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Zorch: finding faster


Zorch

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So, last 6 weeks have been a bit of a revelation.  After a fairly brutal first 2 - 2 1/2 months of the year during which running was about my only source of respite from an otherwise challenging time in my life, things started to click.  I embraced the pain and fed my body a steady stream of 6x800 meter interval workouts and tempo runs.  My training paces started falling.  On a whim, I decided to enter a 5k in mid-March, and decided "what the hell, I'm just going to go hard and see what happens."  What happened was a PR, and my first 5k under 21 minutes ever.  

 

This all helped build positive momentum in my life.  While my life right now looks quite a bit different than I expected it to 4 months ago, Everything is pretty good now, after more or less being blindsided and knocked off my feet in the first couple months of this year.

 

I had run a sub-7 minute pace over reasonable distances exactly once prior to this year, back in June of 2014.  Now,I've done it 5 times in the past 6 weeks(6 if you count both halves of a 10k separately!), including multiple times in a single day. I'm now training in the low to mid 7 minute range, where I was in the low 8's the first couple months of this year.  What I'm doing is working, and it feels good. 

 

Therefore, this challenge is all about the speed.  But I'm still training like a ranger and keeping the strength work, so I'm still here.  Scouts are welcome to chase me if they want to. :) 

 

Put the hammer down, hard and often

It's spring, and that means one thing: It's time for group speed workouts at the local track.  This is an incredibly motivating thing - as not only are intervals a lot more fun/suck a whole lot less when you're with a good group of people, but there are some folks in the group who can outright fly, to the point where I'm actually doing most of the chasing.  It's a great opportunity to work on becoming faster with more accomplished runners.

 

Goal: Interval work 2x/week - track workout, plus one session on my own.  Typically long intervals(800m+), as those seem to be giving me the most bang for the buck right now.

 

Take care of your legs, and they'll take care of you

I recently got some new running shoes, because my old ones were getting old.  Unfortunately, as shoe companies are wont to do, they retired my beloved New Balance 890's, and there isn't a 1-for-1 replacement.  I got a new pair of running shoes(New Balance Vazees), and while they're fast and light, I'm not convinced that they're right for me, as my feet feel a bit beaten up after a few runs in them.  My body's ability to sustain my training regimen is the only thing between me and a whole lot more speed, so I need to figure out what footwear is going to work for me, and take care of my body.

 

Goal: Figure out what I'm doing with my shoes - either stick with the new shoes, or get a pair of more cushioning shoes as my everyday runners, and save the speed shoes for when I actually need to be fast

 

Oh, and do the damn stretches/mobility work.  Because if I get hurt due to my lack of flexibility, I'll have no one to blame but myself.

 

Speed isn't just made on the track, it's made in the kitchen, and in bed!

I may have intentionally made that last part a little dirty.  You're welcome.

 

Goals here are basically the same as last challenge, but without the suck: 7-8 hours of sleep a night, limit alcohol on weeknights, and ultimately drop a few pounds(I'm 190ish now, would like to hit 185-186 by the end of the challenge)

 

Run.  Fast.

I have 3 races planned for this challenge(including the day before the challenge officially starts)

 

May 7: 5k.  Goal Pace: 6:30.  (Really, I want to stay in striking distance of a 20-minute 5k here, and see if I can kick my way to sub-20 with a good finish)

May 24: 3.5 miles.  Goal Pace: 6:34. (~23:00)

May 28: 8k.  Goal Pace: 6:45/mi (~33:30)

 

All of these are going to hurt, but are probably on the edge of attainability.  Main challenge with the first race will be the course; main challenge with the second will be huge crowds(need to not get caught in a mob at the start).  The third one is home turf for me - I just need to train and stay healthy.  Goal pace may shift depending on how I progress over the next few weeks, but these goal paces represent about a 10-second/mile improvement over what I ran in mid-April.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Following along from waaaaaaay behind you as you zoom past.

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Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52,53,54

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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Yesterday was the first group track workout of the year!  Weather looked dicey with some scattered showers and thunderstorms in the vicinity, but I decided to chance it and show up.  Crowd was light(probably due to the forecast), but it ended up being 60 degrees with a light breeze and no precipitation - perfect weather!

