A Woman Alone – Travel Thoughts

Back in July, my father gifted a book titled A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the Globe. I had never heard of the book before but the concept intrigued me for obvious reasons. Thanks to my book project I did not have a chance to read the book until the first week of this month.

As I read the book, I compared my own travels to those of the women in this book. That comparison inspired this post. I gleaned a few nuggets of reflection: technology advancement, writing inspiration, and relationship change.

After reading a significant portion of the book, I wondered when all of these essays had been written. Some aspects of travel remain timeless, but others? Others scream with outdated evidence. The book was published in 2001, 16 years ago. Technology has grown in leaps and bounds since then. Technology, in all my trips enables me to carry out a successful trip in so many ways. I read these accounts of trips carried out before the advent of smartphones, popular travel websites like tripadvisor or portable and reliable GPS technology and concluded that I woul dlikely have never undertaken such a trip, much less undertaken such a trip on my own. I have undertaken two significant solo trips and relied significantly on technology. Although I had yet to purchase a smartphone prior to my 2011 trip to England, I used tripadvisor and viator to find places to see and mapquest to print off specific direction. This past summer, I exploited current travel technology to its fullest: smartphone GPS, tripadvisor, airbnb, and digital camera for frequent and prolific picture taking. Reflection helped me realize just how much I rely on technology while traveling, just how much technology has changed travel.

I also noticed another common theme, writing, specifically writing as a profession. For the most part, the women whose essays appear in this collection make a living putting pen to paper in some fashion or another. They routinely filled their travels with thoughts of writing, inspiration for writing and actual writing. This might be the aspect of travel I enjoy the most even I seem to always run out of time since I spend every moment possible making memories I have often daydreamed of being some sort of travel journalists getting paid to do two things I love – travel and write.

Last, but not least, came the relationship example. Clearly, with the title, “A Woman Alone,” a good portion of the essays would end up focused on relationships. A few mentioned building relationships with strangers they met along the way. Far more described journeys undertaken as a means of catharsis after a messy divorce or as a means to prove one’s worth as a human being despite a perpetual state of singlehood. The vast majority of the essayists declared their unabashed preference for solo travel eschewing the companionship of others for whom they would have to alter or modify their trips. (Lest anyone think my brush too broad, I acknowledge the inclusion of at least five or so essays written by women who found themselves unexpectedly alone of their trip.) This concept gave me the most trouble as I read and tried to engage with each author. I have had both experiences – solo travel and group travel yet I would never totally eschew one for the other, especially group travel. Nothing would incline me to forge ahead with exclusive solo travel. I have done it before and enjoyed every minute. I enjoyed traveling at my pace, seeing destinations of my own choice and all the other things the essayists mentioned. Yet, I have a distinct memory from my life-changing trip to the UK six years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed and savored every moment of the trip yet I felt like something was missing. I realized after I returned home that I was missing someone to share those experiences with; I could not wait to return to the UK, this time with Mom along for the ride.

Unlike many of the essayists in this collection, or at least what they portrayed in their essays, I have no desire to travel to prove anything, to prove my worth. All that has been decided already. I travel for the experience, to trod where history has trod and to share that thrill with others. Sharing such experiences with someone close to you broadens and deepens every moment. It gives you the gift of an additional set of senses and perspectives. That’s the richness I seek.

Next summer, summer 2019, I plan to take off on another adventure, a grander, more expansive trip than I have ever taken. What started as an idea to finally see the Iberian Peninsula РSpain and Portugal Рmorphed into a minimum three week adventure starting with a flight into Frankfurt and a path winding through Alsace, France, Zurich and Geneva, Switzerland, Marseilles, France, Guernica, Barcelona, Toledo, Madrid, and Córdoba, Spain, Gibraltar (technically part of the United Kingdom) and finishing in Lisbon. There also may or may not be a short jaunt over to Lichtenstein as well, which puts the country total at seven if anyone counts.

Of course, as I read this book, I contemplated the aforementioned grand adventure. THe school year permits long blocks of vacation like this; my normal traveling partners have no such flexibility. I thought about the prospect of undertaking this trip on my own, daunting yes, but I know I could handle it. I would prefer, unlike many of the essayists in this compilation, to travel with someone to share and someone who would enrich the experiences. A year and a half line in between. We shall see what the future holds.

Greenville News Run Downtown 2018 – Race Recap

Race #140
5k #49
2018 Race #1
2017 5k #1
Greenville News Run Downtown 5k #6

After the unsuccessful PR effort at Jingle Jingle back in December, I briefly entertained another PR attempt here since I was already registered, emphasis on briefly. Instead, I shifted my focus, as planned to half marathon training since the Hilton Head Half is less than 3 weeks away.

If as originally planned, I had run this with Mom, I likely would have dialed the pace back just a tad to run this with her. However, she and Ellis had a training at church this weekend so she accidentally double booked herself and could not run the race with me this morning. (This also means that I have zero photographs of the race because I forgot to take any pre or post race selfies.)

I shifted my plan to incorporate the 9 more miles I had to run today and planned on the 5k being a tempo portion in the late middle portion of the overall 12 miles on the docket. I planned to arrive downtown around 8am for the 9am race, run 5 miles as a “warm up” and then run 4 miles afterwards. The plan started to change when I checked my phone this morning, 10 minutes before I planned to leave, and saw that it had decided not to charge all night while plugged into my computer. I needed more than 30% battery.

Then I ended up texting Mom. She has been unable to run for several days due to the winter weather and the lack of treadmill. (I am very thankful for the treadmill at my house.) She really wanted to run so I changed my plans and shifted the 9 extra miles to the afternoon once she finished with the training. (Thanks to my warm up and cool down before and after the race, that’s now only 7 miles.)

Now I had to make a game plan. Instead of making the race a tempo effort mid run, I would be running the race first and then several hours later, running 7-9 more miles. What would I do?

After some quick calculations, I decided on a race pace effort, half marathon race pace. My goal pace is 7:30, for the half. With the hilly downtown terrain in mind, I thought that would be a reasonable yet challenging goal.

I parked at University Ridge and ran to the start line and a little more to get in a full mile warm up and to lesson the amount of time I would have to stand and shiver at the start line. I ended up getting in a mile warm up at 9:30.

I wedged myself in about 5 people back from the start line and 3 minutes later we were off.

I continue to be amazed at the number of people who seed themselves at the start of a race like this who have absolutely no business being up that far. Thankfully we have all of Main Street to spread ourselves out on so the congestion was not an issue.

We started a block or so back from the normal start line. (I assume that the adjustments to the course had to be made due to the copious amount of construction going on downtown.) Thus, we enjoyed a significant downhill for the first half mile or so. I quickly settled into a pace that felt good and surprised me at how “fast” it was.

We soon started to head uphill as we continued on Main Street past Fluor Field. That hill nearly killed me in the last mile of my first marathon. Today? Not so much. I avoided looking at my watch to check the pace and focused on maintaining a steady effort.

Just before the end of the first mile we crested the hill and turned onto Vardry Street.

Mile 1: 7:34

At the time I had no idea what my split for mile 1 was because I did not feel the vibration of my watch. The next time I looked down at my watch I saw that my pace was 7:50ish and that it was approximately 1.08. Time to pick the pace back up after the hill. I could feel myself setting into the slightly slower pace. Now was not the time to get complacent.

Around this time I noticed a girl who was running approximately the same pace as me. She had on a Hub Fitness shirt. It quickly became my goal to keep her in my sights and make sure to pass “Hub girl” before the end of the race.

I felt really good through this section. Honestly, I felt really good through the entire race which I loved.

Three fairly quick turns later and we headed back down that same hill only one block over. Hub girl passed me. I quickly intimated that hills were not her forte and determined to not let her get too far away from my on this downhill so that I could pass her on the hill of death in mile 3.

I spent the latter half of mile 2 looking down at the ground. We ran past construction with plenty of dirt on the road. Thanks to the ice thaw this dirt had transformed into mud which would spell disaster if I did not tread carefully.

Mile 2: 7:20

The first third of mile 3 contains what passes for flat in downtown Greenville and a little bit of downhill before you turn onto River Street and head up the “Hill of Death.”

As we finished the second to last downhill, I looked ahead and could see the “Hill of Death” ahead. I determined right there that I would kill that hill, not the other way around.

Each time I run this race, this hill gets easier. I will not go so far as to say that the hill felt easy today but it certainly did not feel hard at all. The only point at which I felt ready for the hill to be done was right before we turned onto East North Street, right before the end of the hill.

