23 May 2012

Band on the route

An Unofficial Fargo Marathon band
One of the allegedly unofficial bands on the marathon route featured a banjo, and fiddle, and a trombone. Pretty odd trio. Nothing rock about them.
There was a ton of music on the route again this year. I saw mostly DJs but also a reggae band and the minivan Elvis

GU on the streets

You know a marathon has passed when you notice used packages of GU strewn on the streets, half used bottles of water on the boulevard, and remnants of orange peels tossed to the curb. I have been running parts of the course this week following the Fargo Marathon and take notice of the things on the street. The course is mostly especially around the aid station areas. But as you leave  those spots behind you see the GU.
After marathon the course closes I like to bike it and see if I can find any leftover GU. There were lots of wrappers this year. However, I found only 5 unopened GU packets. Last year I found 12. So I guess either the GU was mostly consumed this year or cleaned up after the races were over.
There is a still a spot on the course which was not an aid station which has a bunch of orange peels on the ground. I call it orange peel pass. Why no one bothered to clean up the mess I am not sure. In all the excitement of seeing 8000 runners pass they probably forgot.

22 May 2012

Keeping a headband of the pack: Fargo Marathon

On article of clothing did stick out more than the rest this year- the headband. Nike's resurrection of the image of Steve Prefontaine has done wonders for the headband market. I've been wearing the sweatband for at least 5 years now from more of a practical standpoint that one of fashion statement
Here are a few wearers of the headband.

To start us out we have a rainbow headband- reminding the wearer that there may be gold at the end of this marathon.

Next we have a yellow headband with sunglasses- sure to make you cruise to the finish with charm.

If you cannot afford those special wicking headbands, use a bandana and spend your money on lime green over the calf socks. And forget your shirt at home.

This guy is perhaps the most styling fellow in whole race. He also uses the bandana but gives it a generous width. Sunglasses, water bottle, Ipod, and cool watch- he knows how to run and chill at the same time.

21 May 2012

Marked runners: Fargo Marathon

Continuing the beyond the race coverage of the 2012 Fargo Marathon we present you with a few runners who were shared their impressive body art with us. Running attracts many kinds of people. I was considering make this the major focal point of our beyond the race coverage but did not encounter enough of them to make a decent amount of entries.  Some of them cross genres which we have explored before (beards) and will examine later (headbands and no shirts.) I do not recall any women with tatoos, so we have just a handful of males.

Colorful biceps moving gracefully by with a beard.

A full frontal tattoo with beard and abandoned carpet. He also makes the shirtless category. Looks like a floral display in the center and some artistic doves on the lower shoulders. The abandoned carpet is a leftover from clean up week. Seems nobody wanted the scrap.

And not to be outdone- a duplex of tattoos, and bonus trifecta- shirtlessness, beard, and a headband. You could really make up a drinking game watching the races. I am not suggesting you should 

Further exploits of the Fargo Marathon

Where other media outlets stop at the winners and a few human interest stories, the Royce Files goes further in its coverage of the Fargo Marathon.
A highlights video has been posted on YouTube that allows you to see winner Oliver Hoffman flash by.

The Royce Files HQ on the marathon route was right on mile 8 for the half and near 22 for the full marathon. Just down the street from WDAY. No live Tweeting, however. I was a one man operation with 4 cameras. 2 ran out of batteries plus I had to grill hot dogs and bratwurst and play banjo. Fortunately I had a little help from my friends.
The streets were crowded earlier on around mile 8 for the half marathon but dwindled as most of the pack passed by. Still there was plenty of cheering happening when the 1st marathoners arrived.
Royce Files HQ
 And speaking of friends. Here we all are cheering on our mutual friend Tammy as she ran by in the marathon.
Tammy is greeted by adoring fans

They say North Dakotans are hard workers. Well, Gina Aalgaard Kelly of Lisbon, not only won the 10K but she came back and ran the 4th leg of the marathon relay. It seems she was taking a chapter out of Cris Estes book.

Marathon of 4 Elvises: Fargo Marathon

It just is not a marathon unless Elvis is running in it. Well this year Fargo had 2 Elvises running and 2 performing. Elvis will never die as long as he is running the Fargo Marathon.

