Dear Younger Me: Lauren Fleshman

Lauren Fleshman wrote a letter to her younger self that I thought was worth sharing.


For those who don’t know, Lauren Fleshman was a very successful runner for the US from the early 2000s until about 2012. Here’s a good race of her’s.

The letter touches on the issue of young runners, specifically girls, going through puberty, and how it affects their running and personal health.

Puberty affect boys and girls unfairly when it comes to running. For boys, it’s an automatic performance enhancer. For girls, it’s a total guessing game, and often leads to a decrease in performance.

However, girls, and more specifically, coaches, don’t handle this well. Pressure exists to perform well in the short-term and this often results in sacrificing health, most notably in the form of an eating disorder.

The athletes are too young to recognize how serious it is and the coaches (not all, but too many) are too selfish to stop it. This can be a plague on college teams and the culture is such that girls on the team often don’t speak about it at all despite everyone knowing what’s going on.

This issue isn’t talked about enough based on the amount of impact it has on young women in the sport, so Fleshman’s letter, and any other effort to bring this issue more to the forefront of high school / collegiate running is a positive.

A Monday for the Ages

Going into Monday night I wanted two things to happen. 

  1. Advance in the Bowling Playoffs
  2. Break 16:00 in the 5k

Bowling Playoffs – Round 1

How I felt leaving the team in game 3

The #5 seeded Snakes faced off against #4 seed Icantbowlieveitsnotgutter in a best of three matchup.

We crushed game 1 and were looking good in our second until I foot fouled and things went down hill from there. I had to head out for my race and leave it to the other Snakes to advance us for game 3.

Jordan bombed, Evan bowled well, and TC put up a legendary 290 to win by a mere 13 pins. The Snakes advance to the semi-finals next week. WATCH OUT!

Swat Last Chance

Drew’s 1500m

In an un-Mackin-like performance, Drew pushed during the third lap of the 1500, clocking a 61 for that 400m, and nearly won his heat in a very impressive 3:56 (4:15 mile equivalent). There’s a lot more in the tank for Drew. 3:56 and 1:50 are only the beginning.

My 5000m

At nearly 10:45 PM my race started with 33 other competitors. I had my fingers crossed for sub 16:00. I got out just fine but was getting passed non-stop. Eventually I had to decide if I wanted to latch on to a pack or slip back into no-mans land. I went with the former.

We hit the mile in 5:02, which was fast, but I could feel that I wasn’t in over my head. The ~15:5x pack stayed in touch through two miles in 10:09.

With 850m left I made a move to the front of the pack and immediately regretted it, thinking I’d shot my wad too early. I had my 200m left face on with 600m to go. Once we got to a lap left I knew at the very least I could maintain pace.

My last 400m was a 73 and my final time was 15:51, good for 74th out of 86!

All things considered, I’m pretty happy.

My PR is going down.

Last Chance Training – Update 4

The heat sheets were sent out yesterday for the Swat Last Chance meet. Out of about 100 athletes entered in the 5k, my 15:45 seed time puts me around 80-85. The problem is, I don’t think I can run my seed time.

The Last Few Weeks

Two weeks ago I did 2 x 3200 w/ 2:00 rest in 11:05 and 10:53 with a 5:23 last mile which was the first workout where I actually felt “good” since returning.

Two days later I did 6 x 1000 with 400m rest closing in 3:08 and 3:06 which has been my best workout since returning.

The last 10 days or so has been pretty easy, just making sure I’m ready to race.

The Race

Breaking 16:00 is the default goal. It’s a downer, but I have to be realistic and accept I’m probably not in shape to run 15:3x or even 15:4x.

There are 40 people in the heat. I expect it to be fast. If they want to elbow and surge for a good spot a few seconds ahead, go for it. I’m going to be in the back and on the rail.

The other curve ball is my race likely won’t start until about 10:45 PM.

From here to…?

This meet is both motivating and discouraging at the same time. Motivating because there’s so many fast runners, but discouraging because even at my best, I’d still be mid-pack in the slow heat.

Regardless, I’m not taking a break. I’m counting the ~20 days of the flu as my season break and continuing from there. There are a few races I have eyed up in June / July and no doubt the goal remains the same, <15:27.

I’ll post an update after the race. Here’s to 15:xx!

Pre NBA Draft Lottery 2017

It’s the best time of year!

Cavs & Warriors fans have enjoyed this time of year as of late as they each cruise to their third straight finals.

