One Hundred Two

On April 24, 1915, the Committee of Union and Progress, the ruling party of the Ottoman Empire, rounded up, arrested and deported over 250 leading Armenian intellectuals and religious leaders. Most of these men were later murdered. Although the Turks had perpetrated various acts of violence towards Armenians before this date, this egregious moment of state-sponsored violence has been chosen as the official day of remembrance for the Armenian Genocide.

Over the next several years, the Ottoman Empire, the sick man of Europe, under the leadership of the CUP or Young Turks embarked upon a systematic attempt to wipe out the Armenian people. Historians estimate that between 900,000 and 1.5 million Armenians perished. Thousands more fled their historic homeland and scattered to the far reaches of the world in a diaspora rivaled only by that of the Jews. Thousands of women and children were trafficked into slavery and tattooed to mark them forever as property.

This genocide, in fact, served as inspiration for its own name. Raphael Lempkin, a Polish Jew and linguistics scholar and lawyer studied the events of the Genocide. One event stood out in particular. After the war ended, the three leaders of the CUP, Ahmed Izzet Pasha, Talaat Pasha and Enver Pasha, were all tried in absentia and convicted. None of the sentences were carried out. All three men, however, were killed by Armenians. One of these assassinations took place in Berlin. Soghomon Tehlirian, a man who lost 85 members of his family in the Genocide, killed Talaat Pasha and was placed on trial for his crimes. Although acquitted, this caused Lempkin to wonder why somehow killing a million people was a lesser crime than killing one man. This led his coining the word “genocide” from the Latin roots “gen-” meaning “family, tribe, or people” and “-cide” meaning the “killing of.” This word became officially codified during the Nuremburg Trials meant to punish men who perpetrated a genocide from which Lempkin himself had to flee and just barely escaped with his own life.

I grew up knowing this history as well as I knew that George Washington served as the first president of the United States of America. As I progressed through school I found myself perplexed and a bit angry each time we reached World War I in history class and I found no mention of the Genocide. I couldn’t understand why something so terribly significant was not being taught in school.

I then learned the dirty truth. For decades, now more than a century, the Ottoman Empire, later reborn as the Republic of Turkey under the leadership of Kemal Ataturk has done everything in their power to obscure the truth of their predecessors’ horrific deeds.

Armenians have waited 102 years for acknowledgement of what was done to them. They watched brief hopes of establishing their own home crumble before the oncoming onslaught of Kemal Ataturk and the indifference of Western nations at the Paris Peace Conference. They endured decades under the thumb of the oppressive USSR to whom they were forced to turn to for protection when the United States declined to accept the mandate. The US diaspora watched as President after President declined to use the word, “genocide,” in reference to the Genocide; Congress could not even get a resolution recognizing the events out of committee for a vote simply for the preservation of the alliance with the only ostensibly democratic state in the Middle East and the critical use of its airspace to reach bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a historian and an Armenian, I am compelled to tell this story to as many as I can. Tragedy compounds when history is obscured. Hitler stated in justification of his devastating actions towards Poland, “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?” It galls every Armenian, every historian and likely every Jew and decent person that the Allies have proven Hitler right. Their inaction perpetuates the delayed healing and continues to pour salt in the gaping wound. So many Armenians harbor soul-sucking bitterness in their hearts, the same bitterness and despair that drove Tehlirian to commit murder.

This story does not yet have a happy ending. Turkey’s active denial continues. The movie, The Promise, opened Friday. It tells the story of the Armenian Genocide clearer than I have seen any work of non-academic literature or art. After the initial screening for an audience of 1400, thousands of 1 star reviews flooded IMDB, the movie database. There are reports that huge numbers of tickets were purchased in major cities like Boston and Chicago only to be returned minutes before show time and exchanged for a later showing, thus preventing many people from seeing the movie.

What can be done in the face of such horrible hatred? Bitterness is not the answer. Bitterness turns inward and poisons. Instead, speak. Tell the truth. Pray. Pray for the hearts of those hardened by bitterness. Pray for those who place expediency and military necessity above compassion. Pray for those who continue to deny and obfuscate at the peril of their own soul.

