31 May 2010

To the great fallen- Memorial Day 2010

War at the best, is terrible, and this war of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible.
Abraham Lincoln 16 June 1864

Not being in a war with weapons and being shot at I would agree that war is unpleasant to say the least. My family doesn't have many veterans. None died during their service. My great-great-grandfather, Robert Palmer (not the singer), during the Civil War and may have been injured during his term but I can't make out the words on the 1890 Veteran's Census form.
Above is the monument in Grand Forks, ND to the lads who fought in the Civil War. It stands on its own ground less than a mile from the downtown. I am not sure how oft it is observed what with the downtown mostly quiet these days. But I took note of it many times when I was in town. It looks very similar to one in Island Park in the Go. I recall another lonely monument in Washington DC. A WWI monument that sits on the edge of the Mall. Not sure if it gets much attention with the new WWII memorial nearby. I should visit both the next time I come to town.
But today we observe Memorial Day in the states. It is a holiday that slowly came into national existence after the conclusion of the Civil War. At the time it was called Decoration Day and one of its aims was to remember those who died in that great war. At first it wasn't well received by the newly reconciled southern states but as the nation grew and 2 world wars brought further causalities those misgivings subsided. 
It has come to become a day marking the beginning of the summer vacation season rather than of remembering those who died in battle. Although that does certainly go on- the remembering of those who died while serving in the armed forces. War certainly hasn't been popular as of late. However, I am unsure if the absence of war would make us any better. And that somehow the absence of war is peace. Is fair to say that peace creates its own casualties because we turn a blind eye to injustices we dare not speak against? It could. 
But let us put aside that debate and remember someone died for freedom.


   

Marathon Mustaches, return of the mustache: Fargo Marathon 2010

I am hoping you will enjoy the third and final installment of marathon mustaches. I can't believe I've got this much to blog about the marathon this year. It really was memorable and now this Memorial Day weekend seems so lonely without the 20,000+ people around town. I was actually surprised to go downtown and find some businesses were closed for the entire weekend. I guess last weekend made up for it. Well, here come the mustaches.

This one is a little hard to see. But this is indeed a stellar English military mustache. This guy could have been in G.I. Joe (maybe Bazooka.) Plus he ran a very respectable 3:25 marathon. 
I think I wrote about how the ND governor and his wife ran the 5k even though I doubt many of the 5000 ran the entire thing. I was one congested race. Well, not to be undone and former Governor is running under cover going by the name "Gene." I know it is just a cover. But Jesse Ventura indeed ran the marathon. Am I right?

Not sure if the spotting of a horseshoe manchu is an indication that Pete Vuckovich is making a comeback as a runner. But I'd welcome him to the runner's world.

26 May 2010

Marathon Mustaches 2: Fargo Marathon 2010

Nothing but stellar reviews coming in about the Fargo Marathon. It tipped the scales with 20K+ registered runners. That's a whole lot of shoes. However, this post is not about the shoes. It is about the mustaches. So let's get to it and see what kind of mustaches were running this weekend. Sometimes finding the mustaches was a little difficult because from a distance the optical illusion shadow mustache. 

Below we've got a pretty good Jesse Ventura going on. He could take your Governor any day in the marathon.
 This one below had the added bonus of a full arm tattoo. I believe this mustache is an English.
Not sure what to call that one below. Has a Tom Selleck feel to it. But this guy is ready to rock with a few flasks around his waist.
This one is an exception. No stash. The guy in the middle of the picture has worked up quite a sweat. However the red headed fellow with the nice chops is bound to advance to the finish before him if only by the length of his sideburns.

