Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 964 -- Jogger's Progress

Time40 days, 4 hrs, 8 min
10 days, 4 hours, 58 mins

At only 120 miles in 19 running days, September is not quite my lowest month of 2009. that honor goes to May, which was 119 miles in 18 running days. As you no doubt recall, I lost a lot of days to a sore tendon that month.

This month, I lost a lot of days to the marathon. I didn't run for two days before, or for three days after. So really, I averaged only a little over 4 miles for those six days. I didn't get in another long run all month, so it just didn't add up. That's OK. At 207 days and 1434 miles for the year, I'm seriously ahead of any previous September. In fact, I've already run more miles than all of 2006.

No big plans for October. I'd like to make 24 days and 120 miles, which is what I did in October 2006. But mostly I'm just going to run when I feel like running and rest when I don't.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Days 962 and 963 -- Langford

I ran 4.3 miles yesterday morning, and 3.1 this morning. I didn't blog yesterday, because after supper I went back to school and worked until close to bedtime. I came home and poured myself into bed. I'm just getting overwhelmed. I need to figure out some things that I can cut out to leave myself a little peace.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Days 959, 960, and 961 -- Pierpont

Where in the world is Pierpont, SD? It’s four miles south and seventeen miles east of Putney, SD! This according to their quasquicentennial* t-shirts. They are looking for a quasquicentennial logo. If you have a good idea, click on through and let them know.

Well, it's been a week.

Monday: I didn't run. I was still extremely sore, but also still had that after-marathon glow. A couple of people who knew I was going to run it asked how it went. One other person, who didn't know, saw me hobbling down a flight of stairs and asked if I had hurt myself. "No, I just ran a marathon yesterday." Man, it's fun to say that.

Tuesday: Still sore, but the glow is starting to wear off. This is the day when I started to second-guess my marathon. If I had just started out a little slower...if I had just pushed myself a little harder...if I had just worn different shoes...

Wednesday: I meant to run, but didn't get myself out of bed. I could feel myself getting crankier and crankier. It was a long day.

Thursday: I finally got out and ran 4.5 miles in the morning. It's a good thing, too. The first thing that happened was that my office computer broke out in a virus. All kinds of things started popping up with messages like "Your're [sic] computer might be infected..." Thanks. If I hadn't had my run, I probably would have fixed the problem with some lighter fluid and a match, but as it was, I called in the OIT people. My person told me later it was the worst infection she'd ever seen. I also had to stay late for my second evening exam. Long day.

Friday: Six miles, first thing. In the evening, I had to drive to Madison for a professional meeting. I hate Friday afternoon traffic in Madison. The meeting was productive, but I got home late for the second night in a row. For the second night in a row, I was grateful that I'd at least gotten a run in.

Saturday: I slept in, but went for a run at noon. I've spent most of the rest of the day grading. I've made some progress, but I have a lot to go, yet.

I'm enjoying the feeling of just running when I went to run, however far I want to run. I'm not training for anything. I'm just running.

*125th anniversary. I had to look it up.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 958 -- Community First Fox Cities Marathon

For the past three weeks, I've been grading my runs. I read that Dean Karnazes rates his runs, and if he has too many fairs or poors in a row, he knows that he's working too hard. I figured if it's good enough for Karno, it's good enough for me. Of course, being a professional educator, I give grades, rather than ratings. My highest grade so far has been an A-. My lowest: C-.

I'm giving today's run two grades. Physically, it was at best a C. I just wasn't as strong as I wanted to be, and I ended up with some really unexpected problems. But mentally, it was pure A. I had some tough moments, but I didn't curl up in a ball by the side of the road and wait for them to come scoop me up. Today, that was a victory.

Lets start from the beginning. I didn't sleep really well last night. That was the third rough night in a row, which certainly didn't help me to be at my physical best. I was up before the alarm. I ate a banana and a bagel, got dressed and headed out.

There was much more activity that one would normally expect at 6:00 on a Sunday morning. There were quite a few runners in my motel, and once I got out on the road, there was a fair amount of traffic. I was a little sorry that I hadn't scoped out the parking in advance, but I mostly just followed the traffic. I found a parking space not far from the shuttle bus stop, and I waited.

The half marathon started at 7:00, and the marathon at 8:00, so they were rushing the half marathoners onto the buses, and making us wait. I'm still not sure why it was a good idea to start the half before the full marathon, but hey, that was the plan. So, they finally let us on the bus, we shuttled to the start line, and I waited.

My plan took a hit right away, when I met the 4:30 pacer. He wasn't planning to run 10:20 miles. He was going to go out at a 9:45 pace, and walk through the rest stops. His plan was to average about 10 minute miles for the first 20, then coast home. It was probably a decent plan for him, but I have to wonder how many of his pace group were up to it. Anyway, I decided to stick with my plan of walking every mile. I saw the pacer's bright green cap a couple of times for the first three miles, and then never saw him again.