I choose to remember.

Reedy River 10k 2017 – Race Recap

Race #124
10k #10
2017 Race #8
2017 10k #1
Reedy River 10k #4

The plan going in to this run was to try to pace Mom to a sub 50 minute finish so that we could both register for the same corral for Cooper River next year. I didn’t tell her because I did not want to add pressure beforehand. While the heat and a bit of fatigue kept her from that goal, she still rocked the race and finished over a minute faster than last year!

Backing up a bit…

Reedy River 10k 2017

We arrived with enough time to walk from County Square up to the race start and make a pit stop in the public bathrooms just beyond the start. When we got back up to the street I could not remember which way we ran down Main Street to start the race. To add to my confusion, with less than 10 minute before the race start, a truck with a platform attached backed up just enough so that the trailer/platform blocked the road. I had no idea where we were supposed to line up. Thankfully, after the singing of the national anthem the platform was moved out of the way and we took our places on the road.

Reedy River 10k 2017

This race actually started 2 minutes early so at 7:53 we were off.

It was slow going for a short portion even though we were fairly close to the start. Once the road began to clear we were able to pick up our pace, uphill. That was fun.

This course is not easy, by no means. It also followed a different route than the previous years I have run this race, including last year. I was not sure of any of the course except for the start and the finish. The first mile is full of gradual and not so gradual inclines. I felt strong though and kept our pace around 8 minutes

Mile 1: 7:57

Somewhere in the second mile Mom told me that she was already experiencing fatigue. I had a feeling that this might end up being a tough run for her. I wanted to push her as much as I could to get that time but also wanted to be supportive. We hit another serious hill in this mile which slowed our pace a bit.

Reedy River 10k 2017
(Sorry for the leg in the forefront of the picture. Flickr has yet to restore a photo editing service so I am unable to crop the picture.)

Mile 2: 8:27

Finally we made a loop and the incline became a decline. This greatly aided our pace. I think this helped Mom as well, at least temporarily. It was crazy warm out and I was incredibly thankful for my OrangeMud Hydration Quiver. I wore it during the race because I set out for another 70 minutes shortly after we finished the race. Instead of the prescribed 2 scoops, I have started adding 3 to both make the flavor stronger and to add more nutrition. I am still experimenting as to the best way to take in nutrition during races and long runs as I increase my training and racing pace.

Mile 3: 7:58

I do not remember much about the fourth mile. That’s what happens when I wait until the end of the day to write the recap. I have no idea how people who wait days remember anything from the race.

Mile 4: 8:12

By this point in the race Mom was practically begging me to go on ahead so that she could slow down. I definitely tried some tough love at this point. She asked to walk. I said “no, she could do it.” A couple of times she slowed down to a walk and told me to go on ahead. I refused; I kept running, slower, but I refused. Each time, she caught up to me and we kept plugging away.

I knew by this point that it would be unreasonable to aim for a sub 50. I think that if we make an attempt on a much cooler day, that goal would be in the bag almost without trying. I then focused on helping her finish strong and work through the negative mental thoughts. I have been there so many times myself. I would give in to those thoughts and walk or cut the run short (for training runs) and then finish with all kinds of regrets. I also knew that if she kept pushing she would almost certainly win her age group.

Mile 5: 8:56

That last mile is tough. It was tough for me. The hills just never stop.

I was determined to keep up the positive motivation as much as I could. As we approached a hill I told her that we were going to “kill the hill.” I know I said other things too but at the moment, I can’t remember any of them.

Just before we made the second to the last turn we saw Ellis.

Reedy River 10k 2017

Mile 6: 8:51

We made the final turn and poured on as much speed as we could. I told Mom to dig deep and she did! She actually started to pull away from me!

I caught up and finished right behind her.

Final .2
Overall time: 51:30

Immediately after finishing we got a medal. I’m still not a fan of handing out medals for a 10k but I’m not going to turn down race bling.

After looking up Mom’s results and finding out that she finished first in her age group, I headed off for an additional 70 minutes. While I was running a cyclist actually slowed down and said something like, “A 10k wasn’t enough, you needed more?” Of course!

