Saturday, June 27, 2015

Running ( and Biking) With Butterflies.

red-admiralSo it has been a week since the big Marathon..and Cheryl is still in recovery mode.  It makes sense!  Most of her Books suggest taking an entire Month off of running.  But Cheryl does not want to let a good thing go..and is quite stubborn.  I guess that is what happens when you have a “Good Time” after a long time without one.   ( pretty much 2000-20010!)  Gotta Chase That Feelin’!Group of Red Admirable

So this morning,  we decided to try a “short” long run at the usual place.  By short, I mean 12 miles! 

We Prepared this time for the swarms of black flies that were inevitably waiting for us there.   Luckily,  there are some places in the US that still sell DEET in a spray can.   ( And just when you thought environmentalism had ruined EVERYTHING!) Mourning Cloak Deet is great ( take THAT Rachael Carson!)  Because it KILLS BITING INSECTS that land on you….not simply keep them away…but KILLS!   And is NOT dangerous to humans.  I could continue on the bad rap that DDT got back in the ‘70’s, but that is another post.   In the mean time, let’s just say the Bugs were suppressed for this morning’s run and we do not look like we are small pox survivors.Summer Azure

But slightly better than that….The BUTTERFLIES are out and blooming.  It has been about 10 years since I have seen an abundance of Red Admirables.  When we first arrived in Iowa back in 2010, there was a huge population of SulfursCluster of Sulfurs  and Buckeyes floating around.   But Red Admirables are one of my favorite butters and there was one year in Grand Haven where there seemed to be a population explosion!   It was only for one year….But for that one year, it was a simple matter to see hundreds on your afternoon walks.Question Mark

Well,  that is what it is like here in Wellman at the moment.   There are other butterflies as well,   Question marks,  Mourning Cloaks,  Summer Azures, and Variegated Fritillary's all join the pallet of colors.   It is like being in the butterfly garden in Michigan State….Or back by Maple River ( another great butterfly viewing area)  Fritillary

So, as of now, Cheryl is looking up her next Marathon.  Possibly in the Twin Cities…or in Omaha.   Maybe even both.  Summer Azure

I’m currently scoring PARRC and we are still on the SAT project…making it a fun week of reading papers.  I guess it is not all bad….since we need the money after all.   And employment beats unemployment when it comes to paying bills. 

Question MarkSo..if you liv e in Iowa,   Take a walk along a country road and see if you can find the Red Admirables in your area.   They are a sight to behold in large numbers!        

Monday, June 22, 2015

I'll Be Seeing You

What can I say? I Love Old songs sung by Male Choirs.  This one is: I'll  Be Seeing You performed by The Vocal Majority.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Day After, When the Spell Wears Off….

mice-and-pumpkin     So,  the Marathon is over and now we turn back into a DSC_1317pumpkin and cluster of mice.   It was a wonderful moment while it lasted…but sadly…it is over..( until next time!)

So, as a final reminder, I snapped some parting pics of the lodge where we stayed.   If my Brother reads this…he will note it looks VERY similar to a lodge we both knew in Alaska.   He would not be wrong….There were very many Deje’vu moments.  DSC_1319( spelling?   Thanks spell check!)   The breakfast was a “traditional” Scandinavian breakfast….Which I guess means that there was pickled herring and beets on the menu.  I guess those Swede’s like to have fish with their breakfast….but there were other notable things.DSC_1320    It was great.   Even Cheryl liked it….and she never likes hotel breakfasts.

So, the long trip back is finally over.  With only a handful of construction moments and two serious accidents. DSC_1322  It was a dry, sunny day and people are driving like they are late for a meeting.  How they lose control of a vehicle under these conditions is beyond me.  Either they are texting…OR driving WAY too FAST!   A cautionary tale!

DSC_1328  So some final shots of the Marathon news.   The Newspaper came out today, and is free for us at the hotel.   It has the complete marathon coverage that we did NOT see …AND a list of names of the finishers…..So Cheryl can see her name in the paper.   Pretty cool. 

DSC_1329As for the OTHER things that we were unable to capture;  Follow this link to see Cheryl crossing the finish line.

