Time Trial part 2 (mile)

A trip down memory lane. A picture of high school Sam (and Paul) as I Return to the 3200 (this is an XC race (he beat me)).

I’m going to be doing a 3200 meter time trial tomorrow. Once again I will give the closest predictor $10 so guess away via this blog, Facebook, or Twitter. I’m well aware that the 3200 is not nearly as glamorous as the mile and people who don’t know running that well will have no idea what to guess but I want to run it so I’m going to.

Once again I’ve been running about 40 miles a week, all 5-7 mile runs, with no workouts. Some runs will be really hard and others will be really easy. I don’t see why I wouldn’t be as in the same shape (if not better?) as I was in the mile time trial two weeks ago. I’ll have a watch, a clear lane one, and even a rabbit (thank you Slade) for the first and third 800. I want to go out in 5:05-5:10 depending on how I feel and see what happens from there. I want to set it up so that if I have a perfect day, I can break 10 (I HIGHLY HIGHLY doubt I do that, like 1-2%). I’d guess between 10:10-10:30 but it could be worse. At least now I have a better idea of my fitness and I know beforehand that I’m going to run it so I took today nice and easy.

Mentally it will be really nice having Slade for those two 800’s. If I can be on pace and then gut out the last 800 I’ll run a good time. If I can’t and I die so be it. I’m definitely not going to go out as conservatively as I did in the mile so the chances of dying in the end are way higher. We’ll see what happens though. I’m excited. I will say this, my back has been bugging me lately but I don’t really care and doubt it will matter tomorrow. If I have to take a few days off after tomorrow then that’s okay.

The most up to date predictions:

Mark 9:52
Nicole 9:55
Ali 9:57.69
Slade 9:59.99
Ryder 10:01.77
Laura 10:03
Imbemba 10:04
Drew 10:05.39
Liz 10:05.62
Vince 10:06
Yoko 10:06.3
Parsons 10:07
Seth 10:08
Alex 10:09
Tony 10:09.5
Jatin 10:10
Drowzy 10:10.10
Rudy 10:11.42
Pane 10:12
Sarah 10:12.55
Dels 10:13
Gourlay 10:13.69
Danielle 10:14.02
Francis 10:15.30
Jonny 10:15.69
Jamie 10:17
Dale 10:17.69
Amos 10:18.45
Jeff S 10:18.87
Tom S 10:19
Justin 10:32
Schmidty 10:40
Krista 10:52

Good marketing

This is a GIF that I saw on a website for a page that had not yet been created. The text below was something like “Sorry, our people are working on this page as we speak. Why not visit our homepage instead.” This GIF is completely unrelated to what they were saying but they just know that everyone loves a good laugh. Because of this I like that site much more now. While it’s not officially advertising it had the same effect on me.

The following commercial is a home run. Jeff insisted that I watch it. I certainly got a good laugh out of this commercial and if I’m ever shopping for car insurance I actually do believe this will come to mind and make me more likely to research Geico.

Getting Jipped

In the past two days I’ve been ripped off twice and didn’t speak up in either situation. The first situation was at the All Nite Deli. I was purchasing a 12 pack of Natty Ice which came out to $10.50. I gave the guy a $20 and realized that I was going to get 9 bucks back. So instead I gave him an extra dollar thinking I would he would give a me clean 10 dollar bill but that was not the case. Now, the guy is probably 50 years old and doesn’t speak a lick of English (an Asian couple). He took the dollar, gave me my initial $9.50 in change and walked away. I was a little drunk at the time and thought to myself “did that really just happen” and kind of laughed it off.

Then, yesterday, I was at Wawa and some Tosito’s Scoops were on my grocery list. The little sign said 2 bags for $6 so I grabbed two bags and headed to the cashier. He rung up my items and the total was around 16 which I thought sounded like too much. I looked at the screen and saw that it charged 4.29 for each bag of chips. I still had time to say something but there were people in line behind me and I figured it wasn’t worth the trouble.

So in both scenarios I was cheated out of a very small amount of money. But is it about the money or is it about the principle? I don’t give a shit about $3.50 but when I’m supposed to get $10.50 in change or two bags for $6 and I end up paying more, that’s kind of BS. I didn’t speak up in either scenario but I feel like I probably should have. I would say if it was $5+ dollars I would definitely speak up but a dollar? Two fifty? I mean, it feels like it’s just not worth it. What’s the right thing to do in these situations?

How to define an Athlete

I’ll start by saying last nights game was great, the series was great, and although I was heartbroken, you have to hand it to the Heat.

This is the age old question and fitting given the timing. What determines an athletes status, performance or results? Points or Titles? Chamberlain or Russell?

