those mornings when I never managed to find my groove. I felt every step. My time wouldn't have been bad, if I were running in knee-deep molasses. As it was, since the track was clear, it was pathetic.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Somebody pinch me....

There's an old cliche: "Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming." The underlying idea is that if you are asleep, and someone pinches you, you will wake up, and end the dream. But is it that easy?

I have just awoken from a bizarre, multi-level dream, where I repeatedly decided that I must be dreaming. Weird stuff was happening. I had a new job. My brother and father were alive. I had different kids than the little Joggers. So I would recognize that this could not be real, and I would try to escape the dream. And it would work. But I would escape into a new dream, which may or may not have had bizarre details of its own. I would wander around for a while, convincing myself that this, at last was real. But wait, what's this? We now live in Midland, Texas? Is this still a dream? Every once in a while, I would emerge to actual reality, my own bed in what I believe is "real life," and I'd think, thank goodness that's over. And I'd sink back into dreamland.

When the alarm finally went off, my first thought was, "Thank God." I oozed out of bed and literally, seriously wandered around, making sure that this time, I really was awake, and everything is real.

I've had this type of dream before. (Mrs. Jogger, who claims never to have a dream-within-a-dream, thinks its weird.) But this one was so...I don't know, compelling...that it really shook me up.

Sorry for such a bizarre post. I just had to write about it while the feeling was still fresh in my mind. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Jogger.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Day 745 -- Limbo

Blogger is not letting me upload images at all, at the moment. So you will just have to imagine me in the woods of western Washington.

I went to the gym today, and got in another 5.3 miles. Another problem with the gym (besides running around in circles) is that I don't get in a lot of variety in my distance. Forty laps is 5.3 miles. That's what I have done the last four times I went to the gym.

I will try to vary that tomorrow, if I even make it to the gym. A patented midwestern storm system is making its way across the viewing area. It started this afternoon with freezing rain, and will transform overnight to snow. So I expect to wake up to four to eight inches of snow on top of a half inch of ice. This will not make for good driving.

The little Joggers got kicked out of school early today. (That is, all the kids did. Not the little Joggers in particular.) And frankly, I don't expect them to go tomorrow. Campus probably won't close, but the commuter students will mostly not make it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Day 744 -- Cunningham

Cunningham, Washington, is an unincorporated town. It's so small, I can't find the population. So I don't have a lot of choices, here, and I went with Flikr. Again.

Day 744 was actually yesterday. I went to the gym and did a tempo run. I ran 5.3 miles in 1.3 mile sections. The third of these I ran at a 7:33 pace, which is pretty darn good for me.

In the afternoon, the stomach flu that had ravaged the Jogger household finally hit me. It was a rough afternoon, and a really rough night. But I think that I'm over the worst of it, now. I've managed to keep down some bland foods. We're supposed to see A Midsummer Night's Dream at the University tonight. One of my students is Bottom, and I really hope that I'm up to it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Day 743 -- Hatton

I've commented before about how frustrating Flikr is. There doesn't seem to be any way for users to put in a note that says what the photo is all about. So we have this perfectly boring picture of a sign in Hatton, Washington, and no idea why anyone would have taken it, much less uploaded it to the World Wide Web for the whole world to see. But someone did. And then, some idiot went and compounded the problem by adding a photo of himself in running shorts.

I skipped my run yesterday. Mrs. Jogger was still not feeling well, so I stayed home to try to get the Little Joggers out the door. As it happened, only the girls went, and the first Little Jogger only made it through a couple of hours before coming home. Today, all went except the medium Little Jogger. Mrs. Jogger is hoping for a kid-free day tomorrow.

I got my run in this morning. I went to the gym and put in a medium slow five miles. I needed that.

