11 December 1953—4 March 2013
long-time volunteer around the C’ville racing scene, as she appeared at the North Garden Chicken Run in 2007.
Our friend Carol Finch died last night 4 March 2013. She directed multiple events annually, scored scores and scores of other races during her lifetime, coached lots of novice race directors, served repeatedly on the board of the local track club, and helped in many other ways with Charlottesville’s local racing community. Probably the Charlottesville Track Club’s Lifetime Service Award should be renamed the “Carol Finch Lifetime Service Award” in her honor.
Oh, and don’t forget that she also greeted lots of dogs that visited race sites and was a discerning sampler of any homemade goomies available for post-race snacking.
Update 8 March: Read Mark Lorenzoni’s fine tribute to Carol in his column, The Daily Run. Watch the CTC Website for notes about events celebrating her life. Read the obituary for Carol with recommendations about donations.
I ran the Batesville 10K again this year. It’s still the same rural, beautiful, pastoral, remote, bird-song-filled, and brutal course that it’s always been. I had a lot of fun. It was good to see friends from the local community and run that neighborhood.
Batesville holds a special charm for me for several reasons. (i) It was the first race of any consequence I ever ran; I’d run a local, 2.x-mile Thanksgiving event the year before this, but this was my innaugural race. (ii) The Batesville village, which is essentially a cluster of houses near a store at a crossroads, is near my former home; I used to joke about living in the suburbs of “Greater Batesville.” (iii) It’s the only race I ever DNF’d. (iv) Among local runners, it’s known for its challenging nature and the good spirit of the people who run it; it deserves its reputation as a cult race.
Though the early death of Grete Waitz today casts a shadow over things, the superb runs by many with Geoffrey Mutai, Caroline Kilel, Moses Mosop, Desiree Davila, and Sharon Cherop recording tremendous finishes at Boston, made yesterday a great day for the marathon.
It’s hard to say where one draws the line with the finishing times at Boston. Kara Goucher ran a sub 2:25. Dire Tune just missed finishing under 2:25 and her time wasn’t among the top five!
After pushing the pace for much of the race, Ryan Hall stays with his program and runs an absolutely outstanding time of 2:04:58. It’s a time that would have won all but this and one or two events ever anywhere and it’s the fastest by any American. And all he gets is third. Tremendous!
Filed under News, Running
I’ve been visiting southern California for the end of the year. In Pasadena, where I’m staying, it’s the time of the year for Rose Festival preparations. They’re in full swing, with bleachers on Colorado Blvd. and Orange Grove (though I’ve not been there to see them).
For my last run of the year, I left my mother’s place in Pasadena about 6:20 AM on this morning with a plan to lollygag along surface streets for about 2.6 miles to the Arroyo Seco, go down into the Rose Bowl area, reconnoiter the preparations for the pending football game there, then return along Colorado Blvd. so I could see about the preparations for the tomorrow’s Rose Parade. Although the temperatures were in the 30s and I hadn’t brought my cold-weather clothing, I figured I could manage the cold by wearing two t-shirts and the shell I had brought along and use some rolled up socks for my hands that I found in my pockets (trusty tube socks from the Motorola Marathon in Austin some time in the mid-90s).
As it turned out, I was correct about the clothing, but wrong about the distance. I was warm enough. But, as sometimes happens, by the time I had gone the first couple of miles, my ambitions were bigger than my legs. Remembering a long-ago run with friends Tracey and Skip (when I was in much better condition and, of course, much younger), I elected to circumnavigate the Rose Bowl. I’d forgotten that to get around the Rose Bowl, one had go around half of the Brookside golf course, too, and doing so required a 5K run. So, I tacked on an extra ~3 miles to my run, not just an extra mile. Instead of a manageable six, I wound up with something between a happy-but-taxing eight and nine.
But it was fun to remember the good times with my friends, to see the old sights, to ponder the preparations for the throngs of people who would be in the area the next day, and to get back to the place of my departure with some good-tired legs.
So, that’s my year-end report. I’m having to back date it now, as the return travel delayed the actual final editing and posting. But there it is.
I’ve just spent several minutes twisting and smashing new running shoes before I take them out the door for their first miles. It’s a fun ritual, one that I don’t get to perform as frequently as I did when I ran about, oh, 2-3x as much as I do now, but performing it brought back happy memories of those days. How it is that I’m not reminded of the pains and tiredness associated with logging (for me) big miles when I twist these shoes is a marvel of human memory and, perhaps, a question I can entertain while I’m out and about the city this morning.