Below is half-marathon Elvis running just behind an Alexa's Hope team member. Elvis may make some swoon but Alexa's Hope is making aware the need for organ and tissue donation.
Elvis does the half
 But do not fret, Elvis also runs in the full marathon with his own guitar and a waving roadie ahead of him.
Elvis makes an appearance in the full marathon

Two Elvises also performed along the race route- 1 on the North side and 1 on the South side. I photographed the south side Elvis with his mini-van last year. I caught just slice of his act this year.

20 May 2012

Running Incognito: Fargo Marathon

You probably already know the winners of the races- the German, the Moorhead woman, the guy who sprinted past Andrew Carlson to victory, and the Ladia the defender of titles. However, you might not know the curious oddities of the Marathon- those individuals who seek running glory while in costume.
I saw my share of costumes- Thor with a hammer, hula guys, a caped female.
Let's start with the grand-daddy of costume figures at the marathon- Superman.
Superman, faster than a speeding bullet, has run Fargo at least 3 times. I am not sure why he does not just fly a few miles.
I am Superman and not blond
 Below I caught the back of Luigi of Mario brothers fame.
Oh no Luigi
 Not to worry, Luigi made a 2nd appearance with Mario and the Princess. All I can say is that Luigi got hit by one of those moving crabs and had to go back to the beginning of the level.
Mario, Luigi, and the Princess and older man

Crossing the line: Fargo Marathon

3:25 pace group coming through aid station
The races are done and I feel exhausted even thou all I did was watch and ring bells and hunt for GU after the course closed.
It was a real cool and windy morning on Saturday for the Marathon and Half. After reaching 90 the day before in Fargo, this was more than relief- it actually felt chilly at times. A German, Oliver Hoffman, and a local woman Lisa Dyer took the marathon championships. Lisa had come in 2nd in the half last year. It seems the few Kenyans that did enter did not make it to the top ten. Hilary Kogo had been behind Hoffman at the start of the race but fell off in the later stages. Hoffman held the lead the entire race.
In the half Joe Moore must have been closely pacing Andrew Carlson because right at the end Moore sniped the Fargo South grad by a few tenths of a second. Probably the biggest upset of the weekend.
Ladia Albertson-Junkans bested the females in the half marathon again.
In the 10K Cley Twigg won it for the men and Gina Aalgaard-Kelly wins it for the ladies. I got Gina her race packet on Friday and at that time she was unsure if she would run the 10K or the half. I guess she made the best decision.
It was a slower marathon than last year- 2:28 was Hoffman's time. I think that may have been due to the wind coming out of the north. The men's winner had aimed for 2:22.
The half on the other hand was nearly 3 minutes faster than last year. But Moore did not set the course record. But only barely missed it.
My friend Dan finished 52nd overall in the half and 2nd in his age group. Not bad but he ran so fast I totally missed him at mile 8.
I ran a few meters with a high school buddy of mine. Chris has run the Fargo marathon numerous times. He has actually become a marathoning maniac recently by racking up finisher medals at quite a few marathons.  He told me he aimed for a 4:10 finish. He got 4:11. I hope I didn't slow him down just before mile 22.

19 May 2012

Let the races begin: Fargo Marathon

 Thankfully the some thunderstorms blew in overnight and have cooled Fargo down from its foray into the 90s yesterday. At this point this morning before the races it looks good albeit the roads will be wet. But at least the heat has dissipated.
Volunteered at the dome yesterday on the main floor. It was not very busy. It seemed slow but some account that for 5k registration and packet pick up being removed to the south concourse rather than the main floor. I discovered that elite runners will take their time checking in. Only 2 picked up their packets during my time slot. One of them was Andrew Carlson, who will be running the half. The other was Gina Aalgaard Kelly who was still undetermined if she would do the 10K or the half due to the forecast. She holds one of the top ten course records for the women's marathon in Fargo.