We got more snow today. I was supposed to go up to Madison to give a talk at the technical college, but I canceled. The snow was just a little too heavy, and the Internet was saying things like "road conditions deteriorating." So I called the organizer, and we're going to reschedule for next semester. I used the four or five hours that that would have taken me to do productive things around home and office. So overall, it was a good decision, although I was sorry to disappoint the masses of technical college students who were no doubt waiting for my pearls of wisdom.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Day 742 -- More Connell

I'm a bit past Connell, at this point, but their Fall Festival looked like so much fun, I just couldn't resist it. It was the second weekend in September, so I missed it. And I don't plan to stick around for the next one.

I went to the gym and ran five miles this morning, at a decent pace. It felt good. I hadn't slept really well, so it was nice to get myself energized. I'm afraid that energy has worn off by now.

Illness is ravaging the Jogger family. The littlest Little Jogger has been throwing up. Mrs. Jogger has an upset stomach, but hasn't actually thrown up. The first Little Jogger isn't sure whether she's getting sick or not. She's easily suggestible. The medium Little Jogger still has his cough, and the oldest and newest Little Jogger does, too, although hers isn't so bad. So far, I'm OK, and I hope that it lasts. I'm too busy to get sick.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jogger's Progress

Time29 days, 4 hrs, 34 min
11 days, 59 mins

I meant to run today, but it snowed overnight. The gym isn't open on Sunday morning, so that wasn't an option. Of course, they are open this afternoon, but I don't think I'm going to get over there. The Packer game is almost over, and when it is, I'm going to get to the office to do some work.

It has still been a good month. I feel pretty good about what I've gotten done. It's been a pretty typical month for me. This was the sixth time this year I've run 21 days. I could have run more, if the weather wasn't going bad on me. Of course, if the weather was good, I'd probably find another excuse.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 741 -- Connell

This is ash from the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, covering the landscape near Connell. I got the photo from the web site of the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver. It's an interesting photo, even if I'm 28 years late.

I went to the gym this morning, and ran 100 laps, which covered 13.3 miles. I was pretty proud of that. I had been meaning to put in a long run, and since I wasn't in any hurry to go anywhere this morning, that was my chance. It was very quiet. There weren't more than a half dozen people when I started, and there was no one there when I finished.

We did some holiday partying today. The Chamber of Commerce sponsored a showing of the movie Prancer, with admission being an item for the food pantry. They do this every year on the day after Thanksgiving, although frankly, they've had movies that I liked better than Prancer. And it was not at all a movie for little kids. It was very slow and sappy. It's much better when they have some whacky comedy with exploding elves and crashing reindeer.

Tomorrow, we are going down to visit Grandma Walker. She doesn't have room for us to stay, so it will just be a day trip. It will be nice to see her. It's been a while. She's a great cook, so I'm looking forward to more overeating.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 740 -- More Eltopia

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Having had no picture of your humble Jogger yesterday, I decided to go with two today. Both of these grain elevators are from barraclou.com. They have a whole page of grain elevators, feed mills, silos, and terminals. These two are both from Eltopia.

I slept in this morning, then got out and went for a run. It was nice to see the sun, although it was still cold. I didn't try to run real far, and I knew from the first step that it wasn't going to be real fast. But it was a good run.

I've been grading all day, and watching some football, although both games were pretty dull. We had a traditional Thanksgiving feast, with turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, and, still to come, two kinds of pie. I was going to give myself permission to eat a little meat, but when we sat down to eat, it didn't even look good to me. So, I loaded up on the carbs. Don't worry, I still managed to overdo it, even without the turkey.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 739 -- Eltopia

Well, I couldn't find a reasonable way to add myself to this photo, but I nonetheless couldn't resist: crop circles! Yes, folks, this photo was posted by someone who seems to think that crop circles are evidence of some extra-terrestrial visitors, come to earth to crush the corn. They say,
If you are one who believes that 'most' or 'all' of the Circles are made by miscreants, consider asking yourself upon what proof, what documentation or evidence, you're basing your beliefs.

Yes, that makes sense. If I don't have good evidence that the circles are made by drunken frat boys, the inevitable conclusion is that they are made by Awful Green Things from Outer Space. Got it.

