Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Day 663 -- Jogger's Progress (and TIaRT)

Time25 days, 8 hrs, 6 min
6 days, 18 hrs, 31 mins

This week's theme for Take It and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge is "Look Back, Look Ahead". How fortunate for me that it happens to fall on the last day of the month, when I would naturally check "Jogger's Progress."

For the benefit of newer readers, a quick summary of what this is all about: In January, 2006, I started laying out my mileage on a U.S. map, starting at the Empire State Building. Click on "Jogger's Map" to the right to see my monthly progress. In May of this year, I arrived at my original goal, Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. Since then, I've been running up the California coast. I am now close enough to Oregon to smell the fresh air. (By state law, there is no fresh air in California.)

In the last two and a half years, I have greatly extended my mileage. That first month, I ran only 85 miles, and my high for 2006 was 139 miles. I've surpassed that three times already in 2008. The first year, I was averaging 5 to 6 miles per run. This month, I averaged 7.3 (and in April, 2008, I averaged almost 8.)

I have also run my first road race (a 5K), my first 10K, my first half marathon, and my first marathon. I've run 11 official races, and many, many miles in training.

What's ahead for JogAmericaBlog? My plan at this point is to run up to Washington, then head east, hitting every state north of my original path. Then I will run down the East Coast, and run back west, hitting the remainder of the 48 continuous states. Then what? Down through Mexico to South America? Up through Canda to Alaska, and across the Bering Strait to Asia? Europe? Antarctica? Mars? I don't know. But it will be 4 or 5 years before I have to decide.

My second marathon will be the IMT Des Moines Marathon, on October 19. (Before that, I'll run two other races, a 5K in Madison this weekend, and a half marathon in Dubuque on Sept 1.) After that, I'm not sure. I didn't make the lottery for the Zoom Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon in Northfield, Minnesota in January, so my next marathon will be in the spring. There is a new marathon in Eau Claire this spring. I'm attracted by the thought of participating in the very first running of a new race, but it's not the most convenient weekend for me. Both the Pine Line Marathon in Medford and the Madison Marathon would be better weekends. I've also got my eye on Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, which is later, in June.

The one thing that I do know is that I will keep on getting up in the morning, lacing up my sneakers, and going out for a run. I'm way, way too addicted to quit.

Day 662 -- Crescent City

Isn't this pretty? It's the Battery Point Lighthouse in Crescent City. I got the photo from a place called, about which I know very little, other than they don't know how to spell "bikini."

Today's run was pretty humid. A run and a sauna at the same time. What a deal! I managed to hold the 10 minute pace for 6+ miles, before I broke. I walked a short way, then started over at a trot for the last 2 miles. I had decided before I started that I wasn't going to kill myself to hold the pace for the whole way. I was pretty exhausted when I finished, but I'm bouncing back, now.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time for a Break

I took an unscheduled rest day today. I went out yesterday for a bike ride with my friend Rob, and he took me over an extremely hilly 10 mile route. On the heels of Sunday's 16 mile run, it really took a lot out of me. Plus I rode to school twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. By the time I was getting ready for bed, I realized that my quads were just shot. So I decided that the best way to get back on top of things was to skip an easy workout, which I did.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 661 -- Del Norte Coast Redwoods Park

Another day, another park. Ho hum. This is a tree in Del Norte Coast Redwoods Park, thoughtfully posted to Susanne's Picasa Web Album. I don't know if you can will be able to read the sign when I upload it, but it says, "These are the trees you have seen in Ripley's Believe It or Not." I suppose that may be true. I did read some Ripley's Believe It or Not when I was younger, and I might have seen these trees there. Susanne labels them "Trees of Mystery," but doesn't hint what the mystery is. Actually, yesterday's Paul Bunyan was located in "Trees of Mystery," and if their web site says what the mystery is, I can't find it. It's all very...mysterious.

I did complete my 16 mile run today. It was slightly cooler and less humid than yesterday. Actually, I think that the big difference is that it was overcast. So it may have been hot and humid, but at least the sun wasn't beating down on me. In any case, I finished the distance, and felt pretty good, all things considered.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 660 -- Klamath

Hat tip to Addy N. on this one, who left a link to Trees of Mystery some time ago, wondering if I had passed it or not. No, I hadn't, and now I've finally reached it. I note also that The World's Largest Collection of the Worlds Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things lists the world's largest Paul Bunyan as being in Bemidji, Minnesota. However, that Paul is a mere shrimp, at 18 feet, and the Klamath Paul checks in at "49 feet 2 inches tall on a cold day. (3/4 of an inch taller on a warm day.)" Better get this cleared up, Erika!

