Saturday, December 31, 2011

Netflix Movies That Don't Suck- The Next Three Days

Of all the Netflix instant movies i've watched, this comes the most highly recommended, even though thats not saying much. While a little bit far fetched at times, the movie actually was engaging most of the time. The Next Three Days stars Russell Crowe and Liam Neeson and is a thriller/ suspense movie that has some suspense to it, and its kind of cool I guess how the movie comes full circle at the end (you know what I mean if you've watched it).

The plot centers around a husband and wife and their child, and the wife is arrested at the very beginning of the movie after allegedly killing her boss. The husband, determined that his wife is innocent, fights the charges through the courts for a while, then meticulously comes up with a plan to break his wife out of prison. The movie is pretty good for a movie you'd pay to see, which makes it a winner for an instant pick.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Netflix instant movies that do suck- Outbreak

Swing and a miss. After seeing the movie Contageon, I was sorely disappointed and a little depressed to be honest. But I didn't lose faith, I was still looking for a decent movie on the same theme and I thought I'd found it-- I thought I'd found it for the first 10 minutes of the movie.

The cast is pretty solid- Dustin Hoffman, Renee Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, and Cuba Gooding jr. The actual movie, however, super disappointing. The movie centers around a disease that was found in 1967 in Zaire. The town that was infected was firebombed in order to keep the disease from spreading. The disease than surfaces in the same area 27 years later, is transmitted to America by a monkey, which is sold to a suburban California pet store. The conflict of the movie is between Col. Sam Daniels, who believes the town can be saved, and the white house who threaten to firebomb the town. There is also a weird love story between Col. Daniels and his ex- wife. The end of the movie just sucks. It isn't realistic at all, and they try to make it overly sentimental and emotional, but miserably fail at it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Netflix Movies That Don't Suck- Ronin

Netflix recommended this one for me, giving it a 3.7, whatever that meant. So pretty much, it had a lot of stars, so I watched it. At the end, its two hours that I didn't want back, although it wasn't exactly two hours I spent riveted to my computer screen either. The movie is starring Robert DiNero and although I'm not a huge movie buff, I've heard the name before so thats what got me real interested. Robert (I can call him that because we're on a first name basis) and his group of 5 ex- operatives are set to intercept a case that the Russians are trying to get their hands on as well. The case is then stolen from DiNero's gang by a defector from their team. The conflict, then, is between the British team of ex- operatives, the Irish and the Russians. It took me a while to figure out what was going on.

So, Like I said, a pretty decent movie for what its worth. Lots of action, car chases, and people getting shot. So thats good. Definitely not a movie I'd see in theaters, but worth a couple hours of your time.

Netflix instant movies that don't suck (and some that do)

So running. I've hit a rough patch of late, and am lacking in motivation. A week before Christmas, I ran my peak week of 120 miles for the Zoom Zah Yah indoor marathon. Turns out, I'm not going to be running that race.

So now I'm sitting at home with nothing to do. I mean, my parents house. I start my last month of work next week, which leaves me with a week of pretty much nothing to do but sleep and run. And watch copious amounts of netflix and reading a lot of Foreign Policy Magazine, as well as working on grad school apps and peace corps apps and job apps and all that stuff. It occurred to me a couple days ago that there are almost no good movies on Netflix. At all. So, I'll rate the ones I'm watching, post 'em up, and hopefully both of us can find some good movies or at least halfway decent ones.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The fun is almost over

First off, its been a while, but thats okay. There is an inverse relationship between the number of posts on this blog and the amount of work I do, so there's that right there. Its been a lot of research and paper writing, but its on stuff I've learned to love to do, so I'm okay with it. I'll try to make this post fairly short, but lets not kid ourselves here, thats not going to happen. So, listen. Here I am, 21 years old, ready to graduate college in a few weeks. Yep, three and a half years and I'm done. I'm also no longer an education major either. The thought process around that was long and convoluted. It seemed like a disproportionate amount of work- and meaningless work at that- compared to the eventual job placement that may glor may not happen. Moreover, it was just not that interesting to me anymore. Through the couple lessons I taught, I found that I was more or less forced to gloss over things that I thought deserved more attention. I mean, I think for my money the education program gave me a set structure, which is what I needed at the time, but I just felt that I was weighted down with so much work that I didn't want to do I had a hard time keeping my head above water. And that was just the two years I was in the program. What would I be like after another 2? or for a job (at least in the near future)?

Meanwhile, I've increasingly liked my political science classes, especially at the higher levels. Even this seminar I'm taking on comparative democracy thats pretty boring at least keeps my attention. So what did I do? I talked it out. I talked with the dean of the education department (my advisor had gotten a pink slip earlier in the year and I didn't want to talk to him), my International Security professor, and my parents of course. Don't get me wrong, I'd still love to be a teacher, and thats still in my realm of interest, but here's my deal: I feel like I can't teach just one thing in the broad sense, and heres what I mean by that: I was teaching a lesson last year about the french revolution, and I included the absolute monarchy, the financial crisis, the resulting concessions from the monarch, and the revolution itself. The feedback that I got was that it was too long and nobody cared. Well, my opinion is that you really can't learn about an event without learning its context; doing the opposite does students a disservice.

The nail in the coffin for me happened a couple weeks ago, when researching for the Model UN (I'm sure I'll get to that in a future post) and I found that I was actually enjoying the research. I mean, here I was with stacks and stacks of books in my room and three separate research papers on the table, and I was eager to do more research, even if it meant giving up a friday or saturday night. So, my political science professor and I devised a plan, and that plan is this: I can't apply to grad schools this year since the next time I can take the GRE is in February and grad school apps are due December or January so I essentially have a full year off. So I'm going to get an internship because I have no real political science experience. I'll also take classes in Russian and try to learn that. In addition, I'll study really hard for the GRE, maybe take some classes for that, and try and get into one of my top 5 grad schools: Madison, Minnesota, Washington St. Louis, Boulder, or Oregon

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Death of a legend

Yes, I'm talking about my GPS watch, don't judge me. Exactly one week ago, September 29th, Kenenisa Bekele Ellenberger shorted out. He was 6 months old. Yes I named my watch. Again, haters gonna hate. So, Belke was my Garmin 205 and despite the fact that I hardly ever used the heart rate monitor and rarely used the GPS, I got one anyway. So, since I never gave a real review, I'll give a quick one now.

First, who would think a running watch isn't suited for water? Somehow the 205 isn't. Not only did I have to clean out the charger/ sync cable contacts on the back of the watch every couple weeks, but the screen got condensation on the underside of it after a while, which was pretty annoying since I couldn't clean that off. Its not like I went swimming with it ether- I mean, I remember two giant rainstorms I ran through wearing it, and I would occasionally forget to take it off and shower with it, but still. As far as size, it was fine. I mean, I had a 310 until it got stolen, so I'm used to big and heavy. The GPS reception was really hit or miss. Usually it worked, but there were certain spots down by the Mississippi where it would drop the signal. It would also take about an hour and a half to find a signal if I hadn't run that previous day. So, bottom line is this is a solid GPS, I guess, but not for $250, that's pretty ridiculous. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pulled hamstrings and broken dreams- Twin Cities Marathin Race Report

So the course starts outside the Metrodome and is actually pretty well organized. I took the light rail to get there, and it was actually pretty slick. The Metrodome is open so I chilled out in there for two hours, listening to Rise Against so loud that no one would come within a three foot radius of me. But better yet, all the Metrodome bathrooms are open, along with a ton outside, so there's hardly ever a wait. So you start off on 6th street, then make a left on to Hennepin and make your way through a neighborhood. That's your first dose of real crowd support. There are some hills, but you're feeling good enough and the pack is so tight that you don't really feel 'em. The pack actually starts stringing out a little, then clumps up around mile 3 for the first water stop (they only have the water on the left side of the street, which was my one gripe).

From there, the pack stays bunched around lake of the isles and the rest of the chain of lakes. Its pretty flat, but I mean, if you were a veteran I'd go out fast at the start and slow up around the lakes; I was boxed in and couldn't go anywhere for at least a couple miles. Have you ever read Duel in The Sun? remember the cover where Beardsley an Salazar have to run single file because the crowd is packed so tight? Thats kind of what it was like through the lakes. You then go through a seemingly never ending stretch from miles 7-15 where you hit Minnehaha parkway and lake Nokomis, where the crowd support is sparse at best. Miles 15- 19 are the Minneapolis side of the river, and there were a ton of people out. I couldn't really see because salt was dripping into my eyes from then on, but I'd ran that stretch a million and a half times in training, but for a first timer it could be a little disheartening since you pass by the lake street bridge, which would cut three or four miles off the run.

Miles 20-26 are along Summit Avenue and if you're in good shape, this part of the race can really lift you. If not... See, Summit is a deceptively long hill that really doesn't look bad at times. From mile 21-23 its a clear hill that you can see coming. Apart from that it kind of sneaks up on you. At Mile 25 it gets good. From the top of the hill you can see the giant blow up Minnesota Viking in front of you as the "go pack go" chant surrounds you. To your left you can see down into St. Paul, and thats when a bunch of the marathon first timers I was running with start crying. Don't. From John Ireland you run under the gigantic American flag at mile 26, and then its a straight shot to the finish line.

As far as how I did, well..
Oonce again the Matthew Ellenberger racing strategy worked to a tee: start out at a good pace, then burn up at the end. This time it was a monumental collapse in the second half. So, I went out for the first half in 1:47-ish, which was right on my goal of 3:45. From there, things went downhill fast. I saw my dad at mile 15, and then felt something pop in my leg- just a little twinge, but I knew I was in hot water. I walked the rest of mile 16, mile 17, and most of 18. I felt bad. I felt defeated, but whatever. I figured it would get worse before it got better, no matter what I did, so I settled into a pattern of running for two miles and walking one for the last however many miles. It was pretty disheartening when I got to Summit, for two reasons: One, I love that stretch. I remember three years ago when I did the 10 it was one six mile long party. For some reason, it wasn't that cool this year. Second, I live on Cleveland Avenue, two tenths of a mile away from Summit, so I told all of my roommates to come out and cheer me on. When I ran by, they weren't there. That's when I knew I had blew it. I was about half an hour off pace so I really can't blame them, and its actually good that they didn't show since I probably would have asked for my roommate's bike to ride to the finish an he probably would have given it to me.

I was kind of disheartened though since I kept telling myself if I could make it to mile 20 in decent shape, I could finish on emotion alone. To make matters worse, the sun came out and it got hot. I took on a ridiculous amount of water but even so I wasn't sweating. Figure that out. 40 degrees at the start and near 80 at the finish. I think that was when I told myself "f--- it, I'll either finish or pass out, and either way you have the family record." (My dad ran Twin Cities three years ago and passed out at mile 17.) So I ended up running the last 4, the last mile with a guy who actually friended me on facebook the other day (weird since I can't remember the personal details of anyone let alone run straight that late in a marathon).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Balance MR1400 Review

I know I'm usually a Brooks guy, but I know a guy who knows a guy who hooked me up with these shoes on the cheap, so I figured I'd give them a spin. I've got 637 miles on them so far over two months, and they're beginning to wear down, so I'm going to try and get a second pair- thats how good they are.

These shoes are like butter on your feet. I've done all my miles in them sockless, and the upper is amazing. In terms of weight, I have them in size 7.5 and they weigh 6.8 oz, so they're solid for a racing flat. I mean, I've used them as a daily trainer before- at one point I wore them for three weeks straight on all my runs including the long runs. I'd say 14 or 15 miles are the upper limit on them though- at least for me- after that your feet really start getting beat up. I realize I've got a lot of miles on them- most of you won't get that high. That's a combination of me being a little guy (5'9'', 120lbs), and me not having money for other shoes. Realistically, I should have replaced them at 6 hundo or so.

Some things to keep in mind if you buy these shoes:
1) They run about a half size small lengthwise. Remember your feet swell when you run
2) These hold blood really well. The entire forefoot of my left shoe is covered in dried blood. Sorry if you were eating lunch when you read this, but I broke my toe a while ago and never had it set back in properly, so the joint is raised up a little bit, and scrapes against the low toe box on these shoes- especially on longer runs.

Also, somebody found my blog today by searching "Galen Rupp haters." I love it. I guess he did just set the American 5k record.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hurricane Irene at its finest

I haven't thrown up a post for a while, so here we go: a guy tubing down some highway in Virginia. The action starts somewhere around 20 seconds and the guy filming it is pissed.
Also- and slightly more important- Lukas Verzbicas is racing his last triathlon ever for his training partner, Kevin McDowell, who got diagnosed with cancer. Read the full article here. Now that's class.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guys, be careful!

So I came in to work today (late because I set my alarm for 6:30 pm instead of am) and the first thing I heard was my boss calling me. Bad news. I picked it up and he was like "you run, not bike, right?" Yeah. "Then why did Rick say "ellenberger is toast" when he came out of his coma?" That obviously begs the question why was Rick in a coma? Now, I've known rick since High School. He was the A/V tech at Edina when I went to school there and got hired at St. Thomas in the same department as me the same year I did. Anyways, Rick is a big biker. Not like motorcycles, like road bikes. He's the type of biker who would do a century ride just like nothing and be right back at it the next day.

The other day he got hit. He was riding this weekend and got t- boned by a car and landed in the ICU. He's going to be allright, but he got hit pretty bad and ended up with six broken ribs. Luckily he was riding with his team, so he was able to get medical attention in pretty short order. Even still, keep in mind there are some really bad drivers out there, so be careful.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ghost 4 review

I've got quite a few reviews to come both on shoes and equipment, but since the Ghost 4 are my most recent purchase, I'll go ahead and review those first. I've got 125- ish miles on the shoes, so not awhole heck of a lot, but enough to get past the first impressions.

I've heard a lot of people say "If you like the Ghost 3's, you'll like the Ghost 4's." Yes and no, but mostly no. The Ghost 2's were some of my favorite shoes, and the switch to the 3's were like a different line altogether. The 4's sizing is a lot like the 2's. Whereas the 3's felt about half a size longer and a size wider than the normal Brooks last, these seem right on. They're either a touch longer than the Ghost 2's or my feet shrank, one of the two. Either way, I would order your standard Brooks shoe size for these.

To me, the 3's just felt cheap, e.g. the cushioning wore out quickly and it was almost as if the shoes weren't made to be a daily trainer. The 4's are a change to that in that they feel like they were built to last. The cushion feels as good today as it did the first day I got them. That said, there's a fine line between cushioning and responsiveness, and Brooks may have crossed it. Now, I'm used to running in flats, so take that worth a grain of salt. Its not all bad though, because running in them I feel like I can run forever.

The downside to that of course is the energy return just isn't there. I usually run in the 7:20-7:30 range while training in flats, and you can slide that whole range up 12-20 seconds in these. But like I said, no surprises there. Its about a thousand times more responsive than the 3's, for comparison's sake. The upper is perfect. The midfoot wrap does its gob wonderfully, and the shoe really hugs the foot, again a difference from the Ghost 3's.

Bottom line, these shoes are exactly as marketed. These shoes will get you from here to there in style and comfort, even if there is two states away. If you are debating between the 3's and 4's, get the 4's no question. Its a little closer call between the 4's and 2's, but the upper is much improved on the 4's. a major selling point in my eyes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Woodbury Country Mile half marathon race report

So this weekend I ran the Woodbury Country Mile half. Without being too snide, they got through putting the race on for 30 years somehow, so take this worth a grain of salt. Also, "running" wasn't exactly what I did, but we'll get to that later.

The race was Sunday morning, so I picked up some packets on Friday. The website just said packet pickup was at Woodbury Lakes, which is a shopping mall, so I was a little bit on my own for that one. I also wanted to pick up a couple friend's packets and nowhere on the website did I see if I needed their ID's to pick them up. Turns out, I didn't. Also, it took me a while to find where packet pickup was; the signage wasn't very good at all, but maybe thats because I came in from the back of the mall and not where I was supposed to.

Sunday morning, we left burgerrunner race HQ (aka my house) at 6:00 for the 7:00 start. We got to the mall at 6:30, and like clockwork I had to go to the bathroom. I saw no porta johns. Zero. Luckily I saw a john around the back of the mall and ran to that one. I have no idea where anyone else went to the bathroom. Turns out that was a common theme. As we moved to the start, I had no idea where we were going. We moved out of the mall, and downhill down some road. We went halfway down that hill, and I passed a "5k start here" sign. I thought we had missed the start line somewhere, but that sign actually was the actual line. We lined up about 15 yards after that line, in front of the PA announcer- seemed like no rhyme or reason to where people started.

As the mayor was making announcements, I moved up to the lead pack. I figured there was a fat guy up there, so why not. The gun went off behind us, and we were off. There was a gentile hill in front of us, so I thought I was good to go. This was my first mistake. I didn't look at the course map- at all, so I had no idea where we were going. We made a sharp left into a neighborhood for a half mile, then up a hill. I was sweating ridiculous, and we were doing sub 6's. Here was my second mistake. I had ran a 8 mile progression run that Saturday, going from 7:30's to 6:20's. We went up another hill, and another. I was thinking that we would have to go downhill at some point, right? nope. We'd level off for less than a mile, then climb again.

Since I hadn't looked at the course map, I hadn't done that much hill training yet, so by mile 2 and a half I was hurting. We were going around a lake, and I had fallen back to running 6:40's and fading fast. I wasn't feeling good. I took off into the woods and threw up. Like I said, I wasn't feeling good. More of the same took its toll, and I took a lot off. I was jogging 8:45's, and it didn't make much difference. I threw up again shortly after mile 3, and thankfully hit a water stop shortly after. I ran with a pace group for a while after that for about a mile or so. It was fairly flat, and I could handle the flat pretty well still, so I passed a handful of people, always keeping the next group in my sights so I didn't get lost.

I was feeling good enough until mile 7 when we hit just an amazingly big hill, or at least it seemed like it. From then on, I had an urge to use the bathroom. I put it off until I was climbing out of the basin of the 2nd lake we went around, around mile 9. I didn't know what to do, since I had to take a poop. I had quite a dilemma on my hands and, pardon the bad pun, but it was about to get messy real quick. I had just climbed out of the woods and was in a neighborhood, so I could either (a) double back and poop in the woods which I had already done once, or (b) hope I could knock on some doors and use someone's bathroom. At this point time was out the window, so either option was viable. I went with option b, and luckily found a nice lady out gardening who let me use her bathroom.

I was dripping sweat and looked like hell, so I felt really bad for her. But whatever, I did my business and was out. What really held me up was her dog though. I stopped to pet the dog, and that woman took a picture of me holding the dog somewhere. I think I spent 5 minutes or so playing with the dog, but like I said time was out the window; I was seriously considering throwing my watch in the lake. So I kind of stood by the side of the course and waited for someone to come by who either would know the course, or told me to quit. Luckily, the 2:20 pace group passed me just then, and I jumped in. Actually it was just me, the pacer, and another guy who was running his first half. He also served a tour in Afghanistan.

Thats kind of where the story ends. The last 4 miles were more of the same: hills and hills and hills. It left me asking if there was anywhere in Woodbury that was flat. So we were just going along and talking, and it turns out that my pacer, Krystal, won her age group in the Paavo Nurmi marathon in Wisco. Candice Schnieder (who has a great blog at ended upwinning the race, and since they were in the same age group, the age group winner ended up being Krystal because she finished second and you can't place overall and win your age group.

So that was kind of cool, I also saw Jim Parry, who's a fellow Brooks ID member, albeit just briefly. I ran with him for a couple minutes, but then I ended up losing him when I went to the bathroom in that woman's house. So that was pretty much it, lots of hills would have been the death of me even if I hadn't have fallen apart physically- which actually might have been a good thing because I definitely would have crashed hard if I had tried to keep up with the leaders. I mean, at least I'm prepared for the hills at Twin Cities, right?

In summary, there is a lot the race director could do to make this a better race. More communication would be nice, both through email and through their website, there was almost no information there. The course is what it is, I guess, but it would be nice to get an elevation chart before I got blindsided by the hills- and I don't think it was me who got mad at the hills

For anyone running this race in future years- here's the elevation chart and course map- which is more than their web site gives:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bekele drops out of 10k, doubtful for 5k


Sounds like he's not competing at all this year, he probably re- injured his calf. Or maybe he wasn't 100% to start with. Either way, I told you so. You've got to feel bad for the guy, he's 29- thats old man status in track 5k terms.