I ran outside again today. It was cold, but I bundled up. I felt pretty good as soon as I lost the feeling in my face. I did run into someone who was jogging in shorts. Works for him, I guess.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Days 737 and 738 -- Pasco

I'm a few miles past Pasco, which abuts Kennewick. However, there's not much out here, and this was too nice a pic to pass up.

It's been a little while since I managed to post anything. Long enough for my mother to send me an e-mail politely asking what's up.

I didn't run at all on the weekend. I managed to sleep in a little, do a lot of grading, and go to the littlest Little Jogger's choir concert on Sunday afternoon.

On Monday, I popped out of bed, ready to put in a nice long run. I headed out the door, and found....snow. We've had some snow showers for a couple of weeks now, but never enough to stick. Finally, on Sunday night/Monday morning, we got a good half inch on the ground. Which meant that I didn't want to run outside, because I don't want to slip and break my clavicle. So I went off to the gym, and did a solid seven miles on the track.

This morning, I again went to the gym. There are still icy patches on the ground, and it is kind of cold. I got in four quick miles, although I kind of lost count, so I may have been short a lap.

It's a short week, of course, but busy. I told Mom that I'm trying to get a week's worth of work done in three days, while my students are trying to stretch a two-day vacation to a week. Not a good recipe.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You know you've been spending too much time on-line when....

Yesterday, right before class, I was reading the student newspaper. It occurred to me to check the time, so I looked at the lower right corner of the paper.

Needless to say, the current time was not there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Days 735 and 736 -- More Kennewick

While in the tri-cities area, I thought I'd visit this cool skate park, which I found at Concrete Disciples. This Derek Barden. The photo was taken by Mike Barden. I'm guessing that's his father, but it could be his brother. Or a stranger with the same last name.

It's been a busy couple of days. Last night, the oldest and newest Little Jogger had a choir concert at the middle school. It was really quite good. Their choir director is just terrific! She gets the kids to do amazing things, and they have fun doing it.

Tonight was the annual Thanksgiving dinner put on by the University's Hmong Club. That's always fun, although the medium Little Jogger was kind of a pain. He was hungry, and it was taking too long to serve. Then he didn't like the food. Then he wasn't feeling well and wanted to go home. Oh, well. This, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TIaRT -- Giving Thanks

I haven't done a Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge lately. Partly, it's been a lack of time, and partly, none of the topics have really turned me on. But this one, I can't miss, even if I doubt that I'm going to say anything truly original.

This week's topic is "Thank Goodness for Running". Where do I start?

  • First of all, I'm thankful that I can run at all. Lots of people can't. As I think I've mentioned, my brother and my dad were among those physically unable to run, and I still think about them sometimes, and I'm grateful that I can.
  • I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to run. I have a good job, in a safe neighborhood, in a great and generally peaceful country. There are lots of people in the world (and yes, in America, too) who are too busy just trying to survive. They don't have time to run just for pleasure.
  • I'm thankful for the support of my family. No one in my family runs, but they all tolerate me going out and disappearing for hours on end, obsessing about the upcoming race, and spending way too much on needless running junk.
  • I'm thankful for the on-line running community. I honestly don't know if I would be able to keep it up if it weren't for the encouragement of a bunch of people that I've never even met.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Day 734 -- Kennewick

Well, I'm not quite to Kennewick, but it looks like there should be plenty of photos in the tri-cities area. (The tri-cities are Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland.) This is the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. It's apparently a reasonably new building, although I couldn't find the exact date that it opened.

I had a really hard time getting moving this morning. I really wanted to just skip my run. I had to tell myself over and over again that I would feel better if I ran. And I did run. And I did feel better. It wasn't as cold as yesterday, although it is not quite spring, yet. I ran 5 miles, with a faster mile in the middle, just to shake off a little of the rust.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 733 -- Walla Walla

OK, I admit it. I'm not terribly near to Walla Walla, which is a good 40 or 50 miles to the east. However, I thought that I would visit Walla Walla for several very good reasons. First of all, there is almost nothing on the map in this stretch of road, between McNary, Oregon, and Kennewick, Washington. Second, I do have friends in Walla Walla, and it would be great to visit them. (He is the pastor at Christ Lutheran Church.) Finally, it gives me a chance to plug one of my favorite kids books, Double Trouble in Walla Walla.

