Monday, July 30, 2007

Clydesdales Rule

Many road races these days have categories for heavier people (you can read "fatsos" there if you must), with "Athenas" for women over 175 pounds, and Clydesdale (why not Zeus?) for men over 200. As much I hate to say it, I'm currently in the second category, but Saturday morning's run made me feel a little more like a thoroughbred again. My PR for a 10K run is about 37 minutes, 17 seconds, which was right at six minutes per mile. I weighed then about 30 pounds less. I remember the race that gave me the PR, a hilly 10K down in Beaver, Oklahoma, where I got into a battle for 2nd place with a guy through the entire race and we both came steaming down the hill to the finish line, gutting it out, and he beat me by a step, but I never ran a 10K faster. So I was grateful to him. That was maybe 15 years ago. About 10 years ago I ran The Strawberry Run in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, the first 10K I had run in years, and I finished in over 45 minutes, which I considered a great fall, a sign of fading athleticism. But until Saturday I hadn't run a 10K under 45 minutes since before that Wisconsin "disaster."
So, Saturday I hauled my Clydesdale ass to the starting line of Madison's "Tour the City" 10K, joining 19 others, including the true thoroughbred Rod DeHaven, an Olympic marathoner and holder of some state and national records. I was hoping for something under 50 minutes, but I had the feeble hope that a 45 minute 10K was in the tank, since I've been running well. 50 minutes would mean about a 7:30 pace or so, and I had my lap counter watch to check my pace. But there were no mile markers! How fast was I going? I had no idea until I passed the finish line and saw a 44:11 was my time. Whoop! When I checked the pace, and saw the 7:06 per mile speed I was going, I gave my 50-year-old self a slap on the back and a double whoop. Visions of a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon (3:25 for this old codger) began to take shape. So if the foot holds up, and I manage to stay on the DELAP Diet (Don't Eat Like A Pig), maybe I can improve mightily on last year's 3:51. Things are looking good. With some luck and good training, I'll make it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

House for Sale

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for people to move from one house to another, the world's opinion encourages those people to divest themselves of the former house when aquiring the newer. So, we're putting up the Catherine house for sale. If you know of anyone looking for a house in Madison, SD, please send me a line and I'll hook them up with our realtor. It's a nice cozy little place where one can watch the world go by, our lucky little home.
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bloody Knees and a 99 Year-old Lady

Again, it seems like life keeps me busy, much to some peoples' dismay. No, it's not classes, but socializing and other events keep coming after the wife and me. Tuesday afternoon (as we fretted about whether we could--or should--buy our big house) some of the Lake County Historical Society board members and friends led about 50 local kids on an "Old Fashioned Game Day." We played some old games like jacks and marbles and jumprope and outdoor games including Red Light Green Light, Simon Says, and variations on these games and others. I was surprised to learn that a number of the kids knew how to play Pumpumpollaway (or however you spell it), a game that we loved to play on the school playground in Ft. Pierre, a game like tag that begins with a lone tagger in the middle of the playground as everyone is lined up on one side of the field. She faces them and cries out, "Pumpumpollaway, come away or I'll pull you away!" The kids race to safety on the other side unless they're tagged, which puts them on her side. Last one caught (in my experience it was usually my buddy Mark Huebner) is the next tagger.

We didn't have a good building for Annie-I-Over (or again, whatever you call it). Again, I loved the ritual calling-out of of phrases or sayings that went along with the game.

My buddy JS led the kids, most of them 8 or so years old, in various races across the grass--a three legged race, hopping on one foot, rolling across the grass (and trying to avoid the doggie land mines). The race on your knees led some to cry out after they'd scrambled across the finish line, "My knees are bleeding!" But most kids pushed on to the next race, the next game, the next race across the lawn with a potato on a spoon.

After the games, the board had its monthly meeting, and then it was off to house negotiations.

Wednesday I got in 33 laps in the pool early, then went to the funeral of my great-aunt Regina (Schnell) Rensch. The funeral, held not in Latin but English, contrary to her request, was held in Ramona, followed by her burial there and then lunch in the parish hall. Mother dear sang several songs for the service for the aunt she always thought of as a classy beauty, born in 1908.

Wednesday night we had some friends over for food and drinks, good company, and a great time. It was especially a treat to have the year-old daughter of J and CB here, embarking on her own life-long journey. This morning (too early) was "Early Burn" at the community center, followed by work on the house. Anxiety, pain, fatigue, they're just as much a reminder of the fact of being alive as the touching lyrics and melody of "How Great Thou Art" or the underwater image of a girl in the pool held aloft by her soul-like life preserver. Being there, and being aware--two kinds of luck.

Tomorrow I head for Minneapolis.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

1314 NE 3rd St.--Our Coming Address

We've happily signed the papers on a new address, which comes with a big house, a big yard, and several piles of wood for the fireplace. Check out the map here, and one of the photos here taken during the winter. It's got a GREAT yard, almost nothing for neighbors, a big screened-in porch, and plenty of room for guests and gatherings. I might have to take another shot at learning to play the banjo just so I can make the best of that front porch!

Friday, July 06, 2007

A View from the Top

Among the many recent activities, the wife, a sister, a brother, and I climbed Harney Peak last week, and I got this great shot from the fire tower at the top, the highest point of land east of the Rocky Mountains. It was a long hike, about seven miles round trip, but it was worth it to get the walk in, to see the great vistas of western South Dakota, and to spend good time with good people.