#156 – Election Day 5K

In theory, I was supposed to run this on Election Day, but I couldn’t pull myself away from the news of the day, so I ran this a couple of days after.

I set out after work, trying to clear my head of all the awful stuff I was seeing online and in the news — so much hateful rhetoric, from any side you can think of!  With the return to standard time, the sun sets much earlier, and I was gifted with a crisp day on which to take a slow, contemplative walk.

With music in my ears, I ambled down my regular course, and really looked at what was around me.  I stopped to pet an old dog that walks the neighborhood (Elvis is his name!), and chatted with his owner.  I continued on around the neighborhood, seeing the triplet deer that we’ve been watching most of this year, and watching the Canadian geese soaring overhead.

And, ya know what … I found a little peace.

Whatever we silly ol’ humans are doing with politics — and you can make your own call about the impact of that — nature remains.  I’ll still enjoy my quiet walks and runs through God’s glorious creation, and know that no matter what happens — ugly, awful, wonderful, righteous — it’s in His hands, and I’ll just keep on plodding along, one step at a time.

Race Course

#155 – Cancer Sucks 5K

I’m now within striking distance of my celebration of five years NED (No Evidence of Disease), which is a glorious thing.  Even as I revel in my wonderful outcome, there’s folks around me that aren’t so fortunate.

I belong to a running group called the Pathetic Runners.  It’s a fun crowd of folks from all over the country, always talking about running woes and successes.  I get a lot of inspiration from ’em.  The guy that spun it up, David Johndrow, is a real inspiration, and has written a book about his journey called ICU to Marathon: Diaries of a Nearly Dead Man.  It’s a funny and poignant read.

ICU to Marathon
ICU to Marathon

David’s fought cancer before, and is once again fighting, so he spun up this race as a fundraiser for several cancer charities.  Given my journey, I couldn’t help but support David in his.

So Thursday, I put on my running shoes, and headed out.

This was my 56th event this year, and was the first one since spring that felt terrific.  The weather was amazing, sitting in the mid-60s finally, and with another week-an-a-half off the trails, my legs felt really fresh.  I took my regular ol’ path on the sidewalks of the neighborhood, and didn’t really push too hard.

You might say I walked.  You might be right.  🙂

I’d been fighting a cold since we got back from the cruise, and had a slight injury on top of my right foot — the likely cause being the big ol’ feet of a certain “little” hundred pound dainty flower of a dog named Roxy.  I didn’t wanna do anything to jeopardize my races in Tulsa in a couple of weeks, so I just ambled along at my pace, enjoying the great weather, the color of the leaves and trees, and thinking about how fortunate I am that my cancer diagnosis and treatment had such a happy ending.

I really am blessed to have had the support of family and friends as I fought my fight.  And sure, my fight was nowhere near as tough as some that other folks have to endure — and I totally get that.  I was lucky, and each day, each step, is a blessing and a gift.  I never loose sight of that.

This event benefitted ZERO Cancer, Hope for Young Adults with Cancer, PanCan, and the Melanoma Foundation of New England.

Race Course

Route 66 Blogger’s Forum

Route 66 announced it today… I’m on the Blogger’s Forum panel again this year — woot!

I did this last year, and met some wonderful folks.  It was cool to just kick back, and talk running and blogging for a little while.  It helped settle my nerves before embarking on my first half marathon, and I really needed it then!

This year, Friday evening (November 18th), from 5pm to 6pm, I’ll be at Cox Center in Tulsa, talking with other running bloggers, spilling all my racing secrets.  (OK, I don’t have any real secrets, but it’s still a fun time!)

I’ll also be volunteering from 2-4pm on Friday at the FanZone.  Find me, and we’ll make some great signs!!!!

If I hear about about any live broadcasting of my panel appearance, I’ll update this post.

Tulsa is getting very, very, very real!!!

What Mad Universe!

In the mid-50’s, Frederic Brown wrote a novel titled What Mad Universe.  In it, our protagonist, a science fiction editor, becomes the victim of a shift left logical event that lands him in a familiar, but not altogether sane alternate reality.  Our editor eventually saves the world, which is not an unexpected result.

In my mad universe, I’m running.

The non-alternate-reality me would say Really?  You’re running?  Well, yeah, I am… and at times, it’s overwhelming.