If you have kids, get this book. If you don't have kids, get this book. It is simply a delight to read. It's best if you read it out loud.

Four easy miles today. It was cold. The bank clock said 22 degrees, and the meteorology station at the University recorded 17 degrees at 6:00 am. There still hasn't been enough snow to drive me indoors, but pretty soon the cold is going to.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 732 -- Entering Washington

I don't know why I haven't run across James D. Teresco before. He has visited all 50 states, and has "Welcome to..." signs for 49 of 'em. (Apparently he hasn't been able to get one for Hawaii.) This is not the correct sign for me. It's on I-5, far to the west. But I'll take what I can get.

I did get in my long run this morning. It snowed for 10 or 15 minutes, some time in the fourth or fifth mile. It was heavy enough to start to stick, but never really built up enough to make the footing difficult. So I just kept running.

I wasn't blindingly fast, but I got in 12 miles. This was my first two-hour run since the marathon. I did a little plodding in the last four miles or so. But that's OK. I need to practice my plodding, too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 731 -- McNary Dam

Somewhere in here is the McNary Dam. It's listed as being in Umatilla, which is slightly to the west of where I'm running. McNary itself is slightly to the east.

No snow, yet. It was actually 38 degrees or so when I ran this morning, but it has gotten steadily colder all day. I want to go for a long run tomorrow, but I'm worried about how cold it might be. Oh, well, worrying isn't going to have any effect.

I did a brisk four and a half this morning. I was tired, but I managed to make it through.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 730 -- Hermiston

When you Google for images using town names, you get a lot of hotels. I usually resist those, because they all look pretty much the same. "Look, it's the Holiday Inn in Walla Walla! Looks just like the Holiday Inn in Des Moines!" However, the Oxford Suites in Hermiston has an interesting photo. They have a "cowboy dinner package", and this covered wagon is what they use to sell it. I don't know if they have an actual covered wagon.

I hopped off of I-84 today, onto I-82. Tomorrow or the next day, I'll cross over into Washington.

It felt good to run today. I did fartleks. You runners and Swedes know that "fartlek" is Swedish for "speed play." It's a kind of informal speed workout. You warm up, then just run at varying speeds, according to how the spirit moves you. Sprint to the corner. Jog for a while. Run medium fast for three blocks. Jog for a while. Run fast up that hill. Jog for a while. It's a good workout, and a nice change of pace--literally.

They are predicting snow for the weekend, so I may or may not be able to run. We'll see.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two Days Off

This is the second of two days off. No particular reason. Just basic laziness.

I should know better. One day off often does me some good. On the second, I get all moody and depressed and grouchy. So I've been all moody and depressed and grouchy today. Not helped by the major pile of grading that I have to do, nor by the fact that I'm not really sure what I'm going to do in one of my classes tomorrow. I've got a lot I want to do, and I'm having trouble getting it organized.

No matter what, I'm running tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 729 -- Umatilla Chemical Depot

Welcome to the Umatilla Chemical Depot (formerly the Umatilla Ordnance Depot). According to the web site at globalsecurity.org, this picture shows "A Umatilla Chemical Depot employee stands in front of a storage igloo. Safely stored inside this igloo are munitions containing the nerve agent sarin (GB)." If you'll pardon me, I'm going to tiptoe quietly out of here....

I set out this morning to run about four, but ended up running over 5, on some of the worst hills in town. It was a good workout, but wearying. It was cold, but the rain didn't start until later in the morning. Once it got started, though, it kept up all day. I may wimp out and go to the gym in the morning, if it's still a cold rain. If it's sleet or snow, I'll definitely go to the gym.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Day 728 -- World Run Day

Happy World Run Day!

