Story: My One and Only Fight: 0-1

Preface

It was circa 2003 and I was in sixth grade. I stood about four feet six inches tall, weighed probably 85 pounds, and had a mile PR north of 8 minutes. The height and weight are slight exaggerations, but the mile PR is not. I’ve never been a physically intimidating person and I’ve generally done my best to avoid fights. In sixth grade however, I was beat up. I’ve never been in a real fight and no one has ever beat me up outside of my brothers, except for this incident in sixth grade.

The Story

In sixth grade I shared two classes with her. Who’s her, you ask? Her, is Shayna Mason. Shayna was a well developed black girl who had a good sense of humor but didn’t take shit from anyone. By well developed, I don’t mean she had big boobs, I mean she was stronger and faster than almost every guy in our grade, including me. Because we had two classes together, we knew who each other were and had worked together a couple of times. Though we weren’t “friends”, we weren’t enemies either.

Little Sam
Stud Sam in middle school. Note the BA shirt.

One day in the winter, snow had been coming down and the walk to the buses was covered. I didn’t really give a qua about the snow, and I actually wore shoes then, so walking through the snow didn’t phase me. Behind me however, Shayna was walking in these ridiculous high heeled boots and having a lot of trouble with the snow. She was doing her best to avoid sticking her boots in the snow, but it was inevitable. I looked back and made some smart ass comment like “Awww, Shayna doesn’t want to get her boots wet” (I wasn’t particularly creative back then). That was the spark.

I turned forward to continue walking and before I knew it I was decked from behind. Shayna’s hit launched me forward and I landed face down in the snow. Wat. I was pissed. I was furious. But I obviously couldn’t fight her, she’d kick my ass. So I did what, in my mind, was the next best option. At this point she was a few feet ahead of me, and as I stood up from the snow, I hocked up the biggest loogie I possibly could, and spit that shit right on the back of her snow jacket.

At this point, I knew I was fucked. I Instantly turned and ran in the opposite direction as fast as I could. Shayna didn’t realize what had happened at first but of course her friend ratted me out right when it happened. I had a head-start, but the tortoise needs more than 10-20 meters if he’s going to escape the big black hare. I rounded a corner up towards the main building and hoped to god a teacher was going to be there, but it was too late.

cops win
I almost got away.

Shayna, once again, decked me from behind. But this time, I didn’t have a gentle landing in the snow. No no no. This time I skidded along the concrete and insta-cried. Two guys who were in the area stopped her from doing anymore, but the damage was done. I got up and ran to the bus with blood on my elbows and tears in my eyes.

The bus ride home was made worse when Kurt sat next to me and insisted on asking what happened over and over despite the fact that I obviously didn’t want to talk about it.

That was a tough day in the history of Sam. I’ve only been in one fight with anyone ever, and I lost, to a girl.

Nathan For You – Caricatures

The following is a clip from a show called Nathan For You which was introduced to me on Tuesday at Alex’s house. Although the main guy Nathan never acts like he’s actually funny, the way he presents himself and delivers his content is, to me, hilarious. I’m interested if other people will think this clip is funny.

My False Dawn

Tom wrote a post about different types of hangovers, one of them being the false dawn. The false dawn is a hangover where you think you feel okay for a while after you wake up, and then everything goes south. I never really understood it, because I had never experienced it. That was, until this weekend.

Friday was a good night. I went to Manayunk with a number of friends and didn’t black out. I was drinking a good amount and parts are certainly blurry, but I could recap the entire night with ease. This led me to believe that I would be okay on Saturday for the free concert, but I was wrong.

After getting to bed at 4:00, I woke up around 11:00 feeling as good as expected. I bro’d out until Gourlay picked me up around 12:30 to head down to La Salle and pick up some food on the way. I was feeling totally fine until Gourlay picked me up and then things started to tumble. The start and stop of the car gradually built up my hangover until I hit rock bottom. We picked up Alex and ate at a small local Glenside restaurant where I ordered some wrap that was doused in sour cream. I wasn’t aware that I didn’t like sour cream.

After 3-5 bites of one half of the wrap, I threw in the towel and gave it to Gourlay. I still felt like dirt, but knew it was only going to get worse as we got back in his car. The start and stop, again, made me miserable. The hangover peaked when I told Gourlay to pull over, got out of the car, and puked all over the place. That made me feel slightly better, but without fail, the car ride put me in the hurt locker again.

We arrived at La Salle to attempt drinking and I was not doing well. I had no food in me and was trying to drink my hangover away. Ultimately I ordered a cheesesteak and forced myself to drink a few beers and felt okay, but this was the first false dawn hangover I’ve ever had.

Hangovers never hurt me too much, but this one in particular got me. False dawns are a very, very unpleasant experience.