This has been debated to death but I saw something yesterday that caught my eye and I think it speaks well to the topic.

“If you define an athlete by his performance then you neglect the point of the sport, to win.”

The point of sports is to win. You play the game to determine a winner. LeBron isn’t putting 37 in a losing effort and walking away happy that he maintained his record of highest PPG is games 7s in NBA history. He’s walking away not knowing how many points he scored but full well knowing he lost the game. And vice versa, Chris Bosh scored a big zero points last night but doesn’t care because the Heat won the title. Winners get the job done. It doesn’t matter how many points you score as long as you do what you can in order to make your team win. In LeBron’s case last night, he had to be the man and score the points in order to win, and that’s exactly what he did.

But how do you compare those with a great supporting cast and those without? Most people wouldn’t say that Robert Horry was a better player than Stockton, Malone, Barkley, Nash, etc. even those he’s won seven rings to the combined total of zero between the others. If you looked at Chamberlain’s statistics versus Russell’s, an unbiased and unknowing spectator would say that not only is Chamberlain better than Russell, but that Chamberlain is probably the best person to ever play the game and it’s not even close. But obviously, there’s more to it. Sports like basketball and football are team sports. It’s the summation of the individuals that gives you the team. 10+10+10+10+10 is more than 40+1+1+1+1. Bill Russell is the ultimate champion. He wins when it counts by any means necessary. Chamberlain was an incredible athlete but didn’t make his teammates as good and couldn’t will his team to victory nearly as often which is why most people argue that Russell>Chamberlain.

Finally people can make arguments as to different eras. “If Wilt played today he’d get crushed because everyone he played against back in the day was so small.” You can’t hold that against a player in my opinion. Each player is born into their generation with no control and they do the best they can against the best available.

These two things, performance and success, are correlated to some degree. You can obviously have incredible  players who never win championships and very good players who win multiple championships. Which do you weigh more? Does it matter? I don’t really think so. Most people don’t care about the all-time ranked 11-30 players, we care about the top 10. The greatness of the top 10 is defined by having both. When you put up the numbers and have the titles to back it up, you’re truly great. Horry has the titles but not the numbers. Stockon has the numbers but no titles. Jordan, Russell, Duncan, Kobe, Magic, etc. have both and that’s why they’re considered to be some of the greatest of all time. No player grows up hoping they win titles as the third option on their team just like no one grows up hoping they average 30 but can’t win in the finals. Everyone dreams of being the man and driving your team to victory. When you can do those things consistently, you’re great.

I’m not a huge fan of LeBron but he is certainly entering this realm.

Why I’m Rooting for the Spurs

lebron duncan

I’ll start by saying last night’s game was incredible to watch. It had a bit of everything. There were multiple instances last night that reinforced to me why I root for the Spurs and why I dislike the Heat. The biggest thing is this. It was late in the third quarter and the Spurs were beginning to pull away. On one offensive possessions this is what happened. LeBron drives into traffic, turns the ball over, and instead of hustling back on defense, he decides to slowly get up and mouth off to the ref while the Spurs take advantage of their 5 on 4. They scored a quick 2 before LeBron could get back. The VERY NEXT OFFENSIVE POSSESSION Dwayne Wade did the EXACT same thing and the Spurs scored another quick 2 before he could get back on D. This is potentially the last game of the season and the championship is on the line. What the hell are you thinking by staying back and complaining rather than sucking it up and making sure you give your team the best chance they can to win the game. Those four points were huge as the Spurs entered the 4th up 10 and not 6. Obviously it didn’t matter in the end as the Heat won anyway but give me a break. If a Spurs player did what LeBron or Wade did Gregg Popovich would call a time out and bench the guy because he knows he has 11 other guys who would never do that. The Spurs play the game the right way.

Another big play that people who watched the game will remember was LeBron vs. Danny Green on a fast break.. This is a huge play and emphasizes one of the points from above. Lebron immediately and ferociously complains that he was fouled but when you watch the slowed down replay its quite obvious Green makes a great defensive play and LEBRON should have had a foul called ON HIM. This aspect of the NBA in particular bothers me more than anything (yes that includes flopping). Stars complaining that they don’t get calls is so incredibly annoying and childish. This is why I don’t like Paul Pierce. I really like KD but he’s been guilty of this many times as well. This is why I love Tim Duncan. He hustles back on D on every play and although he may complain here or there, it’s almost always very calm and over with in seconds. The guy is a class act whereas the other stars act like they’re entitled to the calls because they make 100 million.

I apologize for not being able to find videos to go along with my examples but the point still stands. Watch for it in game 7. Hopefully they’ll be running back on D in game 7 of the NBA finals though.

