Monday, May 31, 2010

Jogger's Progress

Time48 days, 10 hrs, 38 min
5 days, 15 hrs, 37 mins

I wasn't sure how to count yesterday's run. I had neither an official distance nor an official time. And I walked quite a bit. I've been counting walking time that comes as part of a run, but not walks with the dog, for example.

Eventually, I decided to count 13.1 miles in 2:30. I remember that the 5 hour pace group passed me right at the halfway mark, and I looked at my watch and realized that they were right on pace (the bastards!) Since I mostly walked after that point, I'll just let it go, at least as far as progress is concerned.

You'll note that the countdown clock to the left has been updated to count down to the Lakefront Marathon, in Milwaukee. I'm already signed up. And I have something to prove, now.

I think that today will be the worst day, in terms of feeling bad about the Madison Marathon. I didn't get to run, I'm tired and sore, and I got nothing to show for it. No medal, and a t-shirt I don't want to wear.

Tomorrow, I'm going to go out and start training for Lakefront.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


For those of you not up on your racing acronyms, DNF stands for Did Not Finish.

I gamely ran with the 4:45 pace group for eight or nine miles. I was feeling OK, but getting too hot. There in the ninth mile, we hit a long uphill stretch with no shade, and I let the pace group go. I still felt OK. 4:45 would have been a PR (Personal Record), and it was definitely not a PR type of day.

I ran and walked for the next six or eight miles. I remember trying to see if I could run a mile from the mile 16 marker to the mile 17 marker. I didn't make it. Long about then was when they brought out the red flags. "Slow down / consider stopping. Timing of the event is stopped and no awards are given after a red flag. Follow event official instruction. Medical remains on course and at aid stations."

At mile 19, I called Mrs. J and told her I thought I could walk the last seven, but it was going to take me a while. Right about mile 20, the course crosses East Washington Avenue, which runs straight into the capitol square, where I was parked. I walked off the course, and never looked back. Of course, I was further out from the capitol than I supposed, so I had another mile or so walk or so to get to the van. Total, I covered maybe 21 miles, with maybe 13 or 14 of it running.

So, no medal for me today. I'm disappointed, but I'm trying to keep it in perspective. As disasters go, it could be a whole lot worse. And I'm in good company. Bill Rodgers and I, combined, have won four Boston Marathons and four New York Marathons. (OK, all eight are his.) We have also racked up eight marathon DNFs. Seven are his. (Rationalization blatantly stolen from Bob Schwartz.)

As of today, I have officially quit running forever and ever and ever. Check in to tomorrow, to see if I still feel that way.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

I think I'm doomed....

I had to go to Madison today to pick up my race number. We decided to make a day of it. So about 9:30, I'm getting stuff in the van, running up and down the stairs, and thinking, "Gee, I'm kind of tired. And sweaty. And tomorrow at this time, I'll be halfway through my run." Oh, joy.

So, we went to Madison, and stood around in the heat at the World's Largest Brat Fest. Then we went and walked around in the heat at the Henry Vilas Zoo. So now I'm tired, cranky, and I have to run a marathon tomorrow. Predicted temperature at start time: 67. Predicted temperature at noon, when I might be finished: 84. What in the world was I thinking when I signed up for this?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 1142 -- Kawkawlin

The Turkey Roost, in Kawkawlin, MI, was reviewed (sorta) by Luna Pier Cook in They liked it.

I did run this morning. It started out warm, but not too humid. I could certainly run four miles in it. Twenty-six miles is another story all together. But I'd better be prepared, because they are still predicting mostly sunny, with a high of 87 and a low of 60.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Got up. Went. Rode.

I went for a bike ride this morning. I figured that was a way to get in some exercise without putting any extra strain on my knee. I think that it worked out pretty well. I rode about 11 miles in about an hour, and my knee hasn't been bothering me much today. I'm still unsure whether to try to go for an easy run tomorrow.