Last year, I went ahead and registered for World Run Day, bought the t-shirt, the whole nine yards. This year, I didn't, but I still got the benefit out of it. I turned off the alarm this morning, and sat there wondering why any sane person would get up before dawn on a cold November morning in Wisconsin to run around in circles. Then it hit me: World Run Day!

Somewhere in my 10 mile run, it occurred to me that I hadn't really answered my question. It was hardly any more sane to go running just because a bunch of other people are. I mean, it's not like they were all there helping me run. Most of them were probably running in warmer climates, or indoors, or on a treadmill.

What's with the picture? Look at that big fish! I don't even believe that's real! How do you catch something like that? I don't think that it was caught anywhere near here, but I took it from the MySpace page of Mushywaffles, who is from Boardman.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Day 727 -- Boardman Bombing Range

I'm approaching the Boardman Bombing Range, but there don't seem to be decent photos of it on the web. I wonder if that's because, well, it's a bombing range. Not much of a picnic spot, I imagine. So, since it is Day 727, how about a picture of a 727 jet?

I did take yesterday off, as planned. It was miserable weather -- cold and windy and snow flurries all day. Today wasn't much better, although there weren't snow flurries while I was out. There were occasional patches of heavy, cold mist, which was not fun. But the gym isn't open on Saturday, and I needed the exercise. I got in 5 miles, at a decent pace for an outdoor run.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Day 726 -- Ione

I'm slowly sneaking up on Boardman, my next actual landmark on I-84. Today, I have again gone off the track a little to visit Ione.

It was a real struggle to drag myself out of bed today. I finally made it, but I think I'll just sleep in tomorrow. Then, once I did get up and go out, lightning started to flash in the distance. So I went back home, hopped in the car, and drove to the gym. The lightning didn't ever get terribly close, but I didn't know that was going to happen. So, anyway, I got in 5.3 miles on the indoor track, at a pretty good pace. Running indoors is always faster than running outdoors. And it felt good. And I've earned a day off.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Day 725 -- Cecil

Still going off I-84 a little bit, just to find something to stand in front of. According to Daisha's Picassa Web Album, the population of Cecil is 7.

I ran an easy three this morning. Well, it was closer to four. It was one of those days when I just got out and ran. Not fast, but steady. It felt good. It was fairly warm, but windy. They are predicting lower temperatures, and possibly snow, by the weekend. I'll have to start running indoors before too long, I'm afraid.

Election Reflections [with Update]

I could be working, but I don't think that I can keep this bottled up inside me.

At the end of the TV series The West Wing, the country elected Matt Santos, a Latino. I remember thinking that that's all well and good in Aaron Sorkin's world, where hard work, competence, and compassion triumph over bigotry. But in the real world, we are a long way from a serious candidate of color, never mind an actual president.

I'm happy to have been wrong.

The series ended before Santos took office. We don't know how he fared, but we were left with a feeling of cautious optimism. Yes, the world is a nasty place. Yes, Santos is going to face opposition, even bigotry. But he's the best man for the job, and the country is in good hands.

That's pretty much the way I feel this morning.

On the dark side, bigotry won out in California, where they passed Proposition 8 to take away the right of gay people to marry. I suppose I should be grateful that they are defending my traditional marriage. Heaven knows that Mrs. Jogger and I would never have been married for 21 years if gay marriage had been legal in California. Our marriage has been a little rocky for these last few months, what with all those happy gay people making commitments to each other. But now that that's over with, our marriage is back on solid ground.

I know this is backlash. I believe strongly that human history is progressive, and that we will inevitably move towards a state of greater tolerance and greater equality. Someday, hopefully within my lifetime, historians will look back at the "Defense of Marriage" movement the same way we look back at Jim Crow. I just hope that we get there soon. Because it's the right thing to do.

