Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 Vancouver, B.C. Marathon Why I Run

As most of you already know, I will be running in the Vancouver, B.C. Marathon on Sunday, May 1. I've been training for almost 11 weeks, and it's been quite the adventure. I never thought I would get to this point in my physical ability. I ran (permanent junior varsity) cross country during my junior and senior years of high school, and I think the best time I ever managed for a 5k was in the ballpark of just under 29 minutes. I'm now able to do a 5k around 22 and a half minutes. That's a running average around 7:20 per mile.

I've been trying to write this eloquent post about how I'm training for my first marathon, and all the hard work it's entailed, and blah, blah, blah. As you can see, it got me nowhere. I'm going to write from the heart and explain why I run.

I wanted to prove to myself, and anyone else who ever doubted any of my abilities, that I am capable of accomplishing so much. Need some perspective?

Here is me in the spring of 2004:

And here is me in the fall of 2010:

At the end of my sophomore year of high school I decided that I needed to make more friends. The ones that I kept over from eighth grade weren't enough. People have to grow, right? So, I decided to join our school's cross country running team, despite the fact that I didn't have an ounce of athletic ability/competitiveness inside my entire body. If I couldn't make any impact on our (completely irrelevant) team score--I still have no idea how they calculated that damn thing--then I was going to have fun and make our grueling practices easier to get through. As I recall, there was maybe one race in which I did not come in last place, or as we called it: DFL (Dead Fucking Last). I was just the fun, fat kid.

Fast forward to college. (See photo above). Enough said, and I'm sparing you four years worth of whiny bullshit. You're welcome. Fast forward to post-college. I started going to the gym around December 2007, and I started out by using the elliptical. How they call this a piece of exercise equipment is beyond me; I could use it non-stop for 24 hours and not break a sweat. Many months later I took the leap and started going to spin class on a regular basis. If you want to get in shape, GO TO SPIN CLASS! This is when I gradually dropped the majority of my excess weight. Fast forward some more. I decided that I wanted to give running a try again, seeing as how I was in a much better physical state to do so. Naturally, whenever one starts a new physical activity, especially running, it's going to hurt and be uncomfortable. I think that's why most people quit and never try again. You have to push through the pain, annoyance, discomfort, and stick with it!

That's what I did. I stuck with it. I started my mileage count small. Two miles here, three miles there. Then I gradually got more accustomed to it and I pushed myself further. I've gone from running three miles at a moderately slow pace to running 12 miles at a rather fast pace. Note: my training schedule has me running 16 miles this Sunday, and 20 miles two weeks later.

The week of Thanksgiving 2010 I wrestled with the thought of doing something serious with my new found passion: I decided that I wanted to run a marathon. Unfortunately, the Seattle Marathon was in a few days, and that was not an option. No one just throws themselves into a marathon. This shit is real. Trust me.

Well, Seattle 2010 wasn't an option, so I agreed on Seattle 2011. The downside is that I would have to wait an entire year before I could get the opportunity to run in the race. So, I did a little research and I found out that Vancouver, B.C.--a few hours drive from here--was having its marathon on May 1. And thus, I decided on making that my first marathon experience. I couldn't stop talking about it with everyone around me. I was too excited! However, I didn't want to be all talk and then somehow miss out on the opportunity; so I registered for the race immediately with the $130 that I did not have to spare at that moment. No refunds = there's no turning back. Well, I guess I could turn back, but I might as well throw all that money down the toilet.

And now we are caught up to the present moment. I'm in great shape--I'd still like to drop some more weight, but that's neither here nor there right now--and I have complete confidence that not only will I finish this race, but I will do so in under four hours. To be frank, my absolute goal is to finish under three and a half hours. As of right now, I am on track to do so. It's like a drug addict who needs his fix. I need to run long distances, and I need to do it often. I've become so enraptured by long distance running that I'm already planning my next two marathons: Seattle 2011 and San Francisco 2012.

Lastly, as I've made these enormous changes in my life over the course of several years, I've gone through noticeable phases; a new one will begin the moment after I cross that finish line on May 1, and I am preparing something to symbolize that moment. (Hint: the answer is in the colors.) Stay tuned.

New Viper Creek Club Music Video for "Soft Spots in the Dark"

I really liked their last video. They just released this video, which they filmed at locations around Capitol Hill: Sonic Boom Records and Victrola Coffee on 15th. Enjoy!

Wingnut on the Right Tries to Re-Write the U.S. Constitution

First we have U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-IA) making the bold assertion that the founding fathers "...worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States." And that's why it took 78 years from the time the Constitution was signed to the official abolition of slavery with the enactment of the 13th amendment.

Now we have Bryan Fischer, the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the American Family Association (AFA) stating
"Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment."
Interesting point. Except, I believe there's an easy rebuttal to that argument:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
That's the first amendment to the Constitution. The emphasis is referred to as the "establishment clause" and it's a pretty big fuckin' deal. But that doesn't matter, right? Of course not. Remember, if you're a Christian, you have a right to be one; if you're a Muslim, it's a tentative privilege, revocable at any time by people that hate and fear you (without significant reason).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Years Resolutions: The Twelve Month Model (Cont.)

2011 has been a great year thus far! Just to recap, I've been committing to New Years Resolution by the month. January was perfect oral hygiene month, which I executed with absolute perfection! February was no coffee or Grindr month. Again, I made it through the month without so much as having a single taste of coffee. Although, I did have some tea, which is neither here nor there. And finally, I must admit that I broke my resolution with regards to my ban on Grindr within the last four hours of the month. Still, I think it was an overall success.

March is my fiscal responsibility month, and it's been going pretty well. Granted, I did just shell out $9 for Eggs Benedict at Linda's, but it was a nice day, and I was hungry. Sue me. Basically, I'm just keeping track of everything on which I spend money, and limiting myself to mostly grocery store purchased items. I do allow myself some luxuries here and there, but not nearly as many as I was previously letting myself enjoy. I've since paid down more of my debt and made my paychecks last longer than a few days. This will surely need to continue for the rest of the year; March isn't the only "fiscally responsible" month of 2011. A little perseverance appears to go a long way.

As for April, I've decided that I need to work on being more engaging and outgoing. The time for excusing myself from socializing and meeting new people is over. You want to hang out? I'm there. You're having a party? I'm there. You want to go to The Cuff? I'm there. April will be your opportunity to push my ridiculously held limits and boundaries. You should take advantage of it...for both us!