The weather was cooler and less humid, which helped. The forecast for Sunday is now mostly sunny, high of 86, low of 62. Not good. But if the humidity isn't too high, I may just pull off a DD.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day off

My left knee is giving me just a little pain. I felt it on Sunday, and then again yesterday morning, and I've been feeling it on and off since yesterday morning. Not a big deal, but not what you want to worry about going into a marathon. So I took today off, and I might take another day off, depending on how it feels tomorrow. At this point, I need a healthy knee more than I need any more running.

Forecast for Sunday: sunny, low of 62, high of 85. At this point, it's pretty clear that they have made a pretty good prediction. I just don't know which of the many predictions they've made is going to prove to be a pretty good one.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 1141 -- Linwood

The other day, when I posted a picture of the big mouse with the big cheese, Uncle Not A accused me of being lost and back in Wisconsin. Today's photo, of a giant cow in Linwood, isn't going to do much to reassure him. What can I say, Uncle? This is apparently a very dairyish part of Michigan.

After taking yesterday off, I ran a short tempo run this morning. It was still hot and humid. Ugh. The forecast for Sunday is now mostly sunny, low of 55, high of 86. Going the wrong direction. The marathon just sent out an e-mail that predicted low humidity, but I imagine that's just wishful thinking.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 1140 -- Pinconning (Update!)

This mouse, from The Cheese Shop in Pinconning, looks very familiar. His twin lived in a little town not far from here. His name was Igor. Don't believe me? Here's Igor:

OK, "twin" might have been an exaggeration. But they clearly have some of the same mouse genes. Last time I looked, Igor had retired, unless they were just getting him refurbished, and now he's back. Or perhaps they were painting him brown and shipping him to Pinconning.

Mother nature did me a favor this morning by helping me to acclimate to the heat. It was pushing 70 when I walked out the door at 6:00, and 10 miles later, I was pretty sweaty. But it's almost certainly going to be that warm by noon next Sunday, and I am certainly going to have run more than twice as far. So today, I officially changed my marathon goal from Personal Record (PR) to Don't Die (DD). If I get a DD, I'm going to be happy.

The forecast: Mostly sunny, low of 58, high of 78. A bit better than yesterday, but still not fun.

Mrs. Jogger tells me that when she drove by the other day, Igor was back in place.

The updated forecast for the weekend: Partly cloudy, low of 56, high of 73. Do you get the feeling that this isn't an exact science?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 1139 -- Standish

This story from, is interesting. What I find interesting is that they are actually talking about closing the maximum security prison in Standish. I didn't realize that any prisons in America were in danger of closing. I hadn't heard that we had stopped locking people up. Anyway, the people in Standish aren't happy, because closing the prison will mean a lot of lost jobs. So they are having a candle-light vigil to save the prison. Wait, the article is from last June. So they had a candle-light vigil to save the prison. I don't know how it came out.

I had a nice easy run this morning. Just four miles. Still nice weather. A bit foggy, but nice and cool.

The forecast for next Sunday: Isolated thunderstorms, low of 61, high of 82. Yuck. Even worse than it was.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 1138 -- Sterling

The Sterling Sportsmen's Associations has a six point mission statement on their front page:
1. To further and advance the cause of the environment and conservation in all its phases.
2. To eliminate pollution through education and action.
3. To encourage and promote the proper management of all natural resources, fish, game, minerals, air, water, forest and land in the State of Michigan.
4. Recognizing as a valid management tool, the harvesting, through legal means and use of surplus wildlife and other renewable resources.
5. To protect and defend the right of our citizens to own, keep and bear arms.
6. To inform and educate the public, especially the youth, in true sportsmanship, safe and proper use of firearms and archery equipment as prescribed by the State of Michigan and the National Rifle Association (N.R.A.)

I'm not going to argue with them. They're armed.

Yesterday, the weather was simply beautiful for a morning run. So I rolled over and went back to bed, and never got a chance to run later. This morning, it was spitting rain, but I knew I couldn't skip two days in a row, so I just ran. It wasn't too bad.

