2009 Richmond Marathon Race Report

This is an old race report.  I’m going to post some of the ones from my older races as a bit of a clearinghouse.  I chose this one first, because it represents my PR in a Marathon.
Richmond Marathon 2009 race report

Or, how a chick named Ida really but a downer on my day . . .

I’d been watching the weather for Richmond for two weeks, while at the same time hearing from LOTS of people about Tropical Storm Ida, which was slamming into Virginia, sheeting rain, flooding, and generally causing havoc.  It missed the race itself, but the remnants of the good ol’ Nor’Easter was still pretty obvious.  The James River was near flood level, prompting race organizers to plan a detour if necessary, the middle miles were awash in debris from the rain, and . . . it remained windy as, well, a Nor’Easter.  Not good.

After my Half in September (a 1:55), the MacMillian pace predictor said that I should run about a 4:03 marathon.  I figured that if I started training for Richmond in October (rather than my standard training for the January Dopey) I might be within striking distance of a sub-4 hour marathon.  Based on my training numbers, I think I was close, especially if conditions were ideal.

Hi, Ida.

Richmond was a fine course, and I really don’t have a lot to quibble with them about.  But because of Ida, we had some oppressive winds, which we had to deal with at some pretty inopportune times. 

The first few miles (rougly 4) were right into a headwind, and I began a pretty earnest effort to avoid puddles, of where there were plenty.  I’m not sure how Richmond pulled off the race, actually, because the Governor wasn’t THAT far away, inspecting disaster-area damage!

Anyway, by mile 6, we’d gotten out of the wind for a welcome respite, only to hit the first of quite a few significant hills on the course.  They don’t LOOK horrible, but they feel especially awful in the later miles, and it just plain sucks to have an invisible hand pushing you in your chest while you’re already trying to keep on pace AND climb.

Regardless, during my stretch from 7 to 12, I was back on pace, but not by a lot. We were down by the James River, and it was amazing to see (1) how high it was (it apparently missed flooding by a foot or two before the rain stopped), and (2) how much debris was everywhere.  Lots of felled trees, sticks, and mud.  Oh, the mud.  I was laughing to myself as a I saw how many people had mud on them, and wondered what they were doing, only to discover post race on the ride home, that the backs of my calves were LOADED with it.  Anyway, I was ahead of pace enough that I was thinking I might come in under 4, but was still worried about the later miles.  We’d had some climbs during 7 to 12 that were NOT fun, but I took a little solace that we were at least out of those winds for a bit.  Ida couldn’t find us in the trees.

We came out of the woods, hit the halfway point, and turned towards the infamous Mile 15 Bridge of Doom.  This is where we met the winds AGAIN, and it was ridiculous.  Just gusting, blowing winds that you couldn’t get away from.  My Garmin informs me that I pushed through it barely ahead of a sub-4 pace, but that illustrates the Hobson’s Choice you have — push through the wind and expend energy you need for later miles, or ease up, get pushed slower by the wind, and then have to expend a LOT of energy later to catch up.

After pushing on the bridge, I lost time on 16 catching my breath by easing up the pace, and had to work to make back some time from 17-18, even through they were hilly.  But, I re-caught the 4:00 pace group.  Just in time to again turn North into the headwinds, and life started to really suck again.  At this point, “option B” of the Hobson’s choice showed why it is ALSO the wrong answer.  I had spent so much energy trying to get back on pace after slowing in the winds, that I was getting mauled by them again, and couldn’t do much about it.

I continued to lose some time, and then, at mile 20, we had an uphill overpass, again with a strong headwind.  I was now a full minute off pace.  By mile 22, as we were out of the wind (I think?) but I was off-pace by a COUPLE of minutes, and had developed a pretty rough knot in my right calf.  It felt like a baseball under my skin.  My Garmin was going absolutely haywire trying to get a handle on my pace.  I’m not sure if it was the cloud cover from the storm, or my erratic pace, but it would go from the mid-7/mile, up to 10 minutes, back to the low 8s, and back to 10s, all in a short stretch.  I quit looking at it for pace guidance by that point, since I just couldn’t trust what I was seeing.

So, I took my first walk break at 23, pretty much sick of my chest being buffeted, and literally laughing in disbelief that, despite my phone telling me the winds were supposed to be ONLY coming mainly from the North, we ALSO now had headwinds to contend with as we headed SOUTH.  The winds were truly a swirling mess out there today.  But, for a moment, when I started running again, I thought I could make up time and pull a rabbit out of my hat.  But as I quickly found out, I had just been beaten down with wind over the course of the race.  I lost even more time, as we had winds right up until mile 25, when ol’ Ida finally cut us a break.  I skulked away with a finish just a few minutes over 4 hours.