Other notable people spotted included the Coach- Coach GP. I actually saw him in the morning driving one of the official marathon cars. Later he was down at the Expo giving sagely advice on running mechanics. I did not run into my other friends who would be running so I will expect to see them on the race course this morning.
the Coach, coaching

18 May 2012

Why you should watch and cheer : Fargo Marathon

Over 24000 people will take part in one of the races of the Fargo Marathon. If we assume each one came with someone else then we have around 48000 people involved. That's quite an event. Only rivaled by the annual Street Fair.
Nearly 10000 ran the 5K on Friday and now the rest take to the streets on Saturday. But why should it matter to you? Is just because the economic impact we should spur the runners on?
Here is some reasons I think you should be watching and cheering on Saturday. 

  1. People are important
    Simply put- people matter;young and old- male and female. If we lose track of that principle then we risk letting selfishness and apathy prevail which will despoil community. In this day and age of materialism and self absorption it is good to recognize the achievements of other.
  2. Character is on display
    It takes a lot of effort and perseverance to run a marathon or half marathon or any long distance running. event. In events like the Fargo Marathon you'll see a lot of people who are also doing something hard for a purpose or someone. I wrote about this in the Running for a cause blog a few days ago. It is certainly brave for someone who just donated a kidney earlier in the year to get up an run the 5K and the half marathon. I volunteered with a lady who will do that this weekend. Many will aspire to great feats of endurance like the elite runners running this weekend and still others will persist to just make it to the end. Though their goals are quite different they will strive and strain to keep in the race- and ultimately finish.
  3. It can change you
    In a way I alluded to it in the first point. Encouraging someone takes the eyes off ourselves. That is good and I believe it is healthy. This world needs more encouragers and encouragement. Who knows what our affirming words can do to someone? At least it can make them feel in that moment that something is possible; that there is someone also sharing in that challenge by believing that the goal is possible, doable, and real. Once you feel the excitement of encouragement it is hard to put off that spirit.
Some watching tips for the races.
  1. Clap and don't be afraid to yell out "good job", "keep it up!"
  2. Make a sign with an encouraging phrase
  3. It is common to make noise- especially by ringing bells
  4. Downtown Fargo is a good spot to do a few hours of watching
  5. South of  Downtown Fargo and East of the Fargo Dome has some great boulevards to sit and watch

17 May 2012

Stage is set: Fargo Marathon 2012

5K Shirts
And so the Fargo Marathon kicked off its 2012 run today with the Youth Run, Expo, and Early Bird packet pick up. All but the 5K are closed to registration.
I had the opportunity to volunteer at the 5K packet pick up. It was plenty of fun. Packet work generally is a great way to meet the runners and give them a Fargo welcome. You betcha!
5K packet pick up was moved upstairs from the rest of the races. It gave us more space and generally a less stressfull time. A whole throng of gymnasts came and helped out, too. They had a great time unpackaging bags for runners.
Ran into a few aquaintences of mine while I volunteered. One was running the Half Marathon while the other one, Jeff, recently got a serious injury and would not be running. Jeff has appeared in a previous marathon post a few years ago. He fractured something in his leg while trail running. Jeff assured me he was not using the 5 finger shoes.
Gymnast unpacking bags
Strolled through the Expo, which is again pretty large. I notice quite a few other races are there for marketing. I noticed the Mankato Marathon, a marathon in Montana, the Twin Cities marathon, and of course the Dick Beardsley half. I ran the 5K portion of it last fall
Coach GP looks like he'll be around this year. I was speaking at the Expo this afternoon. I did not see him when I strolled around.
And that is that for now. Looks like the 5k is going to be a scorcher. The Saturday races may get a little reprieve- but just a little. The temps will be pushing the upper 70s by noon.

More bikes

I think I am must be on a series here of vintage bikes of yesteryear.
Here are some pictures of bikes I have seen around town

First we have an orphaned bike that just showed up at work. It is a CoastToCoast Medalist 12 Speed road bike. Coast to Coast was a hardware chain. In fact some still exist. However, Coast to Coast was absorbed into the True Value brand. From my research on the webs this a brand may have been made by Schwinn but branded Coast to Coast. I doubt that this model was one of those Schwinn made however I like the semi-full fenders.

Coast To Coast Medalist 12-Speed
  Wandering through the neighborhood I spotted this one- a Schwinn Breeze 5 speed with an added front wire basket. Might be 1970s vintage but could be earlier.

Schwinn Breeze ~1970s

16 May 2012

Shall we run?: Fargo Marathon 2012

The youth race is just around the corner to kick of the Fargo Marathon weekend. I was supposed to be volunteering at the youth run but a volunteer scheduling blunder nixed that- those tasks were to be set asided for the race sponsors. With that volunteer gig gone I signed up for another- albeit further away from the youth race.
Found another cause someone is running for. EJ Scott of Los Angeles, CA, will be running the marathon blindfolded to raise awareness of choroideremia and funds for the Choroideremia Research Foundation. Just what is choroideremia? Basically it is a rare eye condition that leads to progressive loss of vision due to degeneration of chorid and retina (Wikipaedia). EJ plans to run blindfolded 12 marathons in 12 states in 12 months. Fargo will be the 5th marathon of that course. And on an added note, EJ does improvisational comedy and will be appearing at Fargo Billiards & Gastropub on Thursday night in an improv show.
EJ's blog - www.ejcurechm.blogspot.com

Race Coverage
Well, I'll be covering particular angles of the marathon which go overlooked. Hopefully we'll have a new video from Canadian running phenom Cris Estes. See his video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5qnRA8vomA
But, KFGO will be providing radio coverage of the marathon from the lead car and from above starting at 6:30 AM. KFGO is found at 790 AM.
Tutti Frutti, a frozen yogurst establishment with 3 locations in the area, will be giving 15% discount to race finishers if they show them their medal. The offer is good Thursday night through Sunday.

Who is running?
I have found a few elite runners who will run Fargo this weekend but not Luke Watson or Camille Herron, last year's champions. Out of the top ten men from last year only Casey Miller returns. Runners tend to look for new challenges once they have gotten a top place in a race. However local product, Andrew Carlson will be coming back in the half marathon. Perhaps he can regain the course record this year.  Andrew Carlson finished 6th in the US Olympic Marathon trials. I should note there were a lot of Minnesotans in that race including Chris Erichsen, the 2010 Fargo Men's marathon champ and holder of the course record-2:19:55.
The winner of the Lake Wobegon Marathon, Jordan Hanlon, will be in Fargo but will be doing the 10K. His best in 10K is 33:46. He ran the marathon last year.
I will also note some aquaintences from the past will be running the marathon- Chad and Chris. We have seen Chris on the blog before. Maybe we can get an interview with the new interview cam I am working on.

12 May 2012

Route Marked, Food Recommended: Fargo Marathon 2012

On my run yesterday I noticed familiar white markings in the street.

The course for 2012 appears to be marked and ready to go. I did not follow the parts in my part of town yet but I cam across quite a few. I biked by the Mile 22 marker.

Looks like we will be gearing up for potentially hot marathon next Saturday. The forecast outlook has a high of 73 F and a low of 52 F. Some slight wind out of the north but I do not think it will have much impact unless it gusts up past 25 MPH. Things could change but the week leading up to the marathon will be pushing the low 80s. Hydration will be important.
One thing you should be aware of- the half and full marathon will not be starting together. Instead, the half marathon will start at 7:15 AM and the full marathon at 8:15 AM.
A lot of the local magazines have front covers featuring the marathon, including Stride. It features runner and US 50k record holder  Josh Cox on the cover who will be speaking during the Fargo Marathon. The race director and his spouse, who I think does some things for the marathon too, are on the April/May cover of Area Woman with a great story too. I never knew that on average more women run events in the Fargo Marathon than men. There are a few more magazines but I forgot the names. You can find them in the lobby at nearly any supermarket.

And while I am at it- how about some restaurant recommendations for out of towners?
Fargo and Moorhead have a huge supply of restaurants. I find it strange that we seem to have an inordinate amount of pizza places and Chinese restaurants.
On the north side by the Fargo Dome I would recommend Buffalo Wild Wings or Grand Junction. Grand Junction's specialty is grilled sandwiches.
Downtown, I'd say JL Beers or Rhombus Guys Pizza. JL has a ton of beer and some remarkably good burgers. There are also JL Beers in Moorhead and West Fargo if the location downtown is full up. And it gets full. Rhombus is on Main across from the old Northern Pacific depot. Delicious pizza but a little on the high side. Spicy Pie also does pizza and is downtown on Broadway.
Near the West Acres area- you will find the most variety. Nothing I would recommend wholeheartedly but you won't go hungry. Of local interest- Kroll's Diner on 45th Street a few blocks North of 13th Ave is a regional dinner that serves regional favorite Knoefla Soup.
If you go south of 94 on 45th- 2 places I like Famous Dave's BBQ and 5 Guys Burgers and Fries.
Want authentic Chinese?- Lucy's on 32nd Ave S.

