After a pain free .33 mile run a few days ago and watching The Real Maine last night I was riding a sort of unrealistic high. The past few days have been pretty good in terms of my back and I was very optimistic in terms of when I would return. I just went on a bike ride which I haven’t done for a while to get my heart rate up a little bit and it wasn’t fantastic. It’s safe to say that while I’m better than I ever have been since the injury, I’m not that close to running. I’m not upset or down necessarily I’m just coming back to earth. I’m going to keep doing my core and everything until I think I’m completely ready and I’m not going to rush the comeback at all. Rationally, the difference between starting May 22nd or June 22nd isn’t that big (although June 22nd to July 22nd kind of is).
It’s funny because the obsessive personality traits still show themselves even when I’m not running. When I am running I keep my whole log with workouts and races included to fully track progress. Example, the last real workout I did before I got hurt was 6×1000 on 11/29/2011 (the first workout of this indoor season) with the first 5 in ~3:05 and the last one in 2:57 with about 3 minutes rest. After that workout I looked back and saw that on 1/25/2011 I ran 6×1000 in ~3:10 for the first 5 and finishing in 2:56 all with about 3 minutes rest. So I concluded that I was running faster at the very beginning of my Junior indoor season than I was two months ahead in my Sophomore indoor season. As a runner I was very encouraged thinking I should be running ~15:37 (my indoor PR sophomore year) a full two months earlier in my junior year, maybe 15:30 when I got back from winter break. That’s great.
These obsessive traits can be reveal bad news too.
Let’s predict when I’ll be back running. Say June 16th. Two weeks later I’ll be back to ‘normal’ training, say July 1st. That’s 6 weeks behind last year. I get back to camp August 21. That’s 7.5 weeks of real training until I get back to camp. What type of workouts was I doing 7.5 weeks in? Was I even doing workouts 7.5 weeks in? My first workout last summer was July 13, 8 weeks after I started training. I won’t get a workout in over the summer. I’ll be in Del Val shape come the time we ran the Delaware meet last year? That’s not good. Let’s backtrack and say I get back to ‘normal’ training on June 16th….
Here we go again. You get the picture.
I’m still excited to get going and I really do believe that I WILL be able to run normal again but I’m just trying to be realistic with my expectations and I don’t want to rush back and do something I’ll regret.
The Real Maine is a little documentary made by five D1 runners (Kyle Merber, Erik Van Ingen, Riley Masters, Mark Feigen, and Chris Derrick) who are all extremely good. They went to Maine last summer and documented the whole thing. It’s Once-A-Runner-esque but with five people and it isn’t fiction. Just as a runner this is awesome. I sat and watched the whole thing no problem because it captures so many different parts about running that I love. It was also personally really helpful listening to Merber and Feigen talk about their injuries. Hearing Merber say “I never thought I would be able to compete competitively again” was really something because I’ve felt the exact same way multiple times in the past 4 and a half months. He missed his entire junior year but he just ran a 3:35.58 in the 1500 which is the equivalent of a 3:51 mile so clearly he has rebounded well. Even if you’re not a runner I suggest watching 16:20-18:10 and also 30:55-32:00 because that’s exactly how a lot of runs go with a team of really close people. Things like this make me so excited to run that I can’t even express it. FYI my back is almost entirely pain free and I really think I’ll be back to normal soon.
I understand that being humble is a good quality to have. No one likes someone who goes around gloating about all of their accomplishments. I get this. But since I’ve been watching the NBA playoffs a lot it seems like this quality is getting carried away by some people. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of cocky players in the NBA but in a lot of these post game interviews I think players are being too humble.
One thing in particular is when one player was obviously the player of the game or the reason they won. I’m specifically when Iguodala hit the go-ahead 2 against the Celtics and then the 3-ball with under a minute left to pretty much seal the deal. In the post-game interview he never gave himself any credit for hitting the shots. He might say something like “My teammates did a great job of setting me up and fortunately I was able to knock down the shot” (always have to give credit to the teammates) but why is it so bad to say “Yeah I mean, me making those two shots pretty much ended it, I was clutch.” It’s a true statement that no one would say about themselves. The person’s teammates however would give all the credit to Andre for hitting the big shots. Of course they would, he was the man of the game and hit the big shots? I wonder what an obvious player of the game would say if they were asked in the post-game interview “Who was the player of the game for you guys?” Would he just flat out say “Me.” (Kobe would which is why I like Kobe), should he? Why not? It’s the truth. But you always have to be humble and can’t take all of the credit.