Speaking of weather, May 30 has just hove into view on the 10-day forecast. Partly cloudy, low of 59, high of 81. I hope that's wrong. More clouds, cooler weather would be preferred. Well, hoping it's cooler will have the exact same effect as hoping it's even hotter. It's gonna do what it's gonna do.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 1137 -- Alger

Alger, Michigan, is a little town on I-75 between West Branch and Sterling. I googled it, and I got this lovely picture of Wagner Falls, in Alger County. OK, one small problem. Alger isn't in Alger County, which is in the Upper Peninsula. Sue me.

I slept in this morning, then went for a run at noon. It was good, but hot. Well, hotter than I'm used to. Mid seventies isn't exactly blazing, but it was probably the warmest temperature I've run in all year. I was fine for five miles or so, but then I started to slow down. I should have toted a water bottle with me. I got pretty dehydrated.

I realize that it is quite likely to be in the mid seventies by the end of the marathon in Madison in eleven days. I just have to hope that I can handle it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 1136 -- Skidway Lake

This sign, from, was one of the top Google Images for Skidway Lake, Michigan. I have no idea what the story is. I never touched their turkey. I'm innocent, I tell you!

I took yesterday off, and ran a nice tempo run this morning. I'm starting to taper off for the marathon. My daily mileage will keep getting lighter for the next two weeks, until May 30, when it will suddenly get heavier.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 1135 -- West Branch

From InfoMI, a picture of downtown West Branch in the Spring.

Sixteen miles today took me past West Branch, but no reason not to stop for a spell. It was another nice morning for a run. Cool but not cold, no rain, and only a light wind. I was a little tired after actually racing yesterday, but I still managed to do the last 12 miles at my goal pace for the marathon. And that will be my longest run for the next two weeks, until M-Day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 1134 -- Pointers Hill

I'm about ten miles west of West Branch, Michigan, and the map shows a "Pointers Hill". Not a town named Pointers Hill, but a hill named Pointers Hill. Searching for it on Google images, I managed to find the Pointer Hill Saddlery, with a West Branch address. Maybe it's out this way, or maybe not.

Today was the second Family Fitness Fun Run organized by the local public schools. It wasn't a really big race. Just a friendly 5K. I certainly didn't try to set the world on fire, but I still came within 13 seconds of my time at the same race last year. It was a great day for it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 1133 -- St. Helen

Hope Lutheran Church in St. Helen, Michigan.

I ran an easy six this morning. It was a little cool, but no rain.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 1132 -- Marl Lake

I don't get a chance to do much trail running. There just aren't trails around here. I gather that it's a different experience. You have to concentrate more on the terrain. If I ever make it to central Michigan IRL, I'll definitely check for running trails. This photo of a trail near Marl Lake is from there.

This morning's run was a bit of an adventure. I slept in, planning to go to the gym. When I walked outside, it was barely raining at all, and I thought maybe I should just skip the gym and go for a run. But I was already mentally geared up for the gym, and I had my old shoes on with my running shoes in a bag, and I thought I'd just go ahead. What the heck!

I got to the gym, and it turns out the indoor track is closed. They closed on Tuesday of this week for construction. I knew it was coming. They've been working on an addition to the gym all year, and I knew they were going to have to close the track to work on it. I just didn't know it was this week.

So I stood in line for a minute or two, contemplating the treaded dreadmill, and then I decided to heck with that. So I went outside to run. At which point, the rain picked up. Oh, well, I don't seem to have melted.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 1131 -- Roscommon

From, a photo of the Roscommon Cinema in Roscommon, Michigan. The site bills itself as "The Best of Michigan, Past and Present!" So, in addition to this photo, they have a photo of the theatre from when it was The Strand, back in the 40's.

A very easy four today. Still cool and windy, but at least no more rain. Well, not this morning. It has been raining again this evening, and promises to rain in the morning. Maybe I'll go to the gym.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 1130 -- Higgins Lake

From (and isn't that a cool URL?), the Hideout at Higgins Lake.

