Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Badgers, they were right there in front of me!

I was in heaven yesterday.

Although it wasn't my first trip back to Madison, it was the first time since I graduated that I stepped foot inside Camp Randall stadium on a football Saturday. And it was fabulous.

While I was in college, if there was a home game at Camp Randall, you could find me somewhere inside the stadium. Usually camped out in sections N, O or P - home to the rowdy students. But once graduation came, I no longer had my student voucher to get me inside the gate. Unable to find tickets, I was left watching my Badgers on TV.

But that all changed yesterday. When for the first time since late 2001, I stepped inside Camp Randall to watch a game.

My seats weren't in by the students for yesterday's showdown with Michigan State, but they were inside Camp Randall. And really? That's all that mattered to me.

The Wisconsin band takes the field before the game.

The seats were good. Three rows from the field, close enough so you could see the players' faces and that hit on Kyle Jefferson late in the first half? I thought someone was bashing two helmets against each other right next to my ear.

Setting up UW's first touchdown, a P.J. Hill 5-yard run.

The UW bench asks the crowd to get loud late in the fourth quarter.

My only complaint? I missed the antics of the students. The folks that surrounded me in Section H? They were more concerned about where the guy in front of me lived and they just stared in awe at the beginning of the fourth quarter, when House of Pain blared throughout the stadium and the students took part in the traditional "Jump Around." They watched. Me? I jumped. And I got a few stares. But it was fun.

And the Badgers? Even though the game was a lot closer than I would have liked, going down to the wire with Michigan State's final possession, the Badgers pulled out the 37-34 win.

Afterwards Mom and I stuck around for the Fifth Quarter. Once again, the folks around us left as soon as the clock hit zero. But we stayed, enjoyed the band and had a good time. At one point, I jumped a fence in an attempt to get a picture with Bucky Badger, but he must have seen me coming, because his handler - yes, a college mascot has a handler, multiple ones in fact - lead him away.

It was a good day. I got to be back in Madison on game day, inside the confines of Camp Randall Stadium. And my Badgers won, which is always a good thing. They only downside, I realized how much I miss living in the city I called home for four of the best years of my life. And someday, I think I might want to go back.

But for now, I just have the memories and an upcoming trip to look forward to. But that trip? It'll feature Badgers on skates, not on turf. But it will be just as sweet as Saturday's trip to Camp Randall.

My football Saturday, pictures set to music!

I was playing around with some photo software I had and made a slide show. And since Blogger let's me post video...

I present to you, my Saturday at Camp Randall, complete with music!

The pages kept turning

Well apparently I now know why I wasn't running so much in September. It must have been because I spent a good chunk of time reading.

I finished six books, totaling 2,185 pages in September. That brings my total to 40 books and 15,048 pages. Obviously I've reached my goal of 40 books for the year already, so now we'll just have to see how many books I can finish this year.

During September I read:

Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagen
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Slightly Single by Wendy Markham
Slightly Settled by Wendy Markham
Slightly Engaged by Wendy Markham

I admit, the last three books on the list were super quick reads. Can we say, books that are good beach reading? Except in my case, there were no beaches to be found. Just my recliner. And they're part of a four-book series. I'm in the middle of book four as we speak, can you guess the title? If you guessed Slightly Married, you're correct.

So once that one's done, it should be back to some more "quality" books, because I also have a stack of those sitting on my shelves patiently waiting to be read.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Heading down the road to Camp Randall!

"If you want to be a Badger, just come along with me."

Yeah, can you tell I'm just a whee bit excited for tomorrow? My first trip to Camp Randall in ages! And the UPS man? He's my favorite person today, because he brought my tickets. And the seats? Amazing. Section H, Row 8, Seats 3-6.

The view?

Take a look from the middle of the section:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Can it get any better?

I've been waiting for this night since, oh I don't know, May when the season finale of Grey's Anatomy ran.

