Monday, July 28, 2008

A run free weekend

Still quite sore and limping from the Des News Marathon on Thursday, I took the entire weekend off from running. This has not happened in quite some time.

And by "quite some time" I mean "I have no idea the last time I did such a thing as my record keeping of miles run goes back to 2005 and in no time in that span have I ever gone an ENTIRE weekend without running at least once". Obviously my explanations of simple phrases is long and involved.

Nevertheless, upon hitting the road again this morning, I was quite pleased to note that, while definitely FAR from "spry" I was feeling human again. In fact, with much on my mind, I found that once again running helped to calm me and put my mind in a good frame.

In a conversation with friends recently, we talked about how our non-running friends often ask us "What else do you do besides running?". In the calm of my post-run shower, I think I have my retort.

How can you possibly get through a day without it?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Deseret News Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 3; 10th Edition
198.9 miles raced in 2008
Race: Deseret news Marathon
Place: Salt Lake City, UT
Miles from home: 0 miles
Weather: Sunny and 70s

I have had my sights set on a new and big PR for a few months now. I will be the first to admit that my racing this month was not 100% conducive to getting a new and big PR but that’s life.

To be honest, I am a little disappointed right now. This recap may get bigger later but I don’t have it in me right now. You see, I did not set the new and big PR today. For whatever reason, around mile 11, my stomach turned against me for one of the first times ever. The power drink on the course made me almost throw up, so surprisingly so I actually said: “What the hell was that?”

This was disappointing as everything was going to plan until that point. And it was the first part of the marathon that was the most difficult. First were four miles of screaming downhill. Then miles 6 to 8 had a large uphill (at 6,000 feet of elevation, mind you). After that it was 5 miles or so of nice gentle downhill which I normally would love. However, after the near vomit issue I could not get on track. I was trying hard to run 6:20 miles and all I could get were 6:25s.
When I did miles 17 and 18 in 6:51 and 7:10, I knew it was not my day.

I made the decision to pack it in and run a respectable time. However, with each mile, my energy ebbed. I won’t blame the heat or the sun. For the most part I was running in shadow (which was also in perfect synch with my plan. Running the times I wanted at that time of day, kept me in the shade until mile 23). I just plain and simply did not have it. Maybe it was my needing to get up at 2:30 AM to be at the bus at 3:30 to get shuttled out for the 5:30 AM start. Maybe it is the stress of beginning a new career. Perhaps it was my triathlon or my pacing effort last week in Philly. Regardless, it does not matter.

However, while I am extremely disappointed, I am also happy. As they were not accurately measured for certification, I would never count them, but I set new PRs in the 5k, 10k, 15k, and half marathon (and I am guessing every other distance in between). And not by a smidgen. I crushed them all.

But it is the fact that, after deciding my day was done and my time kept slipping away, I dug very deep to make sure I got the absolute bare minimum of goals I have set for all my marathons from here on out that aren’t ridiculously hard to begin with: to run a sub-3. With my needle on empty I pulled in to the finish in a 2:59:14 or so.

That makes 7 straight sub-3s for me in races I was trying to do so in (my pacing effort at Carlsbad and the first of my two Boston Marathons in one day do not count) and a BQ in 17 of my last 19 marathons.

It was a very wise person who said “Anyone can run when they feel well. It is doing so when you don’t, that is impressive”.

So I will take solace in that and realize that even a bad day running is better than a good day at work!

I finished 17th and 7th in my age group. I hate my age group! :)

Here are my miles:

5:50 (5k in 17:38)
6:44 Start of big hill (10k in 37:40)
7:21 Big hill
6:55 Tail end of big hill
6:11 (15K in 58:30)
6:36 (stopped to pee)
6:24 (1:23:30 half)
6:34 (dropped Gu; stopped to get it)
6:38 (hill; was quite pleased with this split actually)
6:51 (WITH a downhill: Now I knew race was over)
8:03 (ugh)
1:42 (.2)

p.s. I don't talk about my personal life much but this was a bitter pill to swallow as I was dedicating this race to my Aunt Rita who succumbed to cancer Tuesday night. I have no doubt she is the one who helped me dig deep and get the sub-3.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Larry's Run

As you may recall, I spent this last weekend pacing my good friend Larry Herman in the Inaugural 20in24 race. While oddly named (the “20” only refers to the number of loops run by one particular relay, not every different race going on), the race benefitted a great organization called Back on My Feet. Organized by a young woman I have had the pleasure of meeting a few times, Anne Mahlum, Back on my feet benefits (homeless; fill it in). Larry’s plan for this 20in24 race was to run for 24 hours and see how many miles he could accumulate. His major goal for the race was 100 miles and I was going to pace him the best I could.