 

1.25 mile warmup, 6x800 meters, 200 meter recovery, 1.5 mile cooldown.  6.5 total

 

Workout was intended to be at 5k pace.  I was going for 6:30/mile - ended up running them in 3:10-3:15 each, so that was right on point.  The thought of running a 5k at a 6:30 pace is still terrifying.  I've never run close to that pace for anything more than a single mile according to my GPS watch, so trying to approach that on Saturday seems crazy.  We'll see.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Yep on my left, on my left, on my left, on my left. Wanna switch sides? On my right, on my right.

Bugger it I'll hold the stopwatch.

Woden uses ravens, I use an iphone.

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Where to find me: Current Challenge : Battle Log Facebook : Instagram :

"Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you're trying to improve. That's it. Just 1%." ArtofManliness Article.

"That which is wise and holy helps the health and wholeness of the chain of generations." D. R. Miller. 

"We do not rise to our expectations. We fall to our level of training." Archilochus

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... I'm tired.

 

Got up at 4:45 AM this morning to get into work by 6 - had an experiment whose execution I needed to oversee.  Thankfully, everything went seamlessly.  Still makes for a very tired person.

 

After work I did what I'd consider a "dry run" for Saturday's 5k.  Due to weather looking a little dicey, I opted to do my work on the treadmill, factoring in that the treadmill is theoretically 15 to 20 seconds per mile easier than road running.

 

So as to not tax my body all that much and leave me fresh for Saturday, my workout was the following:

  • Warm-up: 1 mile, 10 minutes/mile
  • Hard and Fast: 1 mile at 6:15/mile, 1 mile at 6:07/mile
  • Cool-down: 1.25 miles, 10 minutes/mile

My right calf was pretty tight and bugging me at the start, but it loosened up and decided to cooperate, and I ended up feeling pretty good over the second mile.  I could definitely have held a 5k on the treadmill at that pace(and for reference, my treadmill 5k pace in March was around 6:25-6:30).I guess this means on Saturday I'm going for 6:30 pace or better.  We'll see how that goes.

 

Friday, I'll be resting my legs, and doing some upper body strength work - because I'm not about to give up my ranger card in the name of pure endurance.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Zorch's right calf the saga continues:

 

Work was better than yesterday, mostly because I had a proper night's sleep.  Monday morning is going to be contentious, but I have plenty of time to prepare and psychologically reload.  It's the weekend.

 

Did upper body work today.  Was definitely a little weaker than I sometimes am - most likely because I wasn't fully recovered from my last session - this was supposed to be a leg day but I switched it up because doing squats the day before a race where you're shooting for a PR is a horrible, horrible idea.

 

I've spent at least 90 minutes over the past 2 days working on my calf.  It's not happy, but it seems to be loosening up.  I'm planning on going hard tomorrow, but I'm going to play it by ear.  I'm also going to bring 2 pairs of shoes to the race - my "fast" shoes, as well as the kinder, gentler shoes that are nicer to my posterior chain but not quite as light/fast/efficient.  Will see how I feel.  It's only 3.1 miles, and if I can get the thing to loosen up I'm going to put the hammer down and see what happens.

 

Other than that, I'm feeling relaxed and pretty good overall.  Going to really enjoy the weekend and spend some quality family time for Mother's day Sunday evening.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Woke up this morning and the calf was still tight.  Ugh.  Still, I laced up(with the fast/calf-unfriendly shoes, to boot), and headed to the race.

 

I'm usually not a big warm-up person, but today I spent a lot of time warming up and getting my calf loose.  The good news is it worked - my calf was offering no protests by the start of the race.  I probably expended more energy on this than I should have.  (more on this later.)

 

Race was a little different from what I expected.  The field was a little smaller/thinner than last year - most likely because there was another local 5k at the same time, and folks were split between the two races.  As a result, I only saw two "fast" people there that I recognized - both were elite local athletes and I knew I couldn't hang with either of them, but there was no one else there I could use for pace - so I decided to stick with the game plan and go out at 6:30 and see if I could hold/push the finish.