Yes, it was nice to not have to worry about being home during the summer to catch my favorite TV shows. But I'll admit, Thursday nights this summer were lonely without my weekly update on the gang from Seattle Grace.

And tonight, it all ends. Grey's starts again. Although I'm not sure what to think about this new batch of interns. And what about George? Not passing his test? And no more Burke? And then there's Addison, who left for her own show, Private Practice, which I'm sad to report I missed last night. But I do know one thing, tonight, at 8 p.m. it will be fabulous to catch up with my friends from Seattle Grace.

And if the season premier of Grey's Anatomy wasn't enough to make this a wonderful day, I got even better news.

I'm the proud owner of a handful of tickets to Saturday's Badger game. Yes folks, I'm heading to Camp Randall this weekend, for the first time since 2001, my final season as a student ticket holder. I'm excited to see the stadium renovation. And to see what Camp Randall's like from a non-student section point of view. And of course, to watch my Badgers take on Michigan State.

Bring on the Spartans! Because Saturday, it will be a wonderful day.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My first attempt at 13.1 miles. And I didn't die.

It's done.

And I survived.

I finished my first half marathon on Sunday, the U.S. Cellular Half Marathon. And while I wasn't the fastest, I wasn't dead last. The important thing, for me, is that I accomplished the goal I set out for myself back in June, to finish.

Krista (who was also running the race) and I picked up our race bibs and goodie bags Saturday and scarfed down some spaghetti. Then we crashed. I even fell asleep shortly before the fourth quarter of the Badger game, missing the end of the game and not knowing if Wisconsin won.

We got up at 6 a.m. Sunday, took a quick shower and had half of a bagel before taking off for the starting line. My mom came along with us, acting as official chauffeur and photographer for the day.

Standing in the massive crowd of people at the starting line, I couldn't believe what I was about to do. Yes, I had spent the last four months or so training, but part of me still didn't feel ready for what I was about to tackle. At one point, I remember looking over at Krista and saying, dammit, if I’d never met you, I never would’ve gotten this crazy idea in my head. She just smiled and chuckled.

And then the gun went off. And I had to start running.

The first few miles were fine. Somewhere around Mile 1.5, I saw a woman, decked out in her Badger T-shirt, standing in her driveway with her cup of steaming coffee watching the runners go by. I pulled one of my earphones out and asked her, "Did they win?" She looked momentarily confused, but smiled when she realized what I was asking and said, "Yup." That made my day.

I kept running. Over the highway overpass at Mile 2. Through some neighborhoods and out onto the street that I would find myself running on for the next 4 miles, which would seem like forever.

I almost got hit by a car around Mile 6.5 while attempting to cross an intersection. But I blame that on a pair of inept police officers. One who was waving me through the intersection while the other one was telling the cars it was OK for them to go.

I kept running. At Mile 7 they had a clock set up and it said I was 1 hour, 22 minutes into the race. Not too bad, that was about where I figured I would be time wise at this point. And I still felt OK, even though when I passed my mom at Mile 8 I told her I was dying. But I wasn't.

Things were going fine, although for a while I didn't think I was ever going to leave the City of Menasha. I tell ya, it might not be a big city, but it took FOREVER to run through it! The clock I passed around Mile 10, shortly before I left Menasha told me I was 2 hours, 6 minutes into the race. And I was still feeling OK.

And then I hit Mile 11.

And that's when I started to struggle. It didn't help that there was this huge bridge in the middle of Mile 11 or that it was really windy at that point. And I was running uphill INTO the wind while trying to cross that bridge.

I found myself having to take a longer walk break. My legs? They were starting to feel weak. And I still had at least a mile to go. I passed the marker for Mile 12 and I started running, OK, more like a shuffle, but in my mind I was running. I ran passed the boats and I could see where the finish line was in the park. But I still had to run around the park.

I took another walk break with the intention of being able to run the last straightaway to the the finish line.

