No, today is for my own quiet reassertion of capability in the face of everything. To that end, I found this essay by Chuck Wendig particularly helpful today. Maybe you will too.
I have put in a request for Last Great Walk (at the University library, because the Champaign library won’t let me put in a request for a book because Savoy is a member of a different library system and the Urbana library doesn’t have a copy).
“THE LAST GREAT WALK” is the tale of two adventures. One turned out just fine, the other, well… nobody is sure yet.
The first tale is about an actual walk by an actual man named Edward Payson Weston. He left New York City on foot in March 1909, with a plan to walk to San Francisco in one hundred days . . . .
The second tale is about what’s happened to the rest of us since Weston’s walk. Because 1909 was the year America stopped walking. . . . After five million years of walking upright, we decided to get around by other means.
The votes simply aren't there to get a health care bill through the Senate right now. Recognizing this, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has delayed the vote until after the senators get back from eating hot dogs, kissing babies, and getting an earful from their constituents. Since the bill is going to cause 22 million people who currently have health insurance to lose it, it is hard to imagine vast crowds of people are going to tell their senators to hurry up and pass the new bill, so its prospects probably aren't much better after the recess than they are now. This graph from Bloomberg shows the problem fairly clearly.Click here for full story
“I have finished my book,” I said, closing my library book.
“I have finished my book,” Jackie said, closing her library book at the exact same moment I closed mine.
“How syncronisical,” I said.
“Yes,” Jackie said. “Syncronisical is exactly what it was.”
“It’s a good word,” I said.
“Yes,” Jackie agreed. “It doesn’t get used often enough.”
I haven’t written much yet about adding push hands to my movement practice, mainly because I don’t feel competent to describe it well.
Push hands is a taiji training technique—a way to learn how to accept and redirect force. I view it as falling roughly at the midpoint between taiji as moving meditation and taiji as a martial art.
My taiji teacher wasn’t really interested in push hands, I think because he wasn’t really interested in the martial aspects of taiji. He did give us the barest exposure to pushing, so I wasn’t a complete novice, but nearly so.
I am interested in the martial aspects of taiji, so I was delighted last year when I met a couple of people who were interested in pushing. We got together several times last fall, then let our training fall by the wayside over the winter, but started meeting again once the weather turned nice in late spring.
One of the friends I push with describes push hands as a test or diagnostic for your form practice: If your form practice is sound, you will be good at push hands.
Already my push hands practice is informing my form practice, as I learn to shift my weight to move, but simply to turn my waist to accept and redirect energy. I’m trying to learn to keep my shoulders down (a work in progress), and I’m trying to learn to keep my arms and shoulders connected to my core (same, but with less progress).
The Republicans are definitely making progress with their health care bill. The first House version would have cost 24 million people their insurance, so the House fixed the bill. In the second version, only 23 million will lose their insurance. The Congressional Budget Office has now scored the Senate bill and it is better than even the second House bill. Only 22 million people will lose insurance if it becomes law. Extrapolating from these data, we can project that with 22 more bills, the Republican plan will cover as many people as the ACA does.Click here for full story
The Koch brothers' network is working hard with conservatives to get some changes made to the Senate health care bill. They also did this when the first version of the House bill was presented. They aren't talking about what they want, but it is a safe bet that they like eliminating the ACA taxes and want to cut the credits, subsidies, and other features that allow poor people to get health care. They are strict libertarians and believe that the market should determine who gets what and at what price, not the government. In particular, it is known that they strongly oppose Medicaid, which gives poor people health care for free or a nominal cost.Click here for full story
We're a little tired this evening, having spent a couple of hours providing background music at a restaurant in a neighboring town. It was very pleasant. The restaurant building was a sweet yellow cottage set back from the road. We were outside, on the deck in the garden, with a huge old maple tree as our backdrop.
The few rumbles of thunder that accompanied a couple of grey clouds, came to nothing and we enjoyed the support of friends from church, who were an enthusiastic - and much appreciated - audience.