24 May 2010

Your Experiences Blogged: 2010 Fargo Marathon

A fews days of recovery from the Fargo Marathon have passed. The blogoshere is beginning to churn out race reports. Not too many as of today. Most of it is crappy news aggregator posts which usually discuss the amount of registered runners which was about 20,000. I saw one post even got the winners totally wrong. Someone must have just put up a post as Fargo Marathon was trending high most of the weekend on Twitter.
Here's a few to check out:
A guy named Bill from Milwaukee ran the marathon
Jordan ran the 1st leg of a the marathon relay- had an elite pace
Jenn mentions running the ½ marathon and her daughter running in the 5k
Steve ran the ½ marathon in preparation for Grandma’s (the marathon not the person)

Overall, the marathon this year was fantastic. Steve in his post above makes the best points about the good vibe of this edition of the marathon. I had the most fun spectating this year.
As a volunteer, it felt well organized. The e-mail reminders were good especially one which gave some brief points about how to do the thing I volunteered.
More to come as I wrap up marathon week and track down Cris Estes.

23 May 2010

Marathon Mustaches: Fargo Marathon 2010

As a spectator you notice the sublime effects of a a stash. Men with mustaches just run better. Need I remind you of Prefontaine. He ran awesomely with a mustache. Dick Beardsley ran well with one too. At Fargo there was plenty of mustaches but I only count the ones without the beard accessory. Let's take a look at some of them.
Here we have a crowbar stash.Give him a competitor's edge.
















I believe this is Tom Selleck running his first Fargo Marathon. He came by helicopter and will leave by Ferrari.
















And top off this set, a Hulkster Stash. The guy behind him is quite envious. I'd watch out lest this Hulkamaniac pile drives the guy into the pavement for stash stalking.

22 May 2010

Norwegians Win: Fargo Marathon 2010

It is a bit fitting that an Erichsen and a Thorvilson win the Fargo Marathon. Ufdah!
Here's Leah Thorvilson having a commanding lead just after mile 21. She would go on to make a "b" Olympic qualifying time.
Holly Ochs apparently fell a bit behind but came in 6th right behind Cindy Sondag. I was unaware of the identities of the women that came in 2nd-4th. The press didn't seem too interested in them either.
I never get to meet with these elites. The directors shuttle them off to who knows where. So I am left with just a electronic trail of race results and if I am lucky- a blog. I digress.
Onto other tidbits.
The most common name beginning with "Q" that ran any race was Quinn.
I only spotted 2 costumed runners this year: slender Santa and Superman. Unfortunately, no Elvis except I think I saw a guy named Elvis run by. With a race this large you'd think there would be an Elvis costume in the bunch.
By the time I got to the Dome, most spectators and participants were gone. The food looked far better than last year. There were inflatables for kids again this year and some bleachers by the finish line. I saw an octogenarian finish the marathon. However, most of the excitement was ebbing. I didn't go the awards ceremony because I had no clue that the Fargo Dome had a basement. Maybe then I could have got an exclusive quote from one of the top finishers.
I went outside and watch another handful of unsung finishers and then made my way home. Overall I felt like this edition of the marathon went over well. There was a better vibe than last year. In fact the vibe was so good some friends and I may have our own special spectator area with live music and special guest appearances (you know like Elvis.)
There will be more to come. I believe Cris Estes may have a thing or 2 say about his marathon experience this year. And I'll post some of the unsung finishers from the back. Until then rest easy.

At Mile 21/8: Fargo Marathon 2010

I spectated at wonderful spot on 9th street. I got there just as the bulk of the halfies were coming. The weather greatly improved but couldn't find time to blog my observations as I was having too much fun. At this vantage point I was at key point in the marathon. This is where the the so called "2nd Race" begins. When I ran Sioux City a number of years ago, this was the spot were you needed motivation because you were really hitting the wall. And there was plenty of motivation at the corner in addition to some big farm equipment. The aid station was just a block south of my "perch."
I ate a little breakfast with my friends on the porch and eagerly awaited the men's marathon leaders.
The wheelchair leader went by in a breeze.
Then almost 30 minutes later I could see an official bike coming. Who was it? It wasn't a Kenyan! It was Minnesota's own Chris Erichsen (see picture below)!!