I flew into Philadelphia where the race took place the night before the race. When I stepped out of the airport into a taxi at 11 PM it was STILL 88 degrees. Dear lord. I was given a quickly tutorial to what summer on the east coast felt like when the humidity immediately covered me like a blanket. Waiting at the hotel was Larry and we exchanged hugs. Before long we were both sound asleep and readying ourselves for the next day.

Starting at 10 AM we hoped to get a good few miles under our belts prior to the sun and heat getting unbearable. But as the clock counted down to the start of the race, we knew that hot and unbearable was the recipe for the day.

We finished the first 8.5 (ish) mile loop a few minutes ahead of our planned pace for the day but already were feeling the effects of the soaring temps and accompanying humidity. The second loop began with a much more cautious pace as we willed the sunshine away and pined for more shade. By the time we finished she second loop we were still just about on time but the weather was taking its toll. My best friend Anne made the drive up from DC to provide added levity and chocolate milkshakes. We began the third loop with the milkshakes in our bellies cooling us down but the sun had not budged.

Larry still had plans to continue on as long as we could but we could already see many people around us taking longer and longer as the aid stations on the courses. The race quickly set up more emergency tubs of ice and cool drinks for the runners to utilize. The problem for both Larry (and I as his pacer) was that he could not take in as much fluid as he was losing without having it slosh around in his belly.
We stopped extra long at the next loop and tried our best to get hydrated, get some food in us and hope for cooler temps. However, we were pretty sure that the day was going to win. Upon completing one more loop, bring our totally to over 50k we decided we needed to call it a day. Showers and food were needed.

A plan to go back to the hotel and rest and get back up early in the morning to do two more loops and bring our total to 50 miles was decided on. However, as the temperature and humidity barely budged when the sun retreated, the decision was made to DNF in a different way, as in “do nothing foolish”. With blisters forming on our feet and energies nowhere near where they needed to be to continue in a race-like fashion, Larry wisely decided to indeed call it a day and race.

When only 3 males and one female passed 100 miles by the time 24 hours was done, including some who we knew personally could have done 20 or 30 more miles on a good day, we felt vindicated. Larry had a triathlon in a week and I had my own attempt at a marathon PR in just 5 short days. While we were still pretty worse for wear, we were quite happy with our efforts. Another attempt on another day will assuredly follow for Larry and I suggested he might not want to do it in July in Philadelphia. He agreed.

All in all, it appeared to be an overwhelming success for Back on my Feet as the race was very well-run in spite of the less than desirable conditions. With a slight tweak in the date, this could become a very good race for years to come.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Upcoming Races/Speeches

I have recently received some emails from friends/fans asking where I will be speaking or running at this fall. while I always try to maintain an exact up to the minute schedule of both on the sidebar of my blog, I am also happy to help promote some of the wonderful races I will be attending this upcoming year.

First off, in August I will be both speaking at and running the famed Falmouth Road Race in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Look for me at the expo the day before the race!

After that, I travel to the brand spanking new Little Grand Canyon Marathon in Price, UT on September 13th. In its inaugural year, they have shown great taste in picking a speaker. ;) I also plan on racing this marathon and checking out the unbelievable scenery along the way.

One short week at the Little Grand Canyon Marathon, I hop on a quick flight the the greater Denver area to again speak and run the Boulder Backroads Marathon.

I just got word today that I will be speaking at the Akron Marathon on Sept 27th at their pasta dinner as their featured speaker. (If you are counting at home, yes, I just ended that sentence in 4 consecutive prepositional phrases.) Come listen to me at the Zipper Capitol of the world!

Come November, I am traveling to the great Northwest, home of grunge and Frasier Crane to be the featured speaker at the Seattle Marathon. Presently, I am also not only running the race but will be the official 3:10 pace group leader!

