Soaking it in

There’s no real reason to my lack of posting for the past few days. I had a meet yesterday that went pretty terribly but I’m still somewhat sick so I’m not too worried I guess. On a personal level running has lost some of it’s allure lately just because I’m not really running well and I’m just never going to be as good as I was. Racing and training is still fun but it’s not quite the same. Props to Drew though for breaking 2:00 and winning his heat of the 800.

Last night was a blur. We began drinking pretty early and I ended up on the verge of blackout the entire time. Gourlay visited for the first time in a while. I could tell you what we did but I don’t remember details very well at all. I think it was mostly because I was dehydrated from the meet.  Wacker, Slade, and I rumpled a beer which is always entertaining. At some point a group of us decided to go to the diner which I also don’t remember very well. Slade and I pretty much sprinted there to beat the group and what do you know, we have the same decently attractive waitress as we had on St. Pedro’s day. This is our third time having her and she remembered us from last time. She’s right around our age so sparks will probably fly sooner or later. Anyway, the seven or so of us hung out for a while and ate eggs benedict (I know you’re wondering, yes it was awesome). Emlamb owed me from like a year ago so she payed for my meal and Slade left our waitress crush a $10 tip for a $9 meal so we’re pretty much in.

I woke up pretty hungover today but a nice 6 mile run on a gorgeous day cured that. I’m staying at school tonight and I’m not exactly sure what the plan is. Initially it was 40 hands but Rob and Satch don’t want to do it anymore. Rob said there’s no point because “you’re just going to win and then pass out an hour later” which is most likely accurate. There’s talk of jungle juice but we’ll see what happens. As of right now it’s 2 in the afternoon on a fantastic day, I’m sipping on some high quality Batch 19 beer courtesy of Gourlay, and I’m itchin’ to play some frisbee. Today is one of those hang out and leisurely play games all day type of day. I’m going to do absolutely zero work and just soak in these last couple weeks of freedom until I enter the real world. Until next time, cheers.

Great Races: Some You Should Know

I’ve posted about races that I thought were awesome and this post will be along a similar line. As an avid fan of track and field I would say there are some races that everyone should know about or have seen and this will be my personal list of races that I think every should see. And remember I’m speaking from a personal perspective, I’m sure the 1936 Olympics where Carl Lewis pretty much gave Hitler the finger had some extremely important races but I’m not educated enough in that area. The majority of these take place at the Olympics because that’s the biggest stage of the sport.

Roger Bannister – The Four Minute Mile
However, not all take place at the Olympics. This was an obvious one. This races proves mind over matter. Some scientists thought it was impossible or that you would die if you broke four but Bannister decided he was going to do it anyway. It was so simple, 4 laps to a mile, one minute per lap, and there you have the four minute mile. It had a perfect mysticism to it. He almost called the race off because it was too windy but ~15 minute before the race it died down and they went through with it. Many people will break the world record and many people will win Olympic golds, but Bannister will always be the first one who broke 4. The commentary on the video (Bannister) is pretty funny to listen to.

Usain Bolt – 2008 Beijing Olympic 100 Meter Final
This was a race that shocked the world. Bolt was on a tear in 2008 having already set the WR at 9.72. People worried though whether or not this young 21 year old would be able to deliver on the worlds biggest stage. Not only did he take the gold, not only did he break his own world record, but he did so while pulling up and show-boating 20 meters from the line. This stud was so confident he was going to win that he was smacking his chest in triumph against the 7 other fastest men in the world with 20 meters left. That’s how you put on the best show on biggest stage. Bolt has changed the sport. I apologize for the music on the video but every event at the 08 Olympics is copyrighted so you can’t really put them up on youtube.

