Friday, September 24, 2010

Griak bound

I'm headed up to the Griak invetational tomorrow. However, I'm not running. Feels bad, bro. I don't know, I've already missed three races out of the club cross country season, and it doesn't look go for me making the rest of them, so I'm suffering from race withdrawl hard core. Obviously, I'm pretty pumped to see the Gopher Men and Women, but look out for Duke. I'm looking at the Down the Backstretch article, and it says only three of the top 12 finishers from last year are returning, so it should be your perverbial duel in the sun- allthough its most likely going to be overcast and cold. I'm also excited to see the UST women, who should put up a fairly strong showing. Someone I will not be seeing, however, is Minnesota runner Hassan Mead. After missing both track seasons with an achillies injury, he recently got hospitalized with a collapsed lung. He's since been released, but he's also been ruled out for all of the XC season and placed on medical redshirt. You can read the full story here

In other news, I went a whopping 3 and 3 tenths miles yesterday, which is the farthest I've gone since my injury. I was really really sluggish, but it was fun, and I didn't feel any pain during the majority of the run. Plus, it was pouring rain, which made it all the more awesome. I was running shirtless too, which got me a couple wierd looks. Yeah, wierd I know, also counterintuitive, but bear with me here. It wasn't that cold, even with the rain- more humid then anything. Plus, it was coming down in sheets, so I knew that whatever I wore would instantly get soaked and weigh me down, so I dressed light- shorts, shoes with no socks, and a running cap. It seems to me when you do stuff like that people either love you or hate you- they think you're crazy or a total bad ass. I had some lady throw me a towel at the intersection of Marshall and Snelling. I don't know what she expected me to do with it because it was still raining pretty hard at the time, but a nice gesture nonetheless.

And of course, my knee is aching more than ever this morning. I'm slated for an MRI next friday though after two and a half months of paperwork!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wow its been a while

Sorry guys, I've been struggling a little bit with spurts of depression and apathy, and even more depression. See, its been three months or so since I stopped running consistently, and zero progress is really grating on my nerves. I don't know if I posted this or not, but I finally went to see the orthopedist a month or so ago. The doctor there scheduled an MRI for my knee, but insurance had to clear it first. I just got the call yesterday in class that the insurance did clear it, and after being on hold for damn near 45 minutes, I'm not all good yet. Since I've got titanium plates in my head from a brain surgery I had 5 years ago, the MRI tech wanted the results of my last MRI. I've had a lot of them since I had the plates put in to patch my skull, albeit they were 10-15 years ago, so that might take some doing. All told, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but no way to get through the tunnel without getting hit by an oncoming train.

In other news, I am running a little bit though, granted not enough. I try to jog a couple miles once every two days or so. Usually I go two miles, and the furthest I’ve gone is three- definitely not enough to keep me sane. I’m dying to just fly through a 20 mile run right now. Its weird, sometimes I’ll feel fine and I’ll ask myself why I’m not going faster and farther, and then five minutes later I’ll feel like complete shit. Last night’s run was a perfect example. I felt pretty great, granted my knee was giving me a little grief on my way back. Still, I pounded out three miles in 21 minutes and felt great, proportionally. However, when I got home, I f-in hurt, man. You know when you get overtired and your leg or whatever hurts, but you can’t nail it down? I don’t know, to me it feels like its hollow, it hurts like the dickens, and I can even feel my bones grinding together; its not a fun experience.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I haven't been writing

I really don't have much to say. I haven't been running, and its been that way for over a month now. After all, this is about my running, and if I'm not running, then there really isn't a point. So, I was putting off going to the doctor as long as I could by doing all the things that I was pretty sure the doctor was going to tell me anyways, such as: stop running, crosstrain on a regular basis, stretch a lot, ice, compression, elevation, blah, blah, blah. That didn't do it. I tried running two weeks ago in Wednesday, and didn't make it a quarter mile. My knee started shooting pain like it did before, and it felt like the fluid in my knee was boiling just like when it first happened. I finally gave up and went into the doctor. After a 2 hour wait, I finally got some x-rays that were inconclusive and talked to a doctor. She gave me this solid knee brace that I wear every night- pretty much whenever I'm not at work. She also scheduled an MRI for me, but who knows if that will ever get done because my insurance company sucks. So there we go. I feel old, fat, and slow, and all I want to do is run. I feel like I'm wasting my summer.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Phase 2

Phase two is almost over, and I couldn't be happier. I've been biking all week. Well, actually, I shouldn't give myself that much credit. I've biked three days out of the last five, but I'll let myself off the hook a little bit because I worked 12.5 hours on Monday, one of the days I skipped. I still have two days left in the week though. In other news, my butt hurts. Seriously, if I could put my own saddle on one of those bikes I'd go out and buy one today; the ones they have on the bikes are worthless. Whatever though, only two days and I'm running three days the next week. I'm pretty excited- the Ghost 3's I ordered from the Brooks ID site came in the mail the same day I bought some Shay XC 2's. The best day ever, only I couldn't run. Obviously, I'm going to have to build my mileage up slowly. I'm thinking one mile Monday, two Wednesday, and three Friday or Saturday. I'ma do all those runs on a treadmill or indoor track at an easy 8:30 or 9:00 pace. After that, I'm still planning to go up a mile a day, but go four days a week outside. I'll just go like that until I feel overly good or end up running all seven days. There, I have to say that or else I won't follow my own advice.

In other news, I went home for the weekend, and went to a Twins game for the first time this year. My dad got some work tickets in the Champions Club, which is basically the first 20 rows and three sections in front of home plate, plus an exclusive, buffet style fancy restaurant under the stadium included in the ticket. Its pretty cool because there's a panel window into the Twins batting cages where they hit when they can't take on- field batting practice. Its pretty cool, we sat maybe 10 or 12 rows up from home plate, and it was just unreal. I'll never be able to afford those tickets in my life.

In other news, I've just been getting fat and drinking Lipton Green Teas. I've gained 11 pounds since I stopped running by the way, I'm now a whopping 128lbs. I don't know how I feel about that.

I'm currently listening to an episode of the Marathon Show about the Rock' n' Roll Marathon series. They're currently preaching the goodness of the so- called "running buffets" and keeping courses open for 6, 7,8 hours so everyone can be a runner. I'm going to do a post on that subject if I ever get bored one day, but let me just say this: I ran a 4:28 marathon and am not proud of it at all. If I would have got to the finish line and everybody would have packed up and gone home, I'd have been okay with it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm legitamately pissed right now

My troubles started last Wednesday, when I was still in Illinois. I was running along the shoulder of one of the roads on my way to the forest to go run some trails. This specific road was raised a couple inches such that the shoulder I was running on was raised a good four to five inches off the ground; and it was a straight vertical drop to the grass. It worried me a little, especially when the shoulder narrowed and cars were almost brushing you going 65 mph. It was a little unnerving, and I was always thinking of the worst. So anyway, I was running down the shoulder of this highway, and a car swerved toward me on the shoulder, so I instinctively jumped off the shoulder and into the grass. Actually, I didn't jump, I more like fell. I caught one of my feet on the edge of the shoulder and lost my balance, so I rolled down this hill this road was on. I came up a little rattled and bloody, but none the worse for wear. My knee was killing me, but its always like that after you bump it a little bit. Anyways, I had fallen into a couple bushes as well, so I wasn't feeling the greatest, so I walked/ limped/ ran home.

So whatever, I iced my knee until Saturday morning, and Saturday was my first run. Bad idea. I was expecting some pain and stiffness but yikes. It felt like my kneecap was on fire. I've never felt such intense pain. It was awful, and I had to curtail my run at 15 minutes, all though it wasn't that long since I walked a lot. The next day I drove home, which didn't help matters, even though I got out of the car every hour or so to try and move around. I wasn't getting anywhere. My knee hurt to bend every which way, but more forward and back than side to side. And going up stairs, that was the worst. When I got home it took me like half an hour to make 2 trips up and down the two flights of stairs to my room. I had to go up one step at a time and couldn't put any weight on my left knee or I thought it would collapse, it felt that unstable. Since I got home around 10pm, I only iced for half an hour and went to bed.

That was Sunday, and I iced all of Monday, and Tuesday morning. I was a little shocked Monday night when I could walk with little pain. I mean, I was far from not hurting, but at least I could move around. I could also pinpoint the pain, which was another big step, because now I could do some googleing and figure out what was up. Tuesday I accidentally came down the stars leading with my left leg, which previously led to excruciating pain, but it wasn't there. I mean it still hurt quite a bit, but the stabbing pain wasn't there. So that was good. I decided it was time to start rehabbing for real.

This is really what pisses me off no end. Our school has 2 workout facilities on campus. One is on the south side of campus, one north. The north campus gym doesn't exist anymore since they tore it down and are building a 4 million dollar athletic complex that looks like ****. I got over to the south side and it was closed until the end of first semester. I was beyond mad because it took me a while to hobble over to south gym, and now I had to go back. Beyond that, now I had to find some place to go. Its like this: I could sit on my butt all day and eventually my knee wouldn't hurt anymore. However, I'm looking for my knee to actually get better because I'ma be honest with you; once my knee stops hurting I'm out the door for a few miles. But if it stops hurting, that just means its rested, not actually better. I'm not sure what's wrong, but obviously I'm going to want to strengthen my knee before I run, else I'm just going to get hurt again.