However, flip the table and say he misses those shots and the Sixers lose. He would almost definitely say something in the post-game interview like “Yeah, it’s my fault, my teammates set me up perfectly and I had the opportunity but I just didn’t get it done.” It’s not only okay to take credit for the loss, but it’s expected. How come it doesn’t work that way for a win? Obviously a win or a loss doesn’t come from one person but a single person will take full responsibility for a loss but almost always defer credit to his team and coaching if they win. What do his teammates say about him if they lose because of him? They would never blame it on him. They would say that there were plenty of things the team could have done throughout the game to get the win but it’s definitely not the one guy who missed the big shots fault. Of course not.
Last night was unexpectedly the most fun night so far this summer. Granted summer has only been a week long but still, 1 out of 7 is pretty good. It started early with my mother and I running a few errands. I cashed a check and turned in some change for a grand total of $395.50 which was nice. With that I decided to treat myself and buy Diablo III. It took a while to install so while I was waiting I started watching Bridesmaids from the very beginning with Nancy. She made dinner for both of us and somehow we got sucked into watching the entire thing together but I was okay with that because I like the movie.
Now, you might guess that I spent pretty much the rest of the night playing Diablo, and you would be right but there’s a catch. I started playing at 9:00 and once Jake (J-train) heard that I bought it he knew he had to come over to check it out. He showed up at 9:30 and was slightly buzzed so we cracked open a few beers and got ready for a long night of me playing Diablo and him watching me play. We had music going, chugging contests, Diablo, and before I knew it I was pretty drunk. A little after midnight Jake and I put my level 12 monk Mergatroid to bed to play some ping-pong. We were both a little too drunk to be as good as normal but it was still fun. We were chatting it up, rockin’ some tunes, and still drinking. We tried playing a game where you have a glass filled with beer on the table but that quickly ended when J-train smashed his glass with his paddle by accident. After that we just decided to go to bed.
Today was a rough day at work but not because I was hungover. I was just falling asleep in my cube which is never good. I finished my first week at work with a total of 30.5 hours logged. I’m still not sure how much I’m getting paid but I’m happy to make it to the weekend. Somehow that whole first week is gone and I’m guessing summer is going to go by just as fast as the school year did.
It’s currently 10pm on a Wednesday evening and I have absolutely nothing to do. The Sixers just got romped and now I have the choice between watching a movie, watching the Lakers/Thunder, going on fukung.net for a while, playing CSS, playing guitar, or going to bed. Well I probably watch two shitty movies a day and I just finished watching The Change-Up with Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds so I don’t feel like watching a movie. The Sixers got crushed so I don’t feel like watching the NBA right now. I’ve been on fukung every night for two+ hours since I’ve gotten home so I should probably do something else. I can only play guitar for so long and I’m rusty in CSS so that won’t even be fun. finally, I can’t go to bed because I don’t run anymore so I don’t get tired and I would end up laying there until 12:30 anyway. So, what the qua should I do?
All of this points to one thing and one thing only. On May 15th (yesterday) Blizzard finally released Diablo III. I’ve probably invested more time into Diablo II than any other game (yes, including Guitar Hero) and have a craving to play. Diablo III has no monthly fee and has been in the making for years upon years. At the moment, I’m heavily leaning towards buying it. This would solve a lot of problems but also cause a lot of problems. It solves the problems of being extremely bored constantly, it will give me something to do at all times. The problem is that it will likely take over any small social life I have. It will become an addiction and I won’t want to do anything except play Diablo. When the school year comes around this behavior will likely continue. My cool points will drop drastically and just as with Diablo II, a level 90 Hammerdin with an Archon Plate Enigma, a HOTO, and a PTorch dealing 15k per isn’t going to impress any ladies.
With that said, I think I’m almost definitely going to buy it. I wasn’t good at balancing my time in high school which explains why I was a nerd. Whatever though, it’s my senior year and if I am able to spend 80% of my time either running or playing D3, I’ll be pretty satisfied. I don’t know how this will affect my blogging. I could see it not affecting it at all or just completely taking over and this blog will go down the shitter. I don’t think that will happen though. Let’s hope not.