But recently, Sixers’ fans know this time of year for a different reason – the payoff of the process.

We suffer through 82 games a year (except the 15 in January) just to have a chance at the ping pong balls falling our way.

Tuesday, May 16th, is the NBA Draft Lottery, and there’s no shortness of drama for the Sixers thanks to none other than SAM HINKIE.

The Picks

I won’t get into huge detail, but due to Hinkie’s magic we have:

  • Our pick
  • The Lakers pick if it falls outside of the top 3
  • The right to swap with the Kings if their pick is better than ours

With all of that factored in, we have a:

  • 15% chance at the #1 pick
  • 45% chance at a top 3 pick
  • 40% chance at TWO top 5 picks.

Best Case

There are two “best case” scenarios in my opinion.

  1. The first is that we get picks #1 and #4. Fultz goes #1 and then whoever you like at #4 (I’m happy with Monk, Jackson, Fox, or Smith).
  2. The second scenario is that we get #1, the Lakers get either #2 or #3, the Lakers still suck next year, and we get their unprotected pick like the Celtics have with the Nets this year (more Hinkie magic).

Worst Case

We get pick #6 and the Lakers are good next year so we’d get their shitty pick.

This would be the worst thing to ever happen to me in my life aside from if Ben Simmons and Embiid getting into a car accident together.

Watch the Draft Lottery

Joel Embiid will be representing the Sixers at the lottery so it’s sure to be entertaining. My expectations are so high that if we end up with just one pick outside the top 3 I’m going to be so bummed.

Use this draft simulator and see how many times we get two top 5 picks out of 10. It’s incredible. I get a little more excited each time it happens.

Bed Frame for the Sheep

After four straight years of not sleeping with a bed frame, I caved and bought a bed frame.

The higher the frame, the more of a sheeple.

People can only laugh at your mattress on the floor so many times before you break, even I’m not immune it.

But I stand by my statement, that bed frames make no sense. Does anyone stop and ask themselves WHY they have a bed frame? What is the benefit of sleeping three feet off the ground? I don’t get it.

The only one that comes to mind is storage, but my room has nothing in it as is. Maybe less spiders will crawl on me? I actually like spiders.

Forget spiders, here’s to being one of the sheep!

Nike, Breaking2, & Eliud Kipchoge

Early this past Saturday morning, Nike and their crew made their much publicized attempt at breaking two hours in the marathon.

I wrote this post months ago when it was announced which was largely critical of the attempt.

The Attempt

It took place on a 2.4k race track in Milan, Italy. There was a phalanx-type drafting strategy with pacers switching out every few miles, along with a Tesla pace car going exactly 4:34 mile pace to keep them on track. Kipchoge, Desisa, and Tadese hung in the back getting their fluids constantly.

Desisa dropped off the pace first, then Tadese, both before they reached the halfway point. However, everyone knew the only man with a real chance was Eliud Kipchoge. Through 35k (marathon is 42k) Kipchoge was actually on pace.

He faded in the last few kilometers and ran an astounding 2:00:25

My Thoughts

Eliud Kipchoge is a god damn legend.

The general consensus leading in was 90% no chance, 9% small chance, and 1% they’ll break two. This wasn’t about Nike and all the gadgets / science they could put behind breaking 2:00:00. This was about Eliud Kipchoge putting on a performance that no one expected. Desisa and Tadese fading horrible is even more evidence of that.

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Shoes were not the answer.

Nike claims the “Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% makes runners 4% more efficient compared to Nike’s previous fastest marathon shoe, whatever that means. It certainly doesn’t mean “wear these shoes and run 4% faster”, because if that were the case, Kipchoge’s time in “real” shoes would’ve been over 2:05, which, given the conditions, frankly would’ve been a pretty horrible run.

Running was cool for two hours.

Nike went HAM promoting this and it worked. It was live on Twitter (great idea), much hyped, and non-runners actually followed this to some extent. For a sport that lacks any mainstream marketability, this was a pretty big attraction and opens the doors to future “stunts” like this.

But, ‘real’ running may have taken a shot.

My fear prior to this was that this would diminish future marathons. Two hours is easy to remember. Everyone will have that as the anchor in their head. When someone runs 2:10, or 2:05 and even 2:03, the casual fan will view it as “meh”.

Overall

Although I still won’t buy Nike products, all things considered, this event was generally a success and I’d say it was good for the sport.

What do you see when you look at this image

This image available for purchase on multiple stock photo sites.