So, my mission was to find a gym or something. Preferably one that had like a week free so I could pretend to be interested for a while and then switch to another one. This was pretty much an overriding concern. I didn't care if I had to workout with bros or guidos but if I could get it for free its all good. Not happening though. Nobody had a free offer more than a day, and most I had to be 21 for, and since they had to have my info on file, I don't think I could get away with lying. So, my second concern was no guidos, guidettes, meat heads, or barbies. I'm already pretty depressed I'm one of those guys who has to join a gym, I don't think I could take a bunch of orange guys walking around. Third concern was cost and time. Of course, I don't want to pay like a million dollars to ride a bike, and I won't do it forever either, allthough it might not be a half bad idea to throw in a day of cross training every week. Anyways, I just need something to do until the school gym opens. Thats part of the problem too, I feel fat and lazy when I don't do anything.

So, I broke down and joined the YMCA. I'm not going to lie, I had to bite my lip and swallow my pride while doing it. While it had excersize bikes, a pool, it was freakin expensive. Like $60 for the month, I think? rediculous. Its nice though because its like a 10 minute walk from work too. So here's what I'm thinking: until next Friday, its all spinning. No exceptions. Hopefully I can work back to 2 hours, at least. After that, I'ma do both, and alternate days spinning and running- probably on the indoor track or tradmill. After that, I'll go to six days a week running, one spinning or biking. That is, if all goes well. So there it is, hold me to that schedule

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Burger on the Run road show

This weekend was supposed to be all that and a bag of chips running wise. Boy, was I wrong. Bonnackburn, Illinois is the worst running city since Dallas- or anywhere in Texas for that matter. This city sucks. It looks like the city planner got ****faced one night, woke up on his buddy's couch with pizza boxes and over him and a lampshade on his head after two hours of sleep and said "****, I have to have my plan of Bannockburn to the Governor in 15 minutes." I mean, this city is terribly laid out. My first run, I mistakenly turned right out of my hotel room. Big mistake because, well, first off, the road that I run on is actually a state highway. Second, there's a sidewalk on the left side of the road, but only for about a quarter of a mile when it turns into a slanted crushed rock- broken asphalt shoulder thatis like half the width of a sidewalk. Its pretty trippy to run that close to cars going 65mph. That crushed rock "trail" lasted for a mile, at most, then I decided to go right up Telegraph Avenue to the Lake Forest Metra station. Well, there's no sidewalk and not even a shoulder until you get to the Bannockburn/ Lake Forest city line where there's a sidewalk.

Whatsmore, you have to cross some street and then go another half mile or so to get to the station. I forget what the street is called, but its probably some state highway. Every street here is a state highway. Well, I get to the intersection running on the one sidewalk which is on the right side of the street, and the sidewalk across the highway is on the left side. Are you kidding me? Plus, there was a "cross traffic does not stop" sign, which I thought was weird for a relatively major intersection. Whatever though, I didn't really want to get hit, so I turned around and ran back.

So, now I've learned. I only turn left out of the hotel parking lot toward the tri- state tollway where its all paved and nice. Still, that limits my options a little. The one thing that this city does have going for it is that there's a forest on the outskirts of town that has a pretty nice trail system. I've only ran five miles or so on the trails because they're two and a half miles away from the hotel, but they're better than running on the same road over and over and over.

The people here are nasty too. Well, I shouldn't say nasty because they haven't punched me in the face unprovoked or anything, but they're extremely over- defensive. So, I was going to Chicago and then to Evanston on the Metra, and even the 9:20am train from Lake Forest to Chicago was overcrowded with no open seats. So I asked some girl who looked my age if I could sit by her. She said politely that she'd rather not have that, so whatever, I kept on moving to the next car. I asked some other girl the same, and she said yes, but her mom said no. Her mom! are you kidding me? whatever though. She said no again a little more sternly, so I kept moving. I was a little pissed, more because I had to stand for the 40 minute train trip than anything else. I dunno, maybe intentions got misinterpreted, who knows, but I was just trying to get to know somebody. Who knows?

Truth is, I'm not here to have a grand ole' time though, I'm here to coach the Courage Center team. I realize I haven't really explained what this entails, so here we go.

I don't think I have an official title, but I coach the ambulatory track athletes. I don't know how many athletes I coach because people seem to attend practice as they please (which I hate,) but I would guess the number is around 5. When runners come to practice, they are basically separated into 3 groups: wheelchair racers, race runners, and ambulatory athletes. Wheelchair racers obviously race in specialized racing wheelchairs and you've probably seen them before- there's usually a wheelchair division in Marathons. Race runners are a relatively new category. They're usually ambulatory athletes in that they can stand up when running, but generally they don't have full control of their lower extremities or have poor balance. Because of that they use an apparatus that looks somewhat like a walker and somewhat like a tricycle. Ambulatory athletes usually have mild Cerebal Palsy or something of that ilk where they have full, or at least good enough, control of their lower extremities. Often times there's flexibility, motor control, and balance issues to work through.

Usually, there's a coach for each group, although not always. I've coached the race runners, but never the wheelchairs. Obviously, being a distance guy, I know some, but not a lot about sprints so I have to read up or bounce ideas off the St. Thomas track coach and stuff like that. As far as the 400 on up, I can coach some basic strategy and technique, in the mile I really know what I'm doing, but the 100 and 200 I'm pretty much clueless. We only have one meet a year in addition to the National Junior Disability Championships. The one meet we have is the qualifying meet in which athletes have to run pretty lenient times in order to qualify for NJDC's. The meet's all in one day, which is a lot of running, especially for the younger athletes and those that have to run hard to qualify. I'm currently looking into making that meet a dual meet with a masters track meet being held the day before at the same track, but who knows, we'll see how it goes.

So this year I had two athletes going to nats. And yes, I tried to grow a stachie for nashies but failed miserably. One is a distance specialist and one is a 200- 400 specialist. So on the 20th was the pentathlon with the only running events being the 100m and the 800m for the women, the 1500m for the men. Both my athletes were the only ambulatory athletes in the event, albeit in different divisions which meant they could throw together, but not run together. The girl ran the 800 in, if I remember 4:02, which was far off her PR but since she ran even splits, I was pleased even though she just did the pent for fun. The guy I really pressured to do the pent, not only because he was all gung- ho about throwing, but I figured he might as well get a 1500m time trial in before the 1500m for real two days later.

Jeff came to me last year when he was a 9:15- 9:20 miler. Not to get into detail, but his main issue, for me at least, is that he can't really pick up his feet, which severely compromises his stride. When he ran the mile at the NJDC qualifying meet, he ran a 9:29 after minimal training. From then on I really specialized him, and he ran 8:37:24 after doing four events against no competition. I was really pleased, and I think he was too. Fast forward to Thursday (I went to Sigma Chi Headquarters on Wednesday, but I'll get to that tomorrow since its getting late) and the 100m and 1500m runs were on the docket. Jeff was up in the first heat of the 1500, and I told him to get in behind and form a pack with somebody, and picked a kid with a qualifying time of 8:18 for him to run with. His qualifying time was a minute slower, but I told him to hang withe 'em for at least a lap. He might have gone to the starting line a little overwhelmed but thats okay; better than overconfident.

In about 100m he finally got in behind the 8:18 kid, in a pack with that kid, and a race walker. He ran like that for 700m or so, then he made an awkward pass of the 8:18 kid and promptly died 300m later. Running all by himself, he died hard. I knew, he knew, and everyone in the state knew he went out too fast. So did the entire field. I was strategically the only one standing in the backstretch grandstand, so I could yell instructions to Jeff. Mostly it was just form and stride length stuff, but on the third lap I told him to tuck in behind the race runner. It was risky because I knew he had to slow his pace a little, but he didn't have many more options. It paid off big time, and he blasted his last lap in 2:11:89 (his fastest of the four), and finished in a PR 7:56:96.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pretty solid weekend

This week has been a pretty solid one for me on a few fronts. First, and the latest development, upon planning my runs for next week, I found that the hotel I'm staying at is only two and a half miles from a forest preserve. Supposedly there's also a trail head only a mile and a half or so from my hotel too. To tell the truth, I'm really pumped; it'll be a nice break from the suburban roads of St. Paul. Second, I'm a winner! Twice! First, a couple weeks ago I entered the daily contest and won a Brooks Nightlife prize pack. It consists of a LED light magnet, a nightlife vest, and a nightlife cap. I usually don't go all out and dress up bright for night runs (although maybe I should, I almost got killed crossing the street the other night; apparently the new twilight movie gives teenage girls the right to run over people in order to get to the theater) although I will if I have to run on the street for a while at night. I'll bring the whole kit to Chicago with me just in case, but it usually doesn't get dark enough in the summer to warrant a headlamp or anything. In the winter though, I suspect everything's going to see a lot of use.

Second, I won the Good Fortune Giveaway runners pack on Frayed Laces' blog. I'm super pumped about this. It includes, among other things, a fuel belt, a Brooks water bottle, the movie Volcanic Sprint, and most importantly, a Hansons/ Brooks singlet signed by Mike Morgan and Kevin Hanson. Have you seen that man Mike run? holy crap. Check this out. Woah. Guy runs a 2:15 marathon in '06 and doesn't look like he's lost a step at all. Other than that, I'm psyched because I don't have a fuel belt anymore (I had one, but left it at one of my runs), and who couldn't use another water bottle? I've got a Running Warehouse one that came along with a pair of my Adrens, but its in pretty bad shape. As for the movie, I've got to be honest and say I haven't heard of it, but I'm pumped to watch a running movie.. any running movie. My 8 hour shifts at work are getting pretty long lately.

