Heater?

I was going to write a post about how I’m on a heater but in the past couple of days I went from a heater to not on a heater. I’ll start with why I was supposed to be on a heater. I’m done for the semester. I handed in my capstone paper and I thought it was pretty good. Next semester is going to be a breeze and things are looking good academically. There’s a chance I get a 4.0 this semester which is something I have never done in college nor high school. I didn’t overly apply myself this semester but I think I have the hang of college classes pretty well at this point. School is going as well as it could at the moment.

Outside of school is winter break. I have a month off from school. In this next month I will be attending a concert with my brothers and potentially some other people as well as going to Ohio State for a weekend to see Jensen’s stomping grounds. I received a book from Jeff Centafont that I plan on reading over break and I also plan on beginning to watch the Wire. I have a decent structure to my break and I am very much looking forward to it.

Then there’s running. I ran 65 miles last week and 63 miles the week before that. I was beginning to feel like my old self where I can do 10 miles under 7 minute pace and closing in 6:30’s and just feeling good the whole way. We did a tempo on Tuesday and that went pretty well also. Things were starting to come around.

However, I have run 1 mile in the past 48 hours. My back hurts. I have always been able to feel it sort of, it’s hard to describe, but it hurt while running on Wednesday so I turned around a mile in and walked back. In the past two days I have felt it significantly more than in the past. I have not tried running yet but who knows what’s going to happen. I will openly say that I’d rather take my chances running 60-70 miles a week and either get hurt or run 15:15 instead of running 30-40 miles a week and run 16:15. I’m going to try running in a few days but this type of pain is not-so-strangely familiar that I’m not overly confident.

It’s very weird because I’m oddly okay with the idea of this being the end of my college running career. It’s too early for me to say what I actually think will happen and I’ll attempt to be positive throughout the process but for months I had to rationalize not being able to run again. I slowly re-discovered the joy in running over the past month or so but I never quite got it back to where I used to be. The fact that I’m not over this injury is always in the back of my head. I just told myself that I’m going to train like I want to and whatever happens happens. Pretty much what I’m trying to say is that this time around it wouldn’t hit as hard as it did when I initially got hurt. Going from 70-100 mile weeks and in the best shape of my life to taking 6 months off was terrible. It wouldn’t be as big of a fallout this time around.

Calvin and Hobbes Final Strip: It’s a Magical World

I read a lot of Calvin and Hobbes as a kid, mostly because Tom bought a lot of the books. I would read them before bed and not understand well over half of what was being said. Even now when I go back and read them I don’t fully understand. When I think great comics this is the first thing that comes to misnd. I read up on it and Watterson made a point to never become a sell-out. He never licensed our Calvin and Hobbes to make money and he rarely did interviews or signed autographs. It’s rumored that at his local book store he would go around filling the shelves with autographed copies of the book to surprise unknowing fans. This is a really classy move. He stopped doing it however when people started selling the autographed copies for tons of money online.

After 10 years of writing Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, Bill Watterson ended the legendary comic with this. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened the link to the last strip ever. I figured it would be really difficult to put an end to this in a fitting way but this speaks to the genius of Bill Watterson because this is the perfect ending in my opinion.

Just a little something I found interesting.

Losing the Love

Here is a quote from a Letsrun thread I was reading today. The title of the thread was I’m becoming a hobby jogger and I am happy about it.

“Fuck training to the point of exhaustion and running doubles before and after work 5 days a week. Fuck striving for pr’s that are good compared to most but in reality don’t matter. Fuck eating healthy and being anal about keeping my weight at an abnormally low point for most humans. Running has just become a sad, obsessive existence and I already feel happier just doing a few miles here and there, sleeping in on the weekends, enjoying food I used to abstain from, and doing other things that make me happy.”

In all honesty I envy this guy in the same way that I envy runners like Rupp and Solinsky. This concept of “I’m going to stop doing something because it makes me sad” is not as obvious as it may seem. To this poster, running has become a chore. However, he had done it for so long that it just seemed like something that had to be done. Eating right, putting in the mileage, getting good sleep, etc. were all things that came along with this habit. Now though, he’s taken a step back and realized he doesn’t want to do it anymore. It may have made him happy in the past but it doesn’t anymore and for that reason, he should stop doing it in the manner that he was.

This theme clearly spreads way past running. It extends to any area of life that you actively participate in. I think a lot of people need a reality check at certain points. It doesn’t have to be a permanent decision either. It can be something as simple as “I don’t enjoy running the way I am right now so I’m going to stop doing it this way. I may or may not come back to it, but at the moment this is what’s best for me.” Continuing whatever activity it is past this point is a problem. Don’t do something because you think you have to or because you always have. It’s worth it to step back a second and question why you’re doing it.

I personally am going to hit this point after I graduate. Right now running seems very important and something that I will continue to do after I graduate. However, I’m in the same boat as the original poster. Is putting the work and effort to be good really something I’m going to want to do when I graduate or will it become a sad, obsessive hobby that makes me depressed without realizing it. I’ve acknowledged it before, It doesn’t matter whether I run 14:30, 15:30 or 16:30. The only thing I actually get out of these accomplishments is self-satisfaction. If these things are no longer satisfying I’m going to stop trying to achieve them.

 

*Also, to those few who answered the Alabama football question. I said 0-1 while others (who I’ll leave nameless) said 10-15, some even as high as 30.

Long Weekend Recap

I didn’t intend to not post for three days but it just kind of happened. Here’s what my weekend looked like.

Friday we had a meet at Lehigh. I ran the mile and the 4×8 and neither were too impressive (4:43.9 and 2:13). I’m in the middle of hard training/high mileage for the first time in a long time so I’m not too worried about it. The meet took forever to finish and we didn’t get back to Ursinus until 1AM. I initially planned on just going to bed but when I walked into Reimert I saw Rob and Shane who were not ready to go to bed. I had purchased a big bottle of wine earlier so we opened that. I drank probably a quarter of it and then Rob threw on the song Roses and said him and I had to finish the bottle by the time the song was done. We accomplished our goal and I felt terrible. My stomach hurt, I was drunker than I thought I was going to be because of the meet, and there wasn’t too much going on anyway. I went to bed around 2.

Saturday was fine. Around 3:45 Slade and I made it our goal to finish off his handle of vodka. Neither of us were feeling too hot but we figured why not. We each did 8 shots by about 6:00 and the handle was gone. Then we had a suite dinner courtesy of AJ’s mom. $100 worth of Phamous Phil’s BBQ. It was a shit load of food and it was delicious. I felt terrible after that too. I had a case of Yuengling for the night but it was a struggle just to sip it because I was so full. The rest of the night was one big shit-show. There were probably 10 different arguments that went on between 8 different people or so. No punches were thrown and no friendships were lost (except for maybe one but we’ll see).

Sunday was supposed to be a productive day but I did zero work. I groveled until about 6 when I decided I would casually drink some of my Yuengling. Slade joined as well. We sat there drinking watching football until about midnight and then we decided to call it a night. Surprisingly I was not really hung-over any of these days which was nice.

I have a modest amount of work to do over the next three days. Certainly not as much as most of my peers which is totally fine by me.

Also, I would like to pose this question to my blog readers. If the Alabama football team played the worst NFL team 100 times, how many times do you think Alabama would win? We had significantly different answers.

Beauty

The topic of media effects on women and their body image has come up a bunch in my media and society class recently. The arguments say that media cause girls to feel the need to be perfect like the women in the ads. I recently wrote that post about the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and how so many girls feel like crap afterward. Clearly media does have its effects and they are probably largely negative. Girls shouldn’t feel the need to look the way society wants them to, they should be comfortable in their own skin. However…

Today five girls presented in my media and society class, two of which had to do with this topic. Overall I was largely uninterested or tuned out halfway through the presentation except for one. This one girl did her presentation on the Italian prime minister and how he controls the media and how he objectifies women while doing so. While some of the other female presenters were “hot” as the term is used today, I found this particular girl to be very attractive, beautiful if you will (but probably not defined as “hot”). I listened to her entire presentation the whole way through without a problem. It wasn’t that her topic was extremely interesting to me, this topic had been beaten to death, but I could not take my eyes off of her and I actively listened to the whole thing.

I don’t know if this means I’m shallow or what but to me personally it pretty much says that beauty comes with a ton of perks. This is obviously not a new statement but lately I have heard so many people tell me that women need to be comfortable with their bodies and not let outside forces dictate their image. There are two sides to the argument and certainly no one would advocate becoming overweight or obese just because they want to. In this case however, weight had nothing to do with it. If this girl was fat I probably wouldn’t have paid so close attention, but there were plenty of skinny girls who presented as well and I didn’t pay attention to them either. This particular girl’s beauty, which you cannot buy in a store or anything, had some effect on me.

Now, maybe I end up getting to know her and I hate her which is very possible. If that ended up happening I probably wouldn’t look at her at beautiful anymore. But unfortunately your level of beauty (looks) is the first thing displayed most of the time. I guess it’s just the luck of the draw.

Who Are You?

I encountered a situation today that happens frequently but I still don’t know the best course of action. I was at breakfast today and had to be guested in by Danielle (because Wacker is a bad friend but that’s an entirely different story). After being guested in I decided to sit with Danielle, Grace, Jamie, and a girl that I did not know or recognize. I figured there were three potential outcomes to this situation and they are as follows;

1) I sit down, introduce myself, and we get that out of the way right off the bat (or vice versa, she introduces herself).