With many more races around the country in the planning stages, I hope to be coming close to you soon. If you would like me to speak at your local race, you hold the power in your fingertips. Write to your local race director and let them know!

Come now, who can resist these legs? :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Different sports

When I started this blog I put the tagline "One runner's ramblings on all things exercise" thinking it would be just that. However, as my love affair with running has grown and it has become the sport I am most knowledgeable about , or at least, the most currently attuned to, my blog has obviously taken a running slant. Well, I have a few other sports to write about today.

* To begin, I competed in a triathlon this weekend for the first time. It was an extremely enjoyable event made more so by the fact that I was able to pull off a victory. I see the results are up now here. I was told I ran a 1:07 and change but it appears that us slightly askew. No matter. A 5 minute victory feels pretty good (although that is quite confusing since I didn't see the next runner on the run portion until he was a mile behind me. Fast mile for him I guess!)

* As some of my friends know, I used to box amateur. The affair with the sweet science began in my last year of law school and went on for about a year. I was lucky enough to end on a very good note, winning my last bout. When I got a job clerking for a judge, I moved away from my trainer and more or less ended my career. I could not go into work with black eyes or broken noses, so the fights ended.

However, I purchased a heavybag and would hit it quite often on my own time. I hung it from the balcony above my patio and enjoyed getting a solid 30 minutes in after I would return from runs when I lived in Erie. Funny, thinking back, how absolutely brand new to running I was when I lived in Erie. I'd wear cotton t-shirts and sweat pants and sometimes barely make it through 4 mile runs. And marathons? Please! i had done two of those. I was done, thank you very much!

When I moved to DC, I didn't have a balcony to hang the heavy bag from anymore, so it lay dormant in the corner for quite sometime. Then Fiddy2 happened and I did absolutely NO cross-training for a year. I am not kidding. I vividly recall that I went to the gym TWICE for the entirety of 2006. TWICE?!?

When 2007 rolled around, I finally purchased a heavy bag stand but have to admit I rarely used it. When I moved to Utah I wanted to change that. So I placed the stand outside and bought a tarp to protect it from the elements. Of course, I have now gone 31 days without seeing a drop of rain. Welcome to the desert, Dane!

The other day, I finished a run and walked right out back to use the bag. Just a few rounds in, I knew I had overdone it. I most assuredly pulled a muscle in my bicep and in my torso. I put down the gloves and called it a day. It took a few days for that soreness to subside. I felt quite mortal.

* This past weekend, after finishing my tri, I was feeling the urge to play more sports. I met up with some guys at a local park to play some basketball. Lt it be known I am FAR from a good basketball player, even when I was playing rather frequently. I was glad to see none of the guys I was playing with were making any pro squads either which is just what I wanted.

We played 3 games or so and I gave it my all. I did a decent job but that was that. the next day I woke up and man alive was I sore. Hip flexors and ankles were tight and creaky. I feel better today but goodness.

This all has told me a few things.

Number 1: You can be in the best shape of your life, which I currently am hands-down, and still not be in shape for a sport you haven't played in years.

Number 2: I am far from "old" but I am also far from "young". Now in my 33rd year of life I can no longer pick up any old sport without warming up and taking it easy, if I haven't been playing that sport for quite some time.

Number 3:
Running most assuredly does not work out the muscles that help you go side-to-side or punch a heavy bag.

All of this has led me to the conclusion that I will be doing a little more cross-training. I will not do so to the detriment of my running, however. I will do it to supplement my running. In other words, no cross-training workout will take place of a running workout. But since I want to keep my body as well-rounded as possible, I do need to spice it up a bit.

Then again, I did jump in a triathlon and whip some butt...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Deer Creek Tri Recap

A few weeks ago I was looking around for local, inexpensive races. I came across the Deer Creek Tri in nearby Heber City, UT. For just $45, I could participate in my first ever triathlon. But more importantly, the cycling part of this tri was mountain bike mandatory leg. Being that I only have a mountain bike, well, this was right up my alley. Moreover, with just an 800meter swim, a 7 plus mile mountain bike and then a 5k run, it was just long enough to get my feet wet and enjoy the race without worrying about too much sport-specific training.