Lastly, I've discovered the magic of doubling up my runs. It makes for a long day so I won't double during the weekdays, but on weekends its a godsend. Wake up at 6, put in a few miles, go to bed, wake up and do whatever and then put in a few more miles. Awesome. In fact, in an hour I'm going to make today a 19 mile day. I know that conventional wisdom says you're not supposed to break up a long run because the point of a long run is endurance. Fine, point well taken, but my whole thong right now is 1) laying down a base, and 2) mental toughness. I think going out and running 7, 8, 9 times a week goes a long way to accomplish goal #2 imo.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Brooks Launch Reiew

My Ghosts crapped out on May 28, 2010. A day that will live in infamy. I can't say I didn't see it coming. I mean after 600 miles you could have put up a billboard saying "buy new shoes or you'll get injured." I'm lucky they lasted another 100 miles or so. One day I went out and the first few strides felt like I was running on bricks. So I went inside, changed into my flats and finished my run. And it stayed like that for the better part of three weeks. That night I ordered the Brooks Launch from the Brooks ID site, in the nightlife colorway. They didn't come until three weeks later like I said, which limited my running a little, but I found a way around it.

I bought these shoes principally because they were getting awesome reviews on and, as well as some positive word of mouth from a few local runners and running store employees. I went to run' n' fun to try them on and ran in them for like 10 minutes, but that part's pretty trivial. I mean, how are you supposed to tell anything about a shoe in less than 2 miles? Anyways, they came on Wednesday, and I just had to pick them up even though I was in a rush. Wednesdays I get off work at 3, and have to be on the bus to the track by 4:30, so its always a time crunch, but I picked up the box anyways and re laced them on the bus.

First impressions were good, although when I first put them on I was a little concerned that the shoe collar was a little bit too high and would rub my anklebone raw. But I have huge cankles, so that might be my problem. Still, I've never felt that in a Brooks shoe. Other than that it is buttery soft, but that was exaggerated because I was used to running in racing flats. That first day it was 106 on the track, but I still paced 4x800 repeats and then did a 3 mile on the track. No adverse effects, in fact only positive reviews from me. I didn't notice any chafing, plus the sockliner felt awesome, even better than in the Ghost 2's.

Today I took them on a 7 miler and I went nice... and... slow because I've had some sloshy stomach issues lately and even though I felt good, I wanted to take it easy. The first thing I noticed was the heel/ toe transition felt surprisingly good, even better than the Ghosts. For the first couple miles, I couldn't even notice the weight difference between my Green Silences and the Launches (there's a ~2oz difference) but as I went into the latter miles, I could definitely feel it. Its really soft in the forefoot, almost squishy, but I'll assume that'l go away as I wear the shoe... not sure if that's good or bad. I definitely noticed some ankle chafage this run, so I may have to fix that with a swiss army knife and some duct tape if it continues. For what its worth, I thought I was running a pace in the mid 9's today and I ended up running 8:07's. Whats more, my legs weren't sore after my runs, like they would be running in the Green Silence or even the Ghost 2 to a lesser extent. The other thing is, the sizing's a little weird. Its definitely got more volume in the midfoot and through the forefoot- I'd order a size smaller than you would in say- the Ghosts or Adrens.

Overall, the Launch is billed as a lightweight trainer/ racer, but I don't think I'll ever use it for racing. Plus, the nightlife colorway looks sick.

I love the Launch and the Launch loves me.

Summer Goals

Now that my summer class is over, I've got to figure out what I'm going to do this summer. Here's my list so far, in no particular order. Feel free to add.
- Read as much Scott Turow as I can find
- Read OAR (again) and Again to Carthage
- Qualify at least 1 athlete for the paralympic team
- Get my 6 pack back
- Start running 300 mile months again
- Figure out what I'm going to do to fulfill my Sigma Chi duties (Philanthropy/ Fundraising/ Sweetheart)
- Learn how to steeplechase
- Look into transferring schools

ready, set, go!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

So, where ya been?

Nowhere interesting, thats for sure. My summer thus far has consisted of work, class, and coaching. Nothing to strenuous, but nothing too terribly interesting. Well, that's not entirely true- my Constitutional Law class was really interesting, but a lot of work. Surprisingly, there wasn't a lot of writing involved- we had to write 8 slip opinions for the cases we read, but only 6 of them counted, so we could effectively not do three of them, which I took full advantage of. Don't get me wrong, that class interested me too much for me to sluff it off, but since the class met Tuesdays and Thursday nights, the turnaround from Tuesday to Thursday was a little tight, especially with track practice Wednesday nights. Apart from the little writing there was, the class was just a lot of reading. We had an 1000 page case book that we read through containing Supreme Court opinions dating back to 1930, as well as three books: when the Nazis Came to Skokie, the Christian Burial Case, and Ultimate Punishment. That's what made it a lot of work.

Other than that, summer's been a lot of the same. Working 5 days a week, 40 hours, getting up at 6:00 to be there at 7:30, or even earlier if there's an event to do. I work in St. Thomas' technology department, so sometimes there's a bunch to do, and sometimes it seems like I don't even need to show up to work. Plus, yesterday and today I've worked 12 and a half hour days, so that sucks a lot. Plus I'm working Saturday so I'm racking up a lot of hours. Its all good though, because I'm going to Chicago next Tuesday through Saturday.

I'm going to Chicago, actually Deerfield, next week to coach in the National Junior Disability Championships. Really, when I'm there I can't do much coaching, lets be honest. Even at this point, two practices out, there's not much I can do-you can't make a training cycle in two days, but you sure can wreck one- the hay's in the barn, so to speak. Really, I'm just going to sit in the stands with my clipboard, writing down splits and blowing my vuvuzela real loud. Granted, my athletes aren't the world class or anything, but for most of them this is the climax of their running careers. Okay, one of my athletes is world class and already qualified for the Paraolympic World Championship Team and got a training stipend and all that, but that's none of my doing. For the vast majority of my athletes, they think they'll became better milers overnight. But that's another rant for another post.

So, my running. Its been kind of hectic and disorganized. Last week was good in the mileage category, but that's about it. 45 miles, but I only ran 5 days, doubling up once. The week before that I was slacking big time, with only 30 miles, with the mantra "I'll start my half training tomorrow." Speaking of, when should I start my half training? I'm not sure, but I'm thinking not this training cycle. There's a half that I was looking at what, August 7th? Now I'm thinking that's too early. Now I'm thinking that's way too early. The question's not if I could do it, but how fast. The master plan is to get faster and more mentally tough for next summer, and I feel like racing this early would negate both goals. I've got a master plan, which includes lots of speed and tempos, but to do that I've got to build up a solid base again, and I think racing would put me back at square one. Plus, I can't afford a $47 race entry fee, so that makes things a little easier.

Next in the news, R.I.P. Brooks Ghost 2's. After roughly 736 miles, they've called it quits. I've heard that when your knees start hurting, you know your shoes are toast. That never happened to me. It would hurt my thigh and calf general area and a little in my knees, but nothing extraneous. Maybe that's more bad form than dead shoes, but it seemed like a feasible relationship to me. So, a pair of Brooks Launches are headed my way. Until then I'm running exclusively in my Green Silences, which is, well, a challenge for two reasons. One, I'm scared to do a long run in them. That's why I doubled up this weekend instead of going long. an 8 in the morning/ 8 at night double somehow seems better to my feet than an outright 16 miler. Second, I always want to go fast. I find myself walking or jogging pieces of my run not really because I'm tired, but because I'm going way too fast and want to avoid a crash and burn. Obviously, that isn't a problem with tempo runs, but I can't tempo for two weeks straight.

Also, if you didn't think Flotrack was the best running site out there, I present to you floshopping. Enjoy. I lol'ed hard.

Monday, June 21, 2010

G- Day Minus five!- Grandma's race report

Yeah yeah, I know. I''ve been neglecting the three people who read my blog. My bad, yo. But its summer, you know, like going to the beach summer? nah. Its the working full time taking 8 hours of class, and coaching track summer. That's the worst kind. I'm terribly unmotivated. I need a break. I got one. I need another. But whatever, let me take a break from reading Powell v. Alabama and tell you about my marathonning experience.

So, Friday brought an early wake up call. Early, but later than normal. At 7:30 I got up and busted out 2 miles at 8 minute pace or so. Nothing special, but something to shake out the rust after two days off that week. I had about an hour to shower, eat a little breakfast, and finish up packing before the rendezvous at Heather's where we would all ride down to Duluth. All three of us, plus Heather's foster Dane. See, Heather's an animal rescuer, she rescues Great Danes from abusive households. She was actually fostering two at the time, so she had to take one up to a kennel for the weekend in Stacey, MN. So, the first hour was a pretty tight fit.

We got up to Duluth, checked into our hotel, and went out to eat as a team. Okay, it wasn't with the whole team, but enough of it. After that, we headed over to the DECC to hear Kara Goucher speak. She was engaging and pretty funny too. Plus, she's hot- too bad she's married. After the talk, I got a picture with Kara, only I don't own a camera so I had some guy take a picture of us. Only, I didn't give him my email address so he has no way of getting it to me. That makes me sad. But whatever, after that I met up with a couple folks from Daily Mile that were running Grandmas and took a picture or two with them, then walked around the expo a little. It was a good sized expo, but in too small of a space. Man, was that cramped. And I didn't even get any free stuff. Disappointing. But on the good side, I got out of there and only spent $1 which I was super pumped about. Then I headed up to the TCRC field HQ (AKA our hotel room) to set up the kitchen for the pasta potluck that night.

