It’s eleven in the morning and the UCXC team just finished our traditional 5k time trial. A week ago I would have said that I’d be happy if I got top 3. Three days ago I would have said that I’d be happy if I ran injury free. Today I had no idea what to expect. Expectations were all over the place so I threw them out the window and said fuck it I’m just going to run and we’ll see what happens. I will say this however. I was amazed at how happy/excited I was this morning. I thought I would be nervous or something but I was just pumped to run all morning. Even if I finished 10th in 20:00 I just wanted to get out there and race again. A 9 month lay off from racing will do that you though. Also, Wacker and I’s bet was still on so I had so motivation to run well because of that.
So here’s how the race went. Immediately off the start line I fell. The gravel was loose and my foot slipped out so I’m down 5-10 meters right off the bat. A group of 5 guys were up front and then there was a small gap to me and a small gap to the other group. About 1k in I caught group and we were all running together. Wacker went to the front and started going. Another small gap opened up between me and the group but nothing major. We hit the turn around and it was down to 5 of us. Shortly after that Jatin made a good surge that only Mark went with. Wacker, Vince Flood, and I stayed back. Those two were clear of us and Vince was falling off of me and Wacker. With about 1200 or so to go I made a move and fortunately dropped Wacker. Mark had opened up a tiny bit on Jatin but there was no way I was going to catch either of them. With 400 left I looked back and saw no one behind me. Jatin and Mark were 15-20 seconds ahead of me so my spot was pretty much decided. On the last straight Jatin had a good kick and went passed Mark to take the win in 17:27. Mark was 5 seconds behind in 17:32 and I was a ways behind in 17:47. Wacker finished up in 18:08 and then a few freshman came in looking good.
This time is 1:20 slower than what I ran last year but I really can’t complain, and I’m not complaining. I was very pleased with the result. I wondered if I would care if Mark or Jatin beat me but after that I don’t really care at all. That thought doesn’t even really enter my head “Damn, Mark beat me.” I’m just thinking about how I did and I did pretty damn well all things considered. I have 10+ weeks to get my shit together and given this as a starting point I’m confident that I can do that. With how bad and negative I felt at some points this summer it’s great to be back and start things off on a positive note. I’m not saying I won’t go through bad stretches because I most likely will but I’m just very happy at the moment and I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
I’m a competitive person and have come across a number of rivals over a number of different activities. I’ll start with the one that inspired the post.
Running: Jatin Narang- I have never had someone who can do pretty much everything I can do in terms of running. The workouts/races we’ve gone through have really been incredible and I’m shocked that two people could be so close so many times. Now for whatever reason (probably half physical half mental) I seem to be on the winning side of this battle more often than not. Don’t get me wrong, he has whooped me a couple of times but I believe I have a winning record. Even our workouts are incredibly close. We run everything together and on the last interval we’re trying to break each other but neither can succeed. Sometimes he’s the one hanging on or I’m the one hanging on but it’s always close. I’m always rooting for him but I NEVER want to lose to him. Six of our last ten races have been within 10 seconds and three of those were within one seconds (Eight XC races, one 800, and one 5k).
Bejeweled: Seth Schaffer – For a decent period of time I was legitamently addicted to Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. It was sickening how much I played it. If I was in class or running or eating, I was most likely playing Bejeweled. When I went to bed, I was envisioning games of bejeweled. Facebook is nice enough to keep your weekly high scores and compare them against your friends. Seth was my biggest rival. I always tried to make sure I had a better score by the end of the week than he did and I would play hundreds if not thousands of rounds in a week (each round is roughly 1:10). The ultimate goal was first person to 1,000,000. I swore that I would quit once I got that but I made sure I got to it first. I definitely played way more than Seth did but I hit 1,000,000 about a year ago and have never played since.
Ping Pong: Jake Boyd, Tom, Jeff – There are different people for different time periods. Jake Boyd is the reason I’m good at ping pong. We would have sleep overs constantly in high school. If we were at his house we played WoW and COD, but if we were at my housewe played ping-pong. I can’t even guess how many games we played but we were pretty well matched and I’d say I probably won 60% of the time (Jake would absolutely argue that number). This summer however Tom has been my rival. Again I think I’m on the winning end more often than not but they’re always good games. Since Jeff has returned from New Zealand he has been my newest rival. We’ve played maybe 20-30 games since he returned and while I dominated the early games, he has since gotten his groove back and we appear to be pretty even. We played 10 games tonight and split 5-5. I can’t consider the Shee my rival because sadly you need to be able to beat them.