This will be a relatively happy post.
Because of the two comments on my last post I feel obligated to say this. I appreciate both of the comments, I really do. My last post was just me whining because I was having a bad day. I’m aware my situation is not bad. Although it may have appeared this way, I’m not depressed and I’m not on the verge of quitting running. Normally one person vents to another and the next day they both know it’s not that bad and it was just venting but with this blog up for anyone to read it just comes off that I’m super-emo when I swear I’m not. Again, thank you for the comments but just to clarify I’m not about to kill myself (not that the comments suggested I was on the verge of suicide, but you get the point). My back does feel better (I think) and I’m totally fine with everything as it currently stands.
J-train came over last night and we had a pretty good time. We exchanged a lot of stories and although it’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other we fell back into our normal groove. I guess this just shows that although I’m at school for 8 months a year and probably don’t talk to my friends from home as much as I should, it doesn’t mean they’re gone forever or that it would be weird to hangout with them. We went to Pac-Sun and I bought a new pair of sandals as well as a hipster polo type shirt which was unusual.
Just to comment on that experience, it’s just so obvious that the girls who work at Pac-Sun are told to flirt with the customers assuming they’re a guy. I went up with the sandals and the shirt and there was no hello or anything for about 10 seconds and then a switch flipped on and the girl starts talking to me. She was probably 18 and decently attractive for what it’s worth. She said “Are those comfortable?” referring to the sandals. I replied “Well I guess I’m going to find out aren’t I.” How am I supposed to know if they’re comfortable if I haven’t even bought them yet? The small talk continued and she said something about her Rainbows. I told mine wore through and that’s why I was trying out this new brand. She was shocked that Rainbows would wear through and I neglected to tell her that I wear them 350 days a year for fear of looking like a weirdo. It wasn’t a weird experience or anything it was just obvious how that store operates.
To wrap up, I’m a happier camper. The Sixers are on tonight and Gourlay will be coming over to watch. I’ve been following them extremely close since the playoffs started. Now that I work like a normal person and don’t have homework to do or video games to play I look forward to all NBA playoff games more than normal. I was literally thinking in my bed on Monday after the game that I just had to get through Tuesday and then I’m only 1 day away from game 3. I’m already looking forward to Friday. Go Sixers.
This will not be a happy post.
I went to the orthodontist today and had braces put back on. They’re only on the bottom right of my mouth but still they’re already a pain in the ass and I’m 20 years old, I shouldn’t have braces. What’s worse is this, if the braces don’t do the job they’re supposed to I’m pretty much screwed. To paraphrase Udis, “I’m not even going to tell what we have to do if they don’t work because you will not want to hear it so let’s just keep our fingers crossed and hope this works.” Pretty much, if this doesn’t work, I’m going to be going there until I’m 30. A final piece of bad news is that I’m going to have to have surgery done this summer for extra teeth. I figured this would happen but was hoping to get it out of the way, AKA, before I started running. Now it looks like I’ll have started running for a little bit but then have to stop for roughly a week because of the surgery. As if I wasn’t going to have enough trouble coming back, my senior year XC season will be in even more jeopardy because my body is retarded and refuses to stop growing teeth. Needless to say I’m not a happy camper at the moment.
To cap things off, tomorrow is May 16th which marks the one year anniversary of when I started summer training last year. Granted it was a slow 5 miles in VA but at least it was a start. I ended up running 40 miles that week. I would imagine it will take another 7-8 weeks at least to hit 40 miles a week this year. That means I’m at least 7-8 weeks behind last year which is never encouraging. It just feels like this injury is never going away. It’s been so long since I was running regularly that I don’t know what it’s going to feel like when I come back. The idea of going out on a run every day is probably going to be so different than what I’m used to. Thinking back to Regionals last year, which is the last time I was fully healthy, seems like forever ago. I just want to be healthy. I just want to be able to go out on a run even if it is only 2 miles at 8:00 minute pace. I honestly can’t tell anymore if my back is getting better or not. I say that I think it’s feeling better but I can’t tell if it feels any different than a month ago when I was also saying it’s feeling better. It’s very easy to tell other people to stay positive when they’re injured and you’re not but having it the other way around is like death.
