Saturday, April 24, 2010

A couple of photos

Just to prove that the following post actually did happen...


First of all, I think we overuse the word “marathon.” I’ve been on marathon dates (high school dances), on marathon rides (the white rim trail), and to marathon meetings (sigma chi meetings). None of them even come close in the amount of pain/joy/fun/exhaustion/emotion/accomplishment of training for and running an actual marathon.

The goal was to finish in 3:30:00 or faster.

The starting line was extremely crowded because it consisted of all the participants from the marathon and the half-marathon. I’m not sure how many people ran the half (a little over a thousand ran the full), but it seemed like twice as many at least. I started towards the back so I could spend the first several miles passing people instead of getting passed. This was sort of a good idea, I think, although I’m not sure that the psychological benefits outweighed the hassle of weaving through all the slowpokes. The first three miles were full of chatter; there was energy and it was fun. Somewhere around sugarhouse park the noise stopped and the only sounds were people breathing and feet on the pavement. It kind of felt like being in a stampede. Coming out of the park I was a little behind my pace, so I sped up to catch my goal. At this point I was running around 7:45 miles, which was a little faster than I had trained for.

At this pace I was passing most people around me pretty quickly. I went to pass some dude with a blue long-sleeved shirt tied around his waste when he sped up to stay with me. I sized him up—a little smaller than me, running with headphones, using a Garmin, looked like a BYU guy—I had to beat him. Or at least not let him get ahead of me. My pace increased to closer to 7:30 (I was measuring my time by the mile markers and my watch). This stranger that I wanted to punch in the face kept with me all the way until mile 13 at which point he turned on the afterburners and left me behind. Five miles earlier this would have made me crazy, but at this point I was happy to let him take a 7:15 pace on his own. Just after mile 13 came the ugliest part of the race (as far a scenery goes)—Van Winkle for a couple of miles. Somewhere after that dude sped up I slowed my pace back down to between 7:45 and 8:00—set to finish just under my goal.

A few miles later I was surprised to see the BYU kid. As I passed him he gave me the runner’s nod. Boom. It was about this same time that I saw a spectator sporting a shirt that said “BYU, d-unit.” I was laughing for a couple of miles about that. I wanted to ask him what “d” usually stands for in his neck of the woods but decided to just keep running.

When I reached mile 20 I was tired of 500 East (the race goes along 500 East from 4500 South to 1300 South—the second ugliest part of the course). At this point I realized in my head that I was running farther than I had ever gone before. I don’t know if this psyched me out or what, but somewhere between mile 21 and 22, things changed. Maybe I hadn’t drunk enough water or maybe the cold I had all week was finally catching up to me, but I hit the metaphorical wall. My legs cramped up and everything started to hurt. My pace slowed down drastically. My goal changed from finish under 3:30:00 to finish.

When I came into Liberty park, Grace and my parents were there waiting for me. As soon as Gracie saw me she starting shouting and cheering. Now, I’m not a very emotional person. I don’t remember when the last time was I cried (I think it was when I got home from my mission five years ago), but at this point I came as close to bursting into tears as I have in a long time. It was weird. Gracie said, “dude, I’m running with you for the last three miles.” More emotion. A couple of tears. All I can do to keep from sobbing. So bizarre. Fortunately, nobody saw. Unfortunately, I’m writing about it on my blog so everyone will know anyway.

The worst part of the whole race was in the last mile. From Liberty Park the course goes down to State Street and heads up to South Temple. I never noticed how steep State is from 2nd South to South Temple. It was really nice of the race planners to include it in mile 26. Anyway, I crossed the finish line at The Gateway with a final time of 3:42:49. Then, emotional but not crying, I swore to myself I would never do another one of these things again. Not because I was short of my goal, but because of the insane amount of pain I had undergone in just the last four miles.

Endorphins are crazy things. Now, one week later, I am already looking into which I can sign up for, the Logan or Utah Valley Marathon. Mainly because I keep thinking about how it would be if I had finished as fast as I started. I want to make that 3:30:00 goal so bad, I might just do it. We’ll see.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Bowling is a humiliating activity for me. It’s humiliating because it’s such a dumb concept (hit the pins with the ball) that can be so difficult. My issues lie in the fact that I think I could score higher by throwing a baseball or a football at the pins than I do with my bowling ball. Yes, I own a bowling ball. I inherited it from my brother who inherited it from his wife’s grandfather. It’s name is Rich. It’s embarrassing to role up to the alley with Rich in a pleather carrying case and then bowl under 100. But to me it’s better than using the nasty old balls they provide for everyone to share.

On the flip side, I’d prefer to be unusually bad than ridiculously good at it. I have friends who actually use the hand dryer and have two differently weighted bowling balls—one for the first attempt and one for the second. They usually score somewhere around 200—this is akin to riding a unicycle across campus between classes. I don’t mind losing to these people.