All of a sudden I saw Krista, who had come to cheer me on to the end. Even though she'd already run 13.1 miles that day, she came to find me and run the last bit with me. And I was grateful for that. Because without her help, during the race and the months leading up to it, I don't know if I would have been able to finish this journey and accomplish the goal I set for myself.

I had just enough left in my for a "sprint" across the finish line. Not a very strong sprint, but a sprint nonetheless.

In the end, it took me 2 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds to travel 13.1 miles through three cities. Like I said, I wasn't the fastest, but I wasn't the slowest. I was finisher 1522 out of 1726 runners. My pace was 13:27, which could have been lower if it hadn't been for Miles 11 through the end.

Afterwards, Mom and Krista asked me if I would do it again. At that point, my legs still feeling weary, I said I wasn't sure. But now, about 36 hours later, I can say yes, I'll definitely do another half marathon, because as much as I complained about the training and the long runs, the feeling I got when I crossed the finish line was so worth all the sweat and miles.

And to Krista, congrats on your race and thanks for putting this crazy idea in my head.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The shoes? Now they get to rest for a bit

The running shoes are resting now.

Tonight after work I headed out for my last run before the half-marathon Sunday. I decided on a short 2-mile run, just to get my legs moving a bit. The run itself felt good. And for some reason, maybe it was because I was only planning on a short run, I felt fast. I'm not talking 6-minute mile fast, but faster than what I've been running.

So I've done what I can to prepare. Now it's just relax and wait until the starting gun goes off Sunday morning. Then we'll see how I do.

Stop or I'll shoot. Really, I know how.

So remember how I said I was going to be playing with evidence last during my Citizen's Police Academy class?

I was wrong.

I walked into the classroom and instead of a detective, there was the department's training sergeant, ready to launch into a class about use of force.

That's right kids, I got to play with guns and tasers last night.

After listening to the sergeant talk about when it's appropriate to use different kinds of force, including voices, hands, things like pepper spray and the baton, taser and gun, we got to head down to the shooting range for our chance to practice with firearms.

First, we got a quick lesson on the proper way to hold the 9-mm gun and the kind of stance we should have when we're getting ready to fire our weapon. Since the officers know me, it seems like they had no problem using me as the "example," mostly to show my fellow classmates what not to do.

Afterwards, we got our chance to try to take down the Bad Guy. We donned some safety glasses and stood about 6 feet away from our target. When the instructor yelled "GUN!" we shot. Considering I'm awful at games that require decent aim, I was worried. And I got more worried when I was the last person to go and the sergeant called the rest of my classmates in to watch me. But I have to admit, I was proud of how I did. Of the 6 rounds I fired, 4 of them hit the Bad Guy in the zone we were aiming for - we were going for the area where the central nervous system is located, think from the forehead to the throat, in the middle of the face. Needless to say, the Bad Guy would have been dead if I was using real bullets (we were using paintball-like bullets, which PDs use during training exercises).

Now, I'm not a big gun person. I mean, remember a few weeks ago? When I held a gun in my hands for the first time? So it's not like I'm going to go around shooting people up now, because honestly, while shooting the gun and hitting the Bad Guy did give me a bit of an adrenaline rush, it's not something that I want to do all the time. But I think something that's good for me to know.

After the guns, we went back into the classroom and it was time for the taser. I'd watched other people get tased before and even though officers told me it didn't hurt once it was all over, it still looked quite painful. But I signed my name by the X and volunteered to get shocked.

Let me tell you, that 1.2 seconds that I was being tased? It felt like forever! It's a hard feeling to describe. My body kind of clenched up and I couldn't move, even if I wanted to. One guy in my class described it as feeling like a million little needles were being shoved repeatedly into your body really quick. But when it was done? I felt fine. There was a little red spot where the probes had been taped to my body and it kind of felt like someone had hit me right on the shoulder blade, but otherwise I felt fine.

And apparently I didn't even get a good tasing. At least that's what the sergeant said. But you know what? It was a decent enough tasing for me to know that I don't want to get tased for real by officers, because 1.2 seconds was long enough for me.