Today, I finally ran the sequel to last Wednesday's ugly run -- a long pace run in humid conditions. I'm proud to say that I toughed it out. I managed 8.3 miles at a 9:45 pace, which is just exactly the pace I want for the marathon. I certainly felt it in the last couple of miles. But when I was done, I felt absolutely terrific! Tomorrow, I'm supposed to run 16 miles, but at least I won't be running them as fast as I ran today.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Tough Stuff

The theme for this weeks "Take it and Run Thursday" at Runners' Lounge is Overcoming the Tough Stuff.

For me, the Tough Stuff is humidity. I'm a big guy, and I work up a sweat even in cool, dry conditions. When it's hot and humid, look out. My headband gets saturated, and sweat runs into my eyes. Sweat soaks my socks and makes my feet squish. My "moisture wicking" shirt gives up in agonizing defeat. And I still have five miles to run.

I know most of the tricks. I have a couple of mantras that I use for the tough times. My favorite is "I'm a marathoner," repeated to the beat of your feet. Lately, I've also picked up the simple word "Hammer." I have been using it in increased rhythm -- every four steps, then every other step, then every step. I don't think I actually increase the pace of my running, but it feels like it. I also try to use my mantras occasionally when I'm feeling good, so that they aren't an automatic signal to my brain that I'm in trouble.

I also know not to try to take those five miles at once. Concentrate on the next landmark. Make it to the corner. Then to the park. Then to the water fountain.

I've been known to count out the next 100 steps, which is sort of a combination of those two techniques. The counting gives my brain something to do, and the 100 steps keeps my horizon pretty short.

For all that, sometimes I fail. Last Wednesday, I just broke about four miles into a seven mile run. I couldn't make it. At that point, there's nothing to do but to get back on the horse the next day. The one thing that you don't want to do is to dwell on it. Since then, I've had five good runs, and I'm doing OK.

The bottom line is that Tough Stuff is part of running. If you're a runner, it's going to get you. You have to stay strong, learn to deal with it, and survive to run another day.

Day 659 -- Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Just north of Redwood National Park is Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. I don't know how California can be so populous, considering how much of it is set aside for parks. I got this photo of a sign from Robert's Picasa Web Album.

It was another nice morning. In fact, a fellow to whom I said hello this morning suggested that it feels like fall. I think that's an exaggeration, but it certainly is nicer than it was last week. I ran 4.6 miles, at a pretty good pace for an easy day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 658 -- More Redwood National Park

I'm more or less at the other end of Redwood National Park, and I thought that I would stop once more at ParkVision. There are hundreds of great photos that I could take from there. I decided on this Roosevelt Elk. Click through for the story of these beautiful animals, which have bounced back from the brink of extinction, although they remain extremely rare.

A relatively cool air mass invaded the Midwest yesterday. We turned off the air conditioning and opened up the windows, which was literally a breath of fresh air. The biggest problem is that all that fresh air helped me to sleep really soundly, and I didn't want to get out of bed this morning.

But get out of bed I did, and I had a great run. I ran 8 miles just about exactly on my goal pace. It was nice to have cooler, dryer air. I could have run a lot further.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

1 World, 2 Wheels

My local bike shop is promoting a Go By Bike challenge, sponsored by Trek. I have pledged to ride my bike to work, instead of taking a car. It's only a mile. Right now, it's not much of a challenge. I only go a couple of days a week, and the weather is fine. We'll see if I can keep that pledge when the weather gets rough, and I have to put in nine and ten hour days.

Over to the right, I have installed a widget that tells you how many people have pledged here in my little town (we associate ourselves with the bike shop when we sign up). Alas, that widget only seems to work on Internet Explorer. I can't see it on Firefox at all. Perhaps someone will fix something some time.

In any case, I urge you to think about trips that you could make by bike. It's good for you, good for the environment, and a lot of fun.

Day 657 -- Orick

Thanks to yankeepez at flikr, here is a nice photo of the sign for The Lumberjack in Orick. I'm trying to figure out what that multicolored thing is in the lower right corner.

I went for my weekly ride with the bike group yesterday. I'm really enjoying that. Maybe I should be biking more. But of course, I'm not working very hard. Even though it was pretty warm, I still wasn't nearly as sweaty as I was yesterday morning.

This morning, it's cooler and a bit less humid. I ran an easy four. Tomorrow, I'm scheduled for an eight mile pace run, and I admit that's got me a bit nervous. I couldn't finish my seven mile pace run last week. But I'll just have to go out and see what I can do. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 656 -- Redwood National Park

I'm running by Redwood National Park. I will continue to run by Redwood National Park for at least a week. At over 100,000 acres, it's a big 'un. Actually, it's two big 'uns, a national park and a state park, but I can't tell which is where.

