Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Days 703 and 704 -- Jogger's Progress

Time27 days, 22 hrs, 42 min
9 days, 9 hrs, 7 mins

Sorry, I haven't been near my home computer for two days. I'm sneaking this post in at work. Don't tell the state. I gave an evening exam last night, and I'm giving another one tonight. I don't know how that happened. Often, I'm better at spacing my exams out, but I just didn't do it this time.

I ran a quick four yesterday. I meant to go longer, but a thunderstorm blew in. It was a distant rumble of thunder when I started, but by the end of two miles, it was getting too close for comfort, so I turned around and ran right back home.

This morning, I did a slower six miles. It felt pretty good. I am still a little sore from my twenty miler on Saturday, but it's fading.

Overall, it was a fine month. I am happy with what I accomplished. The main thing now is to back off a little. I want to keep pushing, to get better for the marathon, but it's too late. I am as strong as I'm going to be, and the thing that I have to do now is to take it easy, so I arrive at the starting line rested and ready.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 702 -- Fairview

Looking for a fishing guide? Sandy River Fishing Guides recommends pro guide Dan Christopher, out of Fairview. These guys look satisfied with his guidance.

I ran 21.7 miles today. It took over four hours. It felt good. Well, it felt bad, but it was a good bad feeling. The weather was great. I hope that we have weather just like this at the marathon in three weeks.

This was my last long run before the marathon. I officially start my taper tomorrow. I'm not sure what I'm going to run tomorrow. The schedule said 10 today and 20 tomorrow, but I ended up doing my long run this morning. Do I have 10 more in me for tomorrow? We'll see.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 701 -- Portland

The Portland skyline, via destination360.com. Very pretty.

I ran a little further this morning than I had planned. I wanted to run 6.5 or 7 miles. But I hit a closed road, and rather than turning around, I ran past it to the next corner. Except the part of town I was in, the next corner was a ways down the pike. So I ended up running 8.2 miles, albeit not real fast. Tomorrow, I'm taking off, and Saturday will be my last long run before my taper.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 700!

Today is the 700th day of my virtual journey, which began way back at the beginning of 2006.

Here, you see the cover of the book "Seven Hundred Penguins", which is, I kid you not, a collection of covers of 700 books published by Penguin. I suppose technically, it should be Seven Hundred and One Penguins, since it's got its own cover. Anyway, I got the image from Beattie's Book Blog. Thanks, Beattie. The other image I could have chosen is the logo for the 700 Club, but I decided to pass on that.

A thunderstorm this morning forced me indoors. On the one hand, I can run faster indoors, because there are no hills, no wind, and no traffic to deal with. I actually ran almost a mile further than yesterday in about six fewer minutes. On the other hand, running inside is boring. I guess I should count my blessings. At least I have an indoor track. A lot of people have to do the treadmill, which is boring and not as good exercise.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 699 -- Donald

From SkateOregon.com, I see that Donald, Oregon, just south of Portland, has a very nice skateboard park. In fact, the park is also featured at Concrete Disciples. So if you are a skateboarder, head on over to Donald. I, personally, find it easy enough to fall down without standing on a board with wheels.

I ran today. That's about the best I can say. I was really tired, and I picked a particularly hilly route. I ran over 12 minute miles for the first time all summer. Not fast at all. But I ran. Any day of running is better than not running.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 698 -- Woodburn

Thanks to rgtmum at Flikr, here are some tulips a Woodburn, Oregon. Woodburn has an annual Tulip Festival. Yes, I am in Marion County, visiting a Tulip Festival. It's not quite like the Tulip Festival that I'm used to, though. Rather than being a three-day celebration of Dutch heritage and Klompen dancing, it is a month long open house at a tulip farm. Pretty tulips, anyway.

The play last night went until about 11:30. With the drive home and all, I wasn't in bed until close to one. So I wasn't in any shape to pop up and run this morning. However, I really wanted the exercise, so I went out for about an hour after church. It was good, but a bit warm. It was close to 80 and sunny. I remember now why I like to run in the cool of the morning. I did manage a brisk pace, which was good.

