Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Is It Tuesday Already?

Where, oh where does the time go?  When I was a kid,  time seemed to move in slow motion....but now as an adult.... It behaves more like water in my hand.   How does this happen.

I ask these deep philosophical questions because I have not blogged in a few days.   Nothing exciting or "blog worthy" has happened lately, but that does not mean the trifles of life have not been engaged.  So lets begin with the small stuff...

Both of our projects have ended,   For me:  SAT and CAASPP are finally over.  ( California Assessment And Scholastic Performance or something...)    And for Cheryl:   Collegeboard and ACT.   However,  tomorrow we begin the Collegeboard field test in Iowa City.    So we will be forced to wake up early,  dress appropriately, pay attention, and socialize with our misfit peers.  ( we are ALL misfits in scoring....they are our people).   The hours of this project have been significantly reduced from last year.  If we are lucky, ( or unlucky...depending on how you look at things) we may only be asked to work three -four days each week.  We may have to rely on additional Pearson or ETS gigs to make it through.

Add in that Cheryl has a race this weekend,  ( Dam to Dam in Des Moines Saturday) and Grandma's Marathon around the corner....so things may begin to get exciting once again.   We shall see.

In the mean time,  I'll see if I can keep plotting along on the blog.   because everyone wants to know about my life....especially ME.   I'm my own biggest fan, after all.   I find myself hilarious when I reread older posts.   ( I also find many of those posts depressing...pretty much all of 2008-9.)  Ah well,   "The path less traveled" and all of that nonsense.    Wish us Luck!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

A M*A*S*H Memory.

I remember MASH back when I was in Grade School.  My teacher was a HUGE fan and even got scripts for us to play out an episode.  Although I did not watch many episodes myself, one thing that stuck out was the music, the set and that Era in Television.    Now many of the cast are aging or have passed on and the Korean war is all but faded into the yellow pages of the history books.  But I get all nostalgic whenever I come across this song.   So enjoy the song...with the lyrics. ( from the movie actually...another great film!)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cheryl's 16 Mile 18 Mile Run...

I should say an 18 mile run that turned into a 16 mile run.   No,  today was not a meltdown day...which was a good thing.   It WAS, however,   very hot!   We have been blessed with pleasant weather and cool temps up until today.  Today the thermometer tipped over 80 degrees and the sun beat down on us with out so much as a cool breeze.
  Cheryl,  ( wisely, in my opinion) decided to trim off a couple of the miles to limit the exposure to hostile running conditions.  Although she refuses to admit that "wimping out" on the last two miles of the long run was a good thing;  she DOES recognize that there are limits to the amount of heat and sun one can take.   And coming off of 50 degree weather without building up a tolerance for warmer temps could spell disaster.  And no one wants that....especially me!

And isn't that what training runs are all about anyway?  By acclimating your body for running in those hot humid conditions, you slowly and safely build up your tolerances so you can handle the uncertain conditions a race might throw at you.   It is simply the smart thing to do....

That being said,  sometimes overachievers like Cheryl feel like they are cheating themselves if they do not run to their maximum potential every time.  I'm not the best person too critique or evaluate such a mentality...being proud of my "slacker" status.  However, I understand  ( somewhat) when you feel like you could have done better in any given situation.

But enough about all that!    Time to look at the Cool pictures of RABBITS and BIRDS!

As promised, I somehow managed to capture a few bunnies on the trail.   Not as many as previous runs, they still managed to poke their heads up  here and there to offer a photo op.  The trail must have had the maintenance crew come out and level off the divets, rabbit holes, and weeds.  All and all, it was a pleasant trail to bike/run on today.

So that is all!   We are planning a lazy afternoon of cookies for Cheryl and Chicken tacos for me.  Tomorrow it is back to scoring again,  Ah, the repetition and routine of having a job.   Lovely...  I know, I know....  Everyone needs money...in some form or another,  But earning it can be such a drag.

Oh!  By the way,  Just watched a cool movie called "THE BIG SHORT"   A movie about the 2008 housing bubble crisis.   Yeah America!   I'll refrain from offering comentary and simply urge anyone who reads this to watch it.   Good times!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday.   And enjoy!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Running of the Hills!

Today we ran the 5 mile "hill" loop.   Yes, there are "hills" in Iowa City.   Granted, they are more of the "rolling prairie" hills than the deep chasms you may find in Colorado or Kentucky.  But...Hills non the less.

Although not our normal routine,  hills do provide a decent training experience for Cheryl for those hilly courses up north and around Missouri.  That way she is not surprised by a challenging terrain when she is in "racing mode."   That being said,   we choose to limit the amount of stress our training runs offer.   Simply being long distances in the heat, cold, rain, or wind is usually enough for the both of us.
Rule #1.  DON'T!