RIP the Running Log

For almost four years I tracked every single run I went on in my running log. I’d write down the splits of every workout and race as well as how I felt physically and mentally. I obsessively tracked every little mile and every little detail of my training.

My precious running log is now gone. Due to a time crunch and an external hard-drive backing mistake my running log has been lost forever.

If you told me this would happen a year or two ago I would have been extremely upset. When I look at it now, I’m still upset, but for a different reason and I’ll tell you why.

It all began on one run in the cross country season of my junior year. We were discussing how many miles we had run over the 91 day period of summer. I had miscalculated the day before and instead of hitting the even 1000, I was two miles short for 998 (Mark insisted that I go out and run the extra two but I declined). I won’t name names but a guy we like to call CG told everyone that he had done it before. Normally I let things like this go but after the summer I had just put in I was not going to let this guy of all people make it seem like 1000 mile summers were easy especially because I would bet the farm that he had not even come close to doing so. Here’s how the conversation played out:

“Yeah I’ve run 1000 miles in the summer before”
“That’s bullshit, there’s no chance you ran 1000 miles any summer ever.”
“Dude, me and my cousin did it in high school, I have the logs, I’ll show you.”
“Anyone can write the numbers down but the results will speak for themselves. There’s absolutely no way you wouldn’t be able to break 32 minutes in the 8k had you run 1000 miles in a summer.”

He then stormed off. But the last reply is the kicker. Anyone can write the numbers down. I kept my log for personal use, to see what worked, what didn’t work, and what type of workouts indicated what type of shape. I’m at the point in my running where I know pretty well what works for me and generally what kind of shape I’m in. I know my fastest workout 800 (2:14) was faster than my slowest race 800 (2:24) in the same way I know that I tempo’d an 8k on the track (28:06) over two minutes faster than I ran at conference my junior year (30:09). I know I ran 312 miles in three weeks which was part of a 175 day streak of running every day just like I know I had over 175 days straight where I didn’t run a step. (I’m recapping these now before I forget).

Sure it would be fun to go and look back at my thoughts after certain races but in general I remember them pretty well. The running log had served it’s purpose and although it’s a shame that it’s gone now, I don’t need it to confirm anything to anyone because anyone can simply write the numbers down. Hell, for all anyone knows Tom didn’t hit the sidewalk shot right? We just write about it like it happened but who cares if no one believes us because we know that it happened.

The Sidewalk Shot

Yesterday was a legendary game of HORSE, the most legendary one I’ve ever been in which is actually saying something. One time I ended a game with Jake Boyd on a deck shot that swished in. Anyway, Tom, Jeff, and I saddled up for a rousing game to determine who was the best Stortz brother. Tom had been hitting some long range shots varying from probably 25-40 feet. He continually got further and further claiming that the previous shots were “too easy”.

This is the view from the sidewalk outside of my house.

sidewalkshot

The basketball hoop is roughly 65-70 feet away. With Tom and Jeff tied at H-O-R-S (I had gotten out after a valiant effort), Tom decided this sidewalk shot was necessary to put this game to rest. With a 5 step run up he hurls the basketball. It looks on line, it has the distance, and the thing goes perfectly into the hoop. Jeff and I were stunned. Tom was dancing around like Kevin Bacon in Footloose. We could not believe what we had just witnessed. Jeff attempted the shot to no avail and the game was over.

What are the odds on a shot like this? I’d say between 1/100-1/500 but it’s hard to tell. To hit it in that given scenario, where the game is tied at the very end, is incredible. I would have bet the farm that he’s missing that shot. What I wonder is this; the shot was no doubt amazing and the three of us will likely remember it forever, but how often do things like this happen. I mean .2-1% is crazy but if things like this are being attempted daily then you’re going to see memorable things pretty often. What else gets voluntarily or involuntarily attempted that might be as low a chance as this?

Off the top of my head I can’t think of any but how about this, I’m going to start attempting something ridiculous once a day until that something is achieved. I most likely won’t do this but that would be a pretty neat thing I think. Over the course of a few years you’ll rack up 10 or 20 quite remarkable things that you can nonchalantly reference in company to appear cool. “Oh of course, I’ve hit the sidewalk shot before. You haven’t?”

Here’s a video of me attempting the sidewalk shot. I’ll show the whole thing but you will obviously be able to tell which attempt was closest. What happens is arguably 1/100-1/500 too. I’d probably make it in the hoop before I do this again. Many thanks to Huck for insisting on video taping.

21 Jump Street Drug Scene

This scene is a 10/10. If you can watch this and not laugh then our senses of humor are so far off. Channing Tatum’s face at 1:04 is ridiculous. Phase 2 of tripping balls is amazing. I don’t need to justify this, just watch it for yourself. Give it a minute to start getting really funny.

