30 May 2011

On Memorial Day 2011

The poppy has been a popular symbol used around Memorial Day in the States and in the UK and perhaps elsewhere.
The VFW distributes them yearly. I don't know if they are sold or what. I haven't seen that many around my neck of the woods for years. I have an old one I keep on hand. The VFW website explains it.

Although all veterans are often honored on this holiday, it was originally for those men and women who died in the Civil War. I think I mentioned this in last years Memorial Day post.
The poppy symbol, however, is from WWI, a war my great uncle served in. I am told he had to alter his age in order to enlist. Eventually he did such a good job the Government asked him back for WWII. I believe he was a boiler maker of some kind. I think he was in the Pacific during WWII.

Now a poem:
Remember now the smoke and grime
Battering and bellowing towards the line
Stand did they, when came their time
Refusing to relinquish but for Liberty to shine.
These things were done, not without thought
But for Freedom's kinsmen, they put in their lot.
And for now we recall their heroic charge
To look, to hear, to understand-
O brothers, sisters, remember now.

27 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011: The after buzz

Well it is pretty done and dusted in Fargo now a whole week after all the excitement happened. I have run, biked, or walked most of the southern portion of the marathon route and have found almost all the GU leftovers. The rest of the GU will probalby blow away.

Here's an article about the men's winner- Luke Watson. The writer likes to point it out that he beat a Kenyan. Actually 2 Kenyans if my race media guide is correct.
I was surprised to see that Watson also calls Stillwater MN home. Well he graduated from Stillwater and I believe moved to PA to do doctoral work at Penn State. Another unknown fact was Watson was a friend and roommate of Ryan Shay at Notre Dame- a distance runner who died after suffering what is believed to be a heart attack while running in the US Olympic marathon trials in 2007. Watson also has a brother, Jake, who is a pretty good runner too (he ran a sub-4 mile.)
Watson only appears to have taken on the marathon recently (last 3 years) since a lot of the other races I see he ran were more mid-distance (10K, 3000M, 5000M).

Here's a runner's  report of the marathon.
Another blog with pictures from the Moorhead side of the river.
And yet another marathon recap
And another runner reports his experience
And there are many more. This is incredible. There weren't that many blog entries about the marathon last year.

Of course more Fargo Marathon beard coverage will be coming next week. Have a grand Holiday.

26 May 2011

Looking for Ugly Online Ads


After a slight lull in the action the Ugly Ads are...still coming. It's been a busy month and all but I've come across a few we can dissect here.
Since the Osama raid, Obama's popularity has risen although this ad does not invoke the name it only refers to a President- perhaps the bank's president did this.
This photo shopped picture is pretty ugly. Of course the fake eyes really does this one in as well has the mushed mouth.
Grandma is going to gag since she can't sleep. But this new shocking secret is sure the help- it's on the internet so it must work.


I can't believe the President wants to be associated with these adverts. This guy is downright creepy. Looks like he might work in the dungeon of terror or the a haunted house. In fact he does not look quite real. Looks as if he is made of wax.

Believe me, the only reason for these mugs is to get someone to looks and perhaps click. Getting your attention is the game advertisers are playing on the nets. So that's why all the those "amazing secret" type texts and invoking the President's approval.

25 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011: The beard rides again

We continue our look at the beards of the Fargo Marathon. I have looked closely at each and attempted to identify the style but often it defies style or is just the plain old short boxed beard. Let's take a look at the beards shall we?
Headband, saved head, and a Vandyke. His T-Shirt suggests he should have worn flannel and wielded an ax. Maybe next time.
 Here we double your pleasure with 2 beards. This happened very little during the race. Beards were more scattered and did not congregate . Both of these are the short boxed style. The sunglassed man looks ready to eat the race up at a nonchalant pace.
 Here's a chin curtain with stash and shirtless guy. Plus all are envious of the beards whch propelling the man forward at a new pace.

23 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011: A beard, Elvis, and Superman

Another bearded guy without a shirt and red shoes. Not sure what to entitle this one. Perhaps he could be called gentleman barbarian.
 
Nearby, Elvis serenades the runners like he only knows how. Not many spectators were nearby. Not sure if it was just the oddity of being near Elvis that kept them away or a perturbed dislike for jumpsuits. Well, a few moments later another oddity runs by.