 

From there nothing went according to plan.  Three quarters of a mile in I found myself in third place overall, with the first two folks pulling away from me, but with me gradually opening a gap on the folks behind me.  I hit my first mile in 6:30.  At the 1.5 mile mark there was an uphill - this course was a bit less flat than I anticipated, and that took more out of me than I would have expected.  Second mile was between also close to 6:30 - and at this point I probably had 20-25 seconds on the folks behind me - though I was really hurting at this point.  At the 2.5 mile mark I had to check up/break stride to avoid being killed by a car that had no respect for a pedestrian crossing/right of way.  I'm usually not an angry person, but I'm pretty sure the look I gave the driver said something to the effect of "I WILL $#@!ING END YOU, YOU INCONSIDERATE %$#@!*^&."  - Few things are more infuriating than losing your momentum half a mile from the end of a 5k when you're already suffering(particularly when you're a veritable giant relative to the rest of the field).  In the last quarter mile I was fading... and fading a couple folks behind me were closing - by the last 100 meters it probably looked like I was going to be caught, and...

 

Oh Hell No. My 6'6"/190 lb frame isn't well-suited to hauling ass over long distances, but I've got the raw firepower to burn just about anyone in a sprint.  My tank was empty, but I put the pedal to the floor anyways, and managed to hold on by less than a second, coming in with a PR *and* a 3rd place finish overall plus an age group win.

 

I wasn't 100% physically, and didn't run a good race(went out too hard, misjudged the course), but came home with a PR and an age group award.  I'll call that a win - even if the competition was lighter than I expected.

 

After the race, did an easy 3 miles, mowed the lawn, got a haircut, and did some spring cleaning on my clothes, sorting out some stuff to get rid of/donate to charity.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Woohoo on the third overall, awesome to get a PR even if some dick tried skittling you. You have done a great job.

Woden uses ravens, I use an iphone.

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Where to find me: Current Challenge : Battle Log Facebook : Instagram :

"Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you're trying to improve. That's it. Just 1%." ArtofManliness Article.

"That which is wise and holy helps the health and wholeness of the chain of generations." D. R. Miller. 

"We do not rise to our expectations. We fall to our level of training." Archilochus

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Congrats on the PR and award. I'm  always amazed at the amount of times I am almost run over when I am out walking.  Even when I walk in near our school, I've had people zoom by without giving me the right of way, in what is supposed to be a 25 mph zone.

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Wisdom 21   Dexterity 11   Charisma 14   Strength 18  Constitution-12

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"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

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Good job on the PR and the sprint at the end.

Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52,53,54

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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It's go time!  For the challenge, that is.

 

Sunday I did what any good son would do on Mother's, and spent a sizeable chunk of the day with my mom.  I'm really lucky to have the family I do, and Mothers' day is a good opportunity to remind myself of this.

 

I also did leg a day Sunday - squats, step-ups(while carrying kettlebells), the whole nine yards.  Legs generally felt pretty good and peppy yesterday.  The same can't be said for today - I clocked 5 and a quarter miles at a 7:20 pace, but my legs didn't feel great and my paced sagged ever so slightly over the last mile - I think those explosive squats left me a little sore.  Of course it feels silly to say this, considering I'm currently doing training runs faster than my 5k race pace from last December.  Still, it's a reminder of Challenge item #2: take care of my legs.  While I'm really happy with the amount of work I've been able to put in(and still recover from) this year, I need to be mindful of the fact that the biggest factor in whether I can hit my goals has less to do with my mental fortitude, or even my physical genetic potential, but whether my body can withstand the training regimen that I want put myself through.  So, I need to take care of myself, and remember that I'm training with a time horizon of months(or years), not days.

 

Thus, tomorrow is going to be a recovery day.  Of course, this may not actually be because I think it's time to take my third day off over the past 10 weeks.  The real reason may actually be because I have a date.  Pretty sure it's the right decision either way. ;) 

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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12 minutes ago, Xena said:

Congratulations!! Be sure to go easy on your calf this week :-)

 

Do you know if your shoes have a difference in drop? I'm wondering if that's what you are feeling in your calf more than the cushioning.

 

Thanks!  Calf is a lot better already.

 

And I think you're spot-on regarding the shoes.  They've got a touch less drop than my old shoes(6 vs. 8 mm if I recall correctly) - which is resulting on me doing less of a heel strike - instead doing something a little more neutral - which has the side effect of working the calves and Achilles a bit more.  I think this is probably a good thing over the long haul, but I'm probably still getting used to them right now.  It's feeling more like the DOMS you tend to get when doing a new lift for the first time - more of a dull ache and/or a bit of tightness.  None of the sharper pain that typically accompanies more severe injuries - so I'm feeling pretty comfortable that it's nothing major, and something that I can work through.

