Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day

I know that I do not spend enough time reflecting and respecting the significance of our national non-religious holidays...President's Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans' Day, even Martin Luther King Jr. Day. (Independence Day, the Fourth of July, is an exception, though!) I, like so many others I am sure, greedily gobble up these days off from work (for those of us who work in the public sector and get to observe them), giving only a passing thought to the reason the day has been named a national holiday.

Veterans' Day evolved from Armistice Day, created by President Wilson in 1919 to commemorate the cessation of fighting in World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. November 11th, Armistice Day, officially became a legal holiday in 1938.

Because World War I did not actually turn out to be the war to end all wars, American soldiers were sent into combat again in World War II, and then to Korea in the 1950's, and in 1954 Armistice Day was rechristened "Veterans' Day," a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Sadly, Americans have been sent to fight on foreign grounds many times since then, and the United States is populated with veterans both old and young, as well as many active military still.

In 1968 Veterans' Day was included, for a short time, with other Federal holidays in the Uniform Holiday Bill, which provided that Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day be observed on a Monday, to provide three-day weekends for Federal employees. While the other three Monday holidays have stuck, there was a lot of unhappiness over the changing of Veterans' Day from its traditional date, and in 1975 President Ford signed a law returning the annual observation of Veterans' Day to November 11, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls.

I hope this little bit of research I did about Veterans' Day atones for my completely self-centered enjoyment of my day off work. I slept in, ate breakfast and watched a lot of the Today Show in bed, and finally got myself ready and rolled out the door for a run somewhere approaching 11 a.m. Maybe 10:30. Not sure.

After yesterday's rain and gloom, I did not have very high hopes for the weather today, but I was blessedly wrong! There were some clouds, but the sun was out between them, and I even wore sunglasses for the whole run.

I felt rather obligated to take advantage of my free time to do a nice long run, plus Wednesday speedwork. I noticed on my training schedule (which I am loosely following) that 800's would be on next week, but I sort of thought today would be better since I would actually be running in daylight rather than early morning darkness. And three days should be long enough to "recover" from Sunday's long run, right?

I decided to start with a medium length easy run, five or six miles or so, to warm up. I just took my usual morning route without adding the extra bits that I use to make a six-mile run into an eight-mile run. It was hard to tell if I was still under the effects of Sunday. My legs felt fine, but it took quite a while to work up to an easy 9:30-ish pace. That's not unusual on a work morning (at 6 a.m. or so), but usually I start out faster when it's later in the day.

Warm-up splits:
1 - 10:14
2 - 9:45
3 - 9:42
4 - 9:28
5 - 9:45
6 - .76 mile at 9:24 pace
7 - .74 mile at 9:23 pace

I got to the track at 6.5 miles. (I planned it that way—the .5 part, that is.) As I've mentioned before, the track is not a real track, and it's something like .3 miles around, but I've measured out a quarter mile and a half mile so I know where to stop for each planned interval. Today, since it was light out, I double checked the distance on my Garmin, so it was helpful to start each repeat on a round number. Between each half mile I jogged between .10 and .15 mile (depending on what it took to get to an even number), walked a little and took a swig of Nuun occasionally.

Here are my interval splits (excluding the recovery jogs) (this info is all from undownloaded Garmin, sometimes the numbers adjust slightly after downloading):

1 - .49 mile - 3:53.26 (7:53 pace)
2 - .49 mile - 3:53,75 (7:53 pace)
3 - .50 mile - 3:55.38 (7:48 pace)
4 - .50 mile - 3:55.20 (7:53 pace)
5 - .50 mile - 3:55.15 (7:52 pace)
6 - .50 mile - 3:53.59 (7:51 pace)
7 - .50 mile - 3:47.08 (7:33 pace)
8 - .50 mile - 3:40.58 (7:23 pace)

Can you believe how much I managed to pick it up in the last half mile? I must have been really excited to be done! Because I really wasn't excited to start. When I got to six miles this morning I was well into effortless running and I would have happily gone on for another four miles or more rather than heading to the track.

Once at the track, I grimly counted off each lap. After four I don't know if I was happy that I was halfway done or distressed that I was only halfway done! Oh, it wasn't that bad, really. I am sure it is just boredom that makes me dislike the track repeats. It's not the distance, obviously.

After five (finally into the second half) I told myself, "if I can do five, I can do six." Then, "if I can do six, I can do seven." And after seven? Only one more to go! Hurrah!

After I finished my eight, I rewarded myself by jogging twice around the track at recovery pace (started around nine-minute pace and deteriorated quickly—9:38 for the mile). My final distance, once I stopped at QFC/Starbucks, was 12.5 miles. If I'd been thinking, I might have run 11.11 miles instead (I'm dorky that way), but I'm glad for the extra 1.4 miles anyway.

FINAL STATS: 12.5 miles, 1:53:39, 9:05/mile average pace.

I've been a lazy lounger for the rest of the day, but for lunch I made a yummy turkey sandwich on an Orowheat sandwich thin and the most deee-licious Delicata Squash Oven Fries.

Easy to make—

Scoop the seeds and gunk out of a Delicata squash (or more than one). Cut into sticks, leaving skin on. Spray a foil-covered baking sheet with olive oil spray. Arrange fries on baking sheet and spray with more olive oil spray. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 425 degrees until tender and browned (about 30-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fries). Turn over about halfway through, when the bottoms get browned.

So good! I ate a whole squash! Wish I'd made two!


lifestudent said...

Hmmm. Ive never seen a squash like that!

Kristin said...

Oh, you should look for them! They are quite wonderful. Sometimes the stripes are green. And this is a pretty big, plump, one (not that you can see the actual size), often they are smaller and skinnier.