Now for the race review…

Registration and Packet Pick Up
Nothing stood out here, especially since Ellis did the packet pick up.

Race Shirt
I love the design and feel of these shirts. Unfortunately, it does not fit. I always get smalls and they fit pretty well. This one is even a little too snug for Mom. That is unfortunate. It is also 60% cotton. Even if it did fit, I would not be able to wear it to run in. I don’t run in anything made with even a little bit of cotton.

Prerace/morning amenities
Some of the normal pre-race set ups were changed due to the construction going on at the old Greenville News business. The public restrooms were still available. Since we used those we did not seek out any portopotties. I am unsure if any were available. As I mentioned before, it was odd to back the platform across where the runners were supposed to line up barely 10 minutes before the race.

Course
Any course in downtown Greenville is tough. The area is pretty much all hills. I did enjoy the route this year, despite the unavoidable hills and hope that they do not change it again.

Course Support
While I did not partake in the water stops, I did find it odd that the first water stop was not until mile 2.9 and then the remaining two came about a mile apart after that.

Finish line and Post Race Amenities
Since this race served as the SCRRCA 10k championship and was also the 40th anniversary of the race, the GTC added some pretty nice decorations at the finish on main street. It looked great. I really wish the GTC would show this sort of dedication to their races every year, not just the ones that happen to serve as state championships.
Just like last year, the refreshments were located down in Falls Park. However, unlike last year, there was no water available right at the finish line. Not cool.
Mom and Ellis waited for awards since she ended up winning 3rd place Grand Masters. I took off on my run and wondered if I should make it an out and back on the Swamp Rabbit Trail instead of a point to point ending at the Duncan Chapel Road/Furman parking lot. I stuck with my original plan. When I finished and looked at my phone, I saw a text from Mom apologizing for not being there; they were still waiting for awards! Seriously, I ran 8 miles in the time that it took them to start and finish the awards ceremony. According to Mom, the MC took time to describe a few lost and found items in copious detail, draw prizes, give out the kids awards and the 5k awards before the 10k awards. He also waxed eloquent about some of the winners, including some who weren’t even there!

Photography
Pace Magazine stated that they took pictures. At the time of writing, no pictures had yet been posted. Also, the only post on the GTC Facebook page was from race morning. Absolutely nothing else.

Results
Palmetto Timing timed the race so the results were instantly available on racemine.

Bound for Boston

Originally I had planned to write about the lessons learned from my Chicago trip. I still plan to but… I forgot about a little thing called the Boston Marathon, the 121st running of which took place yesterday.

I have mentioned frequently, both here and on my old blog, how strong my desire is to qualify for and run this race. Each year Marathon Monday rolls around and that desire intensifies. This year I got to run while watching the start of the race.

This morning, thanks to a mild winter and unneeded snow day, I got to sleep in and watch the race. I downloaded the NBC Sports app, logged in with Dad’s cable subscription (the use of which I am extremely grateful for) and headed to the gym.

Once at the gym, I knew before starting the workout that it would be great. I had speedwork on the docket, 1000m repeats. I decided to challenge myself knowing that the motivation would be there in spades. The workout was even greater than I thought it might be. Boston dreams filled my head.

After the workout I spent the morning engrossed in everything Boston from Meb’s final competitive Boston Marathon to Des’ heartbreak at yet another first place finish slipping through her grasp, from the beautiful finishing form of the eventual winner of the men’s race, Kirui, to Jordan Hasay’s almost unbelievably third place marathon debut. (I did also, thankfully, manage to get a little bit of work accomplished too.) This prompted my own marathon dreams.

This whole year I have planned to make Chicago my next BQ attempt. Now, I am even more determined to make that happen. I am ready and willing to put in the hard work I know it will take to get me there.

I know this Marathon Monday high will not last forever. It is all too likely to get caught up in the whirlwind that is the last several weeks of school. That is why I chose to write this post; I will have something to look back on to remind me of what it is that I’m working for.