11 May 2012

The search for Bob's Fish Market

I have scoured the 'nets for years trying to find further recordings of the Japanese band Bob's Fish Market of the late 70s. The only place I found anything besides seafood listings was a vinyl record catalog of sorts online. But it only has 1 album and it is the album I encountered while in college.

Now a flashback.

I was an aspiring thespian (who are often pains, too!) at a small college in a rural land. In my first term, I did not take Intro to Theater-like most with theatrical aspirations would take. In fact I sort of skipped it, but that is another tale. In 2nd term I  enrolled in Stagecraft. It sounded a little more serious. Behind the scenes it was often called "tools for fools," since there were whole units dedicated to tools used to build props and scenery. One of the requirements for the class involved working weekly in the scene shop. However, by some means I found myself also volunteered to design sound effects for the upcoming winter production of 2 contemporary Japanese plays by Shimizu Kunio. I had never done anything of the sort in my life-well not officially, I played with sound effects albums I would get at the public library when I was younger.
I spent quite a few hours up in the theater control room listening to and recording sound effects.
I was also tasked with compiling the the pre and post-show music. For this undertaking, the director Dr. L_, provided a pile of Japanese recordings on vinyl. Most were of the traditional sounds- the kind of music you would expect to hear if you were at Japanese restaurant. The only exception, I believe, was the eponymous disc- Bob's Fish Market. Listening to the album was a journey of sorts- to the 70s and to contemporary Japanese culture at the time. I recall it had a kind of beautiful music sound coupled reggae and jazz.
Since that time, Bob's Fish Market has been an obscure musical memory which I revisit from time to time. Perhaps their recordings have made it online-but I have yet to find them. They may be in that maelstrom of Japanese language websites I have not found.
However, I now delve into the depths of the Japanese web. Sure enough I hit gold. And Bob's Fish Market is decidely sound more harder than I recall.

And with the somewhat flaky translation program that Google and Bing provide, it appears they are still kicking it old school. Here's the reunion video.

There might be more out there but trying to decifer the Japanese is a bit difficult.

10 May 2012

Bike sharing

I was scouring through my photos and found an image of a refurbished green Schwinn Suburban. It is a 10 speed. Looks like a Brooks saddle and original bag. I believe it is a pre-1974 model. Back at my parent's home we have a 5 speed yellow Schwinn Collegiate Tourist which I got back into working order many years ago. The most recent bike craze has brought back a lot these to the streets again.
green bike
Schwinn Suburban

Below are 2 golden bikes that are part of the University of Minnesota Morris' bike share program. One is a non-descript store brand mountain bike and the other could perhaps be a late model Raleigh Sport. I notice what looks like a Sturmy Archer on the rear. But look at that Brooks saddle! I cannot believe it.

Back in the day there was a guy- we'll call him Mark- who one day pulled up with a trailer of multiple types of yellow painted bicycles to the University of Minnesota at Morris.Mark singlehandedly started a bike share program over 15 years ago. However, in the course of a year, all the bikes disappeared. Not a single one left on campus or in town. And Morris is a rural town of ~6000. Just where did all those yellow bikes go?

Running with Purpose: Fargo Marathon 2012

Specially built marathon cart
Many people get involved in running events in order to raise awareness of an issue. The Fargo Marathon is no stranger to those runners. I recall many who ran for individuals who have died from or are suffering from cancer. I remember a man who ran the marathon with an American flag a number of years ago. Then there was the guy who ran pushing his son in a specially built cart. A few years ago the race director and few others ran the entire marathon route after it was closed as a tribute to 5 year old Caroline Ruby Vetter, who had diedearlier that spring from the affects of Leukodystro​phy and Lennox-Gast​aut Syndrome. In fact a whole mile of the race course was dedicated to her that year. It featured lots of yellow ducks.

