Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Jogger's Progress

Time22 days, 9 hrs, 13 min
3 days, 19 hrs, 38 mins

I took this morning off. It was still cold, and I was tired. And, most of all, I wasn't sure last night what I was going to do, so I left it to myself to make the decision this morning. If I had to decide at 5 in the morning every time I run, I'd almost never run. Fortunately, most of the time I decide the night before, and just get up and do whatever I decided.

April wasn't a bad month. It would have been more if I had stuck with my marathon training plan, but about mid-month, I switched to the half marathon. So I had fewer days and fewer miles in the last half of the month than I could have had.

Now, I'm into the final days of the countdown to the Green Bay Half Marathon. The ticker is over there to the right. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 600!

OK, first I guess I'd better explain the image. This is, of course, an Ambo-600-cell. It has been constructed by Mira Bernstein and Vin de Silva, using the Zome System building tools. In four dimensions, it consists of 120 regular icosahedra and 600 regular octahedra, but in this three-dimensional projection, it lays on top of itself, so it is only half that complex, but it still requires plenty of pieces. It was the coolest thing I could find when I Googled "600".

Today is day 600! Nice milestone. It has taken me about 2 years and 4 months to get that far.

The whole day went by in slow motion. I'm not even going to admit how slowly I ran 4.5 miles this morning. Then I had most of the morning off, but I couldn't seem to get anything done. Oh, well, tomorrow is another day.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Little Jogger!

Today, the medium Little Jogger goes from one digit to two. That's right, he's the Big 1-0. This is his cake. He wanted a dragon's egg, and Mrs. Jogger, as usual, rose to the occasion. I'm trying to think of something that will really stump her. I want my birthday cake in the shape of existentialism. Or something.

Anyway, the Little Jogger. He's a good kid. Of the four, he's the most sensitive, both emotionally and physically. Tags in his clothes itch. He can't sleep if the room isn't exactly right. Any insult (real or imagined) from his siblings or friends is the occasion for horrible tears. But they never last.

He isn't much of a joiner. The first Little Jogger has choir and band and track. The oldest and newest Little Jogger has basketball and soccer and choir. The littlest Little Jogger has choir and Cub Scouts and soccer and choir. But the medium Little Jogger prefers to play with his friends. They will spend hours making up elaborate games, involving dragons and heroes and magic and machine guns.

He can get so excited about things. When he gets going on something, it will be his whole world. Which can be a real problem, if you want to bring him back to earth to, say, brush his teeth and go to bed. Right now, he's having a mini-meltdown because he's absolutely not tired and doesn't need to go to bed. In fact, he'll probably never need to sleep again.

Overall, he's a good kid, and I'm glad that we have him. Happy Birthday, Little Jogger.

Day 599 -- Vacaville

Welcome to Vacaville! As far as I know, "Vacaville" means "cow town." I guess there are worse things to be named after. This image is from the Vacaville Real Estate blog, maintained by local full-time experience realtor Barbara Adams. Thanks, Barb.

I fell asleep OK last night, but then I woke up early, and couldn't get back to sleep. So I got up and ran the 13 miles that I didn't get in yesterday. It felt pretty good. It was a little cool, but it actually got cooler all day, so it was probably the best time to run. We had snow flurries for much of the day, though fortunately, it wasn't enough to stick.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day 598 -- UCDavis

Where shall I begin describing the last three days? How about at the beginning.

I did run Friday morning, a brisk 6 miles. That carries me through Davis, and before I leave, I thought I should visit the math department at UCDavis. This is the "Ceremonial Knotting" of the new Mathematical Sciences Building. No, I don't know what that means.

I stayed for my 11:00 class on Friday, meaning that I didn't leave until noon, and I was late to the spring meeting (which starts at 1:00) for the first time in eight years. For all the students I had in my 11:00 class, I could have skipped it, too.

We arrived at the meeting at about 2:00, and I went to a couple of OK talks, one pretty good talk, and one fantastic performance. The fantastic performance was this guy:

I originally uploaded this photo 302 running days ago, on Day 296, when I visited Kansas State. I took this photo from their web site. At the time, I identified this guy as Sir Randolf Bacon III, from Williams College. That's not strictly accurate. Sir Randy's real name is Colin Adams, and it turns out that he's a terrific speaker.

