My mother and I had differing opinions on how this outfit looked. Is this something you would throw on for a run and not think twice about or would you go out of your way to not wear orange on orange?



The past two days I’ve listened to the Kinks and only the Kinks. I’ve known about them for a while but only really knew 4 or 5 songs (Lola, Sunny Afternoon, Picture Book, Come Dancing, etc.) I always knew that people considered them to be really good and influential but I didn’t really know them that well and assumed that they were probably overrated. I found 2 albums by them in my house and uploaded them into itunes. The past two days have been me sitting at my cubicle listening to the same 41 songs over and over. Their really old stuff isn’t so much up my alley but at some point they changed up their sound and it’s awesome.

I don’t know how else to describe it but this is classic rock near it’s best in my opinion. They just have that 70’s feel to them. They’re just playing music and having fun and they just don’t give a qua about anything else. I think a lot of the songs are hard to dislike and now that I know the songs better I can jam out to them even more.

If I had to pick the songs that I would say are really good from the ones I never knew they would be this (in no order): Do It Again, Sleepwalker, Full Moon, Living on a Thin Line, and Superman. I think all 5 of those are extremely good and if for some reason you actually decide to listen to the Kinks because of this post, pick of one those 5.

On another music note. I really dislike the band Of Monsters and Men. Radio 104.5 plays them a lot now because Little Talks was a decent song but I just don’t like them at all. They have a very specific sound and it’s not enjoyable I don’t think. I think it’s two new songs but it could be just one and they play them/it all the time and I insta-change it.

Starting Over

I feel bad updating about running again because I’ve been doing that a lot lately… but it’s my blog and I’ll update about running if I want to.

I don’t want to jynx it (although I don’t believe in them) but I think I’ve finally figured this thing out. I’ve run every day for a 6 days in a row for a total of 23 miles. The runs have ranged from 3 to 5 miles and I think I have the injury under control. Had you asked me 3 weeks ago, I would have said the pain I was feeling was not residual pain and that I was screwed. Now I’m quite confident that what I’m feeling IS residual pain. My general plan for any run at the moment is run 1-1.5 miles. At this point my back starts to bother me a little bit. I then stop and walk around for 2 minutes and begin running again. After that little break, the pain I felt goes away almost entirely and I’m good to go for the rest of my run. Today I ran 1.5 miles, stopped for two minutes, and then ran 3.5 miles straight and didn’t notice my back at all really.

If I can keep this up I think I’ll actually be alright for the year. I don’t know if this ‘stop after the first mile then keep going’ plan is going to stick around forever (hopefully it doesn’t) but if that’s what’s necessary then that’s what I’ll do. I’m going to slowly push the boundaries and figure out what I can and can’t do. The good thing of it all is that my back has not taken a step backward in progress at all. Things have only gotten progressively better and I think they’ll continue that way. At this rate, I’ll hit around 30 miles this week.

With all of this said, the other thing I’ve noted is that this is by far the most out-of-shape I have ever been. I’m running 5 miles partly because that’s the most I want to push my back at the moment, but also because I’m just really out of shape. 7:20-7:30 is as fast as I can comfortably go and once I get 4 miles in I’m putting in a lot of effort. I don’t know how long it will take for me to be even close to normal shape where I can run 8 miles at 7:00 pace without too much effort but hopefully sooner than later. I don’t know how my back will work with workouts. Perhaps sub 6 minute pace will aggravate it but hopefully not. I’m also worried about whether it will start to hurt 4 miles into a race. I suppose I shouldn’t worry about workouts or racing at the moment though. I’m just happy to be running at all at this point. Happy running.

Celeb Questions

Here’s two things I wonder about with celebrities.

