Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Day 897 -- Jogger's Progress

Time36 days, 12 hrs, 9 min
6 days, 11 hours, 59 mins

I ended up taking yesterday off. I hadn't planned to. I turned off the alarm and slept in. I thought about running at noon, but I didn't do that, either. However, 7.5 miles today actually pushed me up to the longest month of JogAmericaBlog, by 0.2 miles. If only I had run yesterday, I would have shattered the record.

Oh, well, I expect to break it again next month. My official goals are 24 days and 160 miles. But if I make the 24 days, I should easily go over the 160 miles. Lately, I've been stretching my short runs from 3 to 5 miles up to 5 to 7 miles. That extra mile or two every day really adds up. Also, of course, I have four long runs scheduled, which is 75 miles right there.

I thought I'd also compare my progress at the half-year mark. In 2006, I had run 119 days through June. In 2007, it was 133 days. In 2008, it was 128. So, at 140 days, I'm ahead of previous pace. My total mileage through June, 2006, was 648. In 2007, it was 805. In 2008, it was 813. This year, 932, again way ahead of pace.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Public Service Announcement from USJogger, Inc.

When you are using a string trimmer, wear long pants.

That is all.

Day 896 -- Gillette

Destination360.com says that "Gillette Wyoming is the best city a cowboy can get." They don't elaborate on what exactly that means. Anyway, this seems to be a Rock Pile Museum in Gillette, which sounds interesting to me.

It is noticeably cooler and less humid here in Wisconsin this morning. So today's 18 miler wasn't quite the struggle that last week's 17 miler was. I won't go so far as to say that today's run was easy. I don't know that I'll ever be in such good shape that 18 miles will be easy. But I didn't feel nearly as bad over the last five or six miles as I did last week.

It is now 12 weeks to the Community First Fox Cities Marathon. I'm feeling fairly positive about where I am in my preparation.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 895 -- Force Road

Sticking with RockyMountainRoads.com, we come to the exit for Force Road. They say, "As we now enter the Gillette metropolitan area, signs of civilization emerge." The population of Gillette is less than 20,000, so we may be stretching the dictionary definition of "metropolitan."

I ran another seven miles this morning, at a decent pace. It was quite humid, but not so hot as it has been.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Days 893 and 894 -- Barber Creek Road

From RockyMountainRoads.com, Interstate 90, exit 102, Barber Creek Road. I have no idea where you go when you exit Interstate 90 at Barber Creek Road. There ain't nothin' around for miles.

I ran yesterday and today. Yesterday I made 7 miles. I was shooting for 8, but it was too darned humid. I actually ended up walking home about a mile. This morning, I ran 6, and I was only shooting for 5. So it all evens out, I guess.

Scout camp has wrapped up for another year. The fourth day is always the hardest. On Thursday, we shift from our normal 9 to 3 schedule. We start at 1, then have a program for the parents at 6:15. You can't expect to have a program at 3, because lots of people have regular jobs, and don't get the summer off. So, after a long, hot week, we have an especially long, hot day. Everyone gets a little frazzled. I did better this year than last, because at least I was expecting it.

Will I do scout camp again next year? I don't know. We'll see how quickly the pain of this one fades.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Overhead (by everyone!) at the littlest Little Jogger's soccer game...

A young lady, about 9, turned to her dad, who had been cheering loudly, but not, in my opinion, being at all obnoxious, and said, "Dad! What did I tell you? Zip it!" Ouch! Wait until she's 15, and he embarrasses her merely by existing.

Day 892 -- More Scouts

Well, I ended up taking yesterday off from running, in a sort of unusual way. I got up, put on my running stuff, started my warm-up walk, but I found myself so worried about getting ready for Scout Camp that, instead of running, I jumped in the car and drove to camp to get things ready. Camp is at the county fairgrounds, about 20 minutes away. I drove out there, messed around with stuff, drove back, had breakfast, then took the littlest Little Jogger back out to start our day.

What was I worried about? Three things. On Monday, we all got way too much sun. We had a canopy, but it was hard to keep the kids under it. So I moved our venue to the cow barn. This has some obvious disadvantages, but it was fairly well cleaned out, and we really needed the shade. I also wanted to make sure that I had a convenient water faucet, so we could play some water games. We did. That also helped with problem number three, which was making sure that I had enough activities to fill the time.

