The mile trial yesterday was as much of a success as I could have asked for. I’m not necessarily speaking about the running aspect (although I ran way faster than I expected) but the participation aspect. Sure I could have gone to the track and run a mile without telling anyone but by advertising it and making it into a thing I had way more fun with it. If I had done it without telling anyone it would not have been a big deal. By telling everyone it likely made it the highlight of my week. It was just fun watching the predictions come in, the comments, and giving people something to look forward to. That’s probably giving myself too much credit but sort of like this blog, if even for a minute I can take someone’s mind off of work or being bored or whatever, then I’m doing something right.
Even if 10 people had guessed I would have been happy but I miraculously got 40 people to guess. I was secretly hoping Alaska won so he/she might reveal their identity but something tells me it would cost way more than $10 for me to get them to reveal themselves. Regardless, the added incentive was well worth it. I’m glad to pay $10 to make my Monday that much better. I plan on doing more races/time trials in the future. Per Dels’ request I’m going to do a 3200m next week at some point and will be doing the same process.
Things like this break up the normal routine and make life more entertaining. Obviously I like to do stupid challenges just to see how I will do and see how far I can go but there’s no reason not to turn it into a thing and get other people involved to break up their routine too. If someone else was doing something like this I would gladly encourage/participate. And sure I like the extra attention, who doesn’t? But I think it’s worth it to publicize these things because everything is more fun when other people are involved.
I’m doing a mile time trial today around 6:00. In order to increase blog comments and make my Twitter interesting/worth the follow I’m giving away a whopping $10 to the person who guesses closest to my time.
I really have no idea what kind of shape I’m in. About a month ago I was in what I would guess to be about 4:30 mile shape. Since then I’ve done about 40 miles per week of mostly higher intensity 5-7 mile runs with some easy runs mixed and zero workouts. So in a month how much fitness have I lost from doing some stuff but not really anything hard? Also factor in the large amount I’ve been drinking and my slight decrease in quality diet.
I’d like to think I can break 5:00 and that’s certainly the goal but if I break it, it won’t be by much, and if I crash and burn I won’t even be close. I put my initial estimate between 4:53 and 5:30. But if I had a gun to my head I would guess 4:58 and mostly because I’m generally over-confident in my abilities. I’ll try to hit 2:30-2:35 by the halfway point (unless by some miracle I feel amazing and decide to really go for it) and hope to have something left in the tank.
Twitter replies, blog comments, and Facebook comments will be the three modes of guessing accepted. Also feel free to change your guess at any point up to the time I post the result.
The lyrics of a song are generally the best way to get a message across, but sometimes there’s simply no need. Instrumentals don’t get much radio time but I am a big fan of a few in particular. Here’s a list of my favorite instrumentals. Feel free to share yours.
Electric Light Orchestra – Fire on High
I had to start with the song that inspired the post. I was driving to Madmex after work and had 102.9 blasting with this song playing. I was rocking out as hard as I ever have in the car. I don’t really know how else to describe it other than amazing. The first two and a half minutes of the song are extremely slow but once the guitar diddy comes in you can’t help but start moving with the song. That’s the only way you can listen to this song by the way, max volume. And honestly, how can anyone actually do the drums fills that fast (4:53, 5:01, and 5:12). The video I posted starts about 2 minutes in because you need to listen to at least some of the intro to get the full effect.
John Butler – Ocean
This video is cool because he’s playing it live and you can see what he’s doing. The guy is an absolute animal at guitar. He’s also playing on a 12 string which is badass. He also has ridiculous finger nails which makes him even more of a badass. He takes a minute or so to really start grooving but once he gets into it there’s no stopping it. This is as into the music as I’ve ever seen anyone. I could practice for the rest of my life and not be able to play this song. The real build up starts at 3:20 and he slowly takes it the whole way until the shit hits the fan at just after 4 minutes. He’s strumming so goddamn hard and it’s awesome to watch.
Rush – YYZ
I feel obligated to put this on due to my Guitar Hero days. I’ve probably played this song over 100 times (then again I’ve probably played most songs over 100 times). This is just three guys who are all incredible at their respective instrument taking turns showing off how good they are. I’m posting the live version because it shows that people actually can sing along to an instrumental (this was also in my best live post). The best part in my opinion is the end of the solo at 2:52. That was always the hard part in GH. I can’t count how many times I had it FC’d up to there only to choke (I did get the last laugh however (nerd alert)).
Buckethead – Soothsayer
Throughout college I designated this my ‘paper writing’ song. It’s 9 minutes long and very easy to get lost in the guitar. I personally like the slower earlier parts better than the crazy solos in the last half but the whole thing is great in my opinion. Just the opening/repeating phrase throughout is, to be as cliche as possible, very soothing. The drums also add a nice flavor to it. He throws in a bit of hard rock too before returning to the soothing sound just to show he can do it. Things start to pick with a blend of soothing and hard rock before he just goes bonkers soloing (starts at 4:25). Obviously the guy is really talented with a guitar. And no, I don’t expect anyone to list to this.