I’m profoundly disappointed, but unlike a lot of past races, I’m not nearly as upset with myself.  You can’t control the weather, and while we didn’t run in the MIDDLE of a Nor’Easter, Ms. Ida definitely overstayed her welcome.  So it’s like waiting to go to a baseball game, and then it’s rained out.  The Dopey will not be an option for breaking 4, since I will have done 16 miles over the 2 days prior to the 26, so I’ll settle for 4 and change and thank you all so very much for such kind e-mails and inquiries about my time. 

The results indicate that I finished exactly in the top 30% of all runners, which I’ll take, although I wish the Chinese would hurry up with their reported weather control abilities.  I could have used a tailwind!  😉

One important lesson learned was this:  I ran though almost all water stops. I’d grab a cup, get a mouthful, toss, and then get another cup towards the exit of the water station for another cup.  I learned later that taking in not enough liquid likely had a great deal to do with my calf seizing up.  I won’t make that mistake again.  Hydration, hydration, hydration.

Why I (usually) delete @replies on Twitter

You might notice that after we have a conversation on Twitter, if you check your timeline/mentions, my replies are often gone.  I assure you this is NOT a sign of disrespect.  It’s actually a deliberate choice, that was echoed in this guy’s explanation:
The relevant portion of what he wrote is here:

I use Twitter as a smaller, creative outlet. I share links, write bad jokes and occasionally troll my followers for fun. I also obsessively delete replies after I am sure the person it is directed to has read it. When someone visits my Twitter profile for the first time I want them to decide whether to follow or not based on the content I produce, not the conversions I have with other users.
This is a good explanation for me (although I don’t like to troll readers, so that’s out).  I delete my own replies on Twitter because I like the notion that someone coming to my timeline for the first time can get a read on what kind of content I produce. 

The thing is, replies are just that — my almost-private response to someone.  Once I know, or can reasonably expect, that they’ve seen it, I’m good.  If you see it because we both follow the same person, great.  But it’s not there for everyone else.  It’s just there to reply, and then I clear it out.  Apparently, and I didn’t know this initially, many twitter comics clear replies out during the day too.  I think I put out some funny stuff, but it’s not all meant as jokes.  Interesting, regardless.

I felt like I needed to post this, to explain why you won’t see many replies left in my TL.  The usual exception to this rule is if my reply to a person furthers the point of a previous tweet, or stands on its own as content I’d like to use as an example of what I put out there.

A deletion is not in any way meant disrespectfully to the person I was replying to, and as you can see, it’s a legitmate social media strategy.  My reply was meant just for YOU (unless I do the .@ thing).  So once I know you’ve seen it, I’ll often delete, and feed my OCD need for a clean TL, as well as for the reasons above.

Edit:  There’s a part II to this now:

http://gimpyarcher.blogspot.com/2013/02/deleting-twitter-replies-part-two.html

Getting Government out of the marriage business, and other Republican Strawmen

After last night’s vote in NC adding “Amendment One” to the state Constitution, I have been seeing convservatives on Twitter now attacking a compromise position, i.e., Getting Government completely out of the marriage business.  Their arguments rely on strawmen.  They declare that it’s a brainless idea, because after all . . . Taxes!  Child custody!  Fire!  Ducks!  Pancakes!  Anarchy!  But these are just strawmen arguments designed to end debate and go back to fightin’ those pesky gays.

First, no one is credibly saying that we should take all licensing of ANY kind of union out of the government’s hands, except, perhaps Ron Paul and his supporters (who are REPUBLICAN).  As much as I sympathize with many Libertarians who also hold this view, I see the need to still have some predictability when it comes to taxes, child custody, etc.  So with respect to the Ron Paul folks, I’ll simply say that I disagree with you, but have nothing but respect for your position.

Anyway, all that would happen, under the suggestion that I support, is that the Government would license all Unions as “Civil Unions,” without discriminating against whether they were same or different sex Unions.  The Government gets its license fee, contracts/child-care/custody/taxation but still has something to point to and say, “Yes you two are together, so we can understand that you want a tax break (or penalty!) etc. etc.”