Is your first thought:

“That looks like diverse group of four hard working business people”

or

“Holy shit, that’s a Swastika”

How in the world does someone create this, show it to ANYONE, and not get the instant feedback “I like where you’re going with this…. buttttttttt it looks a lot like a Swastika.”

I hope I don’t get sued for using this image in my post. Could be the end of old Bansheemann. All credit to Getty Images? If they sue I may counter-sue based on the image being insensitive.

 

NFL 2017 – 2018 Season Team Win Total Over / Unders – My Picks

Instead of going team by team, I’m going to give you my EXPERT picks on which of these you can make some money on. Full list from ESPN Below.

Patriots – 11 – Over

7 straight seasons of 12 or more wins. Not sure why anyone doubts Bill and Tom at this point.

Cowboys – 9.5 – Over

They won’t win 13 again, but Dallas controls football games with their O-line and run game, which is why they’re so good in close games, and why they’ll win at least 10 this year.

Raiders – 9.5 – Over

Derek Carr will be top 3 in MVP voting. Amari Cooper will be a top 5 fantasy receiver. Marshawn will win comeback player of the year. I may have to predict them for the AFC Championship game again this year.

Panthers – 9 – Under

I just don’t think Cam Newton cares about football.

Colts – 9 – Under

This division is better than you think and other than Luck, there’s not much scaring me here.

Buccaneers – 8 – Over

Jameis is a year older, O.J. Howard is a stud, and that offense is going to put up some serious points. The Bucs might take over the Falcons to win that division. They went 9-7 last season, how do they get worse?

Chargers – 7.5 – Under

Rivers is a year older. They won 5 games last year. That L.A. Stadium is a joke (home field will suck). That division is good.

Jets – 5.5 Under

No quarterback, no problem! Except it is a problem. A huge problem. The Jets will be the worst team in the league.


Patriots – 11
Steelers – 10.5
Seahawks – 10.5
Falcons – 10
Packers – 10
Cowboys – 9.5
Raiders – 9.5
Titans – 9.5
Ravens – 9.5
Chiefs – 9
Panthers – 9
Giants – 9
Colts – 9
Bengals – 8.5
Broncos – 8.5
Texas – 8.5
Eagles – 8.5
Vikings – 8.5
Saints – 8.5
Buccaneers – 8
Lions – 8
Redskins – 7.5
Cardinals – 7.5
Chargers – 7.5
Dolphins – 7.5
Bills – 6
Jaguars – 5.5
Jets – 5.5
Rams – 5.5
Bears – 5
49ers – 4.5
Browns – 4

Elon Musk – April 2017 TED Talk

Elon’s at it again with this latest TED talk. Certainly worth the 40 minutes if you plan on being alive for the next 5+ years.

 

Elon Musk discusses his new project digging tunnels under LA, the latest from Tesla and SpaceX and his motivation for building a future on Mars in conversation with TED’s Head Curator, Chris Anderson.

Last Chance Training – Update 3

I haven’t posted an update about my training for a while because of how bad it’s gone.

“I think I’m in 15:40 shape”

I started to hit a groove and was feeling really fit about 7 weeks into it. My first race was planned for March 25 and I thought 15:40 was a realistic goal. On March 23 I got the flu.

The Flu

I didn’t run for 10 straight days, and then for the following 10-15 days or so I couldn’t muster up much more than ~4-5 mile runs at a slow pace which left me exhausted.

By the time I’d gotten over the flu I had lost fitness. I’m a couple weeks back into “real” training but it’s been rough.

Last week I had three notable runs:

  • 3 mile tempo @ 5:34
    5:37, 5:35, 5:32. I probably tried a little too hard to hit the 5:34 average.
  • 4 x 1200 @ 3:50 w/ 2:30 jogging rest
    A total disaster. I went 3:53, 3:56, then threw in the towel 200m into the third interval when I was on over 4:00 pace and dying. Not sure what happened
  • 12 mile long run
    This was yesterday. I did the first 6 in ~6:55s and the last 6 in ~6:40s feeling relaxed the whole time. I was happy with this.

Where does this leave me?

I signed up for Swat Last Chance which is Monday, May 15. I was actually starting to believe I would PR with the way things were going. At this point, sub 16:00 is even a stretch, but I’m going to run it no matter what.

I don’t look at this as a failure. If anything I’m encouraged. Things were going really well and a stroke of bad luck dashed this training cycle. I’m not giving up on PRing. It’s going to happen.