All in all, it was an exciting night. I mean seriously, how many people can answer "I got tased and shot a gun," when they're asked what they did on a Wednesday night in mid-September.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm getting ready to walk the plank

Ahoy mates!

I hope you've mastered your pirate dialect, because today? For the next six and a half hours, is Talk Like a Pirate Day. And if you fail to incorporate some pirate-ese into your speech, they just might make you walk the plank, although that could be fun, as long as there are no sharks swimming around.


In honor of Talk Like a Pirate Day, the rest of my post, in pirate-ese, with the help of an English-to-Pirate translator.


`Tis a really nice night ou'. Sunny, comfy temperatures. Th' kind o' night 'ere I jus' want t' come homeport, lace up me sneakers an' take a run. On accoun' o' do I need t' remind ye that I`ll be runnin' a half-marathon in less than 4 days? I didna think so. But I canna. On accoun' o' I be havin' places t' be. Places 'ere I get t' learn how t' test evidence. An' they's promised us we`d get dirty. Ortin' ta be fun.

(What I said, in English)

It's a really nice night out. Sunny, comfy temperatures. The kind of night where I just want to come home, lace up my sneakers and take a run. Because do I need to remind you that I'll be running a half-marathon in less than 4 days? I didn't think so. But I can't. Because I have places to be. Places where I get to learn how to test evidence. And they've promised us we'd get dirty. Should be fun.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Dear criminals, this is a football.

Obviously my criminals aren't the best bunch of football players.

My fantasy team? They lost. Again.

On the bright side, they didn't get creamed as badly this week. Final score? NACHO SUPREME 113.13, Crime & Grime 94.81.

And honestly, if I would have known Seattle declared D.J. Hackett inactive at the last minute on Sunday, I probably wouldn't have left him in my starting lineup. But they did. And I didn't know. So I got a big fat zero.

Since I'm now one of two players in my league sitting with an 0-2 record, I decided something needed to be done about my team of criminals. First, I ditched my Miami defense. I'm sorry boys, but you lost me points this week. That's not cool. Especially since points are apparently hard to come by for the criminals. They were replaced by our neighbors to the West, the Minnesota Vikings.

And then there's D.J. Hackett. I'm sorry, but you're hobbling around on crutches, with your foot in a boot. And at the earliest, you might make it back to the field by Week 5. I can't wait around that long. So, adios D.J. It's been nice, kind of, knowing you. You've been replaced with Jason Avant, a wide receiver from the Philadelphia Eagles. Hopefully he can catch the ball and give me some points.

And that's about all I have to say right now, just that my criminals? They're not doing so well at the moment. But I feel a win coming...someday.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hal wouldn't be very happy with me

I admit it.

I blew off my 10-mile run this weekend.

* pauses *

You can stop throwing things at me now.

I have excuses. But they're not very good ones, so I won't even bother telling them to you and save you some reading time.

Will skipping my 10-miler come back to bite me in the butt on Sunday? Maybe. Will I try to get one more longer run in before Sunday comes around? Hopefully.

All I know for sure is that I have a handful of days left before I tackle this half-marathon thing. And there isn't a whole lot more I can do about my skipped 10-mile run. So I'll deal with it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

And tomorrow's the last long one

It was a low key Friday night for me, which is OK since tomorrow should be much more fun.

I'm going to see the Rugrats in the morning and will spend part of the day playing with Rugrat No. 3. Once he goes down for a nap, it's time for me to lace up my running shoes.

I have 10 miles on the plan for tomorrow. My last long run before the half-marathon next week. I'm a bit nervous. For both tomorrow and next weekend. But it's only supposed to be in the lower 60s tomorrow, should be ideal running weather. I'll be up by my parents, so it'll be a new running route, which I've already mapped and printed out. You know, so I can leave it with Dad in case it gets to be 4 hours later and I still haven't returned. Then he can hop in the truck and come find me.

