Race Report – 2018 George Washington Parkway Classic Ten Miler – 10 Miler PR!

Finish Time:  1:22:39 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  783 out of 4207

560 out of 1823 (male)

124 out of 325 (male division)

 

 

The PRs are getting crushed in 2018.  This is my fourth personal best of the year, my second one for the ten mile distance.  These runs are just feeling….good.  I feel like I’m coasting at the 8:30 paces, and feel like I’m pushing it but not too hard at the 7:45-7:50.  I’m not sure what’s causing the uptick in my run quality.  I think it’s partly due to strength training I’ve been doing over the week, and partly due to fact that I’m running less than my marathon training.

 

I really enjoy this race.  The course is fast, and beautiful, and the weather was perfect.  It’s not as crowded as the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler, but it does have a decent turn out, and it’s organized very well.  The logistics are a bit tough, and that’s the only downside.  But I’m glad I did it in ’18 and I’ll plan to do it years to come when I can.

 

PRE-RACE

 

Unlike the past two races I’ve run, I actually came up with a plan for this one.  I knew that I had to because of the point to point nature of the run.  Last year, I had the idea of parking my car at the finish line and taking the closest shuttle from there.  It was a great idea in theory, which means that everyone else was thinking the same thing.  I made the shuttle, but the lines were long and I was afraid I’d miss it.  This year, I told myself that I’d plan it out a little bit better.

 

The planning was a bit more complicated because Jess ran the 5k with Mini.  Thus, I couldn’t drive to Alexandria to catch a shuttle.  And also, since the shuttles did not allow for strollers, Jess would have to park at the 5K starting line.  The tricky part is that when you finish, there are no shuttles back to either the 10 mile start or the 5K start.  So basically, that meant that we would have to figure out a way to get back to the car after the race was over.  Running with a baby made the logistics tricky.

 

As for my plan, I decided that I’d take an early shuttle at a different pick up point from last year.  So I got up at 5:30 and Ubered to the Eisenhower shuttle stop at 6:20.  As I left my apartment, the weather looked great, and I knew we were in for a good morning:

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I was in Mt. Vernon by 7, and thus had to wait about an hour for the race to start.  It wasn’t so terrible.  It would be nice to run with a friend next time, though, just to have the company.

 

I had a bit of a panic when I realized that my bib had the coloring of a 5K bib instead of a ten miler.  I was the only one there with an orange bib.  My fear was that my 10 mile time wouldn’t count, but when I worked it out in my head, I realized that as long as they had my name in the system properly for the ten miler, then it’d be alright.

 

It was fairly cold in the morning, so I grabbed a thermal sheet and basically just sat and waited for the start.

 

 

Miles 1-4

 

8:15 min/mile; 8:03; 8:11; 8:15 (GPS watch times)

 

Subconsciously, before every race, I segment the distance into manageable chunks to get through the mental aspect.  As the gun went off and I started running, my mind decided that miles 6-8 would be the toughest miles of the race.  So I was telling myself:  “just get to mile 6, then you’re going to run two hard miles, and after that, it’s just two miles to the finish.”  That breakdown seemed to work well for me, it kept me zen for the first half of the race.

 

The first mile is mostly downhill.  Looking at the stats, it’s a 90 drop for the first 0.7 miles or so.  This can be a blessing and a curse.  A blessing because of obvious reasons of running down hill, but a curse if you have not trained properly to run down hill, because it can kill your quads.  Fortunately, I’ve been doing tons of hill repeats around Capitol Hill, so that second part wasn’t a problem.  When we hit mile marker 1, I was surprised with how fast it felt.   After that point, I decided to just try and keep it at around 8 and see how it went.

 

It stays pretty flat after that downhill until you come up on mile 4.  There’s a hill, but it’s not too crazy, going up about 100 feet in 0.3 miles before leveling off.  I believe that I stopped for water at around mile 3 or so.