In the coming months I plan to make this BQ attempt a priority. I will be dedicating myself to my workouts and to clean eating. I ate a lot of sugar on the Chicago trip and I feel the effects. I’ve already started on the clean eating reboot courtesy of a $97 trip to Costco. It’s worth it.

On the training end, I am considering hiring a coach. I think it would be worth the money if a decided to do that. I am wavering a little though and will probably make the final decision after the Mountains to Main Half.

Here’s to another amazing Marathon Monday and the continuing BQ quest.

Chicago Quarter Marathon 2017 Race Recap

Race #123
Quarter Marathon #1
2017 Race #7
Chicago Quarter Marathon #1

As I planned this Spring Break trip, I briefly conducted a search for races in Chicago happening on either Sunday after we arrived or today, right before we headed home. I knew that in a city this large, there must be something. A casual search did not turn up anything promising. Thus, I planned to just get in two long runs on this vacation.

At the White Sox game Sunday, I’m not sure what inspired me to look but this time a quick search turned up the first result of the Chicago Quarter Marathon. I looked everything over. It took place on the lakefront which I fell in love with at first sight. It is a doable distance and a new distance which meant automatic PR. Before I left the game, I signed up.

This morning, to make sure that we arrived on time, Dad and I booked an Uber. (Prior to this trip, I had not yet partaken in Uber’s services. Now I feel like a pro.) I scheduled it to pick us up between 8 and 8:15 thus getting us to the race start between 8:15 and 8:30 for a 9:15 start.

Our Uber arrived promptly at 8 which got us to the race start with about 50 minutes to spare. More than plenty of time. During this wait time I realized that although I had set out my armband for my phone right by my bib, I managed to leave the armband sitting under the TV at Laura’s apartment. I spent the next 10 minutes or so trying to come up with a solution but nothing seemed to work so I ended up leaving the phone with Dad and running sans music. It’s been a while since I did that.

Chicago Quarter Marathon 2017
(Yes, I took the hat off before I ran.)

With about 10 minutes to go, I headed towards the start line. As I looked around at my competition, I had a suspicion that there weren’t a lot of fast people at this race.

Promptly at 9:15 we were off. I tried to quickly settle in to the 8:00 pace that I wanted. Within a few tenths of a mile I could tell that my mouth was already dry. The temperatures were much hotter than they have been the rest of the week (72 according to Garmin data) and I did not bring my hydration with me. I decided right then to stop at each water stop and drink two cups of water. I know what my performance looks like when I’m dehydrated; it’s not pretty.

Mile 1: 7:43

My watch measured a little bit off by the first mile marker but not much. I try not to put too much stock into having my Garmin exactly in sync with the mile markers since various things can cause a Garmin to measure differently than the course certification.

This portion of the course was absolutely beautiful. It runs directly beside the lake, right on the outside of the Shedd Aquarium. It’s not a wide path at that point but thankfully early on in the race when most of the runners were still together, not many visitors and other pedestrians were on the path. There also were a few gradual uphills and downhills which made for a challenging change from the flatness of most of the Lakefront Path.

I could feel the heat getting to me and wondered when the water stop was going to appear. There were two water stops on this out and back course that we were able to partake from twice.

Shortly before the end of the second mile was the water stop. I slowed to a walk, grabbed two cups and drank as much of them as I could get down. I felt better immediately and knew that I had made the right decision.

Mile 2: 8:03

I figured that the mileage difference was just a fluke when my Garmin measured almost exactly on for the second mile. Unfortunately, that was the only time that happened.

The course continued to be gorgeous. I absolutely adore the Lakefront Path. I also managed to keep up a fairly even pace but could tell that I would be just a little wiped out come the end of the race due to the heat.

Starting at the third mile marker, my Garmin measured off from the mile markers, significantly. By the end of the race it was .55 off for a number of people. (I’ll get to that part later.)

I felt strong even in the heat and started anticipating the turn around. I wanted to see how close I could get before seeing the lead runner and then the lead female. I got a lot closer to the turn around which confirmed my suspicions that there were not a lot of fast people in this race. Yes, an 8:00 pace is fairly fast but competition-wise, not the pace that normally puts you at the front of a pack in a nearly 900 person race.