 It's a bird, it's a plane- it's a runner dressed as Superman. Not many costumed runners this year but this is one of them. We had Supergirl one year so it makes sense that Superman would show up sometime. As Superman trotted by, Elvis stopped singing and yelled to him- "Hey, you're not real. I'm real." It was hilarious.

22 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011: Let the beard do the running

I wonder if Dick Beardsley ever had a beard?
Our first beard tonight includes a bonus wave. This fellow is sporting a very chivalrous beard. I wouldn't be surprised if this fellow is a knight and pondered before the race whether to wear his sword in order to slay a dragon that may find itself onto the course. Although he opted for more "running potions" to carry him through until the end.  Oh and there's a bonus wave.
The next guy sped by I had a hard time identifying the beard. It is a good and fast one.

 This is one I call the full on Ron Gardenhire. It also features a bonus argyle sock. This guy and his beard are enjoying a leisurely run through south Fargo eagerly awaiting a Cuban cigar at the finish.

Burns, a Goatee with stach not connected, no shirt. Enough said. 

Fargo Marathon 2011: Victory over the rain


I was unsure after running the 5K in 26:44 whether the weather would be good the next day for the half and the full.
Well the weather was as good at it was last year. A little rain and some overcast skies. Really, it was a good day to run. The Forum reports  12,500 ran in the events on Saturday although the marathon website reports 22000 ran or walked in event held the entire weekend. I did not do a head count but there were a lot. The 5K was a herd.
Luke Watson took the men's crown and as others surmised Camille Herron won the women's marathon although without a PR or a course record. She blew past our 21st mile outpost. Recognizable name and Manitoba Marathon winner Cindy Sondag snagged 3rd. Looking at the results the women's race was just bit slower than last year.
 Herron bested the the nearest rival by 10 minutes. I was expecting quite a few more 2:40 finishes but alas it was not the day for that.
I am not sure I saw Watson. I may have but I didn't get the bib number off one the runners that went by. That photo is below Looking through the photos I seemed to have gotten picts of the half leaders instead.
However, my colleague and occasionally soccer team mate, Chris Hass, finished 20th in the marathon. Quite the accomplishment. He's also highest finishing Fargo resident in the marathon so he's the city champion although Erik Hanson from Moorhead finished at few places ahead of him. I didn't even remember seeing Chris go by. He sometimes wears sunglasses that obscure his visage. He ran the half here most recently and finished in the top 20. I was told by another co-worker of mine that he had some health trauma in the last year so I did not see him playing soccer much this year. I saw him a few times in winter training at the south arena. Rock it Chris, you now have bragging rights around here.
Another name that sticks out in the men's results is Janusz Sarnicki who finished 7th. This obviously Polish man of 45 years of age won the Rockford Marathon in 2009 but that he remains a top contender nearing masters age is incredible.
American educated Kenyan Hillary Cheruiyot took 3rd place. Serial Kenyan distance runner Obed Gisemba entered again and placed 10th. He had an interesting experience in a showshoe race last year.
I will also mention Chris Myers who came again to compete in Fargo for the 4th time I believe. Not an elite runner but nonetheless made up the 99% of runners who come to Fargo. He finished off this edition of the marathon in 4:10. We hi-fived at the 21st Outpost.
It was a fantastic time watching and ringing a bell for nearly 6 hours. The whole neighborhood blossomed into a party atmosphere. It was great day to spectate. The bands were an excellent addition. Out block had the this reggae group which looked as if Joaquin Phoenix was playing the keyboards in the back. Elvis was a few blocks south belting out his best. My only qualm was I was not sure at a moment's look whether somebody was running the full or half marathon. The staggered starts I thought would have helped but I got confused. I did eventually discover that the red text bibs were half and the blue text were full. They even said it on the bib.
I'll have more post race coverage later. The big theme for this year is beards. So you'll be meeting some marathon beards this week along with the rest of my unique coverage of the 2011 Fargo Marathon- it rocked! 

