Stepping Out on April

my first medal, so fitting

so what happens when you have a 30+** day streak that averages nearly 15K steps? You set a record in March and then obliterate it in April. No final count yet as April has a few hours left but thanks to some crazy weekend numbers I not only topped 400K again, but 450K! I’m going to net out around 465K and 200 miles. That’s mind blowing. More on that later this week when April numbers are final.

If you’d asked me how I did that, I’d have said my running mileage went up, but it didn’t. I actually ran three fewer miles (45.63 v. 42.53 miles). April was just spectacular weather wise and timing worked for some good workouts. Why am I not stressed about the decrease in running mileage or surprised despite running three 5K-ishes (two were fundraisers)? I knew after running the 10K that I wasn’t interested in further focusing on growing mileage base. I wanted to concentrate on going faster.  Did I?

Thanks to my spreadsheet wizards, I know that my March numbers were:

  • 29:54 average run time
  • 14:25 average pace

and April:

  • 23:53 average run time
  • 13:35 average pace (month’s goal was 14:00)

Still and forever Team Turtle, which is why I love that my first medal was a turtle. But I’m seeing progress and hope I’ll continue to.  I’ve found a great group to run with on Saturday mornings and April is prime 5K season. Great chance to spend more time running while raising money for the National Parks Foundation, 9/11 Museum, March of Dimes and Joyful Heart.

I’m at 127.91 miles run on the year. 660.39 overall for Run the Year. I’m not sure if I’m awed, amazed or both.

May is going to be a challenge, but I’ve already tried to think on solutions:

  • evening events – I still really want to run and hate when I get derailed. I’m going to try to run at least one morning before work.
  • time away – it’s going to be hard to run when away from my routine but if I did it in Iceland and Amsterdam, I can do it while in California.
  • Great Saunter – well, there isn’t an answer to this one. After (hopefully) 32 miles walked next Saturday I’m probably not going to want to run Sunday. I’ll see what I can do and try to long run Friday.

My April goal was to run 50 miles, and I fell just shy. Although I’m pretty sure I’ll fall shy again, I’m going to leave that as my goal for May. My other goal is to get my average page below 13 minutes. I’ve been consistently in the 12s more often and I think April was skewed by a few days in bad shoes and bad weather. So it’s on. I’m also going to try to get more consistently close to half hour workouts.

**it ended at 33 days, I’ve since started a new 12 day one

Tribeca 2017: I Am Evidence

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(left to right, Trish Adlesic, Geeta Gandbhir, Helena, Mariska Hargitay, Kym Worth and Tribeca staff after the screening)

How can a person be evidence?

The film of that same name, currently screening at Tribeca Film Festival aims to answer that question by shining a strong spotlight on the unbelievably large rape kit backlog that is still facing America after it was first discovered in New York City in the mid 1990s.

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~@ENDTHEBACKLOG

There are more than 200,000 rape kits that have gone untested and in working on Detroit’s backlog of more than 10,000 Kym Worthy and her task force came to find out that their backlog touched 39 other states. I don’t think forty is the outside limit by any shot.  There’s no doubt that the untested rape kits touch victims nation and worldwide.

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For more on why I AM EVIDENCE is necessary, here is Mariska Hargitay (producer) and a panel of the directors and two survivors from after last night’s screening.

It’s fitting that Trish Adlesic, Oscar/Emmy nominated for her work on Gasland and Gasland Part II (environmental devastation and public safety hazards of fracking), is involved with this film because the same issues that led to the Flint water crisis are a problem in the rape kit backlog in Detroit. Even when the police responding recognize that rape is a crime and the victim’s testimony should be accepted as credible, there’s still no money to test the rape kits, just like there isn’t money for clean water. Two parts of a major crisis facing not only middle America, but Americans as a whole. Sadly, disproportionately, those who can least afford it.

I’ve been a proud supporter of the work of Joyful Heart for a long time, but this is one of their most important projects. It is impossible to say “No More” when jurisdictions have the ability to stop rapists with evidence in their possession, but don’t have the finances or tools to stop them. I was aware of the rape kit backlog but until I watched the film, I had no idea the depth and breadth of the backlog. The saddest was knowing that if Helena (Los Angeles)’s kit had been tested in an appropriate amount of time, then Amberly (suburban Ohio), wouldn’t have been raped by Charles Courtney Jr.

It was a natural partnership for Joyful Heart to partner with End the Backlog to bring this movie to fruition and for Joyful Heart to serve as the social action partner for the film. Thank you Joyful Heart for allowing us to help you help the survivors. One of the most important takeaways from this film, whether you see it live or not is that going forward, “No one can say now that they didn’t know”.

In the words of I AM EVIDENCE, this is the time and an opportunity to “Turn your outrage into action”. The time is crucial.  Texas is trying, but federal funds are at risk. While the issue is bigger than any current occupant of the White House, the issue of treatment of and respect for women is huge. Part of the reason the backlog exists is because we live in a culture where women reporting rape are not believed to be credible:

“it exists because of this victim-blaming attitude that’s so pervasive in our society. It’s just not a small group of people making bad decisions; it’s so deeply engrained and entrenched in our thinking. What was she wearing? Why was she out so late? You can hear from the men in the film that it’s almost normal and acceptable. We have to change it on a systemic level because these attitudes have obviously devastating consequences.“ ~Mariska Hargitay

Here’s how you can start to take action. You can also:

  • Donate to End the Backlog through Joyful Heart
  • Sign Up for Joyful Heart’s social action campaign
  • Follow @EndTheBacklog for this and other helpful tips on what you can do locally.

I hope that Kym Worthy is right. I hope we do END THE BACKLOG in our lifetimes. It’s on us to do our part though. There are no magic wands.

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14,793

Mini update time.

14,793. That’s the average step count of my current 31 day Fitbit goal streak that dates back to March 15, the day after a snow day.  I hadn’t realized the streak was so long and only went back to count when I realized I crossed 75K in this week’s Workweek challenge and was thrilled. Now, full disclosure, the streak is a streak*. It includes one day where I missed goal by six- yes, 6! – steps. But considering my goal is 11K and I exceeded it by an average of 3.5K, I’m not worried about six steps one day.

Running is also going well. I’m seeing some results in my “speed” and some of my intervals might actually be called running and not walking.

10K and a 4M with NYRR

I’d been eyeing the New York Road Runners’ Spring Classic but thought it was too far a distance, until a friend asked if I’d run walk it with her. On Wednesday. The run was Saturday. I figured that worse comes to worse I’d walk it. I’ve certainly walked the Central Park Loop many times. I kept reading about the course and the hills, I was already worried about Cat Hill but I decided it couldn’t hurt to try. With a course like the Central Park loop, it’s not as if you can get swept and there are plenty of vendors to buy water if the stations had closed. So with that, my only goal was to finish the 10K loop and enjoy it.

 

coming up Cat Hill between miles 4 and 5 of the Central Park Spring Classic 10K

And I mostly did. The Harlem Hills were not fun, and I was seriously dragging by the time Cat Hill came between miles four and five. I walked when I needed to, and especially through the water stations as I can’t drink and run. Having my water bottle with me was a good idea because it was easier to sip from a cup and then pour it into my bottle and save it for later in the run.

The volunteers were great, as were those fans on the course and the runners who’d finished early and were headed out. I was zapped by the end and couldn’t summon any oomph even when the finish line was in sight. But I finished and I wasn’t last. I knew I wouldn’t really be able to compare my times to my 5K in Riverside since Central Park is much hillier, but it felt good to run in much better weather and to realize that I could do a 10K even if it wasn’t a good 10K. It was a fun race day atmosphere and I pretty much turned it into a personal fun run. Yes, this was from the person who not long ago never intended to enter a race.

I had today’s four miler on the books even before last week’s 10K. It was actually what had me worried about Cat Hill, but I knew it would be a fun run. As the weather dawned cold and rainy – but not as cold as Penguin (best baseline ever)! – I grew hesitant. Would I really get out of bed and do this? Would I enjoy it? Would Cat Hill kill me?

Signs of Spring during the Run to Breathe

I would, I did. It didn’t.

It was odd facing Cat Hill within the first mile and having last week’s home stretch be barely into the race, but it felt like I hit the halfway point fairly quickly once I got into gear. I was pleasantly surprised by my first mile time and was happy to still be perky when I made my second left and headed on to West Drive. Only walks were through water stations, yes, I made it up Cat Hill without walking. I think not running yesterday was smart. Only pauses were to stretch calves on the hills. They were really the only thing that hurt, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

In contrast to last week and surprisingly since I didn’t have walk breaks, I felt like I still had something in the tank today. At 3.5 miles I ran faster and felt like I could have gone more as the #RunToBreathe was winding down and the finish line/festival was in sight. I’m hoping for some good finish line photos as I was a happy ham. Runkeeper also tells me this was a personal best for a 5K at 42:30. I’ll take it.

It took me almost 10m, 9m51 seconds to cross the start line so I wasn’t worried when the clock at the finish said said 10:05. I knew I’d finished in under an hour. I didn’t have a goal time, but that was a nice feeling. I haven’t really concentrated on speed, but I made the decision to do so after the 10K as I don’t have a desire to run any longer distance at this stage. I’m going to try to run outside during the week if I can – it’s just much more pleasant than the Dreadmill, even with my new headphones. We shall see. Still enjoying it while it lasts and continuing to raise money for Joyful Heart.