It’s just over two weeks away from the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa — my second half marathon, and a race I said I’d never run again, and a distance I said I’d never do again.  I was “one on done” with half marathons.  In fact, if you look at the finish photo of me crossing the finish line in Tulsa last year, it’s like some photo for the loneliest runner.  I was spent, and walking slowly across the line, ready for the day to be over.

And yet, here I sit, listening to the eighteen hours of music on my running playlist, overwhelmed by the thought that in just about two weeks, I will finish this race and distance once again, with high hopes to clobber my time from last year.  (We’ll see how that goes!)

In Star Trek IV, Kirk quips, “May fortune favor the foolish.”  Who, other than a fool, would not only chase a half marathon they said they wouldn’t ever do again, but use that one as an excuse to sign up for more of ’em?

Enter this fool.

Last year, at the Route 66 event, I won an entry into the Mississippi River Half Marathon in February.  And after doing the math, I realized that the MS River event and Route 66 were less than 90 days apart.  That’s significant.

Why?  Well, there’s this running group out there called the Half Fanatics, who celebrate running half marathons all over the place.  But, it’s not just a running group for which you sign up… you have to earn your way in.  There are loads of ways to do that, and they range from the just plain crazy to the man, you should be locked away somewhere.  For me, my path of lunacy was three half marathons inside 90 days.

So, you see the problem, right?  A challenge, a calendar, and bookend races for completing this big challenge.

That put me on a quest for a half marathon that was close to Da Lou, and somewhere in between those two races.  I found that race — the Run For The Ranch in Springfield MO on New Year’s Eve.  It’s definitely close, but this isn’t going to be an optimal race for me… it’s laps.

I loathe laps, but this race only has four, so it’s not too traumatic, and frankly, feeds pretty well into my mindset around the half marathon distance.  I try to think of a half marathon as four 5K races, with a little bonus kilometer at the end.  That keeps it sane, and keeps me from thinking just how far that distance is.  This maps pretty well to that view, so I think that’ll be a good thing.  And, they have a six hour cutoff.  That’s well within my ability, even if I have to loaf.

And you’d think I’d be done, right?  Well, not so fast…

I’ve given a lot of props to the Moon Joggers virtual running outfit over the last couple of years, and have run a ton of their events.  The people are fun, and I’ve had a hoot getting to know them virtually.  Earlier this year, they talked about setting up an “in person” gathering of the group at some event somewhere.  Well they did, so…

Yesterday, I signed up for the American Fork Canyon Run Against Cancer.  Yep, I’m running down a canyon road in Utah in June 2017.

This is supposed to be a beautiful race, with loads of support, a cutoff time that oughta be right in my wheelhouse, and a chance to run some really fast miles since the course is essentially all downhill. How downhill is it, you might ask.  Well, it looks like this:

I’ll admit that I gasp just a little every time I think about this race, and what I’m setting out to do.  But I’ll tell ya, half the battle is actually clicking “submit” on the race entry web page, and that’s the harder half to me.  Now that I’m committed, it’s just a thing, and like so many “things” over the last five years, I’ll nail this one, too.

What mad universe, indeed!  🙂

#154 – Go! Halloween 5K

With the onset of fall, it’s time for autumnal races to begin, and that means the Go! Halloween 5K gets a turn on my calendar.

After Saturday’s Midwest Jeepthing event at Moonlight Racing, I was pretty dang sore, and wasn’t entirely convinced I’d get up on Sunday for this race.  The race began at 7am, so I had to get up at 4:30am to drive to the Metrolink station in Brentwood, where I’d catch a train into downtown.  That was seriously early, and when I went to bed last night, I wasn’t sure I’d have it in me.

When the alarm went off, I rolled out of bed, threw on Flat Colin, and motored toward the train… after a stop at Dunkin Donuts for some coffee and Munchkins!

Beers on Wheels
Beers on Wheels

I got to the race site, early of course, and wandered around.  Kaldi’s was there with free coffee, and three food trucks were setting up in the shadow of a double decker mobile bierhaus.  It was a glorious fall pre-dawn, and I was waking up and ready to run.

And then we waited.  And waited.


I don’t know what happened, but we kicked off twenty minutes late, and when we did finally begin, we started the race with a hard right turn.  For some reason, the race folks had to change the course unexpectedly right at race time, which meant they had to move the start line timing mats to the new start line.   The horn sounded, and 1500 of us turned on a dime  and were off to the races.

Two Medals!
Two Medals!

