Charlottesville 10-Miler 2008

March 30, 2008

I’ve been running the Charlottesville 10-Miler for a number of years now. I’ve had some good races, such as when I ran a PR and finished amazed at the amount of gas that I still had left in the tank (and chagrined at the realization that I hadn’t used it all up on the course).  I’ve had some not-so-good bad races, including a couple where I found myself walking dejectedly up the hills on miles 6 and 8, berating myself for my lack of training.  I’ve run it when it was cold, run it when it was hot, run it in the rain, and even run it in a bit of snow.  Last year I ran my slowest time, but it was still one of my favorite races because I ran it with my daughter.

This year’s race was the best yet. First, both Jennifer and Morgan ran it with me.
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I was really proud of them. They each ran their own pace, and while neither had really trained, they each ran a PR (maybe I was the one slowing Morgan down last year and not the other way around). Better yet, they each finished with a smile.  Morgan truly enjoys running for the sake of running – not many can say that.  Jennifer is much the same way, and adds to that a steely determination that will typically carry her through regardless of the state of her training. 

Second, the guys that I had recruited all had great races and will hopefully be back for more. I had been a bit concerned about one of them for much of the race, as he had apparently eaten an extra bowl of Wheaties that morning and took off at a near-8-minute pace instead of the planned 9 – a recipe for disaster for a first-timer. But, he managed to hold it strong and steady for the entire distance (see “steely determination” above). I’ll confess to no small measure of relief when I finally caught him around mile 8.5 – I wanted him to have a good race, but not that good! All bets are off for the next race, though – I’m sure he’ll be gunning for me and I’ll be disappointed if he’s not.

Third, I was pleased with my time – 1:21:19, a new PR by a whopping 13 seconds.  It was a few minutes faster than I had planned on running – the Charlottesville Marathon is in 3 short weeks and I should be working on distance more than speed (and for any truly fast runners that may be reading this, remember that speed is relative) – but race day adrenaline got the better of me. 

A good day all-around.

Next up: a hilly 26.2 on April 19….


Run for Life

March 22, 2008

My girls ran in the ZTA Run for Life 5K this morning.  It’s a fun, low-key event which they’ve enjoyed for the past several years.  It’s always inspirational to see runners dedicate their races to friends and family who have battled the disease; even more so to see runners who are themselves breast cancer survivors.  It’s a particularly significant race for Jennifer as she was a ZTA in college and she lost her ZTA little sister to breast cancer a few years ago. 

I always enjoy watching my girls (all 4 of them) run.  Morgan ran a good race, taking third place in her age group.  Not too shabby, especially considering she had a 2-hour lacrosse practice waiting for her when the race was done! 

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Caroline looked good as well.  It takes some doing to run a race with an uphill finish while still wearing a smile!

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Jennifer and Katherine also turned in good performances, finishing strong.

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Great race, girls!


Older and Wiser?

March 10, 2008

When I ran the 50K last month, I was struck by the fact that the average age of the runners  seemed to be considerably older than with most road races. My curiosity got the better of me and I went through the finishers list. Sure enough, the 40-something runners dominated the field with 74 finishers, myself included. Next up were the 30-somethings, with 69 (including the winner). They were followed by the 20-somethings with 48, and then came the 50-somethings with 30. There were only 7 teenagers (the youngest was 16), and 4 were in their 60’s.

Does this mean that ultrarunning is the extreme sport for the middle-aged athlete? I’m not sure. I do know, though, that we all have a long way to go before we can keep up with this guy.


Monster Jam

March 9, 2008

And now for something completely different: 

No political posts tonight.  It’s been a disheartening week, politics-wise.  Suffice it to say that I’m one of those Democrats who now finds himself seriously considering voting for John McCain.

No running posts tonight.  I got in some good runs this week, but nothing to write home (or a blog post) about.  I have some hard training to do over the next 3 weeks if I’m going to have any shot at a PR in the 10-miler. 

No, tonight’s post is about … yes, you guessed it … monster trucks.

When we took our seats at the arena, the 6 trucks gave little hint of the destruction to come – in fact, the way that they were neatly arrayed down at one end of the floor, they looked like larger versions of the miniature Hot Wheels and Matchbox versions that I’m continually stepping on in my 4-year-old son Will’s room.
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On the other side of the arena, the trucks’ victims were lined up in two neat rows. While these junkers obviously didn’t get to the arena under their own power, they were at least still recognizable as cars. That would change soon enough.
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I surveyed the crowd. While I did see a lot of camouflage, trucker hats and more than a couple of flannel shirts with the sleeves cut off, it was actually a family-friendly atmosphere. Our crew fit right in.
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The lights went down and the emcee came out. He yelled into the microphone – “Who’s ready for some monster trucks?” Giddy with excitement, Will raised his hand and jumped up and down in his seat – “I am, I am!”
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And then the mayhem started. I had almost gone without the ear protection – I figured that if my ears had been through The Who, The Stones, Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and many other concerts with the amps turned up to 11, they could handle some souped-up pickup trucks. Fortunately good sense (actually my buddy Brad’s good sense) prevailed and I took them along. Good call. These trucks were insanely loud.

And they were great fun to watch. They did wheelies.
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They raced.
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They spun donuts.
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They had what looked to be like a few close calls.
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And they left quite a mess to clean up.
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Will now asserts to anyone who will listen that he is going to be a monster truck driver when he grows up.

Hey, it beats law school.


Good Things

March 4, 2008

Sometimes at the dinner table we’ll ask each other to relate something good that happened during the day.  We didn’t do that tonight, but if we had, I would have had a lot to offer:

Finally finding the angle I was looking for on a difficult marketing piece at work.

Leaving the office at 5:01 without looking back.

Getting in a good run before picking my 14 year old up from lacrosse practice.

Watching the the last few minutes of her practice and seeing how much she’s enjoying it.

Having my 4 year old run up and hug my leg when I got home.

Reading my 9 year old a bedtime story.

Listening to my 12 year old practice piano.

Seeing my wife smile the same smile that I first fell for over 20 years ago.