Just to add, "doubtful for the 5k" is my words not anyone else's

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Running through

"When you are beaten by an athlete running through, it means you are owned by him body and soul. The Fixed Order will have been established in a most definitive way, to be altered only by some kind of felonious conduct, possibly involving Claymore mines."- Once A Runner

So I have a race tomorrow, the Woodbury Country Mile half. As its in the middle of a training cycle, I'll be running through, meaning I won't alter my training at all in order to run it. Normally I'd take a day off two days before the race (so the race is Sunday, I would have taken Friday off). Instead, I havent taken a day off since Tuesday the 27th, and since then I've gone 10, 14, 7, and 8 later today. I'm pretty exhausted, but that might be for the better since I always seem to go out too fast and then crash and burn late. If you happen to be running that race, get at me. I'll be wearing a wisco XC kit and my compression socks.

So yesterday I went to pick up packets. I picked up mine as well as my roommates that I'm running with. I got lost. Like actually really lost and I thought I would have to call a taxi or my parents to get home. I took the afternoon off from work and took a bus toward oakdale, which is next to woodbury. Even though I was going to a mall, there was no bus stop there,so I had to walk the mile to get to the shopping center. That took me like 20 minutes because I was going the wrong way for a while. The weird thing is woodbury has no sidewalks, or at least not where I needed them. Google maps had me cross a highway, which was fine because there was an overpass, and then cross another highway which was super scary because not only was there no crosswalk or light that tells you to walk, there was a huge DO NOT WALK sign. I was thinking about turning around, but I didn't, because I didn't know how to get home.

Once I got across the highway, I got on this road that split into an onramp and a one way road to the mall a quarter of a mile in or so. That was kind of traumatizing because cars were just flying, but I made it. After picking up the packet, I had the same traumatizing experience walking out of the mall, but this time I had to go to a different street to take a different bus to get back to St. Paul. I was late, so I had to run the 1.2 miles to the bus stop in (in 7:18). I made it, and from that bus I took another to get home. Bottom line is, I need a car, badly. I left Minneapolis at 3:00p, and got back to my house at 6:30. Ridiculousness.

I bought the IAAF world championship pack for all the days from Universal Sports this morning. Right now I'm watching the marathon on replay, since I don't care about much except that and the womens 10k today. And yes, I already know what happens, and I don't really care. Mens 10k tomorrow though, its going to be an amazing field (
start list here). For the record, my pick is Mo Farrah. A lot of people are picking Belke, and I don't know why. I don't think he'll show up at all, I don't think he's raced yet this year. Want to hear something crazy? Trey Hardee us the defending world champion in the Decathalon for America, but he isnt even #1 in his own country, Ashton Eaton is.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


So yesterday I went for a run. Big news, right? Well, let me tell you something you have different types of runs, and you go through all of them in a given training cycle, or even a month. I'm not talking speed, tempo, recovery, whatever runs. Over a given period, you're going to have runs that serve as landmarks, for better or worse, and serve as a measuring stick if you will. For examle, you might say "remember that long run after a tempo a few weeks back where my legs felt like bricks? Well now I can do it without being laid up in bed for the entire day." That kind of thing- the kind of thing that keep you coming back as a runner, kind of like a hole in one in golf after an otherwise terrible round.

Well, I had one of those runs. It was a 14 mile tempo after an off day. I didn't do anytrhing spectacular that day, in fact I thought I would just bomb it. I had a bottle of lienie's honey weiss and three hot dogs for lunch, and another honey weiss and some cajun tots from the Blue Door after work. And I got our waitress' number. That was a key right there. Point is, I wasn't really thinking about the run, which is both good and bad. Anyways, I get home from Blue Door, crush a nap, and wake up at 8, shoot a Gu, pop on my flats and am out the door by 8:30. I go through the first mile in 6:54. Okay, I was shooting for 7:01's, but whatever. The first mile is always the hardest, so I figure I'm in good shape. This is the exciting part- I didn't get stopped by a stoplight once. By mile 7, I hit the turnaround. I ran to St. Thomas minneapolis campus which I think helped a little because I could run that route with my eyes closed walking backwards.

I looped around the school, and picked it up around Gold Medal Park and the stone arch bridge, by far my favorite part of the run. It crossed my mind that since mile 4 I hadn't looked at my watch at all, and fought off the urge to because doing so would make me worry about my pace, and probably mean slowing down, which wasn't an option brecause once I slow down its hard to will myself to go fast again. After the bridge, I got the runner's high or whatever- its been a while since that's happened. And then I was like three blocks from my house. 6 miles down, and I don't remember a step of it, which is fine with me.

I pass my house, click my watch instinctively but don't look down. I don't look at my watch for about an hour after my run, but I was pretty pleased with what I saw: 14.09 miles in 1:33:48. Damn. That's not luck folks, thats three months of training paying dividends. If you need proof that there are no secrets in this sport, there it is. Doing it in training and a race are two verry different things. I'm racing this weekend, but I'm doing it with my roommates, so I probably won't bust my ass over going fast; I'm shooting for 1:45-1:50, having that kind of speed in your back pocket is kind of cool though.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nowhere, Wisconsin

Some might argue that all of Wisconsin outside of Mad Town and maybe Green Bay is nowhere, WI, but I'm talking really nowhere. Like, 8 miles to the nearest town with a population in the double digits nowhere. Anyways, what I was setting up there was my recent trip to my fraternity brother and housemate's cabin in northern Wisconsin. Its like two and a half hours from the cities, though we ended up making it up there in 4 and a bit coming up. We took three cars and one ended up getting lost (it wasn't me) plus we had to stop at a grocery store to get supplies for breakfast and other shenanigans, one too many liquor stores, and a fireworks shop.

We finally got up there and pretty much went to bed right away. That was Friday. Saturday I got up at 7:30 for a 10 miler, except I only went 6. This cabin was so far out of the way it was a good mile or two to a paved road. That, and they had a 3/4 of a mile long unpaved driveway which seemed like it never ended. This kid actually has two cabins, although the one we were staying at was pretty much a shed with a bunch of beds in it. The other one, three miles away or so, was furnished and was where the rest of his family was staying. I woke up at 7:30 Saturday and was pretty sure I was the only person awake within 10 miles or so. It was pretty cool. I could hear a bunch of animals in the distance, thank God. Wolves, bears, that sort of stuff that I'd been warned about because honestly, if a bear got me while I was running I was pretty much a sitting duck.

So I run to this guy's other cabin, only about two or three miles being on paved roads and didn't see a soul. It was the most relaxing thing ever. I had thought I could do the whole thing in road running shoes- my synchrofuels- but was sorely mistaken. After 8 miles my feet were bleeding and felt like bricks. In fact, the all- yellow upper of the shoes is now all brownish with dried blood. But its all good because when I got back to our cabin I jumped in the Chippewa River (which was freezing) and then threw a couple fireworks in the cabin to wake everyone up. After yet another trip to the liquor store in Winter, we went rafting down the river.

We stopped midway down (actually more like a half hour into our float) to this dumpy old place called the Wannegan in Ojibwa for some pizza. I'm pretty sure- no, I'm certain- that it was just frozen pizza thrown in a pizza oven, but at that point I wasn't complaining. After the pit stop we all left, beer coolers in tow for Dave's other cabin (I said his name, he's probably going to be pissed), which was a good hour and a half down the river more. Nobody passed out, no casualties, although we had a ton of beer left over, which was okay since we were going to have a beer pong tournament that night. I'd resolved not to drink until I got done with my running, and because I've had a grand total of 1 beer before that weekend. So once we beached our crafts we went in to warm up (it had started raining before we got to our destination).

Dave's mom, grandma, and two brothers were at that cabin, and man, I haven't had that kind of hospitality in a while. She cooked us hamburgers, beer brats, and corn on the cob fresh from the co- op in Winter, and it was delicious. I was in a food coma. After a good three hours of playing cards and helping out around the cabin, we headed back to our cabin in "the truck" which was an ancient pick up truck with monster truck tires. Most of us climbed in the pick- up part of the truck and almost died a few times. Dave's a really bad driver. Most everyone went to sleep right away, which was kind of a bummer. I didn't, and stayed up talking by the fire until midnight or so, then set my alarm for Sunday's run.

Sunday was supposed to be 10 miles, but I decided to loop around Winter for a 16 mile loop. Luckily I brought my Cascadia 6's with me so I threw those on, as well as a Wisco XC singlet I got at the Griak invite last year. It was a pretty cool run. The town wasn't all that hard to find from the cabin, and I was able to take fire roads all the way into town. When I got there it was pretty cool. It goes without saying, everyone loved the singlet and it seemed like the whole town yelled something to me- they love their bucky up there. I was thinking the whole time about Once A Runner. You know how Quenton Cassidy goes to train at Bruce Denton's cabin for a couple months? thats exactly what I felt like. I should do that, just go up to that cabin and just run and run and run some more. That would be awesome. After I got back, I chilled in the river for a while, and then packed up my stuff feeling much more of a runner.

On the way back our car stopped by the leinenkugel's brewery in Chippewa Falls. Pretty cool stuff actually, plus we got 4 free 8 ounce glasses of whatever we wanted. We each had two glasses before the tour and two after and we were set, or at least I was. I'm actually surprised I was able to handle that much beer. I know I'm a lightweight, but I don't know how light, and I don't really want to find out. But whatever, that was good stuff.