After that, most of us went out to see the 5k which started at six. It was actually a pretty slow race, the winner ran 16:30, but then people don't come to Grandmas weekend to run three miles. While we were there I saw some guy collapse in front of me. It was pretty scary. The guy was stumbling a round the corner, faceplanted, got up and took a couple more steps, and ate it again. Luckily we were close enough to the finish that somebody was able to come out of the crowd and help him cross the finish. It was weird because its not like he was flying or anything, it was well past the 30 minute mark. It was hot though, so maybe he was electrolyte- deficient or something . Once we saw our two runners cross the line we went back to HQ to eat. Then we went to bed early- everyone went to bed around 9:00 but I was asleep long before that.

Only four of us were running the marathon, with another four running the half, so it was a 4:00 wake up call for everyone. The Half started at 6:30 and the full at 7:30, so the half marathoners grabbed the showers first while the full marathoners milled around and settled into pre race routines. Me, I made my race day breakfast of tea, an apple, a banana, and a blueberry gel. Looking back, that probably wasn't the best idea since I had a good three hours before the gun. But anyways, we hit the door at 5:00 and were at the busses shortly after. We had a good 20 minutes before the busses started bringing people to the marathon start. During which I was cold and repeatedly heard about how brutal lemondrop hill was. When we got on the busses, I was pretty jumpy, but I took a seat in the back of the bus and tried to collect my thoughts.

We got to the race in good shape, a good hour before the race. I stretched out a little, but didn't do any warm up running. Is that good? I'm not sure, I was second guessing myself a lot, but I figured the hay was in the barn, so to speak. The weather was good at the start, in the low 60's. It looked like rain, and I wish it would have rained, but the sun poked through the clouds a little a few minutes before the start. I was running with one of my club members to start, which was really really helpful. I was in good shape at mile 3, albeit a few minutes slower than I had hoped. I had to make a pit stop at a porta potty at the mile 3 water stop which slowed me down a little. After I was finished with that escapade, I ran to catch up with my friend that I had been running with. And I mean I did run after him. I was doing like 8:10's and running through water stops, crazy stuff like that.

I stopped for another pit stop at mile 7, then kept on trucking-- until mile 9. I looked at my watch. 1:12. Are you kidding me? I'm in bad shape both physically and in the fact that a crash- and- burn is immanent. It came, and the middle miles were just a world of suck. I crossed the half marathon mark in a shade over two hours for my second fastest half to date. Then it went downhill. I could feel the sun baking me, the wind coming off Lake Superior, all of that good stuff. I knew I was low on salt and regretted leaving my salt bag in my backpack. We passed a medical drop out zone past mile 13 and I was thinking to myself that wouldn't be so bad right now. I kept going. I wasn't inspired or compelled or any of those things, I just wanted to get my ass in Lake Superior ASAP, and that involved crossing the finish line. Honestly, I don't remember much until mile 22. I definitely did not hit that runner's high though. But, it wasn't that I was worn out either. I felt like I could keep running, and I probably should, but I didn't want to.

Mile 22 through 25 was just one big party. I saw my dad and brothers at mile 23, lemondrop hill. I don't understand what the big deal was, I got up it and everybody cheering was congratulating me, and I was like "that was a hill?" Its little more than a bridge really. There's a picture of me on facebook going up lemondrop and I'm smiling having a grand 'ole time and everyone around me is just dying. I love it. I got up lemondrop, then we came to UMD's sorry excuse for a frat row. No Sigs, but there was a guy trying to get me to take a pull of vodka. Not happening buddy.

I "sprinted" mile 24, which is in quotations because I thought it felt fast and like more effort, but I really was slow and couldn't get any leg turnover. Mile 25 just pissed me off. You Go up a hill, turn right, go up another hill, run down the hill, run parallel to the finish line, make some turns around the DECC, and did the whole thing over again, except this time we ran the extra two blocks to the finish line. Supposedly you could see the finish line at mile 9, but 25 was my first view of it. It didn't make me want it more, it just confused me. Throughout the race, the only things I said, minus the idle chatter with a few runners was yelling "why does Duluth have to be so God d*** far away? come closer" and "Jeezus, we're two blocks away from the finish line... this is bull****, lets just turn left and we'd be done."

It finally got over with though. I ran 4:28:58. Everybody says its your first marathon, feel good about it, but nah, that's not going to happen. I was twenty- eight minutes and fifty- eight seconds of my goal time! that's unacceptable! and what's worse I wasn't even tired, I wasn't that sore either, I just wanted to stop running. In fact, I did go running the next day. Yep, 3 miles in 37 minutes, plus a dip in the Lake.

In conclusion, that was awesome? Will I run a marathon again? I'm thinking late October. Will I run Grandmas again? of course, albeit maybe not next year. One thing I loved was running trough the little towns. They were so friendly. They had their own water stops set up, the High School band was playing, the cheerleaders were out- man, that was awesome. One thing I'll take away from the race is this little girl yelled at me at one of the towns we passed "This is your race" to which I responded, "yeah, but I don't know what to do with it."

More to come, maybe? its 1:00 and I've got to wake up in five hours

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

G- day minus 21

Its coming. I'm getting psyched about this marathon, but also doubting myself big time. I keep thinking that I've slacked on my training too much, that I'm not in marathon shape. Maybe that's true, maybe its not; we'll find out in 22 days. I've had a tough couple of days of workouts lately. No so much because the distance or lactic acid or whatever but its just been hot as hell. No kidding, my Monday and Tuesday runs were both above 90 degrees, which is a lot when you're used to running in subzero temperatures most of the year. Luckily, Monday and Tuesday were both "short" days; 6 and 8 miles. Its all good. I struggled through Monday, but thats okay because it was an easy day anyways. Tuesday I smartened up and wore a water belt, but I poured more water on myself than in my mouth. That was a weird run. I was a little more than halfway through near Hamline, and the temperature dropped 15 degrees just like that. I mean, I've ran in and out of storms before, but I've never felt anything like that. One minute it was 95 and sunny, the next it was 65 and cloudy. Yesterday I ran a track workout, 12x200's. Not too difficult, right? I didn't go all that fast either; the first five were around 40 seconds and the last seven all at 44 seconds. I ran it after I ran a track workout I had made for the kids I coached. Only one showed up so I figured I would run with him to give him extra motivation. That was designed to be a lactic threshold workout, and I think it worked. We did a race sim last practice, and the kid totally lost it in the last 100 meters of his 800, just totally died. So, I wanted to get him used to running hard on dead legs. We did a five minute easy run, followed directly by three 200's back to back. We did three sets of that with three minutes rest in between. So, that's that.

Last I left you, I was still in school. Well, now I'm not and my five day summer vacation is coming to an end. I'll be starting up my Constitutional Rights and Liberties tonight, which I've heard is a pretty interesting class. However interesting, its still going to suck because its five hours two days a week. Also, since school has been over with, I moved into a house with a couple of my fraternity brothers. Actually, I moved in last Thursday, and was finished with school on Friday, but whatevski. Anyways, this house looks- well-- it looks like four guys have lived there for the past 20 years. Everything's fallen into a state of disrepair, the windows are cracked and fixed with scotch tape, that kind of stuff. So, my question to anybody who reads this is how do we clean the place? Last night I suggested that we have a Friday or Saturday night where we lock the door and say that no one can go out and party until the house is spotless. The problem is no one would buy into that. College kids are very good at making up excuses to go drink.

One of the problems we have is that my house is also the "chapter house" for our Sigma Chi chapter. I put that in quotes because even though we're a chapter house in Sigma Chi's eyes, we aren't in the City of St. Paul's, so we have to conform to residential housing laws. Specifically, we can not have more than 5 people in the house legally. Since the brothers use it as a chapter house though, brothers tend to congregate at our house, party there, crash on the couch, that stuff. So instead of trying to clean up after four people, we have four people cleaning up for 20. Its an uphill battle and no one seems to want to take up the cross. I cleaned up the kitchen last Saturday morning after I got out of class on Wednesday and it was a mess by Sunday night.

Um, other than that, I'm sure you've heard that Nike's coming out with the Victory XC, which drops sometime in July. They look sick, and first to the finish has them in seven colorways. Yeah, they're way out of my price range at $110, but hopefully if I can save my pennies over the summer I can pick up a pair before cross country season. Yes, I know I run for Brooks, but some Acitone will take the swoosh right off, allthough by July the Mach 12 will come out, so we'll have to weigh our options then. Who knows though, I'm broke like nobody's business. Its not like I spend my money irresponsibly, but it seems like every couple of weeks I end up broke. This week's going to be especially bad because I have to pay for a hotel room for Grandmas, a book for my class that I can't find anywhere online, and I have to put money on my bus card. I have $12 in my bank account right now, and all told that will probably cost me $130. God, stuff is expensive. I don't get paid until next week, and rent comes due then too. I want to believe everything's going to be okay, but in the back of my mind I know it isn't.

Monday, May 17, 2010

G- day minus 32/ 2 race reports for your reading pleasure

Hey guys. We're on the advent of finals week, and my last week as being a Sophomore. I move into my house on Thursday, and I have one more week at 69mpw, two at 70, then its taper time. I'm super excited. I don't understand why finals week is a big deal for everybody. It seems like everyone on this campus goes crazy when the calendar hits May. I won't lie, I've been obscenely busy too, but hey, thats college life. I dunno, the way I see it is if you manage your time effectively, don't do anything stupid, and take good notes, you'll be okay. But then, I'm also not taking bio, engineering, chemistry, those types of hard classes. For me, finals week is the least stressful weak of the year. Any week I don't have to wake up before 6 everyday and have one class a day is awesome.
So running. Running has been awesome lately. I'm already up to 150 miles this month, which is 20 more than April already and 50 more than March. This last week though its been tough to get excited about any of my runs. Last week it was in the low to mid 40's and raining every day. It was downright depressing. I may have just hit an all time low there. However, the weather seemed to take a turn for the better on Saturday and its been in the mid 70's ever since. I did an awesome 17 mile long run on Sunday that I'll post, but I think I'm going to do that this weekend too, assuming I'm in St. Paul and not Edina. I was actually supposed to do 16, but I couldn't pass up that nice of a run on such a nice day.

In terms of race reports, I ran two this week. First was the Twin Cities 1 Mile, which was run down Nicollet Mall on Thursday, may 13th. Before the race I ran a quick mile, mile and a half with Andrea, and then took the St. Thomas bus to the Minneapolis campus, and ran the three quarters of a mile or whatever to the start line on 3rd. Saw my running club on my run there, most of which were hitting the bars. I was running the 29 and under open wave because even though I signed up with the TC Running Club, Twin Cities in Motion finally got smart and realized that I couldn't actually compete with them since my USATF membership ran out last year. I thought it was worth a shot though; it got me a discount on my Get in Gear registration.
When I got to the start line, I did a couple striders and a little more short and fast stuff. Too much running? Who knows, but that would probably be a big factor in my poor performance. Before I get to the race, lets get to the weather. It was low 40's on race day, with a pretty sharp crosswind once you got past 10th street. I was actually feeling pretty good when the race started, I moved up into like the third row of people in the start area. I went out way too fast. I went out with the chase pack and went through the half mile in 3:10 and fading. As expected, I flew through the 10th st. intersection and died. Except I died harder than I thought I would. I was standing still and getting passed left and right, or at least that was what it felt like. Fun's over, I had to gut it out from that point on. I finished in a respectable time I guess, 7:04, but I got outkicked by everyone and their mothers in the chute.

The second race I ran on Saturday was the Autism 5k at Lake Harriet. Note that I said I ran it, I didn't race it. I ran it with Andrea, the girl I took to sweetheart, as well as her roommate and their friend. We got there at 8:00: 8:15 maybe? I didn't have a watch on; I purposely left it in my dorm. Throughout our runs, I could tell that Andrea was worried about hitting a certain time, which is a path to injury for all new runners. Its pretty simple- you push yourself too hard and get injured, and then lose interest in the sport altogether. Even so, I was planning on racing this one (and winning it), so I had myself chip timed. That worked well because since I ran with Andrea the whole way, her time was the same as mine; 38:33. Andrea's roommate and her friend Lucas took off on us a half mile in, so we were alone most of the way. The pack really thinned out over the first mile, there weren't that many people in the race. We talked about love, life and setbacks (that's a line from an Atmosphere song; we talked about running mostly and the various setbacks she had with it. I did a couple rudimentary gate analysis too, and figured Andrea was in a neutral shoe whereas she needed support, and her roommate needed a neutral shoe. (she wasn't wearing running shoes) I think she's going to take me up on getting a new pair of shoes too, which is kind of cool. I looked at the results the next day- the winner (and the winner of my age group) ran a 17 something. That hurt, I guess, because I knew I could have won that race easily. I could have easily been polishing a trophy right now. That got me thinking though- there's more to life then medals and recognition. What are medals anyway? Just symbols of memories in a sense. That would be cool to look at for a while, but all luster fades over time. I don't know, to me, a trophy can't hope to replace those 38 minutes. Maybe I'm romanticizing a little bit, but is it a problem if my slowest 5k turned out to also be my best?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

G day minus 45/ miles apart

I've been really busy lately with finals coming up, so the blog is playing fifth wheel behind school, running, work, and Sigma Chi. So for the one person who reads this besides me, sorry mom. I mean its rough. I've got the coffee pot going constantly. Most days I'll do to bed at one or two in the morning and wake up at five thirty or six. Is that what the real world is like? Anyways, enough complaining. I'm not going to go into detail about my running because if I did so it would take forever. Just know that running doesn't hurt at all anymore and because of that I ran my first 55 mile week in probably three months. But, I want to talk about life. I don't even care if anyone reads it, I just want to get some things off my shoulders. K, so here's 19 years of my life in three paragraphs:

Relay For Life Friday night was fun even though it got moved inside because of the weather. That was okay with me because I had to get up early to go to SLP and they ended the thing at midnight or there abouts. Its too bad though because I think the whole event lost something, especially the Luminaria ceremony. And I got my event budget extended for food from $50 to $100 because I went shopping Thursday night and bought Ground Chuck, spices, buns, etc. and obviously with the event being held inside we couldn't grill so we had like no food. So I had to make another food run to get sandwich stuff Friday before the thing started.We grilled out Saturday afternoon and cleaned the house and it was pretty delicious. We have some awesome chefs in the chapter.

Sweetheart was awesome- it was at the St. Paul Athletic club in the room where our charter was signed 20 years ago and it was super classy. I went with a girl who went to Edina and who I've had a crush on for since as long I can remember. I'm just glad I got a date, I was 0 for 5 in asking girls before her and was getting pretty down on myself. It was a great time and it was really interesting. We had a couple of the charter members of Delta Sigma Chi (they started the fraternity before it was chartered, but before the colonies become official Sigma Chi chapters they have to serve something like a probationary period) as well as most of the first Iota Tau pledge class and the Grand Consul (president of the fraternity at- large) who presented the charter speak. We also crowned a new Sweetheart of Sigma Chi, which was pretty cool.
Unfortunately, Andrea missed when we sang the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi to the new sweetheart so I sang it to her during the car ride home. It was as an awesome time though; I'm already looking forward to next year.

Next week is Sigma Chi Derby Days, which is something akin to the Mifflin Street party in Wisconsin at the bigger schools with less drinking. Its basically six philanthropy events on each night of the week where all the proceeds go to a charity. This year its Huntsman Cancer Institute, so that should be a lot of fun. We're doing meal donations this week for Huntsman where students can donate a meal from their plan and some of the proceeds go to Huntsman while the majority go to the St. Thomas administration. Oh whoops, did I really type that?
Really, why is ordering T- Shirts so convoluted? Why do they tell us which vendors we can and can't use? We have to get them cleared by Campus Life, Res Life and Public Safety? Why can't we just be students for once? do you hate fun? One more thing, Why must you skim $6.50 off a $8.50 donation? That's criminal. In the real world, thats called embezzlement and you go to jail for it. I should probably stop, lest I risk getting arrested by the secret police or the Gestapo or something...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Brooks Green Silence review

Wow, its been a long time since my last shoe review. Since I've put 45 miles or so on my Green Silences so far, I figured I might as well post my thoughts on them. I'm not a big racing flat fan; I usually race in the Brooks Ghost or the Launch or something. However, I picked up a pair for $50 because of all the hype they were getting figuring I'd wear them for tempos, and the odd 5k or 10k. Yeah yeah yeah, they're environmentally friendly and all that, personally I don't put much stock in that. Maybe I'll catch some flak for that, I'm not sure. I know a guy who got a pair early and said they were just awesome. Obviously, they're pretty minimalist in their construction which I'm not a huge fan of because my foot bows out a lot, and the shoe offers zero structure to speak of. Surprisingly, these shoes are really well cushioned. So much so that I took out the insole and was able to run just about perfectly in them. They are really roomy in the forefoot area, the toebox, which I'm not sure I'm a huge fan of, but more room is better than less. Since I'm running most of my miles lately on these babies, it definitely exaggerates some of the issues. That said, there aren't many gripes I have with these kicks. They're really light too, which is awesome- I think they might replace my spikes for track workouts. The lacing is kind of weird though. I like it, but I was trying to relace them- I love running in loud colors so I put some neon green laces in there and there was definitely a learning curve there. While they are excellent shoes, they're no different than the T6's really. If you're willing to pay more for the whole environment deal, go for it, but if moneys an object, I don't know if these are a shoe to splurge on.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