I helped with the judging for our third annual math game show in the evening. (My university went down to bitter defeat, after winning the first year and placing second last year.) After that, we had a banquet, where I was roped into sitting at the head table, with people who I didn't really want to talk to, instead of out in the crowd, with my friends. After the banquet, we had another great performance, by Arthur Benjamin of Harvey Mudd College. I have seen Art Benjamin perform before, but he's well worth a second try.

The talk ended at 9:00, and by the time I found my hotel and checked in, it was way past my bedtime. I didn't really manage to sleep in, so I was tired and cranky, well, all yesterday and today.

I did give a talk on Saturday morning, and it went really well. The final talk of the morning was Art Benjamin again, this time with a more research oriented talk, which was still fantastic. When I grow up, I want to be Art Benjamin.

After an Executive Board meeting, I made it home in the late afternoon, just in time for a Passover seder. Our friends who hosted it aren't really Jewish. Her father was apparently a non-observant Jew, and he is a non-observant Catholic, but they like to expose their son, Hurricane Andrew, to all kinds of different things. It was my first ever Passover seder, and I enjoyed it a lot.

I didn't sleep well again last night, so I didn't run at all this morning. I'm missing a long run this weekend, but that's OK. At this point, I'm ready to begin my taper for the half marathon.

Today was dedicated to grading and housework, in roughly equal proportions. Well, a little heavier on the grading. And now it's about my bedtime, and I'm hoping to get a good night's sleep tonight.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Days 596 and 597 -- Davis

This is the Amtrak station in Davis. A very attractive mission-style building, I think. The travel info site from which I lifted it starts their post by saying, "Davis, California is a town with a funny name - but a great place for walking, relaxing, and enjoying yourself." As a person who has virtually run through Ogallala, Nebraska, I don't see what's so funny about "Davis." Anyway, I'll go for the walking, relaxing, and enjoying myself.

I obviously didn't post yesterday, as I had the annual math department banquet. It's a nice little affair where we recognize outstanding students and get to see some of the emeritus faculty. It was fun, but I got home a little late. And tomorrow, I won't be able to post, because I'm off to Madison for the statewide math meeting.

But today I'm posting. I ran 3.6 miles yesterday, and a full 8.2 this morning. This morning's run was in the rain. It wasn't too cold, nor was it raining very hard, so it was actually kind of refreshing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 595 -- Even More Sacramento

This Sacramento skyline is from, "The Photographic Community for the Four Thirds Photographer." And just what is a Four Thirds Photographer? you ask. I have no idea. I didn't see an immediate explanation on their home page, and I didn't care enough to dig around for one.

I ran six miles this morning. It went fine, but I'm sore this evening. I'll need to do just a short run tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 594 -- More Sacramento

When you Google larger cities, like Sacramento, you often find that hotel sites, like HotelsByCity, turn up pretty high on the lists. I don't know what aspect of Google's algorithm this reflects, although I suspect that it has something to do with advertising dollars, in one way or another. Anyway, I usually don't go there, but this one had a nice photo of a fountain in front of the capitol building.

I ran an easy 4.6 miles today. I'm still fairly sore from yesterday, but it was a beautiful morning to run. I ran in short sleeves for the first time this spring. Another milestone.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm getting wet, so I'd better get out of this fountain.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day 593 -- Sacramento

Of course you remember Frank. Frank has visited all 50 state capitols, and I try to pose with him whenever I get near one. At least, I think that Frank has visited all 50 state capitols. I just suggested to the first Little Jogger that he has never heard of Photoshop, and she asked, "How do you know it isn't Photoshop?" If it is, Frank, you are better at it than I am.

I ran neither Friday nor Saturday this week. Friday was rainy and I was lazy. Then we drove with friends clear down to Cedar Rapids to see John Gorka in concert at the CSPS Center. It was a great concert, but we didn't get back until after midnight. So no run on Saturday.

So, for today's long run, I was in pretty good shape. And it was a shorter long run, too, at only 13 miles. Four weeks before the half marathon in Green Bay, and I can run 13 miles. I think I'll be ready.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Day 592 -- Loomis, CA

The Blue Goose Fruit Shed, in Loomis, California. No clue what the thermometer is measuring.

I ran a nice 8.6 miles this morning. It felt terrific. It was pretty warm, and the wind had died down (and was only blowing in one direction.) I'm tired now, but I'll run easy tomorrow and take Saturday off entirely.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day 591 -- Auburn, CA

The Famous Old Auburn Firehouse. Interestingly, I got this photo from Fiddler's Green, a web site that claims to be the world's largest collection of paper models. You can order a paper model of the firehouse for $3. Jogger not included.

