Thursday, December 31, 2009

Day 1031 -- Jogger's Progress

Time42 days, 19 hrs, 1 min
12 days, 19 hours, 51 mins

Thus ends the fourth year of JogAmericaBlog. I exceeded my yearly goals by 151.6 miles, 19:51 running time, and 16 running days. Not bad, not bad at all.

I don't know what goals to set for 2010. I really don't think I can increase all those numbers again. I think I've about hit my limit. On the other hand, the one goal that I didn't meet this last year was to set a personal record (PR) at some distance. So that's my goal: a PR in the marathon. I am running the Madison Marathon in May, and I could still run a fall marathon, so I could get two cracks at it. It's a goal, anyway.

My last run of the year was late this afternoon. We drove up from Grandma Jogger's town right after lunch, and after we unloaded, I went over to Snap Fitness to stretch out my legs. It was a good run.

Tomorrow, we start the fifth year....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 1030 -- More Rochester

When one thinks of Rochester, Minnesota, the second thing that comes to mind (after the world's largest ear of corn) is the Mayo Clinic. This image is from a CNN/Money story on companies that were hiring in 2009. (The story was published in January.) The image is attributed to, but I went over there, and couldn't find anything I liked as much.

I got up early this morning, and headed over to Snap Fitness for a very easy 5K. I wouldn't have run at all, the day after a long run, but I'll be taking the next two days off, since there's no place to run here at Grandma Jogger's house. We drove down this morning. There was some blowing snow, which slowed us down a bit. But we made it in one piece. Now we'll try to relax a little.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 1029 -- Rochester

Rochester provides the opportunity for me to visit two old friends. I found the above image at Beans Around the World, a website devoted to photographing this can of beans in all sorts of unlikely places. As soon as I saw the water tower, I realized that I had seen it at The World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Version of the World's Largest Things, and sure enough, the image below was one of their former headers, still tucked away on the What's Large Where? page. It is, of course, the World's Largest Ear of Corn.

I ran 15 miles on the dreadmill today, my last long run of the year. In fact, I don't know how many more runs I'm going to get in this year. Tomorrow, we head down to Iowa to visit Grandma Jogger and the Photographer, and I don't think I'll have the opportunity to run. We're coming back up on New Year's Eve, and I'll try to squeeze in one last run. Perhaps I can go over to Snap Fitness at midnight and run into the new year.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 1028 -- Pine Island

In July, 2007, Jim and Tom took a bike tour through this part of the country. Here are Tom and his bike, standing in front of the road work in downtown Pine Island. Who are Jim and Tom, you ask? The page where I found the photo doesn't have many clues. I guess if you are reading it, you should know who they are. I do know that the page is hosted on the faculty server at Slippery Rock University, where Jim apparently teaches Geography, Geology, and Environmental Science.

I didn't try to push myself this morning. I did a quick 5K. The dreadmill at Snap Fitness actually has a "5K" program. I managed just under 10 minute miles, which is OK. We'll see if I have time to run tomorrow.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Day 1027 -- Christmas!

Happy Christmas from the Jogger Family!

We managed to sleep in a reasonable amount. We opened presents first thing. The main present was a new Wii gaming system, which is very popular, but also has led to some fights. Too many kids, not enough joysticks. The medium Little Jogger is, of course, the crankiest. When he's the one playing, life is great, but if he has to wait his turn, it's horrible. Horrible, I tell you.

Yes, I did get out to run. I went to Snap Fitness, and I was not the only one. There were four people there when I got there, and two different people when I left. I went around lunch time. I didn't run quite as far as I had planned, but any run is better than no run. And I'd skipped yesterday, because of the rotten weather. So it was good.

Happy Christmas to all who are celebrating today, and a happy day to everyone else, too.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Day 1026 -- More Zumbrota

Zumbrota, Minnesota just kind of trips off the tongue, doesn't it? "I drove my Toyota from Zumbroata, Minnesota to North Dakota to pick up a case of cherry soda." It's just a nice name for a town.

