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Archive for November, 2012

My previous 10k PR was from 2008, from the second race I’d ever done in my life. I ran the 6.2 miles in 56:16 and was fairly proud of myself (even though I really didn’t have anything to compare it to).

I expected to get faster, but subsequent 10ks were slower, and I started to feel that maybe I had already peaked. Maybe 56:16 would always be my fastest.

But after some recent PR success in other races, I figured it was about time to (try to) update the 10k, and began looking for a race in which to do it.

Enter Heather.

Through her blog, she alerted me to the Run for Shelter 10k, and I decided that now was as good a time as any to go for speed. As Husband has noted, I’m a slave to the weather, and fall is far and away my peak race season.

The race was billed as fairly flat, an easy out-and-back. The organizers also offered free parking and indoor facilities in which to wait for the race start. After many many races of waiting outside in the cold, this was a very welcome change.

My favorite part, however, was the size of the race. There were only 414 10k finishers. That means no weaving, jostling, or crowding on the course. It means that you can focus 100% on you.

Which is exactly what I did.

Aided by a few key running songs (these two are perfect) I pushed myself along, glancing every so often at Guillermo, to make sure we were on track.

My reward was a final time of 50:23, and a brand new shiny PR.

I also managed to finish in the top 10 (okay, #10) of my age group for the first time in…well, ever. So there’s that.

Bottom line: Saturday was the perfect combination of a well-organized race and ideal weather.

And I couldn’t have asked for better PR-setting conditions.

Heather’s far more photo-friendly recap is here.

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I’ve been volunteering a lot recently with the kids at church. It was one of my 27 goals, but it was also something that I’d been missing since coming to DC.

Through many years of babysitting, tutoring, teaching Sunday school, and volunteering at camp, I’ve worked with just about every age group, and have had clear favorites over the years.

Usually, when pressed, I’ll list middle schoolers as my favorites to work with. They don’t have the high school attitude yet, but they don’t require the same kid gloves as elementary schoolers do. So middle school usually wins.

But recently, the early elementary crowd has been pulling ahead. That’s the age group that I help teach some Sunday mornings. It’s also the age group that is, I think, the most inclined toward total honesty.

Toward the end of one lesson the kids were coloring, and one started singing “Dynamite.” (You haven’t truly heard Taio Cruz until you’ve heard it from a six-year-old.) I had it on my phone, so I played it for them, which, of course, sparked further requests.

Firework!

Call Me Maybe!

Billy Joel!

Ah, a kindred spirit. (Fun side note: Billy Joel was my first concert.)

As the sounds of “Call Me Maybe” eventually filled the classroom, Aiden – the little boy who had requested it – confided just why he liked it.

I like this song because I like to chase girls.”

And Astrid, the little girl who had requested Billy Joel, responded in much the same way I think I would have at that age.

You can chase me if you want!

Kindred spirits, indeed.

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Five years ago today I started my first (and current) big girl job.

I remember the feeling of getting up early and taking the metro into DC from Ballston.

I remember the outfit I wore.

I remember the welcome lunch I was taken out to – at a downtown restaurant that no longer exists.

I remember the newness of it all.

And while I may still be at the same job – a rarity for my age group – many more things have changed over those five years.

Five years ago…

…I thought that Ballston was close enough to DC.

…I didn’t have a blog.

…I hadn’t yet met Husband.

…I hadn’t even considered grad school.

…I hadn’t run one marathon, much less three in three months.

…to be fair, I hadn’t actually run any races.

…I’d never flown through the air – with or without a net.

…I wasn’t even close to being considered a local.

Now, I still wouldn’t consider myself a local – and I’m not quite sure when you get to that point – but I do consider this city home.

And that’s something else that I didn’t imagine happening five years ago.

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I’ve recently begun to feel that presidential campaigns and Election Day are going the way of Black Friday.

1) They both get earlier and earlier every year.

Sure, Election Day remains on the same schedule (as does Black Friday), but the preparation starts years in advance (or days, in the case of the sales). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the (unofficial) campaign for 2016 started about half an hour after the results are announced tonight. And half an hour is generous.

2) They bring out the worst in people.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a wave of Black Friday shoppers descend on one of the more popular sales of the day. Supplies are limited and these shoppers don’t mess around. There can be elbowing, shoving, and some definite boxing out. All on minimal sleep.

Leading up to an election, the elbowing, shoving, and boxing out is (usually) all verbal. I’m sure that people still have rational discussions about the merits of each candidate, but you wouldn’t know it from Facebook. I’ll be glad when status updates get back to sports, food, weddings, and babies.

3) Expect long lines and cold weather.

The lead time gets longer and longer, but that doesn’t make the lines any shorter, or the November weather any warmer on the day of. You could spend just as long outside waiting to vote for president as you could to buy a new winter coat. And the coat might last longer.

(No, that’s not an election prediction.)

4) There are lots of promises to get you in the door.

All of those circulars that you get in the mail promise the best sale you’ve ever seen on devices you didn’t know you needed until then. But you don’t see the fine print until you’re checking out. (Buy 1, get 2 free only applies if I get here before 5am?! I have to revamp my whole strategy!)

Naturally, there have been plenty of election promises this time around. And though I can’t fully judge if it’s any different from past years, I know that the fine print is just right around the corner.

5) Both days should be celebrated/concluded with a big glass of wine.

Or choose another beverage of your choice, but seriously, celebrate. The way things are going, there won’t be a lot of down time before the next one.

Election Day does beat Black Friday on sticker distribution.

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