I definitively passed “Hub girl” on that hill. Each step put her farther behind me. We we turned onto East North Street and then back onto Main, I knew that not much of the race lay ahead of me. I also knew that in the past I have started my sprint way too early in this race. Main Street marks the end but not quite as soon as all the runners expect.

I also knew, though, that I had plenty left in the tank since I had not full out raced this race; I treated it like a workout. I could afford a little pain at this point.

Just before we passed back under the start line, just before the end of the third mile I briefly considered slowing down. I dug deep, refused to listen and kept pushing.

Mile 3: 7:17

Instead of finishing on Main Street like we always have, we took a left on Broad Street. As I mentioned earlier, I assume that the slight course changes were necessitated by downtown construction.

I sprinted as hard as I could through this section. A few guys passed me, sprinting in a whole other gear that I could not possibly match. No other ladies passed me though.

.10: 6:10
Overall: 23:05

I finished pleased with my efforts. I had no idea when I finished that I had run nearly perfect negative splits, a goal that I like to have with 5ks but can never seem to execute.

Everything ran smoothly today.

Of course, coming in a mere 6 seconds away from another 22:xx effort makes the competitive part of me wish that I had pushed just a little bit harder in that last mile.

Overall though, I am pleased with my effort today. I raced exactly according to plan for the first time in a while.

This race revealed a few other things to me though as I looked back at my history with the race. As I looked back, I realized that I have run 5ks in the 22 minute range since 2013, five years ago. With the exceptions of my PR year, 2014, I have been in a significant plateau. Something needs to change if I want to break out of this plateau.
Also, I am not sure what explains the difference in ranking but this race, although I ran just my third fastest time, I earned my highest age group ranking out of any time I have raced this 5k, 5th in my age group. I’ll take that for sure.

Time to dig deep.

World War II – A Reframed View

While at the beach over Christmas, every evening we settled in to watch a couple episodes of a 2009 documentary titled “World War II in Color.” I learned a lot watching this mminiseries, not academically, but philosophically. This miniseries helped me reflect on the effect of war and also the role of the United States in that war. It struck a deep chord.

“World War II in Color” consists of 13 50+ minute episodes that used re-colorized black and white archival footage with a masterful voiceover narration. The episodes are organized in rough chronological order with a particular theme being followed until a stopping point is reached.

At first, my thoughts focused on the senseless waste of war. I watched as historic buildings fell prey to reckless, relentless bombardment. The early episodes mentioned nothing of the Holocaust, the iconic horror of the war; contemporaries had yet to discover evidence of the atrocity. My thoughts, with over 70 years of hindsight, kept this in mind as I watched the Germans bombard London, a city full of civilians and as their u-boats relentlessly bombed merchant ships bringing desperately needed supplies to Great Britain as she stood along against an indefatigable foe.

During the episodes describing Germany’s blitzkrieg advance across Europe, my thoughts began to shift. Multiple times Mom turned to me and asked “Did they know what was going on? How could the US see what was going on and not do something about it? The thoughts that come if one follows that “what if” to the possible conclusion of the US never becoming involved do not yield anything boast-worthy. If the US refrained from involvement and then concentration camps had been discovered?

The middle episodes dealt mainly with the European front. We watched as both the Allies and the Soviets gained the upper hand over the Germans and hitler’s actions showed an increasing lack of sanity and lucidity. History perished in flames as the allies engaged in strategic and carpet bombing over Germain cities in the hopes that such bombardment would break the spirits of the German people. This bombing did not have the desired effect. I listened to the muted tone of surprise in the narration and wondered how they could not see their own recent history of steadfast opposition during relentless bombardment. Could it be that the Allies simply could not fathom the fact that the Germans believed in their ideals just as strongly as the Allies did theirs?

As the Allies advanced towards Berlin from the west and the Soviets from the east, ruined cities and towns remained behind, their residents now tasked with rebuilding. Not only did bridges need reconstruction, rubble need clearing, and homes need reconstruction but people, also, needed an incredible amount of care, compassion and restoration. All of the countries involved in this war faced this, all of them save the United States. Only Pearl Harbor and the immediate surrounding area received direct hits.