Okay, well its getting close to 2:00 A.M. and I have to get up for work at 8, so I should probably stop writing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hipster alert!- and some running

I think I'm becoming a hipster. Someone save me from myself. So I fell in love with farmers markets, and it so happens that there are two pretty good ones within 7 miles of me. One is in St. Paul on East Lake Street Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the other is on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis on Thursdays. I've also fallen in love with those food trucks, you know those trucks that just post up on a corner and start cooking food. Sounds kind of shady, but by shady I mean delicious. So, I work Thursdays at 1:00 in Minneapolis, which coincides with both the farmers market and the food trucks setting up shop. There's two trucks that post up near our office, and one serves seafood that's delicious. Like lobster and stuff. Always a solid choice. Sometimes I get to work real early and grab my co worker and go to the farmers market. He's a hipster, despite not admitting to it, so he knows what to get. You know how I know he's a hipster? he plays ultimate Frisbee competitively. Like in a league and he goes to out of state tournaments and stuff. I played with him once. It was pretty awesome, although I'm pretty sure they had some intense plays set up and I was just running down the field like a maniac. At least I could beat everyone down the field for an easy score. ALL DAY BAYBE.

Also, 7 weeks until Twin Cities so I better start training or something. This week I went to the Red Sox- Twins series so I had to run in the morning Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I wouldn't recommend it. I got up at 6 and got 6 or 7 miles in before work, but I ended up blowing off my workouts because I just got too worn down. I usually got back from the games around midnight, even though they ended around 10:30 because I had to take the train and then the bus home. So that was that. And I finally got gels so I can run over 15 miles for a long run this weekend. But im going to sleep first because I was literally up all day and all night yesterday. Trap shooting and playing video games with a co worker (but not the hipster one). Sweet life.

Also, Team USA was named for the World Championships in Daegu and it looks like this:
2011 World Outdoor Championships Team USA
*denotes 2009 World Champion
Men’s 100m: Walter Dix, Justin Gatlin, Michael Rodgers
Men’s 200m: Dix, Darvis Patton, Jeremy Dodson
Men’s 400m: Tony McQuay, Greg Nixon, Jamaal Torrence, LaShawn Merritt*
Men’s 110mH: David Oliver, Aries Merritt, Jason Richardson
Men’s 400mH: Jeshua Anderson, Bershawn Jackson, Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement*
Men’s 800m: Nicholas Symmonds, Khadevis Robinson, Charles Jock
Men’s 1500m: Matthew Centrowitz, Leonel Manzano, Andrew Wheating
Men’s 3000m SC: William Nelson, Daniel Huling, Benjamin Bruce
Men’s 5000m: Bernard Lagat, Chris Solinsky, Galen Rupp
Men’s 10,000m: Rupp, Matt Tegenkamp, Scott Bauhs
Men’s 20km RW: Trevor Barron
Men’s HT: Kibwe Johnson, Michael Mai
Men’s DT: Jarred Rome, Jason Young, Lance Brooks
Men’s JT: Mike Hazle
Men’s SP: Adam Nelson, Christian Cantwell*, Reese Hoffa, Ryan Whiting
Men’s PV: Derek Miles, Jeremy Scott, Mark Hollis
Men’s HJ: Jesse Williams, Dustin Jonas, Erik Kynard
Men’s TJ: Christian Taylor, William Claye, Walter Davis
Men’s LJ: Marquise Goodwin, Claye, Trevell Quinley, Dwight Phillips*
Men’s Dec: Ashton Eaton, Ryan Harlan, Bryan Clay, Trey Hardee*
Men’s marathon: Nicholas Arciniaga, Michael Morgan, Sergio Reyes, Jeffrey Eggleston, Mike Sayenko
Men’s 4x100m: Dix, Gatlin, Rodgers, Kimmons, Ivory Williams, Travis Padgett
Men’s 4x400m: Merritt, McQuay, Nixon, Torrence, Michael Berry, Miles Smith

Women’s 100m: Carmelita Jeter, Marshavet Myers, Miki Barber
Women’s 200m: Shalonda Solomon, Jeter, Jeneba Tarmoh, Allyson Felix*
Women’s 400m: Felix, Francena McCorory, Debbie Dunn, Sanya Richards-Ross*
Women’s 100mH: Kellie Wells, Danielle Carruthers, Dawn Harper
Women’s 400mH: Lashinda Demus, Queen Harrison, Jasmine Chaney
Women’s 800m: Alysia Montano, Maggie Vessey, Alice Schmidt
Women’s 1500m: Morgan Uceny, Jennifer Simpson, Shannon Rowbury
Women’s 3000m SC: Emma Coburn, Bridget Franek, Delilah DiCrescenzo
Women’s 5000m: Molly Huddle, Amy Hastings, Lauren Fleshman
Women’s 10000m: Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Jennifer Rhines
Women’s 20km RW: Maria Michta
Women’s HT: Jessica Cosby, Amber Campbell, Jeneva McCall
Women’s DT: Stephanie Brown-Trafton, Aretha Thurmond, Gia Lewis-Smallwood
Women’s JT: Kara Patterson, Rachel Yurkovich
Women’s SP: Michelle Carter, Jillian Camarena-Williams, Sarah Stevens-Walker
Women’s PV: Kylie Hutson, Jenn Suhr, Lacy Janson
Women’s HJ: Brigetta Barrett, Inika McPherson
Women’s TJ: Amanda Smock
Women’s LJ: Brittney Reese*, Janay DeLoach, Funmi Jimoh, Tori Polk
Women’s Hep: Sharon Day, Hyleas Fountain
Women’s Marathon: Katherine Newberry, Alissa McKaig, Colleen DeRuck, Tera Moody, Zoila Gomez
Women’s 4x100m: Jeter, Myers, Barber, LaShaunte’a Moore, Alexandria Anderson, Bianca Knight
Women’s 4x400m: Richards-Ross, Felix, McCorory, Dunn, Beard, Natasha Hastings
Uhh, USATF, what are you doing? Without going on a full blown rant (because I'm saving that for another post) why bother having an A qualifying standard if you're not going to follow it? They threw non- qualifying athletes in there for no reason. I mean I love Lauren Fleshman. She's a good, sometimes great- when she isn't injured which isnt often- runner. That doesn't really matter though, because she didn't hit the A or B standard; they're letting her in on last year's times. Come on now, a rule is a rule. USATF is really hurting for respect, and this isn't helping their case at all. What a joke.

Also, Rupp doubling up? hmm.... I'm a Galen Rupp hater if you haven't guessed, and here's why:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lukas Verzbicas gets into crash

Via his twitter just now:"Got into quite the bike crash. Waiting on medical results, Praying for no broken bones."

I won't lie, I thought that was a woman when I first saw it. For real though, dude is like everything I wish I could be. I said it once on the USATF facebook page and got hammered for it, but I'll say it again: I hope he turns out to be a better future of US running than Galen Rupp was said to be. Also, if you haven't read this story about his last tri before he goes to U of O, you should.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Guys... I need my beauty sleep

I was supposed to run a half marathon today, but never did. Please don't hit me with those cliche "inspirational" quotes like 'DNF is better than DNS' or any of that bullshit. First of all, thats wrong because unless my legs are going to fall off, I'm going to finish a race, but I might be lazy and not start one, like I did today. Now, you hear "Did not start" and you think "this guy just got psyched out by the distance" or at least I do. Again, not the case.

So, the Urban Wildland Half was slated to take off at 7, which means I wanted to get to the start by 6:30, which meant I had to catch the city bus at 5:30 in order to get there, so I set my alarm at 4:30. I went to bed at 9, and after I was woke up by drunk roommates a couple times, fell asleep and ended up not waking up until 7:45 today. I was pretty pissed. My phone must have gone dead overnight, so I ended up missing the race. Oh well, stuff happens I guess. Its not really that big of a deal because I was supposed to do 14 today anyways, so now I just won't have a race to do it in. And I guess this means that I can run with my group tomorrow morning, because I won't be a giant ball of lactic acid. We're running the first 15 miles of the Twin Cities marathon course. Its going to be awesome. Assuming I wake up in time.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why do I keep Doing This To Myself?

Well, self, why? My training plan has me running 6 days a week, generally by going easy-workout- off- workout- easy-easy- long, with the workouts being tempos and speedwork and the last easy run before my long run being mid- distance around 10 miles. This gives me a day to play around with a little bit if I want to be creative. The problem is, I'm never creative enough. I usually take my rest day on Monday, which forces me to run an easy day and a track workout back to back. That never works. I always go out way too fast on my easy run and bomb the track workout. Like yesterday. I had an 8 miler on Tuesday as my first run of the week, and and averaged 7:23 miles. Typical. My training pace chart says my easy runs should be from 8:01 pace to 8:31, so yeah, that was bad. The next day, Wednesday, was a track day with 2 miles up then 5x1000 and 2 miles down. To compound my problems, it was 87 and humid, even at 10 p.m. I'm always remiss when I run track workouts since they're supposed to be run at "5k pace." What is 5k pace? any ideas? For me 5k pace is run as hard as you can and then pass out and hope you are in the chute when it happens. So I ran them right around a 5:12 mile pace which is a tad on the slow end, but it is what it is.

So now I'm into another easy run tonight, and I'm exhausted. Its a good exhausted though because I know I haven't cheated myself. Because in the end, all you're accountable to is yourself. And that goes for all walks of life too. Ever read the poem "The Man In The Glass"? Well I linked to it so no excuses. Thats kind of what its like not to cheat, to look in the mirror and believe yourself to be a self- made man.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I caught a baseball!

For real, I caught a baseball today and it was pretty sick. Now, let me preface this by saying I've never actually caught a ball at a baseball game. I was at a Twins game in sixth grade and I got a glove on a frozen rope line drive that was going to take the old woman behind me's head off, but that popped out and some overzealous fat guy pushed me out of the way to get it so we won't count that. Today I was doing the Rice Park loop (~10 miles) plus going to add on another 3 mile loop for my 16 mile long run to bring my weekend total to 26 (36 if you want to count Friday) and I run right past the Hamline baseball field on my way down to Downtown St. Paul. Well there was a summer ball game going on, and some guy popped up a can of corn foul ball. So I'm running by, doing like 7:50's, and kind of watching the game out of the corner of my eye. You go over a bridge over some railroad tracks before you go past the field so I had a good vantage point for a while. So i'm a little behind the field when this guy pops it up behind the backstop. I don't alter my pace any, but stray a little to the right and hold out my hand and catch it, all nonchalant like. It was pretty cool, one of the cooler experiences I've had on a training run.