The play was interesting. What they did was they took both of Shakespeare's Henry IV plays and jammed them together into one long story. I'm not really familiar with the histories, so I don't know how much editing and rewriting they did in the process. As long as it was, it was still less than two full plays. It was well acted, as American Players Theatre productions always are. And it was an interesting and compelling story. And we get to cross two Shakespeare plays off our life list. In all, it was a good evening.

I'll probably be up late again tonight. The Packers are playing the Sunday night game, against the hated Cowboys. Right now, they are down by a touchdown. Anyway, tomorrow isn't a running day, so I can sleep in again, if I have to.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 697 -- Past Salem

Having run 16 miles today, I pretty much blasted through Salem. I think I'm a good 10 miles past it. But I didn't want to leave without another visit to Frank, my state capitol guy.

I ran my long run this morning, rather than Sunday, because I'm planning a wild night tonight. Mrs. Jogger and I (with some friends) are going up to Spring Green, to see the American Players Theatre production of Henry IV. It should be a blast. But we'll be out late, and it might be hard to get up in the morning.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

DAy 696 -- Salem

I'm not quite to Salem, yet, but it's relatively big city (and the state capitol), so I can squeeze a few days of pictures out of it. This is a picture of a skateboarder that I got from Wikimedia. The photographer, Andrew Parodi, specifically asks that I credit him if I use his photo, and I'm happy to do so. Sorry about sticking myself in there, Andrew, but that's what I do.

I noticed today that my body is really getting into the rhythm of my runs. Tuesday, when I had an easy run scheduled, an easy run was all that I was up to. I didn't feel like I could run very fast or very far. Wednesday, for my pace run, I felt good. I got out and ran (relatively) fast, and enjoyed it. Today, I again felt like an easy run was all that I was up to. Of course, part of that is just my mental state.

In life, today was what I call a "War of the Fleas" day. There was no one big thing keeping me from getting work done, just a million distracting little annoyances. I made it through, but I'm not as prepared for tomorrow as I would like. Oh, well, tomorrow is Friday, and then I'll get a little break.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 695 -- Marion County

A few regular readers will be interested to know that I have entered Marion County, and not for the first time on this run. In fact, this is at least my third Marion County. This image is from the Marion County Web Site. I believe it's the county seat, which would be in Salem, which I have not quite reached. Oh, well.

I ran 6.2 at race pace today. It felt really, really good. Even though I took on some hillier parts of town, I felt strong. It helps that the weather is cool and dry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


To the student who sent me e-mail today asking if I would give you at least partial credit on the assignment that you missed both the deadline and the late deadline, because you went home for the weekend without your book: When you ask a professor for a favor, it's not wise to skip class on that same day.

Day 694 -- Jefferson

Jefferson, Oregon, is just off of Interstate 5 about 45 miles north of Eugene. Mount Jefferson is another 40 to 50 miles east of here, in the extreme northeast corner of Linn County. So I definitely don't have this view, and I'm not sure how well I can see Mount Jefferson at all. But it sure is pretty.

I had a nice, easy run today. It was cool and dry, perfect weather for running. I didn't really feel very strong, but I didn't need to, since it was an easy run. Overall, I'm happy. Tomorrow, I won't go very far, but I'm going to try to pick up my pace.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday, Monday

Well, I thought maybe that I would get up this morning and go for a run. It was scheduled to be a cross-training day, but I thought I would make up for missing Saturday. Except I didn't. I couldn't drag myself out of bed.

No problem. I could still go bike riding with my group this afternoon. Except that they apparently changed the time without telling me. That may have been a hint, or it may just be that I haven't made it in a couple of weeks.

Of course, I could have gone for a long ride by myself, but I didn't. So basically, I got another day off, except for a little bike riding to work and then to the place where the group wasn't meeting.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 693 -- Albany

Man, I needed that! When you are training for a marathon, two whole days off seems like forever. I popped out of bed this morning with plenty of energy. I hit the road and did a brisk 12.8 miles. I ran it faster than my usual long runs, although not quite at my ten minute pace. I timed the last mile in something between 9:10 and 9:30, though, so I still had a lot of energy at the end. Mostly, I was just happy to be running again.

Even with that, it was an ugly day. I had a lot of grading to do. I got much of it done, but not all. I also wanted to try to get the place cleaned up a little. Mrs. Jogger has been out of town for three days with one of her friends, and I didn't want her to come in, take one look around, and walk back out again. I got laundry and dishes done, but I didn't get the lawn mowed. It's been rainy for the past four or five days, so the lawn is just growing wild.

In case you were interested, I'm standing in front of the Linn County Courthouse in Albany. This image is from I-5 On-line.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Aliens Lose One

I woke up this morning twenty minutes before the alarm. It was pitch dark, and raining steadily. It felt like the middle of the night. (In fact, for many of the college students, it probably was the middle of the night, or even before the middle of the night.) I turned off my alarm and went back to sleep.

I'm paying for it now. I'm restless and cranky. And I have a ton of grading, which makes me more restless and cranky. And Michigan is losing to Notre Dame, which makes me even more restless and cranky.

I'll be out and run tomorrow, rain or shine.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 692 -- Shedd

The Thompson Mill, in Shedd, Oregon, from the Flikr photo uploaded by bkhaugen.1971. I'm running so behind today, I didn't even get myself photoshopped into it. I'm on the other side of the silo.

It was a crummy day for a run. It was actually warmer than yesterday -- closer to 60 than to 50 -- but it rained steadily. I didn't really feel like battling the elements. I felt more like battling a nice, soft pillow and a couple of warm blankets. But the aliens are in charge, so I got up and ran.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

TIaRT -- Taper Madness


Day 691 -- Halsey

Halsey, Oregon.

The weather was just about perfect this morning. It was right at 50 degrees, and low humidity. I could have run all day, although maybe not quite as fast as I ran.

It was a pace run today, eight miles at 10 minutes per mile. I was a little slow on the first four mile loop, but I made it up on the second loop, and came in at 80 minutes and 7 seconds. I'm proud of that. It means that I managed to pick up the pace in the second half, which is a good sign. Now I have to run 18.2 more miles at that pace. No problem.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Day 690 -- Harrisburg

This is a competitor at the Xtreme Air Dog Competition, which was held in Harrisburg, OR, on July 4 and 5. Well, I'm not actually sure that this dog was at that competition. It would be more accurate to say that this is a competitor at some Xtreme Air Dog Competition.

It's getting noticeably cool here in Wisconsin. It was in the low forties this morning. I wore a long-sleeve shirt, but still short pants. That was fine, once I got out and got running. It was an easy five, with one burst of speed in the fourth mile. I rounded a corner, and saw a friend running ahead of me. I knew that he doesn't run too fast, so I sped up a little to catch him, so that I'd have someone to chat with. Alas, right before I caught him, he got to an intersection where he went straight, and I planned to turn left. So I did, and I never got to talk to him. Oh, well, the burst of speed was good.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Day 689 -- Eugene

I couldn't run out west without stopping in at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon. UofO was one of the epicenters of U.S. running in the 60's and 70's, and still holds a lot of influence today. The 2008 U.S. Olympic trials were held at Hayward Field. It's the Lambeau Field of running.

I also thought I'd take the time to run with Steve Prefontaine, one of those runners that made Oregon famous in the early 70's. Pre was a middle distance runner, who finished fourth in the 5000 meters at the 1972 Olympics. He had every chance to win a medal, even gold, in 1976, but tragically, he was killed in a car crash in 1975. I had the opportunity this summer to see the 1997 biopic Prefontaine, directed by Steve James and starring Jared Leto, and also to read the biography Pre, by Tom Jordan. I admire Pre's determination to get the very most out of his body. The quote on the poster, in case you can't read it, is "Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it." He was known for his brashness, but it's clear from both biographies that he was also an introspective kid, with a healthy fear of failure. So he didn't fail very much.

