links for 2010-03-13

  • Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail is a 501©3 non-profit grassroots organization advocating for the conversion of the unused Bloomingdale railroad in Chicago into a multiuse, elevated linear park.
  • Hackerspaces are community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects.
    This website is for everyone who started or wants to start their own hackerspace.

links for 2010-03-12

  • 1.5 mile elevated linear park in New York City, converted from an abandoned rail line
    (tags: railtrail)
  • The Indiana Glass Trail is a showcase for talented Hoosier artisans and glass blowers that create magic with glass. The trail connects communities in which the tradition and history of glass arts can be experienced first hand. There are studios, galleries and museums as well as festivals and workshops located in the five destinations listed below.
    (tags: indiana glass art)

links for 2010-03-11

links for 2010-03-10

links for 2010-03-09

First Monon ride of 2010

Finally! The stars aligned and we had a free morning on one of the first nice days of the year, so we hit the Monon Trail. It was a great morning to be on a bike, skates, or in a bike trailer. I expected that the trail would have been more crowded, but I’m glad that it was still getting good use.

We did not park at our usual trailhead because of the Westfield bridge replacement over 465, so we parked at the Marsh a mile south and set out from there. The 465 construction affects the trail, but the trail was in fact open, thanks to a temporary detour around the construction equipment. However, the detour was quite muddy and bumpy, so skating was difficult under the bridges. Runners, walkers, and cyclists (and dogs and boys in bike trailers) would have no problem, though.

The northern end in Westfield had not been extended further since the last time we ventured that far late last year. No surprise, since it was winter. The trail plan does continue north, so we’ll look forward to periodic extensions farther north over time.

David was a champ, as usual. He fell asleep on the return trip back south. I don’t blame him, because the sun felt so good. He had his “windshield” in place so the south wind didn’t make him chilly.

We wound up going almost 17 miles in an hour and a half. It was a great morning, and we’re all looking forward to spending more time on the Monon this spring and summer.


View 2010-03-07 Monon in a larger map

Mini-Marathon Training Series 10k 2010

Today was the second in a series of three training runs for the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. The weather conditions were good for the most part. The air was really crisp at the start, below 30°F. This is in that funny region between shorts and pants weather. I opted for the latter, and except for standing around waiting for the race to start, I think either would have been fine. I had some lightweight gloves but took them off with a couple miles to go.

The sky was clear, and the sun is rising earlier these days, so the sun was in our eyes a lot. However, I prefer that to dreary cloudy days any time. It seems like we have not seen the sun around here for an entire month. The humidity at the start felt pretty high, and combined with the somewhat chilly temperature, my trachea felt like it was getting lined with frost. I could see the breath of everyone around me.

And let me get something off my chest. I like runners. I like being a runner. I think most runners are neat people. On the whole, they’re cheerful, respectful, and friendly. Of course there has to be the occasional spoiler, and one made himself known today: the starting horn shover.

For the last 15 years, most races of any size have used RFID timing, which times runners based on their actual net time between the start and finish lines. So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re lined up in the front row or halfway back. Each runner’s clock does not start until he reaches the start line. So why the shoving? I would hope for his sake that he planned on winning the race if he was going to shove me out of his way, but he only finished a few seconds ahead of me. It was hard to bite my tongue, but saying something would not have done much good, especially considering how I just said I like runners because they’re friendly!

Speaking of RFID timing, I’m happy to see that the race organizers appear to have dropped the cheap, flimsy, crummy ChronoTrack D‑tag disposable timing tags. D‑tags are too vulnerable to damage. Instead, today’s race bibs had two RFID tags permanently attached. The tags appear to be based on the same UPM Raflatac DogBone UHF tag product as the ChronoTrack product, but away from runners’ feet, where they are prone to get snagged, bent, or lost. Presumably the additional distance from the antennas on the street to the RFID tag on the bib makes them less reliable, so adding a second tag makes up the difference. I wonder what the actual difference in reliability is.

I feel worse and worse about the amount of waste produced during a race. Between four water stations and the finish line, each runner had the opportunity to take five paper cups and a plastic water bottle. Multiply that by 1,700 runners for today’s event, and that’s a lot of waste. The volunteers always do a great job of cleaning up, so it’s not litter that bothers me, it’s the waste. Maybe it’s time that I just use my own water bottle and hydration belt so it doesn’t contribute to the waste. I am not sure why I have resisted in the past, because carrying my own water or Gatorade never bothers me when I run alone. Okay, new resolution, then.

I didn’t quite meet my 45 minute goal time today, but I’m not too disappointed. I was under the weather for a solid two months during the winter, so it’s taking a while to get back up to speed. I am a little concerned about being ready for the IU Mini in just four weeks, but I don’t plan on setting any records there, either. Just to finish, enjoy the ride and have a nice visit with our friends in Bloomington that weekend.

Spring is clearly on its way, and we’re ready.

View in Google Earth (16 kB KML)

Official race results

View in Garmin Connect


View 2010-03-06 Mini-Marathon Training Series 10k in a larger map

links for 2010-03-06

links for 2010-03-05

links for 2010-03-04