Then came the final episodes of the miniseries, the one that described the conclusion of the war in the Pacific, the ultimate conclusion of the war. With regards to the earlier episode on the Pacific front, the one telling of the Japanese “blitzkrieg” over other Pacific countries and island nations, I noticed that, for the most part, the opposing forces fought over land not their own. When the Japanese took Hong Kong and Burma, they battled the British. When the Japanese took the Philippines, they battled the United States. The native people found their homeland torn apart and themselves subject to unspeakable violence at the hands of others with no say in the matter.

THe final episode discussed the violent, drawn-out, horrific end to World War II, an end which ushered in the nuclear age. The United States, the main Allied power on the Pacific front, faced an untenable situation. Their opponent had already demonstrated an utter unwillingness to stand down. When the Japanese had the upper hand, they rolled over the opposition like a steamroller. When the tide turned against them, they refused to surrender and went so far as to sacrifice their own lives rather than be taken prisoner. The infamous kamikaze pilots baffled the Americans as often happens when cultures clash. Americans have no concept of death before defeat as the Bushido code of the Samurai, a concept passed down and enshrined through generations.

The episode opened with talk of the victorious American advance. I knew, objectively, the opposition the Americans faced yet I watched as the United States began a campaign of fire bombing Japanese cities. As the United States moved closer to the Japanese home islands they moved within range for the bombers. They carpeted the city with incendiary bombs, burning whole cities to the ground. As we watched, Grandpa recalled his time in the occupational force and told us that when he looked out from his post, only burnt out, skeletal ruins met his view. Watching as Japanese city after city met a fiery fate, I could not help but think that the United States had gone from underdog to bully.

Of course, everyone knows how the war ended, Little Boy and Fat Man. I watched discussion of the Manhattan Project anticipating the horror to come. Even knowing the potential catastrophic loss of life on both sides that an invasion of the Japanese home islands would bring, the horror inflicted by the dropping of those two atomic bombs exceeds conceivability. History will forever remember the culpability of the United States in dropping the first nuclear weapons as an act of war. So far, only the United States has used such weapons. In an argument against nuclear proliferation, how could we possibly maintain the moral high ground?

The United States inflicted catastrophic, irreparable damage to people in a country that attacked the United States. The force of those bombs vaporized people. Ponder that. That’s the destruction the United States unleashed on a civilian population. Granted, even though countless tests had been run and calculations made, no one really knew, before that first drop, how the bombs would affect the city and the inhabitants thereof. Still, the United States did not drop one bomb. They dropped two, with the second one being even more destructive.

The end of the episode left me unsettled. I cannot square what the facts present with the image created through the rose-colored glasses of history written by the victors. As a child, I first learned that the Allies defeated an overwhelming evil. Great Britain stood strong against relentless German bombardment. The Allies liberated the concentration camps, thus putting an end to this unspeakable horror. The atomic bombs, as terrible as they were, ended the war months earlier than projected, thus saving hundreds of thousands of lives; those Japanese were crazy and would rather die than surrender when they knew they were beaten. This picture created in the history lessons of my childhood portrayed the Allies as the completely virtuous saviors and the Axis powers as indisputable evil incarnate.

No human being is completely virtuous or evil incarnate. Thus, a reframing of actions taken during World War II needs to happen. Were the Allies ultimately on the “right” side? Overwhelming opinion says yes. The Allies did not round up millions of people based solely on their race and systematically exterminate them. However, the United States did deprive thousands of American residents and citizens of Japanese descent of their liberty and possessions by relocating them to fairly inhospitable internment camps based solely on their ethnicity. Many other examples proving the less than entirely virtuous nature of the winning powers exists. I have mentioned a few earlier in this essay.

All of this leads to the conclusion that war is ugly. War contaminates everything it touches. War leaves broken bridges, buildings and people in its wake. War peels back pretty facades to reveal the ugliness within. Only with these thoughts in mind can World War II be properly framed.

A 2017 Retrospective

As I reflect on 2017 and reread my three, yes three, goal posts from the beginning of that year, I am struck by how appropriate my theme for 2018 really is. If I had applied that theme to my actions in 2017, I believe that I would have had greater success.

For this post, I will reflect on each goal in the same general format in which I published the original posts: running, finances, health and nutrition, reading and writing, and finally, teaching.