This first half of the marathon went pretty well. I was hitting my pace, walking every mile, and keeping hydrated. I felt good, although I felt that my legs weren't quite as strong as I wanted them to be. But I hit the halfway point at 2:10, just right where I wanted to be.

At about 15 miles, the wheels came off. It just hit me like a wave. I was tired. I was hot. It was one of the two lowest points of the run, and it was way too early. I just started walking and thinking "Eleven more miles? Eleven more miles? Eleven more miles?"

Eventually, I sucked it up and started running again, but within a few miles, I hit the really unexpected problem. I had a blister. I never get blisters. Occasionally, a new pair of shoes will give me a blister on top of my little toe, just until I get them broken in. But this was a veteran pair of shoes, and the blister was on the ball of my foot. This was the time when curling up in a ball was really tempting. I swear that if there had been a SAG wagon right there, I would have hopped on it and said, "Take me to the finish line."

The weirdest little thing kept me going; I hadn't gotten my t-shirt. Most races, including many marathons, give you your shirt when you check in. There's an unspoken (an not always observed) rule that you don't wear it until you finish the race, but you've got it. The Fox Cities actually does this for all of the shorter races of the weekend. But for the marathon, they have a "Finisher" shirt. You get it at the finish line. If you make it. You don't get it for planning to run. You don't get it for starting to run. And you don't get it if you drop out at 17 miles with a blister. I wanted that shirt.

So I kept going. The next two or three miles were rough. A lot of walking. A lot of cursing my fate. A lot of cursing myself for foolishly being out here. A lot of general cursing, to tell the truth.

But a funny thing happened at about 21 or 22 miles. I didn't start feeling better. I was still sore, hot, and blistered. But I somehow changed my attitude. I just decided I was out here, and I had paid my money, and I was going to run. I didn't run the whole way, but I definitely ran more than I had in the last four miles of my previous two marathons. And I managed to smile in between grimaces.

My time was 4:58:22, which was faster than Des Moines, but slower than the Quad Cities. It wasn't pretty. It was ugly, ugly, ugly. But I found something in myself that was, if not pretty, at least not bad to look at. Overall, I'm satisfied that I made the best of a bad day.

I think I've got one more good marathon in me. I'm thinking about running Madison in the spring, if I can get in shape. Get out to a good start, stay cool, and wear a pair of shoes I can trust, and I think I can run 4:30. We'll see. For right now, I'm just going to get some rest.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What the Hell have I gotten myself into?

A question that I have asked myself several times today. It all seems like a good idea, until you realize that you are in for 26 miles.

I have a plan. I think it's a decent plan. I am going to line up with the 4:30 pace group. I will run with them for the first mile, then take my walk break. I hope to be able to catch back up to the pace group right at the end of the second mile. Then take my walk break. Then catch up in the third mile, and take a walk break. And so on. This should keep me from going out too fast.

I feel confident that I can run the first 20 miles in fairly good shape. It's that last six that will get me. If I conserve my energy and if my legs hold up, and I get a good pace in the last six miles, it will be a good run. If I hit the wall, well, at least I know that I've been there before.

Wish me luck!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Days 956 and 957 -- Aberdeen

It has been a crazy week. And it's only the third week of the semester. It will just get crazier from here.

Monday was the organizational meeting for the Children's Choir. This will be the littlest Little Jogger's second year in the Children's Choir. Tuesday was Cub Scouts. The neighbor took the LLJ over, since I was up on a ladder, painting the part of the house where the gutters are supposed to be. Wednesday was a nasty day at work. I basically worked steadily from 8 to 6. And Wednesday is the day where I have no classes! Not much in the evening, with just a half hour piano lesson for the LLJ. Thursday, I gave an evening exam in Calculus, so I was at work from 7 am to 9 pm. Also, the first Little Jogger had to go work at the concession stand for the volleyball game. All this with one vehicle, since we loaned the car to our friends who broke an axle on their van.

So tonight, I'm tired. And I need to get to bed early, since I have a little race on Sunday morning.

I will be going up to Appleton alone. Mrs. J was going to come up with me, but we just couldn't get ourselves organized. She has started a new job, as the receptionist at our church, so she hasn't been home as much, and she's feeling a little stressed by her new schedule. I'm sorry that I won't have any support there with me, but I'm glad that she's not going to have to deal with the stress of the travel.

I'll bring my grading with me. I have the Calc exam (currently about half graded), a Calc worksheet, and a paper from Stats. And a lonely hotel room in which to grade them.

I'm lucky to have a hotel room. Some time after I got my hotel, they announced the fall NFL schedule, and this Sunday is a home game for the Packers. So hotels in Appleton will be at a premium. I suppose I could make some money renting out the second bed, if I didn't mind sleeping with some drunken Bengals fan.

I'm excited. And nervous. I dreamt about the marathon last night. I didn't dream about the finish, so I don't know how I did. We'll just have to find out on Sunday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 955 -- Mina Lake Recreation Area

I picked campsite number 20 at the Mina Lake Recreation Area, since the marathon is on the 20th. It looks very comfy.

