Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 855 -- Jogger's Progress

Time34 days, 6 hrs, 27 min
4 days, 6 hours, 17 mins

Well, April ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. I took another day off yesterday. That bought me an extra hour of sleep, but I was kind of tired and listless all day. This morning it was raining, so I went down to the gym, where I only got in four miles. I started out too fast, and I just couldn't keep up the pace. I could have run another mile or two if I had slowed down, but I didn't. This cold is just sapping my energy. I may take tomorrow off, too.

I did make my daily goal for April. I ran 24 days, and I had set a goal of 22. However, I came well short of my mileage goal. I had set a goal of 175, but I only did 156. Even if I hadn't skipped those two days this last week, I still wouldn't have made it. Mostly, the problem was that I missed a couple of long runs this month.

My goals for May are fairly modest. I ran 24 days and 137 miles in May, 2007. I will aim for 25 days and 140 miles in May, 2009. We'll see. Starting with a day off isn't going to be the best way to reach that goal, but neither is having a cold that hangs on for weeks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 854 -- Shoshone National Forest

Hey, it's a big National Forest. And there's not much out here.

I slept better last night, so I was OK to get out and run this morning, albeit slowly. But I'm definitely catching the cold that Mrs. Jogger and two of the Little Joggers had, so I'm feeling run down again this evening. Hopefully, it will pass quietly. I have way too much work to do to lose any time to illness.

On an unrelated note, today is the medium Little Jogger's birthday. He has turned 11, which hardly seems possible. We celebrated with Grandma Jogger this weekend, so there's not much happening. We have a few more presents for him to open. The good news is, they are bound to be just what he always wanted. The bad news is, that only lasts for 10 minutes or so.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, guy, and many, many happy returns of the day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 853 -- Shoshone National Forest

Sorry. Too tired to look up a photo. I didn't sleep well last night. In the middle of the night, I turned off my alarm, and slept in, a little. I wouldn't be posting at all today, except that I snuck down to the gym at noon and did a quick three. I mostly needed it to even make it through the afternoon. I will go to bed early tonight and try to get caught up on sleep, and do a bit of a longer run tomorrow.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 852 -- Shoshone National Forest

Well, I guess the 100th day of 2009 will be in early May.

This weekend was the annual statewide meeting for the professional organization to which I belong. The meeting went from noon Friday to noon Saturday. This year, the local organizers had the idea to add a "Pi K" and "2 Pi K" run on Saturday morning. Great idea. I signed up, and brought my running stuff. However, I woke up yesterday morning to thunder and heavy rain, so I didn't go. I guess that a few people showed up, and they went to the gym to run. If I'd known that, I could have gone, but I didn't. So I didn't run at all, yesterday.

The storms promised to stretch overnight, so I didn't set an alarm. I wondered if I was going to get a run in today at all. But I woke up at 6:30 to relative quiet, so I went for a quick 7.5 mile run. There was light rain at times, but no thunder, and it wasn't that cold. I didn't get in a long run, because I didn't have time, but at least I got something.

Just east of Yellowstone is Shoshone National Forest. According to, Shoshone is the oldest National Forest in the U.S. It's a big, big old thing, and I'm not sure where this sign is. But hey, it's a photo.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 851 -- Spring at Yellowstone

Well, I'm not sure exactly where I am, and I'm in kind of a hurry. But it was beautiful spring weather this morning, so I had the great idea. I would Google "Spring at Yellowstone", and get some nice generic shot of flowers or something. Except I forgot that a lot of the sights at Yellowstone are springs. So, this is Grand Prismatic Spring. No idea what season it was when this was taken.

I resisted the urge to photoshop myself into the photo. I would have had to have been really small. This guy is 300 feet across. Also, it would have clashed with my pants.

An easy five miles this morning. As I mentioned, the weather was beautiful. I'm off to a conference today, but I'll be back tomorrow afternoon to blog about my Saturday morning run.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 850 -- East Entrance

It's been a while since I grabbed a picture from For the benefit of newer readers: it's pretty much what it sounds like. These two guys, Andy Field and Alex Nitzman, along with some lesser mortals, have put together a huge website with photos of, well, roads. They actually have four linked sites, for the Rocky Mountains, the Northeast, the Southeast, and the West Coast. For some reason, I get most of my hits in the Rocky Mountains. Some Google thing. Anyway, I hit them a lot on my way through the Rockies the first time, but this is the first time they've turned up on my way back. Expect to see them again.

Today was a bit rough. I was at least a little tired, and there was a fierce wind. I managed to grind out six slow miles, but I didn't enjoy it. I hope that tomorrow will be better.

Day 849 -- Sylvan Lake

Another shot from Webshots Travel, this one of Sylvan Lake. Say what you want, it's damn beautiful out here. I hope to be able to take the Little Joggers out here for an actual, in-person visit some day.