Chris Erichsen opened a lead from the Kenyans a few miles back. It was also at a very decent clip. I cheered Chris on and looked in the distance. Nothing.
It would be another minute before another run passed.
I was anticipating a Kenyan victory today with the weather but the rain changed the field. It was also quite windy as the race progressed. I believe the Re/Max balloon could not be launched because of the strong gusts on the end of the storm system.
Chris ended up smashing Pete Gilman's record from last year to finish at 2:19.55. I believe this might be a "b" Olympic qualifying time. The results website is being difficult so I can't tell you the top ten but Chris certainly defied expectations since this was his debut at this distance. But there has been much expectation from him. He certainly is one to watch.
On the women's side, as the papers expected, Leah Thorvilson tore up the competition and set a new course record at 2:41. I had mistakenly said she went to USC but she went to Arkansas-Little Rock. It appears they have the same mascot and similar colors. Anyways reading a little more about her here. It appears she is a great gal and describes herself as goofy. Well now she is a few steps closer to the Olympics. Good run!
I had heard Holly Ochs was running third in the women's race even though the papers made no mention of her. Bueno!
Lots of runners for half. And lots of cheering and bell ringing from me. I can't wait for next year. We might have a block party or something.
I'll be headed to the dome to check out some more stuff. Later gators!

Rain, Rain, Go Away: Fargo Marathon 2010

A wet morning in Fargo instead of a warm one. Could this race go to a mudder? :)
Just moments from the start of the full marathon. I already hear the half approaching middle Fargo from my perch. The rain is letting up a bit but definitely still wet. If the wind and sun return by 9 it may dry up.
Well, last night was fantastic. The 5k went on without a hitch as far as I could tell. Inside reports say it was very congested and hard to run if you weren't near the front. I also heard the Governor and his wife were running. Sorry, but I don't think Miss North Dakota is running this year.
The Marathon apparently hit 20000 registrants in the mid afternoon. The Fargo Dome was hopping.
One sad note: we ran out of bags and the 10k ran out of T-shirts. I hated having to give people what we had left when they paid to enter. Especially if they ordered small and had to accept large. Our value quotient might go down. Not sure, it could be just a small contingent.
Nevertheless, I loved meeting all the people. Albeit mostly people running the 10k- the race I won't be covering. I was out late with a friend who ran 5k so getting over to the Dome at 6am was not reasonable.
Pictures? You got it!
 There were lots of metals for the 5k. So much a fork lift was needed to move them.
It was a big event. The Scheel's area was about the size of the old store. But packet pickup went without any hitches except we ran out of some things.
Well the rain is getting lighter and I need to get to a better vantage point. Moninda and Erichsen in lead pack of 3.
More later.
Oh yeah- 700th post! Woot!