G- Day minus 59/ dejection, rejection, and depression

Well, lets get into it, I guess. First, running. Its happening. Its ugly, but I'm gutting 'em out. Actually, I'm not really. Last week, I ran two days and spun once. Granted, for a total of 55 combined miles, but its not the same thing. Yes, I'm hurting, a lot, but I can't let that take over my life. Yes, I know you're not supposed to run on painkillers, but right now I'm searching for answers, and nothing seems to be working. I saw the doctor, he referred me to a shoe store for a meditarsal pad. The shoe store guy basically blasted the doctor and gave me some insoles. I went to Run 'n' Fun, and the guy there blasted the shoe store guy saying that the insoles won't do a thing for me. I'm tired of this s***, I really don't need it right now. I have to run, its my way out, and I really need an escape now.
In addition to not running, my professors figured now would be a good time to dump a semester's worth of homework. In addition to that, I'm being constantly reminded of how awful I am with women. See, we have the Sigma Chi Sweetheart ball coming up, which is a formal, so we have to find a date. So far, I'm 0 for 5 in that department, with a really good chance of striking out again when this girl calls me back. Oh well, at least its not for lack of trying. This usually wouldn't bother me so much, but combined with everything else going on... life sucks right now.
To round out my list of ills, I'm dead tired and apathetic about everything. I haven't gotten over six and a half hours of sleep in two weeks or so, and tonight looks like the first time since spring break that I'll get anywhere close to eight.
I should stop whining and man up. You guys don't care about my problems.
I actually was going to see a podiatrist today to see if he could fix me. I'm not counting on it though. A while ago, I explained it on daily mile:
You've got to understand that this is more of a defensive reaction than anything. I went to the doctor, and that was no help. I cut my training volume, and that didn't help. I stopped running completely for two weeks and that didn't help at all. If I knew what move to make, believe me I would. Maybe I should see a specialist, and I will look in to that, but the problem is that Doctors' schedules- especially specialists- and my schedule usually don't coincide. Like I said, if I knew a specialist could help me, I'd be more then happy to make time ASAP, but I'm apprehensive about continuing this cycle any longer because its kind of depressing. All they say is "don't run." I hate to do that, but I did, and that didn't solve a thing.
They had an in house- podiatrist at Marathon Sports on the first and third Tuesday of every month, and I was hoping he could tell me what's what. The podiatrist wasn't there because his wife just had a kid, but I did get some reinforcement from Jason Lemkhule's wife that I was in the wrong shoes and some neutral- cushioned shoes would do me well.
So, I ordered a pair of Ghost 2's off Running Warehouse, because I can't plan ahead for s*** and can't afford to wait the three weeks that the ID site takes to ship things, so I spent $40 more than I needed to. Sweet. They're much needed though. The only pair of neutral shoes I have are my Green Silence racing flats, which are awesome, but at the same time, they aren't meant to be worn on everyday medium distance runs. They just don't have enough structure to go 6+ miles, and I have blisters to show for it.
I also registered for the Get in Gear 10k this Saturday. I was initially shooting for the half marathon, but after I cut today's run short, I was pretty sure I couldn't race a half marathon, so I compromised on the 10k. I'd love nothing more than to do well in my age group. I just need something good to hold on to.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

G-day minus 68/ Dye or Die: save the stat

Wow, well its been a while. My bad. Lets see, what have you missed? Well, for one, I got back to marathon training milage this week, which is generally anywhere above 50 mpw. I did 52, and it was a struggle. The running not so much, but just finding time to get the miles in was an uphill battle. It was Initiation week for Iota Tau last week, and that took up a lot of time. As an active you had a lot more to do- plan who's doing what, set up the events, watch the pledges in the library, all that stuff. Even though we got done with the nightly events earlier- midnight instead of 1a for my pledge semester, it was still a headache. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but it was a time crunch. I ended up pulling three all nighters including initiation night itself, and I was just worn out. It was a satisfying worn out though; I couldn't be more proud. I got the milage in, Wednesday and Thursday were tough though. I completely bombed my tempo run on Thursday, but came back strong on Saturday. Friday was an off day obviously because Initiation started Friday afternoon and went into Saturday. Saturday

I went down Iglehart until I couldn't anymore, then instead of merging onto Marshall, I ran on the railroad to get to Concordia, then ran Marshall down to UST. I heard running on railroad tracks was awesome because there was some law passed in the 1800's saying that train tracks couldn't be at more than a 10% grade. It was pretty easy going, you just had to make sure you lengthened your stride so you didn't step awkwardly on a tie. Yes, I know, running on active train tracks is dangerous, but honestly, how are you going to miss a train? They're big, loud, and slow. Today I went 16, and it was awesome. I had some trouble getting up in the morning, but it was an absolutely gorgeous day. I went up the Minneapolis side of the river, through the West Bank of the U of M campus, and wound my way around to Target Field before crossing the river and going home. Awesome. You know what else is awesome? my Ghost 2's are on their way to my mailbox.

So, whats all this about saving the stat? well, DyeStat track talk is under attack from the massive multimillion dollar corporate conglomerates. ESPN, who owns DyeStat, is planning to migrate Track Talk to the ESPN/Rise forums. Why is this a bad thing? well, the ESPN/Rise forums look like they're straight outta the '90's. The boards themselves couldn't be more awkward and un- user friendly. Instead of Track Talk where the content is displayed vertically, on the Rise forums its displayed horizontally. Adding to the confusion, to see replies to a topic, you have to keep hitting the 'x replies' button at the bottom of the post. Maybe I'm articulating it badly, but i just don't like the ESPN forums. They're far inferior to DyeStat, which begs the question: why doesn't ESPN just slap a logo on the current Track Talk forum and call it good? honestly, there's probably going to be a higher return rate in terms of members (and therefore revinue) the less they change.

When I've emailed ESPN/Rise, I got the normal cookie cutter answer of 'bear with us, we're working on adding features, but give us a chance.' That's fine, you can add all the features they want, but would a DyeStat by any other name ever smell so sweet? probably not. Even if they clone every feature of DyeStat on ESPN, it still won't be the DyeStat we know and love. ESPN doesn't have a clue. Look around. Your attempts of creating message boards and fostering community for big market sports have failed; look at your football and basketball message boards and you can see that nobody cares. The Track Talk community has been dealt a major blow. Another great resource for runners has given way to a media giant that doesn't give two s***s about our sport. Corporate greed and pursuit of profit once again rules the day. Attention ESPN: look around. Actually look at what the members of Track Talk have to say. No one wants this and by continuing on you are alienating the very fan base you are looking to court. No doubt, DyeStat must have cost you guys a lot of money, so why are you wasting it by completely moving sites?

Most of the members of Track Talk won't move over to your site, thats a fact that I think no one can blame them for. Inferior boards with inferior functions combined with inferior coverage and a historic neglect for the sport of track is a recipie for disaster. Face it, its a lose- lose, unless ESPN lets the Track Talk forum be. I can't imagine waking up in the morning and going to a mass produced message board and reading mass produced track coverage written by some cushy executive in Bristol. No, I'd rather read what's actually happening in track, thank you.

I'll stay loyal to the 'Stat until the end, but if if comes to that, maybe we can petition Flotrack to start a message board.

Dye or Die!

Disclaimer: The training part of my post, the first two paragraphs, were written Sunday night, 4/11. The rest was written on 4/13

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Review: Staying The Course: A Runner's Toughest Race

I thought I'd change things up a little bit and make things a little more interesting because lets face it, my training isn't all that interesting, and no one really cares. So today, I finished reading a book. Yes, thats right, a real book! Like, one that's not required for class, er, its kind of for a class in that it fits in with my sociology research progress which is on endurance sports and social class class boundaries.

Anyways, so the book. In my opinion, if you've already read Duel in The Sun, I wouldn't bother with this book. Not that its bad, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it rehashes most of the stuff presented in Duel in the Sun. Given, its an easy read, it took me like two days to read so nothing was lost there. There's a lot more emotional feeling in the book, especially toward the end where Dick goes into rehab. Like I said though, if you've read Duel in the Sun, you could guess the plot of the book and probably write most of it. Bottom line, go to the library, check it out and read it, but I wouldn't buy it

Sunday, March 28, 2010

G- day minus 82/ not running, not racing

I don't have anything to say.

So I really don't know why I'm posting this, but I am. Actually, I did run some this week, but not enough. I ran three days for nine miles, actually two days if you want to get technical. My run on Wednesday was at 2:00 in the morning, so I king of ran a double but the two runs had over 12 hours in between them, thus not making it a double. Anyways, doesn't really matter, but that was probably the best run of the three, which is not saying much. I was still hurting, but not as bad as usual. Maybe that was because I took more motrin than usual, I'm not sure, but all three hurt, so I stopped, no use throwing my whole training away with 12 weeks to go.

Last week was ridiculously busy, so I didn't fault myself too much for not running, although maybe I should have. I was signed up for the Human Race 8k on Saturday, and probably could have ran it, probably, but cooler heads prevailed and I didn't. Physically not running the race was fine, I wasn't upset about it, although it would have been an awesome day for running. What really ate at me was that I had spent $20 on race registration and now that would go to waste. That usually wouldn't weigh on my conscience that much, but this week looks to be an expensive one despite getting my tax return- I've got to pay for my Sigma Chi Formal tickets, MLB Gameday Audio Subscription, Running Socks, reload my bus card, and pay for real food since the cafeteria is closed over spring break- so $20 is a big deal right now. I hate spending money. I called my buddy Joe, who I am training for Grandmas with to ask if he could use my race entry. He said he could, especially since he hadn't run a race before. I picked up my entry and gave it to him then, which is probably totally illegal so arrest me if you want. I hung out with the TC Running crew in TC Running mobile-1, which is the RV that TC Running drives around to a couple local races and exhibits shoes. I hung out with them for a while and ran about a mile in the Nike Zoom Streak XC 2's, which were okay, really skinny, and definitely not my cup 'o tea.

I watched the end of the 5k, which was a hell of a race. I wish I stole those flats from the TC van because I really wanted to run the course and run it fast. After the 5k finished, I took the bus to Run 'N' Fun to complete my tour de running stores. Those guys are my boys, they've got my back. I was surprised that I got somebody to help me out because the place was pretty busy. I mean it always is a popular place, but it was packed for a Sunday. So I got a guy to look at me and he looked at my shoes while I lectured him about how I got injured and why and all that. He put me in a pair of Glycerin 8's and they felt amazing. They're way more cushioned than the Adrenaline 8's I'm currently rocking. He said that I could forget the insoles I currently wear because while they do provide cushion, that cushion will wear out after a while and then my feet have to take the beating which probably triggered my injury. He gave me some flak when I explained that I wouldn't buy the shoes, and I always feel bad when I explain I can't afford things, but it happens.