At the turn around I calculated that I was in 8th place for women and started keeping track from there.

Other than the above, the three middle miles were pretty unremarkable.

Mile 3: 8:16
Mile 4: 7:59
Mile 5: 8:12

Even though I had been hydrating as frequently as I could, I could tell that the heat was getting to me. I am not acclimated to summer yet. The last two miles felt really tough. I was determined to stay in the top 10 for women though which kept me pressing ahead at nearly the exact pace that I needed.

The end felt like it took forever to arrive, partially brought on by the difference in the distance. Finally I was back on the street and could see the finish line ahead. I put on a little bit of a sprint but tried to still focus on form. That has been an issue in some of my sprint to the finish pics. I’m tired and sprinting so a lot of times my form deteriorates. I’m pretty pleased with how my form looked today.

Chicago Quarter Marathon 2017

Mile 6: 8:10
Mile 7: 8:00

Final time: 57:11, average pace of 8:02.

Chicago Quarter Marathon 2017

Race Review

Registration and Packet Pick Up
It was almost too easy to register for this race, especially for people like me who have a problem with registering for all the races. Packet Pick Up also went smoothly. It was easy to find the location, Road Runners Sports, and didn’t take long at all. Of course, due to a problem with customs (see below) the only thing that we picked up was the bib.

Race Shirt
At this point, I do not know what these look like. A couple days after registering I got an email stating that the swag delivery had been delayed. The fleece jackets (quarter-zip) were being held up in customs. The race director did not know when they would be released. Even though he was actively trying to get them released, he could not estimate whether they would be available. Because of this, the race offered the beanie to everyone (it had been a perk of being one of the first 750 to sign up) as well as offering free shipping for all those not able to come by and pick up the merchandise once it finally arrived. I think with all that they had to deal with, the race directors handled this well. I did see on social media that there were several people put out by this.

Prerace/morning amenities
Everything seemed organized smoothly with plenty of portopotties available as well as gear check and some free candy.

Course
As I said in the recap, I absolutely love the Lakefront Path. It is absolutely gorgeous. If I lived here I would run every single race that used the Lakefront Path. I am obsessed.

Course Support
The out and back provided four water stops instead of two. Also, the race organizer set up tables on either side of the course for the out and then the back portion. Both sides were set up with cups full of water as I ran past on the out portion of the course.

Finish line and Post Race Amenities
The race finishes in the same area as the start. They had plenty of things to drink and eat. I tried a Bai drink and could not get something else in my mouth quick enough. It says right on the bottle that there are no artificial sweeteners. I knew from the taste that there had to be some. Sure enough, Bai uses its own Stevia blend. Gag. If I had known that I would have gotten just water.

Photography
I am not aware of any photographers but if some pictures are posted, I will update this.

Results
The results were available soon after the race on a site that gives you the option to search by bib number. The rest of the amenities of the site were a bit lacking but it gave enough information to be satisfactory.

If I were in Chicago again when this race was run, I would definitely run it again.

2017 Travels – Chicago, the Preparation

After a year of no travel, I am beyond excited to get started on a summer filled to the brim with travel. On the agenda for the summer? The UK, Hilton Head Island, road trip to Maine/Prince Edward Island, and San Francisco. All of this starts with a sampler in Chicago which, when this post publishes, is where I am.

All of this travel will be done on a teacher’s salary following a year with short stints of unemployment. Although I will be using my credit card, I will not be going into debt. The spending is all backed up with my dedicated travel savings account aided by frugal travel hacks I have picked up over the years.

The tentative posting plan is as follows. Since each trip is slightly different, I plan to write about how I planned and prepared for each trip. After the trips I want to write about the execution of the plan and how I dealt with the inevitable unexpected. I also hope to have my writing chops up to par and ready to write about my experiences and the history of all that I am privileged to visit.

This trip started to take shape on a whim. Some time last year I thought “hey, since Laura lives in Chicago now, maybe we could go visit over Spring Break.” Dad and I actually started brainstorming the trip before telling Laura. Whoops.

The trip existed in hypothetical form only for several months due mainly to my school schedule. I wrote down “30 minutes at least travel planning” in my planner on every Saturday so far this year but have yet to be able to follow up with that. (I hope to change that since the UK trip cannot be planed on such a whim as this trip.)

Even with my schedule working against me, the trip gradually started to take shape. First, I set a budget, $1000. I also established that on this trip, unlike all previous trips with Dad, we would go Dutch on everything. This means that more money comes out of my pocket but less is spent on the trip overall. All our previous trips were graduation gifts.

Second, I purchased tickets or the must sees and airfare. Those must sees included White Sox, Cubs, and Hamilton tickets. Unfortunately, we will not be able to see Hamilton. That story comes a little later.

I couldn’t purchase the baseball tickets as soon as I wanted since the regular season tickets were not released until early March. I could still see the schedule which helped plan the flight dates. The White Sox played at home through Sunday the 9th. The Cubs played at home for most of the rest of the week, including April 15th, Jackie Robinson day.

This schedule did add an additional expense. Laura had people staying at her apartment through the weekend. That meant that we needed a hotel for two nights.

When I could finally purchase the baseball tickets, all of the affordable Cubs tickets for the 15th had vanished. They are the reigning champs after all. We’re going on Thursday.

I clicked from there to Hamilton tickets. My jaw dropped at the prices. Of course, I expected them to cost more than the baseball tickets but at $300 each, a single ticket would use up just under a third of my total budget. Then began the internal battle. How much did I really want to see Hamilton?

I had just started listening to the soundtrack on repeat-late to the party I know-and am obsessed. This is something that I sincerely and completely want. I also received a larger than expected tax return which helped me talk myself into taking the plunge. Then Dad sent me a Facebook message; Hamilton is coming to the Peace Center in 2018. Decision made. I’m not happy with having to wait but it’s the logical, financially-wise thing to do.

The story does not end there. Laura came to visit a couple weeks ago and commented that it was a bummer that we weren’t going since Wayne Brady was init. Immediately I set to work looking for tickets again. Wayne Brady as Aaron Burr? Yes please! I found some tickets and prepared to purchase them. Then I thought to check on the end date of Brady’s temporary run. It ended on the 9th. The tickets I found were for the 12th. Tickets for the two possible showings we could have attended were $100 or more above what the other tickets cost. Back to waiting on 2018.

When I initially decided against the Hamilton tickets, I looked for something else and discovered the symphony. For significantly less than a Hamilton ticket, I get to take in a performance by one of the best orchestras in the world.

Third, after I purchased the tickets, I planned the rest of the daily activities. Unlike most of my other trips, I planned only minimal daily activities. The primary reason is a culprit that I have mentioned a few times already, lack of time. The secondary reason flows indirectly from the primary. Work has been fairly crazy so the idea of packing in as much as possible felt counterproductive. I want to both rest and to explore.

Planning each trip, although similar at times, takes on a life of its own. This is the first trip I have planned since returning to teaching. I hope to apply what I learned to the rapidly approaching UK trip.

Sugar vs. the Budget

I have known for a while that my sweet tooth has teetered on the edge of out of control. As a child I drank a minimum of a can of soda a day. I loved fruity candy like Twizzlers and Starbust and once filled up the center portion of my Trapper Keeper notebook with Starburst wrappers in less than a month.

I loved sweets so much I could fill several paragraphs with examples. That, however, is not the point.

Over the years I have started to wean myself off of the sugar overload. First, the summer before my senior year of college I decided to challenge myself to cut soda out of my diet, at first for 30 days and then extended indefinitely. Two years later, I started actively trying to lose weight using sparkpeople and calorie counting. Turns out, those sugar laden drinks and foods weren’t all that healthy. (No duh, right?)

The sweet tooth persisted. Just this year, as I mentioned in an earlier post, it has come to something like a head. I decided to wean myself off of sugar starting with the little candy I keep in my desk for student rewards. Then I watched “Fed UP,” an excellent documentary about childhood obesity and sugar’s toxicity. I didn’t learn anything new, really, but the presentation pushed me in a direction I was already leaning.