21 May 2010

No returning champions at Fargo Marathon

There should be a caveat to that statement. There are returning champions-2009 half-marathon winners Chris Erichsen and Lindsay Henkels but they will be running in the full marathon this year.
Both Pete Gilman and Nicole Cueno will not be returning to defend their titles. It looks as if Pete got his Boston qualifying result last year and placed 38th at Boston just over a month ago. He probably deserves a rest. Nicole is working at a YWCA in the Twin Cities and appears to be co-coordinating triathlons. Best of luck to her.
So the field is wide open. Let's look at the half.
The Duma Runners Club is back again with some real quality Kenyan athletes. Richard Kandie looks favorite but could local runner Eric Loeffler pull down a victory? Richard won the Illinois Half a few weeks ago and won the 2008 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.
Papers are reporting that non-Duma runner Sammy Malakwan will be running the half too. However his registration claims he is set for the full marathon. I suspect the papers may be correct since Sammy ran a 2:15.25 marathon in Green Bay. Strangely Sammy did not win that race. Duma runner James Boit upended him with a 2:15.15. Sammy has been in Fargo before so perhaps he'll put in a good performance whatever race he runs. I just wonder how well he recovers.
Another non-Duma runner Matthew Chesang will run. He just last week won the Green Bay half marathon and defeated Richard Kandie in the 2009 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Again the question is how well does he recover.. 
Chris Myers also returns to Fargo to run the half. He's been on  the blog before. I found out later that another anquaintence, Jason Dyrud, was running the half, too.
On the women's  side of the half another Duma runner enters the fold, Grace Kimani.  Grace has placed 2nd 2009 Green Bay half marathon and won the Illinois Half Marathon.  St. Paulite Jenna Boren has had better times in the half and won back to back titles in the Green Bay Half Marathon 2008 and 2009. She also has the course record of 1:16. Not sure if Jenna has raced recently. She may be better rested.
Onto the marathon. Chris Erichsen will be debuting at the distance. But he's proved to be a good runner. Duma has brought Felix Marube Moninda. This Kenyan has quite trophy load thus far with victories in the Illinois Marathon and the Little Rock Marathon just this year. The papers didn't mention him in their write ups. Some guys from New Mexico and Massachusetts were listed as potential victors. But you can read about them elsewhere.
Oh, and Eric Sondag, the 2008 Fargo Marathon Champ, seems to be in obscurity this time around. He showed up last year and ran a respectable half marathon even though there was talk he was injured. His spouse, Cindy, and winner of the Manitoba Marathon, will be lacing up for the women's marathon.
Leah Thorvilson of Little Rock, Arkansas (but also from Robbinsdale Armstrong HS in the Twin Cities and USC) looks primed to break a course record in Fargo. She has some top 10 finishes including Little Rock and Green Bay and Pittsburgh with some sub 2:50 results.
Another woman of note I want to mention, and not my MFG, is Holly Ochs of Milwaukee, WI (and UW-Whitewater alum.) She ran Boston a few years ago. I believe she definitely could finish in the top 10 or even top 5. That depends on how many friends Leah brings from Little Rock. And don't forget Henkels. She may surprise herself again.
So that's it. Hope to see you on the course. I'll be covering the race the best that I can. Might even get another exclusive interview with Chris Estes.

20 May 2010

Nearing the starting line of marathon 2010

From Fargo Marathon
One more day. Things are heating up as the hours are whittled away until the start of the 2010 Fargo Marathon. And heating up is not an exaggeration. The weather is going to be a scorcher by running standards. Forecasts seem to point to an upper 50 degrees at the start and nearing 80 big ones by the afternoon. Remember to stay hydrated and make sure to stretch out appropriately.
The Youth Run was tonight. Didn't get to see it as I was doing the community garden.
Tomorrow night the is the 5k. I'll be volunteering that evening as well. Too bad they don't have chip checking anymore. However, I've got a friend and an acquaintance running the 5k. This is my friend's first competitive running event. She has been training hard for weeks. George W. would say she has been "workin' hard and ordering in, staying late and coming in on Saturdays." My acquaintance, Jeff W, will not only be running 5k but the marathon the next morning. He ran the relay last year.
A rumor has been going around that mayor of Fargo, Dennis Walaker, would be in the 5k. I don't see him on the list so perhaps it is bogus.
The 5k is the largest of all the races so having its own night seems appropriate.
A 10k was added this year. Not sure what to think about that. It certainly makes the entire even a bit more crowded. I don't even know if there is prize money for placing. I just know the toll bridge put a kibosh on the course going through Moorhead. 10k will probably be won by locals.
In the next post I'll look at some of the competitors in the half marathon and the marathon.

19 May 2010

Ugly-Weird Online Ads Strike Back

I think ugly-weird should be one word but to the fact the English language adapts so slowing to things that don't have to do with technology I will just use the ever useful hyphen. But back to the online ads. I came across a rare one. I have only seen this one once but it needed a write up.
This ad isn't really ugly but more disturbing. No old men or women, no weirdos, no unusual image connections, it is just a anamorphic dog. Dog reading news and pet medicines- they sorta relate.
It appears the ad channels Cassius Coolidge's work (Dogs Playing Poker.) Check out the link. Cassius was quite the illustrator of dogs living in man's world and same dogs playing poker. He branched out a little. Ardent R.E.M fans will recognize his work of the monkey with a parrot on a Columbia bicycle.