I went running this morning with two brains. One brain, the rational one, was the one that wrote yesterday's post. That brain didn't have anything to prove. It knew that it had been a long week, that I had run well, and also spent a lot of time on my feet. It knew that I was tired, and it had in mind that I'd run 12 or 14 miles and pack it in.

The other brain, the stubborn one, wanted that 20 miles. It thought that six weeks until the marathon is the perfect time to pour it on. Not only will it make me physically stronger, the stubborn brain argued, but it will make me mentally tougher. If I can push through 20 today, as tired as I am, then 26.2 when I'm well rested will be, if not a piece of cake, at least a good possibility. Now, the brain argued, is the time to make another down payment on my marathon.

The stubborn brain won. I ran 20.3 miles, in just under 4 hours. The toughest part was getting started on the last three. At 17 miles, I was back home, taking a drink, and the rational brain was saying, "OK, we can stop now. We've proven we're tough." But the stubborn brain won out, and I kept running. Once I got moving, it actually felt pretty good.

The Hayward Field image was lifted from The Final Sprint, and the Pre image was lifted from JustRunners.com, where it is available as a poster.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Day 688 -- Goshen

Goshen, Oregon, is just south of Eugene, my next target city. I should be in Eugene tomorrow, and then on to...I'm not sure where. This sign was found on WayMarking.com, which bills itself as "a scavenger hunt for unique and interesting places in the world." And what's unique and interesting about this sign? Well, they have a whole category of places with Biblical names. Which Goshen is.

Today was the day for the Virtual One Mile Race, as declared by Reid at Life Strides. He is attempting to run a 5 minute mile, and has enlisted running bloggers everywhere to be virtual pacers.

I may have let him down a bit. I clocked in at 7:48.87. Just shy of five minutes. Seriously, I'm satisfied with that time. I had no idea what to expect. I haven't run a timed mile since I was in school. And I haven't been training for a timed mile. And I took a nice, leisurely 4.5 mile warm-up (and a 2.5 mile cool down), because I still have to get my mileage in today. As of a few minutes ago, Reid hasn't checked in on his blog, so I don't know whether he made his goal, or not.

I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. The schedule says 12 miles, then 20 miles next Sunday, then 12, then 20, then start my taper. However, next Sunday, Mrs. Jogger will be out of town with a friend. So I wasn't sure that I wanted to do a four hour run, even if the first hour or two would be while the Little Joggers slept. So I had planned to swap it out: 20 tomorrow, then 12, 12, and 20. However, I'm feeling pretty tired right now. I don't know if I have 20 in me. What I think I'll do is just go out and run tomorrow. If I make 20, great, but if I don't, I'm not going to beat myself up. At this point, I think I need to maintain strength for the marathon, more than build strength. And I certainly don't want to over-train, and end up hurting myself.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Photo Friday Froggie

This little feller was sitting there on his lily pad in the middle of the pond at Eagle Point Park on Saturday. The Little Joggers were a little noisy, but he never batted an eyelid. (Do frogs even have eyelids?) He knew that they couldn't get him. So, it wasn't hard to get a picture of him. I think he's even smiling.

I didn't exercise today. I set my alarm, planning to get up and do yoga. But apparently the aliens who have taken over my body don't care if I do yoga, so they let me turn off the alarm and go back to sleep.

This will be my last relaxed weekend of the semester. I have not collected any homework or given any quizzes, so there's nothing to grade. And I am prepared for my classes on Monday. So, it should be a quiet weekend.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Day 687 -- My Run in Pictures

This week's topic on Take It and Run Thursday at The Runners' Lounge is "My Favorite Run, In Pictures."

I know, I'm supposed to have some beautiful, scenic route, along the beach, or through a misty woods, or high above a scenic gorge. I don't do that. My favorite run, my least favorite run, and all the runs in between, are all in town. So I thought I would just show you today's run.

Mile 1: I'm basically running east from my house, but right at the mile marker, I'm temporarily facing south. I will turn left at this corner, and run east most of the next mile.