Surprisingly, I found a fair amount of mojo, and ran a pretty good race.  The course was flatter than last year, and was really pretty enjoyable, and without hills to fight, I made good time.  And, I got a bonus medal for completing the Triple 5K Challenge.  (The Go! in April and All-American in June were the other two legs.)  I love working on multi-race challenges like this, and I was thrilled to get the extra medal for my labors.

This was also the first race I’d run in three weeks.  I suspect the time off helped my body do some recovery I didn’t know I needed.  No matter why, it was a great race, I had a ball, and I’ve got more hardware for the wall!  🙂

Race Course

#153 – Mo’ Cowbell 5k

5kmYesterday was my fourth running in the Mo’ Cowbell in St. Charles (last year’s race was EIGHTY-SEVEN races ago!!!).  This race is a favorite of mine for a lot of reasons.

It’s flat.  It’s fun.  It’s fast.  So there.  🙂

I got up super early, got my usual breakfast (half an English muffin, toasted, with peanut butter), stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a cuppa joe, and headed toward St. Charles.  There’s always a ton of traffic on I-70 dropping into St. Chuck for this race, but I’ve learned some back ways to scoot in, so I had little traffic to deal with.  Part of that is that I also elect to park at Ameristar, and walk a mile to the race site.  It’s a great warm up before the race, and cool down afterward.

This year, the weather was amazing, right at 60° at the start of the race.  The last three years, it’s been much cooler, prompting longer sleeves and legs.  This year, it was shorts and a running shirt, which is ideal for me!

Like previous years, the event kicked off with “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, and 5000 of us clanging our cowbells in rhythm (more or less!).  It’s a sight not to be missed!

The marathoners kicked off at 7:30am, and while I knew a couple of folks in the throng — one of whom ran his first-ever marathon this weekend! — I didn’t see any one I recognized.  I cheered ’em on, and waited for our 5K to start at 8:00am.

It came quick enough, and I got on course at my running pace.  The first hill (and really, the only hill of any significance) came about half a kilometer in, and I chugged right up it, slowing to a walk to catch my breath a bit at the top.  I remember thinking how quickly we’d gotten to the hill.  And that was the theme throughout the whole race.  I don’t know if it’s my comfort with this distance or this race, but either way, the race seemed to fly by.

Not Quite Flying
Not Quite Flying

I got out on the street, headed toward the turnaround, and saw a co-worker on the way back in from the turnaround.  A quick high-five, and I was left to my race again.  After making the turnaround, we headed for the Katy Trail, paralleling the river.  I enjoy this part of the race, as it’s crushed limestone, so a little easier on the knees, but it’s also beautiful, with loads of trees around.

Soon enough, I could see the finish line, and like I’ve done lately, I’ve tried to be photogenic, and kick in some hustle for the finish line photographers.  While I didn’t have a “flying” shot this race, I came pretty close.

And I did pretty well in the race.  Last year, I was a skosh over 45min (a PR for me at the time), and this year, I was a skosh under 50min.  That’s kinda my bar for a “good race” anymore, and I was pleased to just be under it.  Yeah, there were places I coulda run more, and added a little speed, but it was wonderful to just go out, and enjoy the surroundings, the nice weather, and commune with so many other runners!

This race benefitted the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Charles County.

Race Course

#152 – Run Long and Prosper 5k

I hate running in the summer.  It’s too hot, and I melt.  That’s been well-documented here.

Ordinarily, our weather indicator here in Da Lou flips from summer to fall during Jeepstock weekend.  However, that didn’t happen this year.  In fact, summer held on for another week, with highs well into the 90s and heat indices approaching 100°.  Not exactly running weather for your intrepid author.

Sunday night, however, the weather changed, and suddenly, our temps dropped by about twenty degrees, settling the Midwest into fall.  With the busyness of the work week, last night was the first night I’d been able to get out since fall fell.

When I headed out, it was cloudy, with occasional breaks that let the sun shine through.  Temps were in the mid-60s, and the wind was blowing.  Perfect shorts and t-shirt weather for me!

This was the first time I’d been on the path in two weeks, and while I could feel the stiffness in my joints that comes with extended spans of not running, the lack of blazing sun and scorching temps made last night’s trek (get it?) so very easy.  With fall firmly in place (I hope), I certainly expect that I’ll have more runs in the books over the next few months.

