Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New shoes!

I wear Mizuno Rider running shoes. The current model is version 17, but I'm still in my beloved 13s. When the price was right, I bought 8 pairs from Amazon and wish I had gotten more. At the time of purchase I figured I would be set with shoes until 2015 and it seemed comical, yet it just keeps getting closer and by next year I'll have to wear a new style!

My old ones were really beat up and quickly losing their shock absorption. My last several runs have felt sluggish, so it was time to get out a new pair. They're so clean! More importantly, they have good structure and will support my feet and legs. I made the last pair last seven months, which is one more than typical.

There is a solitary box left in the basement. Poor lonely shoes lol
It was like my own personal shoe shop :P

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2nd in age group, 11th female

I really wanted to win a race, even though I'm not the fastest runner by any stretch. Rather than become a super fast runner, it would be easier to find a small race that didn't have the most competitive field. Cheating? No! Deliberate planning.

I figured one of my best chances was the Electric Bolt in Ann Arbor. It's a fund raiser for Ann Arbor Active against ALS, the same group that organized the Twinkie run, where I would have won my age group, if the race was 18 days later so I could be in the next age group.

Anyway, there was both an 8k and a 5k, and I thought perhaps the more serious runners would be in the 8k, and the 5k would be more casual runners, families and walkers (not the zombie type...) I reasoned I had a better chance in the 5k, so that's the one to do.

I didn't sleep well the night before and the weather was something else. It was in the upper 60s, but massive humidity - 90+%. It was too dark for sunglasses, but too bright to not wear them. Plus my legs were still a little lethargic from the 14.5 miles I ran on Friday night.

To PR, I would have to average 9:08s. The first mile was no problem, even though we had to run across grass for a stretch and mostly on dirt roads. Then we hit the hills. I should have looked at the course map ahead of time and prepared myself for the hills. Somehow I passed more people going uphill than any other place in the course. Weird.

It was rough going. I could tell I wouldn't PR, but there was an out and back part, and I definitely looked at who was coming my way, to gauge where I was in relation to the rest of the field. I'm a terrible estimator of ages, but I thought perhaps I could hold on for top 3, even if I didn't hit first place for my age group.

After a huge uphill at mile 2.9, the end was a massive downhill. We turned the corner and the finish was 0.1 miles away. I saw a man 0.04 miles in front of me, and determined that I had to beat him! Somehow once the finish line is in sight, the pain goes away and I can fly.

Then we waited.

Something really nice about small races is the post race food - homemade cookies!!!! Someone made lightning bolt shaped cookies - yum! Plus chocolate milk, coffee, popsicles, fruit, etc. 


Yay!!!!!!!!!!! The winner of my age group smoked me, and I'm ok with that. I'm not sure I could beat her time even on a treadmill, much less on a hilly course. The top three in each age group got a pint glass, which I promptly added to my collection of race glasses that I never use :) Another runner finished after the results were printed at the event, so I was actually 2/7. I looked at all the female finishers and my time was 11th overall among women. Had I done the 8k my half marathon pace would have gotten me 2nd place in my age group for that race. 

Something nice about the ALS races is that they're a la carte. Runners can choose whether or not to buy a shirt. The race fee was minimal - maybe $17 for early entry? It was the same price for the 5k or 8k. Then adding a shirt wasn't bad either - $12? I didn't get a Twinkie shirt, but I wanted one of these because I like the ringer style and it's a super soft cotton so I'll actually wear it. They're unisex, which is somewhat shapeless, but also means long enough sleeves!!! My little cat was very intrigued by it :) The fee could be paid online for a slight charge, could be paid by check in the mail, or could be paid by check or cash in person at pick-up right at the start.
I don't know about this pic - I think I look like a boy lol but I don't want a single piece of hair touching my neck so I pull it back and tie it up and obv I don't waste time on makeup before a run. Bill liked the jersey though and sleeveless was essential on such a muggy morning. We passed a water table twice and I grabbed a cup both times, just to dump it on myself.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

6-week status update

I've completed the first six weeks of training for the Chicago marathon. How's it been going? Ummm I'd rather not say, lest I jinx myself ;) Every run has been done, many of them at higher mileage than he recommends.

I have ten more weeks, not including the current one that's half over. The last part of the program is much higher mileage, but we'll get through it, Hal and me.
So far this year, I've PRed four of the five race distances I do. I PRed the mile twice, the 5k, 10k and half. If I PR a full, I'll have bested every race time I keep track of. What more could I want???

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

1 mile PR Dart for Art

Monday was the inaugural Dart for Art in Ann Arbor to kick off the street fair week. I want no part of the street fair, but I had seen a postcard for the race on the registration table at the DX-A2 expo and it looked fun. More importantly - it was a timed mile with an elite category. Most single mile races are untimed kids events, but I had checked ahead of time to make sure this one would be timed. Many runners avoid inaugural races, but I figured they can't mess up too much over one mile, and if it's terrible, it'll be over in a few minutes anyway.