Linkin Park – Session
What would a music post be without some LP? This is the 12th song off of Meteora to almost close out the album. It starts off very nice with slight DJ action and then a very solid sounding drum coming in that stays throughout. Things build slowly, a nice background sound comes in around :38 followed by a soft piano at :58 and finally at 1:17 a guitar repeats a very basic pattern. From 1:35 to the end it’s the Mr. Hahn show. He starts getting more and more creative with different DJ sounds that by themselves would probably just sound like noise but when everything is put together I personally think it sounds great. It was close between this and Cure for the Itch but Cure actually has some words in it so I went with this one.
Multiple things have happened lately that caused this post. There is a large disparity in age in the employees where I work. I’m about as young as they come and ~60-70 is about as old as they come with most falling somewhere in the middle. However, there’s a clear distinction between ‘old’ and ‘young’, in my eyes at least. This distinction is not made by physical appearance or even age although this is clearly a big factor. Gray hair and wrinkles may be young while smooth and energetic may be old.
So what makes the distinction between young and old? In my eyes, it is decided by technical proficiency. Those who are comfortable with technology and quick on the computer are young. Those who are often lost and dreadfully slow are old. When I see someone typing with their two index fingers or constantly clicking in and out of programs as opposed to alt+tabbing then they’re old and not with it. When I see a confident operator using hot-keys left and right and making clicks by instinct without a second thought, they’re young and with it.
I don’t know why but people seem to fall in the extremes. They either know what they’re doing or they do not. It’s incredible to see it in action when you’re really paying attention to it. There’s a new woman who I do some work with who at first I would have thought was ‘old’. She has pictures of her kids on her wall and looks like a pretty standard middle aged woman. When I saw her on the computer all of those thoughts disappeared. She was flying around doing things I didn’t even know could be done. My view of her did a complete 180, actually, more than a 180, an entire 540 would be more appropriate. I don’t know why but there seems to be a bond between the ‘young’ as I’m sure there is a bond between the ‘old’.
Today in particular I had a problem with a program on my computer. I have only seen this program in the work environment and am largely unfamiliar with it. I had a tech guy who is probably 50+ come over and help me. There’s no doubt his knowledge of the program is probably 100 times that of mine, but he operated so slowly going between programs that it was painful to watch. If we had my computer navigating abilities combined with his complex knowledge of the program, our interaction today would have taken 10-15 minutes whereas it took about 35.
While not all old people are ‘old’ and not all young people are ‘young’ there is definitely a clear generation gap. Those who didn’t grow up with it, for the most part, are ‘old’ while those who were constantly exposed to it growing up are generally ‘young’. This generation gap is clear, but this is not the one I am worried about. I’m worried about the gap that will occur between me and the future generation.
Will I at some point in my life fall into the ‘old’ category? What will be the separating factor? Will I really be ‘old’ for wanting to stick with my smartphone and my current knowledge of the internet and computer operations? While it feels like a dreadful thought it is probably closer around the corner than I realize. But I’m kind of excited to. Technology this day and age is advancing exponentially. Look 20 years back compared to now, it’s not even close. The gap from now and 2033 will be even larger and all of us ‘young’ people better prepare to stay young or else we’re going to be ‘old’ way earlier than we were hoping.
Today is national running day. This is great right? I love running, how could I not love National Running Day? All those out of shape, overweight, lazy folks will get off their butts and go on a run only to return and praise me for putting myself through that experience nearly everyday of my life. They finally realize how much I go through and maybe I go up a few notches in their book. People are finally giving runners the recognition they deserve.
But wait, I read a tweet from Nick Pane today that read the following;
“How many people actually run on National Running Day? Better yet, what’s a fat ass country like this one doing with a National Running Day?”
I italicized the important part of that statement. There’s no doubt we’re a very overweight country. What is a fat ass country like the US doing with a national running day? That’s exactly the point.
We have these ‘holidays’ not to highlight the things we normally do, but to highlight the things we never do. Do you think Kenya has a national running day? Of course not, everyday is national running day. They probably have national Big Mac day instead because they never eat Big Macs. I just googled national Big Mac day and guess what, America does not have one. Do you know why? Because everyday is national Big Mac day.
We dedicate one day a year to mothers and fathers because ordinarily we never recognize how important our parents are. We dedicate Christmas and birthdays to being generous and giving gifts to each other because we would never ordinarily buy a gift out of the blue. We have a holiday dedicated to remembering the troops defending our freedom because 364 days out of the year we read the headline of “Three Troops Killed in Roadside Bomb” and probably think that three is pretty good, it could have been more. Hell, we have an entire month dedicated to black people because we know they’re not treated the same way as white people.