And to see the Official results.  ( online,  the “official” official results will be mailed to us in a week.   But are unlikely to change)

So…work tomorrow.  I guess that is all.   Hopefully the remainder of the pictures will finish downloading into my photo album.  Oh,  And the Cats survived….although it seems they were not very happy being abandoned by us for that long.   Ah well, they will get over it.  Someday….

Saturday, June 20, 2015

So I Married A Marathon Runner…

Cheryl gets ready for the startCheryl completed the Big Grandma’s Marathon today….Yeah! 

But enough about Cheryl,   Let’s talk about me! The Polar Fleece only temporary

So I rose up this morning and drove Cheryl to the starting line pick up.  I was not allowed to go to the start line on this one….I’m not sure why.   Possibly to avoid the confusion and chaos surrounding the first few moments.  Or because they just wanted to be different.   The start line was rather narrow…with rows of port-a-jons all around.  Cheryl was stuck in line waiting for one when the gun  went off.  An Important note for future Marathons is to get all Bathroom Activities out of the way BEFORE race time.  I guess it was not that big of a deal…only about 30 seconds or so from the initial start time.

My View at Mile 5 My view at mile 5...after the rain dies down In the mean time,  I raced ahead down the coarse to Mile 5.   The rain, which had been holding back all morning, decided that this was the perfect time to let everything go!   It started as a slight trickle…and ended up being a full down pour for the next 15 minutes!   I had a rain coat, poncho, and umbrella and still managed to get wet!   I could not imagine Cheryl’s conditions as she was scantly clad in prep for racing.  In addition to that,  She had to take off her Polar Dash fuzzy to put it on the bus with the rest of the runners’ items.    She had no poncho,  No umbrella,  no rain coat…..

  My view at Mile is getting smaller! It’s My view at mile people are just being rude!all good though, because eventually she started running.    And since she forced me to run in the rain, I figured it was poetic justice….and good practice so she was used to it by now.  Besides,  the rain eventually dimmed to a light sprinkle…..after thoroughly soaking everyone and everything,  they was not much more damage that could be done. 

The WheelersSo…the first people spotted were the wheelers.   It was pretty cool seeing them roll The Kenyansby.   I’m not sure what the lead was for them, but the Elites were just a few minutes behind.   Judging from the make and model of the runner,  It is probably a pretty safe guess that they were Kenyan…..Or at the very least from Africa somewhere.

The Cheryl....with rain Damage Cheryl runs on Eventually Cheryl showed up…dripping wet and handing me her sunglasses.   It was pretty much a given that she would not need them for the remainder of this race.  I quickly snapped a few picks of her as she disappeared into the crowd…..Time to head to Mile 13!

   Cheryl at Mile 13Mile 13 was a little more open.   I was able to select a section of road on the other side away from the crowd.  she is looking pretty good....time wise.By this time,  the herd had thinned slightly…making it easier to identify Cheryl from the rest of the rabble.    I tried to take as many pics as I could before heading onward toward Duluth.

The Duluth Traffic backup At this point,  Things get dicey for me. the road is closed since the marathon crosses the main highway.   I have to take a detour…which is backed up for a couple miles as the cars slowly go through a 4 Look Closely and you will see the marathoners running in the distance.way stop intersection.  I’m sitting in the car…hoping I have about 2 hours to get ahead of Cheryl and find a parking spot… .as I watch the marathoners slowly run past my parked car!   Even the cyclist end up passing me on the highway.  ( Bicycle)  

  An hour and 20 minutes later, I find a parking spot, run towards the marathon route, and begin cheering my head off for total strangers.   I glance at the phone, only to see Cheryl has already passed the third marker and I have no idea where on the coarse that is!  I begin to panic!Cheryl with less than 1/4 mile to go!

I run to the very end of the last corner and hope she has not passed me yet.   She is close to the boston Qual time!She had some pretty good times leading up to this point, so it as possible that she would be close.   I finally see the 3:45 Pace Setter run by and figure she would be close behind that…(She had been in front of him until now)

Parting shots as she approaches the runners tunnel  Just a few yards behind,  I finally see her!   She is on pace for setting a Boston Marathon Qualifying time….Something we joked about, I'll have to catch her at the end.but never thought it being possible.   ( Boston Marathon Qual time for ages 40-45 is 3:45.)  I call out to her, alerting her that she is mere moments behind the 3:45 Pace Setter and that she has the chance to get the mythical time…..She waves and continues.

