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Race Report: Maryland Half Marathon - Another PR

Sunday, May 06, 2012

6 May 2012

My long distance running career has now come full circle. My first long distance race, longer than 10K was on 13 May 2011, the 3rd Maryland Half Marathon. You may have seen a national news story about that race. A dog joined the run around mile 5 and finished the course. I saw him and wondered (a) why did someone bring a dog to this race and (b) where was his leash? But Dozer went on to become the bigget fundraiser for the Greenbaum Foundation for Cancer Research. See the story about Dozer the Dog here. tinyurl.com/3gwyf5e .

So I now begin my year two of long distance running.

It rained off and on all night so we awoke to a 60F drizzle. And no promise on the Weather Channel for much better. When the race started, my glasses could have used wiper blades.

But when I took off and shook the crowd loose, I was running smoothly, comfortably. I had already decided to run out the first and last 5ks and do a 1 mile/1 minute run/walk in between. That strategy seemed to work well. At 5k, I was running a 9:10 pace. I almost didn't want to drop to a walk, but I was disciplined about it. It was about here that I saw a man being ministered to by his Team Fight teammates, but I didn't see any water and he looked bad. I wear a hydration belt. Without breaking stride, I tossed them one of my bottles and a Gu gel. "Catch me at the finish line." (They did. I got my bottle back.)

When I reached the Hill (yeah THAT HILL) is had just started a 1 mile run. there would be no walking up that hill. I ran the whole thing and at the top I was passing people.

By the time I reached mile 10, my pace had slowed to about 9:24. I clearly was not going to make the 2:00 Half, but a 2:05 was not out of the question. It would be hard, but possible. What I set my mind on was a 2:06 because my previous PR was in that range.

In that last 5k, I was running it out, but I was starting to fade. I lost sight of the 2:00 pacers and the 2:05 pacers passed me. But I considered last year ... at this point in the race last year my IT Band was bothering me so much that I was barely race walking and I finished in real pain. This year, no pain and I was happy and running.

Suddenly, I saw the last two turns and I was able to kick in a sprint. As I crossed the timing mat, I pressed the button on my watch: 2:06:38. That actually held up as the official time.

But was it a PR? I had to look it up on RunKeeper. Sure enough, MCAS Cherry Point in March was 2:06:42.

I let out a whoop. A PR by :04!! Cherry Point was flat. MdHM was hilly. And I PR'd by 4 seconds.

I didn't matter how little the margin was.

A PR is a PR!

V is for Victory

Saturday, May 05, 2012

I mean, what else?

We get so hung up on that number on that old scale we fail to see victories happening to us every day.

You make a better choice today. A bowl of grapes with the tv instead of a a bag of chips.

You walk into the kitchen intending to get a cookie and you self check and realize you only want that cookie because you are bored.

Those jeans don't fit any more, they are too loose!

Here are some of my favorites:

I locked my keys inside the house. But the dog door was unlocked. So claustrophobia or no claustrophobia, I went through the dog door. And it wasn't a tight fit, at all.

We were at a company function, Her company, and there were people in from Arizona who knew me but had not seen me in about three years. She(WMBO) re-introduced me to these folks as, "This is my sexy new husband, Tim." One woman actually asked, "Wasn't your last husband named Tim?"

Tomorrow I will be living my absolute favorite non-scale victory: I will be running a half marathon. The idea of me running at all four years ago was absurd. Last year, my first long distance run was the Third Maryland Half Marathon. Tomorrow, I come full circle, I begin a new year of long distance running at the Fourth Maryland Half Marathon.

It's a victory.

U is for Unique.

Friday, May 04, 2012

My father used to say that unique was a special, but not unique, word. Why? because you cannot modify it with any adverb except not (as I did above). Unique means one of a kind. As such, something cannot be more unique, very unique, or one of the most unique. It can be not unique. "Nearly unique" would seem a good match, but why not just say unusual.

I had a historical geography professor who was a stickler about proper English in our papers. Grammar, spelling, punctuation all had to be perfect to get a perfect score from him. He required us to work from Strunk & White's Elements of Style. Among the tips he gave us was that if the author used improper English in a quote, we should use the quote as is and note it with (sic).

One paper I wrote, I quoted a source telling me that a particular house type was "a very unique feature of New England colonial architecture." I wrote "a very unique (sic) feature ...." He called me out on that. Why did I use (sic)? So I explained. He glared at me. "You were quoting my dissertation."

Why, yes! Yes I was.

I think he docked me 10 smartass points.

I met a woman whose name was Unique. She corrected the pronunciation "It's OO-NEE-QUAY. My parents wanted to give me a unique name."

Do people with names like that grow up hating their parents? I wonder.

A human being is a single being. Unique and unrepeatable.
Eileen Caddy

A human being is so irreplaceable. So valuable and so unique.
Goran Persson

Don't let anyone tell you that you have to be a certain way. Be unique. Be what you feel.
Melissa Etheridge

Cherish the Earth. Regardless of how you feel about the global warming debate, understand we live in a unique place. Our Moon keeps our rotation stable and gave us the tides that moved life from the seas to the land. And while I have no way of knowing if our Moon is unique to a planet our size at our distance from star, it is certainly unusual. Earth is unique in the universe in that we know for certain that there is liquid water here, that there is life here, and that there is intelligent life here.

Earth is unique.

T is for Tattoo

Thursday, May 03, 2012

I don't get it!!

What is the big deal with tattoos? Why are so many people getting them? When did they become mainstream?

When I was young, the only people who got tattoos were sailors, pirates and outlaw bikers. Now just about everyone is inked. And kids as young as middle school have tattoos. That says more about their parents, than it does about them, but I mean come on! The technology of tattooing has not changed enough to keep a 10, 20, 40 year old tattoo from fading and sagging. That little rosebud she got on her breast at age 19 is now a long stem rose at age 50.

I have had otherwise sober people tell me that after you get your first tattoo, you will want more. Almost an addiction. Once the fad fades, it won't be like body piercing, where you can just take out the pins. No, you are stuck with it for life.

I must admit. I have thought about getting a little "26.2" on my leg. Then I thought better of it.

S is for Storytelling

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Mom has had a series of strokes during the past year. It hasn't stopped her mind, just her ability to communicate clearly. It's a shame too, because Mom is a storyteller. Stories about when she was a child, when she and Dad were first married, about each and every one of her thirteen children.

I think, if you look at my past blogs, you see that I may have gotten some of her gift of gab. She(WMBO) will tell me to "cool it, Jane" when I start to get into a storytelling mode.

Stories don't have ot be true to be told. (Mine are ALLLLL true.) Aesop told tales to teach lessons. Jesus used the parable form, but a story nonetheless. PLato used the allegory form to tell the story of Atlantis.

"When a storyteller interweaves description with emotion, a study suggests his or her brain activity becomes synchronized with the audience. This synchronization suggests storytellers are imparting both ideas and emotions onto their listeners. "


Mark Twain was apparently a master of this technique. In more modern times, Garrison Keilor follows that tradition. John McCutcheon is a folk/family singer in the tradition of Pete Seeger, and like seeger is an accomplished storyteller.

It's why we laugh and cry and become emotionally invested with the characters in a movie or tv show. I always wondered about that. But the storyteller is working his magic on me if it's done right.

Here are a couple of interesting articles, stories really, about the power of stroytelling:
New York Times 2/10/11: When Patients Share Their Stories, Health May Improve

Barry McWilliams: Effective Storytelling: A manual for beginners

Storytelling Day.net

Huffinton Post 4/4/11: Connecting Meaning and Learning Through Storytelling by Laura Fleming

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