So Tuesday went better than Monday, and so did today. There were some problems, still, but we worked through them. One of the kids had a horrible tantrum on Tuesday, but we just put him in a "time out" chair until he calmed down, and he has been no trouble since. A different kid had a mini-tantrum today, but his mother is my helper, so I just let her deal with him.

As you can see, we went fishing yesterday. Here you can see one of my tigers has landed 2.5 inches of furious bluegill. We were at the public park there in the county seat, and it was all catch and release. Too bad, because this whopper would have made a nice little fish stick. Anyway, the kids had fun. You can see that the scout doesn't think this fish is too small.

Oh, I did run today, a medium-swift four miler. I think that the humidity is down, which helps a lot.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 891 -- Scout Cam

With the Interstate 90 in Wyoming utterly failing to provide good photo opportunities, I decided to post a photo from real life. Here you see a photo from the Blackhawk Area Council Cub Scout Day Camp, 2009. These are the Tigers. If you've been reading for a year, you may remember that last year, I helped out in a small way. This year, I jumped in with both feet. I am the leader of the Tiger Camp.

The main camp has kids who have already been in scouts for at least a year. They have a kind of a rotation. A couple of people do crafts, and they rotate each group through, the same craft, seven times. Then someone else does nature, and they rotate each group through, the same lesson or project, seven times a day. Someone else does BB guns, and they do the same thing seven times a day, and seven more times tomorrow, and seven more the next day, and so on, forever, because it doesn't take any planning to do BB guns. You just keep an eye on the kids and make sure that they don't shoot each other's eyes out.

The Tigers are different. These are kids between kindergarten and first grade, who will be in scouts for the first time next year. Rather than mix them in with the bigger kids, they shunt them over to the side. The leader (that's me, remember) then has to do crafts and nature and rubber band guns (no BBs for us) and games and more crafts and more rubber band guns and more games and more rubber band guns. Since they have a five minute attention span, and camp is six hours, I need 72 activities. OK, it's not that bad, but I needed more than I had prepared. Nothing seemed to take as long as I had planned. So we had to keep throwing in activities. "OK, let's see who can be quietest the longest!"

It was approximately 1,000,000 degrees out. We had a canopy, but half the activities took us out from under fairly often. And even under, it was still 9,999,900 degrees. Three of the Tigers burst into flames. And it's not going to be any cooler all week. At least I have water games planned for tomorrow, which will help keep us cool.

I did run this morning. I could easily have taken the day off, but I figured I needed my endorphins to face the day. I think that's probably wise. It was a long slog, but not nearly as long as it would have been if I had skipped my run.

Three more days. Three more days. Three more days....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 890 -- Campbell County

The Campbell County courthouse is in Gillette, some 35 more miles ahead. But I just crossed into Campbell County, so that's an excuse to visit the courthouse. This photo is from the Flikr stream of someone with the handle "courthouselover". They say that "Henry Therkildsen A.I.A. designed this courthouse in 1971. It replaced the county's previous courthouse which stood where this one now does." And, being a courthouse lover, I guess that they would know.

Yesterday, when I was listing the things that might get me through 17 miles today, I neglected to include (c) I can be as stubborn as a teenager when I want to be. Pretty much after mile 12, stubborn was all that was keeping me going. It helped that right about then, I ran into two different members of the Sunday morning crowd who asked how far I was going today. I said "17 miles", and they were both impressed. Well, after that, I had to actually run the 17 miles, didn't I?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Joy of Running

Greg, over at The Runners' Lounge, posted a thread about "The Joy of Running". I liked my answer so much, that I couldn't stand for it to just sit in the one forum on The Lounge. So, with a little editing, here it is:

The first thing that running does for me is that it gives me time to think. When I'm not running, there's always something to distract me. If I'm not working, I'm probably checking my blogs, or playing an on-line game, or doing a crossword. The only time I get to just think is when I'm on the road. Sometimes I thinks about important stuff, like work or classes or family matters. And sometimes I just thinks about my next blog post.

The second thing that running does is feed my endorphin addiction. No matter how bad I feel before I start, I always feel pretty good when it's over. Usually, that feeling lasts at least through the morning, if not all day. I know that it's just chemicals, but what the heck! Some people pay big bucks for chemicals to make them feel good. And endorphins are legal!

