Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Walk

Took a walk this afternoon.

Interesting sky . . .


and my favorite tree . . .

Monday, September 13, 2010

Summer is over

But I am not over summer, yet.

At this moment I am trying without success to do some course prep for the start of classes this coming week. Course prep? Writing syllabi, establishing reading schedules, and setting up Blackboard classrooms . The first two things are not so bad, it's the Bb classrooms that require the heavy lifting and the most time. Simply porting content over from the last time doesn't work as I am one of those profs who insists on revamping for relevance every quarter. I am excited in the abstract at the start of the academic year, perhaps the excitement will be more real once the quarter actually starts. In the meantime I have two days of meetings to get through and lots of things to build.

At least with the arrival of September we are moving out of the political silly season that constitutes much of the summer. It has been like watching a slow motion train wreck in which all of the yahoos on board escape and run around the countryside. Of course we still have to get through just over seven weeks of campaign vitriol, histrionic reporting, and robocalls before we can attempt declaring an end. Something tells me that we won't be able to though.

Summer 2010 in the Pacific North West was a strange one. Not so warm, in fact down right cool and rainy compared to the heat wave of 2009 that had everyone panting and dipping in Green Lake late at night. Only of handful of hot days this year.

The upshot of this is that I don't feel like I have actually had a summer this year and it disturbs me to think of how sensitive I have become to the vagaries of the weather. Sure we can run year round up here and it is green all the time but there is something about the feel of sun on your skin that is so precious that we can't wait for summer to begin after July 4th and (some of us) mourn the end of the 2 months or so of truly glorious sunshine we get before heading back into the grey. The grey has stayed with us.

If the weather has been iffy around here so has my running at least until quite recently. I can feel my strength returning over the past couple of weeks. A combination of things like finally having the time to spend up in the mountains and running with music have helped as have the banishment of the "I can't . . ." thoughts as in "I can't run up this hill . . . " I've just started running up those hills and zooming down them. Been participating in a core class too that is helping quite a bit (no, abs work is not something I do for fun). I've also been inspired by Sj who trained for and completed her very first IronMan (and has a very nice commemorative tattoo).

So what is next for me?

A few weeks ago GW visited on his way back from UltraMan Canada and he and M started working on me to train for something interesting. They convinced me to try the Chuckanut 50K in March 2011. Hard to get in I gather but I'll train and try. Going up to run there during the Fall sounds like a great idea. Any readers like to join me?

Cross training too. I've decided to find a pool, a not too crowded pool, to swim in twice a week before teaching and I'll probably bike commute once a week as well.

Two conferences coming up: the first is in Northfield, Minnesota in October, the second in Durham, North Carolina in November. Both are interesting, on quantitative reasoning and undergraduate research and each has the bonus of being a completely new place to experience. You can bet that I'll be taking my kicks with me and looking for trails. Exciting.

So much possibility.

Hmm. Maybe I am over summer. :-)