Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tornado in March

I heard on the news how a tornado in Western PA in March is very unlikely. But, it happened. Somehow, nobody was killed but a lot of people have a lot of cleaning up to do near where I grew up. I've never had something like this happen so close to home (literally) and my heart is saddened over the recovery.

Being the map aficionado I am, here's my perspective of it. The path (red) ripped through right by a house where I was babysat as a kid (off the screen left) then by the high school & middle school, past my cousin's church and then over into the neighborhood where I used to ride my bike. Then, (perhaps because of the hill-valley topography) it must have went back up in the clouds. I don't know much about tornadoes but if it had continued, my grandparents may have been right in the path (black circle). Thank God for that. I grew up in the green circle.

Here's some more shots:
Roofs just torn off of houses. How powerful.

At the high school, it took off part of an auditorium roof...

...and took down the scoreboard and other parts at the stadium.

Just left speechless.
On a lighter note, I was all planned to write a blog Wednesday night with stories of how we dodged marble-sized hail at track practice, a great announcement, a funny story, and basketball update. So, here they are:

*With many generous donations by many great people, I have hit my target for fundraising for the Alzheimer's Association. The deadline is mid-April, so I figure I'm just going to keep asking and see how much more we can raise. If you are interested in donating, click

*Training has been going well. I had a 11 (supposed to be 12) mile run with 7 miles at half marathon pace on Wednesday morning. I was unsure if I'd be able to hit the pace that early, that cold, and on my own. But, I hit it and was excited about that. Due to my schedule this week with track meets, I then had to run 12 this (Thursday) morning. I was going to complain to Beth Wednesday night about the back to back hard running days. However, I remembered over the weekend she did a 4-hour bike ride then 2-hour run Sunday followed up by a 2-hour run on Monday. No sympathy in the Shutt house! But, aside from some sluggish hills, I plodded along at my desired pace and got it done. Whew!

*My brackets are busted (nothing new). Too bad Pitt lost (hee hee). Penn State played a tough game, much of it without their 2nd best player Jeff Brooks due to foul trouble and then re-separating his shoulder. In spite of all that they lost on a last-second off-balanced jumper. Arizona had a good first weekend (both close games--whew!) but now has a tough matchup against Duke tonight. I would consider Duke the big favorite, but I guess you never know. That's why they call it March Madness. The only trouble is the game isn't going to start until almost 10pm (past my bedtime). I guess I'll just have to check out the score when I get up.
Time to watch some hoops.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Madness is Coming

One of my favorite times of the year - March Madness and the NCAA basketball tournament snuck up on me. As noticed by the absence of blogging, lots going on. When that happens I don't sit down to write a blog either because (1) I need to catch up on sleep instead of writing a blog. (2) I'm busy doing my next activity. Sleep or overscheduled. The two ends of the spectrum.

Anyway, I'm sure it's like that for everybody so I'm just enjoying the journey.


We did the Spring Thaw a few weeks back now. My target going in was to run 15 miles (you had the option of 10, 15, or 20). I wanted to 'race' the first 10 around 6:00 pace and then try to sustain 7:00 pace for the last 5 (trying to simulate later in the marathon). Just about hit my goal - I was 60:19 for 6:02 pace. My third lap was 36:14 (7:15 pace) partly due to fatigue but also due to me being stubborn about not taking a gel right at mile 10 and waiting until mile 13. Too late at that point. Lesson learned.

But, overall a good day and training's been going well so I'm hoping I'm on track for the marathon. It was fun seeing so many people at the race - Beth (of course), fellow teachers (Ben, Heather, and Veronica), and the triathlon crew (Chad, Jen, Jeremy, Jocelyn).

This past week I hit my first 20-miler of the training cycle, and it went well.

Track started Monday. We had two nice days of weather, but today was pretty soggy. Looking like more sog and maybe even some snow on Friday.

The other big story I had was driving home last Monday. I'm coming up the hill about a half mile from home when I see a dog (40 lbs or so) running in a yard by the road with a kid behind him. This road is a two-lane road with a speed limit of 35 mph. At rush hour, it gets a little busy. I see in my rear view mirror that the dog crosses back over the road with the kid chasing it. I start thinking about if that was our little Roxy and I was scared for the dog (and the kid for that matter).

So I pull off on a side street, swing back around, park the car and get out to help out the kid. As I get closer we start to surround the dog, but then it decides to run back across the street. I play traffic cop as me and the kid go back across too. The dog wandered over to a bigger backyard and we finally corralled it as the dog laid down. I pet the dog as the kid puts on the leash and that dumb dog squirts out and starts running again.

Fortunately it didn't head back toward the road (I put myself between the dog and the road to force him away from the road). After another few minutes of the dog running around (it was all a game to him) I think it started getting tired and laid down. This time I grabbed the dog's collar and helped the kid put the leash on--no taking chances. All is well and the most stressed of the three of us was certainly me. The dog loved running around and the kid (4th grader-ish?) didn't seem too concerned about the whole situation.

Back to the March Madness, the conference tournaments wrap up this weekend and the selections are on Sunday. This are looking a little better than last year:

*Arizona - rebounded to win the Pac-10 regular season title this year after missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1986 last year. The ended up with a good record, but no real big wins. The ESPN "Bracketologist" is predicting a #5 seed

*Penn State - just shot themselves in the foot too many times this year. They ended up with a 9-9 record in the Big Ten, but it could've easily been 10-8 or 11-7. That would've looked a lot better. Overall, they were barely above .500 and ugly losses to Maine, Mississippi, and Virginia Tech don't help either. Their only shot is to probably win the Big Ten tourney.

*Davidson - they won something like 10 of their last 12 and looked like a team that may make a post-season run. However, they lost in the first round of the Southern Conference tournament. But, they've got a lot of talent coming back so hopefully they'll be in the hunt next year.

Any picks out there of who will win? I think it's so tough anymore with all the turnover in college basketball.

I'll be sending out invitations to the NCAA Tournament bracket challenge again this year. All about bragging rights and seeing who's picks stink the least. If you're interested and don't get an invitation, send me a message on Facebook. The more the merrier!