The rest was a world of suck though. I woke up at 9:30, but waited until 3 to do something with my life. By then it was 80 degrees, and 85 when I came back. Downtown it wasn't that bad, but going from like Hamline to John Ireland was super boring. Thats like the boondocks of saint paul kind of, and there isn't really anything to see. It sucks. Coming back I ran on the Minneapolis side of the river down Water street and on some secret trails, but most of them were flooded out, so that wasn't cool. On my extra six miles I met up with a couple random guys and convinced them to run with me. See, thats whats cool about runners, I just ran past them and asked how far they were going, then said I'd do 6 with them at least and they were like lets do it. Pretty soon we were flying down the river boulevard at a decent enough clip singing Piano Man by Billy Joel at the top of our lungs, it was good stuff.

So thats that, but the rest of the week was pretty bad. For those of you who don't know, Minnesota was blasted by a heat wave, and the entire week was in the upper 80's- upper 90's range. At least 3 or 4 days had heat indexes over 100, so running was not fun. Usually I ran at 11 or so at night, which felt a little better, but it wasnt really cooler at night. I think it was Wednesday that I woke up at 5 A.M. to run and it was 90 degrees already. What really got to me was there was no escape from the heat. My house doesn't have AC and my room is the only one in the house that doesn't have a window unit, so it was like this: sweat when you're sleeping (if you can even get to sleep), shower, immediately start sweating, run, sweat more, shower, start sweating again. Yeah, I guess I could have gone to my parents house, but one thing I absolutely hate more than anything is people that aren't self sufficient. I don't know, I'm increadibly headstrong too, you kind of have to be to keep putting in 300 mile months, every month.

This post is getting ridiculously long, so if you read this far, kudos to you. Here's some random thoughts and happenings lately:
  • The new Matt Nathanson album, Modern Love, is super good. Like amazing. I feel like only girls like him, but whatever. I saw him at the Electric Fetus a couple weeks ago an am going to see him again at the state fair. What up?
  • Bon Iver's self titled CD is sickness as well. Just super dirty. Hipster Alert! I'm seeing them also in November. They just kicked off their tour in wisco two days ago.
  • This kind of describes my feelings on the weather lately:
  • The government is working! hooray! now I can drink beer, and get arrested for all the fun stuff I did when the gov't was shut down (like quarry jumping)
  • This weekend I worked St. Thomas' Orientation and Registration. I feel bad for those kids.
  • Half Marathon on the 6th, I've got to figure out how I'm going to get there
  • I signed up for another half marathon on the 28th, this one with my roommates. I probably won't race it so I'm going to wear my Wisco singlet and America shorts. These ones-
  • When will the Eugene Marathon get their sh*t together and open registration?
  • 2 months and 1 week until Twin Cities

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Or we could blaze!

That's a quote from Once A Runner, if you didn't know. Most of my post titles are from OAR. I would have put the full paragraph up there, but it wouldn't fit, so here ya go:
It is simply that we can all be good boys and wear our letter sweaters around and get our little degrees and find some nice girl to settle, you know, down with...Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God's own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race dark Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway....They'll speak our names in hushed tones, 'those guys are animals' they'll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a gut, show them a clean pair of heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!

Yeah, good stuff. I think I'm going to get that book out of the library today and never finish reading it. Kind of like that book on Haile Gebreselassie that I never finished reading? that one sucked though. Its not like I can't sit down and write all of OAR either, because I probably can, but there's something about reading that book every summer that gets me geared up for running.

So, actual running has gone great lately. Apart from the lax bros taking my beloved track from me. Like this lax bro, who is also my roommate (see photo). So my track work is scheduled on Tuesday, and because of my work schedule, I can't run until 8. Well, lax camp has both the field and track from 8-10 everyday, and since the only other day I could do a track workout in the morning is Friday (which would make me have two easy days in a row, but a speed workout and a marathon pace long run back to back, which would suck a lot. So I've been going to the High School track 5 miles or so from me (so 10 round trip). I'll just run there and run back. Its kinda brutal so sometimes I'll just wait until the brosciety meeting is over and run track at like 11, but that sucks too.

The Last 2 runs I've done in my new flats- my New Balance MR1400's. I think I figured out why I like them so much- they fit exactly like the Brooks Racer ST4's (which are my favorite shoes of all time), whereas the ST5's run a tad wider than the 4's... but I'll get to that in a later post. The two runs were an 11 mile tempo (2 mile warm up, 7 mile @ tempo pace, 2 mile cool down) on Thursday, and a 7 mile recovery on Friday. I'm probably going to wear my trainers for this weekend's runs, but I'd like to get up to the point where I can do an entire half marathon on flats and feel good about it.

Thats another thing, I signed up for another half marathon next month, so I'll be doing 2 within like 17 days of each other. Even better, they coincide with my long runs, so what up?

So last night was a rough one. I thought I was going to go to bed early like I usually do, get up for work at like 6, work from 8-noon, and then run home from work (which is 7 miles, I have 8 to do today). Not happening. I ended up pulling an all nighter for no reason, and it looks like I'm gonna grill when I get home, then nap, then take a night run since its supposed to get real hot real quick.

It looks like I might finally get my 21 papers sometime soon. I got an email from the New York Times (they email me headlines) saying that the Senate had reached a deal on the MN budget, which would potentially end 16 days of shutdown. However, when I clicked on the link to the article, it didn't exist, so I don't know what that means but I think we're still in lockdown mode over here. I tried to get my license renewed through the county service center last Thursday, but doors were locked and no one was home at 11 in the morning, so I don't know what's happening right now. It could be worse, at least we're not Detroit.

I'm thinking of getting into the steeplechase. Like really into it. Last year I did a couple club races and didn't do too badly (I only came in last twice) and only ate **** off the water jump once or twice. But I think it would be kind of cool to have that in my back pocket. Heck, Steve Slattery is still steeplechasing and he's like 50, so how hard can it be?

Also, one of my friends just turned 21, and she's engaged already. Either the kids aren't alright (thats an Offspring reference for all you hipsters) or I've got some work in front of me as far as dating goes

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brooks Ravenna 2 shoe review

Okay guys, Its been a while, an I don't think I've posted a review on the Ravenna 2's, so here you go.

Out of the box, these boys are stiff as boards, which is an oddity for Brooks shoes. Granted, that could be due to a lot of things- the shoes sitting around a while in a dry warehouse- or something like that. Usually when I get Brooks' I can run six or so easy miles right off the bat with little or no problems. This time wasn't happening however, so I wore them around for a day, and then ran an easy three at night. Miserable. The upper was tight, the shoes felt like boards and the heel collar tore up my achillies. So back to the drawing board I guess. I cut off the first quarter inch of the heel collar with a razor and covered it with duct tape. Then I cut the groves in the bottom of the shoe an eighth of an inch deeper all around. Then I wore them around work all day and streched them out a little more with my hands. Then they were ready to go.

The shoe itself
No bells and whistles here- or at least less than the Adrens I usually run in. They're still a great shoe fore the money if you need some stability, but not much. If you currently wear the adrenalines and need the stability, switching to the Ravennas won't kill you or your stride. The major update this year was the addition of the DNA midsole. I think I posted in my Adrenaline 11 review that I didn't care for the DNA material too much, now I'm indifferent about it. I run in shoes that have both the DNA material and the old hydroflow chambers and can't tell a difference.

Last year's model of the Ravenna had weird sizing, it ran about a half size small, and the Ravenna 2 is the same, plus its a bit snug along the midfoot, but it has more forefoot and toe box room than both the original Ravenna and the Adrenaline 11. One thing I'm not a fan of is the heel collar. Its TPU reinforced, so when it irritates you, you're in trouble. But that's the same in all Brooks shoes so I'm not going to dwell on that a whole lot. The one thing I've heard that's not true is that it "feels fast." Nope. But its a trainer, and it fills that function well. The cushioning is- well, um... its there. Nothing spectacular, but it does the job. You get some "road feel" with these shoes, but not enough to the point of annoyingness.

The Ravenna has lots of cushon in the heal but not much anywhere else, so if you're a heel striker you're going to love these shoes, otherwise you'll be so- so about them. Also, they wear out really fast- I only got 325 miles out of these before the outsole started coming apart.

The Verdict
I'm never going to tell you to stay away from a Brooks shoe, but these shoes are almost a solution waiting for a problem. What I mean is the shoe caters to a very slim demographic. If you're just starting to run, chances are you're a heel striker, which makes this shoe perfect for you. However, if you're a new runner, chances are you also overpronate, and would be better off using a full on stability shoe. So basically, if you want to change your stride but are tentative about it, these are a good jumping off point. Just don't start using them in the later stages of a marathon training cycle.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Turning 21- kind of

So for all of you following the Minnesota political scene, our government has shut down as we can't close a 5 billion dollar deficit in our state budget. If you're not paying attention, I don't blame you. I'm a political science major, and bipartisan politics is driving me crazy. This means that all our politicians get unemployment checks. Yep. They still get paid even though they won't talk to eachother. Without getting into a rant on how stupid and childish that is, the bottom line is that all state offices are closed. State parks are closed, but more importantly the office where I get my drivers license renewed is closed. Not quite sure why since its a county office, but whatever- that's bureaucracy for ya.

So, even though I turn 21 today, I can't do anything until the state either (a) the state issues me papers saying I'm 21, or (b) I get a new license that doesn't have the huge red "UNDER 21" marking on it. Yes, my license has my birthday on it, but apparently no one reads that. Anyways, its not a big deal. I think I mentioned on here already that I can't drink alcohol because of medical stuff, plus I'm always in marathon training. But it would be cool to go to a bar, just because I know I would spit some awesome game about marathon training and my "all I do is run, work, and sleep" syndrome. Girls love to hear that stuff.

Back to running though, Saturday I ran with my club, and promptly fell off the pace and got lost. Well, not totally lost because the run was in my neighborhood but I wasn't listening to the route so I missed a left turn and ended up a good three miles from where I should have been. So that was exciting. I also missed a water stop, which was too bad because it was really hot. The next day I ran 12 for a long run and that really sucked. Thank God its forecasted to get cooler here, because its getting ridiculous, especially because my house isn't air conditioned either.