Having publicly committed yesterday to trying to run every day for the rest of the month, of course I didn't feel like getting out and running this morning. No reason for it. I was rested, and I got a good night's sleep. Just didn't want to run. But I did, and once I got going, I was fine. I did a brisk eight miles. Woot!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 848 -- Steamboat Point

Oh, Lord. Somehow, I noticed that I can run my hundredth day of the year on April 30, but only if I run every day for the rest of the month. [For comparison, the 100th days of the first three years of JogAmericaBlog have been June 6, 2006, May 16, 2007, and May 21, 2008.]

Now, this is a silly goal. I've been doing quite well, running five or six days a week, but when I try to stretch it to over a week straight, that's when I tend to burn out. And I'm supposed to start marathon training at the beginning of May, so this is a terrible time to try stretch my limits. And, ultimately, it's a silly goal. I mean, who cares if the 100th day of the year is April 30 or May 1 or May 3?

So, I'm going for it. I doubt I'll make it. I imagine that next Monday or Tuesday, I just won't feel up to running, and I'll take a day off, and the 100th day will come at the beginning of May. But I have to try.

It may help that I didn't run far this morning. There was a cold drizzle, so I ran 3.7 miles, just to say that I did it, and then came in and warmed up.

Steamboat Point photo from Webshots Travel.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 847 -- Fishing Bridge

The Fishing Bridge over the Yellowstone River. According to this blog, you can no longer fish from the Fishing Bridge, because the river was getting fished out. So, since 1973, it's been the Looking at Fish Bridge. Works for me. That way, I don't have to clean the things. (Isn't that a great euphemism? "Clean a fish." Much better than, "rip its guts out, peel off its skin, cut off its head and tail.")

I did take yesterday off. This morning, I felt great, and ran a peppy seven miles. I didn't feel at all bad after Saturday's 16 miles.

It's been a rough couple of days at the Jogger household. Mrs. J and two of the kids have been sick. The medium Little Jogger is never fun when he's sick. He is whiny and hard to live with. The first Little Jogger just kind of holed up in her room. But this evening, she tried to do her math homework, in order to go back to school tomorrow, and she just couldn't do it. It demanded more concentration than she had. To a normal 14-year-old, or an adult with perspective, that's just the way it is. Not gonna get this assignment done today. But the Little Jogger is a horrible perfectionist, and she's afraid of looming disaster. So she was upset.

Overall, it's just been a weekend to try to survive. I hope this next week goes better.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 846 -- Natural Bridge

From a photo of the Natural Bridge, near Bridge Bay, in Yellowstone.

Well, they are predicting possible rain overnight and into the morning, so I went ahead and ran my long run this morning. Sixteen miles. It was quite the workout. I don't think that yesterday's race was really intense enough to affect this morning's run. It was just hard because it was hard. But I made it the whole way. Now I'll either take tomorrow off or run a very easy recovery run. We'll see....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 845 -- Fitness Means Life

Today was the First Annual Fitness Means Life Fun Run at my university. It was a Friday afternoon 5K, which attracted about 75 runners and walkers. They had a contest for the best costume, so this is what I wore:

I brought the oldest and newest Little Jogger along as a photographer. Here she caught me about halfway through the race, which was a double figure eight.

Below, you can see me motoring into the finish. My official time was 29:29, which wasn't too bad, under the conditions. I am not in 5K shape, having run mostly longer and slower for, well, the whole year, and most of last. And the course was a lot of grass and trail, which is not the surface I'm used to. And it was a bit too warm for long pants and two shirts. And it was late afternoon, rather than my usual early morning. Is that enough excuses? No? Well, my friend Mike, who does run 5Ks, claims that the course was long. He was sure he ran faster than his official time would indicate.

And here I am, holding aloft my trophy. That's correct, I won "Best Costume". Frankly, I would have given it to the relay team that dressed as the Village People. But they won the relay, so maybe the organizers were loath to give them two awards.

Here's a close up of the trophy. I don't know if you'll be able to read it, but it says "[My University's Initials] Fitness Means Life Fun Run - Spring 2009" and the circle in the trophy contains the word "1st". That's correct, it does not mention "Best Costume". So I hereby declare myself to have won my division: Clowns over 40.

In any case, it was a fun way to wile away a Friday afternoon. Beats grading, hands down.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 844 -- Craig Pass

Of course there's a whole web site devoted to the Continental Divide. Here's a photo of Craig Pass that I lifted from it. Somewhere in here, I'm running across the Great Divide a couple of times.

I had a nice easy run this morning. Tomorrow is the Fitness Means Life run. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TIaRT - The Running Blog

Well, Take it and Run Thursday at the Runners' Lounge has hit another topic of interest to me: the Running Blog.

Believe it or not, when I started JogAmericaBlog, I didn't really know much about the on-line running community. I knew there were on-line communities for almost everything, but I just hadn't made the connection. Most of the blogs I read were political, with a few social blogs thrown in.

The idea of JogAmericaBlog popped out pretty suddenly. I was on a run, thinking about a new motivational trick. I hit on the idea of laying out my mileage on a map, which I guess is probably not the most original idea in the world. Then I thought about putting it on-line. And JogAmericaBlog was born.

At first, it was pretty lonely. I let a few friends and family know about it, and a few of them followed it, but I didn't get a whole lot of traffic. I still don't, but at least I have a few regulars.

The main thing that JogAmericaBlog has done for me is to provide motivation. I'm not just running. I'm running so that I can blog about it. Don't underestimate the power of bragging.

The flip side of that is that running always gives me something to post about. I'm sure that we all know bloggers who get "bloggers block", and go long periods without blogging, or quit altogether. That hasn't happened to me, because I've always been able to pick out the next landmark and photoshop myself into the landscape. OK, maybe it's not great literature, but it's something to write.

So, do I have any profound advice for potential running bloggers? Probably not. Other than to go ahead and get involved. You'll suddenly find yourself connected to all sorts of people that you probably would never meet in real life.

Day 843 -- Lone Star State of Mind

I finally dug around and found a detailed map of the park, so I can tell you that I'm fairly close to Lone Star Geyser. I'm fairly sure that I'm not supposed to be standing out here. Somebody call a park ranger.

I had an unscheduled day off, yesterday. I just messed up when setting my alarm, and by the time I got up, it was too late. Nor did I have time to run later in the day. So, I took the day off. Naturally, I was cranky and depressed all day.

But today I got in a six miler, and I felt good all day. Well, mostly. Better than yesterday. I forgot my watch, so I'm not sure how far I ran, and I don't really know my pace, other than it felt medium fast.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 842 -- Beehive Geyser

According to this Flikr page, Beehive Geyser is a little north of Old Faithful. I'm a little south. But I couldn't resist it. Note the subtle rainbow. A very nice shot, Al.

Like a lot of these Yellowstone photos, I had trouble establishing the perspective. Am I too tall? Too short? Are my feet getting wet? Ok, that's a yes to that last one.

I ran an easy 4.7 miles this morning. I was tired, but considering that I am coming off a 15 miler, it wasn't so bad. It's a bit warmer, but still windy. When will Spring really spring, anyway?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 841 -- Old Faithful

There are approximately 106,000 photos of Old Faithful on the web, and most of them seem to look the same. I chose this one from the Healy-Guttman Blog, because it has Jack in it, to give it a little perspective.

I've actually been to Old Faithful, on a family trip back before any of the Little Joggers. I believe this is the first location that I can say for certain that I've been to since I left Grandma Jogger's house back in November, 2006.

I did my long run this morning, and I tried the Galloway Method. For those of you not in the know, Jeff Galloway is a runner who advocates frequent walk breaks. I have resisted the siren call of Galloway, because it seems not quite kosher. But hey, I walked significant chunks at the end of both my marathons. Maybe for this next one, I can spread the walking around, and finish stronger and faster.

In any case, I ran 15 miles today, and at the end of each of the first 12, I walked for approximately one minute. It went okay, although I was hardly fresh as a daisy at the end. Of course, 15 miles is my longest run of the year, so far. My overall pace was not bad at all. I didn't lose a whole lot of time walking. I intend to keep doing it, and try it in my next marathon, the Fox Cities Marathon, in September.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 840 -- Liberty Cap

Liberty Cap is a dormant hot spring in Yellowstone. I think that I might be somewhere near it on the virtual road, but I'm not absolutely able to say. Yellowstone is a big park, and I'm not working real hard to find out which sights are where.

I did an easy 10K this morning. It was still cold, and I neglected to wear gloves. My hands were pretty cold by the time I finished. We are supposed to have one more cold night, and then a slight warm up.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 839 -- Yellowstone

There's something about this "Welcome to Yellowstone" sign that I stole from that isn't quite right. I can't put my finger on it....

I did take yesterday off. Today is the first day of our four day "April Break". (Being a state institution, we don't celebrate Easter.) So I slept in a little this morning, then still got in a 6.7 mile run. It was nice. Now it's mid-morning, and I haven't even started my grading. Oh, well, it's not going anywhere.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

First Race of the Season

I signed up today for the "Fitness Means Life" 5K here at my university. It will be my first official race of the season. I know that I'm not in shape to run a PR or anything, so it will just be a chance to get out and run and have a good time, and get a t-shirt for my collection.

They are having a competition for "best costume". I'm thinking about wearing my clown pants and my rainbow wig. I don't know how uncomfortable it will be to run in a rainbow wig. Watch this space for photos.