21 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011: The 5K I KOed

The rain was intermittent. The crowd was big. A couple were getting married  after the race. This was just some of the things on view at the Fargo Friday Night 5K
I ran in this race- my first in a long time. Did very well too. However the 1st mile and half of the race was nearly wall to wall people. I couldn't work up to my typical gait with the lack of space. Eventually it go spread out at around the 2 mile mark and I kicked in a pretty good pace. The weather was certainly ideal, even if it did rain a bit. My time was 26:44. Not bad. Only 10 minutes after the men's winner Cley Twigg crossed the finish line.
I stuck around a bit after the race but there wasn't much to do in the overcast intermittent rainy outdoors. I did however I did listen to the band they had stationed at the finish line until my friend found me and we left.
Tomorrow, the prediction of rain hangs over the race. Will it be a downpour or will it just drizzle some and then go away?
Well at our outpost on the 21st mile we put up some shelter. I hope the weather won't turn sour.

20 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011- rain rocks, right?

Well, gentle spring rains descended upon Fargo around 3PM as I returned home from my shift volunteering at packet pickup. The rain has slightly diminished but is making me rethink my 5k wardrobe. 90 percent chance to rain tomorrow. Hopefully it doesn't have a chance. I rained a little last year.
Packet pick up was rather light this morning. I got placed on the relay table so it was extra light. Things went smooth and then I ended the shift and ate lunch. Across the table from me in the hospitality area was a former Fargo area teacher and a Air Force Ranger (a rarity.) 
I walked around the Expo for a while and gather up some goodies from Swanson, who were giving away more than usual this year. I also bought a new headband thingie.
On my way home I stopped at Boys Ranch and picked up a Village People hits CD for 3 quarters. Could it be inspirational?
And now onto the photos for the afternoon.

Below is speaker Matt Long. He is a NY firefighter and a hulk. He wrote a book. Here's just a partial bio, he is quite the athlete:
Matt Long has been a competitive athlete his entire life. As a member of his high school basketball team, he was required to run in the Brooklyn/Queens X-country Championships. With no prior running experience, he finished fifth for his school, completing the race in uncomfortable high top sneakers. At Iona College, he competed in their Division I basketball program for which a high level of fitness was mandatory.

 The medals sit unmolested by human hands but many were glancing at them and photographing them.
 The infamous woodchipper from the movie "Fargo" suggests visitors should stop by the F-M visitors' center.
 Here again in our marathon MC never missing a chance to give a runner a piece of coaching. I also noticed Coach GP wore an earing. Seemed a little like Captain Jack Sparrow to me.

Fargo Marathon 2011- photos from Thursday

Upon entry to the Fargo Dome you will find your way down the stairs and into the Expo. Lots of vendors and Scheel's once again has gargantuan section. Fargo's 2 other running stores also have booths.

 These ladies try to convince this young lad to listen to their radio station by apply a temporary tattoo. They disappeared shortly thereafter.
Here's the marathon's MC- Coach JP. Here in this photo he looks like he's one tough hombre with that motor bike behind him. The bike actually belongs to the Fargo Police. Maybe JP should take up MCing while on a motorbike, he totally has the look. Only needs a tattoo or 2.

Fargo Marathon 2011- kids rock too

I volunteered at the kids' race. Quite a few volunteers for this event but it was an easy gig. Even got to check out the new turf on Dacotah Field. It seems so real.
Kids got to run a half mile or a mile. They all received a finishers' medal and water (some even got the water from me.) Looked like about 2000 kids took part. It actually went very smoothly.
Apparently the red headed kid in the photo had some kind of importance because he was swarmed by the single camera and reporter. No clue who it is or what the story is. Need to research that.
I also ran into the RD- he ran with some youngsters and claimed he was not famous when I mentioned there was someone famous here. I guess he might be a humble fellow. It takes more than 1 guy to make this marathon rock.
Afterward I strolled through the expo and bought the bell. For now my MFG will be using in tomorrow when I pursue glory in the Friday Night 5K. Also I do some more volunteering tomorrow. Until later.