Ask the right question

This is ‘Being Social 101’ but because I’ve been exposed to many different people over the past three weeks something has become quite clear to me. I think Tom may have actually posted about this at some point too.

Interacting with people is inevitable but lots of people dread it or claim they aren’t good at it. While I still do have awkward interactions I’ve found a small key to less awkward and more talkative interactions. Talk about what the other person wants to talk about. Question the balls out of what they think they know and let them just run away with it. You don’t even have to be genuinely interested but if you’re asking the questions they’ll go for and essentially take it away from there.

This has been happening to me a lot lately at work. I’ll have to ask a question to someone about something work-related. The question usually pertains to what the person does and how they can help me with my problem. I don’t even want to talk to the person necessarily, I just want the answer, but when you ask a question that someone can answer they get excited. People loving knowing that they know something that another person doesn’t. When you ask the right question they’re generally more than happy to spread their knowledge and thus grow their reputation as a smart person. I’ve had 20-30 minute conversations where I do not care at all about anything just because I accidentally struck a nerve about something and the person just goes off. While 20-30 minutes is extreme, I’m constantly finding that these little questions get extended way beyond the basic answer I’m looking for just because the person won’t stop talking.

Now, the obvious idea would be transferring this to people that do want to get to know and talk to, AKA women in my case. All I have to do is ask a girl the right question and they will take it from there. Not only will she do most of the talking but she’ll feel good about herself too because she’s displaying her knowledge. I’m a complete victim to this too. If a girl came up to me in a bar and asked me who the top 3 in the 10k will be at USAs next weekend I could talk for 10 minutes about it and feel great that I can express some of my running knowledge which most people don’t care about.

The real test here is finding out what questions you should ask. How do you find out what a person knows or wants to be asked? Well I haven’t figured that out yet but I will be approaching out-of-work social interactions in a different way now.

50 Shades

50 shades

Much to the dismay of Justin, I’m going to write a review of 50 Shades of Grey simply because I actually read the whole thing. If you’ve never read it this will likely be a terrible post.

This is the second or third book that I actually looked forward to reading while I was in the process of reading it. It didn’t have me sucked in like Running With the Buffaloes, but I still wanted to keep reading which is unusual for me. With that said though, I wouldn’t say it was an amazing book or anything.

I liked Ana and Christian a lot. They were pretty deeply depicted characters and relate-able in a lot of ways I felt. The fact that they were somewhat polar opposites made their interactions entertaining. It would be very interesting to see the book written from Christians point of view but the mystic/complexity of his character would have lost a little bit had it been done like that. Kate was a good side character although she didn’t play a big role later in the book. Her and Elliot were kind of weird, it’s unrealistic to think that two best friends would be dating two very close brothers and they wouldn’t be doing things together more often. Obviously Christian’s idea of dates and romance are way different than most people but still, he’s aware of that and would play along with the other couple to cover up any suspicions, at least that’s my opinion.

Him not being able to commit seemed like a hard limit (ha) from the get go and I didn’t even consider the possibility that he could change. Once he agreed to doing so I actually became a lot more interested. The book wasn’t just going to be some sexcapade with no conflict (other than how far Ana would go). There was a chance Christian could change as well as a chance Ana could change and that’s essentially what kept me reading. They were both slowly giving way. I really didn’t know how the book was going to end although I was pissed to see there were two more books in the series. That pretty much told me it would end on somewhat of a cliff hanger which is exactly what happened. I must say though I liked the ending. Ana gave it a shot but when reality hits (good pun) that the guy is just fucked up she got the hell out of there. Seriously, no normal person would be able to tolerate the whole dom/sub thing just to be with him. That’s not really how relationships work unless both people are messed up and although Ana is definitely a little messed up, so is everyone. Christian is just to an absolute extreme and most would not be able to take it despite his incredible looks.

I personally didn’t enjoy reading the ‘weird’ parts. I’m okay with the idea of the characters engaging in crazy/awesome sex but when it’s written out so much to give an image the way it did, well I’d just prefer glossing over it, which is exactly what I would do. I mean, how many “earth shattering orgasms” can you write about before it starts getting old. That’s my other critique. The adjectives used throughout were so overdone. The attraction being ‘carnal’, Ana ‘flushing’, the ‘charge’ between them, etc. The list goes on and on of repetitiveness that I started getting pissed off.

I doubt I’ll read the other two books. I started reading this one to see what all the fuss was about and was actually pleasantly surprised. Reading may turn into a normal hobby for me now because of this. I didn’t mind sitting for hours and just reading. That’s never happened before with a book that wasn’t about running. 500 pages went by really fast too, normally I would think that would take me months to read (I’m a slow reader) but this went by quick.