However,  today was a pleasant day and Cheryl thought that a "short" 5 mile run through the trees and hills would be a pleasant chance the day before our next long run.   The route is familiar enough...we have done it many many times before....  But I thought today of how the experience plays out;  and how it might be an entertaining blog post.   So here is goes!    Cheryl and Ethan's conversation as we navigate the hills.  (I'll simply highlight the important stuff in conversation mode..)

Down hill:

Cheryl:   "I can't wait to buy more shoes!  I can't wait to race again!  I love shopping for running shorts!  I love shopping for running clothes!  I love RUNNING!   I just read a book about running!   I just read an article about running!   I read that sleeping can help my running!   I read that runners live longer running!   I read that weather helps running!   I read that running helps running!  I LOVE running!"

Ethan:   "WEEEEE!    I love going down hill!   I think I saw a butterfly over there.   I think I saw an oriole over there.    That reminds me of fish....specifically the rete mirabile  in fish that helps them with the counter-current exchange in Oxygen.   This way they can capture 90 % of the oxygen out of the water.   Did you see that tree?   I think that is some species of Cherry...judging by the bark and leaves.   Check out the topography on this landscape!   See how the water will trickle down through capillary action to the clay and loam filled pond.   The clay prevents the water from escaping and provides an ecosystem for the frogs, crayfish and other fauna...I love going down hill!"


Cheryl:  ".  .   ..   ....    ....    ..." ( Cricket, cricket.)

Ethan: "OMG!  How long is this stretch going to last?   My legs feel like spaghetti.   I can't breathe.   I can hardly peddle.  My legs are on fire!    How long IS this hill?    Are we almost to the top?   I have to take off my outer layer...I'm BURNING UP!  Now I CAN"T feel my legs!   I'm in my LOWEST GEAR.....Why is this not EASIER?   I HATE HILLS!"

Good to know...
So yeah,  it's kind of like that.  Remember, I'm on a bike and Cheryl is running.  Downhill, Our conversations are mostly like that....we talk at each other ..rather than to each other. ( not really,  but I for the purpose of comedy,  I thought that line sounded cool.)    However,  Cheryl shuts up when climbing hills; and I suddenly become aware of how out of shape I am.  But it all works out in our practice to be miserable.

Other than that,  scoring has been working out for me.   I guess I made some money last week,   although Cheryl has already spent most of it.   Apparently,  we have these things called "bills" and "necessities"  that require money.   I'm not sure where running shoes or races fit,  but there are those things as well.

Scoring takes a lot out of me.   Sure it is an easy gig,  but my mind is fried by the end and I have very little desire to write,  read, or do much of anything than play a mission or two of XCOM.   Even that is difficult to stay focused on.

But enough of that,   Tomorrow is the long run ( 18 miles I believe)  and I plan to take the camera so I will not have to "borrow" visual aids from the internet for the next blog post.   I'm just happy I have the rest of the weekend off from scoring.   Scoring 5 days straight is tough.   I welcome the break...even if I do have to bike uphill....both ways.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

20 Mile Run Day! With Awesome Weather.

Quick post about our Run this morning.   20 miles!   Again!   I feel as if I just road marched 12 miles with a ruck.  But we survived.

Mostly I wanted to point out the awesome weather we have been having...a rare thing in Iowa.   Usually in Michigan,  nice weather would last several weeks of even a month!   But here in Iowa,  good weather comes,  disappears, then randomly emerges once more.  You could have a 50 degree day in winter, followed by a sub zero day....24 hours later.....crazy!

Even in Alaska,  the weather was moderated around the coasts and varied sharply as you got father towards the interior.   Farebanks varied wildly from season to season....but within those seasons they weather was fairly consistent.  Meaning:  winter cold,  summer hot!  But in Iowa....summer one day could be start cold,  then get hot, then get cold again.    Depending on how the wind blows, I guess.

So having back to back cool days in spring...with the sun shining and the wind blowing a gentle breeze is a rare treat.  Cheryl was able to run today without overheating and without freezing.   The sun warms your back while the cool breeze cools you off.  Even the wildlife seemed to be enjoying it.  Lots of Rabbits,  birds, and squirrels today.

Other than that,   just a lazy day here at home.   I'm off from my online scoring gigs today..and I plan on enjoying every second of it by wiping out the alien threat from the Earths surface.   Time for a little XCOM!  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cheryl's 12 Mile Fog Run.