Mother Nature apparently reads my blog, and decided to show me this morning what could be worse than heat. Try cold rain and a steady wind. Yuck. But I had a good run. My main goal for the next three weeks is not to get injured, and I accomplished that.

Tomorrow is the final in calculus, and the final for the Modern Algebra course is Friday. And then I'm free for the summer! Yea!

Monday, May 10, 2010


OK, I'm worried about the weather.

We've had a reasonably cool spring. Yesterday morning was just about perfect for a run. We actually got a bit of frost overnight. When I left the house at around 5:00 am, it was still in the low 30's. By the time I was finished, it was low 50's, at best.

So what am I going to do if the next three weeks usher in summer? It's hard enough to run in the heat, but it's twice as bad if you aren't acclimated. If May 30th dawns 68 degrees, and quickly heats up to the 90's, I'll be lucky to finish, never mind run a good time.

I guess I just have to find something to worry about!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Day 1129 -- Grayling

For my last really long run before the marathon, I ran....25.5 miles. That's my longest non-marathon run ever. In fact, considering that I walked a considerable amount of all three of my marathons, I would say that I ran today more than I've ever run in one day. I did only my scheduled walk breaks, 100 to 200 yards every three miles. I feel great. In terms of time, I finished in 4 hours and 40 minutes, just about my time goal for the marathon in three weeks. So in three weeks I need to pick up the pace just enough to squeeze in 0.7 more miles in the same time. And no more. If I try to pick up the pace any more than that, I'll blow myself out, and end up walking.

I feel really, really good about today's run, and I can't wait to get out there and run the real thing. OK, I can wait a bit. At least until I can actually walk again.

Today's photo comes from The Agility Nut, who has pages and pages of wonderful old movie theaters.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Day 1127 -- More Gaylord

I ran through Gaylord today, as you can see from this shot, taken live on location. OK, not taken live on location. Taken some time ago by the good people at But it looks like a nice little town.

I slept in this morning. Just couldn't drag myself out of bed. But I came home in the afternoon and did five and a half, in a light drizzle. It felt good. There's a lot to be said for an afternoon run. It helps me to unwind after a long day. But I don't usually have time. And there's so much traffic! In the morning, I'm lucky if I see two cars moving at once. In the afternoon, I have to constantly wait for traffic. Well, maybe not constantly. But several times.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Day 1126 -- Gaylord

Still a few miles north of Gaylord, but I didn't think I could resist visiting the Call of the Wild Museum of Natural History. I mean, just look at it! The picture, by the way, is from a Flikr stream from someone posting as "Vintage Roadside".

I had a nice semi-tough run today. Almost seven miles, and six uphill "sprints". The scare quotes are there because me sprinting uphill is somewhat slower than molasses on a cold January day. But it was still good workout for my legs and lungs.

The semester is arriving at a crescendo. Tomorrow is the last day of classes, and then finals are next week. It's been a good semester, but I'll be glad when it's over.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Days 1123 to 1126 -- Vanderbilt

On Friday night, lightning struck the house next door. It apparently fried several major appliances in their house. And our DSL modem. It is now a coaster. So, I had to get a new DSL modem. I got that hooked up, and got the desktop to connect to the internet, but I just couldn't get the wireless router to work. I eventually decided that it was dead, too, and got a new router. Which somehow didn't work quite right. I went through a period where my laptop could connect to the wireless network, but couldn't actually see the internet. And, of course, I had to go off to work, instead of spending full time trying to get the system to work.

All this is to explain why I haven't blogged since Friday. I have had sporadic internet connection at home, and of course full access at work, but I haven't been able to hook the laptop into the internet before tonight.

Rest assured, I have been running. I have run four of the first five days of May (with Monday being a scheduled day off) and have covered 32 miles, including almost 15 on Sunday.

And I've made it to Vanderbilt, where this lovely beach can be found, according to You can rent a chalet near this beach starting at $1050 weekly.

I hope to be back to regular posting tomorrow.