After signing up, I tried to do a crash course in both cycling and swimming. I have only swam competitively once in the past decade (seriously,. ONCE) and that was in the Nations Tri last year as part of a relay. Unfortunately, my plans to swim in a local pool left me flummoxed when it was nearly impossible to swim laps amidst the revelers and kiddies. I therefore left my "training" at two separate workouts of 2000 meters each. I think this is pretty much what Phelps does for the Olympic trials.

I decided I would drive to the race the morning of, even though it was an hour away and I needed to be there between 5:30-6:00 AM. This was a decision mostly made because I did not want to pay $120 for the nearest hotel as I am cheap (I like to call it "frugal".) I could tell the vast majority of this area was absolutely gorgeous but could not see most of it through the pre-dawn darkness. I was fortunate enough to have my friend Carmen volunteer to take some pictures at the race and I eagerly anticipated a strong finish to be commemorated in them.

Arriving early, I saw a plethora of jeeps and SUVs with their bike racks attached. I think I had the only 2-door sports car with my bike hanging off the back. I joined the line to sign the waiver and get my markings. I was happy to be finally doing my first tri!

After signing all the necessary forms, I laughed when I was handed my bib. Apparently my name is too long and must be hyphenated!

I made my way to the start line about a mile away. I could see almost everyone else had a wetsuit with them. Even though the day promised to have a high of over 100 degrees, here in the mountains at 6 a.m. it was a brisk 47. Brr! I had contemplated renting or buying a wetsuit, but could not justify it for a race that was so short. I figured by the time I got the darn thing off after leaving the water, I would be way behind. So I opted for Speedo-esque shorts and prepared for a nippy swim.

Much to my surprise, when I tested the waters with my foot, the temperature was quite pleasant. Someone said it was 70 degrees and I believe them. Before long, the competitors (some who looked quite serious and I figured would give me a spirited challenge on this day) were in the water awaiting the gun. I think I was one of three out of perhaps 50 or so, who was without a wetsuit.

The gun fired (sort of) and away we went.

Time with transition: 15:45

The swim was supposed to be an out-and-back 800 meters. However, based on the effort it took me to go this distance, I have a feeling it was a good 100 meters more both ways. But we all had to swim it, so no matter.

I immediately got out to a lead and began swimming around the first bend that we had in front of us. Given the nature of the reservoir, we had to traverse a small bend before we even saw our buoy in the distance in which we would have to swim around. I wanted to get out as fast as possible to avoid getting caught behind a slower swimmer. Plus, it was cold!

Going out, I had no problem. Coming back, I was trying to stay to the left of everyone swimming at me and also try not too get to close to the shore. In the last 50 meters or so, I unfortunately beached myself in the shallow water and had to push back out into the reservoir. Sighting was difficult as we were swimming right into the rising sun. However, before too long I was able to skirt the shoreline and jump out of the water. I figured I would be in the top few competitors and was fortunate to be in first place.

We left our shoes and gear near the water's edge as the trek up the hills to our bikes was rock-laden and could not be run in bare feet. As I sat on the mat and slipped on my socks and shoes, no one else came to the shore. I was going to simply wear my swimsuit as my shorts and if it was uncomfortable, well, it would be a short race anyway.

I ran up the hill but not before glancing over my shoulder. Again, no swimmers were in sight.

I got to the top of the hill and still, no swimmers. Had I gotten out in the wrong place?!

At the top of the hill, my shirt was waiting for me on Schwinnie Cooper (my bike) which was placed ever so carefully in its position in the rack.

Time: 33 minutes

Earlier in the month I had tried to map out the bike course to see what the elevation would be like. Knowing it followed railroad tracks I did the best job I could and it appeared that I was in for a treat. Not only did the surface look hard-packed upon inspection this morning but the elevation looked like there was minimum change.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Yes, the railroad tracks hugged the shoreline and barely measured any change in elevation at all. But the bike track, while FAR from horrendous, was far more challenging than I thought it would be. The surface in many places was a mixture of gravel and sand and in other places a little more hard-packed. Moreover, there was a fair amount of up and down with quick, right-angle turns that needed to be paid attention to lest one go spiraling down the hill.

After the first near-fishtail-wipeout going down a hill, I quickly became a fan of my brakes and rode them quite often. I figured losing a few seconds on the descent and a few more on regaining speed going up the hairpin turn was a lot less time than taking a spill and breaking all sorts of bones.