This image comes from an interesting site.
The Park Vision project is an ongoing effort by photographer Patrick Holleran to photograph many of America's national parks. Currently, 32 parks have been photographed. The images which result from this endeavor are sold, published in printed form, and displayed the World Wide Web Park Vision complex of pages.

Nature photography lovers, be sure to click through. There's lots and lots of beautiful stuff. This image is actually on a page dedicated just to park signs, which is interesting in its own way, but not as gorgeous as some of his other stuff.

I ran 10.4 miles today, fairly short for a long run. That's what I had scheduled, and that was pretty much all I would have been able to do. It was foggy when I left this morning, indicating slightly cooler temperatures, but literally 100% humidity. Ugh! I was slow, and by the end, I was pretty squishy, but I wasn't tempted to quit, which is good.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 655 -- Race Report

Today was the third annual "Get the Lead Out" run in my little town. I had run the first two (although the second gets an asterisk), and plan to run every year as long as the run is held. The sporting goods company that is their major sponsor is going out of business this summer, this could be it.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I haven't been training at all to run a fast 5 mile race. My pace runs have been 9:45 to 10:00 miles, which would be damn slow. I was pretty sure that I wasn't going to go anywhere near my first "Get the Lead Out" run, which was 39:03. So I decided to just go out and run a comfortable race, which I did.

The race is two 4 kilometer loops. I ran the first one with my friend Diane, who was aiming for 46 or 47 minutes overall. That was good, because it kept me from going out too fast. I ran ahead on the second loop. The first loop was about 22 minutes, and overall, I ran 43:46, so it was a pretty steady pace.

The funny thing is that I placed fifth in my age group. This is my first every age group award. Two years ago, I was almost five minutes faster (and in the same age group, 40 - 49), but didn't place. Of course, it's all a matter of who shows up. I didn't ask, and don't want to know, how many 40-49 year old men there were in the race. At least five, that's all I know.

I was really surprised when they called my name. I had just finished telling Diane about a race I was in (I forget which one) where the last place finisher won her age group. She was the only woman over 65 to enter the race. I said that if I ever got an age group award, that's how I would do it. By being older than everyone else. I guess I was wrong.

Anyway, I plan to go ahead with my long run tomorrow. It's a step-back week, so my long run drops to 10 miles, which I think I can do, even with the humidity. We'll see.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 654 -- Trinidad

Brian made a web page for his motorcycle trip up the coast of California, clear into Canada, and he took this picture of a pier outside the restaurant where he had lunch in Trinidad.

Today was scheduled for a three mile easy run, but I pushed it up over four, partly in penance for yesterday's breakdown. Part of my brain, the insane part that is trying to kill me, is telling me that I need to work harder, so that I don't get hit like I did yesterday. The other part, the sane part that is trying to keep me alive, is pointing out that a struggle like yesterday's means I'm probably already working too hard, and I need to back off. Really, the sane part won today. I did run a little further than scheduled, but I ran it easy, and I feel OK now.

Next week's topic on Take It and Run Thursday is "Overcoming the Tough Stuff", and I will probably have something more to say about yesterday's run. Another week should put it into perspective. Today's topic is "Gimme Food!" and I just don't have anything to say about that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 653 -- Westhaven

Another beach scene, this one from Flikr. This is Moonstone Beach, somewhere between Westhaven and Trinidad. I don't think I'm quite that far, yet, but what the heck. I felt like playing some frisbee.

There is no word for today's run other than "ugly." You could smell the humidity in the air from the moment I walked out the door. By the time I was done, you could smell something a lot worse, but only if you were downwind.

Today was supposed to be a 7.5 mile pace run. I held the pace for the first four miles or so, but then I just broke down. I lost track of how many walk breaks I took in those last three miles, but it had to have been at least five. In between, I was barely trotting. I finished a solid seven minutes over my goal pace. And remember, I lost those seven minutes in just three miles!

Usually, even after a bad run, I can think of something positive. Not today. The most positive thing that I can think of is that I didn't die. I hope I do at least that much tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 652 -- McKinleyville

After Eureka, Highway 101 hugs the coast pretty closely all the way up into Oregon. I'm not going to follow it quite that far. But I thought this would be a good place to visit the beach. The image is from, a "travel blog".

I did do my cross-training yesterday. I went out with the bike group on an easy ride. We went out of town and half the group decided to take the longer loop, and half decided to take the shorter loop. I stuck with the shorter loop. Nor did we set any land speed records.

Today, I ran an easy three. It was fairly warm, but not too humid. Of course, I didn't work up that much of a sweat in only three miles. But I feel pretty good for two days after the Sunday long run.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 651 -- Eureka!

