Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Mad Dash For Madtown Half Marathon

Cheryl doing a Crazy, Angry, Mad, Dash for MadTown
Not sure why it is called "Mad".   Could it be Mad as in Anger?  Or Mad as in Crazy?   What ever the reason,  we traveled to Madison Wisconsin for the event.
Foggy Morning in Iowa

Makes for Fun Driving.
 The morning was rather foggy in Iowa,  With a chance of rain on race day.   We prepared for it, but it also says it will be warmish.   Perhaps the rain will keep Cheryl cool enough to have a good run.

Not a lot of People
Cheryl is next in Line.
The Expo was a two day affair, but it seemed to lack the crowd other Madison races seem to draw.   Perhaps it is because of the STATE FAIR going on here this weekend.   I'm sure glad we are going to avoid that part of town.  Fairs are CRAZY busy.
Cheryl shows off her personalized bib.

Cheryl picked up her packet and we milled around for a sec, enjoying the lack of people bumping into us.

Do I need another Hoodie?

A few Photo Ops.    Cheryl trying on clothes.

Cheryl says her Name should be here.
If only she could reach.
  Pointing out where her Name should have been.

Looking information about the race that we might have to know tomorrow.   Looks like a fairly standard race.

Something was telling us our next move
Time to go shopping. 
Afterwards,  we received a signal from the universe that we should see if we can find some Wisconsin Beer.   We Stopped in a Brennan's.   A Place we know from last time.   They have an awesome beer selection.

Finding the right Beer.

Checking out our HUGE room

And trying on the Race Shirt.
Finally,  we arrived at our room.   They upgraded us to a KING SIZED room....  one that is almost as large as our entire apartment.   I'm not sure what we need all this space for, but it is nice that they thought of us for such a thing.

Pizza hut to the Rescue!
This Crust Yum!
After a quick stop at Pizza Hut,   We went for a walk around the area.   I was enchanted with the Cottonwood tufts snowing down on us.   Japan might have their Spring Cherry Blossoms....but here in Wisconsin,  they have Cottonwood.

This reminds me of the HUGE Cottonwood tree we had in our yard back (in Michigan)  when I was in grade school.   The neighbors hated it because the cotton would clog their pool's filter.   It was a sad day when Dad took it down.   My mother hated having a tree that large between the garage and house.   Mom got her way and Dad was forced to take it down.   I doubt that made the neighbors like us any better.

So back in our room now, Sampling the beer and gearing up for tomorrow.   Cheryl is hoping to have a "good" run,   meaning she is hoping to get a PR.   If the weather holds up ( cool,  maybe a little rain....Low humidity)   maybe she might actually pull it off.   We shall see.   In the mean time,  I'm sampling Scuttlebutt Tripel Seven Belgian Style Ale.   A wonderful "wet dish towel" flavor to it.   I'll be sipping this one while I retire for the remainder of the evening.  Thanks for stopping in!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Running With "Strangers" In Davenport.

Ready to run!
Cheryl gives them a Bag
Yesterday, we met a couple of weird.)  We found out that they live in Michigan and decided to get to know them a bit.  Come to find out,  we had so much in common with these people, that they almost seemed like Family!  Cheryl took a particular "like" to them.    She gave them a cloth sack she designed and asked them to join us on one of our training runs in Davenport.
strangers.  ( by "strange"  I mean

Hey!  Wait up!
Catch me if you can!
I'm not waitin'
We made plans to rent bikes from the Visitor Center next to the river.  There were many moments where I thought it would rain, but the weather held out.  I'm not sure why Cheryl was so fond of them, but she decided to treat them as if they were related.   So she tore off in the usual manner, leaving the rest of us to catch up.

Blue Heron. 
Geese, pelicans, black birds.
Along the way, we saw some wildlife.   Lots of birds.  We watched as one of the Pelicans caught a HUGE fish, but ended up losing it because he could not handle it with that huge bill of his.  It was cute as another pelican came over ( probably to steal the fish) and they both took turns looking under the water as if the fish would swim back up to them.

Trying to catch up.
Motley group of fishermen.
I thought at one point  Cheryl would slow down for us,  but I was mistaken.   She left us in the dust!   You can see how we struggled to keep up.  I have to admit,  the bikes took a little getting used to.  But overall,  I think they performed admirably.

Cheryl in the distance.  
Here comes the train.

