Earth, Wind, & Fire

This morning was the Earth, Wind, & Fire 5K on campus. This three year old race coincides with the Institute of Natural Resources Sustainability expo (which coincides with Engineering Open House). I ran this 5K two years ago when it when it was 13˚ with 25 mph winds. Today we only had to contend with the misty morning. I’ve been ridiculously busy at work lately. In fact, I didn’t get much more than four hours sleep any night this week. 7:30 came way too soon this morning.

The start is less than a mile from home so I ran over, registered, stretched, and headed to starting line. There would be no practice start this year. One guy immediately shot off the front and built a huge lead in the first 100 meters.

Leaders after 100 meters

It took me a good ¼ mile to settle into a good rhythm, after which point I held the leader in my sights at roughly the same distance for about 1½ miles.

Just after start

Large pack

I slowed significantly in the second half of the race. The leader pulled away from me, but there was also quite a bit of space behind me. The gaps were large.

All by myself on the second lap

Despite fading at the end I still finished in a respectable time of 18:33 (5:59/mile pace). This isn’t where I would want to be in August, but for March I’ll take it. In order to keep things interesting I do mostly long distance training (with very little speed work) during the winter and I do mostly short/fast training (with very little distance) during the summer. Coming up with a little speed this early in the year is encouraging.


I finished 2nd overall and 1st in the 30-39 age group. The awards were a unique (for a race award) plaster cast of a Trilobite fossil.

Trilobite fossil casting race award

After the race I ran home with my Trilobite, gulped a bit of water, then headed back out for another 9 miles (14 total). You see, there’s this marathon coming up, and running a short race doesn’t get me off the hook for my weekly long run (though apparently a 108 mile bike ride does?).

Many thanks to Melissa and Will for coming out to cheer me on and take photos. The bright/distinctive shoes/gloves/shirt sure must make it easy for them to spot me out on the course.

The End of October

Photo of the Day

October 2009 Photo of the Day


Fig's new hat

My running finally appears to be getting back on track. I had a decent race at Allerton. It’s only three days into November and I’ve already run half of my total October mileage. I might as well run another marathon, right? Don’t worry, it’s a trail marathon (Tecumseh, December 5th) so it won’t beat me up as badly. At least, that’s the theory under which I am presently working.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 109.34 Mile 10 10.934 Mile
February 55.83 Mile 7 7.97571 Mile
March 108.792 Mile 10 10.8792 Mile
April 74.85 Mile 8 9.35625 Mile
May 64.5669 Mile 9 7.1741 Mile
June 7. Mile 1 7. Mile
July 0 0 0
August 16.3 Mile 5 3.26 Mile
September 39.78 Mile 7 5.68286 Mile
October 42.52 Mile 7 6.07429 Mile
Total 540.568 Mile 66 8.19043 Mile


Rob headed to C4[3]

Yikes! 10 months into 2009 and I still have less than half the mileage on the bike as I did in 2008. I need to get on the ball here.

On the bright side, I bought a new bike frame for racing in triathlons and time trials. It’s titanium and it weighs three pounds. Now all I have to do is buy the remaining components, assemble the bike, sell my old Litespeed (which you’ll notice does not even appear in the table below, meaning I haven’t ridden it a single time this year). Oh, and train so I don’t totally embarrass myself.

October 2009

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 61.2 Mile 16 3.825 Mile
El Fuego 20.78 Mile 1 20.78 Mile
Pocket Rocket 45.25 Mile 4 11.3125 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 91.97 Mile 2 45.985 Mile
Total 219.2 Mile 23 9.53043 Mile

January – October 2009

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 566.35 Mile 129 4.39031 Mile
Big Red 12.07 Mile 4 3.0175 Mile
El Fuego 75.2 Mile 8 9.4 Mile
Pocket Rocket 326.18 Mile 43 7.58558 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 1730.17 Mile 41 42.1993 Mile
Total 2709.97 Mile 225 12.0443 Mile


Yeah, I need a nap too

Unfortunately, the cold weather has kept me from walking as much with Will as I did during the summer. I have started walking to work a couple times per week in order to get a few extra non-running miles into my legs before this trail marathon.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 3.75 Mile 2 1.875 Mile
March 0 0 0
April 8.51 Mile 4 2.1275 Mile
May 6.7 Mile 4 1.675 Mile
June 11. Mile 3 3.66667 Mile
July 29.52 Mile 10 2.952 Mile
August 35.02 Mile 14 2.50143 Mile
September 29.82 Mile 12 2.485 Mile
October 19.42 Mile 9 2.15778 Mile
Total 147.74 Mile 59 2.50407 Mile

The Autumn at Allerton Park

Allerton Park entrance in autumn

Entering Allerton Park

The changing leaves means the Allerton Trail Run is coming up. This is one of my favorite races for a variety of reasons. I love the trail. The race is a good distance for me. The weather is cooling down, and my running thrives in cool weather. The race falls right before, after, or (like last year) on my birthday. You may recall I ran 30 miles at Allerton last year in celebration of my 30th birthday.

I like to get in a few loops on the trail in the weeks leading up to the race to re-familiarize myself with it, so the last two Sundays I’ve run at Allerton. Last week the Sangamon river was so high that parts of the trail were waist deep under water. I walked around three of these places and splashed through one other. I was expecting it to be ankle deep, but it was knee deep. That was a wet surprise in 39˚ weather.

Allerton north trail

Fortunately, this week the river was four or five feet lower and no parts of the trail were under water. Hopefully, it won’t rain to much this week and the course will remain fast for the race next week.

After my run today I took a little time to snap some photos. For most of them I used bracketed exposures. For each photo I actually took three photos: one with normal exposure, one underexposed, and one overexposed. The underexposed photo picks up details in the bright areas of the photo (e.g. the sky) and the overexposed image picks up details in the dark areas (e.g. shadows).

Once back home I combined each set of three images into a single high dynamic range photo and adjusted the levels so both the lights and the darks are visible in same image. If combined well HDR images look spectacularly vibrant and detailed. If combined poorly HDR images look very unnatural and washed out. I’m still pretty new to HDR so I may not of done a great job, but most of them look pretty decent I think.

Fu Dog Garden

Fu Dog garden

Fu Dog Garden

Fu Dogs

House of the Golden Buddhas

House of the Golden Buddhas

Near Allerton Park

Leaving Allerton Park

The Leaves

At our old house we had one tree in the yard, and it was only a couple years old. So we never had to deal with raking leaves at all. When we moved to our current house last year we were a little overwhelmed by the shear quantity of leaves that fell in our yard from the numerous mature trees. We basically just left them there all winter (which didn’t turn out so well come spring). This year we’ve at least been trying to rake them up, but it’s slow going. I raked the side yard for an hour and a half today and my back and sides are now aching. I have a feeling I might not be able to move tomorrow. We’ll see.

Back yard leaves

back yard

Side yard leaves

side yard