The Great Cricket Escape

Preface

Mergatroid was a bearded dragon that Jeff and I owned for about 8 years. He didn’t do anything ever. We fed him crickets every couple of weeks. Before there was the big Petco (next to Sam’s Club), I bought crickets at a small pet shop near the Willow Grove Mall.

The Story

mergIt was circa 2007 and I was making my bi-weekly trip to get crickets for Merg. I walked into the store and there was a new lady there who I had never seen before. She was younger, probably early 20s, with a wacky hair cut, piercings,tattoos, and was a total space cadet. However, I’m not one to judge and didn’t think it would matter much. Boy was I wrong.

As always, I asked for two dozen crickets. This wack-job did one of two things

  1. Thought I said 200
    or
  2. Thought one dozen = 100.

Normally you would think “Oh, she just misheard and thought 200” which is what I thought too. That was until about half way through putting all the crickets in the bag she said something along the lines of “… But two dozen, man that’s a lot!”

I was baffled, but at the same time, I had a years worth of crickets right there and only had to pay for two dozen, so I wasn’t complaining. I walked out of the door with a few bags filled with crickets and headed home. I would guess there were probably 100-150 crickets.

I got home and encountered a problem. The container that we normally kept our crickets in was about a foot long, 6 inches wide, and a foot high. This was not nearly enough space for all the crickets, so I tried thinking of alternatives. The best answer I could come up with was a shoe box, as there was more floor area for them to move around in. I would move a large majority of the crickets to a shoe box and keep the remaining few in our normal container.

The move proved to be a challenge but ultimately successful. After a few minutes my crickets were comfortably placed in both containers and I was pleased.

I left the room for a few minutes before coming back in and saw one or two out on the floor. I realized the shoe box didn’t close tightly enough AND there were holes on the side that allowed for escape. I tried a few things, but ultimately decided to move all of the crickets BACK into the normal container. Sure, there was going to be a shit load of crickets in one small space, but if half of them died, I still had plenty left for Merg. Then it happened.

Tard Sam went to pick up the shoe box and somehow I dropped it spraying literally 100 crickets all over the entire room. My initial reaction was a total freak-out. Crickets were on everything, jumping all over the place. I ran out of the room and regrouped. Time was short though, as the crickets could sneak under the bottom of the door. I needed to act fast. Could I gather them all and put them back in the shoe box? Simply put, no, I couldn’t.

I’m not a violent person, and I don’t like killing animals (except bees, I hate bees), but there was really only one solution to this problem. I grabbed two old running shoes, one in each hand, and let the massacre begin. For ~15 minutes I was smashing crickets left and right. There were no survivors and I was left sweating, breathing heavy, and with a bit of an adrenaline rush.

I cleaned up the dead carcasses, and that was that.

My First Marathon – Signed Up

So I’ve been talking about running a marathon since I graduated. I figured I would take some time off after school and get a fresh start. In October I started training with the intention of doing a spring marathon. I did a couple of races and was actually in pretty good shape. I planned to do the Shamrock Marathon in mid-march but around Christmas time I suffered an injury. Instead of taking off, I trained lightly for the alumni mile, then took three weeks off.

I began training again in March with plans for a summer/fall marathon, but after a few weeks the same injury came back, my right leg. Once again, I lightly trained to stay in shape for the American Odyssey relay.

Having just finished the relay, I have no short-term commitments to any races. Over the next month or two, I’m going to take off from running in order to get my right leg fully healed. Then I’ll start fresh.

Today I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon which is just under six months away. Why did I sign up now? If I don’t sign up for a marathon and commit to it, then I’m more likely to find an excuse not to do it. Ever since Jatin debuted in ~2:41, a very good time, I’ve been under the impression that I need to post a similar result, since him and I were linked at the hip for everything running-related. If I get hurt or don’t train all the way, 2:41 probably won’t happen, and I’ll be scared to do it. By signing up, I’m getting past this mental barrier of “I need to be in amazing shape to do a marathon”. In my head, I see my training and preparation for this marathon going perfect. That probably won’t happen, and if there’s doubt beforehand, I might not sign up.

sam jatin
Sam and Jatin’s first steeple

The truth is, I could probably be in only “good” shape and still run 2:50 or so, which I would be happy with. I have it in my head that if I’m not 100% prepared, then I can’t run it at all which is hogwash. By committing now, I’m ensuring that I’ll run it whether or not I’m in tip-top shape, which is what I need. If training goes great and everything goes as planned, maybe I will pop a sub 2:40, which would be awesome. But if training is average, and everything is just okay, and I run 2:50 or 2:55 or 3:00, I won’t be disappointed. I’ve been making this out to be bigger than it is, and by signing up I’m getting over that.

I have this fear that if I run a bad time for my first marathon then everyone will think less of me or something. THAT has prevented me from running one (though this leg injury is legit). Running is only as important as I make it, and just because I want to run a really fast marathon doesn’t mean I have to do it on my first time out. Whether I do great in 6 months or find myself walking to the finish line, I’ll be happy I did it.