Day 838 -- Welcome to Yellowstone

Today is the day that I ran into Yellowstone National Park (I think), but there is no photo today. I'm giving an evening exam, so I'm away from my laptop and its photo editor. I'll get some good photos tomorrow.

Better make that "the next time I run." It's not at all clear that I will get out tomorrow. This morning was an absolute drag. I didn't want to get out of bed. Once I got out of bed, I didn't want to get dressed. Once I got dressed, I didn't want to go out the door. Once I got out the door, I didn't want to start running. Once I started running, I didn't want to run fast. So I didn't. I did plod out a slow five miles, but if I'm no peppier tomorrow, I'll take a day off.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

My New Hero

OK, maybe I can't put up a post with actual content, but I can at least link to one. This post at Shakesville has given me a new hero, Iowa State Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. Melissa has put up a video of Senator Gronstal explaining why he won't co-sponsor a bill to amend the Iowa constitution to outlaw gay marriage. Go, watch. How a fellow with that much sense and compassion ever got elected is a mystery. No doubt some of his constituents will be outraged. It may even cost him the next election. But he's right. Good on you, Senator!

Day 837 -- West Yellowstone

I'm more or less to West Yellowstone, Montana. In case you don't know, West Yellowstone is a town that's, well, just west of Yellowstone. Tomorrow, I should run into the park itself.

These photos are from a page prepared by some students at the North Wasco School District in Oregon. A cursory glance didn't reveal the grade of the students. It's probably in there, somewhere.

We continue to have cold mornings. I don't think it was quite as windy as it was yesterday, but it was still cold. I ran a decent pace over a fairly hilly route, so it was a good workout.

Sorry I haven't had very many interesting posts, lately. It's that time of the semester. When I do get time to relax, I don't spend it thinking up fun and interesting things to say on my blog. Some of the blogs I follow don't update very frequently, for similar reasons. At least my journey keeps me posting regularly, even if the posts aren't so exciting.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Day 836 -- Grayling

In addition to being a town, grayling is a fish. In particular, it's an endangered fish, which only exists in one stream in southwest Montana. (Wait, reading that again, I see that that's the only place in the 48 contiguous states that has grayling. Maybe Canada and Alaska are crawling with them.) Anyway, the Montana government has a project to save them from becoming extinct. What you see here are grayling incubators. I'm not sure how close they are to Grayling, the town, and I'm too lazy to look.

It was cold this morning, but the snow that they had been promising all weekend never materialized. So I ran outside. It went pretty well. Not real fast. Just an easy 10K.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Day 835 -- Near Grayling

I'm nearing Grayling, Montana. Charles H posted this photo on Picasaweb and labeled it at "near Grayling", which is good enough for me.

I did not get in a long run this weekend. I took yesterday off, which was fine. Since it was cold and windy this morning, I decided to wait and run at the gym this afternoon. But I frittered away too much of the afternoon grading. By the time I got to the gym, I only had time for six miles. Which is OK, I guess. I hope that it means that I'll run strong all week.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Day 834 -- More Hebgen Lake

The technical college up in Madison had a program today for Math Awareness Month. There was a Sudoku contest, and a couple of talks. I'm afraid I gave the second best talk of the day. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't as good as the talk I had to follow. Between that, and the fact that the kids were all itching to start the contest, they were a little antsy during my talk.

I didn't run this morning, because we had to leave at 7:00, to make sure that we would make it through the Madison traffic. "We" included the first Little Jogger and one of her friends. Public schools in our town had the day off for teacher prep, so they decided to tag along. They couldn't enter the contest, but I think they had fun just hanging out and watching and not being near pesky little brothers, of which they have three between them.

Anyway, we got back in the middle of the afternoon, and I went for a quick five then. It felt pretty good, but there was too darn much traffic in the middle of the afternoon. It's much quieter at 5:30 am.

This photo, by the way, comes from the Montana film board.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Day 833 -- Hebgen Lake

Watch your step! On August 19, 1959 (Grandpa Jogger's 25th birthday), an earthquake hit the Hebgen Lake area. This is what happened to the road. I imagine that they have fixed it up by now, but I don't want to take any chances.

Back to the gym this morning. I wanted to run outside, but there was some sort of cold freezy rainy sort of stuff falling, so to the gym I went. I felt a little tired, so I ran a relatively slow five miles.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Day 832 -- More Gallatin National Forest

This gentleman is planting trees in Gallatin National Forest. The park has a partnership with the National Arbor Day Foundation. They plant some 200,000 trees a year, mostly in places where they've had a burn. Which is a lot. 250,000 acres of the park burned in 2006, and another 50,000 in 2007. It will take them a while to catch up with that.

I didn't really feel like running this morning. But I didn't want to take the first day of the month off, and I really didn't want to take two days off in a row. So I got up and ran. It was cold and windy, and there were even snow flurries, so I went to the gym. It went fine, and I even managed a decent pace. And tomorrow is another day.