What is Labor Day?

In the U.S., Labor Day is considered the end of the summer.  But what is Labor Day?

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. – U.S. Department of Labor

The first Labor Day was held in New York in 1882.  I very much enjoyed this account of the first Labor Day celebration.  The parade marshal was trying to start the parade, but the musicians that showed up had no music.  The parade nearly got cancelled, but then 200 musicians from New Jersey showed up ready to play!  I feel like there should be a movie with that scene in it.  They saved the parade!

At noon, the marchers arrived at Reservoir Park, the termination point of the parade. While some returned to work, most continued on to the post-parade party at Wendel’s Elm Park at 92nd Street and Ninth Avenue; even some unions that had not participated in the parade showed up to join in the post-parade festivities that included speeches, a picnic, an abundance of cigars and, “Lager beer kegs… mounted in every conceivable place.”

Sounds like a good party to me.

A point to remember was that on the first Labor Day, this wasn’t a holiday.  People took off work and lost wages to participate.  The idea of Labor Day as an actual holiday started to pick up steam though, as various states made it a state holiday.  Finally, in 1894, Labor Day was named a Federal Holiday.

It’s interesting to think about what those workers were dealing with in the 1800′s.  Labor unions were hugely important.  It’s easy to think that today, we no longer have those problems.  Work environments are much safer, there are child labor laws, etc.  But there are still a number of issues facing the American worker.  Overtime is still an issue in a number of places, and clearly, the minimum wage is something being debated by many people.  And many, many other issues.

But today, we celebrate the American worker.  It’s a day to relax and spend time with family and reward yourself for all the hard work you’ve done this year.  You’re worth it.

 

A Lazy Weekend. Sorta.

It is the weekend.  It is a holiday weekend.  And I have managed to schedule my work so that I actually have four whole days off.  I cannot explain to you how excited I am about this.

So I’m sure you’re wondering what sort of amazing plans I have in place.  Labor Day weekend is usually a big time for that “last bash” of summer, right?

I have nothing planned.  NOTHING.

(Well, okay, that’s a lie, I do actually have a training plan I need to stick to.)

For the first weekend since sometime in mid-July, I don’t have any plans.  I’m not going anywhere.  I’m not racing.  I’m not doing a 24 hour bike ride.  I’m staying home and I could not be more excited.

Admittedly, I have a huge list of things that I need to get done around the house.  Let’s just say that my busy schedule has had a negative impact on my housekeeping skills.  No critters have moved in yet, but the dust bunnies may become sentient if I don’t take care of things soon.

But I also plan to sleep in (except for my long run day – gotta beat the heat!) and take the time to cook meals I will actually enjoy and just enjoy the freedom of doing what I want when I want.  Plus I’m looking forward to actually having an uncluttered house again.  I painted the closet the first weekend of July.  It’s high time the ladder gets put away.

Sprint Triathlon PR

When I posted about my most recent triathlon, I mentioned that it was a course PR.   Someone asked me if it was my sprint PR as well.  And the answer is… well, not really.  Triathlon PRs, primarily at the sprint distance, are a different animal and hard to compare.

Obviously, courses are different.  You can have hilly and flat sprint triathlons.  You can have pool swims, swims in a calm lake, swims in a moving river, or swims in the ocean.  But the terrain of the course of a running race varies too.

The big difference that a lot of people miss is that the sprint distance isn’t always standardized.  From what I understand, the “standard” sprint distance is approximately a 750m swim, 12.4 mile bike, and 5k run.

How does that compare to my triathlons this year?

Dragonfly Heart – 400m swim, 10 mile bike, 2 mile run

Fort Ritchie – 750m swim, 15 mile bike, 5k run

Iron Girl Columbia – 1000m swim, 16 mile bike, 3.3 mile run

So none of them fall into the standard distance (though Fort Ritchie is close).  And because of the variations in distances, I can’t really compare them.  Each race is distinctly different, not only because of terrain but because of distance.  It’s like comparing a 5k race and a 5 mile race and saying which one is your PR.

Therefore, if you ask me today what my sprint triathlon PR is, I will just shrug.

The difference in distances is also important to note when you’re signing up for a race.  Make sure you check out those distances before you sign up for a sprint.  Iron Girl Columbia had a swim that was more than twice the distance of Dragonfly Heart, and both are billed as sprint races.  A number of women during Iron Girl Columbia seemed shocked at how far the swim really was and some complained that it was mismeasured.  Based on my swim time, I’d say it was just fine.  They just hadn’t realized that sprint distance swims aren’t all the same.

I like the variation in distances.  Each race is challenging in a different way.  But it’s good to know what I’m up against when I reach the start line.

Wednesday Workout Recap

Well… I got the workout recap done on time, so I should get points for that, right?

Monday – Rest Day

Tuesday – 6 miles of speedwork.  I was very motivated for this run due to all the people who passed me on the run during Iron Girl Columbia.  I’m never going to be fast, but I can always get a little bit faster.

Wednesday – Dentist. Crown prep.  Headache.  Sleep.

Thursday – With Team Fight swim cancelled for the week, I did Wednesday’s bike workout.  Some light speedwork.

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 24 Hours of Booty!  Got in 70 miles.

Sunday – More Booty!  Additional 43 miles.

In number of miles, it was a victory.  In number of workouts… eh.