  • Congrats to Steve Stenzel over at Steve in a Speedo for finishing second in the 5k today in 17:11
  • Congrats to my training partner Joe Cronin who pinch ran the 8k for me in 36:46
  • Visit Run 'n' fun at

Thursday, March 18, 2010

G- day minus 93/ the week that wasn't

Can you believe we're inside 100 days until the marathon? I can't. Its beautiful out, there's no snow, but I'm not running. Actually, I am running, it just happens to be measured in hours instead of miles and I'm in a pool instead of on pavement, but other than that its all good. It all started on Wednesday when I had that super awesome endorphin filled run and then went downhill fast from that point. I kinda think that I could have been in shock or something that whole run because my feet felt like they weren't even hitting the ground. Well, after that my forefoot started hurting. Not bad, just noticeably. I ran on Wednesday and gutted it out, allhough I knew I shouldn't, but my one rule is to never give up on a workout so I didn't, and that was fine. Friday morning I had a meeting with the principal of Ramsey Junior High and had no money for the bus so I walked the mile and a bit there and mile and a bit back in my dress shoes. Bad idea. I chafed so much I have two pretty big holes in my Achilles area. It hurts, and I can't do much about it. See, you're expected to where shoes pretty much everywhere, and if you're a runner you're forced to wear shoes everywhere out of common decency. So its a long, slow process trying to get that healed.
Well, Friday into Saturday it really started bugging me. A stabbing pain in my third and fourth metatarsals. I ran around Lake Calhoun early Saturday trying to find the water stop I was assigned to work at and that just sucked. Actually, it didn't hurt so much after 10 minutes or so, but it was nothing like I've ever felt up until that point. So that was not fun. Pretty much that whole morning was full of pain and cold. Oh yeah, said it was going to be 50 that morning, so I busted out a long sleeve race shirt and jeans. Nope, it was like 20 or 30, which added to my misery. I can take a considerable amount of pain before I start to notice it, which in my case was a bad thing. I was limping and almost in tears by the end of the day and decided to go to the doctor Sunday, although I dont know why because I knew what they'd say. The doctor said because of my extremely high arch, I was coming down abnormally on my toes, and because my third and fourth toes aren't straight, the heads of those toes take the brunt of every stride. He recommended a forefoot gel pad, when we went to the shoe store to get one, the foot specialist just ripped him to shreds. It was funny, but I think he was right, a metatarsal pad wasn't going to do anything for me, what I needed was more cushion. Also, if you looked at the insole in my GTS 10's, you could see the hole my forefoot dug into the insole. Also, my right foot was slid over in my right insole so that the ball of my foot butted up against the edge of the insole, whereas that didn't happen on the right. I don't really know what that means, but it happened. To address the cushion aspect as well as that my foot moved around side to side a lot, the shoe guy hooked me up with some Spenco Cross Training insoles, a long with a lot of other gibberish to help me run again. He recommend I get custom insoles, which I may take him up on, but still, most of the stuff he suggested probably wouldn't work. See, my feet are arched as high as they are to compensate for my lack of cerebellum, so not every solution for people with high arched feet will work for me.
However, he didn't condemn me for running like the sports medicine doctor did when I told him how many miles I run, which is nice. So its coming to the end of the week, and I feel like I could actually feasibly run on Monday. Obviously, I won't be hitting my planned 57 miles, but I hope to be around 30 with a race on Saturday. Who knows, I won't push it, its too early in the training plan for that. I've got a lot more to say, but I should probably post this since I've been working on it off and on for three days.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

G- day minus 103/ Call us Mr. Flintstone, 'cause team 89's going to make your bed rock!

Contrary to popular demand , I'll start about talking about my shenanigans before my running and hope I don't lose any readers. First, I signed up for the Human Race 8k on March 28th, and actually I just found the corse on map my run that I'll imbed right here:
So its going to be a pretty boring course, I've ran it thousands of times before, but its a race, and its on the 28th, so it fits in my training schedule so I'm going to run it. Plus, it starts at like 11:30 or so pretty much right outside my door which is awesome since I wont have to wake up at five in the morning. I also signed up to volunteer at a water stop at the Irish For a Day 10 miler at lake harriet next weekend. I have a six miler that day, so I'll probably stow my running stuff at Marathon Sports (awesome store, you should go there) before my call of duty and go six after we pack up, twice around Harriet or around Harriet and Calhoun.

Lastly, yesterday (Saturday night) a few brothers from Sigma Chi including myself met up with a couple sisters from the Alpha Zeta sorority from Wisconsin- River Falls at Buck Hill for the Bridging Bed Race. So, how did we get hooked up with a chapter from River Falls? Well, our Grand Praetor, Joel Jensen's wife does the same type of thing for Alpha Zeta. So anyways we got hooked up with those lovely ladies for the night and met at Buck Hill at 5:00 or so to register our teams. What we did was have two teams, each comprised of two Sigs and two Alpha Zetas, and we somehow got the finances figured out so bridging could get their donations. It was really cold outside surprisingly, and it was raining a little. All I had brought to wear was a tight fitting running jacket and some running gloves which I gave to one of the AZ ladies on my team because she didn't have any. There were a ton of teams, like 140 or so, and even with five teams racing at the same time it took like three hours for each team to do two runs. The other team was #90, so we always were in adjacent lanes, which made for some friendly competition. The first run we blew the other team out of the water and got second overall in the heat, and the second run we just got nipped out by the other team and got second to last. Overall, that was a good time, I definitely had a blast and I think everyone else did too. Definitely a philanthropy event we'll be doing next year.

As for running, its going great, finally Its warming up which is awesome. My only bad run I guess you could call it was on Wednesday, I was just full to the brim with lactic acid. But hey, I started back on my core routine this week. Its tough to get me to do core in the winter because all I want to do after a run is take a warm shower but now that I don't have that problem, I'm back at it. My 9 miler on Saturday was definitely the best this week. I inaugurated my Brooks ID gear without wearing anything under it which felt awesome, but I did get some odd looks considering that most other people who were out running were all bundled up. Today I went 14 (I'll post the route) and it was another singlet and shorts run, but I thought it was going to rain the whole time I was out there. The sky just looked nasty and I almost didn't make my 7:15 wake up call because of it. Nonetheless,my route wasnt very interesting this time around, but I didn't get lost as many times as I did last weekend. I hate runs in Minneapolis- actually I should rephrase that- I hate runs where I can't run straight. Next week is a recovery week, only 38 miles, plus I'm going to a Ragnar Great River clinic monday night.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

G day minus 121

Again, I'm neglecting my blog. Not because I don't love you guys, but I'm drowning in a sea of research papers. Lets see, I've got one in my Education class on Virtual High Schools, another one in my Sociology class on the relationship between endurance events and quality of life, and yet another one in my Latin American History class that hasn't been assigned yet but should have been. Plus all my other homework that I barely have time for. It makes weekends much less fun, but keeps me out of trouble. So yeah, um, running's been on the up- and- up for sure. In four runs since my last post, only two have been really tough. My run on Tuesday, and my run on Thursday. Makes some sense, because they were both tempos.

Tuesday's run was just weird and I was out of my element. I had promised my High School hockey team I'd go to the last game of their season, so running in the afternoon was out of the picture, and it would be way too cold to run at night. I was in Minneapolis, and I couldn't get back to St. Paul and grab my running stuff and get back to take the bus to Bloomington- which took way too long, by the way. Lucky for me, I had commandeered a locker in the School of Law (which is frowned upon, by the way) that I put some stinky running stuff and an old pair of shoes in that I pressed into service. I ran down to Loring Park which is about a mile away and did my tempo there, which was okay, except I went way too hard because all I had in my locker was tights and a singlet.

Thursday was just bad. I wanted to stay inside and be warm, but I didn't. I just felt sluggish, slow, and sore. Not much else to say, it just sucked, every minute of it. Other than that, running was awesome! its actually getting nice outside (except for Tuesday) which is sweet because early morning runs and late night runs are now becoming an option, giving me more time to do homework and boring stuff like that.

Saturday I ran my long run home from work because I was going to my brother's POPS concert at EHS (it was awesome, shout out to him.) I planned out a course on map my run that morning, wrote the directions on the back and front of both my hands, and was off. I bet I still looked ridiculous, and still got lost a few times, but no big deal. Plus, it was a beautiful day for a run, and the sidewalks were mostly ice free. I was so in the zone for this one, here's my route:

I've also got to send out pleas for donation for Iota Tau's relay for life team that I'm captaining, team Sigs against Cigs. Actually, its 11:20 at night, I've got to wake up at 6 tomorrow morning, I'll do that tomorrow. The donation link is in my last post, in case you have disposable income and want to dispose of it on me. Also, catchy picture eh? In honor of Canada's gold medal victory over the USA. Too bad really, the US had a great run, and Brian Rafalski played amazing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

G- day minus 116

Finally I get a chance to post. I've got like six posts started, but none finished. I've been really really busy lately, like going from 5 in the morning to 11 at night every day. I've got to meet with my dorm manager sometime, as well as have my resume checked, and both only have nine to five hours. I've got no available time at all then, unless I want to skip class, which I'm really not keen on doing. Plus, I've got to attend a bunch of meetings because I'm the captain of team Iota Tau in Relay for Life. Last post was on the 15th? well, what else has gone on in my life? For one, my Marathon plan started. I'm on week two day one, and so far its just a lot of work, not really difficult. Last week I ran 6 miles "Medium effort", then ten the next day. I'm not really sure what's the difference between "Medium Effort," "Lactate Threshold," and "Tempo." Yes, I know what LT and Tempo are, but I just don't see the difference. Looking at my flotrack profile (which I'm going to put up again under links,) I have way more green days then red days, which is awesome. Its getting warmer, which is great. Most of last week it was a singlet- and- shorts run, which is great because I'm tired of the tights and long sleeve getup. The downside is that the snow and ice is melting fast, so there are great lakes sitting on the trail. Of course, my feet are freezing and wet almost always, and the mesh forefoot upper on my GTS 8's are a weird shade of yellow and they smell like I've left them at an ice rink for a couple weeks. The one good part about running in melting snow is that you get the mud splashed up on the back of my legs and shorts. Call me weird, but I like that stuff, its like battle scars or something.

