I've been training to run the 'world famous' Monument 10K for a couple months now. It was certainly challenging considering when I was taught to run as a football player so I have one speed: fast. Pacing myself isn't a strength of mine (my old football coach would be proud). I also really don't love running long distances (which I consider to be anything more than about 4+ miles), but I do like the athletic challenge that the 10K provides and it's also a great reason to stay healthy during the nasty winter season (lost about 10 lbs from Christmas to now - keeping it off for the summer will be another story).
In 2010, my time was 49:30 (a 10K is 6.2 miles) so that time was just at 8-minute miles. My goal this year was to finish in under 49 minutes and I'm very pleased to say that I beat my 2010 time by more than 2 minutes. I used my iPod nano that has a Nike+ pedometer in it during the race to keep track of my mile times. It's nice because it fits into a watch band (thanks, Ryan, for my Christmas present!) and when you press the main button there is a little voice that tells you how long/far you've run and what your current pace is. When you sync it with the computer you get a cool graph that shows your pace over the course of the race - here is my 10K. Note that little kick I got in the middle of the race. Wonder why?! It's because Katie came out and cheered me on at the turn-around point. She took a pic of me and my wonderfully red face. I don't really know why I pointed at her - guess I was trying to say "I'm number one" which was delusional mid-race thinking because clearly I wasn't. However , let it be known I passed that old timer in front of me a couple seconds after this pic was taken. (I'll admit that plenty of other old timers kicked my ass though.)My 5K split was 23:18 and my final time was 47:21. I was totally thrilled with my time, but I keep thinking if I had only pushed harder that last two miles I could have gotten a sub 47-minute time. But I also could have had a heart attack...Something to try for next year - finish in under 47 minutes and avoid a heart attack. I totally recommend the race to anyone and if you want to run it next year, we've got two guest bedrooms (Amanda - hint, hint)!
This year has been a big year for me and Katie. If you categorized years by movie genres, this year would have been a large budget epic adventure. Perhaps thats a little exaggerated, but finishing my PhD was certainly an epic endeavor for both of us. One thing that has remained constant is that there is nearly always music flowing in the Bell Abode. I'm not sure if our top 5 albums of 2011 reflect the emotions of this year, but I think it is an interesting mix of melodramatic pop, introspective folk, and mainstream easy listening... The top 5 albums of the Bell Abode in 2011 according to plays in iTunes are:
- Bon Iver – Bon Iver
- Foster The People – Torches
- Amos Lee – Mission Bell
- Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours
- Woods – Sun and Shade
Our method for determining the top albums is slightly flawed because albums that come out in the latter part of the year are less likely to generate as many plays as albums that come out earlier. This is why I didnt do a top ten like last year. Instead, I found that if we normalize the play count to the number of weeks the album had been imported we find some dandies that came out (or I downloaded) more recently, like:
My 'diamond in the rough' of the year (had to make the category this year specifically for this album) is a short little album by King Creosote & Jon Hopkins called Diamond Mine. I'm not exactly an art critic, but I do know that good art makes you feel something and great art transforms your perception. This album totally does that for me - it grips my imagination and I can almost smell the British/Irish coast.
What were some of your favorite tunes of 2011?