The funniest moment came when I realized that there were some free-range cattle on this course. While most would retreat when I got near in a perpendicular angle, one decided to run away from me...on the trail! I assuredly could not pass him and was scared to death he would either turn on me or turn right in front of me. But I was still laughing at the site. Man, cows can hoof it!

After about 100 meters, the cow finally pulled off to the side and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Prior to my bovine adventure, I was nearly shocked off of my bike when a cyclist with a bib number passed me. Was I really THAT slow on the bike?! The biker quickly mentioned he was only doing the duathlon and I seemed to have a large lead on everyone else. I spent the next few miles trying to watch where this rider took his bike and with what speed in order to gauge what I could do as well.

Down one big hill and into the final transition I went.

Time: 18:10

There was absolutely no transition here. I stopped my bike, leaned it against a fence, took off my helmet, laid it on top and began running. I was wearing the same shoes for this 5k as I was on the bike and had no intention to change. A quick out and back with a slight hill in the middle was all that stood between me and my first completed triathlon!

I watched the duathalete in front of me climb the hill in the course right before the turn-around and rapidly descend in the other lane. Unfortunately he did not seem to notice he needed to enter a parking lot and do a good extra 100 meters in the parking lot before exiting. As it was not my place to tell him so, and given the low-key nature of this race, I simply followed the correct route myself and got ready for the last 1.5 miles.

It was not until I had less than a mile to go that I saw the next competitor. I eased off the throttle a little bit and coasted into the finishline with no one else in sight.


There was very little fanfare as I shook the hand of Mike the duathlete and we congratulated each other on our races. I was handed an extremely cool first place painting which will undoubtedly go on my wall.

I was quite pleased with my finish and allowed myself a little smile. I think I earned it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

My ugly mug - South Dakota Racing

It was brought to my attention by a few friends that I have been honored to be placed on top of this year's Mt. Rushmore Marathon and Crazy Horse Marathon website.

The pictures from this race remain some of my favorites of all the races I ran in 2006. In fact, I actually ordered one of them and had it blown up poster-size specifically because of the grand nature of the Crazy Horse Monument behind me.

There were many good memories from that race that weekend and the stories I have to tell are one of the favorites chapters of mine in the book I am writing. This was the race where I was fortunate enough to finish third overall and win one of the coolest awards I have ever received: a 20 lb piece of rock hewn from the same hills as the Crazy Horse Monument.

In addition, I got to know, long after the race was over, the gentlemen picture below, who passed me around mile 22 and ended up leaving me in the dust for the last few miles, Mike Loos. I held him off just long enough so that the photographer could take this picture. One of my favorite things about this picture is how our legs are in the exact same position.

My trip to run the Mt. Rushmore Marathon was my second trip to the Black Hills of south Dakota in 2006. In Early June, my first race as a 30 year old was the Deadwood Michelson Trail Marathon. I am kicking myself as I did not know until after the event this year that the 2008 edition was the USATF's USA Marathon Trail Championships. I would have loved to have gone back there and tried that course with MUCH fresher legs. Alas.

The one thing I did notice is how stunningly beautiful this part of our country is and how unfortunate it is that so few people make it out there to see it. Fortunately, while marathons may not be for everyone, 10k races are.

In speaking with Mike Loos, we got to talking about a 10k in Rapid City, South Dakota that is sure to become a destination race. The Wellspring Stampede is its name and there is absolutely no reason, this race cannot turn into something akin to the Boilermaker in Utica, NY or the Bolder Boulder in Colorado: both races in far away places that have become absolute mammoths in the running community.

In only its 3rd year, the race has already attracted nearly 400 participants and is sure to double and triple in size soon. I am already making my plans and hopefully will not only be participating in this race next year but speaking there as well. I can only hope you will be joinging me as well.

For further information, you need to look no further than here to contact the race itself:

Mark Snyder
phone: (605) 718-4870
fax: (605) 718-4878

I am sure they would be happy to hear you heard about their race in my blog, so don't hesitate to mention it!

Furthermore, for a closer insight to the race, a very good friend and SD local, Amy Yanni, has this to say about the Wellspring Stampede.