Then I have a bit of time to shower and relax before my cousin's end of the season race party, which should be a blast. Which is why the 10 miles will get done tomorrow afternoon instead of Sunday. Because I don't think I'll be in the mood to run 10 miles on Sunday.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Four random things

A few random things for today.

  • It was time to decide whether or not I wanted to stay in my apartment or look for a new place to live. It was time to renew my lease, and as much as I like my apartment, I had a feeling the rent was going to go up. And I was right. The landlord wanted to tack on an extra $15 a month, not a lot, but enough to make a difference. I asked about one-bedroom apartments in the complex, even looked at one. But the complex manager offered to keep my rent at my current rate if I signed a year lease and said she'd tell the landlord I would have given my move out notice otherwise. Sweet. Because honestly, I really didn't want to deal with finding a new apartment and then moving.
  • My MP3 player ate my music. That's right. I went to get ready for a run, turned the MP3 player on and everything was blank. That made me mad. Anxious to run with my tunes, I loaded enough music onto the MP3 player to get me through my run. Needless to say, I was not happy, since this is the third time this has happened. At this point, I'm considering purchasing a new MP3 player in the somewhat near future, and it just might be an iPod.
  • I managed to sneak in a 4 mile run. And the good news? I didn't get carried off by a swarm of angry mosquitoes this time.
  • I've been up since 4:45 a.m. It's been a long day. And needless to say, I'm tired.

Contrary to popular belief, he didn't suck her blood

The next time you find yourself at a bookstore (or, if you're cheap like me, the library), wandering around the aisles aimlessly looking for something to read, go find "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer. You will not be disappointed.

It's about this high school girl who finds herself falling in love with a vampire.

Yes, I said vampire. I don't normally read a lot of vampire books, but I'd heard so many good things about this book, I just had to give it a try.

I started it Monday and could barely put it down. I found myself picking it up to read a chapter or two during my lunch hour and at night? I had to force myself to stop reading. And today? Even though it was absolutely gorgeous outside after I got done with work at 3 p.m., where'd I find myself? Sitting inside, curled up in my recliner reading, when I could have been running.

The bad news? I'm finished with the book, which was fantastic. The good news? It's the first in a series of three and I already have the second title on hold at the library. Hopefully it comes in soon, because I think I like reading about vampires.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years ago

It's been six years, yet it feels like it was just yesterday.

I had just started my senior year at the University of Wisconsin. Class had been in session maybe a week. September 11, 2001, started like any other Tuesday. I had a 9 a.m. class, "Creative Non-Fiction" with Professor Deborah Blum, so I got out of bed around 7 a.m. and took a shower. Once I finished up in the bathroom, I returned to my room to finish getting ready. I casually turned on the TV to see what the weather was supposed to be like.

But my channel flipping never got me to The Weather Channel. I never found out what it was supposed to be like, because I stopped dead at scenes of chaos from New York. A gaping black, burning hole in one of the World Trade Towers.

Then from the side of the screen, a second plane, came crashing into the second tower.

I closed my eyes, unable to fathom what I was seeing. I stood there, still semi-dripping, in my towel, and somehow I knew what I was watching was big. This wasn't just an accident.

But words from the news anchor caught my attention.

"United airline flights"

My eyes snapped back to the television. They were telling me that two of the jets that had crashed into the tower were United flights. As in, airplanes flown by pilots from the airline my brother worked for.

Without thinking, I grabbed my cellphone and called my mom.

"Where's Cory today?"

"At home. Why?"

Poor mom, she didn't realize our country was under attack. I filed her in on what I knew and feeling a little better knowing my brother was safe in Wisconsin, I told her I loved her and promised to call later.

I throw on some clothes and opened the door, meeting the gazes of one of my roommates, but noticing the door at the opposite end of the hall remained closed. Eventually it opened, and Lisa, my roommate who called New York City her home, emerged. I'll never forget the blank stare in her face as she closed her door and left our apartment for class.