This image of E Street, looking North, in Eureka, CA, is available as a postcard from At 26,000 people, Eureka doesn't seem like a podunk to me, but I guess it's all in the perspective.

I ran a bit further than I had planned today. The schedule said 14 miles, but by the time I was done, I had come within a hair of running 16 miles. Ooops. I'm supposed to be avoiding over-training. Oh, well, tomorrow is a cross-training day, and I promise to take it easy. I did feel good today. The humidity has dropped off, although any time you run 16 miles, you are going to work up a sweat. But at least I didn't squish when I walked after my run.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 650 -- Loleta

Today's 7.5 miles takes me to Lolita, California. Sorry, little typo there....

Today's 7.5 miles takes me to Loleta, California. This image of the Community Church in Loleta was posted to Flikr by Mary MacTavish.

The heavy humidity continues, here, although we are promised some relief starting this afternoon. I ran the same route as I ran Wednesday, in almost exactly the same time -- 37 seconds faster, in fact. I felt pretty strong. I just hope tomorrow I'm not as dead as I was on Thursday, because tomorrow I'm supposed to go 14 miles.

Friday, July 11, 2008

OMG Shoez!

I've always been kind of a shoe guy. Mrs. Jogger has teased me about it, well, forever. But it has been getting worse in the last couple of years. When I first started running, I'd buy any old cheap pair of shoes and run until they disintegrated, then buy another cheap pair of shoes. So running really didn't add that many extra shoes to the already impressive collection.

In the last couple of years, though, I've started having more than one pair of designated running shoes at a time. Right now I have three. And I don't run in them until they wear out. I run in them until they start to show a little wear, then demote them to everyday shoes. So my collection of everyday shoes is kind of burgeoning. I get about 400 miles of running in a pair of shoes. Since I've run 3700 miles in the last two and a half years, that's nine pairs of shoes right there added to my collection.

And today, I made it worse. We took the medium Little Jogger to stay with Grandma Jogger for four days. We met her halfway. At the outlet mall. Where the Reebok store is. So I added three new pairs, to be worked into the running rotation as my current pairs wear out.

In case you can't count, there are 27 pairs of shoes in this picture. That's a lot for a guy with only one pair of feet. I found one other pair that didn't make it into the shot, too. Of the 28 pairs, 19 are current, former, or future running shoes.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 649 -- Rohnerville

This photo of a Hughes 500 helicopter was taken way back in 1984. You can tell by the way the colors have faded that it's a scan of an old snapshot.

I ran an easy three today, although "easy" really doesn't describe it. It was already about 70 degrees at 7:00 am, and, according the the Weather Channel, 100% humidity. Yuck!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

TIaRT -- The Over-Training Blues

This week's topic on Take It and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge is "Over-training." I have already given -- and taken -- my advice this week: Don't be a slave to the schedule.

I love my schedule. I have every day planned out through the marathon on October 19, fourteen weeks away. Want to know what I'm going to do on August 9? Nine miles pace. September 11? Five miles easy. October 6? Cross training. I like having it all laid out, and I like knowing that it's building me up for a good marathon.


Some days, your body just isn't on schedule. It happened to me this week. I had a hard run on Monday, and though the schedule said three easy miles on Tuesday, my body said, "No." Forcing yourself to "work through it" is, in my opinion, the easiest road to over-training. Missing a day, or cutting a medium run or a long run down to a short run, is not going to sabotage your plan. Getting injured from over-training is.

Day 648 -- Rio Dell

The Environmental Protection Agency has an interesting story on the efforts of Rio Dell, California to revitalize its downtown without having a negative environmental impact. Apparently they are carefully planning, and as they go, they are actually measuring changes in levels of contaminants. It's a far cry from the old days, when people just slapped up whatever they wanted and figured all the bad stuff would wash downstream.

After yesterday's unscheduled day off, I felt really good this morning. I did 7.5 miles right on my 10 minute pace. Considering that I was running some of the hillier parts of town, I think that's pretty good. The humidity is still high, but not quite as high as it has been. In any case, I'm feeling good right now. We'll see how Sunday's long run goes.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Days 646 and 647 -- Scotia

Scotia, California, was owned by Pacific Lumber Company for 140 years, making it one of the last company towns in America. Via Shin-Pei, I found this New York Times story about the plans for Pacific Lumber Company to sell most of its holdings in the town. The story is from 2006, so I imagine I could find more up-to-date information, but I haven't tried.

