Monday, November 23, 2009

Living History Cross Country Extravaganza

I'm just going to throw this out there before I start- I'm wiped. I mean I'm really tired and looking forward to thanksgiving break. I'm going for a run tonight and wouldn't be surprised if I ran into a tree or something. That said, ignore my atrocious spelling and grammar.

Friday after my 10:40 class I headed up to Urbandale, IA for the Living History Farms Mud Fest that passes off as a Cross Country Race. Driving up with a couple teammates, I couldn't be more exited and debated with myself whether I should race it or not, but cooler heads prevailed and I decided not to. We got there after a good four hours on the road, which was perfect, not even a quarter mile from the start line, and went to dinner. We went to bed early after watching a bit of Return to the House on Haunted Hill (terrible movie.) The day of the race was ridiculously foggy, but not that cold. We woke up at 7:00, and got to the race after a quick warm up at 8:45 or so for a 9:00 race. There aren't really waves or anything, and there isnt really a starting chute, it was just line up and go. You had to get a good spot because there is a tunnel about a mile into the race and I hear it bottlenecks pretty bad for the people in the back of the midpack. I lined up in the fourth row and went out kind of fast, so I didn't get stuck in that, and I was off. About two miles into the race there are hay bales on the right as you run, and I saw some people in front of me try to climb up and jump off, and look like idiots, so I decided not to and run right past.

After the hay bales (or maybe before them?) there was this huge hill. I mean ridiculous. I ran up it, but I saw a bunch of people walking. I was like, are you kidding me? Two and a half miles in there's your first stream crossing. I was disappointed by how many people were apprehensive about it, waiting to find the perfect spot to slide down the banks. I jumped down and tore through the river, but had a hell of a time getting up. There was another stream crossing a short while later that had a bunch of rocks in the center that people were trying to step on to cross the river. I thought I would be smart and went to the far left and splashed through the water by everybody. Then there was a cornfield, which was a little tough to go through. It wasn't well plowed, and there were ears of corn everywhere which were ankle breakers, that really slowed me down.

Then there was this creek crossing where I lost my shoe, and had to go through in my socks, which was wet. After that I put my shoe on, and went immediately up a hill, a huge one that you had to use a rope to climb up. Again, I went to the left and climbed up pretty easily because there was a huge line to use the ropes. You went a little farther and into the woods where you went down a really big hill, this was at the last creek crossing, and people were yelling HARD LEFT! HARD LEFT!! in front of you, and it was through another river. I had a bunch of speed, so I jumped over a lot of the river and when I landed I got really really dirty. I then went up another one of those rope hills, and again tried to not use them, but slid down twice when I was halfway up the hill. I got up on the third time, and it was through the tunnel, over the gigantic hill and up to the finish to eat hot beef stew.

All told there were 8 creek crossings, and lots and lots of mud. I was really looking forward to a hot shower at the hotel after the endorphins wore off half hour before the race, because it was freezing and I was wet. Unfortunately, the hotel turned into a ghost town at 7:30 before the race, and everyone came back around 10:30, and everybody used all the hot water. Definitely a race I'll do again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Then here's to our Fraternity, and may she never die. May heav'n preserve the Blue and Gold; and The Cross of Sigma Chi.

That's from the song "Then Here's to Our Fraternity," composed by Beta Chapter in 1950. So, I got initiated on Saturday morning and am now worthy of wearing the White Cross. I dont really want to say a lot about I week and Initiation itself in fear of saying too much, but lets just say I learned a lot about myself, the brothers, and Sigma Chi as a whole. It was a really emotional week for me, and for all of us, and even though it was a lot of late nights and early mornings, I'd give a whole heck of a lot to do that experience over again. Our initiation ended at about 1:30 PM, so it went from 5:00 PM Friday to 1:30 Saturday, then I slept from 2- 9, and went back to the house to party. I had actually brought my homework over and intended to do that, but after going to the club and several drunken renditions of "The Sweetheart Of Sigma Chi" it was three in the morning and I didn't feel up for a few hours of homework.
So that's what I've been up to. I had to take Friday and Saturday off from running, and have yet to get my run in tonight, but I will, although it'll be late. Also, this weekend is Living History's 7 mile XC race in Iowa. I'm so pumped.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blood, Sweat, but no tears (yet)