Moments later, the first tower fell.

I had an internal battle in my mind. Do I go to class or skip it? In the end, I knew this was something I had to witness in the company of others and since I was heading to the journalism building, I was pretty sure my professor wasn't going to try to teach us, rather, she was going to let us watch history in the making. The walk down Langdon Street was eerie, the normal hustle and bustle missing. Instead, there were a few random kids, walking alone, usually with a cellphone to their ear.

Once I got to class, my professor herded us into the teaching assistant's lounge, where we watched the news coverage, not as undergrads, professors or graduate students. But as Americans. And when the second tower came crumbling down, I heard a former professor gasp behind me, "That's not good."

I abandoned the rest of my classes for the day, instead choosing to spend the day in front of the TV with my then-boyfriend. As I watched the images being replayed, I still couldn't truly believe it was happening.

A day or two later, I was among the thousands who gathered on the lawns in front of Memorial Library. As the candles flickered and we sang songs of peace and patriotism, I looked around at the faces that surrounded me. We were no longer Wisconsin kids or kids who hailed from the Chicago suburbs or kids from the East Coast. We were Americans, grieving for our country.

And today, on this sixth anniversary of that horrific attack, I still grieve, for the 2,974 victims that were killed by the Sept. 11 attacks: 2,750 connected to the World Trade Center, 40 in a Pennsylvania field and 184 at the Pentagon. Those numbers do not include the 19 hijackers.

I will never forget you.

The criminals? They hardly showed up

My first foray into the world of fantasy football is complete.

How'd Week 1 go? Not so good.

The criminals? Yeah, they got slammed. Final score 141.09 to 85.64. Ouch. Those 85 points? Good enough for third worst point total in the league I'm in. Of course it didn't help that I had 45 points sitting on my bench with Eli Manning and Adrian Peterson.

Adrian, get ready, because I think you're getting called up to the starting lineup next week.

After 85 points, there's nowhere to go but up. So hopefully my pack of criminals does better next week. Or else I'll be looking for a few new non-law abiding football players.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I'm not asking for much

After dealing with a dreary, overcast day. One that featured a steady, cold rainfall, the only thing I wanted to do was come home, throw on some comfy sweats and curl up with a good book.

And that, my friends, is exactly what I've been doing all night. And I enjoyed it.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

That was close Bucky

* Photo courtesy of Wisconsin State Journal photographer John Maniaci *

My Badgers pulled it out last night, beating UNLV 20-13. Thanks to quarterback Tyler Donovan's 29-yard touchdown run with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game. Gotta love the way the boy flew through the air, but still managed to keep the ball inbounds. That was a close one boys. Let's not let next week's game come down to the wire, OK?

Since I was kind of watching the game at work, I don't have a lot to say, but read what my former co-workers at the Wisconsin State Journal thought.

Lesson learned: Mosquitoes love to feast on runners

I consider myself lucky that I didn't get carried away by a band of blood-sucking mosquitoes. And if I had been whisked away by those mosquitoes, it would have totally been my fault.

I putzed around all day. Watched the Packers. Channel surfed for a bit, finally settling on some cheesy Lifetime movie. Finally, about 5 p.m., I decided I should get off my butt, lace up my running shoes and head out for a run.

I'll be honest. I wasn't sure how this run was going to go. Remember Tuesday? And how I wanted to die after 2.5 miles? My intentions during the rest of the week were good, I was hoping to get out and log some miles, but I didn't. So I hadn't run in a few days.

As I was driving out to the trail, I told myself, just plan on doing 6 miles, even though I should have been planning for a run somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 miles.

