11 November 2008

Veteran's Day

I want to take the opportunity today to express my appreciation for the soldiers who are currently serving our country, for the men and women who have served our country, and especially for those who have given their lives serving our country.

I don't come from a military family. In fact, I think I only have a couple of great uncles who have any military experience. However, I have several friends and students who are currently serving or who have served in the military and I'm so grateful for their willingness to go to war and to protect our freedoms. All of them are incredible people and I want them to know that I appreciate their service!

I've had the opportunity to visit several war memorials and each time I go, I am so touched by the names of the men and women who have died in wars. I'm impressed by their stories and inspired by their courage. War is never a good thing, but the soldiers who serve are examples of grace and class and I hope that I live in such a way that expresses my acknowledgment for the sacrifice they've made that provide the freedoms I enjoy today.

So, thank you for serving!

03 November 2008

Race the Dead 5K Race Report

About a week ago, I came across a race scheduled for Halloween evening. I decided that running a 5k would be a fantastic way to spend the evening, so I registered. The next day, a couple of my students (Carolyn and Katie) stopped by my office to chat and the topic of racing came up. Both of these students did the Indy Mini in May, so I asked them if they were interested in racing on Halloween. They said sure.

So, on Friday afternoon, the weather was fantastic and I was looking forward to running. I got home from work, changed into my capris, a short sleeved dri fit tee, and my Nike pullover. I was dressed up as a runner. I picked Katie and Carolyn up and we headed off to Kick's Bar and Grill in Towanda, IL. We arrived, checked in, picked up our black, glow-in-the dark "Raise the Dead" t-shirts, and then stood around chatting and checking out all of the costumes. There was a deck of cards, a volcano, a skeleton, a 50s girl, a cat, a cheerleader, Elvis, a witch, a hippy, a can of Spam, a devil, Zorro, a flapper...probably lots more that I don't remember. The beef jerky man was there (not dressed up) and Katie and Carolyn were amused and horrified by him.

At around 6pm, we walked across the street to the start, and learned that we would be running on Old Route 66. There were luminaries along the course, as well as a short trot past the cemetery. There were even fireworks at the start. The race director was very amusing and had Katie and Carolyn a little freaked out. The fireworks went up in the sky and we were off.

I should mention that I had no time goals going into this race and I really just wanted to do something fun on Halloween, so I had no expectations. Oh, and I wanted the t-shirt. Anyways, I just wanted to run well and feel good and go home. I didn't even wear my heart rate monitor.

I started running and struggled for about 10 minutes and actually wondered why I thought running would be fun. Katie and Carolyn were ahead of me and I was running next to a couple of people who were incredibly chatty...chatty enough that I was annoyed, so I picked up the pace. I started gradually speeding up and started picking people off one by one. I got to the cemetery and finally left the annoying chatty runners. I know that my pace wasn't super fast, but I felt like I was running well or easier than usual. Anyways, I picked off 5 or 6 people on my way back to the finish line and never hit puke pace, which was actually nice. I crossed through the coffin in 31:26, picked up my coroner's toe tag, discovered I came in 37th place, and bumped into my students, who came in 35th and 36th. I was surprised that I caught up to them.

We walked across the street to check in with our places. I think I came in 5th in my age group, but I could be wrong. I haven't been able to find any posted results. We considered sticking around for prizes, but ended up leaving because we were starting to get cold. We drove back home, chatted about school, and then it was off to finish celebrating Halloween.

It felt good to run on Friday evening. My form felt good. My feet were landing quietly and I was working on landing on my forefoot, which seemed to be working. Perhaps I could have run faster, but it did feel good to run easy. So, apparently, it was a good idea to race on Halloween. I may have to do it again next year!