Friday, February 29, 2008

Chicago Marathon

Last night, I registered for the 2008 Chicago Marathon. It will be my 4th marathon following this April's Boston and will be the first time that I've done two marathons in a year. I went ahead and registered since it always fills up early and was already to half capacity, even though the race isn't until October.

On Monday, it will be just 7 weeks until the Boston Marathon. I've done at least 11 consecutive weeks at 50+ miles (okay, technically 48+). Last week was 65 with a 22 mile long run. The long run was a fun one too, because my training partner, Harley, and I ran down to the village of Philo ("The Center of the Universe" according to their water tower) and stopped by the house of a guy from our running group who gave us water and a 2 mile running tour of Philo. We've also been doing some really good quality workouts. One of these days, I'll get around to putting my running log online once I find a suitable venue for it. I already keep it electronically with SportTracks.

I've also been coveting the new Garmin Forerunner 405 ever since it was announced (supposedly, they'll start selling it at the Boston Marathon). I've got the Forerunner 301 and while I love it, I don't like that I have to wait on it to sync up. At home, not a problem because I throw it in the window and it's ready to go by the time I'm dressed and ready to run. But I run most days from work and I work in a laser lab and the watch can't pick up a signal even from inside the doors of my monstrosity of a building. In the really cold Illinois winter, I simply don't wait on it to sync and it won't sync while I'm running or at least a couple of miles in (it's much faster at acquiring satellites when I'm standing still), so I always have to adjust the data that it downloads to my computer.

The primary reason I want a newer one of these things is that they have better accuracy and they acquire satellites faster. Now that they have this new one that's the size of a normal watch and has a week of battery life when the GPS receiver isn't on (and since I broke my regular watch), it's tempting to sell my current one and pick up one of these. Of course, for about $40, I could just buy a new regular watch as well and keep running with my 301.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I stumbled upon these amazing Scientist Valentines the other day.

It's science.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Michael Jordan, the Big10 Network, Bruce's sideline shuffle, and learning to read

Last week, Michael Jordan came to watch his son, Jeff, play in the game against Purdue. Illinois is terrible at basketball this year, so of course, we lost the game. Jeff actually got a few minutes of playing time, which usually doesn't happen until towards the end of the game. And M. Jordan's presence most certainly did not go unnoticed at the game.

The Big10 Network started this year amidst a wealth of controversy. It's not on the local cable networks and is available only on satellite here. I've only watched it a few times and I've always gotten the impression that it's somewhat unpolished. Now you can see why. The second picture here shows two people trying to hold up the Big10 Network background behind the commentators for the halftime show at the Purdue game. Really professional....

The most entertaining part of the game was when Bruce Weber, the Illinois coach, got a technical foul. Afterwards, his assistants had to hold him back from what looked like a certain brawl with the officials. Then he threw of his jacket onto the bench and stood inches away from the Purdue player who was to inbound the ball next to the IL bench. When the player moved away, Bruce slid up right next to him. The player moved a second time. And Bruce slid up next to him a second time.

This year, the CUMTD added a game-day bus for football and basketball games that starts at my building and runs directly to the game. On the way back, I noticed the GED sign, which reads "Who's Life is it?" at the top.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cross Country Skiing

Yesterday I went out to Allerton Park with a few of my running buddies to go cross country skiing for the first time. We got up early and it was a beautiful morning on the deserted trails on the south side of the park. Only one skier had been out before us making tracks and for several miles the only tracks were from animals (we saw a fox twice while skiing).

I rented my skis from the outdoor center on campus and we got in a good ten miles of skiing. It was a really good workout! My hip flexors and my groin are really sore today, but it didn't cause me too much trouble on my 20 mile run (first 20 miler of my Boston training!).

We started at a temperature of about 25 F and it was a beautifully sunny and quiet morning. The last 30 minutes or so were much more difficult, though, because it had warmed up and the snow got really sticky and started clumping to the bottoms of our skis making it really hard to glide and we had to stop to clean them off. Up until that point, though, it was beautiful conditions in 8 inches of fresh snow. Pictured here are Paul about to break fresh tracks, me, and me with Craig, Paul, and Duane.

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