The special days we have are not there to show what we really care about but instead what we neglect almost every day of the year. I’m not saying there aren’t good ones out there but eating a Big Mac should be the unusual act, not going on a run. So instead of doing this shit when you’re told, try doing it when your not told. Tell your mom or dad you love them out of nowhere. Spontaneously buy a gift for a friend or significant other. I’m not saying I’m not guilty of doing this as well, but when you take a step back it’s definitely something worth noting.
Yes I went on a run today, but the fact that it was national running day had absolutely nothing to do with it.
I have been at Princeton since Friday visiting Mike so I was unable to post during that time. It’s their reunion weekend which is apparently a big deal as every class dating back to the class of 1943 had representatives there. It’s pretty sweet because once they give you a wrist band you can essentially go anywhere on campus and get free beer. I’ll give a quick recap.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but Mike just told me there was a lot of beer and a lot of live music so I was excited. I knew a decent amount of people from the team but alcohol is the great social lubricant so I made sure I was drinking a good amount. We were hanging out and talking a lot and it was all great. I had a one on one conversation with Olympian Donn Cabral for probably 10 minutes. I then gave him a ride this morning to some building and he seemed to remember the conversation a bit better than me but regardless it was pretty sweet. He is a very cool guy.
Things took a wrong turn when I got detached from the group. Mike and I acknowledged this would probably happen beforehand. Miraculously I bumped into a girl on the team who said she would take me to some party. Somehow again I got detached from her and I was just aimlessly wandering around campus at 1-2 in the morning with my blackout face on. I bumped into Kevin Bors on the street who I haven’t seen since high school which was a real treat. I found what I thought was Mike’s building and was knocking on a door until an Asian couple answered. The girl was quite frightened and tried to direct me but it was useless. She called the campus security (or the real cops?) and the officer took me back to Mike’s room. Fortunately outside were the Callahan brothers and they all greeted me warmly to which the cop was delighted to hand me over and let me go. Quite strangely though, as the cop was walking away he asked us all if we watched Eastbound and Down. We said yes and then he walked away.
Saturday was a big parade which would have been very enjoyable if it wasn’t 90+ degrees. We did a lot of day drinking but made sure we were ready for the night. We were sitting at a table for a few hours and these townies randomly decided to join us. They were four girls all around our age. Two were moderately attractive and two were extremely attractive. They were entertaining and a good time. Around 9 we watched the big firework show which was impressive to say the least. Afterward the focus was on going to the live concerts and dancing. Everything was going great until things got absolutely incredible. I went to some concert and Neil Diamond was playing. Connor Martin and I went absolutely apeshit. Sweet Caroline was the best live song I think I’ve ever seen. I heard today, to huge disappointment, that it was a Neil Diamond impersonator but I don’t care because it was amazing.
After a very fun but very taxing weekend I am back at home and recovering.
In my opinion I’ve been making decent use of the time off that I spoke about in my last post. I’m not going to go out every night and drink or anything. I’m accepting that I’ll likely spend a lot of nights at home with my parents but that’s fine. I’ve taken up two different things that occupy my time; Free throws and push ups. I’m aware that free throws will get me nowhere and that push ups aren’t the best workout but I don’t care.
I’ve always been a person to keep track of things (detailed running log, ping-pong games with Jake Boyd, online poker, personal web blog, etc.) so it’s only natural that I’ll continue to do so. First, free throws. During the two weeks leading up to my job I anticipated taking 100 straight free-throws to see how I would do. It took me all the way until the day before I started for me to do it. In my first 100 free throws I made 67 (splits of 37 and 30). Ten minutes later I took another 100 and I made 77 (39 and 38). Today I took another 100 and made 71 (36 and 35). These numbers actually took me by surprise. ~70% is better than I thought I would be but I figure if I keep playing I should be able to hit 80% consistently which would be pretty impressive in my book. That’s my goal for now.
Onto push ups. Abud and I have had push up contests since freshman year so I’ve had a decent idea of how many I’ve been able to do at once. Now, however, I’m attempting Gourlay’s push up challenge. Essentially you just do 300 push ups as fast as you possibly can. Gourlay told me about this and I attempted it a few days ago. He told me he usually finishes in 14-15 minutes which I thought was really good. I figured I’d go around 20 on my first try but boy was I wrong. I got through 150 in 10 minutes and couldn’t do a single one after that. My first try was a failure. After being sore for three days I decided to give it another shot tonight. I went at it with a better strategy and it paid off. I finished all 300 in 20 minutes 53 seconds. I’m definitely a long ways away from 15 minutes but I have plenty of time and nothing better to do so I figure that’s my goal; 300 in 15 minutes.
These goals have no time limit. If they take me a month so be it, if they take me six months so be it. As long as there’s something to keep me preoccupied and moderately in shape. Once I hit those goals I’ll have to think of new things but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.