The elite men ran at 6:00, the elite women at 6:10 and everyone else at 6:20. It started sprinkling at 6:14 and continued for a good hour, but it wasn't hard and didn't make the road slick. The weather was low 70s and breezy and just about perfect. They had timing / pacing signs at the start and I put myself squarely between the 7:00 and 8:00 signs, hoping to improve on the 7:51 I ran at the Flying Pig Little Kings mile. I was hoping for a PR, but my heart really wasn't in it. My cat has been sick and I wanted to be home with her, yet I had already paid for the race and timed 1 milers aren't super common, so I went, knowing I would not be disappointed at all if I didn't PR.

The race ran around the Law Quad at UMich, which meant it had five turns. I had looked at the course map ahead of time and started on the extreme left, then after the third turn, cut the tangent to the far right.

And I ran. I ran hard, trying to replace the emotional pain of my cat with physical pain. Physical pain is good. If I can't breathe, I can't cry over kitty. (I feared I would be deciding today whether or not to put her down. She isn't fatal, thanks be to God) For the first 0.35 miles I was in the 6:15-6:20 range. I "slowed down" about halfway. There was a water stop in the race, which I think was a really nice touch. I didn't stop, but it's entirely possible there were runners or walkers, for whom a full mile was a big deal and who needed the water. It was nice to have the option.

I saw the big clock at 7:12 when I finished and thought something must be wrong with that. I don't run 7:12s! I paused my watch and according to that, I ran 7:11:59, but only for 0.94 miles.... My projected finishing time by my watch was 7:35, so a PR either way. It's possible my watch was affected by the heavy clouds, or maybe she lost a satellite for a few seconds. Maybe she skipped part of the distance because I was going so fast and she couldn't keep up ;)

When they printed and posted the times, I swear mine said 6:58. The official results online have me at a 7:10, which was good for 7/35 in my age group (separated in 10-year increments). The winner in my age group was sub-6 minutes. The course was certified, so it had to be exactly a mile, it's just weird. My watch has never ever been short. Most times it's longer than the actual course due to less than perfect turns and tangents, but I've never been short. Likewise my time has never been longer than the official time. My watch is generally a few seconds less than the official time. I know that their clock is the official one, so for once the discrepancy worked in my favor.

The goodies were very nice, especially for a 1-miler. I got a cotton t-shirt, a drawstring bag containing a mini boxing glove that someone is getting as a birthday present (gag gift), a packet of Hammer gel, and Chapstick!!!!! We also got a finisher medal made by Motawi Tileworks. It's different and very nice.

A few minor suggestions to improve for next year's race:
1. Push back the start from 6pm to 7pm so we don't have to contend with rush hour traffic.
2. Separate the open category into a few different start times, or different waves every 2 minutes so there is less congestion at the start.
3. Do a straight line point-to-point course to eliminate the turns.

Overall it was a really good race. Packet pickup was in a tent right next to the start. Registration was online and took 3 minutes. I received numerous emails beforehand with updates and information. And it was cheap - $20 altogether. Nice job Epic Races!!! :)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The incredible floating training program

The first several times I followed Hal's training program, I followed it exactly. He said to run on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, so I did just that. The weather didn't matter, other commitments were scheduled around the running. His plan was carved in stone and that was that.

This go-round, however, it's all flexible. It started when I shifted to a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday plan. Then the weather became a factor and I deliberately began scheduling my longest run on the coolest day of the week. It only makes sense, right? The Wednesday forecast was 73 and Saturday's is 86. Why would I intentionally run when it's 13 degrees warmer???

The miles all get done. I rest the day before my long run. What does it really matter if I run 3-6-3-12 versus 3-6-12-3? Besides, it feels darn good to be done with my long run before the weekend :)
(On the coolest day of the week)

Monday, July 7, 2014

The race I almost forgot

The first week of June I registered for a shorter local race, wrote it in my planner and filed it in the recesses of my brain. Obviously I knew the race was coming but was very surprised on Saturday when I realized it's next week!!!! For some reason I kept imagining it weeks and weeks away, not so soon! Oops :) Full review after (and hopefully after another PR) Anyone ever forget a race? Or am I just suffering from vacation brain?

Friday, July 4, 2014

On Independence Day

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
 www.archives.govJuly 4, 2014 
The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. 
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. 
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.  
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.  
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. 
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. 
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. 
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. 
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. 
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. 
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures. 
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. 
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: 
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: 
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: 
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: 
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:  
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: 
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences 
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: 
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: 
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. 
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. 
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.  
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. 
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.  
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Any questions?