Mile 2: I'm just about to the northeast corner of town. If I were to keep running straight here, I'd run out past the cow pastures that surround every small town in Wisconsin. I often bike out that way, but never run. I'll turn right in a short block and head south to downtown.

Mile 3: Just ahead is Main Street. I'll turn right and run on Main all the way back across town. Incidentally, the building on the right with the sign in front of it is the gallery where Mrs. Jogger works part-time. But they aren't open at six in the morning, so I won't stop.

Mile 4: Almost to the other end of Main. This is the hilly part of the run. When I hit Main right after mile 3, I ran a short but steep downhill, then a long, not so steep uphill. Now I'm on the tail end of a long, not so steep downhill, and up ahead, you see a short but steep uphill. I'm pretty tired, so it will be hard, but I'm not moving that fast, so it won't be as hard as it could be.

Mile 5: Almost home. Chez Jogger is just ahead on the left. I'll actually run past it, all the way to the corner. All my runs begin and end at that corner. Longer runs are concatenations of 3, 4, and 5 mile loops, each of which begins and ends at that corner.

Now is the time to admit that I didn't take those pictures on my run this morning. I took them yesterday, from my bike. It was too dark this morning, and, as it turned out, rainy. It's been raining steadily all day. They say that this is the remnants of Hurricane Gustav. In any case, between the rain and being still sore from three rather hard days in a row, I didn't feel much like running this morning. But I did. My body has been taken over by some alien force that makes me run whether I want to or not. That is, as long as the schedule says to run. Since the schedule says to take tomorrow off, I hope the aliens will sleep in.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day 686 -- Cottage Grove

I couldn't resist this one, even though I don't have the patience to photoshop myself into it in any convincing way. This is the World's Largest Toga Party, 2166 people, held on August 30, 2003. I don't know whether the record still stands. The party was held in Cottage Grove, Oregon, because the parade scene of the movie National Lampoon's Animal House was filmed in Cottage Grove in 1977.

OK, if you must see me, here I am on the family farm of Carolyn Colson, farmer, environmentalist, and home chef.

I had a good run today. For some insane reason, I scheduled another pace run two days after the half marathon. It was one of those things that I didn't quite think through when I put the schedule together. So, I went an did it. Eight miles in just about exactly 80 minutes. It felt good. There was a little light rain long about the 7th mile, but frankly, at that point, I enjoyed it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of Classes

Today was the first day of classes at my University. Today, I met both section of my Discrete Math class. Tomorrow, I meet my Math for Educators class and my Elementary Stats class.

Not sure what to make of that first day in Discrete Math. As is my habit, I gave them a "Challenge Problem" and had them work on it in groups, rather than standing up and reading them the syllabus. Both sections had one group that was pretty sharp, and managed to figure out the problem pretty quickly. In the first section, that group was pretty shy, and had trouble explaining it to the rest of the class. In the second section, that group had one pretty outgoing guy, who gave a good explanation, with a little help. They are supposed to write up this problem for next Tuesday. It will be interesting to see if there is a difference in the quality of the write-ups.

Other than that, not too much happened today. I did get out and bike this morning, by myself, about 10 miles. It wasn't light enough to bike (I don't have a light) when I first got up, so I had to wait around for the sun to come up. As it was, when I started, it was just barely light enough. I'm going to have to stop biking in the morning at all.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Day 685 -- Dubuque Benefit Classic Race Report

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. Normally, I get up, get dressed, get out the door, and start running. If I wake up before the alarm, I start running earlier. Not today.

I did wake up before the alarm. I got up, ate breakfast (I never eat breakfast before running), got dressed, checked my e-mail (Nothin'!), did a few clues in my current crossword, read some more of my current book (Ultra Marathon Man, by Dean Karnazes), and paced up and down the driveway a couple of dozen times before my friend Mark pulled up in his little old Honda to give me a ride. The drive to Dubuque is about a half hour, and Mark and his friend Don and I chatted about running and politics and the hurricane and whatnot. We got there, picked up our race packets, and I still had time to do a full yoga routine to get stretched out.