Another dirty little secret is that when I'm running, I'm allowed to sweat. I'm a big guy, and I sweat a lot. I sweat when I'm teaching. I sweat when I'm walking. I sweat when I climb a flight of stairs. Sometimes, I sweat when I just sit there. Sometimes, it's embarrasing. But when I'm running, I'm supposed to sweat. On a day like today, when my socks are squishy by the time I'm done running, nobody complains. (OK, Mrs. Jogger complains a little, but she gets over it.)

Finally, of course, running keeps me relatively healthy. I'm not at the weight that I'd like to be, but if I wasn't running, just think of where I would be!

So, anyone else with a running blog want to chime in? If you do, be sure to leave me a comment telling me to check you out.

Day 889 -- The Middle of Nowhere

If you do a Google image search for "Middle of Nowhere", this is the number one photo. OK, so it's actually "somewhere" north of Agadez in Niger. You're not going to hold it against me, just because this is half the world away, are you? I'm sure that the area of Wyoming where I'm currently running looks almost exactly like this, only with mountains and trees and water and wildlife.

Today's five mile run did not bode well for tomorrow's seventeen mile run. Although it was slightly cooler and less humid than yesterday, I still got pretty sweaty and very tired. The only things that I have going for me tomorrow are (a) I usually don't have two bad days in a row, and (b) I'll be taking walk breaks every mile. I hope that will get me through.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 888 -- Crazy Eights

The humidity continues this morning. And it's heating up. It was already 75 degrees at 6:30 this morning. So it was quite a run. But I made it. I'm worried about my long run on Sunday. But hey, it's summer in Wisconsin. Heat and humidity come with the territory.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 887 -- Big Horn Basque Club

Buffalo has less than 5000 residents, but apparently a good number of them are Basques. This is Zaharrer Segi, the Basque dancers of the Big Horn Basque Club. They describe themselves on the web site of North American Basque Organizations:
We are a younger group, who has learned from the older generation. The dancers range in age from adult to four years old. We are supported by our local Basque Club, The Big Horn Basque Club. The Zaharrer Segi dance group provides performances for public events both in our local community and in surrounding areas. Most of the dances we perform originate from the region around the towns of Luzaide and Arneguy, in the Basque Country. We enjoy our Basque heritage and hope to keep it alive for many more generations.

I did take yesterday off from running. The only part of me that regretted it was that tiny part of my brain that is committed to running 24 days in June. This was my fourth day off, so I only get two more in the next twelve days, if I want to make that goal. However, the rest of my body and brain was ready for a break. In fact, a number of parts voted for another day off today, but the decision to run won on a narrow vote. I got in a steady seven miles. The summer humidity has arrived big time, so I was pretty sweaty by the time I finished. I guess I'd better get used to it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Day 886 -- More Buffalo

From City-data.com, the Famous Occidental Hotel, in Buffalo.

I had a hard time getting myself out the door this morning. Once I got running, I had a pretty good run. I stopped a little short of my goal, but I went a little over, yesterday, so it all evens out. And today I was relatively zippy. It felt good.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 885 -- Buffalo

This is kind of a funky looking church. It is Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Buffalo, Wyoming. I'm still a few miles short of Buffalo, but it has been 90 miles since Ten Sleep, with nary a town in sight. And it's another 70 miles to Gillette. If you live in Buffalo, it's a long way to visit your neighbors.

I ran an easy five miles this morning. I didn't mean to go quite that far, but once I got started, I just ran. It was a nice morning for it.

The rest of the day was spent driving for Jogger's Taxi service. It started at 8:00, when I took the oldest and newest Little Jogger to the first day of Summer School, where she will be boning up on her math skills. Then it was off to the office for a bit, but not too long, because I had to pick the oldest and newest up after Summer School. After lunch, I took her and the littlest Little Jogger to a friend's house to play. In the middle of the afternoon, Mrs. Jogger sent me to the store to pick up canning supplies. She's putting up a whole bunch of strawberry-rhubarb jelly. I approve of strawberry-rhubarb jelly, so I went. At 4:00, the first Little Jogger had to go to Dairy Queen for a final meeting of Girl Scouts for the year. Home for a brief visit, then at 5, I had to drop the littlest off at soccer practice and, simultaneously, pick up the first from Dairy Queen. On opposite sides of town. I delivered the first home, then turned around to go pick up the littlest from Soccer practice. And then...peace. Until tomorrow.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Day 884 -- Flag Day

You know that you're gearing up for a marathon when you use the word "only" in talking about a 12 mile run....