  • God today was terrible, which made today's run even sweeter. I don't think I've ever talked about my job, but I work for St. Thomas' technology department answering phones and doing that stuff. Today everybody was getting viruses by going to the Star Tribune website. I won't go into detail, but from 7a-9a it was pure hell. Everyone was calling in and yelling, like 30 people. It was miserable. Then I went to work again from 1-5, and had to stay late and play 'senior tech' for an hour and a half. I had to attend to four classroom emergencies, and thank God I knew how to fix all of them. Come on boss, you never trained me for answering phones, now you're not going to give me any training for senior tech?
  • I'm going to the South Suburban Flyers floor hockey game, their last one of the season against Rochester. I'm excited, I haven't been to a game yet, so I'm excited. Plus, I've got to talk to my former coach regarding possible Sigma Chi philanthropy
  • My Green Silence's came today. First impressions are good, although I haven't worn them yet. I'll hold off until the snow melts to wear them, but I think its definitely a shoe to wear sockless. They're also hella light.
  • Lastly, please donate to my relay for life profile. Its much appreciated!

Monday, February 15, 2010

G- day minus 122

Annnd here we go. The lack of postage lately has been because of a really cramped schedule. I'm taking four classes, working 22 hours a week, plus marathon training and homework. I'm not complaining, but lets say waking up at 5:30 four days a week isn't agreeing with me. You know those drums of Folgers? not the 38 oz ones, but the 11 oz ones? yep, I've already gone through two of those and its the third week of the semester. Its been rough, but the running less so.

Running has been berry berry good to me, in the words of Chico Escuela. I won't go into detail about all of my runs because honestly they weren't that exiting, but I'll try to hit exciting parts anyways. Sunday was my long run for last week, did the Stone Arch Bridge loop. I love that loop, its so peaceful running as the sun comes up over the bridge, reflecting off the river. I ran it slow, because the conditions were pretty dicey, only to get worse on Monday. Monday it a blizzard, almost white out conditions. There was like four inches of snow on the ground when I got out of work, and none of the sidewalks were plowed. I saw no one out, and I went slow- almost 10 minute miles, but it was still a ridiculously hard run. The next day on the group run, it was me and two other guys. We decided to not run the normal bridge loop and run to the end of the Ford plant, which is probably for the best. The bridges are always terrible the day after snowing a lot because they plow the roads onto the sidewalks and then eventually clear the sidewalks. The next three workouts were awesome, I felt so locked in for all three of them. I skipped Thursday, but that's no big deal because my marathon training starts on Monday and I probably shouldn't push it.
So the next eightteen weeks of my life started with a five miler. It felt terribly tough, partly because it looked like St. Paul hadn't plowed the river road in about a week, it was really tough to get footing. Where there wasn't copious amounts of snow, there was huge bodies of water. I could hear my feet splashing in my shoes on my way back from the turnaround point, which was just another thing I had to deal with. The run left me thinking 'I have 18 more weeks of this crap?' Yeah, but hopefully that was a fluke and it'll get warmer soon enough. Pretty short week this week anyways, only 39 miles, all though I may have to add one or two to that for the sake of ease.
On the plus side, my Brooks ID uniform came today. It is sick, it looks so good I might have to buy another one when I get the money. I'll take a picture of it when I find someone with a camera. Its like bright fluorescent yellow, no one will miss me when I blow past them (that's a joke because I actually don't.) Also, I got a new Road ID, which was much needed since my current one is falling apart. Of course all of this was FO FREE! Thanks to Brooks Running for sending me the uniform, as well as to Dirt Dawg for sending me the Road ID. Its much appreciated fellas. I also ordered a pair of the Green Silences off the ID site from the money I earned by selling my books last semester and changing to renting them this semester. All told, I saved about $70.
I'm kind of at odds with St. Thomas right now, Campus Life called Sigma Chi out on something we didn't do. It got explained away I believe, but thats the third time in the last couple months that we got an "anonymous" complaint. That, and last night Public Safety came in to our room because the hallway smelled like weed. Our room didn't smell like weed, but they came in and poked around my rooommate's stuff. The reasoning they gave me was "Because he's on the lacrosse team and they have a history of smoking before practice." Are you kidding me St. Thomas? You bill yourself as this progressive, welcoming University, yet you have all these preconceived notions that you aren't willing to change. People change, institutions change, individuals are just that- individual. Just because some Sigma Chi chapters have hazing problems, doesn't mean Iota Tau does. Just because some guys on the lax team smoke weed, doesn't mean everybody does. Come on, there are some legitimately good individuals, why won't you recognize that? I'm seriously sick of St. Thomas' broad stereotyping. Lets just say I'm keeping my options open. If Winona State had a Sigma Chi chapter, I'd be there next week

Sunday, February 7, 2010

G- day minus 131/ Inspire Daily at its finest

Hey guys, just got back from an 11 and a half miler. Legs felt good, apart from my left calf feeling a little tight. Thank God all that slush I ran through Friday night hasn't frozen yet- that would be bad news when it does. Oh, Friday. Friday was another run from work run. I was going to get up at 6:15 to do 10 or so since I didn't have to work that morning, but that didn't happen. I sat down to wait for my coffee to brew before my run and fell asleep in my chair. I got out of class late for work, and about to miss the bus to Minneapolis, so tore out of class and up to my dorm, grabbed my running stuff, forgetting my room key, gel, and gloves in the process. However, I did end up bringing wool socks, my headlamp, and a hat I didn't need. I figured I could wear my wool socks on my hands if it ever got cold enough to need them, and hope and pray that my roommate didn't lock the door. I tucked my socks in my shorts, as well as my hat, and headed out. Turns out I didn't need socks on my hands, but I sure needed them on my feet. It was sleeting when I headed out, and had been for a while, so there was slush everywhere- the really heavy kind- as well as gigantic puddles of icewater. I was looking for stretches of bare pavement, but I often found that the stretches of black, which usually indicated bare pavement, was more often huge puddles of water. So, I came back with large bodies of water in my shoes, not very fun, but somehow I managed not to get any blisters.

The coolest thing happened to me that night though. I was waiting at a stoplight about a mile from Minneapolis campus, and some guy, I'd say in his late 50's started talking to me. Here's how the conversation went:
Guy: How far are you going?
Me: St. Paul
Guy: woah man, how far is that?
Me: Seven and a bit
Guy: I have the diabetes, do you think running like you would help me?
Me: Absolutely man, running works wonders if you keep it in moderation
Guy: I'm going to start then, can I run with you?
Me: For sure, as long as you want.
So, the guy ran with me for about a block, two the next stoplight. There was this guy, not exactly the "athletic" type, running his heart out in a full three piece suit, briefcase in hand. It was definitely a powerful moment, and I'll remember it for a while. Will this man keep with it? who knows, but I hope he does, I really think the trial of miles could help him improve his quality of life. Diabetes is a life threatening condition. Did I just save a life out on the road? who's to say, but knowing that I may have really made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. This is why I run.

Yesterday, I planned a Sigma Chi philanthropy event at the Cystic Fibrosis Climb For a Cure event at the IDS tower in Minneapolis. Their website is over at What a great event man, I felt really proud to be a part of it. My day started at 5:00, and we went to the IDS center at 6:00 to help set up. We went up to the 50th floor after getting there, and set up food and water tables, a post race party type of thing. Then I played security guard for the rest of the event, from like 7-noon. Basically, I sat at the security desk with two radios (one to the race management, another to the police) and looked menacing. Now, I don't know how a 130 pound distance runner can look menacing, but I kept everything in order. My fraternity brothers loved it, although I wish I got a coat or a uniform or something to look more official. The only real question I had was when a guy in a "so- and- so law firm" polo came up to me and asked me to get him in to the post office so he could get his mail. I laughed to myself and asked him if he really did study law. Of course, he said yes. I then asked him if he was aware that the post office was a federal institution and breaking him in would be breaking a federal law. lol lawyer jokes.

Last night I went to the Wild- Flyers game. I was wearing my Flyers jersey, and caught some flak for it on the bus to the X, but no big deal. There were actually more Flyers fans than I thought there would be, I saw about 50 in the concourse going to my seat. I won't go into detail about the game because this post is already getting long and boring and I'd probably get depressed because it was so poorly played. Anyways, my 9th grade Adapted Gym teacher was sitting in the row behind me, which was kind of cool. We talked a little bit and he gave me a little more flak about Leighton's puckhandleing skills, but it was just good to see him again, that was a welcome surprise.