Before I reread my post on my running goals, I was sure that I had outright declared that 2017 would be the BQ year. (I did that in 2014 and learned my lesson.) Instead, I saw that I acknowledged that 2017 may not be my year but I would certainly try. As I documented, Chicago, while an awesome race, produced a time much slower than I expected or hoped. I know, looking back, that I shortchanged my training. The training plan I used called for specific paces and other techniques on the long runs. I took the easy route and executed exactly none of them. I should not have been surprised that I produced such a lackluster performance. I fI bothered to write out this plan, why did I not bother to execute it properly? Too hard. I considered it too hard or not something I wanted to bother with that day. That will change.

Of all the categories, I had the most success in the financial category. I have become much more intentional with my spending while avoiding the path to financial miserliness. (Been there. Done that.) Although I did not succeed in raising my savings rate to 40%, I did manage to raise it from 24% to 34%, a 10% increase. I managed this by increasing my income halfway through the year after submitting a change of action for my teaching certificate. I now earn a salary reflecting a Masters+30 instead of simply a Masters. (The +30 comes from my 2013 MA in History.) I also revamped my classroom rewards system which decreased the amount I spent on teaching related expenses. I spent $250 less on teaching related expenses in 2017 when I taught two semesters than 2016 when I taught one. I could continue into the minutiae but I will refrain.

My results for my health and nutrition goals were a mixed bag. I swung back and forth on things like drinking enough water (thanks to a schedule change for this school year) and consuming too much sugar, especially lately. I have also fallen into a food rut which has increased the tendency towards unhealthy eating. I plan to continue to work on this as part of the deep dive. One of the areas that directly affects my running performance is how I fuel, not just during the race but during training both during training runs and in daily life to prepare and recover.

When it comes to reading and writing, I have had success, especially with reading, but when it comes to writing, I have not been as successful as I hoped. I could discuss individual aspects of this goal that I set out in the initial post but those are specific surface habits I hoped to establish. Since they do not speak to the deep dive, I will not spend time discussing them now. I have, however, had success when it comes to writing. With the exception of two Tuesdays last year, missed because I failed to schedule the post, not write it, I have posted an essay each week, much more than I have regularly written, especially in nonfiction. I want to dive deeper though. I want to stretch myself and not only increase the volume but also the quality. This applies to my journaling as well. I came nowhere near my stated goal of daily journaling. I believe this will help significantly with all three of my chosen deep dives.

Finally, there’s teaching. (I’m skipping photography since I abandoned this goal shortly after making it.) This goal drives my theme for 2018. This goal typifies my grand planning which lacks proper execution. I can wax eloquent on what I want to do and even sketch out a plan for accomplishing those goals. My execution comes woefully short. I realized late last calendar year that I too easily succumbed to apathy. At the very end of the semester I realized that my observations of the inefficiencies (euphemism alert) led me to apathy. Instead of figuring out how to game the system for the sake of the students, the reason I am there after all, I gave up. I went through the motions, met the bare minimum required while chafing under the intense, and often unjustified scrutiny. This will be my main focus area for 2018, the area I struggled with the most in 2017.

2018: The Deep Dive

With the start of the new year comes a preponderance of resolutions, anti-resolutions, intentions and every shade in between. I have found myself in many of those camps. I have made specific resolutions. I have made goals, goals upon goals. Last year, I set up some intentions which I will revisit in next week’s post. I have even contemplated abandoning goals for the year altogether. So, where does this leave me for this year?

This year, I have chosen a theme, a specific thought to keep in mind throughout the year to focus on. The biggest reason that I chose a theme rather than specific goals strikes right at the heart of the theme itself, the deep dive.

Just weeks ago, I finally figured out something that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. I have a lot of grand ideas; I like to make big, audacious goals. Many times, however, those audacious goals morph into things easily accomplished by surface activities like reading a certain number of books or taking a bunch of pictures.

I have some big goals that I have yet to accomplish, like qualifying for Boston or publishing a novel. I will not go so far as to say that my reluctance to dive deep has kept me from accomplishing those goals. It is, however, a significant factor.

This tendency to approach the meaty, significant work like a magnet approaching another similarly charged magnet has affected my teaching. Over the past year and a half, I observed how relatively easy it has been for me to knock out grading or formatting as compared to data analysis or unit planning. I desperately want to change this.

Thus, my theme for 2018 is “dive deep” in three specific areas: teaching, writing and running.

How will this work?