Does every actor/actress ultimately assume and accept they will play at least one (probably more) regrettable role in their careers? I mean, I’m scrolling through the channels and I see the movie Evolution on. David Duchovny stars in this movie and it’s about an alien life form that eventually almost takes over the world. It’s a stupid family-type film with no cursing, a pretty basic plot, and an 80 million dollar budget so you get some special effects. Duchovny does his best to make his character cool and give as little quas as possible but there’s no saving it. I’m sure this was a nice payday for Duchovny but c’mon, Hank Moody would want to absolutely kick the shit out of Ira Kane (Duchovny in Evolution). If he was ever at a party with other actors this is the type of thing they would make fun of him for. “Whoa, look out for Ira Kane over here!” and Duchovny would have no possible retort, he’d have to stand there with a smile and accept that he played a regrettable role.

Other examples, Sylvester Stallone in Spy Kids 3-D, Nick Cage in Ghost Rider, George Clooney and Arnold in Batman & Robin, etc.

Another thing I wonder about is celebrity marriages. Obviously everyone knows celebrities seem to get married on a whim and end up divorcing shortly after. I’m not surprised that this happens but what I want to know is the conversation they have when they discuss getting married. “I know people say celebrity marriages don’t last but we’re different, we’re in love.” “Oh my god I was thinking the exact same thing, thumbs up, let’s do this!” They have to know that they’re no exception to all the other celebrity marriages. Being in a relationship that will eventually end in a break-up is fine, everyone has been involved in those, but why the hell would you get married? Just date like normal people for two years and if by some miracle you’re still together through all the celebrity drama, then you can justify marriage. I don’t know if they think that because they’re celebrities they have a heightened sense of love or if they’re trying to prove something or what. Hell, it wouldn’t shock me if they do it specifically for media attention. That’s actually the most logical explanation I can come up with.

A Day in the Life

I’m not sure if this is against the rules or something but I’m going to post a video of me at work. This is a short clip of one of my weekly activities. This is about step 5 in a 10-15 step process and this is about 20% of step 5 (unfortunately step 5 is the shortest step). This is not the only type of thing that I do at work but over my years of distance running and a few years interning, I’ve become an expert at repetitive and mind-numbing tasks.

Running Better

I’ve run two days in a row now and while I’m not back to normal, things have changed for sure. I took 9 full days off after Avalon and my back felt pretty good after those 9 days. I decided yesterday that I would drive to Mondauk and see what happened. I started running and 400 meters in I thought I would have to stop. I kept going and the pain eventually went away to an extent. I could feel it in my back for sure but it was only minor and definitely not enough to alter my stride. I kept going and ended up running three miles without stopping. Afterward my back the same as it did before the run. I took that as a good sign.

Today I went to Mondauk again. I got 2.5 miles in and then the pain started to escalate a little more than I was comfortable with. I walked it in and fortunately it didn’t hurt as I was walking at all. The drive home and now a few hours later my back feels fine, no noticeable pain. I ran an extra half mile about an hour after the run so I could call it 3 for the day and it felt completely fine.

This is what residual pain is supposed to be like I think. It hurts a bit while you run and maybe a little bit afterward but nothing really during the day. My mom brought up the scenario that perhaps the fracture has healed and this pain will be normal. I won’t really have a risk of re-injury but the pain will remain and I’ll just have to be aware of that as I run. Maybe I’ll have trouble running more than 5-6 miles on a given run but if I can run twice a day, I can theoretically get in 70 mile weeks which would be great. I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to progress to the point of running daily without things going backwards. I honestly believe that’s doable.

The past few days have really changed my outlook on things. For a while there I was feeling really negative about the whole situation and any feelings of recovery or thoughts of returning weren’t genuine. Now I actually believe that it’s possible I can consistently again let alone run cross country this year. Maybe training won’t be everything I want it to be or everything it used to be. Maybe I will be limited by the injury but if I can get anything going I’ll be very happy.

Wacker complains when I have depressing posts so hopefully this one is a little better than the last couple running-related ones.


Witnessing History

Yesterday I watched two sporting events. One was planned and one was not. In both of them, I watched something I’ll remember for a very long time (one moreso than the other).