After about an hour,  we met back up in the parking lot of the Visitor Center and decided to take a chance on a new Restaurant Cheryl discovered.   They were game, so we traveled to Muscatine.
Look at all that Graffiti!
Time for Tee's!  Icecream and burgers.

Enter: Tee's Ice Cream and Burgers!

"Old School"....               menu's, that is.

Discussing how to open ketchup.
A snap shot of a place time forgot;   this place looked like the set from a 1960's Hollywood Movie.  After checking out the menu boards,   I chose a Cheese Burger with Onion Rings.  ( The "All American" food!) And Cheryl chose Fries.   ( "French").   We chatted  with the people from Michigan and got to know them better.
Burger and O-Rings.  My Fav!
Cheryl eats a fry.
Over all, they were very nice!   They even payed for our lunch and bought us a Banana Split.   Cheryl dug in immediately.  Those Marathon Runner's are so Voracious with food!

Later,  be drove back home.  They were feeling tired after all that bike riding so they did not stay for very long.   I guess after racing against Cheryl, anyone would get tired.   Even I was feeling exhausted!
Cheryl digs into the Banana Split!  Mmmm  Good!
So it turned out to be a nice day after all.  We rode Bikes; Ate food;  talked about  being Jailed for unpaid Chicago Tolls, and Funerals.  Somehow, by the end, the people seemed less strange or weird  and more familiar and normal.  I guess that is the whole point of visiting.   Especially if you actually are family.
( Cheryl had to remind me who they were, and how we were related.   My memory must be slipping.)  It was a great time and we made arrangements  that I would be able to be the speaker at their funerals.  It will be GREAT and I'm very excited to have the honor/opportunity.  I have been working on these jokes for a very long time.   If I can make one person in the audience laugh,  then I think I will have been able to do the job they expect of me.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Singing, and running in the rain.

Oh Lovely Rain!
Bundled Up
 Another rainy morning in Iowa.   But Cheryl did not let that hold her back.   Today was one of those rare days where we started scoring later in the day ( noon) and had a few extra hours to run a bit longer.   No measly downpour  was going to keep her from that!

Diving in.

In addition to the rain, the temps have fallen almost 20 degrees.  Making for a rather wet AND cold run.  But that is the Runner's Favorite Running weather.  If only I could say the same about biking alongside her.
Rain picks up

The Flowers seem to stand out in the rain

Luckily I had my Goretex.  And a change of clothes for after the run.  I still managed to get my shoes and socks completely soaked.

She's Singin' 
And Dancin' .... in the rain.
The rain helped point out a few flowers that Cheryl noted.  I'm not sure why the sun seems to keep them hidden,  but I thought I would at  least stop and take a few pics of them.

All this rain made me think about one of my  favorite Movie.   Gene Kelly Singing in the Rain.   This is one of those ICON movies that define a time for me.   Call me a romantic...but I love Musicals.  I manage to track down this clip. ( my favorite)  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Stormy Days in Iowa

Wind and Rain and Hail..Oh My!
Yesterday,  a cold front came through with all the Panic and Hoopla that any Weather Channel junkie would swoon for.   The day started out fine, but mid-afternoon, the sirens blared and the phones beeped with warnings and emergencies.
30 minutes before the storm

It was a strange sight. The sun was out, and the air was calm.  There was only a small dark cloud in the distance that hinted at a storm.  The warning was for about a half hour, so we continued to score.
Dark skies in the distance.

Eventually the storm arrived and blew  some strong gusts.   Nothing downed trees or branches.  The rain was pretty strong too.   We even got a little bit of pea-sized hail!  Fun!

Rain!  Glorious Rain!   I think this is what is mean by "coming down in Sheets!"

Thankfully only pea sized.
Ice in the hand
I'm happy that we did not lose power, have a tree fall on us or have the hail bash our car.  Subie is old enough without being battered by Mother Nature.

Cheryl runs
Better than THIS!
Other than that, the battle to score as much as possible continues.   Both Cheryl and I have had full weeks.   I have not been able to finish the tune up on Subie because of the lack of time.   We still manage to squeeze in an early morning run as well, although the distance is usually shorter.

Wardrobe change
Through the hills.
Speaking of the tune up!   I think my cleaning out the throttle body worked!   I really need to do a "complete job" though.   And perhaps I will have the opportunity this weekend.

 In the mean time, Subie no longer stalls at stop signs and idles consistently around 700 rpms.   The gas pedal sticks now, and I'm sure it is because of my "expedient clean" job.   I really need to take the throttle completely off for a proper cleaning.


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