Update: A couple of nice posts about the Prop 8 outcome by Jeff Fecke and Digby.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Days 723 and 724 -- Olex

Another big stretch of empty road lies before me. I continue to mark my virtual miles on I-84, but I slipped down highway 19, southbound out of Arlington, for this photo. At least I think I did. The town of Olex, Oregon, lies down that way, and Crestline Construction posted this photo as part of the OLEX Rock Creek Grade. So I assume it's around here somewhere.

I did get out for a short run yesterday. I could have taken the day off, but, anticipating a long day, I decided to run. And a long day it was. I gave another evening exam, so I was at school for 13 hours, nearly all of it actually working. I could be grading the exam now, but I'm not.

I also ran this morning. I went for a "tempo run," which means that I ran a mile sort of slow, then a mile a little bit faster, then a mile pretty quick, then the last mile at medium speed. Well, it turns out that "pretty quick" was pretty slow this morning. Oh, well.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day 722 -- More Arlington

Here's a little park in Arlington, which I got from Wikipedio, el Libro Enciklopedio. I don't know what language that is. It doesn't seem like Spanish to me. Portuguese, perhaps? Interestingly, the English language Wikipedia doesn't have an entry for Arlington, Oregon.

I ran into Arlington today. No sign of the current mayor, and no clue what they look like in their underwear. The more I think about that, the more steamed I get. It's not just that they fired this mayor for stuff she did in her private life that was none of their business. It's also the inherent misogyny of the issue. Do you think the same thing would have happened if a male mayor had posted some photos of himself in dishabille? Heck no. They would have put him in their promotional material. But Mayor Kontur-Gronquist is a woman, so she's either a virgin or a whore. Since these photos don't look very virginal, she must be a whore. I'm sure that the people of Arlington were pleased that their mayor was a pretty young lady. But as soon as she showed the slightest sign of being a sexual being, she was out on her ear!

I ran 7.7 miles today, my first run of over an hour since the marathon. I wasn't exactly sprightly by the end, but I was still running. That was my only goal.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Day 721 -- Arlington

I won't be to Arlington until tomorrow, but as I keep saying, there's not much out here, so I went ahead and plopped myself into this photo of the Village Inn Motel, from Epinions.com. Not really exciting, but I thought maybe it would be a bad idea to plop myself into the most common photo when you Google "Arlington, Oregon":

This is the former mayor of Arlington, Carmen Kontur Gronquist. (Some sources hyphenate the second and third names, and some don't.) She is the former mayor because of these photos. She had posted them on her MySpace page before she ever became mayor. She was mayor for three years, when someone in the city government dug them out, and decided that she was not projecting the proper image of a small town mayor. Sorry, Carmen, thanks for the hard work, but don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. The people of Arlington (at least some of them) are idiots.

I ran four miles today. It was fun. I didn't set a route, I didn't worry about time. I just got out and ran.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 720 -- Jogger's Progress

Time27 days, 22 hrs, 42 min
10 days, 3 hrs, 47 mins

Well, I did get out and run today. I even picked up the pace a little, and ran 4.6 miles in 46 minutes. It felt really good. I've been tired and cranky lately, and I think at least part of it is lack of exercise. I want to get back in the habit of getting out nearly every day.

It's been a fairly easy month, except for that one day. Sixteen days ties last December for the lowest number of days run in a month, and 103 miles is my lowest total since February. But of course, there was a marathon in there, which means it was hardly a slack month. I'll try to get out more days and put in more miles in November. And I expect to be running into Washington this month, adding another state to the total.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I voted

I voted today. Wisconsin is one of the states that is still being contended, so we get lots of good political ads. Now they will all be wasted, as far as I'm concerned. Actually, they were all wasted anyway. There wasn't much chance that I was going to change my mind, and if I did, it wouldn't be because of a 30 second TV spot. It's actually kind of distressing to think that such things matter! But of course, I'm not the first or the last person to notice that.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Day 719 -- Fishing

Still pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so I thought I'd throw in a generic billboard for Erik's World Class Fishing Adventure. His web site says to "Honk next time you see one of our billboard ads along the I-5 freeway in Washington and Oregon." Oops. I'm not on, or even near, I-5. My bad. Ignore this billboard.