Also, the benefit to the compromise is that it avoids (continual) losses in Court finding that prohibiting Gay Marriage violates the US Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.  I’m not aware of a SINGLE court that has ever upheld banning gay marriage, and said that was A-OK under the Equal Protection Clause.  And don’t give me that “THEY ARE ALL LIBERAL ACTIVIST JUDGES!!!!oneone”  That’s nonsense.  Your position doesn’t hold up in Court, in the intellectual crucible.

If the compromise were in place, you’d then have some fairly easy scenarios:

1)  If you were religious, and wanted to really drive home the point that you were together, you’d go to a church/temple/mosque/whatever and get MARRIED.  The license would provide that you could go do that.  Or, after obtaining the license, you could do it at the courthouse.  Whatever.  Your church would call you “married,” and you could call yourself that if you wanted.  The Gov’t would view you as being part of a civil union.

2) If you were Gay and religious, you could see if your church would marry you.  If your place of worship would not marry you, then tough luck.  You joined a place that looks on you as second class.  Maybe you ought to pick a different religion/place of worship.  You still have a Courthouse, or even a Country Club, to go have your wedding.  The Gov’t would view you as being part of a civil union, just like Scenario #1.

3)  If you were NOT religious, then go get married/joined/hitched or whatever, and have a party.  Nothing would stop you from the colloquial “married,” any more than anyone else.  You could call yourselves married, whatever.  But the Gov’t would view you as being part of a civil union, just like Scenarios #1, and #2.

See that?  Equality?  Or does it burn you, social conservatives?  Like sunlight on Gollum?

Answer me this:  Why would it bother you SO MUCH if the Government thought of you the same way it thought of a gay couple, if only in terms of taxes and contracts?  Does that upset you SO MUCH that you couldn’t allow a gay couple to enjoy the same happiness you have?  Really?

Do you NEED a pronouncement from the Government that you are “married?”  That WORD?  You really NEED that from the Goverment, is that your argument?  Because, there are a LOT of social conservatives that seem to want LESS Goverment, but on THIS issue (wow, that involves gays and religion), you suddenly will have a self-esteem crisis if Uncle Sam doesn’t refer to your union as a marriage?  That’s nonsense.

What this boils down to is pure hatred dislike of the gay lifestyle.  Some married couples don’t WANT Gay couples saying they are “Married.”  It irks them.  They, for some reason, want to hold it above Gays that they can do something Gays can’t.  That’s ludicrious.  Would your marriage’s sanctity be SO affected if Gays had a church (like Unitarian), or a ceremony, and then called themselves “married?”  Would that bother you SO MUCH?  If it does, seriously, on that point, like it or not, you’re a bigot.

So the conservatives out there who deride “getting government out of the marriage business” as leading to chaos without regulation are just arguing against a strawman.  No one is credibly saying that.  You just can’t stand that Gays might be on equal footing with you, despite that pesky Constitution (hi Tea Partiers!) guaranteeing equality.

I’m done.  I kept trying to share links on Twitter, and then would see idiots Tweeps making some really intellectually dishonest strawman arguments about marriage, and the supposed call for NO government regulation of it.  I figured rather than search anymore, I’d write my own.

The Reason Rally comes to DC, where I live . . .

. . . and I’m going to miss it.  Really.

I looked forward to attending this, particularly since Rebecca Watson wasn’t invited to speak.  I’m terribly sick of the “outrage prism” through which she views life, and feel certain much of it is designed to drive up page views.  She’s not attending the Reason Rally because, as a non-speaker, she likely can’t afford it.  But it smacks of, “If I can’t be a star, I’m not coming to the show” type attitude.

Anyway, so I was psyched to go.  And, reading Twitter, many people I’d like to meet, including Tanya of http://daisiesandshit.com/ are here in DC.  Right.  Now.

But . . . .  Life.

Folks on Twitter will know I have an older daughter who lives in Northern Virginia.  Her mom and I are on good (great?) terms, and so we freely see each other a lot.  I drive out there from DC many weeknights, and even some weekends, if “Superdaughter” isn’t coming into DC for the weekend.  But, that also makes life tough at home with a small boy.

I’ve missed a LOT of Boy Time this week.  Tons.  And my birthday is Friday, which is booked solid.  So that means, if I was to attend the Drinking Skeptically tonight, I’d miss a night with him, and I just can’t do that in good conscience, regardless that this is a 1-time-a-year-thing (the Drinking Skeptically with the RR attendees).

Nights are tough.  I have been up the past two evenings until 2:00am, and then up at 7 with my son.  It’s not easy on anyone.  I have been “requested” to be in bed by 8pm tonight, and to stay there for 11 glorious hours.  It’s hard to turn down, especially when I wake up with a new age the next day.  Blech.