I’d like to get to a point in life where I can bowl between 100 and 150 every time. Good enough to suggest that I’m slightly coordinated but not so good that I would have to include bowling in a list of pastimes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Marathon week: the plan

Much to my dismay, I woke up with a cold Monday. The timing is bad, but it could be worse. I outlined a plan for my body that should make it so I can run Saturday.

Monday: Lots of sinus pressure and a stuffy nose, a lack of energy, and some aches.

Tuesday: A slightly runny nose. More stuffy than runny. Occasional chills. Sore throat.

Wednesday: Start runny nose. Slightly sore throat. Not able to “pop” ears all day. Run three miles in the evening.

Thursday: Less stuffy, not able to taste anything, but generally feeling good. Sweetness.

Friday: Feel great. Taste buds are back. Breathing clear. No aches or tiredness. Run two miles and wish you could do another 24.2.

Saturday: Well rested, well fed, and healthy. Ready to kill the marathon.

I’m stoked for this, partly to get it over with and partly for the experience itself. It will be fun next week to go out for a run without planning beforehand how far and fast I need to go. Look here for a run down of the whole thing sometime this weekend.

the "blogger brawl"

Right now on they are doing a blogging contest for “single mormons” all about dating. The reason I know about it is because a friend of mine is participating in the competition (vote for M’kynzi). I guess the winner gets a full time “blogging” position with the Mormon times (I think it would be difficult to dedicate an entire blog to just dating). Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been following the competition—I guess I got hooked while trying to help my friend win—and I’ve come to some conclusions:

1. Most of these people are highly dramatic. They are hypersensitive and emotional. This may just be them trying to be funny, but it kind of feels like a bunch of Dave Barry imitators having a party. I used to think Dave Barry was funny too—when I was 12. To illustrate my point, I’ve included some excerpts (hey Rebekah, is this copyright infringement?):

“And who can forget the occasional visit back home where some random ward member asks the following three questions: 1) ‘How is school?’ 2) ‘What do you plan to do with that?’ and 3) ‘Are you dating anyone?’

“In anticipation of this much-dreaded conversation during my most recent visit home, I strongly considered creating a fake relationship to avoid all the other questions that would follow after replying that I was single. It just seemed easier to make a fake relationship.”

Dude, is it really that bad? Do you really fear the “much-dreaded” conversation so much that you want to lie to get out of it? If you don’t make such a big deal out of it, it won’t be such a big deal.

2. Many of them are freaking out about stereotypes that surround mormon singles which only serves to perpetuate them.

“Well, I just turned 27 this past month, which in Utah County years (kind of like dog years), is about 56. When people ask me how old I am, I'm actually obligated while here in Utah to tell them my age in Utah County years. I say I'm 54 though (I feel like I can shave off a couple of years because of my baby face).”

Bro, don’t say stuff like that and it will no longer be true.

3. Some of them are just trying too hard:

“I'm at a severe disadvantage when it comes to dating: I can't read peoples' minds. I'm convinced that lots of people can read minds, and everyone who is able to do so has already succeeded at getting married. Based on my experiences, I'll be fighting odds right up until the day I develop this skill. It's just too hard to pick up the signals.

“An old roommate of mine once told me, ‘When a guy likes a girl, he takes the seat right next to her. When a girl likes a guy, she sits one seat over and two rows back from him.’ That's the first problem. People use different tactics to express interest in each other. What does a touch on the elbow mean? What about a fist-bump?”

That’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard. Sit where you want, say hi how you want, and stop reading into every little detail. And quit looking at being single as “failure to get married.”

Needless to say, I’m no longer hooked on the competition; I’m bored with it. I’ll vote for my friend (one of the few competitors who isn’t complaining or being dramatic) but I can’t stand to read this stuff anymore. If this represents the way most single mormon people are then we need to mellow off a little (free candy for anyone who can tell me the movie reference there).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Yesterday I moved out of my parents house. Even though it is a temporary move, I already feel more grown-up. I went grocery shopping and, for the first time ever, bought generic brand stuff because it was cheaper. It's very strange.

Before moving out, I wanted to figure out the furniture situation so I made a diagram and drove to Ikea. I have to admit that before making this trip I was a bit of a furniture snob, which is weird because I didn't actually own any furniture. I have always had the impression that Ikea is the WalMart of the furniture world and, consequently, not worthy of my business. However, after buying and assembling my first stuff from Ikea I have to admit that I'm a fan. It reminds me of the Dan Aykroyd skit from SNL years ago for Mel's Char Palace.

Although I was afraid that the room would be much smaller in reality than it was on paper, it turned out fine. Here is the diagram and the finished product: