Dear Younger Me: Lauren Fleshman

Lauren Fleshman wrote a letter to her younger self that I thought was worth sharing.


For those who don’t know, Lauren Fleshman was a very successful runner for the US from the early 2000s until about 2012. Here’s a good race of her’s.

The letter touches on the issue of young runners, specifically girls, going through puberty, and how it affects their running and personal health.

Puberty affect boys and girls unfairly when it comes to running. For boys, it’s an automatic performance enhancer. For girls, it’s a total guessing game, and often leads to a decrease in performance.

However, girls, and more specifically, coaches, don’t handle this well. Pressure exists to perform well in the short-term and this often results in sacrificing health, most notably in the form of an eating disorder.

The athletes are too young to recognize how serious it is and the coaches (not all, but too many) are too selfish to stop it. This can be a plague on college teams and the culture is such that girls on the team often don’t speak about it at all despite everyone knowing what’s going on.

This issue isn’t talked about enough based on the amount of impact it has on young women in the sport, so Fleshman’s letter, and any other effort to bring this issue more to the forefront of high school / collegiate running is a positive.

A Monday for the Ages

Going into Monday night I wanted two things to happen. 

  1. Advance in the Bowling Playoffs
  2. Break 16:00 in the 5k

Bowling Playoffs – Round 1

How I felt leaving the team in game 3

The #5 seeded Snakes faced off against #4 seed Icantbowlieveitsnotgutter in a best of three matchup.

We crushed game 1 and were looking good in our second until I foot fouled and things went down hill from there. I had to head out for my race and leave it to the other Snakes to advance us for game 3.

Jordan bombed, Evan bowled well, and TC put up a legendary 290 to win by a mere 13 pins. The Snakes advance to the semi-finals next week. WATCH OUT!

Swat Last Chance

Drew’s 1500m

In an un-Mackin-like performance, Drew pushed during the third lap of the 1500, clocking a 61 for that 400m, and nearly won his heat in a very impressive 3:56 (4:15 mile equivalent). There’s a lot more in the tank for Drew. 3:56 and 1:50 are only the beginning.

My 5000m

At nearly 10:45 PM my race started with 33 other competitors. I had my fingers crossed for sub 16:00. I got out just fine but was getting passed non-stop. Eventually I had to decide if I wanted to latch on to a pack or slip back into no-mans land. I went with the former.

We hit the mile in 5:02, which was fast, but I could feel that I wasn’t in over my head. The ~15:5x pack stayed in touch through two miles in 10:09.

With 850m left I made a move to the front of the pack and immediately regretted it, thinking I’d shot my wad too early. I had my 200m left face on with 600m to go. Once we got to a lap left I knew at the very least I could maintain pace.

My last 400m was a 73 and my final time was 15:51, good for 74th out of 86!

All things considered, I’m pretty happy.

My PR is going down.

Bed Frame for the Sheep

After four straight years of not sleeping with a bed frame, I caved and bought a bed frame.

The higher the frame, the more of a sheeple.

People can only laugh at your mattress on the floor so many times before you break, even I’m not immune it.

But I stand by my statement, that bed frames make no sense. Does anyone stop and ask themselves WHY they have a bed frame? What is the benefit of sleeping three feet off the ground? I don’t get it.

The only one that comes to mind is storage, but my room has nothing in it as is. Maybe less spiders will crawl on me? I actually like spiders.

Forget spiders, here’s to being one of the sheep!

Casino on a Tuesday

On Tuesday, our marketing department went out for dinner / drinks after work.

It was 8:00 and someone half-jokingly suggested going to Parx. I was obviously on board and surprisingly so were the other 5 people.

After a quick drive and Wawa ATM trip we arrived at Parx. A coworker of mine and I sat down at a $15 min bet blackjack table and got started.

I had two note-worthy hands.

Hand 1

On a $100 bet, I had 99 against a dealer 4. I split. Stayed on hand one, then got another 99, so I split again, quickly going from a $100 hand to a $300 hand. None of the three hands were great, but the dealer busted and I got up a quick $300.

Hand 2

I was up $400 and my coworker said something about the plunger strategy which I’ve mentioned before to him. I plunged. My $400 profit was on the line.

First card 2. Okay.

Dealer card 6. Very good.

Second card 9. LEGGGOOOOOO!!!!

I had $405 left, so I doubled my 11 against a dealer 6 for an $800 hand. I had like four coworkers watching so I needed this to work. Dealer flips my card. KING!

The shoe ended a few hands later. I tipped the dealer $25 and cashed out for a net profit of $1200.

Now what?


A few months ago I went to Parx alone on a Sunday and won $1000. I don’t do anything with the money I win. I brought in coffee and donuts to work this morning, but other than that, it just goes into my bank account.

The one thing I’m going to buy with this money is a Kitty Castle for Covy. I’m also considering giving a $100 tip somewhere just for the hell of it.

Other than that, I don’t have any good ideas aside from the obvious of “go back to the casino, sit down with $1200, and try to turn it into $10,000”, which is a good idea.

