F^3 Lake Half Marathon (PR)

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I don’t believe in numerology, but I do believe in number fun. I turn 47 on my birthday this year, which is a prime number. Both 17 and 2017 are both primes as well, as are 2 and 3, the day and month of my birthday. So, it only seemed to make sense to run 13 miles (another prime!) for my birthday this year. The F^3 Lake Half Marathon was the closest half. (There’s usually a non-branded Super Bowl race, the “Big Game 10K” or something, closer to my birthday, but nothing this year.)

When you’re running a winter race, you almost kind of hope for snow, just to make the photos really dramatic and cement how hardcore you are. The weather didn’t cooperate in that regard—it was plenty cold, but just overcast and grey. I’m a little undertrained (as usual), with a mild case of pneumonia over the holidays that didn’t help, so I decided to be sensible and just tuck in with the Chicago Endurance Sports 2:20 pace group. That worked out really well—I just looked it up and I guess was a new PR in the half marathon. Thanks, CES.

Time: 2:18:41
Overall place: 1287 / 1789
Pace: 10:36 min/mi
Place in Gender: 694 / 842
Place in Division (M45-49): 93 / 115

Looking Back: 2016 in Numbers

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In 2016 I did:

So we’ll call that 20 shows.

I also read 15 booksand saw 46 movies.

I ran 718 miles, biked 130 miles, and swam 6 miles and completed 14 races.

I posted 56 photos on Flickr, posted 485 tweets, and made 28 blog posts here at FuzzyCo and 13 at Chicago Flag Tattoos.

Numbers from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007.

Movies 2016

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I’ve long documented the movies I’ve watched each year. Below are listed the 46 movies I watched in 2016. This year I became a full-time employee of NetherRealm Studios, part of Warner Brothers Games, and so I should note that my movie watching choices are personal and do not reflect anything about my employer.

  • The Hateful Eight
  • Ass Backwards
  • SPECTRE
  • The Adjustment Bureau
  • Swimming to Cambodia
  • Tig
  • Grown Ups 2
  • Grown Ups
  • Ant Man
  • The Martian
  • Once Upon a Time in the West
  • West of Zanzibar
  • Botched
  • Severance
  • Bloodsucking Bastards
  • Deadpool
  • The Final Girls
  • Lemonade
  • Green Room
  • The Man from UNCLE (2015)
  • Tusk
  • Murder Party
  • Blue Ruin
  • You’re Next
  • Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
  • Zootopia
  • Barely Dead
  • Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons
  • Suicide Squad
  • College Swing (1938)
  • The Mechanic (1972)
  • The Mechanic (2011)
  • Die Another Day
  • Jason Bourne
  • The Detective (1968)
  • Mascots
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
  • Three Days of the Condor
  • The Nice Guys
  • Broadcasting Christmas
  • Hail, Caesar!
  • Diamonds are Forever
  • Live and Let Die
  • Running the Sahara
  • The Night Before

Evanston Flying Turkey 5K 2016

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It’s becoming something of a Gerdes family tradition to run the Evanston Flying Turkey 5K on Thanksgiving day. Erica wasn’t feeling too hot this year, so she slept in, but the race is so close and at a reasonable time (a 9am start) that it was easy enough to slip out of bed, drive up and run the race, pick up coffee and breakfast at Hoosier Momma, and be back before Erica was up.

Time: 29:50
Overall Place: 842 / 2308
Place in Sex: 533 / 1065

World's Largest Corn Maze 5K 2016

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Erica, Disco, and I ran the World’s Largest Corn Maze 5K back in 2013 and were looking forward to doing so again this year, with Zach subtituting in for Disco. Unfortunately, the race was rained out on it’s original date and Erica was unable to make the rescheduled time. But Zach and I went out and had a great time.

The biggest difference from our last time at Richardson Adventure Farm was that this time the whole place wasn’t shrouded in mist. It’s quite a lovely place when you can see it all.

Richardson Adventure Farm

It was an easy drive out to the Farm and we got there early enough that I got to meet some of the locals:

Rooster

Goat

I’m coming off a cold and a couple weeks off running, but I gave the run a really strong effort this morning and I felt good about getting through the thing without ever biffing it. There really are over 200 turns and it’s not always obvious which way you’re going until you’re right up on a turn. My time isn’t too bad for a regular 5K.

Zach has been on an even longer hiatus but gave it a great effort as well and came in second in his age group and got an extra medal and caramel apple. Last time I ran the race I complained that the Farm activities weren’t available until 10 am—this year because of the reschedule, the Farm isn’t actually even open anymore and so Zach and I hightailed out of there as soon as he had collected his awards.

Zach and Sharks

Time: 28:06.4
Overall Place: 104 / 718
Pace: 9:04 min/m
Place in Gender: 74 / 266
Place in Age Group (M45-49): 8 / 27

Monster Dash 10K

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Fuzzy starting the Monster Dash 10K

There’s not that much to say about the Monster Dash 10K that I haven’t said in previous runnings: they do a good job of running multiple distances on the same day and have really nice jackets.

The one difference this year was that now for two races in a row I’ve had timing chip issues. In this case, I just don’t have a time from the race at all. I ran, I swear! Look, you can glimpse me in the crowd in the photo above. A total glimpse of Fuzzy!

Latte, 1994-2016

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Latte

Latte, our dear sweet old bag of bones, passed away today. In 22 years we were only apart for a few months in 2004 for the “great freeze-out disaster” so she really was one of my longest relationships.