I'm looking for a summer marathon to do next summer. I've done Grandma's the past two years and while thats a pretty awesome race, I'm looking for something different. Right now, I'm looking at the BMO Vancouver Marathon, the Eugene Marathon, and the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. Any recommendations? reviews?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Its so damn hot... milk was a bad choice

For those of you not familiar with awesome movies, educate yourselves. That was from Anchorman, which is an amazing movie. Just wanted to post that its going to be 90 degrees when I start my tempo today- 2 miles @ 8:01, 3 @ 7:00, 2@ 8:01. So while you're sitting in air conditioned goodness, I'll be sweating off 15 pounds.

That is all.

Edit: Scratch that, its a 7 mile tempo, not including the warmup. f***, Its going to be a long night

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is There no Justice in this World?

I bet you guys won't believe this, but I found a pair of Pearl Izumi Synchrofuels on ebay for $60 and ordered the red/ white colorway. They came in the mail today and they were actually the yellow/ black pair. What? Can I sue them for false advertising? But its all good, I actually like that colorway. Apart from the guy I ordered them from not giving me a tracking number,it was a pretty smooth deal. I wore them the other day for a 4 miler and then this morning for a 6 miler and then probably again tonight for another 6 miler and me gusta.

Let me say this though, I'm a brooks lifer and always will be. But how can you say no to cheap shoes? I've got a good buddy who works for Pearl Izumi and he hooked me up phat, as the kids say these days. So really, how could I say no? It was like the good old days when Brooks hooked me up with really cheap shoes. Now they're kind of expensive, like $70. But yeah, I will say the Pearl Izumi seemless upper has the Brooks one beat up and down, that thing is a little slice of heaven on your foot. To counter though, I bought 2 pairs of the Brooks ST 4 racers. Those were so hard to find though, they must have sold like hotcakes- for good reason.

I also bought a baseball glove for my birthday. Its a Louisville Slugger TPS pro Omaha model, if that means anything to anyone. It doesn't to me, but everybody likes it so I bought it. I played in a beer league last year using my Rawlings Carlton Fisk model glove (it was an outfield glove, but I used it to play corner infield mostly). Toward the end of the season last year, I was playing right field and I settled behind a fly ball because I was going to run in to make the catch and use my momentum to try and get a guy trying to tag up from second and move to third. Well when I caught it the ball went right through my glove- just tore the webbing right out. So there you go, I thought I needed a new one. This one is a third base model too, so that's all good. I'm really pumped to play ball.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

NHL draft day 1 recap

So, I know my blog is mostly running, but I'ma drop some hockey knowledge on you guys real quick, so if you don't care, skip to the end- I'll add some running stuff at the end just because I'm going to throw some thoughts down there just for kicks.

So Friday I got off work to go see the NHL draft. This year wasn't very deep, although tickets were free and the Flyers trading Carter to get the 8th overall pick as well as trading away Richards made things a little more interesting.

Ryan Nugent- Hopkins was the first overall pick by the Oil. Not really a surprise there, allthough I will say if it wasn't for the late- season injury to Taylor Hall they wouldn't have had the first pick- that kid is lightning in a bottle. Anyway, this kid's the real deal- electric skater, strong on his feet and excellent with the puck. He's NHL ready, and we'll see a Nugent- Hopkins to Hall goals a plenty starting next season. The next pick I was interested in was the Winnipeg Jets at #7. I think they reached a little bit- okay they reached a lot to get Mark Scheifele. I'll be honest, he's a project- and I don't know why you would draft a project 7th overall- but he has potential to be a player in the Scotty Hartnell mold if developed correctly. And thats a big if. The very next pick was the Flyers at #8, and they could have gone a couple ways with this one. They could have gotten a center to replace Richards (which they did), or a defenseman to bolster an aging defensive corps.

The Next pick I was interested in, naturally, was the Flyers at #8, who picked Sean Couturer, who could be a big impact player in the future. He's probably going to need some seasoning in the AHL, plus he's a center and we have somewhat of a logjam there, but once he comes up I think he'll be a solid power forward with soft enough hands. Next came the Wild at #10, and these were interesting picks, and I'll get to that a bit later. Their pick was Jonas Brodin, who is a good young defenseman. He's a stay at home guy who, while not flashy, is a lock to play in the NHL. When is a point of contention. I think he can play now, but TSN and stuff says otherwise. Granted, he is undersized, but Minnesota's isn't an all star defensive corps. The Wild also had the 28th pick, and they took Zach Philips, a playmaking center. He's big, strong, and is a blue collar player that TSN compared to Adam Oates (who is one of my favorite players ever).

Then came the "blockbuster." The Wild sent Brent Burns and a 2nd round pick in 2012 for Devin Setagouchi, Charlie Croyle, and the #28 pick (Zach Philips). Their picks make a ton more sense now. Brodin was to replace Burns on an already scant blueline (part of the reason why I think he will play this year, if we don't sign a big UFA), and Philips was to dish to Setagouchi and Koivu for goals on the give- and- go.

Some other notes-
  • What are you doing Phoenix? picking a project player who is at least 4-5 years out of playing in the NHL with the #20 pick? No wonder no one likes hockey in the desert.
  • If the Leafs are trying to be a team of goons, Tyler Biggs is the right pick at #22
  • I'm pumped to see Mario Lucia, a Wayzata kid, on the Wild-- eventually
  • Steven Fogherty was the first Edina boy off the board at #72 overall by the Rangers
So, now for a little bit of running news- my run last night was 2 miles. Two lonely miles in 17 and a half minutes. It was my first run since Grandmas a week ago and while my legs didn't feel like lead, but I was still out of shape like nobodies business. I'm planning a 4 miler tonight, 6 the next day, and to rejoin the Twin Cities plan with some speed work by wednesday

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A talk with the fine folks at Brooks

On Friday before the Marathon I stopped in at the Brooks booth after talking to the guys at Pearl Izumi (I have a teammate who works there) to take a look at the pure series. I was pretty skeptical to tell the truth, but I met the guy working there- I didn't get a name but he ran XC for Hamline last year and he let me try a pair out. He hooked me up with a pair of the Pure Flow, and woah boy, those are some shoes. I thought the heel toe drop would bother me the most, but nope, its really no different than running in flats. I really like how flexable this shoe is, that was pretty awesome. Compared to the Ravenna 2's it was a huge step up and even my beloved adrenaline 11 it was an improvement. I only went 3 miles around the DECC, so I can't really say too much, but they definitely made me a believer. I'm a natural skeptic about minimalist shoes, but these aren't truly minimalist- you feel the road but its not quite to the extent that the Adrenaline 9 did, plus the smooth transition helps reduce the "road feel" a lot.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grandma's Marathon race report

OR yet another sub- par marathon by yours truly.

The Before
Our running club got up to Duluth on Friday afternoon after a three hour drive from the cities. It was cold when we got up there, probably in the low 50's. True to form, I forgot any warm clothes even though I let everyone I knew know that it was going to be chilly that weekend. But did I heed my own advice? of course not. Nice one. First thing we did was hit up green mill like we usually do. Once we did that we got our stuff in the room and headed to the race expo at the DECC. After I got my race packet I talked to the kid working at the Brooks booth for a good half an hour- more on that in a later post. Once we got bored of that we chilled in the room for a while until it was time for the 5k. We had one runner in that race, Mike Davis, who ran 17:18, good for 13th place- then he closed down the bars, of course. After the 5k we had our traditional pasta dinner in the hotel room and then watched Run Fatboy Run until we all fell asleep around 9:30.

The During:
We woke up around 4:45 AM, since the hotel's breakfast didnt start until 5. I donned my TC running company singlet and American flag shorts and, since it was raining pretty hard, a T- Shirt and a garbage- bag poncho. We hit the busses at 5:15 after a breakfast of toast and coffee where it was still rainy and cold. On the bus, I joked that it was mirroring my race strategy- we passed two or three busses at the start, but by the half marathon mark we got passed by all of the busses plus a couple. It wasn't raining when we got off the bus, but it was still cold. I almost didn't make it to the start line in time because I was in the bathroom, but I just did make it to the 4 hour pace group. In the chute I met two guys who were running their first marathons and ran with them up until 15 miles or so. We were making decent time, running 9:20's and I told them all abut the end of the marathon- its three turns to the finish, even though you think you should be done after two.

After 15, things really started turning dark for me. My pace started dropping and to compound problems I had to walk. That lasted until around mile 20, when we made it to Duluth proper. After that I ran the whole thing, granted not fast. I was hitting high 10:00 miles but whatever. Through it all I saw my tile goals go down the drain. I was on a sub 4:00 pace through 15, which was good since that was my primary goal. That went down the drain early, the same with 4:15. I was pissed. No way a 20 year old should run 4 hour plus marathons. After that little temper tantrum I figured I might as well finish and try again next time. So that's what I did. I started knocking down semi- good miles around lemondrop hill, and it was on the up and up from there, really. My times didn't improve, but my mood sure did. There was about a half mile stretch after mile 24 where a few college kids started chanting "USA! USA!" after my flag running shorts. Soon everyone started doing it- probably one of the coolest things I have experienced ever. I still forgot there are three turns to the finish and was still cussing like a sailor when I passed the finish line there. I saw my running club there (most of them had already finished already) and that made it a lot easier, but it still sucked.

At the end, I had a crisis of sorts. Should I run hard at the end or not? Last year I did kick at the finish, and looked like an absolute douchebag. I passed a bunch of people, but it really didn't matter. This year I decided not to because, really, there's no difference between 4:39:20 and 4:38:17, you're still slow as hell.

The After:
It was cold. I mean, the last two miles had the "hypothermia alert" banners out, but I didn't get it. I was pouring water on my head from the first water stop at mile 3 and was still pretty hot. After though, I was freezing. It took forever to get my mylar blanket- the dude ripping them out was a total noob scout. It was also a long walk to get my drop bag, which was totally the opposite way from the hotel. After a couple pics with the fam, I went up to shower and then "walked" over to Famous Dave's, after an hour wait, I ate a whole rack of ribs. After that, my family peaced out and we popped in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie (the first one) and I took a four hour nap. After that we went to Green Mill and ate an unreal amount of pizza. The wait was pretty killer too, but that was fine since the waitress was super hot. After that everyone else went to the bars. But that waitress was super hot, so I went back to green mill and got her number. Good stuff.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And then there were four

Only four days to Grandmas. I'm almost done with my taper too. I have a 6, a 6, and a 4 to do, and I'm supposed to be off on Friday although I think I might do a quick one or two just to stay fresh since after a day off I always feel super sluggish. A necessary evil I guess-- but not that necessary. After that it starts all over again for Twin Cities on October 2nd. I'm actually going to jump in to that training about a month late, after I take a week and a half or so off and then it starts again. I'm really pumped for Twin Cities though, especially because it runs right past my house.