Since the end of February, I have been working on weaning myself off added sugar. (I plan to dedicate an entire post to this some time in the future.) Here’s where the budget part comes in.

For as long as I have been on this journey towards greater frugality and minimalism, I have been working diligently at lowering the grocery line item in my budget. I’ve cut out the weekly treat item that I used to put o=in my cart back when shopping at Trader Joe’s wasn’t like getting a piece of legislation through Congress. (Trader Joe’s is still awesome; Woodruff Road is not.) I batch cook my meals to save both on cost and tiem so that my meals are ready to throw in my lunch bag each day. I buy bigger portions of commodities, like a 20lb bag of rice, than is normal for a single girl.

All these tweaks have been beneficial to my budget. In February I notched the lowest monthly grocery total I can remember, $107. I knew that wouldn’t last. This month? $210

Yes, it hurt just a little to see my monthly spending nearly double month to month and increase $60 from normal. Yes, I bought some bulk household items like dishwasher pods. That was only part. The biggest reason for the increased cost came from my attempt to find suitable, convenient snacks without added sugar.

I have started to add back apples to my daily diet. I also now try to have some oranges on hand to satisfy my sweet craving in the evening when I get home from work. I purchased a bag of unsulfered dried apricots as a possible alternative for school day snacks. (This does not seem to work for my “runger” on speedwork days.) I purchased blueberries so that I could start adding flavor to plain Greek Yogurt. (There is a ridiculous amount of added sugar in flavored yogurt.)

This is still a work in progress. I keep coming across staples in my diet, staples that provide an immense amount of convenience to my fully-packed teacher’s schedule. So far, the convenient, healthy options appear to have the ability to put a serious hurt on my budget.

As of right now, I do not have any clear answers; no winner has been decided. In one corner sits a determination to clean up my diet from sugar’s toxicity. The other corner holds the frugal minimalist coached by the time-sucking teacher schedule. Hopefully I will soon be able to transform this from a fight to cooperative teamwork.

Greer Earth Day Run 10 Miler 2017 Race Recap

Race #122
10 Miler #3
2017 Race #6
2017 10 Miler #2
Greer Earth Day Run #3

This race feels like the red-headed step child of the Greenville Track Club’s series of races. First they have to deal with train crossings and issues with CSX. Then they move the race to Travelers Rest for two years. The second year they push back the race date by two weeks so that it now is run on the same day as Cooper River. Then they move the race back to Greer and change the half marathon to a 10 miler. With one of the biggest races on the Track Club’s calendar now coming up after this race, Reedy River, it would be easy to think that organizers are distracted and almost forget about this race.

We arrived a little early but not too much. We started to head to what we assumed would be the start line when we heard an announcement from Ed Hughes saying that even though the 10 Miler had been advertised as starting at 7:30, it would now be starting at 7:45. That was it. No explanation for the postponement. He also said that he would come back up to the stage at 7:40 to get everybody started.

We walked back to the car to wait for a few minutes before cycling through the bathroom one more time and going back to the “start” line to wait. I kept looking at the bibs of the other runners looking for other two digit or low 100 numbers. Those numbers indicated other 10 mile runners. I saw one other guy and a cyclist I thought was the lead cyclist for the race.

Pretty soon it was after 7:40 and no one had gotten back onto the stage to give any announcements. We figured that the race was delayed again but no one bothered to tell us. The time ticked over to 7:45. I started to get a little nervous when I looked around and didn’t see anyone else that looked like they were supposed to be running the 10 miler.

I went up to the lead cyclist. It was now 7:47. I asked her if this was the start for the 10 miler. You know where this is leading. She told me, “No, this is the start for the 10k. The start for the 10 miler is up there.” She pointed up the road in front of the start sign, Randall Street.

We looked over and saw 10 milers turning back down Poinsett. We had missed the start! Are you kidding me?

All three of us took off in a panic looking for the 10 mile start further up Randall Street. To make a long, frustrating story short, five minutes later we found what probably was the start only because there were a few indications on the road. There was nothing on the street to indicate a start line. Thankfully there were enough markers on the road for us to make it on the course without getting lost.