Liz and I adopted Latte from the Tippecanoe County Humane Society in 1994 at the same time as Mustapha. We named Latte after the espresso drink for her beautiful brown Tortoise Shell markings.

Latte and Mustapha

I don’t recall her being especially small as a kitten, but she never got much larger. She never weighed over 5 pounds and people often thought she was still a kitten.

Mustapha and Latte

She never really liked being held, but especially when she was young she loved being petted and would essentially pet herself if you held your hand out at the right height. Our friend Tracy came over to do laundry one time and reported that Latte went back and forth under her outstretched hand for about 40 minutes without stopping.

She liked being up high, and in the octagon house in West Lafayette she’d often oversee the living room from the bannister of the third floor space. Whenever she could find an opportunity to get some height, she’d take it.

Latte

She was often quiet and unassuming. She got out of the apartment once and we thought we’d lost her to the world, but two days later she turned out to be just sitting in the basement storage area on a box under the stairs. She wasn’t yowling or complaining—we only found her because one of the neighbors reported finding some cat turds down there and even when we were calling for her, she just sat quietly on the box until we found her.

For most of her life she played second fiddle to the other cats around. Mustapha was such a big character that he took most of the attention during the 14 years they shared. When Erica brought Parker into our family in 2004, Latte and Parker did not get along, but Mustapha seemed to act as a mitigating influence and we would occasionally find all three cats sleeping on three corners of the bed, something rare enough to warrant a photo.

Three cats on a bed

When Mustapha passed away in 2008, Parker ascended in the cat hierarchy and tensions rose between Parker and Latte. To give the spry Latte her own sanctuary from Parker, we set up “Latte Land” atop a sideboard with her food and water and a cat bed. Visitors for rehearsals in the dining room will recall Latte calmly watching from her cat bed.

When Parker passed away almost three years ago, Latte blossomed a bit. She was already 19 years old at that point, a tremendously old age for a cat, and our mission became “keep the old cat comfortable for the few short months we probably have left”. Where she had confined herself to Latte Land for a number of years, she began to follow us around the house and wanted to be where we were. And Erica really worked on her socialization and while she never really became a lapcat, she sit on the couch and sleep in the bed between us, nearly cuddling. She also got pretty good at shouting at us when she wanted food or attention.

As people say is common with cats, she remained spry up until a few weeks ago—clambering up to Latte Land for food and water and to sleep. Once the decline began, it was rapid. I stayed up with her last night trying to keep her comfortable and just enjoying her company and she was euthanized this morning.

She was a stick legs-fur pants, a little lady, our sweet little dummy. She’ll be missed.

Latte

Des Plaines River Trail Half-Marathon (PR)

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Andrea and Fuzzy at the Des Plaines River Trail Half-Marathon

For reasons, Andrea and I wanted to go run a half-marathon this fall and a month after my last marathon seemed like a good time. I scanned some lists of races and found the Des Plaines River Trail Half-Marathon based largely on the date.

The DPRT isn’t a huge race—there was a limit of 350 runners for the half-marathon (Andrea and I got the last two spots!), 225 for the marathon, and 150 for the 50 miler. So it was delightful that the whole day was well organized. It was a easy drive out to Vernon Hills and there was remote parking, but they had three school buses shuttling back and forth and we didn’t have to wait long going either direction. Packet pickup was fast and easy. Things went so well, we had to just sit and wait around for almost an hour.

The weather was delightful, the trail was very well maintained and easy to run on, and Chicago has me so spoiled for flatness, it feels silly to complain about the two or three very, very gentle hills.

The one bobble I only discovered this afternoon. Right after the race, my Nike GPS app indicated that I’d finished in about 2:20, so I was excited because that’s a PR in the half-marathon, and so I’ve been waiting for the official results. I just saw them, and they have me and Andrea finishing about 6 minutes apart, which is off since we started and finished together. I feel no shame in using her time to list this as a personal record.

Time: 2:23:10.6*
Overall Place: 191 / 283
Place in Sex: 103 / 124
Place in Division (M40-49): 34 / 43

  • The official results on the DPRT site show me finishing in 2:29:23.7, but I started and ended with Andrea, who has the time I’ve listed above. That time also matches my Nike GPS time, so I’m confident in my time over the official time and I’m going to take it as a PR.

Edgewater 5K 2016

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For a race in my neighborhood, tied to a neighborhood event with plenty of advance warning (the Edgewater Art Fair), I sure seem to have trouble remembering the Edgewater 5K. This is the second year in a row that I’ve remembered or been reminded the night before and so have shown up and registered the morning of the event.

Fortunately, I suppose, it’s a short walk from my house, so it’s easy enough to roll out of bed a few minutes before the race and get over there and sign up.

I’m trying to jump back on the running train after the Air Force Marathon and stay in shape for some half-marathons this winter, so I had run twice during the week and was thinking of doing a 7+ miler this weekend, but a fast 5k with friends was a fine training goal as well, I decided. Jin and Shaun ran the race with me, and Stella in a running stroller, and we ran into the McShnits and Erik was running as well.

Edgewater 5K Edgewater 5K

The Edgewater 5K is a fund raiser for local schools and all the mascots are at the race—this year I managed to see the mascot race, which was /quite/ a thrilling athletic endeavour.

Time: 28:23
Place: 111 / 426
Place in Sex: 78 / 214
Place in Division (M18+): 54 / 166