My $17 Pair of Socks

I bought a $17 pair of running socks 6 months ago. I had no idea they were $17, but by the time I was at the register, I wasn’t going to put them back.

They’re really nice, too nice actually. They feel great. In the 6 months I’ve owned them, I’ve worn them twice; for the Rothman 8k and for my long run today.

My thought process for never wearing them is this:

“Jeez, I spent $17 on these, I don’t want to wear them out on a stupid 6 mile run on a Wednesday. These should be for special occasions!”

This is the paradox of buying nice things.

I buy it because it’s nice, but then I never use it because it’s too nice and I don’t want to wear it out. I’ll probably wear these socks four times a year and they’ll never be worn out, just because they were $17 and not $2.

The Food at South Bowl: A+

I bowl at South Bowl 1-2 times a week. Bowling alleys aren’t known for their food, but South Bowl is.

I’d tried most items, but they recently updated the menu and I had my first ‘new’ dish on Monday – the steak sandwich. It was a 9/10 and only cost $8.99. There’s 5 other new things on the menu that I haven’t tried but plan on doing so.

I don’t know how South Bowl does it, but they consistently put out restaurant quality food for a fraction of the price in a way better place – a bowling alley. I may start going there just for the food, it’s that good.

So if you’ve read my stupid bowling posts and are even 1% curious, make a point to go to South Bowl, get yourself a great meal, and bowl a game or two to see how stupid this hobby we’ve taken up is.

My Recommendations:

  • Steak Sandwich
  • Chicken Cutlet Sandwich
  • Burger however you prefer
  • Shroomin’ Pizza
  • Korean Fried Tacos
  • Grilled Shrimp Scampi Pizza

Thank you South Bowl.

Elvis Passing is the End of an Era

Elvis was put down last Thursday.

Animals passing sucks. I think it’s due to their innocent nature. Humans know when they’re dying and what it means, so you don’t feel as bad. Animals just know they don’t feel well.

Elvis passing is a symbol. For the first time in over 20 years, my parents’ house does not have a cat in it. Elvis was the last remaining cat of an era of cats that represented my childhood. That time in all our lives, the Stortz ‘childhood’, is formally done.

Unfortunately, JC’s birthday was the next day. JC loved Elvis more than anything, probably more than me. It’s a sad reality but it’s a part of life. So while we mourn the loss of Elvis, we celebrate the time we had with him, especially JC. Happy birthday dad.

That said, I’ve ushered in a new ‘era’ with Covy. He’ll be the cat I have for the next ~10 years as I transition through this stage of my life. Then, perhaps when he passes, I’ll be entering a different part of life and get a new cat. Pets are a timeline of life.

I’m embarrassed to say I can’t even find a good picture of Elvis. RIP buddy.

Things I’ve noticed since moving out (again):

  • I’m eating healthier
  • I like cooking (so far)
  • I’m drinking more and more often
  • Covy shits non-stop, it’s amazing how much this cat poops
  • I like commuting (except when there’s traffic)
  • Parking is amazing at this new place compared to the rest of Manayunk
  • I don’t like watching regular TV other than Seinfeld
  • I consistently sleep 7 hours or less a night, half because of Covy
  • I could play COD for days
  • I feel better being among people my age than in the suburbs
  • I’m blogging less (thank GOD)
  • This place is probably too nice for me and Rob
  • I’m going to be 26 soon which seems too old for me
  • I’ve slammed like 100 chicks this first week, it’s wild. I knew it was just being at my parents place that was holding me back.

Weens Bowled a 300

Weens, AKA Jordan Cohen, bowled a 300.

Also worth noting was bowling a 769 series (235 average for the other two games) which is far and away the high any Snake has had. Regretfully, I wasn’t there last night to witness the feat.

Fortunately, Weens isn’t part of the $1,000 bet that Tom and I have for bowling a 300. This definitely serves as motivation, as I’m both happy for Weens and jealous of him at the same time.

Congrats Jordan. I doubt you’ll read this, but it’s worthy of a blog post.

Here’s a video of the final shot for those who are FB friends with Evan.

#twohandedbowlersrule

Successful Move

The move was successful, thanks in big part to Brookes. There’s free coffee in the lobby which is awesome. Covy is adjusting nicely. Within 10 minutes of being there he jumped behind the fridge which was worrisome, but he’s since gotten more comfortable and roams around freely now.

The biggest issue we’ve run into, and we both agreed, is that there’s too much space. We were not prepared to fill the amount of space we have, and because of that, everything looks very bare. Our main room has only a couch and TV right now. We’ve noted that as an area that needs improvement.

With no cable until tomorrow, we’ll have to find a place to watch the Championship game tonight. With the last bet of the college basketball season on the table, I think I’m going to place a big wager on my boys from Spokane. Zags +1.5 seems like a Zags line, and I may moneyline it just to be the man.

Lastly, this flu is still lingering. I went 10 straight days without running and hope to return to my normal schedule soon. I certainly haven’t improved my fitness, I’m just hoping I haven’t lost much.

I don’t like these “general check in” posts, but I just felt like getting something up.