 

Miles 5-8

8:22; 7:48; 8:01; 8:25

 

As I mentioned before, my goal was to get to mile 6 however felt comfortable, and then to mentally push through miles 7 and 8 before coasting to the end.  This plan worked out just fine.  After the uphill to get to mile 4, mile 5 was relatively flat.  I looked at my watch when I crossed the half way point.  My previous PR at this distance was ~1:28, so I wanted to see what my time would be after five miles.  I was going much faster than my PR pace, my watch said 42 minutes, so I knew I had a chance to really crush that record.

The sixth mile has a big downhill, dropping about 100 feet in 0.3 miles or so.  So the sixth mile for me was the fastest of the race.  I coasted on mile 7, but then started to get a little tired on the eight mile.

 

Miles 9-10

8:30; 8:22

 

These miles were a little tougher than I thought they would be.  The ninth mile is a really sunny part of the run, and I think that had a lot to do with it.  I was afraid of my pace dropping below 9:00, and I also had this fear that I’d burn out and not finish, so I decided to try and just stay at 8:30 to finish, and not experiment with any crazy sprints at the end.  The last mile starts with an uphill on Union Street by Waterfront Park, but it’s looks (and feels) steeper than it really is.  The mental aspect of seeing a hill at the end of your run is deflating, but it builds your toughness when you get through it.  After that hill, it’s a flat run to the end.

 

POST-RACE

 

I met up with Jess and Mini and some friends.  Jess and Mini did the 5K, and I am very proud of both of them for coming out and getting it done!  We hung out for a bit before I picked up an Uber to get the car.  Then the three of us headed to a brunch place in Del Ray, where I had a massive order of sausage and gravy to celebrate another PR!

 

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Maintenance week – April 9 to April 15

WEEK SUMMARY

 

This was pretty much a week off from running, and a week to recover and heal from being sick a week ago.  I did run one time, a very difficult 3.3 miles on Friday when the weather jumped up to near 90 degrees.  I knew the weather was “spring like” but I actually didn’t realize how hot it had gotten.

 

TWIR

 

This was a bit of a relaxed week for us.  Our regular routine of work and life took over, but nothing too crazy or out of the ordinary.  On Friday, we had our jazz + pizza night.  On Saturday, we enjoyed the beautiful weather, first going on a picnic down to the National Mall.

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And then taking Mini to the Air and Space Museum where they had this really cool exhibit.  It was a replication of the bedroom scene from 2001:  A Space Odyssey.  I’ve always been a very big Stanley Kubrick fan, and I don’t really know why.  I have this theory about art.  It’s not a particularly novel theory, but one that resonates with me.  Art is a way to embed a meaning, message, commentary, etc. about life and our existence in ways that transcends logical, deliberate thought.  So when an artist embeds a concept into a piece of work, and when you see it, and that larger commentary is something that resonates with you, the artistic work will speak to you.  And you may not even know why, it’s something unspoken or deeper than your conscious mind that is attracted to the underlying message.  That’s how I feel about all of Kubrick’s movies.  I’m not even sure if I know the fundamental message behind each of them, but they all speak to me in a way that I can’t put my finger on.  2001:  A Space Odyssey was always like this for me, much like The ShiningFull Metal Jacket, and Dr. Strangelove.

 

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After the museum, we went to the a garden near the Hirshhorn museum, and then headed home.  Funny enough, we walked back home just as the March for Science had started.  I went to this last year, but wasn’t planning to this year, so it was kind of cool to see it happen.  Except that we were exhausted and needed to get home.  We watched for a bit and made are way through the crowds to head back.

 

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When we were walking back, Mini fell asleep.  And she’s such a city baby.  We walked through Chinatown, near the Capitol One Arena, and there was a really loud band playing with drums banging.  Mini was literally right next to the drums and the dude was wailing away on them, and she didn’t wake up at all.  It was just hilarious.

 

Sunday was a rainy day, so we stayed in for most of it.  Had some friends over, got some barbecue in the afternoon, and just chilled at home afterwards.

 

Mini is becoming more communicative these days, and it’s so incredible to watch.  It’s such a mind blowing experience to see her understand what we’re saying and to communicate back to us.  The other day, she started pointing out the “little fish” in a book that we read to her.  It was an amazing moment, and those moments just continue!