I ran only twice in the last four days. On Saturday, I did my 6 mile pace run, which went very well. Grandma Jogger's town has some gentle hills, but not enough to really affect my pace. On Sunday, I woke up to a thunderstorm. It teased me something awful. At 5:00, it was fairly steady, and I decided not to run. By 6:00 or so, it had faded, but it didn't really go away until around 7:00, by which time it was too late to go for my long run. So, I borrowed a bike and went for a ride in the afternoon, and did my long run on Monday morning.

Which was quite a run. It was very humid, and I started out too fast. So I was dragging pretty badly by the last three miles. I stopped to walk three times, for maybe a quarter of a mile each. I did finish the run, but that's about all I can say that's positive.

I was really sore and tired, so I took an unscheduled day off this morning. This week's topic for Take it and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge is going to be avoiding over training, and my advice is going to be that you shouldn't be a slave to your training log. If your body is telling you to take it easy, but your schedule says run, listen to your body. Good advice, I think, so I took it. I'll get back on schedule tomorrow.

In family news, we had a good visit with my sister and her family. They have two kids, and we have four, so Grandma Jogger's house was in an uproar. They had a good time playing with each other, and it was over all too soon.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day, for those of you in the U.S., and Happy Fourth of July to everyone else. For the first time in three years, I don't have a July 4th race. There is a 5K here in town, but today will be busy enough without it. Besides, I didn't finish my run yesterday thinking, "What I really need is an extra three miles." I finished it thinking, "What I really need is a day off." So this is it.

We're taking off around noon to drive down to Grandma Jogger's house for a visit. My sister is up from Georgia with her family, so Grandma J will have a houseful. It should be fun.

I experienced one of those "You know you're a runner when..." moments as I prepared for this trip. "You know you're a runner when you are going for a three day weekend and you pack your running stuff first." I may have forgotten a change of underwear, but by golly I have everything I need for two runs while I'm down there.

I'm leaving the laptop here, so I won't be blogging for the next few days. Rest assured, I'll get caught up when I get back. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

TIaRT -- T-shirt

Today's topic for Take It and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge is "That is a Great T-Shirt." My t-shirt is kind of specialized. You can only honestly wear it once in your life. But for those of you for whom that occasion is still in the future, I highly recommend it. In case you can't tell (underneath my medal!), my shirt says "First Marathon". It was hand-lettered by the oldest and newest Little Jogger. It did attract a lot of attention throughout the whole marathon. A lot of people saw it and cheered for me, and believe me, that helped. It helped so much, I'm considering wearing it for my second marathon. Who would know?

Day 645 -- More Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Via, a picture of the high water mark from the Great Flood of 1964. It's that orange mark all the way at the top. Unfortunately, they don't tell us how high that is, so I cheated and put myself in the foreground. In any case, it was damn high.

I went for an easy three this morning, but I didn't follow a set route, so I ended up doing 4.1 before I was done. It felt okay, although heaven knows it wasn't fast. But I read somewhere that "Just because you are moving slow doesn't mean you aren't working hard."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Day 644 -- Myers Flat

Drive-Through trees are apparently a pretty hot item out here in the redwoods. I can't imagine that it's really good for the tree, but what do I know. The people at The Shiva have not only a picture of the tree, with the warning sign, but also a picture of the gift shop. They are also very careful with their copyright, so be aware, world, that these photos (originally without the Jogger) are copyright

I ran 6.6 miles today, working on my pace. I was a little faster than I wanted to be, but overall it was good. The humidity has crept back up, so I was pretty soggy by the time I got home. Oh, well, it will get worse before it gets better.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, Little Jogger!

Today, we celebrate the 14th birthday of the oldest and newest Little Jogger. She is rapidly turning into a bratty teenager. (What was she before? A bratty preteen.) She spends most of her time hanging around with her friends and worrying about what she's wearing.

I've discovered a wonderful secret. I can embarrass her just by looking at her. I don't need to act silly or anything. Just a calm, steady gaze will drive her bonkers. It's one of the few powers that I still have. It does sound a little weird when I threaten her, though. "Clean up your room, or I'll stare at you!"

Seriously, she's a good kid. Like all 14-year-olds, she's just trying to figure out who she is. Whatever rebelliousness she's experimenting with, it's mostly aimed at us. All of her friends parents tell us how well-behaved and sweet she is. So I guess she's doing OK.

Day 643 -- Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Humboldt Redwoods State Park is California's largest redwood state park. This little sapling was photographed by sorsha at the Naturally Speaking blog. All I can think is that I'm glad I wasn't under it when it fell down.

I ran 3.7 miles today. I only had three planned, but it was another nice day, and I just kept running. I had biked yesterday late afternoon, so I was sort of tired, but I guess that didn't stop me.