In the grand scheme of things, the more historic event is the one I’ll remember less. I came home at 4:00 like always and was feeling pretty exhausted. My plan was to turn on the TV and take a nap to some stupid movie. Instead I saw that the second round of the Wimbledon was on so I figured tennis was as good as anything to fall asleep to. Little did I know what I was in for. Rafael Nadal had been taken to the fifth set by a Czech player named Lukas Rosol. I’m not huge on tennis but the more time goes on, the more I enjoy watching it. I know the basics and the big names. I tuned in just in time to watch the fifth and final set. This Rosol guy was something like the 100th ranked player in the world and had never gotten out of qualifying in the Wimbledon in five tries and here he was in the fifth set against one of the best tennis players alive and perhaps one of the greatest of all time. I only watched the fifth set but Rosol crushed Nadal. He was getting under his skin and you could tell that Nadal was just rattled. The final game wasn’t even close. Rosol got up 40-0 and aced the final serve for the win. He was in the zone and Nadal simply had no answer. I can count on two hands the number of tennis matches I’ve watched in my life-time and somehow, I randomly decide to watch when it’s one of the biggest upsets ‘in recent history’ the announcers were saying. What are the odds? Anyway, it was definitely cool to see this no-name jabroni go out and put a beatdown on one of the best. The crowd was for Nadal initially it seemed but as time went on they were rooting for Rosol. I’m not big on tennis but this one was definitely fun to watch.

The other, perhaps less globally impacting but more exciting in my mind, was the Olympic Trials 5k last night. The obvious story going in was can Rupp beat Lagat for the first time. He had raced Lagat 14 other times and lost every single one. The raced played out as expected for 11 laps. Rupp took the lead off a relatively slow pace with 400 to go. With 200 to go Lagat pulled up on his shoulder. With 100 to go Lagat swung wide and you figured it was over. He passed Rupp but Rupp held strong and with 20-30 meters left he did the unthinkable. He passed Lagat on the inside for the win. I’ve only seen this happen to Lagat once and it was the 1500m in the ’04 Olympics and the person that passed him after getting passed was the one and only El G. Granted Lagat has certainly lost a step or two but he’s one of the best in the world today and Rupp beat him at his own game. This is essentially a passing of the torch in American distance running. Rupp broke his losing streak against Lagat and perhaps more historically important, he broke Steve Prefontaine’s Olympic Trials 5k record. He beat the record by about a second or so. In all honesty, I’m sad to see that record go because Pre is a legend but Rupp earned it. Obviously the time wasn’t that fast (~13:23) but the fact that Pre held it just made it special. If you had asked me “Can Rupp win the gold medal in the 5k or the 10k?” I would have said no. If you had asked me “Can Lagat win the 5k gold?” I would have said yes. Rupp is a medal contender in both events and if by some miracle he pulls of a gold against Farah and Lagat in the 5k or the 10k Farah and Bekele in the 10k he will become more legendary than Prefontaine himself. Hell, a medal would put him as probably the greatest American distance runner of all time. I’m very excited for the Olympics.

Don’t Be Alone

Something has become completely clear to me in the past hour. The two worst parts of my day are the six hours I’m at work and the one hour I spend in my bed before I fall asleep. This sounds obvious but let me explain. These are not the worst parts of my day because I hate entering computer code into a website or because I get anxious about not getting enough sleep (who needs sleep when you run zero miles a week?). These are the worst parts of my day because this is when my mind starts to wander. When I’m at my desk for a few hours straight with no interruptions or when I’m lying awake in my bed, my mind always ends up back on the same thing, running.

Now, a year ago it was the exact same way. I would sit at my desk or in bed and think about running; the tempo I was going to run that day or the mileage I was going to hit that week and everything else I wanted to accomplish. Naturally I would be itching to get out of work to go on a 12 mile run. I knew that it wasn’t one single run that would make me good, but the culmination of all of these miles that would hopefully make me good. I figured that at one point I was doing more mileage than almost everyone in the conference and that made me confident and excited and I looked forward to every run because I was one run closer to being a good runner. I would day dream about qualifying for nationals and breaking the school record in the 10k and medaling at conferences and all sorts of stuff and it never failed to make me happy and excited about the future.