Steve Prefontaine – 1972 Munich Olympic 5000 Meters
I feel I owe it to Pre to put him in here after I somewhat trashed in my previous post about the greatest runner of all time. Pre was transforming running across America at this time and talked a big game. He had a balls-to-the-wall style of racing that strayed away from the normal sit-and-kick strategy. A famous quote is “Somebody may beat me, but they’re going to have to bleed to do it.” This race took place in the summer going into his senior year of college too which is bonkers. Viren was the favorite but people wondered if Pre could pull off the miracle. He bravely went for it with about a mile to go and put himself in it only to get robbed of a medal. Americans went crazy over this race and had confidence he would come back and win the gold in 1976. Tragedy struck on May 30, 1975 where Pre died in a car accident. I’m starting this video at the good part but I suggest watching 0:10-0:35 just for the commentary.

http://youtu.be/gFty7To8oQk?t=2m44s

Sammy Wanjiru – 2008 Beijing Olympic Marathon
I was between this and the duel in the sun but went with this. Most people probably have not heard of Sammy Wanjiru but in the same way that Bolt changed sprinting, Wanjiru changed marathoning. His 2008 Olympic Marathon is quite arguably the greatest marathon ever run. He blew everyone’s doors in. With no pacers and temperatures in the 80s (ridiculously high for a marathon) the 21 year old Sammy took the race by the balls and showed everyone he was the new face of the marathon. He broke the Olympic record by almost 3 minutes with his 2:06:32. Second place ran an amazing race to finish in 2:07:16 and the rest of the field was over 2:10. Unfortunately, on May 15, 2011 Sammy passed away much to the dismay of everyone in the running world. He was widely considered the greatest marathoner on the planet and everyone knew he was going to crush world records. I’m going to show his last race instead because it’s an epic showdown proving his amazingness and because the 08 Olympic videos are no good (see Bolt).

Billy Mills – 1968 Tokyo Olympic 10,000 Meters
Billy Mills was a no-name going into this race and no one outside of America knew who he was. He gets bullied around a bit on the last lap but it is him who has the last lap, his kick is legendary. Until Galen Rupp’s Silver in 2012, this was the most recent medal and American runner had won in the 10k. This is one of the most famous calls of a race in the history of T&F which is a big reason why I’m putting it on the list. Rumor has it the guy got fired afterward for showing his obvious American Bias. I have an American Bias by putting this in the post but how can you deny the “LOOK AT MILLS LOOK AT MILLS!!!”

 

Same Sex

I’m going to give my very blunt and uneducated opinion on same sex marriage because it seems to be a hot topic at the moment.

I don’t understand why same sex marriage is not legal. It seems so ridiculous to me. We’re supposed to be the nation that leads the world into the future whether it’s through innovative technology or ‘radical’ social change or whatever else; and we really can’t agree that gays and lesbians should be allowed to get married? Why the hell not? This country is supposedly based on equality. We saw it through women gaining their independence/freedom and then with blacks. Why would anyone think that those groups deserve equality but not gays? And what would make people think same sex marriage won’t be legalized in the same manner as those two groups previously mentioned gaining their right to vote? To the uber-conservative republicans who live and die by the bible and say that marriage is said, by God, to be between a man and a woman: Wake up! It’s the 21st century, the world is changing, and your reluctance to change is going to hold us back as a society. If we can’t get passed the idea of gays getting married then we have problems. Those in power should not be working to prevent same-sex marriage and ultimately hurt the overall well-being of society, they should be working for the greater good of society and this is an obvious step.

I pretty much see this an inevitable, it’s going to happen, why resist? 50 years from now same sex marriage will have been legal in the majority of countries for decades and we’ll look back and wonder how some people were so brain-washed in the same way we look back now and wonder how the hell we went so long without giving blacks and women the right to vote. Although I will say that getting the right to vote is probably more necessary than being able to marry but you get the point.

Does anyone who reads this actually think same sex marriage should not be legalized?

Also, I think this song is actually worth listening to. It sums up what I think about the whole situation pretty well and I think it’s a good song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcNOapwgw6I

Loyalty

reed

Slade suggested I write a post about this specific topic after we watched the documentary You Don’t Know Bo and after news that Ed Reed signed with the Texans broke. Before I get started, the documentary was great and worth the watch in my opinion. It’s about Bo Jackson and how he was just the freak of all freak athletes. Anyway, after a severe hip injury Bo returned to baseball but with the Chicago White Sox instead of the Kansas City Royals. This slightly disappointed Slade and I. Hearing that Ed Reed, who’s played 11 incredible seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, had signed with the Texans also disappointed us. And finally, we were disappointed to hear that veteran linebacker Brian Urlacher couldn’t reach a deal with the Chicago Bears (who were offering a 1 year $2 million contract with ‘only’ $1 million guaranteed) whom he has played 13 amazing seasons with.