Wading through the crowd is tough! Eventually I make my way to the finish line….the Finish line for this marathon is a little different  in that they keep outsiders away from the runners until every runner has their treats, It takes me 5 minutes to see the finish line. metals, shirts, and pre race satchels.  I’m forced to make a huge winding detour around the finish line and towards the “runner pick up area” .

DSC_1238 DSC_1239



I finally find Cheryl….snap a few pics of her trophies, throw some clothes at her and head on out for Ice Cream. I finally find Cheryl on the other side.  time for Ice Cream!The crowd is still MASSIVE, and I suggest we head back to the safety and quiet  of our hotel room…possibly getting a bite to eat after a nice soak in the hot tub.   She Agrees!

So…What are  the results…you ask?  So far…Official time:  3:45:53 seconds…..that is 53 seconds shy of Boston Marathon Qualifying.  She averaged an 8:38 minute mile;  Placed 63 percent in her age group;   overall placed 1944 out of 6075 runners.  Out of 2639 females, she placed 531. And out of her age group for females:  she placed 71 out of 322 ( ages 40-44) Not to bad for a first time marathoner….

So,  as you can see,  being the support staff is very fatiguing.    Not only did I have to brave the weather, cold, traffic, and crowds…but I also had to be on cheer patrol all while trying to get the perfect pic for the Blog.  Want to see my favorite:   Check  out these awesome pics of Cheryl in action.

So,  Cheryl's Wonder Woman Posein the end,  I married Wonder Woman.   Except for the blue eyes,  magic rope, invisible jet, and tiara.Cheryl "Rocks the Look!"the-real-wonder-woman   I’m not sure how Linda Carter pulled off this look back in the 80’s ( I think it was the ‘80’s.)  but Cheryl is rocking the colors of red white and blue(-ish) as well.  Not to mention she pulled off a MARATHON!    That is 26.2 miles!   Ever walk that far and tell my your feet do not hurt….then imagine running it!   Then imagine running it FAST! ( well,  8:38 minutes per mile fast) Then pose on the rocks like this: but can SHE run a marathon? And tell me what you think.  Ok…that last bit is just to be a bit funny.  

The rest of the pictures are found here.   Enjoy!   As for us…time to hit that Hot tub!


Friday, June 19, 2015

A Day At The Aquarium…And Lake Superior Shore.

The Local Brew!   From Duluth! As I sit here sipping  my Lake Superior Special Ale,  I reflect on the day Cheryl and I had here in the northern reaches of Minnesota.  By the way, the beer has no alcohol content listed…and it is not doing much for me so I’m guessing it is one of the weaker “summer ales”.   Not to say that is it not good!   It is very refreshing!   ( Another sign it is a weaker summer ale)  I’m not complaining.  It’s good and it won’t effect my blogging….hopefully. A trip down memory lane....Poverty!

So…A day at the Aquarium!   We rose up early this morning to trace the Marathon Route and plan on my spectator stations.  It did not take too long, and I’m excited and nervous because there are numerous variables and I will have to think on the my feet…literally!  If the traffic or people are bad, I may have to adjust my plans.  In some ways…Cheryl’s part is EASY!   All she has to do is run….for 26.2 miles..but hey!   At least she only has to focus on one thing!

Oooooh!  Geology! Anyway….Aquarium!   YES!   Water, fish, Great lakes Shipping; What could be better?

Never Ohhhhh!  Science! mind that “I’ve seen it all before.”   That is so boring and “adult”.   I have never lumped myself in those categories….so I pressed for the Aquarium since we were looking for things to do here to kill a little time…and we had already scouted out route for tomorrow. 

Fishy fishy fishy fish! The first thing:  5$ for parking…..this does not go towards your entrance ticket.  Follow this with $16.50 per adult!   Suddenly, my little adventure into history, education and science is up to $40!  Ah well,   It is all about enjoyment and education, right? Stugeon!