 

Side note - I still need to get used to running in these shoes.  The slightly different motion seems to be working my legs a little bit differently than my old shoes, which may be why my legs felt unexpectedly spent both at the end of Saturday's 5k, as well as today's run.  Given that the 24th is my "big" race where I really need to have my best performance, I need to make a decision by then regarding whether I'm ready to give it a shot with these shoes, or fall back to my old(but somewhat worn) standbys for one or two more races.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Tuesday/Wednesday update: where Zorch embraces his inner extrovert(wait, I have one of those?).

 

Work was, is, and will continue to be insane in the near future.  Let us not talk about that any more.

 

 

Tuesday turned into an off day by virtue of me having a date(and my legs needed it, too).  After a brief "oh shit, I just agreed to dinner at a restaurant that doesn't take reservations, that was really dumb" moment, I decided to get there a little early to snag a table.  Thankfully that worked, and my date was actually hanging out around the area, such that I didn't have to wait around by myself for an extended period of time, looking like a poor fool with no friends.  Whew, crisis averted!  The date itself went fairly well - we did dinner at a tapas place that had a variety of fun, interesting food, followed by a walk outside on a beautiful spring evening - and it went well enough that she's at least interested in a second date - so all in all, Tuesday was a good day.

 

Today was a super-packed evening - first I did a speed workout with some really fast local runners.  Intervals should have been at a ~7:00/mile pace for me, but I ended up running them closer to 6:30.  Amazingly I still feel pretty good afterwards for a workout that should have been pretty brutal.  I did get rather hot - temperatures were close to 80 for the first time in 6+ months, but I handled it and held my pace well.

 

Afterwards, went to trivia night with friends/coworkers - first time this group has gotten together in a couple months.  Between Tuesday and Today I managed to violate the "no alcohol on weeknights" rule twice in two days, but given the occasions I think it's warranted. :) 

 

Tomorrow is probably another solo run workout, followed by softball practice with co-workers for the upcoming league.  Because training hard before practice is what I'm supposed to do, right?

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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1 hour ago, Xena said:

Great update! Glad your date worked out well, and great job keeping up with the speedsters.

Thanks!  I'm pretty wiped out now, after 3 days of pretty packed evenings and not a lot of down time, but it's been fun!

 

After work today, we did softball practice with the work group.  Didn't get the run in before practice, because I had to stay late at work, and ended up getting out the door more like 6:15 instead of 5.  Probably not a terrible thing that I didn't end up both running and playing softball, as my body clearly isn't used to the kind of torque I applied to it tonight.  Going to be sore(the good kind) tomorrow.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Playing softball still counts as a work out for the day. Even if different to what you normally do. Perhaps even more so because you worked your muscles differently, as well as different muscles.

Woden uses ravens, I use an iphone.

Where to find me: Current Challenge : Battle Log Facebook : Instagram :

"Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you're trying to improve. That's it. Just 1%." ArtofManliness Article.

"That which is wise and holy helps the health and wholeness of the chain of generations." D. R. Miller. 

"We do not rise to our expectations. We fall to our level of training." Archilochus

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Hi, my name is Zorch and I have a problem.  I claim I'm going to quit, but I keep on signing up for races.

 

So, this weekend was supposed to be a normal-ish weekend.  Nope.  Friday I decided to sign up for another 5k(in this case, a local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event, so it's for a good cause!).  Anyhow...

 

Saturday was... meh.  Half day at work.  Did some upper body strength work in the afternoon.  Still felt pretty mediocre - core was still hurting from Thursday's softball practice.  All in all I was in a pretty crappy mood...

 

Sunday was race day... again?  I felt kind of lousy at the starting line(again) - it was 40 degrees with a 15 mph wind, and my hamstring was protesting, but off we went.

 

Half a mile in: 3:10.  "Damn it Zorch.  No one cares that you have more raw horsepower than the rest of this field.  Cool your jets."  So resisted my urge to chase the early speedsters and settled in. I proceeded to tick off the first 2 miles about 4-5 seconds/mile slower than last week.  Then we turned onto the home stretch, straight into the teeth of a 15 mph headwind.  Except where last week, I ran a dying 7-minute mile 3, this week I focused, gritted my teeth, and just started picking people off, running the 3rd mile in 6:35.  Of course, the timing strip at the finish failed to pick me up, so my time wasn't "official" for the purposes of the race results, but it was a PR anyways.  Officially only by a few seconds, but the course was actually a touch longer than last week.  And perhaps more importantly, for the first time ever in a road race, I clocked an average pace in the 6:30's(6:38 by the watch).  Yay!