Guitar Hero: Rob Lavin – Rob Lavin and I friends through two things, Guitar Hero and poker. In 10th grade I got serious about Guitar Hero and up through 12th grade I was playing pretty much every single day for a minimum of one hour (although some days could easily get as high as 4-6 hours). Rob Lavin was rumored to be the best but as the new kid on the block I had to show that I was no joke. We’ve had quite a few battles since but I pretty much secured myself as the #1. The one and only tournament I participated in, we both made it to the finals where I defeated him. I separated myself by a good margin by the end but he would immediately say that I played more which is why I was better. Here are my scores and here’s his and mine compared. Reading some of the comments I wrote next to my scores are both funny and embarrassing. It’s incredible how much of a nerd I was. I’d also like to point out I’m still ranked 184th overall.
SOF/Diablo II: Alex Gwynne – Now these games were kind of tough to say who’s better. There’s no definitive number to look at like a score or a 1v1 match up to decide who’s better. Whenever Alex, Ben, and I (I don’t include Ben as a rival because Alex and I were always better than him) started SOF or Diablo there was always a little rivalry going. If you were in the same server at the same time for SOF you were always looking at the others ratio. When the other person was playing you turned off your music, turned up the SOF volume, and made sure you were playing your best. If they were playing better you immediately said “Yeah I have my music on though.” In Diablo, it was always who could level faster, higher, and who could get the best gear. If we started playing and after a week he had a level 85 I made damn sure that the very next weekend I was playing non-stop till I got to 80.
Life: Ian Mcgrath – There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that I don’t want to be better than Ian Mcgrath at. We’ve been friend for almost 15 years and everything we’ve done was always a competition, always. As kids we played PIG, pinball, fooseball, pool, Starcraft, Cruisin’ USA, Madden, football (where Brandon Goodman was the steady wide receiver and Ian and I were the QBs), the list goes on and on. Everything we did at all times was a competition and we both knew it. By the end of it we didn’t even like each other, the winner bragged like a motherfucker and the loser just wanted to play again. In middle school I bet $5 that he wouldn’t get Halo 2 in April because he said he could, I won that one (although he paid with four Sacagawea coins and a $1 bill just to piss me off). In high school I bet $5 that I would be taller than him by the time I graduated, I lost that one. It doesn’t matter how stupid the thing is, I want to be better than him.
Thanks to Jordan Kellogg I was informed of a funny little incident at the Olympics that would never be put on the news or anything like that. Apparently while accepting his medal for rowing, Henrik Rummel was up on the stand with a boner. Now, these rowers wear spandex shorts so you can pretty much see their dicks either way but the picture may suggest that he does in fact have a boner.
In all honesty though, how much shit can you give this guy? He’s an Olympic medalist and will be more successful than almost everyone he meets in his entire life. I’m sure there were some hot girls there too that may have stirred some bonerness. I mean, when you’re going up to accept your medal you’re probably only thinking one thing in that scenario, “don’t get a boner, don’t get a boner.” I remember in high school when I had swimming first period and we had to sit there and listen to the teacher talk for 5 minutes before we actually got in. I just kept saying to myself “now would be a terrible time to get a boner” and saying that is like daring your weiner to get hard, who can turn down a dare?
This post was inspired by The Shee (Adam Cohen) and I know he’ll be extremely flattered that I’m writing this. I consider myself good-very good at a lot of relatively useless things. The following will be a list of things that I’m good at but I know at least one person that’s better than me. Obviously I know there’s someone better out there at everything so the rule is I have to interact with this person at least once every six months or so and they have to be a ‘friend’, otherwise they don’t count.
Ping-Pong – I play ping-pong a good amount and the only person who can beat me very consistently is The Shee. This is why he’s going to love this post. Now obviously Tom can beat me on any given game but the Shee is the only one who definitely beats me more than I beat him. We played 4 times last night and I went 0-4. It’s not like the games aren’t close. I can be leading the whole game and we’ll hit 15-15 or 16-14 and then I fall apart. We had one game go 22-24 last night but for whatever reason I can’t beat the Shee. There ya go Shee.
Frisbee – It’s hard to judge who’s ‘better’ at Frisbee but of everyone I’ve played with there’s been only two people that I can definitely say are ‘better’ at Frisbee than me. Tristan and Abud. Some may argue Tristan doesn’t belong on this list because I don’t interact with him once every six months anymore but I plan on telling him about this post today so that will be one right there. Plus we were pretty much best friends for 9 months so he counts. Tristan was just all around better than I was. He could throw farther, more accurate, and was taller. I could probably get to a loose Frisbee faster than Abud but his forehand throw is 10 times more consistent than mine so I’ll give him the nod.
Running – Of all the people who were better than me my freshman year in high school I would say that only two are still better than me. Paul and Palm. Both of them have 49/1:51 speed so obviously they crush me at shorter events but they’d also probably beat me in the 5k and they both have beaten me at Paul Short. If I can somehow get my shit together for my senior year I might be able to put a 10k out of reach because they hate the 10k but regardless, they’re definitely better runners than I am.