The biggest thing about the Aquarium…is the fish!   And there were plenty of Great Lakes Fish on display!  Big ones, small ones, rare ones, and common ones; Everything you could ever hope to see.  I got to pet this one!  ( although their electric eel display was down at the moment…..and I do not recall seeing any whitefish!)   Ah well, they can’t have everything all the time!

In addition to the fish, there were birds! The  Crested Night Heron   Thee guys were rescued birds that could not be released back into the wild.   Typical of zoos and aquariums,  they choose to show off animals that could not survive in the wild and require a little help from humans to live. Ducks!   Bunches of Ducks!   In return, they do not “imprison” any healthy animals simply for display.  Not a bad ethic if you ask me.

Although the Nautilus looked a little sad.  Mr Nautilus looks sad. They are a highly intelligent mollusk after all.  AND Nautilus  are Salt water animals….making him Really far from home.

Salt water reef fish?  In Lake Superior!? Not to worry though,   they also had several salt water tanks…( not sure what they were doing in the LAKE SUPERIOR AREA)  filled with sharks and reef fish.  I’m guessing they simply wanted to show off the colors.feeding time!   Divers jump in to help ot the bottom feeders.

While we were there,  they had divers feed the fish in the largest tanks.   I guess those rascally trout tend to eat EVERYTHING that hits the water’s surface and will not allow any food to sink to the bottom for the lower fish.   As a result, the divers have to sink down and feel the Sturgeon, Catfish and Suckers.   As well as the mid level Bluegills, Bass and Pike.   Speaking of which,  I was able to pet a Sturgeon in the petting tank….I’m still a kid!   I can’t help it!

 Don't tap the glass on the Otter tank! There were other creatures as Albino Painter Turtle....Gues they ran out of color on this one. well:   Otters,  Albino Turtles, And various frogs and snakes.  I personally love the otters as they are the most playful of the bunch.  Not the bed creature to have around when you are trying to grow fish for aquaculture…( they can eat 30 lbs. of fish a day!) But growing fish for profit is something that is far behind me now. 

Cheryl playing capsize Not sure if she is "winning" the game. Also Games!   Cheryl was playing “CAPSIZE!”  A really cool game where you capsize a Roman Ship by loading urns of wine on one side.    She is easily entertained!

Burbot!   Awesome Fish! Some  parting shots of my waving to the AWESOMELY LARGE BURBOT on the way out, and we were on our way to the net lodge we had reserved for tonight.  Check out the Chin Barble By they way,  Burbots are members of the cod family and are the only fresh water member……Check out that single barbel off their chin.

So we headed out to the hotel/lodge that would keep us for the next two nights.   It is located about 23 miles north of the starting point of the marathon.  Tunnels and Cliffs The road was scenic with tunnelsIron Ore staging area.  ( takenite?) , cliffs and very large iron ore processing plants.  ( not really sure what to call them….they are BIG!) 



Cheryl looking for the beach Once the accommodations had been secured, No sand here...only rocks!we headed out to the “beach” .    I say beach in quotes because the coast of Lake Superior is rocky around these parts.  I didn’t mind, but Cheryl was not about to risk any  “freak injury” climbingAs far as Cheryl wants to go. around on uneven rocks, just so she could dip her toe in the water.  I had no problem with this , however, as I’m pretty sure footed….and kind of stupid.But....I like the water..and the rocks!

So that is pretty much it.   Oh, sure, there were some detours along the way for beer and ice cream, but those moments failed to make it onto the camera.  So now,Agates!  Colorful rocks on some areas of shore.    Cheryl is worried about the weather holding out and I’m worried about getting lost, hurt, late, or in trouble for parking in a non-designated area.  I’m sure thing will all work out in the end.   Even adversity is blog worthy!   However,  unhappy events make for a long ride home, and that is never fun. Iron Pyrite.   Too bad the Camera does not capture the "glimmer"

So wish us luck tomorrow….especially me!   I need it!  What with all the running around and trying to secure parking and an area Cheryl can find me … And let’s Not forget my mental inaptitude!…’s going to be tough…..for ME!  

As for Cheryl….I’m sure she will be fine….it’s only 26.2 miles after all.  How bad can it be?  


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