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    Our First 5k

    On Saturday October 8th Barb and I completed our first official 5k race. The race benefitted the Habitat for Humanity in Sioux Falls, SD. Barb and I started to run last Jan 2011 in very small amounts. This was mainly in the hope of gaining better health and fitness, especially for me. I had started to work-out several times in my life before but had never been able to stick with it. So far this year, since late January, I have been able to stick to my guns and hit the gym from 5 to 7 times per week. I was very surprised that my running came along through the spring, summer and into the fall months in both distance and speed. Given these advances, I had started tot hunk about running a 5 k race at some point. Barb and I had targeted a race at the local YMCA that was to take place the second weekend of September, but Barb sustained a running injury shortly before the race and we were unable to participate. We found out that there would be a 5 k race in Sioux Falls, SD in October while we were planning on being there visiting our good friends Phil and Cindy Schumacher and this became our new goal. Luckily Barb’s injury healed just enough to let her participate.

    The morning of the race was great. It had rained overnight and the air was mild and fresh, and the winds were light. We showed up to the race location early and registered onsite and picked up our packets. This left over and hour of anticipation before the race started. We were nearly the first folks there, but over the next hour the parking lot started to fill up with participants. This only added to the excitement. It was a really nice setting in a park along the Big Sioux River. Finally the start time neared and all the runners gathered by the starting line. After some short announcements, the race was on. I had a goal of running the 3.1 mi in under 30 min and Barb wanted to finish in under 33 min. I started off pretty fast due to adrenalin and staying pace with the runners around me. After about a quarter of a mile the runnings started to thin out and then it started to feel a little bit like a normal run. The path took us 1.5 mi down the trail along the river and then we were to follow the same path back to the finish line. After some time I found a gentleman that was running at nearly the same pace that I felt comfortable with and ran behind him for a good portion of the race. Everything felt great through 1.75 miles, but then I started to feel a bit of a side stitch and got worried that I started to fast. I remembered what running friends have been telling me over the last several weeks and adjusted by breathing and slowed a touch on my current pace. This really seemed to help, and since I hadn’t been distracted for a time, another half mile had gone by. I then started to worry that I wasn’t going to make my time goal since I had slowed my pace. For the last half mile I started to nearly sprint to the finish and completed the race in 29:53! Barb was just behind me and finished in under 31 min. It was quiet the feeling of accomplishment going from not being able to run a half mile 10 months ago to running a 5 k in less than 30 min. It was great to run the race with good friends and for a good cause, and I think we are both looking forward to doing more races and for possibly even longer distances in the future! Below are a couple of pictures from the event.

    Barb and I

    Barb all excited!

    Phil, Cindy and Alex Schumacher

    Registration and Starting Area

    My First March Tornado

    I had a nice day across southwest Iowa. I have long had a hatred for chasing in March due to the fast storm motions and infrequency of quality situations this far north. This event also had concerns with moisture quality and fast storm motions, but after a long winter of not being in the car and feeling the warm air, I was ready to give it a try. I met up with long-time friend and chase partner Chris Lenz in southwest Iowa by early afternoon and we sat and chatted for a while waiting for storms to organize over eastern Nebraska, and move into western Iowa. Once storms neared Nebraska City, Chris and I blasted east through the Losse Hills trying to keep up with the storms. This proved to be a difficult task and were overtaken by the first storm near the town of Emerson, IA where we observed quarter size hail and winds to near 60 mph. After trying to keep up with the storm for the next hour, Chris and I got separated. We were both going to call it a day, but I observed another supercell to my southeast and it was only about 20 miles away.

    Using mainly gravel roads I made my way to Corning, IA where I met up with US 34. This took me east toward Creston, IA. Although I was behind the supercell, I was able to observe clearly a funnel start to develop on the south side of the main updraft tower. The funnel developed rather wide, and at times looked like it would produce an elephant trunk tornado. The funnel appeared to be struggling though, but finally it narrowed in diameter and more robust rotation was visible in the condensation. Shortly after this (at 513 pm), debris was clearly visible on the surface and the condensation quickly developed to the ground. The tornado lasted around 3-4 min before going through a nice rope out stage. I then followed the storm east of Creston, but since I was due back at work for a mid shift, I let the storm go and called it a day.

    This was a really rewarding chase, and my first March tornado ever. As well as my first tornado in Iowa since April 11, 2001!


    Initial Funnel Cloud

    Funnel Narrows

    Roping Out

    Letting the storm go


    We had a wonderful snowfall over the last two days. Unlike lately, this snow had very little wind and lasted over about a 30 hour period. This provided a wonderful chance to take my camera gear out into the field and try and capture some of the nice scenes. This also game me a good opportunity to practice with some of my new camera equipment as well. So this afternoon Barb, JJ and I headed out to the Elkhorn River Valley west of Omaha to track through the woods. I have attached a link to a couple of the images that I took today.


    Hope you Enjoy.