I took the last two days off, for no better reason than because I can. I don't have a schedule, and I'm sticking to it.

I had a good run today. I'm pretty much over feeling sore. I can walk up and down stairs, ride my bike, no problem. Except for actual running. By the end of 4.2 miles, my legs were feeling it. I need to build back up. But slowly.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 718 -- Blalock Canyon

Mapquest shows the town of Blalock on the road between Rufus and Arlington, but according to GhostTowns.com, Blalock has been underwater since they built the John Day Dam near Rufus. I can't find anything to contradict that, nor can I find any pictures of Blalock, so I thought that I would settle for this photos of Blalock Canyon, which I got from Eli's Blog. Presumably, if Blalock is under the river, it's at the bottom of Blalock Canyon.

I thought I'd also put myself in the foreground, so you could get a good look at my new shirt.

I managed five miles today. It was windy, and the wind was mostly in my face the second half of the run. But it has gotten much more windy this afternoon. There's actually a wind advisory out. I may or may not run tomorrow, depending on the weather. Isn't that great? Since I'm not training for anything, I don't have to run if I don't feel like it!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 717 -- New Jogger

I've had that same cutout of me for over a year, since right after the Quad Cities Marathon. So, it's definitely time for a new one. This is me in my Des Moines Marathon shirt. Get used to it. You'll be seeing it for a while.

And what am I standing in front of? This is the motor home that Dennis and Betty Johnson took on their Journey of Discovery. It is parked somewhere near Rufus, which is where I am running.

Today, I did a brisk four miles. I didn't sleep well last night, and I'm pretty sure that what I've been missing is my run. So it felt good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

TIaRT - Running and Weight Loss...Or Not

Today's topic for Take It and Run Thursday over at Runners' Lounge is "Running and Weight". My contribution to the conversation is to note that running, in and of itself, is not enough to control your weight. I have run some 1400 miles this year, and I have not lost an ounce. I think I've gained a little. I hesitate to think of what I might weigh if I had eaten like I have and not run 1400 miles.

As I said after the marathon, I would like to lose some weight, to make running easier. I'm trying to get serious and get back under 200 pounds. But running alone won't do it. I've also got to control my intake.

The good news is, I don't need to control it that much. Since I am physically very active, I can eat 2200 - 2500 calories a day and still lose weight. I just need to do that.

Day 716 -- Rufus

Back on the road again. Not far, and definitely not fast. I did an easy three miles today, just to get myself stretched out. It felt good, even though it was a bit cold and pretty breezy.

I have managed to run more or less to Rufus, Oregon. Thanks to Roy and Jackie, I have this nice pic of Le Page Park. Roy and Jackie seem to be making their way around the country in a massive old RV.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The Photographer has sent pictures! I guess she sent them already Sunday night, but the Internet ate them. She sent a lot, but I picked out a few that tell the story of the race pretty well.

This is the very beginning of the race. Look how cheery I am! I am going to have a great day. I'll probably run two marathons, or three!

This is the stadium, at mile 12. Still looking pretty happy. (This shot also has a few of my pace group friends. Just to my left, in the black, is Christopher. It was his first marathon. I can't remember who the woman in front of him is. To her left, in the red shorts, is Rosella, a Drake student originally from St. Louis. This was her second marathon, both in Des Moines. To her left, number 1791, is Sara. She does some sort of clerical work in Iowa City. This was her first marathon.)

OK, this is getting along there. I'm not sure how far, but you can see that I'm visibly sagging.

This is right at the end. My head is down. I'm just pounding out the steps. You can see the 5:00 pace group behind me.

Here I am after, with Mrs. J. Starting to smile. A little.

A few not me photos. Here is Grandma Jogger and the littlest Little Jogger, and the signs that they made.

These are not my dogs. They are not any relation to me. But they support me anyway. Isn't that great!