Thank God I can run myself out of trouble. My foot has more or less stopped hurting after only five runs last week in four days. It was a recovery week, so I'm not too concerned. On my Friday run, I got run off the trails by a couple bikers, took a spill, and kept running. I didn't think anything of it, except some people were looking at me weird, but I blew them off. I went a couple more miles, ant then somebody passed me and was like 'are you okay?' I told them I was, why do they ask, and they kindly explained that I was going to die from blood loss because my knee was gushing blood. I don't want to get really gross, but I had to throw away the socks I was wearing that day because they were pretty bloody. I cleaned myself up at least a little bit, and the carnage really wasn't that bad; I had just let it get out of hand. I had to run home without a shirt on, because I used that to dab at the blood so it didn't get too crazy, which was okay because it wasn't that cold, but I got more than my fair share of weird looks. I got some blood splattered on my Adrenaline 10's as well, which I think looks pretty bad assed so I can fool people into thinking I'm a serious runner.

That was my fun for the week. This morning I ran 12, down to Lake Nokomis and back. I've never run that loop before, but now I'm going to more frequently, it was beautiful; like 50 degrees, and I felt great. No pain at all. I also tried some Sport Beans instead of my usual Power Bar Gel, and they worked okay. My one gripe is that I had to stop to take them, which once I stop its tough for me to get going again, but I did, running sup 9 minute miles, which I guess is okay for a long run.
Oh, I was going through the Brooks ID discussion group, because it is about time to re- up again, and I came across the Brooks Running Club facebook app. ( Its got a training log component, which is awesome, as well as a discussion board and a shoe tracker thing so you can track the milelage on your current pair of shoes. I currently rotate between the Adrenaline 10, Adrenaline 8, and Mach 11, but you can only have one pair of shoes, so I am supplementing it with my buckeye outdoors log so I can keep track of individual shoe mileage, but once the gurus at Brooks figure that out, its going to be so cool!

So this week is I week for Sigma Chi. Basically what that means is that I have to live in the ∑X house for the week until Friday when I get initiated. The purpose of it is to get in touch with yourself and your brothers in a more intimate sense. Straight from the I week packet:
This includes abstaining from television, music, newspapers, magazines, internet, alcohol, tobacco, masturbation, and cellular phones. Also, to obtain the optimal effect, a personal vow of silence is required. This is not an absolute silence, but serves to cut out needless chatter, in hopes of aiding the development of deep and meaningful conversation.
So that means no posting for this next week. I have a XC race on Saturday, but I've heard through the grapevine that initiation goes until 10:30AM Saturday morning. I'll talk it over with the Magiester and Consul, but if you're on my team know that its a gametime decision. Also, this most likely means more running. I'm a devout believer that running is a way to 'get real with yourself,' reevaluate your priorities, clear your head, and pray, so I'll probably up the time on the road this week, for the sole purpose of getting myself in order.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Whats wrong with Meb?

As everyone already knows, Meb won the New York City Marathon in 2:09:15, being the first American man to win since 1982. However, it looks like the media won't let him off the hook. Take a look at this yahoo article. How dumb. I just cant fathom anyone writing that. I mean, I dont know what to call that. Racism? maybe, but its definitely prejudice. I just don't know how anybody can say that, can call someone not an American simply because they emigrated here. Hey, guess what Darren, somewhere along the line, your grandparents immigrated to this great country as well, therefore, based on your own arguments, you are not fully American either, no one is. I dont want to rip on this guy too much, mostly because he's not worth ripping on, but also because he posted an apology the next day. But I really don't know why he thinks this is such a big issue now. I mean, if he wants pure American distance running, he'll have to go back to the late '70's/ early'80's with Dick Beardsley and Bill Rodgers. This quote rubs me the wrong way the most, however:
Nothing against Keflezighi, but he’s like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.
Are we really saying stuff like that on such a public forum? I mean that's downright terrible journalism to call someone out like that, I don't understand how we can let that disrespect go in our culture. brickrunnin06 made a great point on the Dyestat Talk forums. He said "Nobody has a problem with Big Papi hitting homers, or Patrick Ewing slamming the ball in, or Wayne Gretzky lighting up the ice or Osi Umenyiora making the big sack. Give Meb the credit he deserves."

I can't get my head around such ignorance and bigotry. I don't care what that guy says, I'm happy to call Meb my countrymen.

On the same note, kind of, did anyone see the article on Hassan Mead in this month's Running Times? really inspiring stuff.

So, what about my running? Well, nothing doing here. I have only run one day, on Monday, and it was a disaster, just really hurt. I self diagnosed myself having Morton's Neuroma, so I've just been taking it easy, not running, doing core, and icing, a lot. I'm going to try to jog four miles or so and see how it goes. I'll just keep the mileage low this week, and get back into it next week.