I mentioned the college barefoot runners for Samaritan's Feet in the last marathon post. They have a Tumblr site. I was running last week and encountered a young lady running barefoot- but I do not think she was part of this goup.
Another set of runners will be helping to bring awareness of human trafficking. The NDSU Spectrum ran a feature about 2 of them.
The Marathon itself does a considerable amount of charitible work with the monies raced from all the events through GoFarCharity.

09 May 2012

Flushed from your life

Every spring the residents of Fargo "flush" things from their lives and homes.
This citizen took that very seriously.

Everything and the kitchen sink gets tossed to the boulevards. In this case, the bathroom sink too.
Often there are people who scour the town in their pick-ups and on foot looking for treasure in these heaps. I think there are even out of towners who make an annual pilgrimage to "shop" the streets. Plenty of times these people come away with something valuable.
A friend of mine found some ice trays unused, still in wraps this year. And still another was able to snag some patio furniture in good condition.  My finds are minimal because I just don't have the space for it- but I have found 16mm Disney films, sheet music, and bags. I think I blogged about some of my finds a few years ago.
Going by all the piles of stuff this week, I came up with a few analogies about clean up week. 
  • First, the common call to purge out the bad from our lives. I see connections with sanctification and refining. We confess our sins and God forgives us. And to further extend the metaphor- we still acculumate bad stuff or did not get all the bad stuff out at one time- so we can confess again. 
  • Second, I recall the people who go around looking for treasures in these heaps during clean up week. And that is a lot like us when we did not know Christ- yet He sought us out on the junk heap (or in the mire as the Bible states) and valued us.    

03 May 2012

That bicycle kind of time

Once again it is bike month. But nearly every month for me is bike month. I think I rode in every month this past year. It was a mild winter so riding was a bit easier in the normally chilly months.

One of the goals of the sponsors of National Bike Month is to get bicyclist to ride safely. With many using bikes in the community as a way to get around I see plenty of safe and unsafe practices. Probably the most irksome is when those who ride at night do have proper lighting or light colored clothing. Riders become virtually invisible unless there is some cue for motorists to know you are there. I especially recommend hi-vis vests or shirts for day or night riding. You can find some as cheap as $5.

Now for a bike safety video from ages ago. It might be old but it goes over most of the safety rules which are still recommended today. Notice too that the bicycles are ridden in the streets. Bikes can ride there. The only odd piece of advice in this video is the way they tell you to make a left turn at a busy intersection. It works but I doubt it is commonly recommended anymore.

01 May 2012

Fill the streets: Fargo Marthon 2012

It is now May in Fargo and most streets will be full.
This week they will be full of junk- and pickers of all stripes will descend upon the streets looking for thrown out treasures. American Pickers could do a full season just passing through during clean up week.
In three weeks, a portion of those streets will be full of people.
People running, walking, standing around, doing nothing.
And there will be music. Lots of music! Who knows there may even be some dancing in the streets.
The Fargo Marathon weekend gets underway on May 17th with the Youth Run and then the following evening there will be the 5K. Saturday will culmintate with the main events- 10K, relay, marathon, and half marathon.
If the weather trend continues we could be in for a much warmer marathon. No major flooding this year (just barely some minor flooding) so the course will generally stay the same. A portion had been removed from the Moorhead side but it has been added back in- albeit not through the Concordia campus. Runners will cross the Main Ave bridge and then head south.

Some marathon news of note:
Organizers are trying to get the 5K up to 10,000 registered runners. As of today they have roughly 6000. According to the official website with the 5K they are attempting to raise money for shoes for "1000 underprvileged children." The Governor and Lt. Governor of ND and their spouses will be among the pack running the Friday race along with West Fargo youth who will be running to raise awareness of Lupus.
Four NDSU students will run the marathon relay barefoot to raise money for the Samaritan's Feet charity.
The 3 time Run For the Lakes champ, Casey Miller, will be running the Fargo marathon again this year. The Baxter, MN resident came in 2nd in the Run for the Lakes Marathon this year.