As we were navigating the turns we saw a handful of other runners who had also missed the 10 mile start.

It was such a relief to finally catch up to other runners on the course around the one mile mark. Talk about ridiculous.

For the first three miles I was so focused on trying to catch up and recover the lost time that the distance seemed to fly by.

Mile 1: 7:53
Mile 2: 8:02
Mile 3: 8:39

In my head I had tentatively planned to aim for a PR, a 1:20 if I could but after the cluster that was the start, I set that aside. I just wanted to pass as many people as I could to claw my way back up in the standings.

Mom had a pretty exhausting week so she didn’t feel quite as fresh as I did. The hills in the middle drained her more than they did me. I tried to be as encouraging as I could. I felt too good to slow down. I debated what I should do in this section, whether I should go on ahead and leave her behind or slow down and have an average training run so that I could run with her and provide encouragement.

Mile 4: 8:44
Mile 5: 8:45
Mile 6: 8:46
Mile 7: 8:59

After we completed mile 7 we encountered a lovely “little” hill that looks incredibly daunting before you’re on it. It was on this hill I started chanting a new mantra, “Kill the Hills.” Mom started to drop behind me. I never really made an outright decision to “drop” her but then she started to walk. I said something that I hope was encouraging but can’t remember what it was. I ended up starting to pull away. I knew if she could she would catch back up.

I started to lay down as much of the hammer as I could and nearly made another, very small, PR. I felt good in those last miles, really good.

Greer Earth Day 10 Miler 2017

Mile 8: 8:04
Mile 9: 8:01
Mile 10: 7:42
Final Time: 1:23:51

Mom finished a little less than a half mile behind me. She always does so well.

Greer Earth Day 10 Miler 2017

Race Review

Registration and Packet Pick Up
Registration went off without a hitch. However, it was a bit strange to have two different companies processing the registration. When I looked on one and did not find either Mom or I, I thought that I had somehow managed to forget to register us for the race. Then I checked go-green and found us there.

Race Shirt
For once, a Greenville Track Club race provided gender specific shirts that look like they might actually work long term. I have not tried it on yet but it looks to be about the right size.

Prerace/morning amenities
There is a permanent bathroom installed in Greer City Park which is nice. However, I did not notice any other bathroom facilities available which can be a problem when there are only two stalls in the permanent bathroom.

Course
The course itself is nothing spectacular. Unfortunately, that’s what you get with much of Greer. There are quite a few turns only a portion of which were marked well. Two of the turns had no markings or volunteers whatsoever. The only reason that I knew to turn at the first one is that I’ve run the course before. The second of the unmarked turns happened in the “new” part of the course. If it had not been for the runners ahead of me also turning, I would have had no idea. Ellis said that he heard Ed Hughes mention before the start of the 10k that he hoped all the turns were well marked and that people didn’t get lost. Really? Ed has directed enough races that he should know how to mark the turns.

Course Support
I think that there were three water stops. I suppose that that is sufficient. Since I generally wear my OrangeMud quiver now, I usually do not partake. Only two of the turns on the course were manned by volunteers.

Finish line and Post Race Amenities
For some reason the organizers thought it would be “cool” to finish on the grass so a small portion of the last .10 was on the lawn in front of Greer City Hall. Of all the possibilities, this makes the least sense. At least the grass is smooth unlike New River.

Photography
I saw at least two photographers on the course but have not seen the photos yet.

Results
Scott Bagwell with Palmetto Timing, timed this race. He had the instant results available as well as the age group winner awards, no need to wait around for an hour. Even more than that, when Scott asked me how I did I mentioned that we had missed the start. After we got our awards he took us over to his computer and adjusted our results by my Garmin data. So cool. Excellent customer service and the only really well done aspect of this race.

I hate to advise against running local races because I do not want the options to diminish. However, until Greenville Track Club gets its act together and stops treating this race like the red-headed step child, I do not think that I will run this race again unless it is my only option. Hopefully next year I will manage to remember to register for Cooper River.