 

 

 

 

Marathon training – week 9 (of 12) – Race #5 – Stopped Training

WEEK SUMMARY

I decided to stop training for the Big Sur Marathon.  I’m not going to run this race.  For every marathon I’ve trained for, it was a bit of a struggle to get the miles in at times, but I always found a way back on the wagon.  For this training cycle, too many things were going on for me to be able to put in the necessary miles.  I’m three weeks out, and have yet to go on a run longer than 14 miles.  I know from the Baltimore Marathon that this isn’t a good idea.

 

The real last straw was this week, when I became sick from a sinus cold.  I woke up on Wednesday feeling like I got hit by a bus, and I was out of commission for the next three days.  Ordinarily, you can recover from that and continue training, but when the training was already bare bones, it was time to throw in the towel.

 

It’s ok though, I’m proud of myself for having the discipline to know when I’m not ready.  Now, I need to map out my plan for the ones I’m actually going to run this year….

 

As far as running, I went for one run:  the cherry blossom ten miler.  It was a really nice run, and I actually PRed it, so I guess all is not lost.

 

TWIR

 

This week was very busy, lot of fun though.  On Monday night, Michigan played for the Men’s Basketball National Championship.  They got thumped by Villanova, but still, the fact that they got all the way to the final game was an incredible feat to be proud of.  The game actually started off well for Michigan, they had an early lead, but then things turned against them and didn’t turn back.  It’s all good though, I’ll remember 2018 as having a very enjoyable March because of that incredible run!

 

As mentioned, on Wednesday I got sick–felt like I was hit by a bus.  It turned out to be (I think) a sinus cold, but man, I was out of it on Wednesday and for a good bit on Thursday.  On Thursday evening, I rallied, and we met up with some friends for pizza night.

 

On Friday, Jess and I started this documentary on Netflix called “Wild Wild Country”–a fascinating documentary about this religious cult from India that came to Oregon in the 1980s.  The story was told in a very gripping way.  On Saturday, we had family in town.  We spent the morning at breakfast, and then went to a STEM festival at the Convention Center.  Then, that afternoon, I went to the Kennedy Center to attend a performance of “Between the World and Me” based on the book by Ta-Nehisi Coats.  It was a very powerful performance that left me with a lot to think about.  Then, my friend hurried me to the building museum where I picked up my packet for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.

 

Sunday was a busy and fun day.  I ran the 10 miler in the morning, walked back home, hung out and rested a bit, and then went back to the Tidal Basin with family to get some blossom pictures.  I can say with confidence:  in 2018, the Purohit family certainly enjoyed the blossoms to their fullest.

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We came back in the afternoon, got some pizza, and hung out until the evening.

 

After a long winter, spring is finally here.

 

 

Race Report – 2018 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler – 10 Miler – PR!

Finish time:  1:28:03 (PERSONAL RECORD)

Placing:  4733 out of 16666

2919 out of 6793 (male)

666* out of 1360 (male division)

*yikes for that number

 

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This race continued my streak of PRs in 2018.  So far, I’ve recorded a personal best time for the 10k, half marathon and now the ten miler.  I’m going to see if I can PR all five this year, just two more left to go!

 

I almost didn’t run this race.  I was pretty sick during the week on Wednesday and Thursday.   Kind of out of no where, a really bad sinus flu.  So I didn’t run at all during the week, and almost blew off the race.  On Saturday, I was still unsure, but the journey to pick up my packet was unnecessarily difficult (and my own fault) and I had potentially put a friend out, so I figured the least that I could do would be to run it.

 

This race was absolutely gorgeous.  Race day lined up perfectly with peak bloom for the Cherry Blossoms, which is not a guarantee every year.  It was a beautiful morning too–sunny skies, not a cloud to be found.

 

PRE-RACE

 

The shennanigans started during the middle of the week, where I was knocked out of commission by a sinus flu.  I took the day off on Wednesday and slept the whole day, and also for a good part of the day on Thursday.  I figured I’d be in no shape to run 10 miles.  By Saturday, though, I was feeling better and thought I could do it.