2) Our mutual friends introduce us.

3) Neither of us acknowledge that we’re strangers and the conversation goes on as normal.

Naturally we decided to go with option 3. Once a minute or so passes and no introductions have been made it would just be awkward if one of us decided to chime in with a “Oh, by the way, I’m Sam.” That probably should happen right away but for whatever reason we didn’t do this. I see these situations happen all the time, not necessarily with me, but the majority of the time the people just act like they know each other and I’m not sure if that’s the way to go about it. I think what I will do from now on if I’m NOT one of the two people is introduce the two. It’s like bringing your significant other to a family party. You don’t let him or her out to dry, you go around introducing them as your boyfriend or girlfriend and then the introduction process is much smoother. This situation isn’t quite the same but you get the point.

I don’t know why I have trouble just sitting down and introducing myself but apparently I’m not the only one, am I right?

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2012

So this is a bit out of character but thanks to Nicole and Lindsay I watched roughly 30-40 minutes of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Before I get into the actual show I want to say that I’m amazed at how many men and women watch this thing. Here’s what I wrote about it last year

“apparently I’m completely missing out right now as the Victoria’s Secret fashion show is on right now. My only question regarding this is why would I watch? Obviously I don’t care about fashion but also why the hell would I want to watch a bunch of extremely skinny (albeit extremely attractive girls) strut down a runway almost naked when I could just as easily look up probably a million different porn videos where the girls are really hot and are actually naked on the internet? It defies any logic I can think of.”

I agree with most of that after actually viewing it this year. It was also helpful having two girls who were pretty much the prime target market for this event and hearing their thoughts. It seems as though guys watch for hot girls which doesn’t make a ton of sense (porn people…). However, the girls that watch pretty much always feel worse about themselves after watching this thing. What better way to lower your self-esteem by watching fifty dimes with perfect bodies walk down a runway for every guy on the earth to gawk at? This was more apparent this year by Twitter. Very few females tweeted about the fashion, but instead they said they felt fat and were going to diet.

The entertainment value for me personally was below average however I was slightly intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. I watched J-Biebs, Bruno Mars, and Rihanna perform. I didn’t like J-Biebs very much but I will give the 18 year old credit for being able to perform without messing up at all. I’m less familiar with Bruno Mars but thought his performance was best (although I wasn’t blown away). I didn’t like Rihanna either, it’s hard for a girl performer to look sexy when they’re surrounded by super models. With her short hair and “normal” skinny body she looked like a dude out there. Also, the song she was singing did not do it for me. Something like “I see you walk” was being repeated over and over with what sounded like some form of auto-tune echo or something and it was not pretty.

While the event itself was not up my alley it was definitely interesting watching it with people who wanted to watch it. Normally I would not watch it, hear some people talk about it, and that’s it. This year I had an inside view and my questions were answered by people who had something to say. I still don’t get why so many people tune it. The majority of guys watch for the attractiveness and the majority of girls feel worse about themselves afterward. These don’t line up in my mind but then again I suppose I’m in the minority over here.

Going Bonkers

I have absolutely nothing to do. That’s a false statement. I have capstone stuff and a small paper for media & society, but other than that I have nothing to do. There’s nothing I’m going to do tonight or probably any of these nights. I have so much free-time that I literally do not know what to do with myself. I go to bed around 11 each night now strictly out of boredom. I wake up at 9:14 every day, go to breakfast, go to my classes, and then have nothing to do until practice. After practice is more of the same. I check the Letsrun forums probably 20 times a day. I check my blog ~10 times and Tom’s blog ~ 5 times. I started playing Diablo III today after a 4-5 month lay off just because there was nothing to do. I play guitar for I would guess an hour or two of the day but I kind of get bored with that. I almost went on a run tonight just because I could.

Bottom line – I need a hobby or book or something. The next ~10 days will be similar to this. I need something to entertain me until I get home and guess what, I’ll need something to entertain me when I get home as well. Writing quality blog posts would be a good thing to fill my time with but that can’t take up hours of time. I’m open to any suggestions at the moment.

Get Busy Living

There’s an article where a nurse who worked with the elderly surveyed what dying people regretted most in their lives that I thought was interesting. I’m going to list the top 5 and give my personal opinions/feelings.

1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Apparently this was the #1 regret. This is kind of hard for me to comment on. I would like to think that I’m living my life true to myself and not based on what others expect of me but I don’t really know. Regardless, this seems like a very obvious one. I guess this could go along with the expectations that maybe your parents have for you or something like that. For example, if my father was extremely adamant about me joining the family business and I simply did it because he wanted me to not because I wanted to. This is not the case but that’s what I thought of. I like to think that up to this point I have done a decent job of living true to myself but there hasn’t been much pressure otherwise.