Music Knowledge – This one is obviously subjective. I feel like I know a good amount of lyrics, song names, artists, and things about the song or artist. The one person who has pretty similar taste and definitely knows more than I do is my brother Tom. There’s a good amount of songs that he knows that I don’t but more importantly there are few that I know that he doesn’t know. Now there are definitely some bands and songs that I know better than him but on the overall he has me beat by a good margin. The title of this can be misleading so I’ll throw in that my brother Jeff also knows a lot more about music than I do in terms of theory and actually playing guitar (also Dan Mahoney, Ben Landau, and Kurt Channick are more knowledgeable/better than me at guitar). I’m not that good at guitar anyway but I figured it was worth mentioning.
I’m sure there are more things but since I haven’t posted in 4 days I figured this was good enough. I’m also sure you all out there can think of things that you’re better than I am at so feel free to comment.
I did my first workout today after 9 months without working out. The game plan was a 3 mile tempo on the track but thanks to Michelle Obama that had to be changed. She was giving a talk at UDHS so the track was closed which meant I had to go to Mondauk just like every other day. I warmed up two miles and did all my normal pre-workout stuff. I know that Mondauk was probably ~10 seconds slower per mile than a real track because of the surface and the sharp turns. Right before I was going to start I ran into Van Den Hengel again. He was wearing the exact same shorts that I was, my yellow and black Eastbay shorts. I told him what I was doing and he was glad to join. I said it probably wasn’t going to be fast but he didn’t mind. I also made a point of saying I’d rather go out slow and finish strong. A few minutes later we were on our way.
I did the complete opposite of what I said. While I wouldn’t say he ‘pushed’ the pace, he certainly wasn’t trying to slow it down. We hit a 5:47 for the first mile and it was probably a decent positive split too. We slowed the second mile to a 6:03. We made conversation the whole way so I was able to talk but the last mile was not very good. My breathing was alright actually but my legs were hurting and there was no finishing strong. The last mile was a 6:11 for an 18:01 overall. I figure this was good for a 17:30 on a track and closer to 17:15 if I ran even splits. That’s not all that bad for my first workout so I walked away relatively confident. There was one small cause for concern however. My back tightened up a little bit the last mile. It didn’t affect my stride really but I couldn’t definitely feel it. If it tightened up a decent amount doing three miles I can only imagine what five miles will feel like.
The good news however is that after I stopped for 2-3 minutes it went away completely. We warmed down and I didn’t feel my back at all during that either which is also good. Matt was pushing the warm-down pace a little quicker than I wanted to go but that’s just because he’s in shape and I’m not. We ran 7:15s for the warm down whereas 7:45s would have been nicer. Either way, 7:15s didn’t feel too bad after the workout so that’s also kind of encouraging. I’ll see how my back holds up tomorrow. Although it wasn’t executed too well and I was forced to do it at Mondauk I would say the workout was an overall success and I’m more confident now than I was yesterday.
I haven’t talked about running in a while so I’ll go ahead and disappoint my readers with a running post.
I don’t bother getting excited or depressed about running anymore. This isn’t really a conscious choice, that’s just how things have gone the past 6 weeks. I’ll finish a run, feel great, and not feel back pain at all and think “I’m back, finally!” and the next week I’ll have a run where I feel like shit, my back hurts, I have to stop, and think “I’ll be lucky to race at all this year”. No matter what though, whether I finish optimistic or pessimistic, it always changes in a few days. I took 3 days off recently because my leg hurt and my back didn’t feel great. My first run back was bad, very bad. My leg hurt like a mother fucker and my back was also bothering me. For the short period of time that I was left to my own thoughts, I was 100% convinced I had a stress fracture in my right leg. Two days later I just ran 7 miles and while I didn’t feel great running wise, my back started off average before turning to good and I couldn’t feel my leg at all. It’s not worth the emotional investment to get excited or depressed about running anymore. No matter what happens, good or bad, I will probably have a different outlook a week from then.
With all of that said, I plan on doing my first real workout of the summer tomorrow. The idea is a 3 mile (or 5k) tempo run on the track. I don’t want to look at my watch at all although a nice round number would be 6 minute pace. I have absolutely no idea if that will be too fast or too slow so I don’t even want to bother thinking about it. I know how it feels to do a tempo so that’s exactly what I’m going to do and we’ll see what the time says later. Maybe I’ll even split 6:15’s and walk away feeling meh or maybe I’ll average 5:45’s closing fast and will walk away very optimistic. Either way, I’m not going to get too excited or too upset depending on this workout. However I will say that it will awesome to do a workout again shitty or not.
