Anne on course during a 2010 24-hour run.This year, I chose an unusual way to spend New Year’s Eve. While my friends were at parties or celebrating at home cozied up next to the fire with a DVD, I was running laps around the almost one-mile loop at Morganton’s Freedom Park. One hundred and forty-two of them, to be exact. Why, in heaven’s name, you might ask, would I partake in something so mind-numbing, so exhausting, so absurd? I asked myself that same question many times that night, and I guess the best answer was “because it was there.”Believe it or not, this activity that I participated in was an organized event, The Freedom Park New Year’s Ultra Run. I chose the 24 hour option and thirty-five other brave souls made the same brave — or foolish?– decision.Many people, runners and non-runners alike, have asked me why I compete in 24-hour races. Yes, races plural. Last week’s event was the third of this type for me. Each time I’ve sworn to myself “never again”, because it is a pretty miserable experience in a lot of ways. I guess the best answer is that I have a deep inner need to challenge myself, and at this point in my running career and my life, this feels like a good way to do that. In the weeks after finishing an event, I find myself thinking about ways I could improve upon that performance, things I could do differently next time, and before I know it, I’ve taken the plunge and sent in an entry form.I decided to run this race back in September, and in the months leading up to the event, my training was going well and I was super motivated. Then the holidays hit, and with them, the dreaded taper. I found myself completely out of my training routine and shoulder-deep in holiday treats – sugar cookies, fudge, cheesecake. By the time the 31st rolled around, I felt like a giant walking ball of sugar. Running for 24 hours straight was the last thing I wanted to do, but since I had already paid my entry fee, I figured I might as well go ahead with it.For those of you who haven’t run or watched this type of race, let me be the first to tell you that it’s not an exciting event. It’s all about patience. For the first twelve hours, not a lot happens. For the runners, however, it’s a pretty important portion of the race. Races aren’t won in the first twelve hours, but they can sure be lost. I had my game plan, which was to run three laps, followed by a four-minute walk break. It was a challenge to walk that early in the race, especially as my competition was not. It can be demoralizing to be lapped, over and over again, yet I knew that if I was going to stick it out for the long haul, this is how I had to do it. One fellow competitor even remarked that he had confused me for someone fast until he saw me walking and realized that he must have been mistaken.So that’s how it went – run for twenty-five minutes or so, walk for four. Over and over and over. The race began at eight a.m. and by mid afternoon, I was feeling tired and bored. Ready for the finish and knowing that a long cold night was between me and that finish line. The whining commenced. Each time I circled the track and returned to my husband, who, by the way, had to stay up all night enduring the cold and fatigue without any endorphins to lighten his mood, I would whisper in a baby voice, I’m not sure I can do this. Being the compassionate soul that he is, he would refuse to allow me to indulge in self-pity, instead giving me a little shove indicating that it was time to begin another lap.By the time darkness fell, I knew that he wasn’t going to allow me to quit. And I knew in my heart that I would continue, no matter how much it sucked. I promised myself that this would be my last 24-hour race – actually, my last race ever – and if I could only finish, I would live out my remaining years as a couch potato. I grabbed my iPod and powered it up to the page-turning audiobook that I had downloaded the week before. And a miraculous thing happened – I began to feel good. Okay, not good, but at least not like I was at death’s door. I churned out the laps, one by one, cheering on my fellow crazies – err, competitors. Before I knew it, the faint glow of the sunrise emerged from the east and a new day – and year – was dawning.I finished the race with a good attitude, helped in part by a shiny new PR. What a way to welcome in the new year! I have thanked my husband multiple times for forcing me to forge on when I felt I could not. As is always the case, I’m glad that I persevered, even though it was quite a challenge at times. As for my promise to never do this again? The competitor within me is already contemplating ways I could go just a little further next time…Editor’s Note: Though she is too humble to mention it, Anne Lundblad won overall at the Freedom Park Ultra, set the course record, and turned in the fourth best performance ever by a North American woman. Lundblad covered 140 miles in 24 hours.
Miami forum discusses public funding of judicial campaigns Miami forum discusses public funding of judicial campaigns May 15, 2002 Regular News The idea of public financing of judicial campaigns is gaining momentum nationwide as well as in Florida, according to Edith Osman of Miami, a former president of The Florida Bar and a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence.“It is incumbent on the legal profession to find ways to better the current system of judicial selection,” Osman said. “Although Florida voters last year rejected merit retention for trial judges, a great many people think the time is ripe to re-evaluate judicial selection because so many people are uncomfortable with current methods of financing judicial campaigns.”Two leaders of the ABA’s effort to enhance judicial independence, D. Dudley Oldham of Houston and Edward Madeira, Jr., of Philadelphia, met with Florida and Dade bar leaders recently to discuss judicial qualifications and public financing of judicial campaigns.“The American Bar Association is providing a variety of solutions to problems that plague judicial selection and threaten the independence of the judiciary,” said Oldham, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Judicial Independence.“Public financing of judicial campaigns is another option recently recommended by the ABA. It is important to remember that regardless of the selection method used in individual states, Americans want fair and impartial judges. Respect for the rule of law is what sets our country apart and makes our system of government an example for all.”He said that North Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas, and several other states are giving serious consideration to public financing proposals.Miami bar leaders, even those on opposite sides of the merit selection issue when it appeared on the ballot in the November 2000 election, expressed support for public financing of judicial campaigns. They said judges should be removed from a process that requires them to raise large amounts of campaign money, and one proponent said public financing of judicial campaigns in Dade County would cost only $1.5 million, according to Oldham.Stephen Zack, a Miami lawyer who serves as chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Bar Activities and Services, told the gathering that it would be “fabulous” if public financing could be enacted for $1.5 million, but he said perhaps the cost would be higher.Proponents said they hoped Florida legislators would approve a “local option” on public financing allowing each county to decide whether to finance judicial campaigns with public money.Madeira, chair of the ABA Commission on State Judicial Selection Standards, said people across America are concerned about the qualifications of judges, and that proposed judicial eligibility panel could evaluate judicial candidates’ qualifications.“The standards adopted by the ABA are intended to be consistent with merit-based selection of judges, and in states such as Florida, where the voters have chosen to continue electing trial court judges, the standards can be used as a basis to improve public confidence that qualified judges are being elected,” Madeira said.
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