I do still plan to attend the RR on Saturday, despite the 2+ inches of rain that’s called for, so I hope to see any/all I can there.  BUT, the problem is that my daughter will be in DC for the weekend, and she has already been very plain that she doesn’t want to go stand in the rain (she’s a pre-teen, and an honor student — the deal is that she gets the grades, and she gets a lot of her wishes respected on the weekend).  So I’m not going to force her, particularly when she has school and stuff she’d like to do while in DC otherwise. 

All of this means that I’ve got two kids in need of attention, on a birthday weekend when I SUSPECT they have something(s) planned for me on Saturday anyway, and I SUSPECT that they have a few activities lined up.

Thus, my original point.  I really think the Reason Rally is going to be about 14-20 BLOCKS from my house, and I’m going to miss it.  Wow.

My statement on the "Book of Mormon" Twitter List Debacle

I’m glad I still have this blog, because I can just tweet a link to various entries here, and (1) have my say in more than 140 characters, and (2) not subject my followers to multiple tweets complaining about being made to feel so crappy.

Here’s my take:

–I’m a superfan of Broadway’s “Book of Mormon.”  I kept up with their development on FB, followed them on Twitter EARLY, and saw the show in July of 2011.  I took pictures (of other people getting their pictures with the stars, I was too shy), and then realized that MANY of the ensemble cast were also on Twitter, yet only the “big 4” (Andrew Rannells, Josh Gad, Nikki M. James, and Rory O’Malley) were publicized.

So I created a Twitter list.  Scott Barnhardt first hipped me to some ensemble members accounts, and I went from there.  I added in Bobby Lopez as well, and then even added in some crew/behind the scenes folks.  Some were huge, like Stephen Oremus, who won a Tony and Grammy for his orchestral work.

–But I also added in the 3 stage managers (highlighted by Josh Gad) who work so hard.

–Finally, I added on the Book of Mormon Company Manager, Adam Miller.

–The list was substantial (28 members!) and was both the most-followed Book of Mormon Twitter list out there (there were many), and was the most populated (28 was nearly double the next highest BoM Twitter list).

–Many of the cast members didn’t have a ton of followers.  I usually welcomed them when they’d join Twitter (like Kevin D., or even Stephen), and noted that they were now listed on the comprehensive Twitter list, and hopefully, as people consulted it as a reference/clearinghouse, their following would increase.  Groovy, good vibes, yada-yada.

–Things seemed fine.  NONE of the crew rejected my following of them on Twitter.  In fact, NONE of those listed/followed: 

1.  Stopped me from following them.
2.  Stopped me from listing them, or
3.  Asked me to not endorse them on #FF days (I did list them on some #FF days).

Instead, in late February of 2012, I noticed that Adam Miller, the Book of Mormon Company Manager hadn’t just @replied to me and asked me to de-list (or even de-follow).  He flat out blocked me.  Twitter confirmed this when I attempted to re-follow (not permanently, I only attempted to re-follow because THEN Twitter will tell you something like, “Sorry, this user has blocked you.”).

Suffice it to say, I was hurt, and a little depressed/angry.  You can’t even do me the courtesy of a reply/request to say, “Hey, I don’t want to be on this list?”  At least let me ignore you before you go to the trouble to block me.

So, I just decided, “Hasa Diga.”  I deleted the entire Twitter list.  I unfollowed every single BoM-related person.  Because Miller had blocked me, he couldn’t see my comments, so I @replied to Rachel, a stage manager, and told her I was done.

The upshot of all this is that it brought back EVERY feeling from High School about being a misfit/outcast.  Once a freak, always a freak, apparently.  Things don’t change.

That last part is tough to admit for someone who supports the teaching of Evolution, lol.  I got some personal phone calls from RL friends on Twitter, and even some @mentions about the list’s deletion, and just took solace in the notion that I was never IN the cool crowd to begin with, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’d be treated as a freak even when older.

But this whole thing hurt.  It was really surprising to me, because ordinarily, the staff of BoM are pretty friendly.  I’d actually had some good conversations with the BoM Twitter account via DMs, because I had been scouring YouTube, and alerting the Show Account to various bootleg videos that were online.  Together, we got the YT accounts deleted outright.  As of this writing, there are no bootleg videos on YT anymore, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to alert anyone if I find any more.  I’d hate to be thought of as over-the-top.  Or blocked without comment/warning.  The musical itself is wonderful, as are the people.  It’s a great, funny, and profound show.  But this is an example of the old adage, “Never meet your heroes.”  While it isn’t quite applicable to this situation, it’s close.  Close enough that it really hurt.