Things are not great right now but I guess it will get better soon. I’m seeing J-train tonight for the first time in a while so that will cheer me up. Maybe I’ll quit running and become a pro table tennis player or start playing guitar hero again. I know that won’t happen but yeah.
Day one at work is complete. First I’ll say how it was and then I have one thing to note. I was there for six hours and while I did get work done, it was pretty mind-numbing and I found myself glancing at the clock way more than I would have liked. I do not have my own cubicle which is a shame but the woman I share it with is also a runner which is good and bad. It’s good because we can actually talk about Broad Street and marathons and other running things that I normally wouldn’t be able to with other people. The bad thing is our difference as runners. I listened to her and a guy converse today about how his recent 5k went. He said he didn’t run for an entire week before the race and had a reason for each day, some of which included “It was a bad weather day” and “Obviously I didn’t want to run the day before the race”. While I do understand that these people are not serious or competitive runners, it does irk me a little bit just listening to some of these things. He ran a 27:30 5k which he said was 10 minutes faster than last time. Anything under 21 minutes or anything more than 25 miles a week would be out of this world to them so I almost hope they don’t ask how fast I am or how far I run. Anyway, I’m accepting the fact now that the work won’t be too stimulating but I’m okay with working 30 hours a week for good pay and the completion of my ILE even if the work is meh.
There were two themes that people addressed throughout the entire day. The first was the fact that it was my first day. The second was that Sam and I coincidentally wore blue striped polos. I must have heard the phrases “Welcome back!” and “Oh Sam and Sam matching today!” 20 different times. I think this just goes to show that the office atmosphere breeds the same type of thought process for every person. If I was at school and Mark and I accidentally wore the same shirt people would say something along the lines of “Hah, GAYE! Did you two call each other this morning?” but at work it’s just the innocent poking fun that everyone seems to find hilarious. Everyone thinks the same way and says the same things and I could absolutely see how working there for years on end would mold you that way. I’ve been there 6 hours this summer and I’m already falling into it (although I did hold back a good number of ‘quas’ today). People pretty much just look for anything to avoid awkward situations. I have no problem is someone I haven’t seen since last summer walks by my cube and doesn’t say anything. Everyone just feels that they should say something to be nice so everyone says the exact same thing. That’s just the way the working world operates I suppose.
Throughout my life there have been several notable good investments as well as bad investments. These were not all necessarily my doing but whatever, you’ll see what I mean.
Basketball Hoop – This one is courtesy of Jeff. My dad bought a full sized Gorilla basketball hoop way back in the day and I must say it has gotten more use than I would have ever imagined. Since I was strong enough to reach the 10 foot hoop I’ve spent hours upon hours just shooting around as well as playing games. When we first bought it we painted a court on the driveway which is also a brilliant idea if you have a hoop. I can go out and shoot 10 sets of 10 free throws in an hour without a care in the world. In high school track friends would come over and play intense pick up games, those were some of my favorites times. Am I a great basketball player? No, I’m undersized, have a mediocre jump shot, and a weak left hand, but that doesn’t mean the hoop wasn’t arguably the greatest investment in Stortz history.
Barney – Barney was the first car I ever drove. He was a 98 maroon Dodge Stratus. I would venture to say that Jeff and I didn’t take great care of him throughout his life which is likely why he is no longer with us but I’ve never met a car with more character. I actually have an emotional attachment him and was pretty sad to hear when he died. He wasn’t the fastest or the lightest or the coolest, but he was my car and I loved him. He took me to school everyday. He took me to buy Iced Teas over and over again. He took me to Valley Green hundreds of times and didn’t mind when I came back dripping sweat all over him. I’ll be telling my kids in 30 years about my first car, Barney.
Video Games – I suppose it depends who you ask but to me, the countless hours I spent playing video games infinitely exceeded the value of the consoles and the games themselves. I’m going to do some math here, in high school I would venture to say I averaged 2-3 hours of video games a day (whether it be GH, Diablo, SOF, Frozen Throne, or Smash) and for an XBOX 360, a Gamecube, the guitars, the computer, and the games, it would cost ~$2000 which is probably an over estimation. $2000 for over 4000 hours of entertainment. That’s 50 cents an hour to be entertained and that’s not including all of elementary school and middle school which were also heavy gaming years. That’s a hell of a deal if you ask me. Coincidentally, one Natty Ice is also 50 cents of entertainment but one of those lasts roughly 20 minutes so these video games were three times as valuable in terms of entertainment as Natty Ice. That’s really saying something.