 

The packet pick up should have been easy for me.  It was at the Building Museum, which is literally like two blocks from where I live.  I put it off on Friday, and then I figured I’d get it on Saturday afternoon.  But I didn’t plan properly.  We had family in town, so I was spending time with them in the morning/early afternoon, and then I went to a performance at the Kennedy Center starting at 2pm.  The packet pickup was ending at 4:45, which meant that after the performance ended, I had to ask a friend to race from Foggy Bottom to the Building Museum for me to register.  I made it, but traffic was terrible and I felt bad for the undue stress.  So, I figured, if I made a friend go through all this trouble, the least I could do is run.

 

The race for Sunday was a bit chilly.  Not bad for running, but a bit tricky to plan for the before/after portions.  Jess and family were thinking of meeting me down there afterwards, so I was thinking that I’d uber down and use the bag check to change clothes, but I decided that it’d just be easier for me to come back.  So I layered up and ran the 1.1 miles to the starting line.  It was a nice way to warm up.  I snapped a few pictures and got lined up.

 

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Miles 1-4

9:17 min/mile; 9:09; 8:46; 8:58 (GPS watch times)

 

This entire race is very familiar to me.  I run it all the time, so I felt like I was running in my back yard.  The first four miles go from the Washington Monument to Georgetown and back down through West Potomac Park.  The race is incredibly crowded.  Especially in the beginning, it’s hard to get in a rhythm.  I’ve learned to just enjoy that and not get all frustrated by it.  It’s part of the experience.  The first two miles went by a blur of bobbing and weaving.  I grabbed some water at a station at mile 3.  When I looked to see I had finished miles 3 and 4 in under 9 minutes, I told myself that I’d push for a sub-9 pace for the race, and thus should push for a PR.

 

When you get to West Potomac at around mile three, you get your first good glimpse of the beautiful blossoms.

 

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Miles 5-8

8:18; 8:27; 8:21; 8:20

 

This is the portion of the race where I decided to turn it up a bit and bank time for my PR.  This portion of the run starts with a turnaround in West Potomac Park and then a trip around the Tidal Basin before heading down through East Potomac Park to Haines Point.

 

Miles five and six felt fine.  I started feeling a little sick/dehydrated/tired at around mile 6.5.  Though the temperature was in the mid 30s, the sun was pretty strong, and I was sweating a lot.  I wore a few layers too, and I was starting to heat up.  I didn’t want to stop and take off my top layer because I didn’t want to toss it and didn’t want to bother tying it around my waste and running with it.  I figured that I’d just push to the finish.  I stopped for water and Gatorade, and that was a good decision because I felt like I needed it.  I was taking cold medicine all week, which is known for dehydrating you, and then I hadn’t run in several days.  So I didn’t want to push any of my luck out there.

 

Miles 9-10

8:56; 8:32

 

Miles 9 and 10 were the home stretch.  It’s a two mile run from Haines Point to the finish line at the Washington Monument.  This was my favorite part of the run because you’re literally running underneath so many of the blossoms.  Can’t ask for a more picturesque view than this.

 

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The race ends on a bit of an uphill, but it’s not terrible.  I checked my watch at mile 9 to make sure I’d break my PR, and when I was assured of that, I just coasted to the end.

 

POST-RACE

Crossed the finish and snapped some post race pictures:

 

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The only part I didn’t like about this race was the immediate finish line was lacking a bit in variety of food/drinks.  I got a bottle of water and then some pineapple cottage cheese.  To each their own, but having cottage cheese at the end of ten miles sounds like the worst idea in the world to me.  They had other snacks, bananas and granola bars, but you had to walk a bit of distance to the bag check area to get it.

 

I was deciding what to do, and thought that it might be a good idea to take off the sweaty base layer I had underneath.  I walked over to the bag check hoping that there would be a changing tent, but there wasn’t.  So then I decided to just sit down for a bit and enjoy the view of the mall.

 

When I was done resting, I thought about calling an Uber, and it wasn’t too bad, like 7 bucks to get home.  But I unwisely thought to walk a little away from the finish line with the hopes that it would take quicker to call an uber.  Big mistake because by the time I walked a few blocks away, the uber prices had surged to 20 bucks or so.  Since I was only a mile or so away, I decided to walk home.  It wasn’t a big deal, but it definitely felt colder walking than it did running.  And I was starving.  I stopped a bakery on the way home for an egg sandwich, and that bakery took like 25 minutes to make it.  So all in all, if I would have taken that uber initially (or better yet, if I didn’t make the decision to walk to the bag check area), I would’ve been home a good hour earlier.  No biggie, just a lesson for next year.