The City of Zumbrota web site informs me that the bridge I ran through yesterday is Minnesota's only remaining functioning covered bridge. Also,
The City boasts an active Main Street, growing commercial & industrial sectors, strong residential roots and well maintained parks & open space. The population is now over 3,100 with about 1,300 households and 210 businesses.
And it sounds great.

I did a sneaky tempo run today on the dreadmill. Every five minutes, I bumped up my speed just a little bit, until I was running at close to an 8:30 pace. I sustained that pace for 10 minutes, then backed down. It was a nice workout, and different from the steady runs I've been doing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 1025 -- Zumbrota

This covered bridge should protect me from the snow. We got four or five inches in the last 24 hours, and it's still snowing. I think up towards Zumbrota, they are expecting even more. This photo is lifted from Flikr, where it was posted by "cursedthing". As usual on Flikr, there's not much context, but it's in a photo set called "Zumbrota, MN", so I think it's fair game.

With the snow, and with the indoor track closed, it was back to Snap Fitness today. I managed to eke out six miles in 60 minutes. It was OK, except that I was watching the NFL network, which insisted on replaying the Packers last-second loss from Sunday. They are replaying the whole game tonight, but I think I'll give it a miss.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Day 1024 -- Cannon Falls

Thirteen miles today brings me somewhat south of Cannon Falls, but not yet to Zumbrota. So I'll take the opportunity to run in front of The Church of the Redeemer in Cannon Falls, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1867.

As I did last Sunday, I went to Snap Fitness after church for a long run and a football game. Well, two football games. I kept switching back and forth between Jets/Falcons and Dolphins/Titans, four teams about which I don't care one way or the other. It was a much better distraction to watch the Packers last week. I admit, it feels a little indulgent to watch TV while running. But it does relieve the boredom of the treaded dreadmill.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Day 1023 -- Northfield

I'm not actually running through Northfield. I'm on highway 52, running 10 miles or so to the east. But Northfield is the home of not one, but two small liberal arts colleges, both with fantastic math programs. So I thought I'd better run by for a visit.

Above, you'll find the Old Music Building at St. Olaf College. That's the building pictured on their math department web page, so presumably that's where the math department offices are. Below, Carleton College shows the Center for Mathematics and Computing, which is more what you would expect on the math department page.

I did sleep in this morning, but then I went for a run at noon. It had warmed up to close to freezing, and we hadn't had any fresh snow, so I decided to pop out for and actual run on the city streets. I think that was my first outdoor run of December. With snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, it might be the last, too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Day 1022 -- Hampton

The Minnesota Country Mouse Folk Blog provides this picture of the Cambodian Buddhist Temple in Hampton, MN.

I did make my six miles this morning, on the dreadmill. I went out considerably slower than yesterday, and it was still kind of tough. I think I'd better take tomorrow off.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 1021 -- Coates

If you happen to need a dumpster from Alpha Container Service and Recycling in Coates, MN, you should know that they come in three sizes. They are, left to right, 30 cubic yards, 20 cubic yards, and 10 cubic yards. So you need to decide how much junk you have to throw away before you call.

I went back to Snap Fitness and their dreadmill this morning. I had ambition to run six miles, but I only made five. Perhaps tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Day 1020 -- Rosemount

Hey, what are all these skateboarders doing here? Oh, I guess one of them is Ian Sherman, whose home town is Rosemount, Minnesota, about where I am, now. I can't shake the feeling that I have been to a Rosemount before, but I'm too tired to look it up now.

I took yesterday off, because I was plenty sore after my two-hour run on Sunday. Then this morning I had an early exam, so I didn't run first thing. At noon, I slipped over to the gym on campus. Alas, they are tearing up the indoor track (for the second time in three years) so I had to do the treaded dreadmill there. Hmph! Oh, well, I did a quick three miles, then got back to grading.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 1019 -- St. Paul

I'm south of St. Paul, and heading south, but I thought I'd better stop in for another visit with Frank, the State Capitol Guy. I first met Frank in Trenton, NJ, back in January of 2006. I've visited him again in Harrisburg, Indianapolis, Topeka, Cheyenne, Denver (nearly), Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Salem, Helena (sort of), and Pierre. I want to point out that in the almost four years that I have known him, Frank has not added one single state capitol to his life list. I, on the other hand, have added eleven, at least virtually.