 

Of course, I'm still trying to hit 6:35 over 3.5 miles about 10 days from now.  That's going to have to come from fresh legs, the kitchen, and raw blood and guts.  We'll see.

 

And today was just one of those days - I somehow just had a semi-infinite energy reserve today, so I uhh... ran another 3 miles "easy" (low 8's pace) afterwards.  Then I went to the gym for leg day.  Then I mowed the lawn.  Because someone flipped the "Beast Mode" switch while I wasn't looking, it seems?

 

As for the next week, we're still in crisis mode - and I've got a summer intern starting tomorrow - smart kid, but zero experience.  Hopefully this will be an opportunity to teach a young engineer-in-training about what we do, and give him a really good opportunity/learning experience.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Good job on that PR

Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52,53,54

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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6 hours ago, Xena said:

You were remarkably cool about it, but **I'm** mad that the timing mat messed up!! Grrr

I might have been more annoyed about it, but I would have been 4th in my age group, so I wasn't missing out on anything.  Such is life.

 

On that note - If we want to go on about things I'm mad about - 3 of the last 4 races I've been in, I've been #4 in my age group.  Ugh.  At least in this case it serves as motivation - I'm getting to the point where I'm REALLY close to being seriously competitive within my age group in everything except really large races.  Probably need another 15-20 seconds/mile to be reliably in that territory at this point.  Realistically I think I can get there by the end of the summer.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Ho-hum.

 

Work was... insane, as anticipated.  Intern started today, so I spent much of the day showing him the ropes and working on administrative things to get him started.  There was also a good chunk of drama(unrelated to the intern), but I won't go into detail here.  Suffice it to say, today was one of those days that took 2-3 days worth of energy.

 

After work, 5.2 miles, 7:27/mile.  Didn't feel great - legs were still pretty dead from the beating I gave them on Sunday.  Tomorrow's going to be an upper body day though, so my legs will get some time to recover.  I've also laid out my general plan for the next week:

 

Plan for the next 7 days:

Tuesday: Upper body strength

Wednesday: Track(speed workout)

Thursday: Running - moderate pace

Friday: Lower Body strength

Saturday: Tempo or speed work

Sunday: Easy running, possibly upper body strength

Monday: Rest and preparation

Tuesday: Go hard or go home!

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Another PR that is cool. Looks like a decent plan for a lead up to your next race.

Woden uses ravens, I use an iphone.

Where to find me: Current Challenge : Battle Log Facebook : Instagram :

"Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you're trying to improve. That's it. Just 1%." ArtofManliness Article.

"That which is wise and holy helps the health and wholeness of the chain of generations." D. R. Miller. 

"We do not rise to our expectations. We fall to our level of training." Archilochus

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Ugh.  Sometimes life just messes with you.

 

As of midweek, everything seemed to be pretty under control - work looked to be settling down, felt pretty good about where I was physically, and so on and so forth.  Then stuff happened.

 

I tweaked my Achilles(or I think it's my Achilles - it's a little high for an Achilles issue, and a little low for a calf) during Wednesday's track workout.  Thursday it was really bothering me, Friday was a little better, today it's feeling well enough that I'll hopefully test it with some light work.  Anyhow, that meant no running Thursday/Friday, and strength training(and a little elliptical work, since the Achilles seems okay with that).  Needless to say this had me stressed and in a lousy mood the last couple days.

 

And of course, work.  It seemed to be settling down, only to come in Friday morning and everything had changed and we're back in the middle of crisis mode.  Which means I'm about to shower and go into work on this Saturday morning.  And have a high-pressure lunch meeting with some fairly high-ranking folks today.  On a Saturday.  This is starting to piss me off, as the main thing currently preventing me from leading the kind of life I want to lead has been the ridiculousness of work.  And the ridiculousness has become accepted as "normal" rather than the exception.  Ugh Ugh Ugh.

 

Anyhow... I'm going to go to work.  Achilles is feeling better, so I'm going to hopefully test it later today with some light work.  If it cooperates, I'll be a much happier person.  If not, I'll gut it out through Wednesday anyways.  Of course, taking 5 days off before a race isn't a good way to run a fast time, but... hell.  We'll see what happens.

"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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