Meanwhile, here’s a shout-out to Ragged Mountain Running Shop, where I got the new shoes yesterday. I think I have bought only one pair of running shoes from another place in the ~30 years I’ve been running. When the shop was upstairs from the old Blue Wheel bicycle shop, Cynthia Lorenzoni fitted me in my first pair—Nike Day Breaks—after my first injury from running in Converse All Stars.
I got about 300 miles out of the last pair of shoes. They’ll go down chain, reserved for use on rainy days and when I run the trails. The oldest pair, which have been held for those reserve uses, will go into a recycle bin at RMRS.
I enjoy it when competent statisticians examine data from sports. (Neil Paine sometimes does such in his observations about basketball and football, even though he’s mostly a sports writer.) I came across a new example of a quite-competent statistician, Reza Noubary, conducting a fascinating analysis.
Professor Noubary, who does these sorts of analyses often, examined the data about sprinting records and was able to identify the probabilities of new records, with specific reference to Usain Bolt’s outstanding performances in the last couple of years. Application of the methods Professor Noubary used (“tail modeling”)
shows that the probabilities of setting a new record such as 9.55 seconds or less or 9.5 seconds or less are respectively:
A. 0.0102 and 0.0052, when Bolt’s three records are included.
B. 0.0043 and 0.0023, when Bolt’s three records are excluded.
There’s more, and the abstract’s available on line:
Noubary, Reza D. (2010) “Tail Modeling, Track and Field Records, and Bolt’s Effect,” Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports: Vol. 6 : Iss. 3, Article 9.
What a difference 14 degrees makes! Today when I ran, the temperature was ~70 degrees. That’s hot for running, but it’s a lot cooler than it was Sunday when I ran. Even though I went out at about the same time of day, it was 84 on Sunday.
Before you ask in the comments: Yes, the humidity was different, too. Today the humidity was ~78%, but on Sunday it was ~60%. (That’s right. As Sid explained to Dead Runners, humidity decreases as temperatures increase.) I was dripping after both runs, but Sunday still felt a lot more challenging.
Bonus! I picked up two quarters from the gutter this AM.
It does. It sez it righ’ cheer:
Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech….
—Amendement I of the U.S. Constitution, ratified 15 December 1791
And I have the good fortune of living in a community that has (since 2006) a monument dedicated to that very idea and (since 1819) a university founded on quite similar ideas:
“This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
—Thomas Jefferson in a letter to William Roscoe, 27 December 1820
I plan to run past geographical spots marking both these ideas this morning for my 4 July 2010 run: The TJ Center’s “Community Chalkboard” and the University of Virginia (where I have the privilege of working). Although I’ll celebrate other things during my run and later today (including the other clauses of the first amendment to the US Constitution, which are in the words surrounding those I’ve excerpted in the first extraction here), I’ll be especially grateful for this one. In an era when powerful financial forces have nearly free reign to amplify their political opinions, at least I still have the authority to speak my own.
Of course, I mostly speak my views in this nearly chaotic medium we call the Internet where people turn to learn lots of things, including misinformation. That’s the importance of the second excerpt. We, the people, just need to “follow truth,” that is, learn to winnow sense from nonsense. Free speech means that people are free to say things that simply are not true. And, I fear, we too often do not recognize that we are saying things that are not true (see my earlier post about Thomas Kida’s marvelous book, Don’t Believe Everything You Think), ’cause there’s a lot of nonsense on the Internet.
I ran Jay’s Wilderman’s race course this AM. It’s the local (CHO) Independence Day Race and Jay’s been directing it for something like 15 years (más o menos). It was a beauty-ful AM for such an event, especially given that there have been many sweltering races in the past and many sweltering days in the recent past. My guess is that today’s start was in the low 60s with modest humidity.
Yesterday (it is Tue here, even though the post will appear with a Mon time stamp), I packed my running shoes for our move from a home-stay (inn or B&B), stuffing them with extra socks and underwear to conserve space. This morning, I pulled out the clothing to use the shoe and, when I put my foot in the shoe, I found there was something still in it.
Somewhere in northern Taitung, while my running shoes were on a front porch, one of the shoes apparently became a haven for a toad. He or she was sharing the toe box with my toes, poor thing. When I reached into the shoe and pulled it out, I was surprised, and I dropped it. Pat said, “Poor toad.”
I lifted her or him into a plastic bag and we set about finding a place to release the animal. There is a temple next door to our current digs, so we took it there for release. This is a photo of the transferred toad. I wonder if it will alter the gene pool in its new neighborhood, which is about 20-25 kilometers from its former neighborhood.