19 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011- the day draws near

Last year the Marathon expanded. No, it didn't add an extra mile or two. It added a 10K and then put the 5K on Friday night. This year's expansion moves the Kid's Race onto the Thursday of race week.
No word if any kids are flying in for this one. And to my knowledge, I have yet to know of a Kenyan youngster who has run in this race. I won't doubt African kids have run in it- just not Kenyans. Besides it is not a competitive event anyway.
I'll be over at Dacotah Field volunteering for the Kids Run. It has its own website- the race not the field.
On the big races, it looks like a competitive field in the half. Since USTAF allowed a half marathon time to qualify for the trials, more potential Olympians have been giving it a go. Dan Greeno is one of them. There should be plenty of athletes hoping to get a trials qualifying time but the nets have been pretty mum.
Camille Herron, however, is running the marathon and hopes to make a PR and break the women's course record. She finished 4th in the Indy Mini-Marathon a few weeks ago. The Indiana native may be the favorite with last year's winner Leah Thorvilson not registered. Chris Erichsen is also onto other races. I think he might be running Grandma's in June.

18 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011- the winding course

So I might not be a weather forecaster, but I still think the weather does look good for a fantastic marathon. Today I took a look at the course again for this year's races.
A video of the marathon course with commentary is up on the Fargo Marathon website.
It is still a winding course. Plenty of turns. (It had been overheard Kenyans don't like all the turns. Even so, there will be a few Kenyans in the race.) Especially in the portion south of downtown. But that is real good neighborhood for running. I checked a few of the turns in that area and they are again marked on the road in white spray paint. The half marathon doesn't have as many turns in proportion to distance yet follows much of the marathon course. The half doesn't go as much into Moorhead or further south than Lindenwood Park in Fargo.
It is claimed there will be bands at every mile. No word yet if that will happen but you never know.
Best places to spectate appear to be the stretch near Mickelson Field, Downtown on Broadway, and Lindenwood Park, Main Ave Bridge, and Island Park near 4th St and 5th Ave corner. Watchers on the east side of the Red River can probably get a good view on 12th Ave S near Concordia College. Be forewarned getting to some of those spots by automobile once the race has begun may prove difficult. Auto friendly places look to be Downtown and Mickelson Field and possibly Concordia College. Other places will be tight on parking or just hard to get to. Be prepared to be healthy and walk a few blocks.
I'll be near the 21st Mile Outpost (half marathon mile 9) ringing the bells and looking for marathon mustaches.  Hope to see you go by.

16 May 2011

Fargo Marathon 2011 - the weather improves

Last week reminded us how late spring is in coming to the Dakotas. I was in the garden on Saturday and I thought I felt something like snow hit my face. But, then Saturday evening arrives and spring awakens again. And just in time for a great Fargo Marathon.
Weather forecast thus far this week suggest low 70s. I guess it might be around mid-40s or 50s at race start this Saturday. I think we are in the making for a great Fargo Marathon.
Research thus far does not show me any notable elite runners coming. However, they might just be hiding.

Here's the rundown of bloggers I found going to run the marathon:
http://nicandkier.blogspot.com/2011/05/fargo-marathon-training-upadate.html
http://solarsquirrel.com/blog/
http://jimlindlauf.areavoices.com/
http://50after40.blogspot.com/
http://4-30.blogspot.com/
http://acaseoftheruns.blogspot.com/
http://journeytomyfirstmarathon.blogspot.com/

So plenty of ordinary people hoping to do something extraordinary.
The Forum will probably drop the big names who might be here later this week. I think they did a story on a guy with local ties running the half who is really good.

Oh and one more thing, I'll embed this video I made back in 2009 about a guy named Cris Estes who ran the Fargo Marathon route 3 times in one day!

This of course is comedy and fiction. Cris Estes is just a character I created. Although I was watching the internets last year and the video was linked to numerous times.

Documenting Cosby Sweaters

Looks like somebody got to it before I did- The Cosby Sweater Project.
The Cosby sweater phenomenon began in the 80s and breached the 90s and now is in fashion folklore.
During the run of the Cosby Show, comedian Bill Cosby had a penchant for wearing nearly awful sweaters. The offbeat and oft bizarre stylistic choices also touched other pieces of wardrobe worn by fellow cast members.
So far the project has just been looking at the early seasons. Cosby's sweater choices during this period are not as bizarre and in fact are just rather ho-hum. I believe it is in the show's final years that Cosby mined the sweater industry for zany sweater designs coupled with modern dance moves as seen in the opening credits.
Below I had a sighting of a Cosby sweater at a company function during the holidays. Not sure what motivated him to sport this one either fashion or irony.