Happy Running!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Final Des News Marathon Prep Run

I have been running the course of the Deseret News Marathon in pieces over the past few weeks in order to properly prepare for its running on July 24th. (Previous parts were run HERE, HERE and HERE). While there remains a section from miles 6- 9 that includes a 200 plus foot climb over 2 miles that I have not run,. I feel like I know the course pretty well. Today's run was the beginning section and far and away the steepest downhill.

Starting at about 7500 feet, the course follows a twisting turning section for the first 3 miles before straightening out for one more mile. In those 4 miles, runners go down more than 1500'. The next 2 miles are mostly flat with a few gentle grades before a little climb right before the 6 mile point. Here is the elevation profile.

This doesn't look all that steep until you check out the numbers on the side. It should be a screamer of a first few miles. I hope to keep myself in check and not go ballistic but still use this downhill to my advantage. You see, in order to have that much downhill and still end up nearly a mile above sea-level, you have to start high. And when your ears pop at the beginning of your run because of altitude, you know you are up high.

Of course, this was the easy part. The hard part was getting up the damn thing. I had to park my car at the base of the mountain and begin my trek up the hill. Luckily, we will not have to run up this. Here is the map and elevation profile of the up.

I had a few cyclists zoom down the hill at me as I hiked up this first 6 miles, but none passed me. I have no doubt that riding up this is just as harder, if not worse, than running it. When I got to the top, there were a few cyclists watering themselves and resting, looking out over the canyons on both sides. One asked me: "You ran from the bottom?" I said: "Nah. Had my parents drop me off about 100 yards back, in hopes of impressing people at the top. Did it work?" It got a good laugh.

Here is what they were looking at. You can see the winding road in a few places.

And another better shot (click to enlarge):

All told it was a 12 mile run. Here are the differences in time

6 miles up: 52 minutes exactly (8:40 min per mile).
6 miles down: 40 minutes exactly (6:40 min per mile).

Just a smidgen of difference from up to down! Now begins my semi-taper. I hear they are maddening.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sandy 10k Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 3; 8th Edition
169.6 miles raced in 2008
Race: Sandy 10k
Place: Sandy, UT
Miles from home: 20 miles
Weather: Sunny and 80s

I am not even sure this race deserves a recap. But since I don't write just about the good races, I guess it deserves some words.

Basically, I knew I was not in 10k shape. Telling NRFs (non-running friends) this confuses them. While I am definitely in marathon shape, the 6.2 miler is just not there. They say "but it is 25% of the distance" to which I retort "It seems 400% faster!"

Nevertheless, I wanted to race on the 4th and I had not done many 10ks in...well...ever. I have run 78 marathons but can only think of 6 separate 10ks I have run. And since my 10k time is begging to be smashed (as if just about every time under marathon) I figured it was ripe for plucking. Heck, after only being in SLC for 5 days I lowered my then 10k PR by some 40 seconds. I thought, I had a good chance at doing it again today.

However, this was not the case. The Sandy 10k course was two loops of a 5k route (supposedly) which were not really conducive to fast times. Lots of turns and a few risers in the first 1.5 miles told me it was going to be a tough day. When I went through the 5k in a 19:xx I was shocked. I knew I wasn't going to run fast but 19?!?

From there on, given some nagging injuries and much more important races this month, I just decided to stay with the status quo. I passed one guy around 4 miles and that is the way it stood for the rest of the race. Three guys in front of me stayed there and no one came close to passing me.

I finished in 39:50 and 7th overall. Here's the kicker: 7th overall was nice and everything but I finished 4th in my age group, one out of placing. Ouch. There really is no worse place than 4th.

Even though I was not doubting I was hardly in speedster shape, and I know I am not a speedster in the shorter distances even IF I was in speedster shape, something was amiss. I knew I was not feeling THAT slow today. So I went home and measured the course using my trusty Turns out the course measure nearly .20 longer than a 10k. Doesn't sound like a great deal until you realize that is a good 112 more seconds added to my time. When I heard the winner (as 32 low 10k runner) ran in 33 high, my feelings were confirmed. At least I was not AS slow as I thought I was!

It doesn't change the fact that there is a FAR cry between being in marathon shape and running a quick 10k. Every once in a while it is nice to get that sort of reminder.

Happy 4th of July, Everyone!