So yesterday I was pissed. My lab prof made our lab group stay 15 minutes after lab was supposed to end because we were having trouble converting into hours and minutes and vice versa. Elementary stuff I know but we had to rush through it, which left us with a lot of mistakes. Anyways, that got me out of class at 9:45 and at my house at 10, so I was on the road by 10:15. 1st mile in 5:32. Whoops, about two and a half minutes fast. Though my new coach Luke Humphrey says that for a taper you should cut the distance, not to the intensity, so I said screw it and ran the 6 miles under 7:00 each.

Then today I met up with my running group because I haven't in a long while. Last week I was hoping to go, but that was the 101 degree day, so I held off until 11pm that day, and even still it was 87 degrees. Anyways, this Tuesday was a rainstorm, complete with lightning and thunder and the whole shabang. I opted to go with the racing flats today because of drainage- we weren't racing by any means, but I figured that was better than letting my trainers swell up with water. I opted no shirt and no socks since those would just get soaked anyways. So my 2 six miles for the week are down, leaving 2 4's left. And thank god for drawstrings on mu running shorts, or else they would have fallen down.

And true to form, the rain totally stopped in the last half mile.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Going off the deep end... in a good way

BAM! peak week has began. This training cycle I'm topping out at 94 miles. Why 94? Why the hell not? I mean, I don't really have a training plan, and haven't had one since like the third week of marathon training. Coupled with not logging my miles, this means two things: (1) I can kiss my BQ dreams good bye for this training cycle, at least; (2) I'll put down a ridiculous base of miles without really knowing it. My strategy is different this summer than two summers ago though.That time I ran doubles 6 or 7 days a week and ended up laid up with a stress fracture (albeit not a bad one) a month and a half in. This time I'm only going 6 days a week tops and am keeping a pretty standard mileage structure (off day Monday, mid- distance Tuesday through Thursday, short Friday and Sunday, and long Saturday).

Although maybe BQing isn't out of the picture totally. Last night after lab ended I went for a 7 miler and ended up knocking down the last 4 miles at around 6:20 pace without much differentiation in effort. 6:20's would put me at a 2:400 high marathon (I don't have a calculator on me) which would give me lots of time to hit the wall and (hopefully?) recover. But lets keep things in perspective- 4 miles is a far cry from 26 so its most likely not happening, but I'm just saying the speed is there somewhere.

This Saturday I'll be running. Typical. I work in Minneapolis Saturday, so I usually run home- take the long way and you can easily make it double digits rather than the normal weekday 7. This Saturday im going to try something different though. Instead of running, I'm going to walk to the train station. I'm going to walk to the train station and buy a ticket to Fridley, and then run home. Its only 14 miles (I think).

Sunday is Grand Ole Day as well. I was thinking of signing up for the 8k, which starts literally blocks from my house. Then I looked at the price- $20. Nope, not signing up for that. I have a policy that I won't pay more than $10 for a race less than 10k. I still might run it though, I'm getting pretty good at running races and not paying for them.

Also, Frank Shorter is speaking at the Grandma's Marathon expo. So pumped.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The ground beef relay and other shenanigans

Saturday I went running. Twice. That shouldn't suprise you though, its summer, thats just what you do. I went for a regular 17 miler in the morning, took a shower, went to bed again, and woke up around lunchtime. My roomate was grilling, and my other roommate- the one who freeloads all the time for food- says to me "oh, hey, want to run to Cub and get some ground beef?" So I oblige and tuck $5 in my shoe and we're off. I had a tough time getting going, and almost threw a temper tantrum because I had to wear a shirt (the whole no shirt, no shoes, no service thing), but before you know it we were going at a good clip and halfway there. The store is only 2 and a half miles away, but we were both pretty sweaty when we got there on account of the fact that it was like 90 degrees, so we walked in and got some serious stank- eye dropped on us by everyone in the store but its all good. We wondered around for a good 15 minutes before we found the meat aisle (clearly labeled MEAT AISLE) and got some ground beef and left. The freeloading roomate got 2 lbs and I got 1. Freeloader rooomate thought it would be a good idea to put them in a bag, not carry them. I won $2 off a $1 lottery ticket and bought a soda, so this bag was already getting heavy.

With that, we took off. We were going pretty quick, hit the 1 mile mark in 7:12, and I was dying. I was carrying this bag with me the whole way and it just wasn't happening. I downed the soda I had bought like nobody's buisness, and it started to rain. We had to get home quick too since we needed to get the ground beef into the fridge before it did whatever ground beef does when it gets too hot. So, we devised a plan: each of us would run 2 blocks with the bag of beef and toss it back to the other guy. So thats what we did. We almost dropped the bag a few times throwing it around, but we got home real quick. It was a good time. We were singing and making jokes about our huge meat and immature stuff like that. And then we cooked it and then we ate it. The end.

I also ran yesterday. Holy cow was that hot. I went 2 hours just because and got sunburned for the first time this year. I was also white from salt. When I came home I literally passed out in my bed. Today I'm going to go later, like 9 or 10.

Related: I ordered a pair of cascadia 6's today

Monday, May 23, 2011

Whats once was lost now is found

Hello interwebs, glad to be back. Want to hear something crazy? 4 weeks until Grandmas. And 4 months until Twin Cities. Crazyness, man. I better start like, actually training. I have been training, just not as intense as I would like. I've done next to zero speedwork, and my milage has consistently been in the 50-65 range, but I feel like I haven't peaked yet. I've taken weeks at a time totally off, which shows. I went into this training cycle hoping to qualify for Boston at Grandma's. Maybe not. Oh well, shit happens. I'm not happy with my training, and it looks like I'm headed toward another mediocre marathon. I found a new trail to run though, which is kind of exciting. It is paved, which is a bummer, but it is pretty secluded, which is pretty awesome, especially in the middle of a metro area. The trail is a good 2 miles from my house, so usually I can't go that far down it, although maybe this weekend I'll go all the way down and see where it goes.

I'd also like to do a 50 miler this summer. My friend called me last night (drunk of course) and asked me to run to Monticello. Now, I'm not going to do that on a smile and a wink, but hey, why not, I've got all summer. I think that would be pretty cool if I could get off work for a couple days.

Third, I got a PS3 and a TV for cheap and now my productivity has dropped to zero. All I want to do now is play NHL 11 and sleep. And maybe run a little too, but mostly play NHL. I'm pretty bad at it too.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Hide and Seek Champion 1998-2011

I'm alive! I'm sure you were all deathly worried about me, right? Well, I've been busy- er than usual. Its been a really horrible couple of weeks. Like last week, I pulled three all nighters and am still behind on homework. Its because last weekend was both Sigma Chi initiation and Relay For Life. Initiation was awesome as always, we initiated 9 guys, which is actually a bigger class than the University of Minnesota. Initiation was Friday night into Saturday morning and I stayed up all night for that, even though I didn't have to. All the initiations I've been at, save my own, I've missed something. So, I stayed up all night so I made sure I wouldn't miss anything. That ended at like 11:30 when we stopped cleaning up, so that was all nighter number 2. I got home, at lunch, and tried to convince myself not to take a two hour nap because I knew I wouldn't wake up. At 3 I went over to the Anderson Athletic & Recreation Complex Fieldhouse to start setting up for Relay For Life. We actually got done a little before 6, when teams were slated to set up, so I was able to grab my team's stuff and stake out a decent campsite.

Relay itself went really well, and I had a bunch of fun- after midnight. Before midnight was an absolute ****show. No one really had any idea what they were doing when, stuff didnt get printed out, and everyone had their own idea of how they wanted things ran. Somehow I got everyone on the same page and we were good. The one thing I was really worried about was the Luminaria ceremony. The glow sticks we were using to light the Luminaria bags looked to be going out every five minutes or so. We decided to pass out glow sticks before the ceremony, and have people crack them as they walked around the track. It looked really cool and it worked well. We had an acoustic performance during the luminaria ceremony (and after as well) by Matt Griswold and it was really touching. The ceremony, the speakers, all of that was really well done if I do say so myself.

I ended up losing the concessions stand key for a while, which was really stressful for a while. I figured out that I had locked it in the concessions stand itself, so all I had to do was open the door and get the key. The problem was, there are only two keys to that door- I had one and the Athletic Director had the other, and it was 1:00 in the morning. I called our public safety and they called Saint Paul police to try and get the door open, but nothing worked; they didn't have a key and couldn't pick it. I had left some ice cream out on the counter to thaw and I was cooking pizza rolls on the hot dog rollers (because there was no oven), so after I was resigned to the fact that I wasnt getting the door open until the AD answered his phone, I got pissed that I would have to clean all that ice cream up off the floor.

It was all good though, we just got breakfast to the relayers on time and we had enough food! Some highlights were watching TC and the Wild mascot play beer pong against eachother, watching the chair of the Political Science department do the velcro wall, a 6 hour long volleyball tournament, and running a 4:52 midnight mile in my boxers. Good stuff, and I can't wait until next year.

Also, a quick shout out to Dougie Fresh, emperor of the Brooks Fanatics program, who donated two free shoe certificates toward the event. You're the man!

We ended up raising $29,082 toward the American Cancer Society

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Papelbon sets, the pitch...

Why is it that everyone I have a Red Sox jersey of is awful? I'm wearing a Papelbon jersey right now, and he could very well lose his closer's job after a mediocre spring. I also have a Matsuzaka jersey. Yeah, that one worked well. $120 million for a fifth starter? well, at least he isn't Key Igawa. Remember that guy? The Yankees answer to Dice K got lit up his first game and gets sent down to single A. And Dice K's not a total waste, I mean he does have his moments, he'll throw a gem every once in a while. Funny story: I bought a Dice K jersey and a Sox cap a month ago from the Yawkey Way Store. The jersey cost me $20, and the hat cost me $30. That's what we think of our 5th starter.