I strapped on my MP3 player, complete with a new (longer) play list, and headed out. Conditions were nice. Temperatures were somewhere around 67, and an overcast sky made it comfortable to run in. The first mile went pretty good after my legs warmed up. Mile 2 wasn't bad either. No feelings of wanting to die yet. So I kept going, just listening to my tunes. Pretty soon I hit the 3-mile marker. Originally this is where I had planned to turn around. But I was still feeling pretty good. My legs still felt fresh even. So I kept going. The next crossroad I came to is where I had turned around on Tuesday, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, "Maybe I can make it 9 tonight anyway." So I crossed the street and kept going on the next part of the trail. I got to where I was going to turn around and I had to stop momentarily to fix my headband.

Bad idea.

I kid you not, I no more than stopped running and the mosquitoes started swarming me! There were two on my knee and one was feasting on my arm. I haven't got a clue where they all came from! I quick set my water bottle down, pulled out my headphones and fixed my headband. I barely had my headphones in my ears before I started running again, mostly to escape the blood-thirsty mosquitoes.

I settled back in my pace, thinking my mosquito problems were behind me, back in that marshy area. I was wrong.

For the entire 4.5 miles back to my car, not only was I concentrating on finishing my run, but every so often I found myself trying to swat away mosquitoes, or attempt to itch a mosquito bite in mid-stride. So not fun. And the welts that they left? HUGE! And itchy!

Aside from the mosquitoes, the second half of my run was good. I still felt pretty good, except for the itching. I toyed with taking a short walk break somewhere around Mile 7, but decided against it since whenever I slowed down, the mosquitoes would swarm. And swarming mosquitoes meant the possibility of more bites. And that wouldn't be fun.

So I kept running.

And before I knew it, I was back at my car. I tried to stop at a bench to do some stretching, but the mosquitoes attacked. So I opted to finish stretching once I got back to my apartment.

After Tuesday's awful run, I was seriously doubting that I'd be able to finish this half-marathon without dying, but tonight's run gave me the confidence I needed. I covered the 9.1 miles in 1 hour, 48 minutes. Not bad, just shy of a 12 minute mile pace. I'll take that.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Upper 60s? I'll take it

Remember August? How it was miserable. And hot. And humid? Heck, that's what it was like earlier this week too.

But tomorrow? Mother Nature must be in a friendly mood. Because depending on what weather forecast you look at, the mercury in the thermometer might reach 70 if we're lucky. And there's supposed to be clouds in the sky.

What's that mean?

My long run tomorrow should be wonderful. Well, as wonderful as I can expect a 9-mile run to be. But I do know it should at least be tolerable and hopefully I won't find myself wanting to throw in the towel after 2.5 miles. It should be comfortable and hopefully I won't want to die.

Now if only Mother Nature can give me a similar forecast on Sept. 23. Because I don't want it to be 90 when I have to run 13.1 miles.

Waiting for the snap

West Coast road trips shouldn't be allowed.

It's 5:30 p.m. I watched some of College Game Day. I went into work for a few hours. I caught the end of the Oklahoma vs. Miami game. I've been enjoying watching Michigan get smacked for the second week in a row. And there's still Notre Dame's trip to Happy Valley and a match up with Penn State.

So what's the problem?

I still haven't seen my Badgers. Because when Bucky travels to Las Vegas for a showdown with UNLV, we have to wait until 9 p.m. for kickoff! Not fair.

Only 3.5 more hours to go.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Distance to hell? 8.5 miles

That, my friends, sucked.

It was hot. And semi-humid. And sunny. And the run itself? That was horrible. So horrible I didn't even make it the full 9 miles this morning. I settled for 8.5, but still, it was an awful 8.5.

Let's just say, by the time I got 2.5 miles under my belt, I felt like quitting. I told myself, just get to the 3 mile turnaround, then maybe consider doing 6. Nope, instead I took a break and walked for a bit, and when I got to Mile 3, I decided, "Hey, this isn't too awful. I can keep on going." So I did. But it didn't get easier. In fact, it got harder. And 8 miles? That's really far when it's hot and humid and you don't really feel like putting one foot in front of the other. But I kept going. Probably took more walking and stretching breaks than I should have, but it's my run and I can do what I want. And all the while I was running, I'm thinking, "This weather? This is why my month of August was so awful. Because it was H-O-T. And it's hard to run when it's hot."

But eventually I made it back to my car. The time? It wasn't pretty. But considering the heat and the fact that my legs felt like lead, I'll take it.

And now I'm just going to cross my fingers that when the half-marathon arrives, it isn't 86 and humid. I'm hoping for some nice mid-60s. That sounds much better to run 13.1 miles in if you ask me.

Monday, September 3, 2007

No excuses

I've put it off long enough. Today's excuse? I needed to sleep.

But the excuses are gone.

The route's been mapped. I know where my feet need to take me. So tomorrow, when my alarm starts buzzing at 7:30-ish, I will get up. And I will run. And it will be 9 miles. And hopefully I won't die.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

I've never played football in my life, not even in my dreams

There are all kinds of fantasy sports leagues.

Fantasy baseball. Fantasy auto racing. Fantasy hockey. Fantasy golf. And of course, the grand daddy of them all, fantasy football.

As much as I love sports, I've successfully avoiding becoming a fantasy player. I'd rather just watch the real game and not worry about if my running back is racking up decent yards because, hello, I need those 6 points to win my fantasy match up.

Until this year.

Yes friends, I have joined a fantasy football league.

It's made up of folks from work. And I've been promised there will be no public humiliation. Public ridicule? That's one's still being debated. But at least I won't be humiliated in the pages that I write for. And that's good for me, since I haven't got a clue what I'm supposed to be doing.

Our "draft" was this morning, but I wasn't around. So I let the computer pick my team. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the members of "Crime & Grime."
Quarterbacks - Marc Bulger (St. Louis Rams); Eli Manning (NY Giants)
Wide receivers - Torry Holt (St. Louis Rams); Hines Ward (Pittsburgh Steelers); Joey Galloway (Tampa Bay Buccaneers); D.J. Hackett (Seattle Seahawks); Mushin Muhammad (Chicago Bears); Marty Booker (Miami Dolphins)
Running backs - Joseph Addai (Indianapolis Colts); Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars); Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)
Tight ends - Jeremy Shockey (NY Giants); Owen Daniels (Houston Texans)
Kicker - Robbie Gould (Chicago Bears)
Defense - Miami Dolphins

So we'll see how this goes. I'll keep you posted on how many band of "criminals" does.

Welcome back, college football

It's back. And I'm happy. The first weekend of the college football season is in the books. And some good stuff happened yesterday.

For starters, I have to mention my Badgers. I know this sounds awful, but I didn't get a chance to watch the 42-21 victory against Washington State, although I did listen to it on the radio. It sounded like a decent game for a season-opener. It sounded like Tyler Donovan, the new Badger quarterback, had a decent game. Hopefully that's a sign of good things to come. Looking forward to next weekend's match up with UNLV.

Oh, yeah.

Dear Bret Bielema,
I'm not sure what I think of the red pants, red jersey combo you've picked for home games this year. I liked the red jersey, white pants combination from last year. Hopefully this all-red uniform will grow on me.

Was anybody else as happy as I was when you heard that Michigan lost to 1-AA Appalachian State at Ann Arbor? That 34-32 score scrolling across the bottom of the screen made my day. Just because I detest Michigan.

I caught some of the stories the "College Game Day" staff did over on ESPN leading up to the Virginia Tech game, the first major sporting event at the university since the April massacre. Good stuff. Almost had me shedding a tear or two at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning. I was glad to see the Hokies bring home the 17-7 win over East Carolina.

Pages were turned

August was a so-so month for reading, but definitely not a month I want to write home about.

I finished three books for a total of 833 pages. Nothing too fantastic.

Here's the list of what I managed to finish in August.

The Final Frontiersman by James Campbell
The Time It Takes To Fall by Margaret Lazarus Dean
Year of the Dog by Shelby Hearon

That brings my yearly total to 34 books and 12,863 pages.

Maybe September will be better, but I'm not making any promises.