Softball – My First Game in 13 Years

I played my first softball/baseball game since fourth grade today. My fourth grade intramural season was one to be remembered. I had two foul tips, that was all the contact I made. Other than that I either struck out (99%) or walked (once or twice). I played right field and never had any positive impact on the game. Since then, I’ve averaged probably 1 catch per year and a hit of the ball roughly 2 times per year.

Fast forward 13 years and I’m right back where I started, right field! I had no idea what to expect. All I knew is that our two teams were both blown out in their first game, so how much worse could I make the team?

The Game

Long story short I went 1/4 with an RBI single and had to make one play in the field which I did. It was lackluster, but fun nonetheless. Best of all, our team won 12-9. I made plenty of noobie mistakes like taking a lead off of second base, not running it out to first (I was still safe), and moving in when the girl was up to bat (you need to be behind the orange cone).

My Real Takeaway

Being coordinated is 50% of the battle in all recreational sports, if not more. Although I haven’t played in 13 years, it’s not like I’m a full-blown tard when it comes to sports. There were three people in the game who actually struck out. This is slow pitch softball, and people were swinging and missing multiple times. I made contact with the ball every time I swung and put it in play. Sure I don’t really know what I’m doing, but I’m coordinated enough to not mess up basic things. In a competitive game that might not be a big deal, but in a relatively laid back game, I blend right in. I think I’ll pick up hitting in a few games and be a quality contributor to the game.

Ain’t It Fun

The new single by Paramore. I find this song extremely catchy and can’t stop singing it to myself. It’s also nice to see my girl Hayley is looking good as ever. That, coupled with her voice, still put near or at the top of my celebrity crush list. The video and song are a bit cheesy, but I can deal with that.

American Odyssey Relay – 2014

This post will recap my American Odyssey Relay Weekend. For those who don’t know, we had 22 people, 12 on one team and 10 on the other, do a relay from Gettysburg to DC. It’s a total of 200 miles and each person takes turn running.

Day One

I left work at 4:00 on Friday to begin my American Odyssey Relay adventure. The plan was to drive to Gettysburg, get dinner along the way, drink a few beers at the hotel, and go over the game plan with everyone. The van I hopped in consisted of me, Tom, Chad, Nikkii, David, Lisa, Linda, and Irene. Linda and Irene weren’t in our van for the actual relay, so I knew I’d be spending a lot of time with David and Lisa

Meeting David and Lisa

Lisa and DavidI’d heard that David and Lisa were good people to have in your van. They’re both middle aged and I wasn’t sure what type of people they were. For the first hour of driving I was trying to find out if they were married, exes, or secret lovers. Ultimately I found out that they’re brother and sister, which should have been obvious. David put any character concerns to rest when within the first few minutes he told me the joke “What’s worse than being in the middle of a three-way buttf*ck? Nothing.”

Night at the Super 8

After a smorgasbord dinner at the very hyped Shady Maple, we completed the drive to the Super 8 Hotel just near the start line of the relay. We had picked up some beer along the way and began drinking casually. After a while we had everyone meet to discuss our plan for the next day before heading to bed. Although I’m not in great shape, I became less concerned about the running portion of the trip, and realized it’s more for the experience.

Day Two

Tom and I woke up around 7:30 to decorate the van and see the first runners off. It was a beautiful day for running, 60 and sunny. Afterward we went to Perkins for lunch with the others who weren’t running until later.

The Running

Team 1Our van ran legs 7-12 while Van 1 ran legs 1-6. The picture below shows all 12 members of Team 1. We got to the big van transition point around 3:00PM and the weather was still cooperating, but we could tell things weren’t going to stay that way. About 10-15 minutes before Lisa’s leg, the rain started coming down. To make things worse, the weather had probably dropped into the 40s. Just great. Lisa toughed out her leg and David followed. I was next.

Leg One

Fortunately for me, the rain had just stopped when I began. My leg one was 5.7 miles, the first 2.5 of which were straight uphill. Though I’ve run similar hills, it was probably the longest consistent uphill I’ve ever run. It was definitely tough but I made sure not to go too hard. Once I got to the top, the rest of it was downhill and I started flying which felt good. I ran the 5.7 miles averaging about 6:10 per mile then handed off to Nikkii. Her, Tom, and Chad did their jobs and completed their legs.

Heading into the night

Van 2
After our legs we had about 4 hours to kill. We decided to drink some bullets (Coors Light) and a have meal at Cracker Barrel. We were expected to start our second set of legs around midnight. Sleep wasn’t an option yet, and no one really needed it, especially David who was in and out of napping the entire day. The picture to the right is all of the members of Team 1, Van 2. This was taken right before David’s second leg.

Day Three

David began our second set of legs at 12:24 on Saturday Morning. I was set to run around 1:30-2:00AM and all night runners needed a reflective vest, a blinker, and a headlamp. I would say I went 2/3.

Leg Two

Lisa handed off to me and I began a 4.6 mile pitch black run. The headlamp that I had was more or less useless. It didn’t fit on my giant head the right way and the light it provided was insignificant. Regardless, I felt pretty good and was cruising along. I took a wrong turn when I misread a sign but realized a minute or two later and turned around. This probably turned my 4.6 mile run into 5 miles but it wasn’t too big of a set back. I finished a little under 31 minutes.

The Chupacabra

Tom made a comment saying he thought he saw a Chupacabra on the side of the road. Little did he know, things like that scare Nikkii. It didn’t help that she was about to embark on a 4 mile run through a cemetery in the middle of the night. While there was much concern, she finished up the run in one piece and the myth of the Chupacabra was gone.

Our first attempt at sleeping

day 3We finished our legs at 3:30AM, drove to the next transition area, and had until 10:00AM the next morning to rest/hang out. I can’t speak for others, but I slept decent in the van. I woke up just before 7:00AM along with most of the others and began preparing for the final set of legs. I had a morning bullet to ease the tension and felt surprisingly good for sleeping 3 hours and running 10.5 miles hard the prior day. We jammed out to Love Shack, which turned to be the theme song of our van, for a while.

This was also primetime for David to use his toy, the Pooter. It makes a fart noise, and David would keep it in his pocket and walk next to people, then deploy the fake fart and gauge reactions. This was way funnier than it should have been.

The Third and Final Leg

Leg 3I thought I felt pretty good entering my final leg. I wasn’t sore and the lack of sleep didn’t seem to effect me. I had an 8.3 mile run alongside the Potomac river and it was completely flat. The run itself was very enjoyable, but by the end I was running on empty. The no sleep and hard runs before didn’t set me up well. I probably averaged 6:15-6:20s and handed off to Nikkii to complete my last leg. The picture to the right shows the trail. The river was nice to look at and the trees provided some much-needed shade. I would say this was definitely my favorite leg.

The End

We were getting very close to the end of the journey. Nikkii and Tom took care of business and it was up to Chad to finish up the 36th and final leg. We went the wrong way and hit some classic DC traffic, but made it to the end in time. Chad, who was very concerned about getting lost, made it to the finish without any trouble. We ran it in as a the whole team of 12 and finished in just over 29 hours. Mission accomplished.

The Hotel Debacle

After 29 long and sweaty hours, we checked into our hotel to get showered up. The hotel didn’t give off a great vibe, and after David had a chat with a room-service person, we discovered the hotel was closing in a week and that bed bugs have been a problem. That was enough for us to GTFO. What was supposed to be a relaxing evening in DC turned into a lets-leave-now. There were 19 of us left and we figured we’d grab dinner and head home.

The Overall

Overall the trip was a major success in my book. I had a great time and it was a unique experience living in a van for 30 hours. I got to meet and know some new people which I wouldn’t ordinarily meet and although it sounds like it wouldn’t be that fun, it was a blast. Money and time well spent and I fully intend on doing it next year. Thanks to everyone who participated and made this possible.

In terms of the physical aspect, I was a bit unprepared. I am unbelievably sore today. I also made a huge mistake by not changing my short shorts in between legs two leg three. Wearing the same pair of short shorts for 15 hours after going full-sweat twice leads to unpleasant feelings down low, and I’ll leave it at that.

Full team
Ambler Stampede 1 and Too just before the start.

Beginning of AOR

Today I will be embarking on a journey known as the American Odyssey Relay. Essentially you gather 12 people to be on a team together and you take turns running until you cover 200 miles. It begins in Gettysburg and ends in Washington DC. Each person runs three separate legs for a total of 12-18 miles and someone is always running. From what I can tell, our team will be finishing between 28-29 hours. When you’re not running, you’re in a van with four or five other people also on the team and you just hang out? I’ve never done this before so I don’t really know. My van consists of me, Tom, Chad, Nikkii, and two other people that I don’t know. It’s a pretty good van from what I can tell. I know it doesn’t sound like fun, but from what I hear, it’s a blast.

From strictly running perspective, I’m in bad shape. My right leg has been hurt for almost a month now. I’ve been able to get in roughly 20 miles a week but my fitness is declining. I don’t care how fast I run my three legs, I just want to complete them and then begin my time off so I can actually recover and train like normal. The running part of this trip isn’t the fun part anyway, at least that’s what I’m told.

Anyway, I will return home on Sunday afternoon so I won’t be updating during that time. Until then, enjoy the nice weather, go Flyers (wat), and WATCH SOME KEVIN DURANT!!!!