So, opening day, good good. I've become a pro at watching baseball while taking notes in class. Love it. Anyways, I ran around downtown Minneapolis yesterday after my Educational Psychology class. I kind of had to scramble and hurry up and do it since it was supposed to snow last night. It ended up not snowing though, thank God. I ran in my Ravenna 2's for the first time yesterday, and it was a typical new shoes run. The first few miles were so- so. My calves were on fire, but that might have been for two reasons. One is because the Ravenna is a little less shoe than my usual trainers, and the second is that I was stopping and starting every block or so. My calves don't hurt usually when I switch from my trainers to flats and vice versa, so I think I'll just forget about it.

On the "back" portion of my out and back, I saw two homeless guys playing a recorder duet. You know, those recorders that you play in like third grade and havent touched since? awesome. Highland Park has a meet next week in Waseca that I'm not going to, since we can only bring one bus, which means I can run the 10 miler next week, the first race of my season.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Old enough to know, but too young to care

That title doesn't really have any bearing on this post, its a lyric from a song called Haight St. by Anberlin that I'm really into right now. The whole CD really- called New Surrender, check it out. Also, its 11pm when I'm starting this, so spelling mistakes will be abound. I have to get up at 6 for work and I'm running on diet snapple, but whatevs, I'll brew myself another pot of coffee.

Anyways, "Spring" break is over. Spring was in quotes because it isn't very spring- ish at all. In fact, we got a good 3'' of snow when I was at home, which kind of threw a wrench into my running plans. Not that much though. Other than running, break was all researching and Madden '10. I took the Vikings to the Super Bowl, I know you're all proud of me. Sage Rosenfels was the MVP. Place your bets for this season, I'm going to be running T- Jack and Pat White out of the wildcat a lot. Enough about that though. I changed my research topic too, now its going to be the effect of the Biological Weapons Conference on Biological Weapons proliferation. I'm reading this book called Biohazard by Ken Alibeck (not his real name), the second in Command of the Soviet Union's Biopreparat facility, a clandestine BW complex masquerading as a pharmaceutical research complex. I don't know how to describe it- eye opening? scarry? fascinating? probably all of the above.

So today I went on a legit long run, my first in a week. I was planning to go 18, but I went 14 instead. The run started out terrible. I was running on Cleveland Ave about a half mile into the run, slipped on a patch of ice, and tripped headfirst over a planter on the sidewalk. I run past that planter every freakin day and it never gives me any trouble. Why now? Anyways, I went over headfirst, but ended up landing on the side of my hip. I was wearing my running tights which somehow weren't ripped. However, my side is all scarred up and red toward my butt. I bet my iPod that I just bought is broken too since I was wearing it on that hip. Scratch that, the screen is cracked something awful, but I can still use it and it still works. So, that was the excitement, I was up and off after that. No blood, thankfully, and I was able to breeze through 14 miles relatively easily. Tomorrow's run is going to suck though, since its already getting stiff and still stings like no other.

I'm going to try to wear my new Ravenna 2's to class tomorrow to break them in and then run in them, so look for a review of those in a while.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring break, spring baseball

So this week I'm on Spring break, except not really. Not really meaning I'm busy this week. I've got to call the businesses I initially contacted for Relay For Life back in order to confirm my requests for donations I sent them. I've also got to start and finish my political science research paper on Chemical Weapons proliferation, nonproliferation, and destruction. That's good stuff, I was in the Law Library all day Thursday and part of the day Friday researching. It made me feel important. Of course, most important is I've got to lead the Red Sox to the World Series in MLB The Show 2010.

Speaking of baseball, 11 days until Red Sox opening day. I had my first fantasy baseball draft yesterday, and it went alright. As usual, I picked a lot of rookies or AAA guys that are having good springs and have a shot at making the big league club, in my opinion. Worse comes to worse, there's still some decent talent on the waiver wire, but with guys like Danny Espinosa from Washington, I think he has a pretty good shot to make the club. He's already listed as a #1 on the Nats depth chart, which makes my other 2nd baseman, Ian Kinsler, expendable. Here's my roster, although I still have some moves left to make:

C- Santana, Carlos
1B- Votto, Joey
2B- Kinsler, Ian
SS- Desmond, Ian
3B- Sandoval, Pablo
2B/SS- Theriot, Ryan
1B/3B- Pena, Carlos
OF- Hamilton, Josh
OF- Hayward, Jason
OF- Pagan, Angel
OF- Jennings, Desmond
OF- Morgan, Nyger
UTIL- Nishioka, Tsuyoshi
BN- Arenciba, J.P.
BN- Espinosa, Danny
BN- Lowrie, Jed
P- Lester, Jon
P- Hamels, Cole
P- Kuroda, Hiroki
P- Papelbon, Johnathan
P- Axford, John
P- Hellickson, Jeremy
P- Chapman, Aroldis
P- Volquez, Edinson
P- Jurrjens, Jair

So there it is. Opinions? Like I said, I'm banking on some of these young guys- especially pitchers- to come through. I know Edinson Volquez had a terrible outing last time out, he walked five guys and giving up five runs in 2 innings, so I'm hoping and praying he'll come around, although starting pitchers are a dime a dozen.

Oh yeah, and I guess I ran a little bit too. Pretty boring week though, save for Thursday night. Thursday night was the night I was cooped up all day in the Law Library until close, which was 10pm. I still hadn't run, and I was debating whether I should go, since it was all dark and cold out. I ended up running at 11 or so, and I decided to run the "bar crawl loop" an 8 mile loop around three college bars. I ran that, and it was a blast. Drunk kids everywhere, which made it really fun. I was kind of worried since part of the run was on Snelling, which isn't the nicest part of town in the world, but it turned out all good.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Once again its on

Life just doesn't slow down when I want it to- bummer. First, a quick update on my last post- I met with campus life last Thursday , and they said that we could use donated food at Relay and played it off like it was no big deal and that was just standard operating procedure. We also got cleared to get outside monetary donations, albeit a few days after we would have liked. So essentially campus gave us the big FU and then apologized. Of course, it helped that we had our American Cancer Society adviser there to sort of legitimize us and set us apart from a regular St. Thomas club.
I've also began my second Field Experience at Highland Park HS, which in sunny St. Paul. Field experience is this thing St. Thomas has teacher ed candidates do every year which is basically a little student teaching, a little observation. Right now, I'm in Mr. Z's social studies and humanities classes (he teaches three periods of social studies and two of humanities). Yesterday was my first day and I stayed the whole day plus for track practice and basically helped kids with their reading and classwork the whole time. Mr. Z's also the track coach, and he asked me to sign on and help the kids (obviously unpaid). Yesterday I took the distance group on a 7 mile loop at a pretty easy pace, it being the first day and everything; at just a hair under 8:00/mi. Then we did a half hour of lifting and a half hour of core. Good times.
So running. Running's been good to me lately. It finally got warm enough during the nights to night run- I went at 9:30 on Monday night, and it was awesome. Its getting warm enough that I can get away with not wearing tights or gloves either, which is pretty sweet. The only thing I have to worry about are the puddles left by the melting snow freezing over later in the night. Its all good though. Race this weekend, although I'll see if I wake up in time. If not, no big deal, I was planning on bandit- ing it again this year.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This post has nothing to do with running

So, yeah. If you're looking for running knowledge, move along.

I'm the co- president for the Tommies & Katies relay for life. Co- president because our school does Relay with St. Kate's, a local all girls college; I think I mentioned that already. Anyways, we were dealt a big blow on Tuesday (at least I think it was Tuesday). I met with our Campus Life rep, who is a temp filling in for our normal campus life rep who is out on maternity leave. I met with our old campus life rep twice before she left, and she had us convinced we were green lighted for Relay and everything was on the straight and narrow. However, when I met with this new woman on Tuesday, she said that we really needed to get our s*** together.

Campus passe this new purchasing policy stating that all food used at St. Thomas events must be purchased through "preferred" vendors (in quotes because no one actually prefers them). Anyways, this new person says we must purchase all the food used at relay through campus catering, which is another caveat of the purchasing policy. I can, and did, tell them that "unfortunately, that's not happening" in a few more words in a meeting with the director of campus life on Friday. She said she would try hard to lobby for an exception, but I'm 95% sure thats going to come back in the negative, and that's fine, because I don't think that will pertain to our event, and here's why: (1) Its called the purchasing policy for a reason. Relay is a donation- driven event, so purchasing anything doesn't make sense since our (notice how I said our, not my) operation runs on a song and a lark. If we purchase anything, it will most likely be out of my pocket or from donation money, and I'll go so far as to put my educational career on the line before the latter happens. Since we're not purchasing anything, the policy should not apply to us, its that simple

(2) Relay For Life isn't a St. Thomas event. Its an American Cancer Society event. As far as I'm concerned, St. Thomas isn't even responsible for planning it. Since we work in conjunction with St. Kate's, you could just take us out of the equation, and then where would we be? Well, Relay would be an outside event being held at St. Thomas, making it not subject to the purchasing policy. It already is, technically, since its an ACS event, but just for clarity's sake. (3) really? Is St. Thomas catering really going to provide enough food for 500 people for 12 hours, and for free? Lets be honest, they won't, and there are businesses willing to do it.

Another issue is monetary and material (non- food) donations. For some reason, St. Thomas wants us to run the donations we're planning to get by them before we get them. There are plenty of problems with that too, not the least of which is that we're not really in a position to ask for specific things from specific companies. So, I think I'm just going to hand campus a big ass document of every business imaginable and every item imaginable. I don't think I'll actually do that, but I think you see where I'm going with that. The reason they gave me was for tax reasons. Obviously, businesses who donate want their donations to be tax deductible. However, since St. Thomas never sees the donations, I have no idea why they could oppose donations on those grounds.

As usual, when I met with campus life on Friday, they threatened to pull our funding if we didn't follow the policies. The meeting was eerily similar to a meeting I had with the same person about a year ago about the future of Sigma Chi at St. Thomas (as far as threats go). I've been through this song and dance before.

In case you're interested, here's the purchasing policy
And here's the link to our Relay site