 

Beautiful day, great race, good day for another personal record!

 

 

 

Marathon training – week 8 (of 12) – Race #5

WEEK SUMMARY

 

Here we go.  Four weeks to go, and I’ve yet to crack a run longer than 14 miles.  The good news is (I think) is that when I was training for my first marathon, the longest I ran was 16 miles, and I finished the race with a PR.

 

I’m not planning to PR this race.  I’m planning to finish it and am planning to enjoy it.  I’ve resigned myself to acknowledge that with a weekly one hour commute to work in each direction + with a one year old at home, finding the time to run by itself is an accomplishment.  I’m not much for patting myself on the back for trivial accomplishments like that, but I’ll at least give myself a hat tip.

 

I ran three times this week.  The first was an 8 mile series of hill repeats around Capitol Hill.  I’m doing a lot of hills to try and prepare for the monstrous elevation gain at Big Sur.  This was a good run.  I’ve been feeling fast lately.  I did my 8 miles of hill repeats at an average of 9:24 min/mile, and I felt good the whole time.  It was also a beautiful night on the mall:

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On my way home, though, I made a cardinal sin of running regarding my safety.  I ended up fine, but I repeat this story as a cautionary tale to myself.

 

I was running back up 3rd street and by the Courthouse.  There were a group of kids hanging out behind some bushes on one of the statues.  I saw them from a distance, but they were pretty far away, looked like high school kids on a school trip to DC for spring break.  When I ran past, one kid said to me “what’s the rush, asshole?”  And without really thinking, I said “you tell me fat ass.”

 

Now I gotta admit, I was pretty proud of myself for this quick thinking.  But then I quickly realized, there were like ten of them and just one of me.  I was coming off the back end of running 8 miles, so who knows if I would have been able to out run them if they came after me.  The guy who I insulted immediately got all all alpha, challenging me to come back and fight him as I was running away.  I wasn’t scared of that, per se, but moreso that I had antagonized a bunch of kids, late at night, in a pretty isolated part of town.  That was really stupid.  No matter how much I want to spit back, I can’t do stuff like that.  I got a wife and a kid at home, and don’t need to risk getting in a fight like that for no reason at all, should have just run by the dude and that’s that.

 

My second was a 10 mile run on Wednesday morning before work.  I started at 4:30am.  Now, before you give me crap about my soap box diatribe on safety in the previous paragraph and following that up with saying I ran at 4:30am, let me say this.  Running near the Lincoln Memorial has been pretty safe.  There’s usually a cop car parked out there, and also there are other runners around.  My head is constantly on a swivel, but generally, I feel safe about it.  Would I let my kids ever do that though?  Absolutely not.

 

It was cool to have Lincoln all to myself, again:

 

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Between Wednesday and Saturday, I did some key strength workouts.  My last run of the week was on Saturday, a four mile run from the Lincoln Memorial to Bull Frog Bagels in Eastern Market to meet Jess and Mini for lunch.  The three of us had gotten up early that day to check out the Cherry Blossoms.  They weren’t quite in bloom yet, but it was cool to go down there before the crowds started coming in.

 

So all together, it was three runs for 22.02 miles.  That’s low for marathon training.  I was supposed to do a 17 mile run on Sunday, but honestly, I was exhausted.  We sleep trained Mini from Wednesday to Friday, and one of those nights involved me sleeping on the couch so that Mini’s crying wouldn’t keep me up.  On Sunday morning, we had a birthday party to attend, and I didn’t have it in me to get up again at 6am (or earlier), nor did I to go on a long run after coming back from the party.  So I chalked it up to “meh” and resigned myself to the idea that this race will be in the “let’s see what happens” vain.  I’m not upset about it, just acknowledging my time constraints and redefining the definition of a successful race.

 

This weekend, I have the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, and I’m excited about it.  I feel like I could PR it.