Warning: I don’t throw up so this video isn’t all that entertaining. I normally wouldn’t post this since nothing happens but I wasted 6 minutes and we taped it so I’m posting it. Thanks to Tom for filming and uploading. If anyone has any good suggestions please comment because this one wasn’t too difficult.
I watched the movie Little Miss Sunshine the other day because I had heard good things. It received three stars by Comcast and a whopping 91% on Rotten Tomatoes so I figured I was in for something good. All in all, I’d say it was good but I was disappointed. It wasn’t that good. They could have done so much more with the interactions between the characters I thought. I thought each character was interesting and they could have blended really well to make for some entertainment but they just decided not to do it. For example, Steve Carrell and the dad get into one argument while in the car and I thought that was entertaining. They left it at that though, just one argument and those two characters didn’t really go at it again. The least interesting character of all, the mom, interacts a lot with the dad (naturally) but there just wasn’t enough to it I didn’t think.
They come together at the end for the final dance scene as a way to say “we’re a family and we stick together” but I just don’t think they went through enough with each other to think the bond was genuine. The grandpa dies, the dad’s deal doesn’t go through, the kid is color blind and can’t be a pilot, Carrell tried to kill himself, but all of these things only involve one person (except the grandpa dying, I suppose that kind of affected everyone) and I just don’t think these things would create the ‘family’ bond that the movie is going for. Obviously the van being a metaphor for the family is creative with all the defective parts making up one unique van, I did like that. This kind of goes with the new Dark Knight. I thought it was good, don’t get me wrong, it was worth watching, but getting a 90%+ on Rotten Tomatoes is a pretty big accomplishment and I just don’t see this movie getting there for me.
My past few days have been rather eventful for me. On Thursday I went to La Salle to celebrate Dave Derr’s 21st birthday. I’d never actually met Dave before but I’d heard of him and Gourlay was hosting the party so I got the invite. I arrived around 7 and we started drinking lightly. It was only going to be a small party, 10-15 people, but somehow girls actually consisted of over 10% of the people there. We played flip-cup and pong as always which was a good time. I made the same mistake I always make at parties like this, I assume I need to get extremely drunk to be able to talk to girls so I was doing shots and as always it ended poorly. I remember talking to one girl a good bit but the shots hit too hard and it was lights out for me. I blacked out for a while and then passed out early. The party shifted to another house and I did not make the trip. 0/1.
I woke up at 5:15 in the morning on the couch in the living room with Jonny on the other couch. I was wide awake for no reason and fortunately, Richie and Matt Scott walked in the front door and were always wide awake despite not sleeping at all. Because I drove I offered them a ride home and they accepted. We said goodbye to everyone and a girl asked if she could catch a ride home also. It was an extremely random grouping of people but at 6 in the morning when we were all a little hungover, it was pretty funny. We stopped at McDonald’s on the way home and I got a sausage, egg, and cheese McGriddle and it was freaking awesome. Once home I watched Olympic steeple, went on a run, and then went to work for 7 hours.
The initial plan for last night was to go to West Chester with the same group as the night before but that plan quickly fell through. Gourlay and I decided to go to Temple instead because Richie was throwing a party in his brand new house. We drove to La Salle to pregame. Five beers and three games of Fifa later we were on our way to Temple. I made a vow not to black out because our game plan was to catch a bus back to La Salle and if I got as drunk as I did the night before I would not be able to do that. Initially it was about 10 guys and we were all playing flip-cup. The highlight was game 7 of the best of 7 series where we all decided to do full-cup flip-cup. I was 2nd to last and Gourlay was anchor. I gave him the baton dead even with the other team and then Gourlay showed what 3 years of college taught him. He drank half the cup, stopped drinking, and watched as the other team won easily. Chugging beers was never his strong point but man that was not good.
After that a few more people showed up. It was a little strange but fun nonetheless. Richie’s next door neighbor came over and asked if she could bring a lot of people over and we all said yes. Before we knew it there was 50 people who literally just walked in off the street in Richie’s house and it was not fun. I wasn’t that drunk and everyone was just weird. Gourlay got in a huge argument with one of the kids, fuck yous were exchanged, and a likely fist-fight was prevented. After that we decided to get the qua out of there. We took the bus home, ordered Chinese, and arrived at Happy Fortune with our food already ready. It was delicious but immediately afterward we both felt like absolute garbage. We went back to his house and went to bed, neither of us blacked-out. 1/2.
It’s only Saturday which is pretty odd but I don’t plan on drinking tonight. I’m going into the city today to hang out with Laura for a few hours and then I’m coming home to watch the Olympic 10k final which everyone else should watch (4:15 live on NBC). I’m also taking two days off from running. Not because I’m hurt necessarily but I’m just being cautious. Enjoy your Saturday everyone.