Now it’s the complete opposite. My mind naturally goes towards running but instead of day dreaming about the awesome comeback I’m going to have, I think about what I’m going to say to everyone when I hear the news that I can never run again. I think about who I’ll give my spikes to, if I’ll even dress in running clothes when I go to time workouts in Hunsberger, and all of the conversations and inside jokes that develop on daily runs that I won’t be a part of. I’ve always liked the idea of being a ‘coach’ but it wasn’t supposed to happen this soon.

The point of this post however is that when I’m around people, I feel significantly better about my life situation. When I’m off in my own world at work or in bed, things get bad quickly. But when I’m around people or talking to people, it doesn’t even matter who, I’m always way more optimistic. It could be as small as reading a book with my mom out on my deck. I don’t know why but that makes me feel a lot better about running and everything else. I’ve never been one to frequently go out of my way to ask people to hang out. Generally, if no one texted me on any given night I made minimal effort to find plans for the night. A lot of times I even preferred being alone. I’m not especially sociable and being social on a random Tuesday night or something didn’t appeal to me at all. Now that I’ve made this ‘discovery’, I think I’m going to change that. The Olympic Trials are tonight and I would have been completely content with watching them alone, but instead I’ll be watching them with Mike which will be a lot better than watching them alone.

The only problem is that I still need to change the 6 hours at work and the hour before bed. I’ll be texting my entire phone and hopefully I’ll have a few conversations I can drag out for the entire day to keep my brain from going places. I may sleep on the couch in the family and watch Seinfeld till I fall asleep every night. Problem: solved.

I played cards for 5 hours last night. Instead of saying I didn’t win any money, I’m saying I didn’t lose any money. Seriously though, I bought in for $50 and after a few up swings and down swings I was right back on $50.
Optimism: Check.

Cats Everywhere

Stortz’s are partially know for being cat people, among other things (fast, attractive, good at ping-pong, alcoholics) so I decided to do some research. I went to every single room in my house and decided to count the total number of things that are out in the open for everyone to see on a daily basis that are cat associated. Whether it be a picture of a cat, a kitty hand towel, a fake cat, etc. This is what I came up with.

Laundry Room: 2
Kitchen: 22
Dining Room: 5
Family Room: 3
Living Room: 1
First Floor Bathroom: 3
First Floor Hallway: 1
Computer Room: 2
Master Bedroom: 5
Master Bathroom: 0
Master Closet: 2
Upstairs Hallway: 2
Upstairs bathroom: 0
Music Room: 0 (but it should be noted there’s a dog cup, a stone turtle, and two wooden mergatroid sculptures)
Tom’s Room: 2
My Room: 2
Stairs to basement: 5
Basement (right side): 4
Basement (left side): 6
Weight Room: 0
Grand Total : 67

5 different things on the way to the basement alone?! Obviously the kitchen is out of control but we all knew that. I don’t even think I’ve made 67 individual purchases excluding food in my entire life yet we have 67 things in our house that emphasize our love for them. That’s not even including the 6 freaking cats that are still alive or the 20+ cats that have died in the past 18 years. I’ve been subliminally taught to love cats and involve them in every part of my daily activity. The sad thing is that I don’t mind it one bit.


I’m posting this because I thought it was interesting.

If you were to draw a number between zero and one, the odds that you would draw the number .5 is theoretically zero. You could keep adding a decimal place to that number so if you get .50, you can look to another one, .500, keep going. You could theoretically go on FOREVER and eventually, theoretically, you will find a number different than 0 behind that five. It’s essentially the number of numbers you want selected (1) divided by the total possible numbers you can draw (infinity). 1 divided by infinity gets you 0.  This is true for ALL off the numbers between zero and one.

Now, the possibility that you will draw a number between zero and one is 1. Meaning, you WILL end up with a number. So you add up the probability of selecting each of those numbers, which is zero for each number, and you somehow get one.

Another interesting that is that 1 actually equals .9999 repeating and there’s actually a proof of this.


Conceptually neither of these really make sense. How can 0 + 0 + 0…. = 1? And how can a number less than one equal one? If I was a mathematician in the 17th century and came across this I would quit. Instead, I’m a 21st century student who inevitably decided to quit after calc 2. While I don’t really get it, it still amazes me.