I had fun today. After church, I went to Snap Fitness. Each dreadmill there has its own private TV, so I watched the Packers/Bears game while getting in a long run. A long, long run. I ran from the middle of the first quarter till late in the fourth. In actual elapsed time, it was two hours, with a slight break halfway. It was fun. And the Packers won, so overall I'm pretty happy this afternoon. I should be grading, but I'm not. Which also makes me happy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day 1018 -- More Minneapolis

For anyone who has spent time in Minnesota, this is a familiar sight. No, not me--the road construction. The Twin Cities Daily Photo has a little complaint about the construction on 35 W. Complaining about road construction is another Minnesota tradition.

Speaking of complaining....yesterday I complained that the treaded dreadmill wasn't really running, and today I went right back. I didn't have much choice. The gym at the university is closed today because of the commencement ceremonies. So it was the dreadmill or nothing. Well, it was the dreadmill or running outside in sub-freezing weather over packed snow and ice. So it was the dreadmill. And you know what? It didn't feel easy compared to yesterday. So yesterday might have been a matter of being tired, rather than the track really being harder than the dreadmill. Or maybe I'm just becoming a wimp.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Days 1016 and 1017 -- Minneapolis

The World's Largest Collection of the Word's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things lists this as the World's Largest Spoon and Cherry. They do not, however, have a picture. They directed me to the web site of the Walker Art Center. Of course, there are pictures of this thing all over the web.

I'm sorry that I haven't checked in. I did take Wednesday off. The only exercise that I got was shoveling snow. Then Thursday, I did a quick 5K at Snap Fitness. This morning, I went to the actual gym, and ran laps. You know what? The treadmill is just not the same. It has been over a week since I ran, and I could feel the difference. I need to remember to get to the gym once in a while. Flapping your arms and legs on the treadmill feels like running, but it's not.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Day 1015 -- New Hope

From, Cooper High in New Hope.

Day 1015 was yesterday. I did five miles on the treaded dreadmill. Then last night the Packers were on Monday Night Football, so I was up late, and I skipped my run this morning. Tomorrow, we'll see. The Blizzard of '09 is bearing down upon the Midwest, and I may not even make it out of the house tomorrow.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Days 1013 and 1014 -- Maple Grove

This is cool. Maple Grove, Minnesota, made CNNMoney's list of the top 100 small cities in America. They are number 41. Two of my former homes are on the list. Ann Arbor is number 27, and Madison is number 89. I don't know what their criteria are, but I liked Madison more than Ann Arbor. Both are very nice. As, I'm sure, is Maple Grove.

I went to Snap Fitness both of the last two days. I did five miles yesterday morning, and five more today at noon. I'm still not fond of the treadmill, but I'm getting used to it. The noon run was OK, because I could actually watch a football game. Try that running outside.

This morning, we went to see the local High School's production of "Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory." The first Little Jogger was on the backstage crew. She enjoyed it, but I think she'll be glad that it's over. She's had some late nights this week. Tonight, she's at a cast party. Charlie Bucket's father happens to be the principal of the High School, and the part is at their house. I think we can probably trust them to keep the party under control. And since they live right around the corner, the First can walk home when she gets tired.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Days 1011 and 1012 -- Rogers

I'm away from my home computer, so you're going to have to imagine me running in front of the City Center Restaurant in Rogers, MN. I'm sure that the folks at Sabongi Consulting Group, which did the design for the remodeling, prefer not to have their artistic vision interrupted by a sweaty marathoner, anyway.

I ran a solid six miles yesterday, but didn't get a chance to blog it. I spent a lot of time last night proofreading my exams. Which I'm giving tonight. Right now. That's why I'm away from my home computer. I did also get in a quick three this morning.

We got our first snow today. It's been coming down lightly but steadily all day, and it's finally managed to build up to about a half an inch or so. It hadn't started early this morning, so it didn't interrupt my run. But it may do so tomorrow. Hello, Snap Fitness!