So I’m done.

Interesting exchange the other night

I’m helping Kitra learn how to use a buffbot (no, it’s not that she’s completely inept with these things — she’s literally never used them before!). I’m there as my mule, who is in his SUPER A-1 AWESOME HALLOWEEN COSTUME. It’s actually pretty cool. It came in 2nd place a few years ago in a Dereth Fashion Show judged by some Devs and Maggie the Jackcat. I have a feeling I should have been first, and our final decision apparently caused much debate amoungst the judges, who were in a fellowship, and whose chat we couldn’t see. I’ve had several offers for it while in the MP.

Anyway.

We’re at the mansion, and a guy goes, “Whose ur main?” I tell him. “I’ve never heard of you,” he says. Kitra laughs at this development. I then say something like, “I’m no one of consequence, just a gimp running through Dereth,” and he says, “Yah, only us PKLs really get to be famous around here.”

*snort*

Wow. Bitter much?

Ok, so that LAST entry seemed a little bitter, even though I was PLENTY bitter.

I still play lots of AC, but it’s often at bizarre hours. I keep up with folks in game via Facebook. You can find me as THIS username. Friend request me!

So much to keep up with in AC. Need writs of refuge. Need to find that “rare exchanger” and trade in all the stoopid assess person rares.

Still having fun, though!

AC Christmas Shopping! It’s like being in "Second Life," but with Arrows! And talking Snowmen.

Foxy and Marie hipped me to the fact that I was going to miss out on getting my own polar . . . Ursuin (seriously? We can’t have a cute little Polar Bear drinking Coke out of an old time bottle? I mean, Polar Bears are practically mythical creatures by this point anyway).

Anyway, I got on tonight to hurry up and get one, and Kitra asked if she could come along. So we could give one of our Bears (eff it, I’m not calling it an Ursuin). It struck me how much AC is like real life. Consider:

In real life, you go from store to store in order to get that gift for your kid she would LOVE to have. You dodge traffic, get lost here and there, and fight through crowds to get the thing you want at the last minute.

In AC, you go from town to town to get that gift you want, you dodge groups of mobs (which, in my case, is usually necessary because I insist on doing these types of quests wearing my Dapper Suit, not my armor). You fight through ANNOYING crowds of shadows at the Umbral Hub, just to get what you want.

Speaking of which . . . the Umbral Hub has LOTS of useful portals. Someone should note that on the Wiki. We went to Zaikhail (twice) trying to get to Al-Jalima, and only later, when I (1) remembered I HAD an Umbral Hub portal, and (2) There was a Plateau portal there, did I notice that there was an Al-Jalima portal there.

It actually went like this:

Kitra Zan says, “Isn’t that a portal to Al-Jalima? Could we not have just used that one instead of all that running?”

You say, “. . . “

So in that sense, it’s ALSO like real life when the woman says to the man, “Why can’t you stop and ask for directions?!”

Anyway, we’re about 2/3 through this RAIL FAIL quest (that’s my term for “Running Around Intently Looking For An Interesting Lagniappe”) when Kitra Jr. had to be put to bed for school Monday. So we’ll pick it up tomorrow. Whereupon –maybe– I’ll ask for directions.

P.S. One point. We hit this Igloo-looking thing (turns out it actually WAS an Igloo), and I noticed it had this snowman in there, around level 95, whom I thought I could target (turns out I targetted him in peace mode). So I made a big show, while Kitra was rebuffing, of talking to him, calling him names, etc. Then, IMMEDIATELY as I took out a flaming arrow, and furrowed my brow, trying to figure out why I couldn’t target him, he MOVED. He did that kind of “lean in and squeeze his arms together” thing.

I nearly peed myself. I then wrote that in open chat, thinking that Kitra was the only other one in the Igloo with me.

Ahem. You guessed it. AC is low populated my (tight) bee-hind. There were TWO other players running up to the igloo during all this, and they came in just as I announced my jumpy-ness (read: propensity to wee-wee my armor) to Kitra.

Coolness. It never leaves ya.

Hi all!

Hey there all,

I’m still around, kickin, and now with CREATURE magic!

Much love goes out to my fair lovely Scottish lass Marie the Loyal, and the sweetest little (har, get it) patron ev-ar, Foxy.

You never know when I’ll turn up online . . . !

Oh, and I now have Twitter updates, because by all means, you have to know what I’m up to IRL. Right? Oh. 😦