I’m aware that professional sports are a business just like any other job but when you have two examples like Reed and Urlacher to look at I think you have to examine another aspect. You cannot tell me that these two athletes don’t have some sort of emotional attachment to their respective cities. Ed Reed obviously like Baltimore and what they have given back to him. Hell he just won the freakin’ Superbowl, why would you not want to come back to a legit contender and a city you’ve grown to love for 11 years? Urlacher’s been to a Superbowl too with the Bears and the heart and soul of that defense for over a decade. Does he not feel any sort of connection to the city he’s spent the greatest years of his life in?

These are two players who have made many millions of dollars a year for an extended period of time. They should (if they’re smart) be pretty financially stable for the rest of their life and the difference between one or two million dollars at this point should not outweigh the pride they have for their city. As a fan I love nothing more than an athlete who has loyalty for their city and can say they played their entire career for one city. Kobe with LA, Brady with the Pats, etc. There’s something about it that stands out to me. They have a passion for their fans and they want to succeed in their given city/system. They can work with what’s around them and get the job done.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that there may be plenty of other reasons for an athlete to leave. Maybe the organization is being unreasonable or you’re feuding with teammates or you’ve only been there for a few years. But in Urlachers case, the guy is at the tail-end of his career and should want to retire as a Bear. The city wants him to retire as a Bear. Ed Reed is slightly different because he’s still producing at a very high level (similar to Peyton) and probably has a few more years of very quality football as a safety but still, 11 seasons in the same city is a lot, there has to be some pull to stay.

I guess it’s easy for me to say I would pass up a couple million to stay in Philly because no one would ever ever offer me a couple of million to stay in Philly.

The Madness

There’s two things I want to talk about. The Madness has been taking place for the past few days and people are getting into it. For the first time since probably 5th grade I did not fill out a bracket. I don’t really know why I didn’t but I had zero urge to do it and by the time someone really suggested that I do it, it was too late and I didn’t want to hop in while first round games were taking place. I can’t explain my lack of interest in the beginning. I haven’t followed college basketball too closely this year other than the fact that there was a new #1 seed every freakin’ week. I really like the idea of the tournament and what it does for the people who fill out brackets but obviously more of what it does for the players and the incredible opportunity that each team gets. Although I wasn’t necessarily ‘into it’ at the start, I do support the idea greatly.

Now that the second round is here I’ve become pretty involved. I watched some of the late first round games like the FGCU Georgetown upset and of course the huge La Salle win and those are just exciting games. Even though I didn’t fill out a bracket I’m still really interested in what’s going on. I like knowing who’s playing and who the big performers were. In hindsight, I regret not filling out a bracket obviously. It would add interest to those games that I don’t really care about like a #7 Creighton vs a #10 Cincinnati but at the same time the bracket can take away from the tournament. Once someone’s bracket is shot, they lose interest. Everything becomes a personal battle when a bracket is filled out. As a somewhat neutral observer for every game I just enjoy watching good basketball at a very high intensity where the crowd is really into the game and the players (for no monetary gain) are playing their hearts out. It’s a great thing to watch. Taking 64 teams and grinding it down to the one and only winner who can say they outlasted everyone. That would be a great feeling.

With that said I do have some teams I’m rooting for, most are because of association. Pitt: brothers went there. Temple: homer pick. Nova: homer pick. La Salle: Gourlay and friends. Ohio State: Jensen. And generally any good running school over any not-good running school just because. It’s been exciting/unpredictable so far which is what the viewers want. Blow-outs are no fun and the favorites doing what they’re supposed to is boring. I don’t care if all #1/#2 seeds make the final four as long as it’s in exciting fashion (like Ohio State today).

Stanford Prison Experiment

Something interesting if you have a few extra minutes that shows sometimes perceived reality is just as important as true reality.

Keeping Up

Tom just wrote this post which talks about how AOL is dead, Myspace is dead, Facebook is dying, and Twitter is currently on the rise. These trends are quite clear if you look at it. Once something becomes extremely popular though, there’s no question of whether or not it’s going to die, it’s when is it going to die. The real tricky question is predicting what the next big thing will be. Google+? Sorry, I’m jumping on that bandwagon. But in the world we live in these trends happen so quickly. Things rise and fall before people can even get on board. Things just hit a point of popularity and everyone jumps on board and then there’s no way for the thing to grow. The amount of people that will make a Facebook account in the next year will never come close the exponential growth they experienced in the early years when they started out.