I had a nice six mile run this morning. It was much warmer than yesterday morning, although the wind that bothered the first Little Jogger at her track meet was still around. Somehow, it managed to blow in my face no matter which direction I was running.

And yes, the Little Jogger did go back to track practice today. I asked her how it went, and she said a noncommittal "OK." In other words, everything is back to normal.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Bad Meet

The first Little Jogger had her first ever track meet today, and it was a disaster of epic porpoises. She was supposed to run in the 4x100 relay, the 800 m run, and to throw the discus. The coach is trying to get all the girls to try lots of different events, so he just assigned them to do a handful of events each. That was fine for most of the girls, who just went out and gave it a whack. But it was hard on the first Little Jogger, who likes to go into things prepared. She hadn't thrown the discus at all until yesterday.

Added to that, the meet was somewhat disorganized. Even an organized track meet is disorganized, with different events going on at once, but this one was a disorganized disorganized track meet. The first Little Jogger hates that. She really likes to know what's going on at all times.

Added to that, it was extremely windy. The discus pit was upwind from the track, so we couldn't hear the announcements down there. So the Little Jogger missed her relay. She found out about that right before she started her 800m run, which put her on the edge. Then she started off poorly on the run, and on the backstretch of the second lap (running into the wind) she just quit. She was so upset. All she could do was cry, and all I could do was hold her.

So, now what is she going to do? I'm really afraid that she's going to give up. That's her style. If she can't do it well, she doesn't want to do it at all. I'd like to see her give it another try. I think that she'll feel better if she gets back up on that horse and gives it a ride. If she can go out and have a good meet, she can forget about this disaster. We'll see.

This is one of those times when it's hard to be a parent. I don't want to see the Little Jogger hurt, but I'm not sure how to protect her.

Day 590 -- Applegate

From its InsiderPages page, we learn that
Applegate Garage is your local Car Repair Shop in Applegate, CA. This auto mechanic will keep your vehicles running smoothly without costing an arm and a leg. Car repair and auto mechanic in Auburn, Colfax, Meadow Vista, and Applegate, Calfornia.
'Nuf said.

Obviously, I took yesterday off. I got out and ran 6.6 miles this morning, at a fairly good clip. It was still cool this morning, although it's supposed to be warmer overnight tonight. With the pressure of the marathon off, I can relax and just have some fun running again.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day 589 -- Colfax

The Green Bay Marathon died today. I promised myself a while ago that if I couldn't make the rest of my scheduled long runs, I'd drop from the marathon to the half marathon in Green Bay in May. Today, I ran 15 of my scheduled 18. So I logged on today and switched my registration to the half.

I'm disappointed, but I'm trying to be philosophical about it. It will be better for me to run a decent half than a desperate full marathon. And now, I've finally made the decision, and I can quit putting pressure on myself. I can clearly run a half, so all I have to do in the next month is to keep in shape. I'll work hard this summer and get ready for my fall marathon, which will be in DesMoines.

Above, downtown Colfax. I got this picture from the Colfax web site, which tells us that Colfax is "filled with charm and small town atmosphere." My favorite part is the town motto: "Above the fog, below the snow." Nice place for a town.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I am SO getting this tattoo....

OK, no I'm not. But maybe a t-shirt....

From Carl Zimmer's Science Tatoo blog, via Shakespeare's Sister

Day 588 -- Dutch Flat

I kind of like this WayMarking web site. I believe that I've been here before. Somebody took a picture of this dead sedan near Dutch Flat, and it seems like the perfect thing to pose in front of. Or behind, I guess.

It wasn't a great morning for a run. The weather has decided to turn cold. Again. I actually finished in snow flurries, which was probably nicer than if it had been five degrees warmer, and a cold drizzle. Anyway, I got through my six miles, and tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 587 -- Blue Canyon, California

A "Wicked Weather Fact" from Weather Savvy: The snowiest place in the U.S. is Blue Canyon, California, which gets an average of 241 inches a year. It's not clear whether this snow plow is actually in Blue Canyon or not.