This advert also seems to be parodying another online ad making the rounds- young effervescent woman reporter discovers secrets of acai berry, making money from home, etc. You've probably seen it dozens of times. It attempts to look like some self-important news organization with an important message you should heed. I'd be happy if the dog reporter made the rounds spouting the virtues of heart worm medicines made with acai.

18 May 2010

Fargo Marathon 2010 heats up

Starting Line for Marathon
From Fargo Marathon
The 6th edition of the Fargo Marathon will be run this weekend and it appears to be some really great weather arriving just in time. In January 2010 Runner's World Magazine ranked the Fargo Marathon first in value and 8th best marathon in the U.S.  Wow! I don't know how we do it. A marathon in Montana gets the top spot. Boston comes in at 5th. 
The marathon course once again has been changed. The marathon route looks a bit more serpentine this year but will indeed pass through Moorhead this year (it didn't last year due to the extended flood.) It may get a little dicey in the neighborhoods just south of downtown Fargo, as the course twists and turns through those neighborhoods 3 times. Looks like it will be one of the better places to watch if you are on foot or bike or board. Lindenwood Park should be a good place to spectate as well.
The new race, the 10k, will not cross into Moorhead due to the 12th Avenue toll bridge not coming to an agreement with the race officials. I believe the owner of the bridge claimed lost income if the bridge were to be used for the 10k. Understandable since the bridge was closed for 21 days due to the spring flood. However, I still don't understand how a toll bridge can even survive in this city. I guess it is probably because the owner has the only crossing in north Fargo to Moorhead. I digress.
The Fargo Marathon continues to grow. It appears that this year there will be a bit under 18000 runners in all events (5k, 10k, half, full marathon). The marketing for the marathon has been pushing for 20000. Quite the impact this race will have. 
I am not sure if they count the youth run participants. And speaking of the Youth Run (they got their own website)- it will be on Thursday evening and not on marathon day. The 5k will also be run at a new time- Friday evening.  And the half marathon starts a half hour earlier at 7:30 AM.
Fargo running blog Addicted to Running is sure to have more info to drop as race day approaches.

14 May 2010

Ugly weird ads keep coming

Another entry into the ugly online ad category crossed with an Obamavertment.
Although this one is not entirely ugly the old guy used in the image for this advert is a little unnerving. The guy looks like Don Quixote cum Father Time crossed with George Armstrong Custer (remember Little Big Horn) after a night of drinking and quoting Shakespeare. Maybe this is Nick Nolte. He's been heading in this direction for years.
Like the typical offenders invoking the name of Obama, this one goes from some bizzare images to Obama's urging the viewer to do something. In this one refinance. And indeed Obama has made this urging way back in 2009. Apparently nobody is responding to the urges of the top guy because these ads keep popping up and rarely with the President's image. I'd rather there be an Obamavertment that urges us to get off our butts. This may be in the works as Michelle Obama will be taking on obesity. I could imagine the possibilities for these ads.

06 May 2010

More floods

It has been a horrendous week in Nashville, Tennessee. Storms earlier this week inundated  the Cumberland River and flooded much of Nashville and the surrounding area. 29 and possibly more have died.  A report is here.
Most assuredly our prayers go out to the citizens of Nashville and middle Tennessee. Having experienced an reported on flooding on here before, I know how dangerous and heartbreaking floodwaters can be to individuals. I think estimates are around a billion dollars in damage.
Unlike the Fargo floods, there really wasn't much warning. This was real flash flood- kind of similar to my April Fool's post this year.  I am not sure how accurately the  weather system that came through that region could be predicted much less prepared for a flood of that speed. It was over twice as much rainfall as the previous record and the Cumberland River crested at 12 feet above flood stage.
The Cumberland is nothing like the Red River. It has lots of dams and reservoirs and people generally enjoy recreation on the river. Not much on the Red, although there is some boating and fishing.
Samaritan's Purse is on the job helping with relief efforts.