Since I only ran 12 miles today, I decided to pick up the pace a little. I managed 12.3 miles in 2:08. That's a 10:25 pace, which projects to a 4 hour and 33 minute marathon. No problem. Of course, I have a long way to go before I can hold that pace for over twice that distance, but overall, I think I'm doing OK. It's 14 weeks to the marathon, and I'm pleased with where I am.

It helps that the heat hasn't hit, yet. It was a comfortable 60 degrees Fahrenheit this morning. One would expect a little more heat and a lot more humidity by the middle of June in Wisconsin. But so far, we've been lucky. We'll see what next week brings.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 883 -- Moose

In honor of Grandpa Jogger, a moose. This particular moose was snapped by Christian Boice in 2005, and uploaded to PBase. It's really quite a nice shot. He apparently has a monster lens -- 420 mm -- which explains why he could get this good shot without running the risk of being trampled.

I ran this morning in a light rain. It felt pretty good, actually. It was more or less pouring at 5:00 in the morning, so I went back to bed, and didn't run until I got up again a couple of hours later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

First Day of Summer

Yesterday was the last day of school for the public schools, so today is officially the first day of summer. They aren't driving me too crazy, yet. Give me another few hours.

They've been running in and out in various combinations all day. So far, they've been doing OK. The big problem comes when two different Little Joggers want to play with the same neighborhood kid, but not with each other. Or when almost everybody agrees on what game to play, but one kid doesn't want to play that. In these cases, the offended kid will come in, and depending on their own inclination, cry, whine, or sulk. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The funniest part of the end of the school year is probably the littlest Little Jogger's report card. Minutes after the end of school, we got a call from the littlest's teacher, Mrs. J. On the report card, in the spot for "Placement next year", she had put the grade that he is currently in. She had done this for all her students. She flunked her whole class. Of course, it was a mistake. We hadn't looked at it, yet, but when we did, we certainly would have chuckled and said, "Oh, that's a mistake." But apparently the very first parent to notice flew off the handle. Mrs. J was very embarrassed. Anyway, we determined that the littlest is, in fact, going on to the next grade level.

Days 881 and 882 -- More and More Bighorn National Forest

This is "the Elgin Park area of the Bighorn National Forest with the Bighorn Mountains in the background", as seen at BighornMountains.com. The page that I linked to is dedicated to photos along route 16, which is where I am actually running, so at some point, I would have this view. Not necessarily yesterday or today.

I did get up and run yesterday. In fact, I got up before my alarm, for the first time in a good long while. It wasn't a particularly long or fast run, but it was OK. Then this morning, I got in a fairly brisk seven an a half. That wraps up six days in a row of running, with over 43 miles. Time for a break, I think.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Day 880 -- More Bighorn National Forest

Steamboat Point seems to be a fairly popular thing to photograph in Bighorn National Forest. It's easy to see why; it's very impressive. This particular photo is from Panoramio. I'm not actually near Steamboat Point. It's north of where I'm running.

I finally got in my long run that I had planned for Sunday. I ran 15.4 miles in just under three hours. It felt pretty good, all told. I felt stronger than I did on my 14 mile run last week. Now I'll have to see what I can do this weekend. It's a drop-back week, so I'm only scheduled for 12 miles, but I may not even do that, because I'll have only five days between now and Sunday. We'll see.

The first Little Jogger is going to join the Cross Country team at the high school this fall. Yesterday, she brought home her summer training schedule. It's pretty flexible. They will run together two days a week, and other than that, she is just supposed to put in 600 total minutes of running over the summer. I'm excited. I'd like to see her get serious about this, and I think that she has a chance to be good. But I'm trying not to push her. She'll decide how much effort she wants to put into it.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Day 879 -- Bighorn National Forest

Welcome to Bighorn National Forest. I hope that you like it, because you're going to see a lot of it for the next week or two, because there's not much else out here. It's about 50 miles to the next town. This photo is from the Johnson County web page, and Johnson County is at the other side of the forest, so this is probably not the right sign. Oh, well.

As you can guess, I did find time to run this morning. I need to change my routine. I'm just not getting out of bed in the morning. I'm not sure why. My tendon is feeling better, but now I don't seem to have much drive. Oh, well, if I persist, I'm sure that I'll snap out of it, soon.