I'd had two weeks of training since the Lawyers Have Heart 5K, with some pretty intense workouts in ridiculously warm weather. I ran a set of 8 x 200m sprint intervals, in which the recovery was long enough to go "all out" on them, yielding times of 38-39 seconds for all of them. That's a sub-5:30
|Before the =PR= Twilight Four Miler|
Going into this four-mile race, my "A" goal was to run the lower half of the 27's, so sub-27:30. My "B" goal was simply to break 28:00, because I had never done that on this course before. This year, the temperature was 81 degrees with a sunny sky. Last year, it was 91 degrees, which was suffocating. Given that I ran the Mother's Day Four miler in 26:57 not too long ago, these might seem like easy goals. But the Mother's Day race has much cooler weather (30 degrees cooler).
Before the Race
I'm not a huge fan of nighttime races, but I do them occasionally because it's a different challenge. I wasn't really sure what to do with myself on Saturday, or how to eat. I hydrated A LOT, alternating between water, and water mixed with UCAN Hydrate. And for some reason, I found myself really hungry all day long. My plan was to have a bagel with peanut butter two hours before the race, which started at 7:30. But at 4:00, I felt like I couldn't wait until 5:30, so I just ate early.
Similar to last year, Greg and I brought a cooler of ice, in which we put small towels to keep ourselves cool before the race. On the way to the race, I had a minor freak out because I wasn't sure where to go. I took the address from the email confirmation and plugged it into Waze, but quickly realized that we were going to a part of Ashburn that was not where the race was. Greg was driving so I checked the website, which said they had a new course. And then I realized the website had a
different address from the email, so I had no idea where to go! I texted my friend Rochelle, who was already there and she confirmed that the race hadn't moved. Then I realized that the address from the email confirmation was the location of packet pickup. Ugh. And the course had not changed. The term "new course" language must have referred to several years ago when they changed it.
When we got to the race, we retrieved our bibs and beer glasses (very cool SWAG item) and chatted with some of our friends. Before we knew it, it was time to drink the UCAN and warm up! It was actually a beautiful night if you weren't racing. Low 80's and sunny and the humidity wasn't even that bad. Considering that the past two years have been much hotter, this felt manageable. Plus, I knew
|Warming up with Greg and Lisa|
I did some strides and then lined up at the starting line. I knew that this would be a competitive field, and I wasn't going to be among the top five women like I had been for my previous four races, but I was hopeful about placing in my age group. From having run this race the past two years, I knew that the best approach was not to go out too fast during the first mile because you don't feel the effects of the heat until later in the race. According to last year's blog post, my start pace felt like marathon pace, which then started to feel like 10K pace in the second mile, but race pace for the last two miles. So my plan was to run the first mile in 6:45, then 6:55 for the second mile (uphill), and then as hard as possible for the last two miles.
Even though my plan was to be conservative with this mile and not get pulled out to fast, it felt super
This is the only net uphill mile of the race. All the other miles are a net down. So I told myself to just get up the hill, just get through the mile and everything would be fine. Now, relatively speaking, this hill isn't terribly steep. I think it was like a 30 foot gain or something, but with the heat it just always feels much steeper than that. The Mother's Day 4-miler starts out with like an 80 foot climb or something crazy. But yet this second mile with its modest ascent felt tougher than that. It was during this mile that I did most of my passing. I picked off about three women, and by the time the mile was over, there were only two women left in my sights who I wanted to pass. I also grabbed a cup of water from a water station and poured it over my head. It felt good, but the sun was still beating down on me. My split for this mile was 6:58. A little slower than I wanted, but maybe that meant I would have more energy for the end.