2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
This seems like a good one that many people probably realize at the end of their life. People hit the end and probably wonder why they got stressed out about some of the things at work that really weren’t a big deal. When I get into the real world that is where this question will be addressed. As of now I’m setting myself up to work 40 hour weeks in a cubicle to save up some money. If I made this my life long career and made a good wage throughout I would probably feel this way too. Life is not meant to be spent in a cube or at a desk. I want to travel and actually enjoy a large majority of the time I spend here. If the difference between a nice car and giant house is working yourself to death then it’s probably not worth it.

3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
This is another big one. I think I go about things in a logical sense and don’t really show my emotions/feelings all that often but they are there. When I couldn’t run for example I was thinking all of these different things but never really talked to anyone about them. Maybe small bits here and there but nothing big. There are other things besides running that I pretty much just keep to myself. I don’t know why but there are very few people that I actually ‘open up’ to for a given topic. Apparently this is something I’ll regret so I’ll have to work on that.

4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
This is one that I’m also not great at. Just going off to college and separating from my childhood friends and also having good friends graduate showed me how bad I am at trying to keep in touch. I don’t really know why, it’s not like I dislike these people, I just kind of don’t make an effort to talk to them as much as I should. This is a hard one to explain and something that I probably will regret at some point.

5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
They argue that happiness is a choice and I would agree with that to an extent. It’s not based on money or success, poor people can be happy and rich people can be miserable. I suppose it’s based on how you want to live your life and how that lines up with how you actually live your life. I personally have very few legit reasons to be sad but there are definitely times where I let certain things get me down more than they should. Obviously things don’t always go your way and you hit slumps here and there but in the grand scheme your own happiness is dependent on you.

The Races

Saturday was our first track meet as well as the team wide case race. I’ll begin with the meet.

Running paragraph (haven’t done one of these in a while).
I was scheduled to run the 5k and the 4×800 yesterday. It’s hard to gauge what kind of shape you’re in this early in the season so I had a very loose idea of what I wanted to run. In my head I thought sub 16:30 would be good and 16:20 was the goal. I was seeded 2nd and knew the guy seeded first, I assumed he would win but wasn’t sure. The gun went off and there was a pack of 4 of us for the first 800. We hit 2:39 and then the guy went. I stayed back because I didn’t think I could go with him. I ran with some bro for about 10 laps, we hit the mile in 5:18 and it felt about right. I passed the kid and was on my own for the next 6 laps where I caught Adam at the 2 mile in 10:40. The last mile was a struggle. I ran the whole thing alone and just couldn’t go any faster than 40-41 per lap. I was hurting and just waiting to hit 400 left. I probably closed in a 75 which was average but it was not a pretty race. The final time was 16:39 which I was okay with. The winner ran 16:25 so had I run what I wanted to I would have at least been competitive but it wasn’t happening. The 4×8 was a joke. There were two teams and I got the baton 75 meters behind so I pretty much treated it like a workout. I went 66.x 66.x for a 2:13.

Running paragraph cont.
I am getting it back but it’s taking a while. I’m hoping to just put in some really solid high mileage training over break and come back in 16:00 shape. I ran 14 today sort of unintentionally. I initially thought I was going to do 10 but I thought I needed to get more serious about training so I thought 12, then I felt good 6 miles out so I went another to cap a 63 mile week. The clock is ticking, time is running out and things need to start happening. I can’t keep sitting here putting in 50 mile weeks with average workouts and assume that I’ll just get into PR shape. I’m pretty motivated right now so I’m excited to see where this season goes.

Now that that’s over with. We had a 10 team 50 person case race last night. As expected it was a disaster because there was just way too many people and it was just ridiculous. I had high expectations for my team and we did well but we did not win. Each team had a 30 of Natty Light and we finished 26-27 in the time it took for the winning team to finish all 30. Beer was being spilled everywhere and there was no way of keeping track of stuff like that. I’m not saying my team won (I think we were probably 3rd or 4th) but I have serious suspicions in regards to the first place team. Especially because the final count they had was 31 beers. They will obviously argue each point but that team was very unexpected.

Afterward I went to some Sig Pi party with Satch, Rob, Shane, Shiloh, and a few others. It was supposed to be only people in Sig Pi, Tri Sig, and Phi Kaps, but they insisted that I could go. I went dressed in my red short shorts, size 13 pink shower sandals, and my sleeveless middle school t-shirt. Satchel and I played bar tenders for about an hour which was a lot of fun. I must have been asked 10 times if I was in Sig Pi. Eventually I hopped out the window and ran back to Reimert where we had a dance party in my room. Conor Flood managed to puke on my carpet which was cool but I’m not angry at all because he got his head and eyebrow shaved.

There’s a week left of classes and then finals. I’m getting near the end and there’s really not that much left to do. These next two weeks will be enjoyable.