Mergatroid – I feel bad writing this but in all honesty, Mergatroid (our bearded dragon) was simply not a good investment. Jeff and I split the price when I was in 5th grade. I can’t remember exactly but he was $100 or something not including his cage, his light, the sand, the things he liked to lay on, and the crickets. Say the base cost was $300. We had to spend $5 for two dozen crickets once a month for seven years to keep this guy alive which totals ~$400. We spent $700 on a Bearded Dragon that did absolutely nothing. Remembering to turn his light on and off was always a hassle, making him salads was always a chore, and don’t even get me started on the Great Cricket Escape that occurred my senior year in high school. It’s not even that we put that much into keeping him alive, it’s just that we got pretty much nothing in return. I love you Mergatroid but I have a feeling you hated me and you never did much for me anyway, sorry.
Motor Scooter – I bought a motor scooter in middle school with the intention of driving it to Alex’s and Ben’s over the summer when my parents were at work. It wasn’t a terrible idea but the scooter itself just sucked. I spent about $200 on it and it didn’t last very long at all. When the quick-start thing broke I had to pull the gas-choke thing to start it every time and 6th grade Sam was simply not strong enough to do it. When it was working it got me from A to B successfully but it was just a piece of junk in terms of durability. There was nothing wrong with biking 2.5 miles to Alex’s house but me being lazy and not very cool insisted on buying this motor scooter.
Poke’mon Cards – While this one is yet to be determined, I would guess that all of the money I spent on Poke’mon cards was a complete waste. I have a binder full of holographic cards in my room upstairs and had the intention of selling them but never went through with it. The reason these were so utterly useless is because I never actually played the game. Tom and I may have played once or twice but that was it. I would simply buy them, look to see if I got any ones that I liked, then put them away to never see them again. They were a complete waste of money and served absolutely no purpose whatsoever. While video games were a ‘waste of time’ at least they entertained me for hours. Each pack of cards was a single minute of sheer disappointment unless I got a Charizard. If they become extremely valuable in 20 years then I may have something but I would be shocked if that actually happened.
I made the trip to Princeton again today to watch Mike run the finals of the 1500. I left my house at 10:45 and what normally takes 40 minutes took an hour and 15. There was a bad accident that had route 1 backed up for a while. There was a detour but the traffic was so bad that I opted to go out on my own and find another way thinking my phone would guide me. My phone was telling me to turn around and get on where I had just gotten off which was unacceptable because of the jam. I kept driving and miraculously bumped into route 1 again, got on, and made it there safely and in time for the races. Katie, Mike’s parents, a few of Mike’s friends, and I watched the race and unfortunately it didn’t go great but it was still fun to watch. The next hour and a half was spent in the blazing sun watching track races which was a good time because we knew people in almost every race. Eventually Mike, two of his friends, and I went out for some ice cream which was fun. It was a great day all around and I enjoyed my stay.
On the way home I had to stop at Hallmark because I biffed it on the whole Mother’s day thing. I knew it was Mother’s day when I woke up today and saw Nancy but didn’t say happy mothers day because I didn’t get her a gift yet. It came up once or twice but I chose to ignore it and waited until I had a card, a candle, and a one dollar bill to give her. Tom, Nancy, JC, and I had a nice family dinner that ended poorly but no one was injured and that’s what’s important right?
Tomorrow is my first day at Softerware and I suppose I’m ready to start. I absolutely need to go shopping for shorts and sandals. I don’t know what I’m going to wear tomorrow, running shoes? Since I could not find a shopping buddy Nance-pants and I have a date tomorrow night to go shopping. I just want to get it out of the way so I can go another 5 years without buying new clothes. On the note of buying new things, I will likely not have to buy a car which I thought I would. JC is probably going to give me Laura’s old car and he’ll lease a car of his own. That would be awesome because that Beamer is way nicer than anything I would have bought this summer. I’m contemplating signed up for L.A. fitness so I can bike, pool, do core, and lift? on the reg. I’ve pushed up a bench-press bar 70 times in the past two days which is probably more than the past 5 years combined. This is the beginning of the end for Sam. I’m going to get into my routine and likely follow it until school starts with minor interruptions of fun throughout the way. I can’t wait.