Up -- with an UPdate

I missed my run this morning. I'm still holding out hope for a run later today, but we'll see. In the meantime, Dean Dad has inspired me to a movie review.

Like DD, I took the kids to see Up on Saturday. I'm not sure that I agree with him that it was one of the best movies I've ever seen, but it was pretty darn good. As I believe I've said, Pixar just doesn't do bad movies. Like all Pixar movies, it was funny and touching and exciting and unpredictable. I thought it was a little less believable than most. I guess when you have a movie about talking toys or talking fish, you aren't expecting believable. But this movie was about people. I really wanted the only stretch of the imagination to be the idea that this guy could actually float his house with toy balloons, but that was just the beginning. The plot called for a lot of fairly weird stuff, and the physics was downright appalling. But I just squinted a little bit, and went along for the ride. And a great ride it was. Definitely one I'm willing to see again.

Update: Amanda over at Pandagon has a much better review than this one.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Day 878 -- Thunderstorm

I tried and tried to think of an excuse not to run this morning. I couldn't come up with one, so run I did. However, when I was about two miles out, my excuse appeared. It started to thunder in the distance. Long time readers know that I won't run in a thunderstorm. I know the chances of getting hit by lightning are pretty low, but not as low as they are when I'm sitting safely inside my house. So, anyway, I finished the first five mile loop, and came in. I'll have to run my long run tomorrow.

Rather than another Ten Sleep picture, I got a picture of a Wyoming thunderstorm from this Flikr page. No idea what the weather is actually doing in Wyoming this morning.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Day 877 -- More Ten Sleep

Don't ask why I made myself 200 feet tall in this photo. I'm just tired and in a wacky mood.

The photo comes from a blog called Messiest Objects. At first, I thought it might be a theme blog, like The Worlds Largest Things or Beans Around the World, but it appears not. It seems to just be one of those names, like "Eclectic Banana" or "A Slug In Time", that someone thought was cool.

Boy, it was hard to get going this morning. I took yesterday off (unplanned), so I should have had energy this morning, but I didn't. I did manage to drag myself out the door, but I didn't enjoy it. I will run my long run tomorrow or Monday, depending on the weather, and depending on whether I can find my mojo.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Day 876 -- Ten Sleep

I'm still a few miles short of Ten Sleep, but what the heck! According to Wikipedia, Ten Sleep is named because it was 10 days travel -- ten sleeps -- from three important locations: Fort Laramie, Yellowstone Park, and the Indian agency on the Stillwater River in Montana. I bet that's a bunch of hooey, but I don't know how you'd find out. If it says it in Wikipedia, it's got to be true, right?

This photo is posted in city-data.com. However, some user has left a comment that "This sign does not exist in Ten Sleep nor has it existed in the past 30 years." More misinformation! I'm beginning to think that Ten Sleep has something to hide.

I ran a good seven miles today. I wanted to get under 10 minutes per mile, but I didn't quite make it. Oh, well. It was still a good run. Tomorrow, I'll just shoot for an easy run.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Day 875 -- More Worland

From the City of Worland page, the cemetery. They even have an e-mail address, cemetery@something.net. I don't know why you'd want to e-mail the cemetery. Also from the City of Worland page, I note that this is the county seat of Washakie County. Now you know.

As promised, I took yesterday off. I ran a little over six miles this morning at a reasonable pace. My tendon is feeling pretty good. It ached a little at around four miles, but it hardly pains me at all any more. I'm looking forward to being 100% soon.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Day 874 -- Worland

Well, I have already covered 10% of my mileage goal for June.

I mentioned yesterday that we went to early church. So I didn't have time to do my long run before church. I could have done it after, but I didn't. I didn't have anywhere special to be this morning, though, so I went ahead and ran 14 miles. It didn't feel bad, although I think I spent every last erg of energy that I had. I couldn't have run another block.

I've been pretty sore all day. Not my tendon, actually. That's felt pretty good. But everything else is sore. Which is good. It's a good sore.

Although I hate to take the 2nd off, if I'm going to run 24 days in June, I think I'm going to have to, just to rest the sore parts.

Above, downtown Worland, from the photo gallery at BigHornMountains.com. I ran clean through Worland today, but don't be surprised if I post another picture of Worland tomorrow. I need to get the most out of every town I go through.