The main thing I plan to actively do this year is consistently remind myself to dive deep, keep going even when the going gets hard. This means that I will prioritize those three things over other things that I like to do such as reading and cross stitching. I do not plan to cut those things out entirely, simply reprioritize them.

I do not expect that this change will occur overnight. These habits have grown for nearly htree decades and will take a bit of time to reform. This theme also serves as my goal, my intention, for 2018. I want to look back on 2018 and see quality experiences in those three areas and more. When I read a book, I want to slow down and dig deep, really comprehend and glean significant information from the book. When I write, I want to dig deep as I put pen to paper, crafting narratives that address reality in real, quality ways. When I run a race, I want that performance accurately reflect all the effort that I put into training. When I look back at the two semesters of the year, I want to see performances from my students that reflect teaching molded and modified to best reach the students where they are so that they can succeed on the arbitrary high stakes tests.

Part of me wonders if I have bitten off more than I can chew. That part still clings to the idea that I will be able to achieve this depth and maintain it while still balancing my achiever tendencies regarding the ideas of “read-all-the-books” and “complete-every-cross-stitch piece” and, well, I could go on. This tendency will be the tendency, or in other words, habit, which I will strive to change in 2018.

From breadth to depth.

Hair of the Dog 10 Miler – “Race Recap”

Also known as the race that didn’t happen.

After my experience last year I was sure that I would run this race every year, make it a holiday habit like the TreesGreenville Turkey Day 8k. After this year’s experience, I scour race listings to find another race with which to kick off the new year.

Like last year, runners could register on two different platforms, the YMCA’s internal platform and racemine. Since I am not a member of the YMCA of Greater Spartanburg, I registered us through racemine. Nothing seemed different from last year so I expected a repeat.

The weather threw us a curveball with a below freezing temperature but at least no rain accompanied us. We arrived around the same time, 8:10 and headed in to get our bibs and shirts.

This is where things got interesting. As we stood in line, I overheard another runner asking about bibs. I could not hear all of the volunteer’s answers but heard something about there not being any bibs this year. What?

Sure enough…we stepped up to the table and after they finally found us on the separate list and asked if we had paid yet – again, what? – they handed us our bags. I stepped off to the side, opened the bag and found a shirt and several slips of paper including one with “directions” printed on it. No bibs.

I stepped back over to the packet pick up table and asked about it. The volunteer told me that since it’s just a fun run, they did not have any bibs this year. They had a clock at the finish line but no official timing.

Seriously? A fun run? We had bibs last year. Nothing in any of their materials indicated that this was just a fun run. Even if it was a fun run, how could you possibly tell which people actually registered and paid for the materials if you did not also give them a bib to wear?

Okay fine. We would run the race and not get a bib. We had come all the way out to Spartanburg after all.

As we sat inside and waited, I thought about that paper with “directions” on it. Those “directions” consisted of one or two words – street names I assume – and directional arrows. I am not from Spartanburg or in any way familiar with any of those directions. Plus, who takes those sorts of directions with them out on a run? The paper would blow out of my hand in seconds.

I checked again with one of the volunteers manning the pick up table who assured me that the course had been marked. The race director placed those directions in there just in case because several people last year had issues. (If you read my recap from last year, those issues were caused by a volunteer telling people to run the wrong way, not an improperly marked course.)


While reassured that the course was in fact marked, I already had lost my desire to run this “race.” I asked Mom if she would rather run the 5 miler instead of the 10 miler. After all, we didn’t have bibs so would know the difference? They were the same price too. She was game.

Around 8:40 with 20 minutes still left before race start we saw a huge group head away from the building. Okay…why? Should we go? I had no desire to miss the start like we almost did last year. Then we wondered if that group of people headed out for the one miler or something. Unsure, we found another volunteer and asked where the start was.

Her answer erased any remaining confidence we had in the race. She mentioned two different locations that it could possibly be, that they kept changing their minds and advised use to wait until this group headed out.


We decided to cut our losses ($30) and head home. If we wanted to run a “fun run,” we would run it back home where we knew where we were going and wouldn’t get lost.

I will admit to extreme disappointment that the “race” devolved like this. Unfortunately, I have to put that $30 in the sunk cost column and keep moving forward.

I came home and ran 6.5 miles at home in the extremely chilly weather at an 8:33 average pace which felt easy! I’ll take that any day.