The allure of Facebook is starting to wear off, people are becoming bored (I’ll just keep using them as an example because it’s easy/familiar). At this point, it’s up to Facebook to keep people interested but there’s not too much more they can do. People like Facebook for the possibility of getting laid, checking relationship statuses, and looking at pictures. It also serves as communication with Facebook chat but AOL went to AIM and now Facebook so I have no reason to believe that won’t change in a few years. People get bored and want to move on to new, different, and more exciting things that have something else to offer.

This however goes beyond the mass allure of Facebook and Twitter. This is theory or whatever happens with everything in my personal life. It’s not specific to the 1 billion people who have a Facebook, it’s specific to everything in everyone’s life. There’s always this sense of finding the new thing. Some people may pick up an instrument when they’re 20 years old and think how amazing it is and that becomes their new thing. They may become bored with it eventually and move on to something else at some point too. Some people may take lifting weights or running really seriously for a while but eventually these things lose their allure (not all things, but most things to most people).

I currently spend more time playing Candy Crush than any other activity besides sleeping. I know that in two weeks I won’t play anymore, I just won’t care. Another example would be these compliment pages. Schools get a compliment page where people can anonymously compliment someone. Something similar happened ~2 years ago and it was all the rage at Ursinus for about a week. How about the Harlem Shake? When’s the last time someone put out a new one of those? A few weeks versus the thousands that came out in the first week of it’s existence. When’s the last time you heard the song Call Me Maybe? That song is a thing of the past. Songs have a shelf life of a few weeks before they’re replaced.

This idea of keeping up and moving beyond what’s not popular anymore is all over the place. The internet just added a different spin because everyone is so connected so instead of people shifting their popularity in their own small group, it happens in the millions. When these things happen in the millions people realize they can make money off of it and they capitalize while they still can. I think this phenomenon of keeping up has been around for a while but now it’s more apparent than ever.

I don’t really know what the point of the post was but I just thought it was an interesting and relevant topic.

Saint Pedro’s Day

We celebrated the great Saint Pedro’s day this weekend and it was an incredible success. But before we could celebrate we had to run a track meet in the snow which wasn’t necessarily pleasant. I ran better than I thought I would in the 1500 with a 4;22. Given the conditions I was happy with that. Wacker, Slade, and I bought the necessary supply (Tecate and three $8 liters of tequila) and prepared for the night. We drank slowly while Religious Man by Mr. Loco was blasting in the background for the whole night. I don’t remember too much of Saturday. Nothing too significant happened but it was a great time with a lot of people and games and whatnot. I made it to roughly 2 AM which was pretty impressive by my standards.

I woke up at 5 in the morning fully clothed with the lights on and in a stupor. I took a piss and then went back to bed until 10 o’clock practice. I slogged through 6 miles while Slade, Amos, and Rudy ran 14, kudos. We enjoyed some Wismer brunch and then the games began. I started with some tequila shots to get a base buzz. Eventually Jordan asked me if I wanted to play Frisbee in the courtyard and I agree. The courtyard was packed, people were everywhere all day. Eventually Jordan left and I was throwing the Firsbee to strangers all over on all balconies. My personal favorite was the one kid who just launched the Frisbee as hard as he could every time he got it regardless of who he was throwing to. Things were going great and everyone was drunk and friendly. A minor disaster occurred when I smashed my shin on the concrete step and fell flat on my face for everyone in the courtyard to see. My leg hurts pretty bad right now but I can still run so it’s okay.

I start to lose my memory around dinner time. We went to Wismer and sparks flew. Drew and Joey said something like “you won’t go plank on the table”. So I went to the table in the middle of Wis and began planking. I did it for 7 minutes. At some point I started doing push-ups too and the crowd was going wild. People were counting my push-ups very loudly. Mr. Wismer came over and pulled up a chair to watch for some reason but didn’t do anything to stop me. I got to 50 push-ups (girl push-ups, the table was too short) before the campus safety officer came over and told me to stop. People were booing him pretty hard. He was considering writing me up but I insisted that the crowd was loving it and there was no reason to write me up. Drew and Joey started a “Free Sam” chant or something and I came away un-written up.

