Friday, March 7, 2014

The Hard and Fast One!

As you know, this year's fundraising is an effort to raise money to create a campship in honor of a man that served as a role model for me in my youth as a counselor at YMCA Camp Miller.

It's appropriate then, that my first dedicated run of the year goes to Dr. Cathy Alfrangis. She was my first mentor in my teaching career. She took a chance on me as a long-term sub, fresh out of college. She hired me to fill a position the following year. She encouraged me to take classes to grow as a teacher. She helped me win a fellowship from the Washington Post to study in Spain and she always believed in me. Every year, at the beginning of school, I take out the goodbye card she wrote to me. It has inspired me to keep improving.

And Dr. A continues to inspire me. After becoming the first donor (minutes after yesterday's post), she told me to run "hard and fast!" So that's what I did.

Today's run was a three miler on the Nehru Park course. As I wrote last month, I'm using the "gamification" of running to help keep me motivated. I created a "digital race" in Nehru Park that keeps track of the fastest overall time, the runner with the most runs and the most consistent runner overall. To date, I hold all of those records. It's been a bit of a back-and-forth with one of my running partners (who also loves competition and extrinsic motivation). In fact, we joke that it will probably eventually injure one of us (I'm guessing me).

With the goal of breaking my record on the 1.6 mile course around the park, Dr. A's inspirational words, and the desire to start the fundraising campaign off with a bang, I picked the Nehru Loop as today's target.

On Feb. 17, I left the house dressed in pants and long sleeves. It was 52 degrees and it was pitch dark at 6am. Today, I wore shorts, a t-shirt and it was plenty light by the time I got to the park. I've been feeling really strong lately, so I figured the run would be a quick one.

I entered the 80 acre park after the typical route past the US and French Embassies, across Shanti Path and another quick dip between the Australian and Pakistani Embassies. As usual, translators with typewriters and LCD lanterns were busy at work on the sidewalk, helping fill out visa form at the Pakistani Embassy. It's quite a sight in the dark, so in some ways, I'm sad to see the sun coming out earlier.

On the other hand, it made for some impressive half-light to the set the background of Nehru Park against the manicured lawns and palm trees in the first open space - one of open spaces where free concerts are held, where school children play and families picnic on the weekends.

From there, it's a right into the park on the jogging trail. A quick jaunt brought me past art installations, a statue of Lenin and an empty fountain. The second public convenience is the first big running landmark in the park. It's at this point that the MapMyRun lady comes over my headphones letting me know that I've reached the one mile mark of my run. Today she let me know that my mile was up much faster than normal. My first split was 7:12. I knew I was poised to take the Nehru Loop Record, so I kept pushing. Around the hairpin, up the hill along the wall, down the hill past the spot where we used to play Ultimate Frisbee, over the bridge at the Shiv Temple and into the straightaway. At the 2 mile marker, Ms. MapMyRun told me that my second split was 6:52. I knew that it was go time, so I powered up a little more and finished the Nehru Loop in 11:03.

It was 38 seconds faster than my fastest time. After cruising through the park, I thought I was taking it easy on the last 1/2 mile or so home, but my third mile came in at an average 7:00. Either I ran fast coming out of the park, or that last stretch in the park really helped me offset an easy trot home.

Either way, I ran hard and fast!

If you'd like a dedicated run too, please donate!

Here's the link for donating - Just choose the Ty Taylor Campship option.

If you prefer, here's a direct link.

Distance - 3.03 miles
Time - 21:43 (Route Record!)
Soundtrack - 20 Questions: A Coverfolk Mixtape from my favorite blog -

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