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:



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, 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 come 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.


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 calming 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.


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

Air Force Marathon

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I swore loudly after finally completing the Chicago Marathon in 2014 that I was done with marathons. I was never going to do another marathon ever again.

And then my great friend Matt said that he was retiring from the Air Force and running, to commemorate the occasion and as his /first/ marathon, the Air Force Marathon in Dayton, Ohio. And would Shaun and I come run it with him? Like we had all had such fun running in exotic cities like Istanbul and Chicago? So how do you say no to that?

Disco flew up to run with us, with the dual enticements of a fast run (which turned out to be a lie) and a chance to see our sister Jeanne (which was a truth).

Team Killjoy
/Matt’s call sign is “Killjoy”, hence our team name/

The race turned out to be a bit of slog—it was a really muggy day, and the course is a little… desolate. It circles the grounds of the Air Force Museum and wends through parts of Wright-Patterson Air Force base, which means that there are long sections of the course that are completely closed off to spectators. We did run around the field where the Wright Brothers did a lot of their early flight experiments, but devoid of the historical context, it just kinda looked like some empty Ohio farmland.

I know it wasn’t just me that had a bit of a time with the run—Disco is aiming for a Boston qualifying time and was almost an hour off that time, and our friend Stacy was also quite a bit off her time.

Shaun is injured and I am old (though I did train a reasonable amount over the last four months) while Matt had trained a lot this summer. We all stayed together, Shaun and I pushing ourselves a bit to keep up with Matt, until mile 11. At that point, Matt got a few steps ahead of us with a spring still in his step, and Shaun and I both waved him on and slowed to a walk.

It was an interesting three more hours to get to the finish. Shaun has what he calls his “Ironman walk”, which is a faster walk than I can maintain. Walking is also somewhat painful on my heels, which I’d spent the summer hovering on the edge of injury. So I’d jog ahead just a little and wait for him, or fall behind and catch up. We yoyo’d around each other for 15 miles.

Matt pushed himself very hard and was in somewhat rough shape at the end, but he did it and I’m super proud of him.


But overall it was a curiously liberating experience. My other three marathons, I’d pushed hard for a particular finishing time, and always ended up in quite a bit of pain. This time, after those first 11 miles, the goal was just to finish. Just finishing a marathon is quite an accomplishment, I think, and I felt a lot better after this one than any of the others.

And now, for reals, I’m done with marathons. Unless I get into New York…

Time: 5:54:56
Overall Place: 1525 / 2042
Pace: 13:33
Division Place (M45-49): 135 / 178
Gender Place: 1073 / 1336
10k: 1:07:47 (Pace: 10:56 , Rank: 1314)
Half (13.1 Mile): 2:34:14 (Pace: 11:47, Rank: 1450)
35k: 4:44:15 (Pace: 13:05, Rank: 1481)

Idea Potluck

Idea Potluck is an event where a variety of interesting people present interesting ideas in a variety of forms—instruction, information, stand-up, storytelling. I’ll be doing six minutes of… something. I’m going to figure that out real soon.

Potluck 39 will be at Lost Arts in the Goose Island area (near Division and Halsted) and features FuzzyCo friend Steve Delahoyde as well as a host of other delightful sounding presenters.

The ticket form is on this page, under “Potluck 40” (scroll down a little).

The Dishes

Tuesday September 20th — Doors 7PM, Event 7:30-9:30PM
Lost Arts
909 W Bliss Street
Chicago, IL 60642

Chicago Triathlon 2016

Erica and Fuzzy - Chicago Triathlon 2016

My big training focus this summer has been the Air Force Marathon, now two weeks away. I mean, I swore I was never going to run another marathon after I did the Chicago two years ago, so obviously it’s not a distance I’m comfortable with. I was also already signed up for the Chicago Triathlon, which is a race I’m much more comfortable with.

For my marathon training, I’ve been doing the “Run Less, Run Faster” training plan this go around. It’s only three runs a week and you’re supposed to do cross-training at least two more days a week—that would have been a perfect opportunity to put in some swims and bikes. Oh well. Shrug emoji.

Which is to say, I didn’t. I’ve been feeling lucky that I can make the three runs a week. So, I was a little undertrained for the Triathlon. Erica was also signed up for the International distance and was also pretty undertrained, so we just decided to make it through the day and not stress. And I’m happy to say that we both did. We coincidentally finished the bike together and started our run at the same time. I took off, since the triathlon was taking the place of one of my long training runs, but we didn’t finish too far apart either. I’m proud of both of us.

Fuzzy on the bike - Chicago Triathlon 2016 Fuzzy finishing - Chicago Triathlon 2016

Time: 4:04:49
Place: 2610 / 2761
Place in Male: 1808 / 1870
Place in Division (Mountain Bike - Male): 11 / 11

Interval Time of Day Split Split Pace Age Rank Gender Rank Overall Rank
Start 7:59:53AM
Swim 8:51:12AM 00:51:21 03:26 min/100m - 1826/1,870 2676/2,761
T1 9:03:31AM 00:12:20 - - 1799/1,870 2629/2,761
Mile 7.46 Bike Split 9:32:01AM 00:28:30 15.71 mi/hr - 1800/1,870 2559/2,761
Mile 15.2 Bike Split 10:01:44AM 00:58:13 15.72 mi/hr - 1788/1,870 2540/2,761
Bike 10:42:06AM 01:38:35 15.10 mi/hr - 1816/1,870 2596/2,761
T2 10:49:28AM 00:07:23 - - 1798/1,870 2622/2,761
Run 12:04:41PM 01:15:13 12:08 min/mi - 1640/1,870 2297/2,761
Total 12:04:41PM 04:04:49 - - 1808/1,870 2610/2,761

Big 10K 2016

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I’ve run the Big 10K twice before, and both times I skipped the slip-and-slide they have at around the 4-mile mark. This time, I was not so silly—there were two slip-and-slides and I did both. Why even have fun, if you’re not going to have fun?

Also, I got to give Purdue Pete a high-five just as I started the race. Who’s jealous now?

Time: 1:04:19
Overall place: 3758 / 6494
Place in Male: 2126 / 2963
Place in M45-49: 109 / 163
Place in Big Ten Alumni Male: 1431 / 1931