The midweek long run was today.   And,  as the title suggests...it was foggy.   "How foggy?" You ask?  So foggy you could cut it with a knife.    What does that even mean?    First,  I don't usually carry a knife around with me and second,  I don't think I would ever attempt to cut the fog with it.

So how about this:  The fog was so thick,   you could spoon it out with a fork!    There!   An analogy of equivalence has been made and still makes no sense..but at least represents the other two forms of tableware.

So, yeah,  it was foggy.   The huge white fertilizer hold tank totally disappeared in the fog.   It was something out of a Steven King novel...( I think Steven King wrote The Fog...Maybe The Mist?Anyway)  It made for a calm cool peaceful run/bike.   The humid air is a mixed blessing because it comes off as colder than the temp suggests, while acting like a sauna after you gain a little bit of heat exercising.

But we survived.   I'm just happy the rain held off until after we had finished.   It is still a little foggy outside.   The sun peaked through a couple of times and had burned most of it away.   However,  it is now overcast and threatening to rain again.   I guess that is spring time in Iowa.

Hope everyone is having a grand time on this delightfully gloomy day.   I have about 45 minutes until I have to score.  ( today is the "late scoring" day)  So I'm filling the blog with useless nonsense just to keep it up to date and kill some time.   I hate going an entire week without saying Something.....Anyway.   This weekend looks like another long run.   Wish us luck!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Wisconsin Half Marathon...The Cheesiest! And Windiest Half-Marathon to Date.

 Since  picture is worth 1000 words...( And My Picture Drop site is totally filled from last year)  I decided I would let the pictures do the talking on this post.   Oh,  I'll add a little "this is happening in this picture"   to give you something to focus on.   But mostly I wanted to show off as many pictures as I could.    Here's the short of it.   We came.  We raced. We finished!   And we are OK with that.

Early Morning Start time: 5:30 AM
Weather was awesome...except for the wind....the raging, stop-you-in-your-tracks wind.  But let's get to those pictures!
SunRISE over the waters of Lake Michigan

Looks like the rain might hold off!

Almost like a postcard! Notice the calm water!

 The Sunrise was awesome!  I had to attempt to capture it on film....but it ended up looking like a postcard.

Cheryl settles into her normal pace
Bathroom visit is always a Priority!

Cheese Costumes get a spot at the front.
The Cheesehead Start Spot.
The Cheese costumes got special treatment and were able to start near the front of the race.   There were around 3000 people there, so smaller races have their perks.

Hmm,  Maybe the bad weather will come
Sun on one side,   Clouds on the other.
The clouds were holding off on the predicted rain, but they did bring in a cold front that brought very strong wind!

The sun was still shining on parts of the sky.

Find Cheryl in this picture...
Give up?   How about now?
I wanted to show off Cheryl's  Ninja Skills.  Namely:  Her ability to disappear behind anything...and remain hidden until she is past you.   Hopefully the pictures will be able to demonstrate this.

Cheryl runs by mile two.
I was able to get better shots here

Pretty good form....against the wind.

She finally noticed me!

My "Flash Photo"   Get it?
The Poka-Holics....Singing about beer.  
The Polka Band...which was an interesting touch.   Live music is always "special".  But these guys take it to a new level.  Well,  They probably sound good to drunk people at weddings.

Can you guess where she is?

How about now?

Ah!  There she is!  Hidden in Plain View.

Perhaps my favorite.  " Invisible Cheryl!"

And then "POOF"   she appears!

I was able to run along side her for this shot

Ninja Cheryl....staying hidden.

Ninja Cheryl appears to make her move!

Sprint towards the end!

And down the chute for the finish.

Cheryl with her LOOT!
 Looks like SpongeBob...But It's CHEESE!
So that is all!   We did not stick around for the results....everyone had a bad day except the guy who won the race.  ( He set a new record for the half-marathon....Must have been his goal.)   The wind really did a number on everyone.   People lost hats and anything else that was not attached.   The finish had cheese, beer and brats.   What German Fun!   Those Deutschers sure know how to celebrate!

It also has a CAPE!  With Words!
One last note,  despite the wind and cooler temps...The rain held off and the sun came back out to warm things a bit.
Notice the Wind and Waves NOW....
 Cheryl said the race course was actually quite wonderful....
completely along the Lakeshore with  the cool temps keeping everyone from overheating.  Too bad the times were not the greatest.   But we were not here to chase new achievements.   We came for a break from scoring, car troubles, and to re-familiarize ourselves with the half marathon distance.   Cheryl pointed out that this was the fist finishers medal she had received since last year!     So...With a little luck and no more car repairs or injuries...we can begin adding  additional medals to Cheryl's achievement wall once more. We shall see.


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