03 May 2010

Finally seeing it 23 years later

By "it" I mean the 1986 Disney Sci-Fi movie- Flight of the Navigator. I recall that the movie was shown on a movie day at school. Not sure why. My class may have met some goal or something. However, I broke my glasses earlier in the day and literally could not "see" the movie. More accurately I could not see the movie clearly. I recollect a kid and a mirrored saucer ship and a wacky alien thing that sounded like Pee Wee Herman. But that's the end of the memory.
Yesterday I finally got to see it at the little known Jesse's Basement screening lounge. 2 episodes of MacGyver were also screened. They really love the 80s at the Basement.
I actually like the movie. It's a little less classic Disney but fairly decent plot and good cast. I would describe it as E.T. meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind with Pee Wee Herman. Paul Reubens did voice the alien robot Max but due to other circumstances he gets credited as Paul Mall. Other than creator of Pee Wee Herman the movie also features Matthew Broderick's love interest, Sarah Jessica Parker, Johnny Fever of WKRP in Cincinnati fame (Howard Hesseman),  a fellow who has portrayed both JFK and RFK (Cliff de Young), Oscar winner Jonathon Sanger and a friend and former housemate of George Clooney (Matt Adler.) Adler had a striking resemblance to our hydrology correspondent in this film. Oh and the Star Trek connection- Raymond Forchion was on a Next Generation episode which featured an evil pool of oil (how relevant) and Tash Yar dies. Quite a cast and that's doesn't even include the main character.
Our hero, David Freeman, is played by Joey Cramer who now works in a sporting goods store in Canada. Of course there all other types of rumors out there about where he went after the 1980s left the building but the sporting goods tale will suffice.
So needless to say the assembled audience loved the movie. It kind fits a style of movie they were marketing to kids back then like The Goonies, Neverending Story, Explorers. It even is a scant like War Games which I also saw @ Jesse's Basement a number of months ago.
Now brace yourselves- Disney has a remake/revisioning in the works.

01 May 2010

The cup and a play

The World Cup is fast approaching as most of the world knows. Well, this part of the world doesn't know it that well. They couldn't tell Lionel Messi from Clint Dempsey. The game stateside is still developing. It's adopted more American ways by eschewing relegation and embracing playoffs. Hence, why last season in MSL Real Salt Lake won the MLS cup despite having a losing record. Oh and Beckham and Co were on the losing end. Enough with the intro. This whole thing precipitated when DJ Segue had some questions concerning soccer this week. You see, he was confused why Barcelona won on Thursday night but Inter Milan go to the European Cup final. Well, its on of those insider things. The match was played over 2 games and the highest aggregate score advances. And if tied the goals scored away from home count more. Inter had 3 total goals to Barcelona's 2. The World Cup used to be played similarly during the early years of the tournament. Now it follows a league and knock-out stage process.
What I recommend to those of you like DJ Segue who are not quite familiar with the nuances of games is to attempt to acquire a book that helped me out many years ago- Peter Davies' 22 Foreigners in Funny Shorts. It is not only informative but very enjoyable. It is a bit dated with references to a fellow named Gazza (England's Paul Gascoigne) but most of it still applies today.
Went to the theater tonight. No not Iron Man II: Electric Bugaloo. Went to the local high school's performance of You Can't Take it with You. It's an old play that is rather quaint. It ain't Shakespeare but it won the Pulitzer Prize.
I've just perused a number of clips from other high school productions of the show. And the home team, Fargo North, did very good. They were hands down the best costumes and the set was very fine.
This play requires a particular pacing and execution which Fargo North did not always hit. Still can't count that against them much, they did an outstanding job. Plaudits should go to actors portraying Penny, Grandpa, and Gay Wellington. Oh and the Duchess did all right too.