I did not have a good run this morning. Not nearly as good as you would like six days before the marathon. I just didn't have it, even after taking two days off. I think my main problem is lack of sleep. I was up until after midnight on Saturday, because we went to see a Henry V at the American Players Theatre. It was an excellent show (of course), but midnight is way too late for me. Then last night, I was up until close to 11, because the Packers had the Sunday Night game. At least they won. I'm glad that I didn't stay up that late for a loss. Anyway, I need to get caught up on my sleep by Sunday.

By the way, the Fox Cities Marathon is offering tracking. If you want e-mail or text updates of my progress, go to and enter my bib number, 177.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Days 953 and 954 -- Mina

Almost 10 years ago, on October 25, 1999, a Leer jet carrying golfer Payne Stewart and five others crashed in a field near Mina, SD. I'm not much of a pro golf fan, so it didn't mean that much to me. Other than a famous person dying much too young. In fact, six people died much too young. However, if you Google Mina, SD, it dominates the hits. And this gives me a chance for a post where I'm not wearing the ugliest pants in the photo.

I took Thursday off. Since I have an 8:00 class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, those are good days to take off. I ran 4.5 miles on Friday. I slept in Saturday, but I went out an noon and ran another quick 4.5 miles. That was fairly hot. Then I slept in again today, and it doesn't look like I'm going to get a daylight run.

It's just one week until the Fox Cities Marathon. I'm feeling good about it. If the weather is OK, I think I'll give it a good go. The long range forecast for Appleton calls for sunny and a high of 68 degrees. Oh, man, I hope that's going to hold up. It would make for a good day.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Days 951 and 952 -- Ipswich

How about two libraries in a row? This is the Ipswich Public Library, in Ipswich, SD. My biggest problem here is spelling "Ipswich." I keep wanting to put a "t" into it.

I ran a quick 4 miles yesterday, then a slower 6 miles today. Overall, I'm calling it two good days in a row.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Day 950 -- Roscoe

Well, it doesn't look like the Roscoe Public Library holds a whole lotta books. Of course, at less than 300 people, Roscoe itself doesn't hold a whole lotta people. Still, I try not to pass up a chance to visit a library. This one is from Nicki83's flikr stream.

Having taken Friday off, I felt strong yesterday. So I ran a nice brisk six miles, over some non-trivial hills. Then I still felt strong this morning, so I put in another solid 12 miles. They say that when you are tapering in preparation for a marathon, you are supposed to reduce the volume of your running, but keep the intensity. I guess I accomplished that this weekend. Overall, it felt good.

I get one more day of weekend this week, but I think I'm going to skip the run and sleep in.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Day 948 -- Bowdle

Well, this is a first for JogAmericaBlog. I couldn't figure out any reasonable way to put myself into this boat with these two fisherman, so I simply took over the body of one of them. They caught this fish while staying at the Bird Down Lodge in Bowdle, SD.

As I type, it's early morning on Friday, September 4. Day 948 was actually yesterday. I ran a steady three miles before my 8 am class. This morning, I got up early, but I really felt like physically I needed a day off. So I blog.

I think the adrenalin rush of the early semester has worn off, and now I'm looking at all the stuff that I'm committed to and thinking, "Oh, shit." It will definitely be a busy semester. But I think it will be a fun one. In any case, I get another three day weekend this week, and I intend to enjoy it. As soon as I make it through Friday.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Days 946 and 947 -- Java

I was afraid that I would have trouble finding a picture of Java, SD. Java, of course, is one of those words that means a lot of things, and in particular has a computer related meaning. So you run the risk of finding coffee shops in Sioux Falls and computer programmers in Rapid City. Fortunately, the Germans from Russia Heritage Collection has for sale a Centennial book from Java, and their add for it has some pictures, including this one of some trappers and an old Maxwell in 1916.

I ran a quick three yesterday, and a solid six today. I never had a chance to post yesterday. I got home a little late, and the house was a bit chaotic, with school papers to sign and pictures to find for "getting to know you" projects and what all. Today isn't quite as bad, although there's still some tension. Everyone has too much homework, except the littlest Little Jogger, who doesn't have enough. He's trying to come up with something else he can do.

In other news, Mrs. Jogger starts a new job tomorrow. She will be the receptionist at our church. She's excited about it, but a bit worried about what will happen to the household if she works thirty hours a week. You can tell that she's tense. It will be better when she actually gets to work, I think.

The first day of classes went well. No major problems. In Calculus, I had exactly the students on my class list -- no more, no less. That's very unusual. Stats was more typical, with four students who didn't make it out of bed, or didn't find the room, or have decided to drop, but haven't done it yet. I had no class at all today, although I met with some calculus students. The first worksheet is due tomorrow, and some of them needed help with their precalc topics.

Overall, the year is off to a good start, I think.