The race had a DJ playing predictable oldies -- Born to Run, Eye of the Tiger, etc. He'd come on every once in a while to tell us the time to start: 20 minutes, then 15 minutes, the 9 minutes, then... I never heard another announcement. I drifted over to the start, and other people started to drift over. I chatted with a guy wearing a Green Bay Half Marathon t-shirt, and then "Bang!" the gun went off. If they said anything like "Ready, Set,..." they said it way too quietly for me to hear back where I was.

The DBC has a half marathon and a 5K, that run together for almost the full length of the 5K. So I was surrounded by people planning to run a much shorter race than I was. So, of course, I went out too fast. My first mile was 8:30. Make that "way too fast."

I reigned myself in, and did manage to slow down some. My second mile was more like 9:10, and my third was about 9:30. At that point, the 5K runners veered off, and we 13 milers ran on alone.

It seemed like the fourth mile took forever. I had just about convinced myself that I had missed the mile marker, when there it was. Another 9:30. Still faster than I wanted to run, but at least in the right range. Somewhere in the fifth mile, at ate my first Cliff Shot Energy Gel. I was feeling OK.

The first six miles of the DBC half marathon are down along the river, and are pretty flat. Sometime around mile seven, the course gets cruel. It starts with a gentle but long uphill, just enough to knock off some momentum. Then we run into Eagle Point Park, and right up the side of a hill. Ouch! Several people around me started walking, but I plugged away, and passed them, and even some other runners who had slowed down more than I. Needless to say, the seventh mile was my first one that took over 10 minutes.

At this point, I started to lose my mental focus. The eighth mile leveled out at the top of the park, but I'm not really sure what my time was. The ninth mile stayed level, and it seems to me that I ran it in about 9:30 again, but that may have been bad math on my part. The 10th mile gives back the elevation you earned in the seventh mile, but again I lost track of the time. Mile 10 was the last time I looked at my watch. I was deep into survival mode.

About mile 10 was the first time I realized that I didn't have to hold myself back. I was now running slowly without any particular effort to do so. The eleventh mile took hours, days, possibly weeks. We'd had water around mile nine, and I was getting thirsty again. I realized that I still had a Cliff Shot, and I sucked it down. It was probably too late to do any good. By the time the glucose really hit my system, I was already done. But the psychological boost was worth it.

Cliff Shots are one of the gooiest energy gels in the world, so now I really needed water. But fortunately, another water station came up right about mile eleven. I grabbed two cups, and slowed to a walk for the first and only time in the race. I probably walked 150 or 200 yards total, just enough to down both the waters and to get a little rest. Two guys in red shirts ahead of me also stopped, and I started running when they did.

The last two miles were all mental toughness. The early overcast was gone, and the shade was pretty spotty, so I was heating up badly. It probably wasn't all that warm, objectively, but 12 miles into the race, my body was a little furnace.

Right after mile 12, I passed a guy who was clearly into his survival shuffle. He said something about having run 12 miles, anyway. I was too tired to make a joke, and he probably wouldn't have appreciated it if I had. I just nodded and kept running.

The last mile is straight down Kerper Boulevard, then at the end there's a right turn, and the lovely sight of the finishing gates. I came in about 2:07. I fumbled with my watch, and didn't get it stopped, and I never saw the official results. They will post them on their web site eventually, and I'll know my official finishing time. But I do know that at 10 miles, I was at 1:37, so I ran the last 3.1 miles in about 30 minutes. I don't think that I dropped below my 10 minute pace except on the nasty hill.

Overall, I'm pleased with my performance. At the Des Moines Marathon, I plan to start with a pace group, which should keep me from going out too fast. I definitely do not want to run the first mile in 8:30.

After the race, Mrs. Jogger and all the little Joggers showed up, and we had a little picnic in Eagle Point park. Driving up that hill was much nicer than running up it. I don't know why I didn't do that the first time.