 

WEEK SUMMARY

 

Jess was on spring break this week, and we took some time to hang out together on Thursday and Friday.  We got massages on Thursday and then spent the late afternoon in Old Town Alexandria getting Thai food with Mini.  That evening, we met up with a good friend of ours who was in town for the weekend.  On Friday morning, we had a picnic with Mini on the National Mall, and then we dropped her off to daycare and used a gift card to have an afternoon out (margaritas may or may not have been consumed.

 

Saturday was a busy day.  We got up early, at around 6am, to check out the sunrise and the Cherry Blossoms.  They were not fully out yet, but it was peaceful to get there in the morning.  After the cherry blossoms, I ran from the Mall to Eastern Market, and we all got bagels.  That afternoon, we met with some friends for an Easter celebration.  That evening was the Final Four match up that Michigan won (and is playing for the national championship!!!).  On Sunday, we attended a birthday party and then spent the afternoon relaxing and getting ready for the work week ahead.  It was a nice stretch of days together.

 

Pictures:

 

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March 2018 – Stats

Second month of the Big Sur Marathon training.  Low on mileage, but I’ve come to terms with that.  With work and family life, I do my best to find the time!  Still aiming for 1000 miles this year, hope to increase the mileage now that the weather is becoming nicer.

 

Miles 62.64 miles
Total time 9 hr, 51 min, 51 sec
Average pace per mile 9 min 26 sec
Number or runs 8 runs
Average distance per run 7.83 miles
Average temperature, per run 45.37 deg F
Average temperature, time spent in temperature 43.91 deg F
Coldest temperature 36 deg F
Warmest temperature 70 deg F
Total elevation 2287 ft
Average elevation per run 365.44 ft
Longest run 13.34 miles
Shortest run 4.01 miles

Marathon training – week 7 (of 12) – Race #5

WEEK SUMMARY

 

Gulp.  Another low mileage week, and there’s only four weeks left to the marathon.  I gotta kick it up into high gear now.  I’m not going to run this marathon with any expectations, other than enjoying the beautiful scenery and respecting the opportunity that I have in front of me.  I ran twice for 12.04 miles.  The good news is, I’m feeling great on these runs.  I think I’m starting to turn a corner, and my twice to three time a week strength training is probably helping too.  So while my mileage is super, super low for marathon training, I’m still optimistic about it.

 

TWIR

 

On Monday, our families departed DC after coming into town for Mini’s birthday.  And we got back to our regular routine of work/life/fun for the three of us.  We had a crazy unexpected snowstorm on Wednesday, probably the latest snow storm I think I’ve experienced in DC.

 

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On Thursday was Michigan’s Sweet 16 game, where they trounced Texas A&M in what has probably been the best Michigan basketball game I’ve seen in a while.

 

On Friday, Jess and I did our weekly pizza + jazz + friend hang out, and I watched Clemson lose to Kansas.

 

Saturday was a busy day for us.  In the morning, we attended a tulip festival (of sorts) in City Center with some friends.

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Then afterwards, we went to attend the March to Save Our Lives–a gathering organized for gun control by the survivors of the Parkland, Florida shooting.  It was an incredible rally.  I went for an early morning run near the Capitol when they were setting up, and just seeing all these young kids organizing and taking control of the narrative of their generation, it was one of the most inspiring things I’ve seen in a while.  Social movements are always lead by youth–they are unencumbered and unrestricted by notions of what is and is not possible, and it was just amazing to see a bunch of high school kids lead a movement like this.  For as crazy as things are in this country, you can see something like this and remain hopeful that our future is bright.

 

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The rally was packed–reports say several hundred thousand people were there.  And it showed.  We took Mini down there because we thought it was important for her to see it (even if she doesn’t remember it).  We stayed for a little while, but the crowds were absolutely packed.  At one point, we thought we were going to get stuck for a while on 8th and Pennsylvania, so after a little while, we headed back home and watched the rest of it on TV.

 

We stayed at home for most of the day on Saturday, and then we watched Michigan play Florida State in the Elite 8.  Michigan won and is headed to the Final Four!!

 

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On Sunday, we took Mini for a long walk to 14th street and back, and then just hung out and relaxed afterwards.

 

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