Today was a miserable day to run. It was cold and windy, with a light but steady rain. Frankly, it would have been a great day to sleep in. But I didn't. I got out and did almost another seven miles. Tomorrow will be a day off. Mrs. Jogger is off to Chicago for some kind of a quilting show, so I'll be staying home to get the Little Joggers off to school.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Day 586 -- Emigrant Gap, CA

Thanks to, we have this photo of the Laing Pioneer Camp in Emigrant Gap.

I ran seven miles this morning. I got up a little later than planned, so I cut myself a little short of the eight miles that I had intended. It was, nonetheless, a good run.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Day 585 -- Kingvale, CA

Good news on the snowboarding front. According to Snowboard Magazine, Kingvale is planning to install a lift and "provide a complete mountain of park only terrain." In fact, as I look closer, I realize that this is an article from 2006, which means that it's already done, maybe. I'm not sure exactly what "park only terrain" means, but what the heck. In this pair of photos, Shaun Durst tries out a new vertical jib. Whatever that is.

I couldn't drag myself out of bed yesterday morning, but I did manage to get out and run six miles this morning. It didn't feel bad at all. I'm sure that I didn't want to do seven, but I survived six, and that's good.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Day 584 -- Lake Tahoe

Well, I'm a little past Lake Tahoe, but I thought it would be good for some photo ops. And, in fact, this photo was taken at South Lake Tahoe, which is clear at the other end of the lake. It's from a ski trip that someone took late in 2004. It's a bit cold.

The good news is, I felt stronger longer than I did on Friday. The bad news is, I ran much longer, leaving a lot of time for plodding, yet. The really good news is that I made my 17 miles, keeping alive the dream of the Green Bay Marathon. I still need to run further this next weekend, on less rest, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For right now, I'm enjoying the feeling of accomplishment.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Day 583 -- Floriston, CA

So, has a sister site, In fact, both are part of a bigger project, by two guys named Andy Field and Alex Nitzman. I don't know why I never really looked at the big picture before. Anyway, thanks to Andy and Alex, I have the exit for Floriston, which is about where I am today.

Actually, if this is where I am today, then this is where I stay. Today is a day off from running. Day 583 was yesterday, although I didn't get a chance to blog it. (More about that in a second.) After three six mile days in a row, I did 8.5 yesterday morning, pushing me up near 26 miles -- a full marathon -- in four days. That's good, but it was hard. The last three miles or so, I was practicing my plodding.

I just hope I didn't overdo it. I'm supposed to run 17 miles tomorrow. If I can't. then the Green Bay Marathon is off, and I'm down to a half marathon. I'm pretty tired now. We'll see what I can do tomorrow.

And why didn't I blog yesterday's run yesterday? I went with a couple of friends up to Madison, where we saw Nanci Griffith perform at the Barrymore Theater. The Barrymore is a wonderful little venue. It's an old movie theater that's been converted to do live shows. We went there once or twice when we lived in Madison, but this is the first time I've been back, since. It was a good show. Mrs. Jogger is not a Nanci Griffith fan, so she didn't go.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Days 581 and 582 -- Open up those Golden Gates

I'm pretty sure that today I ran into California. If not, then either yesterday or tomorrow. I ran out of Utah just before New Year's, so it's been three long months in Nevada, the longest of any state so far. (That's partly a function of how I tackled the states. I ran into Nebraska from the south, already halfway across. If I had run from Omaha straight through to Scottsbluff, a distance of approximately 100 billion miles, it might have taken me a bit longer.)

I believe that once again I have scored the exact welcome sign that I would see if I were really where I claim to be. At least my chances are good. There are only two highways into Sierra County from out of state, and I-80 is, of course, the bigger one.

This image has an interesting provenance. I found it on the web site of Mark D. Roberts, a Presbyterian minister. He used the image to illustrate his opening sermon of a four month series on the topic of "Welcome" back in fall, 2005. I confess I didn't read the whole sermon. But I do note that he got a "Best Pastor" blog award in 2005, so I urge you to check him out.

I ran six miles yesterday, including some hills, and six more today. I felt OK yesterday, but pretty tired today. I'll see if I'm up to a run tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Day 580 -- Reno

Now this is what I expect Nevada to look like! Brightly lit and more than a little bit tacky. Of course, this was in 1950. It might be more subdued today. This photo is lifted from a site called Charles Phoenix. Apparently, Charles Phoenix is a person who likes this mid-twentieth century kitch. Sign up now for the slide of the week.

Six miles today. It felt pretty good, after the day off. I'm building up to what I hope is a long run on the weekend.