The course was now mostly shaded and I knew that the worst of it was behind me. In the early part of the mile, I passed one of the two women I had in my sights. That gave me a brief confidence boost before I started to feel really bad. For the rest of the mile, I felt like I had zero energy or pep in my step. I went into "just hang on" mode. I was no longer in control of the race-- I felt like the race was in control of me. I had fantasies of pulling off the side of the course and DNFing. I started to worry that maybe this race would cause me to get mono again like last summer. Admittedly, I was not mentally tough at all. I was still running at a decent pace, but it felt really slow, like I was out for an easy run or something. I didn't feel like I had the energy to actually put effort into the race. Hopes of passing that woman who was still in my sights faded. On the plus side, she wasn't widening the gap, but I also wasn't closing it. My Garmin beeped at 6:49 and I wondered how I would be able to
Last year I really sped up during this mile. It was my fastest mile of the race, so part of me was just waiting for that magic to happen. But last year, I went out more conservatively so I had the energy to push. This time, it wasn't until about halfway through the mile when things turned around and it started to feel less like a death march and more like the 4th mile of a 4-mile race. I really rallied and told myself to just hang in there for a few more minutes. I could do anything for a few minutes. I didn't pass anyone and no one passed me. I was focused on getting to the finish line in a respectable time, thinking that my goal time was probably way out of reach. My Garmin beeped for a 6:38 split, and I caught a glimpse of the total time at 27:00. But I knew to expect from the past two years that my Garmin would measure this as a long course so I just kept gunning at a pace of 5:56 until I reached the finish line. Thank God that was over!!!
After the Race
It took me several minutes to recover and it wasn't long before I was reunited with Greg and my friend Lisa. We walked back to the car where the ice cold towels and water were waiting for us. We
|Lisa and me at a nearby brewery post-race|
We then proceeded to the results table, where I learned that my official time was 27:32, and 7th overall female. I placed second in my age group. I was really happy with this placement, considering how competitive the field was. I never was able to catch that one woman, who finished about 8 seconds ahead of me, but I was fine with that, seeing as I went into survival mode for about a full mile. Greg placed third in his age group in a blazing 26:30. We cooled down for about a mile and then I went in search of the ice cream truck. I was disappointed when it wasn't there, as that's one of the best things about this race. After getting our awards, we went to a local brewery with Lisa, her husbands and some other runners.
This morning, I had a medium-long run scheduled. I took it nice and easy and it took about 7 miles of running to work out all the kinks. I ended up with 11.6 miles at an average pace of 8:56. Afterwards, I showered and went back to sleep! I got a massage later in the day. I ended up with 46.4 miles for the week, which is about what I have been doing for the past month.
4 x 4 Analysis
I am a numbers junkie, so I couldn't resist performing this analysis of four 4-mile races.
2016 Mother's Day: 27:51 2016 Twilight Festival: 28:36
2017 Mother's Day: 26:57 2017 Twilight Festival: 27:32
- Year over year, I improved my Mother's Day time by 54 seconds, and my Twilight time by 64 seconds. However, the weather for this year's Twilight race was 10 degrees cooler than last year, so if it were hotter, I might have only improved by 54 seconds.
- In 2016, my Twilight time was 45 seconds slower than my Mother's Day time. In 2017, my Twilight time was 35 seconds slower than my Mother's Day time.
- My Garmin measured 4.01 miles for the Mother's Day race in 2016 and 2017. My Garmin measured 4.09 for both Twilight races.
- In Garmin Land, my average pace for both races this year was the same at 6:44/mile.
CNN is reporting that sources close to 80-year-old Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy are saying that Kennedy is mulling retirement, possibly even this year. Kennedy is the swing justice on many cases that pit the Court's four liberals against the four conservatives. In this respect, Kennedy has more influence on public policy than anyone except the president. And, given the general ineffectiveness of the current president, not to mention the fact that SCOTUS decisions can echo for decades (or more), he may actually have more influence.Click here for full story
Later, Exile #2, E5N1 and I were walking near our house when Exile #2 related that Exile #4 had "taken a movie here because ants were making a colony on the pavement".
E5N1 immediately complained about her choice of words. Thanks perhaps in part to this morning's reminder, I corrected her - "sidewalk" not "pavement".
"That's not what I meant!" corrected E5N1, "She meant 'video' not 'movie'!"
Life with multicultural children is a minefield.
The Washington Post has published a report saying that last August, the CIA informed Barack Obama that not only was it certain the Russians were actively working to damage Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump in the election, but they had captured Vladimir Putin's detailed instructions on how to do it. Since Putin, a former KGB agent, is extremely cautious and rarely communicates by phone or computer, the intercept probably came from a top-level mole high in the Russian government who is actually a CIA spy.Click here for full story