Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wrapping Up Summer: Part 4

This summer, I moved to a new room in the school with our renovated high school.

I started playing the acoustic guitar. I've got a long way to go.

Cross Country season is underway. The girls are the defending district champs and hope to be among the top teams in the state again. The boys graduated five contributing seniors, but have a solid group that should be able to fill in those gaps and have us contending for a district title.

More details to come!

Wrapping Up Summer Part 3: The Pirates

It is August 25th and the Pirates are tied for first place. Sign me up for that!

It's been an amazing summer and lots of dissecting to do over the next five weeks!

Wrapping Up Summer Part 2: The Book Reports

Usually the only place I can sit myself down to read is when I'm on an airplane. I love to read, but I can never force myself to sit down and do it when there's other things to do like go running, watch a Pirate game, or pretty much anything else.

However, I was introduced to using mobile devices for audio books (and for reading books too!), specifically through the program Overdrive that is connected to our county library system. Because of this, I was able to get through SIX books this summer:

The Beauty of Short Hops by Sheldon Hirsch

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Dream Team by Jack McCallum

Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile

Reviews to come hopefully in the next day or two...

Wrapping Up Summer

So much goings on since the Muncie trip. I figured I'd break it down into four segments:

*Summer Book Report
*Other stuff

Part 1 - Racing (subtitle: There must have been something in the water in Muncie)

So, Beth had an awesome race in Muncie, establishing some PR's along the way. Since then, both of us have had some solid success. Beth set some more PR's at Steelhead. Along the way, I had some pretty awesome races.

On 7/20, I did the Plum Stampede in the Park at Boyce Park. While I hadn't really done much speed training, I was excited to end up with a 17:27 on a rolling course and scored 7th overall and 1st in my age group. One of the highlights of this race was being able to hang out with good friend and mentor when I was student teaching at Plum Jay Marston. Back then, I was a volunteer assistant coach to him on the girls softball team. Now, we are both involved with coaching running and he has run several marathons with the hope of qualifying for Boston.

That was a good warm up and then the next weekend (7/28) I did the hometown Junkyard Jaunt (only 1.2 miles from my front door!). Two years ago I did this race with the hope of going sub-17 (pancake flat course) but I went out too hard and it was hot and I ended up at 17:21 and 4th place with some speedy guys. This year, there was only one other speedy guy and he and I went out at the beginning. I got a little bit of a lead on him and was able to extend it and hold on for the win and a new PR of 16:48.

The next weekend (8/4) we were in Michigan for Beth's 5th place finish. The following Friday 8/9, I stepped to the line in downtown Pittsburgh for the Liberty Mile. I went into it thinking I could be around 5:00. The previous four weeks I was working on repeats (400's in the 70-75 range and 800's in the 2:27-2:30 range), so I went to the line confident in my training. 

Beth was out there cheering at the 1/4 mile mark and the 3/4 mile mark. I'm glad there was a crowd around me and I didn't see the 1/4 mile split clock because the 67 might have put some doubts in my head about being able to finish the race. I went through the half and did see the 2:21 on the clock and was excited to think that if I could hang on for a 2:35-2:40 for the second half I would have my sub-5. As we turned on to Liberty Avenue and headed for home, the guy in front of me slowed down a lot (hit the wall?) so I had to swing around him. I don't know if this other guy didn't like that or if I was just in his "line" and he brushed beside me hitting my arm. I thought, "We've got this whole street on a straightaway to the finish and you have to be this close to me?" Regardless, I focused on the task and hand. I missed the 3/4 clock but Beth said it was a 3:42. I then sighted the finish line and tried to do my best kick in. I couldn't feel my legs, but I ended up around a 71 for the finial 1/4 for a total time of 4:53.9. Awesome!
Look - I'm floating 3/4 mile into the race! Excited to say I outkicked all of these guys in the end (but couldn't feel my legs)

Then, last weekend, I subjected myself to the trail running course known as the Hempfield Alumni Meet. I didn't do it last year because we were out of town. The year before I got third place to an alumni who was a D2 Steeplechaser at CalU and a varsity kid who qualified for the state meet. This year, that high schooler graduated (and no one else on the high school team had a strong year last year) and the Steeplechaser had gotten married and bought a house over the summer (perhaps not as much time for training?). We got out and had a rabbit as a Norwin alum had come with a friend and, while he was not eligible for our alumni results, he won the race by a good minute or so. That left me and Eric leading the rest. At one switchback, I noticed that we had the top 3 (and actually top 4) so if things stayed as they were, the alumni would score their first dual meet victory over the varsity in 9 years.

That left the individual race the only thing left to worry about. Eric and I were running together, but I sensed he didn't want to push the pace up a hill as we were returning through the practice football field (about halfway) and I decided to go for it. I ran the rest of the race scared for this younger alum (by 10 years!) was going to catch me and blow by. But, I ended up winning by 50 seconds. The neat thing is that the winner of this alumni-varsity meet gets their name etched onto a plate that goes with the Stanley Cup-like trophy (you keep it for the year and bring it back the next year). So, while I am nowhere near the caliber of any other name on the plate of district and state champs that went on to successful division 1 careers, this year just happened to be the year where everything fell into place for me. It was mentioned that I was the "oldest first-time winner" of this race. I don't know if that is a compliment or a shot at my age. Either way, it was exciting to be the champ!
Ah, the coveted #1 stick!

Me and the trophies. Beth couldn't wait to find a spot for this to collect dust for the next 12 months!!!

Me and dad after the race

The trophies

So, back to my original theory, all of this occurred since Beth and I were in Muncie. Beth's PRs. My 2 wins, and 5k & mile PR.

My theory is that there must have been something in the water in Muncie (I did see Beth bottling some, I think!). In other words, look out Ironman Wisconsin for Beth to come flying through!