Staying Busy

In my paper for the Christian Scholars’ Conference (CSC) titled “Racial Reflection and Sexual Identity: The Challenges of Silence in Conservative Institutions”, I revisited WEB Du Bois’s “Souls of Black Folk,” particularly his essay “Of the Faith of the Fathers“. If you have not read this classic, you must. Focus on how each essay brings you back to the notion of the Veil.

Over the course of my three-week spring break, I have focused a great deal on my own academic scholarship. Hence, this break has been an equal amount of play and work. I sent one paper off to a journal which was returned due to an imbalance of historical content and pedagogical application. I have pretty much added the missing pedagogical work to the already historical analysis. I have yet to resend. That needs to happen soon seeing that I need to get back to the paper for the CSC. I am feeling very productive of late. And, having this time to think and write has been nice.

A Cuban in the Mix

I love receiving gifts from students; I got a great post card from a student visiting London over the break, and I have another gift coming from a student who was also in London. Two years ago I got a great tie from a group of students visiting Austria; I wore it earlier this year but have received threats due to its MIA status. But it might be the most recent gift I got from a student that has put a smile on my face: A Cuban cigar; I was just chatting with a former colleague (Anita Davis) over lunch last week  and college teacher (Mark Elrod) that I have long regretted giving away a set of Cubans. They were gifts to other people after a visit to Spain. While putting a few files up and books back in their proper place this morning, a student who I have yet to teach brought me an encased Cohiba Cuban from Havana, Cuba. I will have to place it in my special cigar box in my study at home. I do have great students!

Update: That other student (Jenny Drews) bought me a cool Oxford University shirt and an Edward pen that states:”An independent person who aims high.” I think that is me. According to Drews:”I can now look smart.” I will give it a good effort.

7 Minutes and 39 Seconds Per Mile Pace Today

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It was a great race! I met a few teachers while standing around during the post-race festivities. My training was good as I posted a pretty good time. Though I can improve on what I did, I am not frustrated; the volunteers were great and the runners who traveled from all over the country were extremely polite. I will say that the Little Rock course was brutal. The hills were long and very steep. Below are a few pictures of the race:

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Pizza D Action is one of the more Bohemian spots in Little Rock; it is a popular place for students and those who like to socialize with strangers after a long day of work and/or study; it is not a place where academic types spend their time discussing Proust or Faulkner as found at the Onion Creek in Houston. Still, it is a progressive minded place. And, their pizzas and wings are the best.

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Above: Janette displaying her medal while finishing a post-race snack

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Above: In the lobby during post-race activities sporting my medal

I plugged my results into a formula that breaks down my running economy. I am convinced I might have had a faster time on an easier course, but I do know that I must add more miles and speed work into my training. I am pulling 50 miles per week now; I am seriously thinking about adding 15 more miles as well as conducting two runs per day 2 – 3 times per week.

Below is a breakdown of my race performance. I covered 13.1 miles at a per mile pace of 7 minutes and 39 seconds; I finished in the top ten in my age category, and 134 out of 2,600 runners of the 13.1 event. Here is my race analysis. As you can see, my marathon prediction time is still 15 minutes off of a Boston Q time.

Based on a half marathon race at 01:40:25, your projected finish times for the following distances should be:

1500m         6:06
the mile        6:34
3000m(3k)    12:43
3200m(about 2 miles) 13:37
5000m(5k)     21:51
8000m(8k)     35:57
5 miles           36:10
10,000m(10k) 45:33
ten miles         1:15:25
a half marathon 1:40:25
a marathon      3:29:22

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Above: Spectators move about to position themselves for the start of the event.

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Above: Janette visits with race official minutes before the gun starts the event.

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Above: Athletes wander around the River Market

Spring Break: Running, Politics, and Little Rock Day 1

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The Little Rock half-Marathon is how I am kicking off my spring break; I will be very busy finishing a paper and preparing for a seminar upon my return next week to Houston. And, I still need to complete a project I hope to present to my department chair regarding our curriculum; however, for now, I am looking to have a great race and set a new half-marathon PR; I ran the LR Marathon six years ago but must say it has grown a great deal since. Assuming I can make it work with my teaching schedule next month, I plan to run the Country Music Marathon in Nashville next month.

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Above: 1/2 Marathon Route

Starting my spring break off by running in my favorite city is a joy; after graduate school I accepted a teaching appointment here at a k-12 private day school. During my four years at Little Rock’s CAC, I taught a number of courses in the history department while serving as head coach for both the men’s and women’s tennis and cross country teams. It was not unusual for me to go on a training run in the AM with my best runners, while conducting my own runs in the afternoon; I would often log some 70 – 90 miles per week. But, such training came at a number of costs; it was normal for me to limp around injured and upset by my lack of discipline. In 2005, I even put on 50 lbs due to burnout and injury. Those days are clearly behind me as I predict a number of great runs over the course of six months; I even think I have a chance to qualify for Boston. Of course talk is cheap. I do miss my days here in LR; I love Arkansas and long to visit when I can.

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One cannot visit Little Rock without visiting its River Market; it is here that houses a number of great bars, restaurants, coffee shops, stores, and both the Bill Clinton Museum and Presidential Library. Before picking up my race pack, I toured the museum taking note of the great stuff to purchase. I even ran into Bill Clinton as noted by the picture I took with him.

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Above: Carson and Bill talking about Monica Lewinsky

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Above: Carson on Clinton Avenue in downtown Little Rock

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Above: Runners visit various vendors during pre-race activities in the Convention Center

I Like Breaks

Either I do not know how to vacation during spring break or I am doing what most people do when they get a break: working to get caught up; teaching 3 heavy reading and writing courses keeps me from completing outside assignments as quickly as I would prefer. Like many history courses, there is a lot of reading assigned. Not only must I read all of the primary and secondary sources assigned to students in the syllabus, but I must also complete additional historiographical readings, too; however, I am better than most at getting through lengthy journal articles. If my courses were purely lecture courses, the aforementioned tasks would be easier…. Okay –easier to fake; we all know a few instructors who do this.

I have been able to complete 60% of my department’s webpage. I still need to construct an individual page for each member. I do not have the skills or the permission to link it to the school’s faculty directory, but that is why they pay the technology department the big bucks. Here is the link: http://hchshistorydepartment.googlepages.com/home

I am on the road and should get back to Houston later today.