And I need to, as I have some long races coming up.  I’ve signed up for the Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa (November), Mississippi River Half Marathon on the Mississippi/Arkansas border (February), and Gasparilla 15k/8k in Tampa (February).  And, I’m looking for another half to do somewhere between Route 66 and the Mississippi River half.  So, why would I do that?  Well, I have a desire to join a group called the Half Fanatics, and membership is gained through running a number of half marathons across a span of time.  For me, it’s three halfs in ninety days.  We’ll see what happens there.

So, welcome back fall!  I’ve definitely missed you, and look forward to enjoying your cool, wet weather over the next few months!

This event benefitted the Space Camp General Scholarship Fund.

Race Course

#151 – We Shall Never Forget 5k

On what my mother would call a “bluebird day”, reminiscent of another one fifteen years ago, I ran today in memory of all that was lost on that terrible day.

As I ran, I thought about those that were lost, those left behind, and all the aftermath of that awful morning.  I thought about where I was when it happened, and how I’ve marked Patriot’s Day ever since.

I ran a meter for each soul lost, and I ran some extra, because sometimes that’s what you need to do.

Hug your family today.  Revel in your life.  Thank God for your blessings.  And thank Him for this great country.

Race Course

#150 – Star Trek 50th Anniversary 5k

Yesterday was the Golden Anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek, and I could think of no better way to celebrate than running.

Trek was a huge part of my childhood.  I don’t remember watching it during it’s run on NBC, but by the time the animated series began in 1973, I was already a huge Star Trek fan.  This was due, in large part, to James Blish’s short story adaptations of the original series episodes.  I’d gobble those up as soon as they hit the spinning book stand at the 7-11 I’d walk to.

The first episodes of Star Trek that I can remember watching were in Florida.  My grandparents lived on a little island west of Ft. Myers, and when se’d visit, we’d turn the antenna toward Tampa, and watch Trek in syndication from there.  I even recorded the audio with a little cassette recorder, holding the microphone up to the speaker, so I could listen to a few episodes over and over.  Because of that, there were a few episodes I could almost quote, word for word.

When I was approaching my teens, WTVC in Chattanooga started showing the original episodes, and finally I was able to watch episodes on my own turf.  The rest, as they say, is history… multiple television series, movies and books later, and I’m still a fan.

So yesterday, on the Golden Anniversary of it’s first airing, I tackled the 50th Anniversary 5k.  It was a day filled with rain, keeping the temperatures down.  I went out shortly after work, and after the rain.  Despite the heavy clouds, the humidity started to really climb as the rainfall evaporated.  With temps in the low 70s, it was still pretty easy to run, so run I did, putting another 3¼ miles in the books.

This event benefitted the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Race Course

The Nano-Octagon

Well, the spambots are at it again (as they always are!), and once again, I’ve selected what appears to be a real-human-at-the-helm spambot delivered email to respond to.

Stephanie McGlauflin, from Funding Fastlane, dropped me a note to offer some funding for my business, presumable Canapeel, since that’s where it was sent.  I’m still not entirely sure I understand how folks are coming to think this is a business, but for now, that’s creating some entertainment opportunities for me!

Steph sent a note on Tuesday (click to enlarge):

And since I didn’t respond fast enough, just about 28 hours later, I got another prompt from Steph (click to enlarge):

I guess she was truly concerned about me!  I hate to let someone that concerned about me go without a response, so I put my hands on the keyboard, and replied as only I might.

Hi Stephanie (Steph?) —

Thanks for the follow-up! I don’t know how I missed your email, but I’m sure it had something to do with the heat generated by My Industry. You see, the heat affects the wi-fi inside My Industry’s building, and, well, that leads to missing emails from folks! I also can’t play PokemonGo on My Industry’s factory floor, which is a bummer. I mean, if you can’t collect ‘em inside My Industry, you can’t collect ‘em all!

Fifty millimeters of funding in My Industry? Jeepers! I had no idea that the size of My Industry was so vast! I mean, 50mm is about two inches, right? That’s just about enough space for a nanobot-scale Battlebots arena, something My Industry has a certain amount of “guilty pleasure” interest in. I mean, who doesn’t love watching itty-bitty robots duking it out in the tiny octagon for their human overlords? You can’t find that kinda devotion just anywhere. To that I say, “Domo arigato, nano-roboto!”