The rest of the night is pretty blurry. Slade and I went to the diner which I barely remember. I was supposedly causing a small scene. I remember eating Eggs Benedict and telling Slade that we had to call a cab to go back because neither of us wanted to walk. We ended up running the whole way back. Things went great the whole night. I hit the perfect level of drunk and stayed up pretty late.

Word of Saint Pedro’s day traveled. People would see our ridiculous outfit and then acknowledge that we were doing it for Saint Pedro’s day. People know what it is and that’s what’s important. Religious Man was also played just over 200 times in the two days which was great. People were getting very sick of the song and insisted that we change it but we held strong for the most part. All in all it was a great weekend. Far more successful than last year’s Saint Pedro’s day. I can only hope the tradition lives on.

pedro1

 

pedro3

Misinformed Masses

This post will eventually make a broader point that extends beyond running so bare with me.

Runnersworld had an article printed about the greatest runner of all time. As an avid follower of professional running I want to first tell everyone who’s not quite sure that this list is a joke. I don’t have too much of a problem with 1960’s and earlier although I put Owens vs. Nurmi as a 50/50 slightly leaning towards Nurmi. The 70’s is where things start to go downhill big time. Pre over Viren in the first round is ludicrous. Pre over Coe in the second round is equally ridiculous. 1980-2000 in general is acceptable. In 2000-present things get ugly again. An ultra-marathoner beating Asafa Powell and Paula Radcliff is just wrong. Paula absolutely obliterated the women’s marathon WR which is way more contested than ultra-marathoning (no disrespect intended, but it’s true). I also think Bolt vs. Bekele is a toss up which I would lean towards Bolt for but I understand either choice.

Now to the final four. Geb and Bekele (or Bolt) deserve to be there. Zatopek deserves to be there. I can’t express enough how little Pre deserves to be in the final four. That would be like putting Allen Iverson in the top four basketball players of all time. Was he great? Sure. Did he win anything? No. Is he even in the same breath as Jordan, Kareem, Magic, Kobe, Wilt, etc.? No. Pre has zero business being in the top four.

Now, don’t think I’m hating on Pre. He was way ahead of his time and took on the best in the world as a 21 year old and almost pulled it off (4th at the Olympics). He was revolutionary in American distance running and he, along with a few others, started the running boom in America. He had a badass attitude and was a marketable athlete. But the very person who crushed him at the Olympics and is the only (?) person to ever do the 5k 10k DOUBLE DOUBLE (win the 5k and 10k at back to back Olympics) was Lasse Viren who Pre somehow got passed in the first round. Viren also set multiple records, Pre set zero. Viren also ran the Olympic marathon after the 5k and the 10k (unheard of today) and placed 5th. The fact that he loses to Pre in the first round is complete rubbish. Any relatively knowledgeable distance runner will tell you the same thing.

People will read this Runner’s World article and see Pre’s name next to two Ethiopians and some dude from the 50’s as one the greatest of all time. This information will naturally travel by people reading it and by word of mouth. A small number of people who have no reason to believe otherwise will think the Pre is one of the GOATs. It would pain me to have a conversation with someone who is into running and have them bring up the fact that Pre is one of the best ever. I would feel obligated (yet arrogant) to correct them. This information being relayed to the masses that is simply inaccurate.

Now the overall point of this post. This goes beyond running. All forms of media probably do this. American hobby-joggers want to read about American running heroes and who better than Pre? Runners World knows this so Pre makes the top four. How do I know this isn’t happening with everything that I’m moderately interested in? Maybe I’ll Google best boxers of all time or best skate boarder of all time or something like that and a list pops up and near the top is some bro who does not belong there. Then someday I find myself talking to a skateboard enthusiast and figure I’ll show my stuff. I mention some guy and how he’s amazing and the guy just does a facepalm. GG, seeyuhlater.

It’s all too easy for us to be misinformed by the media. Take everything you read with a grain of salt.

Lullibinator & Disguised Weapons

Alex and I found the Lullibinator absolutely hilarious. It’s definitely worth reading the whole thing as I was completely dying. The two lines “the box will spray a calming mist of pepper spray into the crib” and “Throw in a can of food and the baby can practically live on his own!”

Alex found another gem. He posted this on my wall which I found equally hilarious. The overall tone of this one is hysterical. Both things had me lol’ing the entire time. I apologize for not being able to post the actual pictures but they’re big.