Please enable JavaScript to view the discussion by Sidelines. discussion by

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Gap in consumer sentiment by party affiliation grows in Virginia

Each quarter I produce the Virginia Consumer Sentiment and Inflation Expectations Report for the Roanoke College Institute for Policy and Opinion Research.

In the current report I paid attention to the historical and current divide in sentiment by party affiliation. Sentiment is driven, not surprisingly, by politics and if "your team" is in power. The size of the gap, however, I find remarkable.

Consumer sentiment by party (blue=democrat, red=republican, dashed line=historical average)

It is also notable that sentiment in the Charlottesville area is no different from trend. Our calling for this poll began the day of the conflicts in the area. Sample sizes at the regional level are small, which is why I report it in context to the historical average and deviations from that average.

You can read the report in full here.

Keep you sentiments up,

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Race report x 3

Over an eight-day period I raced three times in distances ranging from the mile to ten miles. The proximity in the timing of the races was not on purpose, rather races that I wanted to do for specific training reasons that happened to fall that way on the calendar. After it all, my body feels good and I learned a lot about where I am in training as I head into the meat of my cross country training.

Fab 5K (Salem, VA)
The Fab 5K is a popular race in Green Hill Park (Salem, VA) put on by Mountain Junkies. The course is mostly flat (see elevation chart) and a mix of road, grass, and gravel. It is a perfect race to transition from the roads to cross country. It is one of the more competive events in the area due to being one of the few races with a prize purse.

Fab 5K course profile (from my GPS)

I had several goals coming into the event.
1) Get the masters course record (20:23)
2) Run tough between mile 1 and 2 (Coach Clifford and I are going to pick one thing to focus on in each race, and that was it for this race.)
3) Walk away with a smile regardless of time

Check, check, and check. I ran 19:56 (well off my 19:07 best for the course), setting a new masters record. I finished third overall and won a little $$. I pressed after the mile mark (a mostly grass section), although I did falter over the last 1200 meters suggesting an area of training focus in the coming months. I am going to try to increase the distance that I successfully press the pace in races as well as the season goes on. Some key workouts will include fast 200s after tempo sessions.

3rd place female, top master

USATF Masters Road Mile National Championships (Flint, MI)

I am racing four Masters National Championships races this year, starting with the road mile in Flint, in an attempt to place well in the USATF Masters Individual Grand Prix for the 40-44 age group. The mile is not a typical event for me. Prior Michigan I only did one road mile (almost twenty years ago.)

The largest ever masters field gathered in Flint for the event. The women's field was deeper than any Masters National Championship that I have competed. My goals going into the race were:
1) Do not get passed in the last 400 and PUMP THOSE ARMS (Coach Clifford focus for this race)
2) Place in the top 10 (due to the depth of the field)
3) Finish knowing that I could not have gone one bit faster

Again, check, check, and check. I am thrilled to say that I finished THIRD! Coming into the final turn (about 200 meters to the finish) my eyes must have been popping out of my head because 1) I could not believe how far up in the field I was and 2) I was running for my life to hold off last year's winner (Tammy Nowik, who I had just passed) and the BAMF Alisa Harvey (a sub 2:00 800 meter running back in her prime.)

I went out hard, but held just enough back that the uphill start would not take away from a mad dash to the finish. At 400 meters I was with Alisa Harvey and well back from the top three (Tolan, Gacek, and Nowik.) I assumed that Heather Webster was lurking somewhere behind us as she finished in the top three at XC nationals in December and under 18:10 at Syracuse. After the turn on Avon (~800 meters) it appeared that Nowik was getting gapped. Coach Clifford said that when I sensed that it was time to make a move, that I had to go then not let up. I went. Alisa came with me. We passed Nowik after 1200 on a downhill section. As I turned onto 1st street we had ~200 meters to the finish, I could feel the ladies behind me and I could hear Coach Clifford in my head saying "Do not get passed in the last 400 and PUMP THOSE ARMS!" I ran the last 200 like I was running for my life knowing that I had two very fast ladies on my behind and that I would be devastated to lose a top three finish over the closing meters. I think I peed my pants a bit I was running so hard.

Anyone looking at the times from the race might think that they are soft...but the course was long and very challenging. Everyone who ran the course prior the race knew that it would be tactical (due to the hill at the start and a slight incline into the finish) and not a place to run fast. The course is the same for everyone, so anyone there faced the same challenges. (And anyone just looking at times and saying "If I would have gone I would have beaten _____" can put that you know where.)

Crim 1 Mile course profile (from my GPS)

Crim 10 Miler (Flint, MI)

I have always wanted to do the famed Crim 10 Miler, so I decided to race it given I would already be in Flint at the Crim Festival. Given I raced the mile the night before, I viewed it as a very hard training run and a way to build my endurance. My goal was to finish under 70:00 based on how tired I was and the difficulty of the course.

Crim 10 Mile course profile (from my GPS)

We were fortunate to have perfect race conditions (under 50 degrees at the start!) I managed to run 68:36, with the last 0.12 (my watch got the course as 10.12 miles because I do not run tangents well) at 5:12 pace. As a test I pushed into the finish earlier and faster than I thought I could handle since it really did not matter if I blew up. I believe that little tests and challenges like that will only benefit me in the championship races this fall.

Happy face after Crim 10

After these three early season races I am excited for fall training and know where I need to focus. My speed seems to be there as does my endurance, but I need to bring the two together for a fast 5K. Tempo, tempo, tempo!

Race on,