Aside from the metric nano-scale funding for My Industry, I appreciate your offer of capitol for My Industry. My Industry has long held that we need an extra capitol, just in case. I mean, what if Hurricane Sandy had gone a little more east, and our primary capitol in Washington was swept away … or worse, covered in barnacles from all the sea water! Having a spare capitol would be an ideal thing, and likely keep us afloat (get it?) until Washington was dried out, fumigated (think of the dead sea creatures!!!) and made respectable to host state dinner parties again. Of course, we could just build a wall around our capitol to keep the water out, and that might keep us from needing a backup capitol, but that’s probably getting too far into politics. Think about it… What would the 49 states (I count Virginia and West Virginia as one state) think if suddenly there was a wall separating them from a lowly district? I’m sure it wouldn’t go well. Then again, given what happens in Washington, maybe it would! Am I right?

My Industry is pretty secretive about how long it’s been around, but I’m not sure how that relates to how fast it spins. You mention something about 15k revolutions a month. That’s a lot of spinning! If I take into account the spin of the Earth on its axis (about 30 spins in a month), the spin of the Earth around the Sun (about 1/12th of a revolution in a month), and the spin of the Sun around the galactic center of the Milky Way (an infinitesimal amount of spin in a month’s time), I come up with being just about 14,969 full spins short of 15k/month. Now, my desk chair can spin, so if I do the math… that’s about 500 spins in my chair daily (assuming an average month — stupid February!), or about 62 spins an hour during my industry’s normal workday. That’s assuming that My Industry is busy seven days a week — and we are! After all, someone’s gotta feed the nanobots and train them for their bouts in the octagon, and that’s a daily mission.

Further extending that math, 15,000 revolutions per month yields about 50 millimeters of growth for My Industry. So, if we suddenly had a need for a second nano-octagon, it stands to reason that I could set up a second chair, and have someone else spin around in it each day to gain another 50 millimeters of growth. It’s not hard to see that My Industry could build a whole army of nanobots, spinning in nanochairs, fueling the growth of more nano-octagons to create the world’s tiniest largest nano-dojo for the training of nanobots in all the skills they’d need to please the human overlords of My Industry. What a thrilling dream!!!

Since My Industry is really focused on nanobot fighting machines, the only real outcome from our work is spare micro-parts, snipped off loser nanobots in the micro-heat of micro-battle. To be honest, I’m not sure what My Industry would do with a sudden influx of one-to-two times the number of itty bitty damaged robo-arms and robo-legs. I mean, we have a janitor-nanobot, Rufus, who sweeps up the nano-octagon after the nanobot battles, but I just can’t see paying him the overtime to sweep up even more damaged itty-bitty-bot-body-bits. Unless, of course, you’re talking about sending intact, ready-to-fight-ready-to-die nanobots that can enter the octagon for the pleasure of us human overlords, as we really enjoy watching them whack each other to pieces. In that case, you have My Industry’s attention!

Sadly, I think My Industry’s lust for nanobot fighting is likely singular, and not really ready to come out of its teency-weency shadows at this time. If we can get this country past its nano-robo-stigma, the world will be a better place, and My Industry will conquer the world!

’Til then, I believe My Indsutry’s itty-bitty-Italian-stallions will be limited to the dark nano-back-alleys and nano-gin-joints, where they’ll conquer the world, one nano-fight at a time.

Have a super itty-bitty Thursday!

Your pal,
CFO (Chief Fighting Overlord)
My Industry

P.S. Do nanobots dream of electric nano-sheep?

P.P.S. I suppose that last post scriptum implies some religious and philosophical overtones about the sentience of nanobots. I can assure you, we have a tried and true process to exorcise the soul from any nanobot used in the nano-octagon. Having a nano-conscience gets in the way of the nano-robo-mayhem, and that just doesn’t make for good nano-entertainment. We ensconce our nanobots in a cube farm, taking tech support calls and sending out bulk emails to unsuspecting businesses in order to drive out any soul our nanobots may have acquired during their robo-studies. I mean, cube farms are described as soul-sucking, so My Industry figured that’s the best way to get rid of that pesky soul.

P.P.P.S. Except the Godfather of Soul. All our nanobots have a healthy reverence for James Brown. They even jump back and kiss themselves. It’s part of their basic programming.

P.P.P.P.S. But not David Soul. There was a dubious flirtation with David Soul back in the 70s, but the nanobots pretty much got over it after Starsky and Hutch went off the air in 1979. However, we still carry a line of Zebra Three nanobots, a leftover tribute to that adolescent dalliance.

I have no idea what the response will be, but it could be microscopically epic!

can·a·peel (noun) ˈkan-ə-pēl – A meal with a lot of variety, where each participant finds and cooks their own food.