We had the last practice of our XC season today. A 30 minutes medium paced run with 8 X 15 second surges. Good times.

I’m just glad I made it all the way through the season. I clearly didn’t think I was going to make it at the beginning. But like I thought, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was a lot of fun.

At the same time, I’m major looking forward to not having practice every afternoon. And to being able to exercise at my own pace [namely, not for extremely long periods of time / short periods of intense effort].

I have to say though, my words from two months ago still ring true:

Walking never looked so good as it does at the end of an XC season.

Here’s to walkin’!

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This is going to be one of the priceless entries where I start off without a topic and then just kind of go with it.

Hey, one already came to mind: dealing with life. Such a broad topic. One that doesn’t need any more coverage. But I’ve got 20 minutes or so to burn, and I don’t feel like reading any more today. Socializing comes later. For now, let’s write.

I just went through the entire workout plan for this years cross country season, and let me say, it killed me. Well, crushed me would be the more appropriate term for what I felt. As in totally made me feel so not like doing this season. So many runs. So many interval runs. So many 90 minute runs. So many runs I don’t feel like doing. Walking never looked so good as it does at the end of an XC season.

All that said, I know the season is more than manageable. I mean, I made it halfway through last year [and then I screwed up my back… what a great time!]. And that was with me in worse shape than I’m in now. The difference then was… I had people that ran back with me. This year, it’s the guys… and Dave. And I’m not even within earshot of them for the majority of the longer runs. It gets awful lonely out there. And awful demotivating.

But one thing I realize about all of this, and the one real takeaway, applicable to life lesson, is that you can’t focus on everything at once. If you do, well, yeah, it’s going to seem unbearable. Because, well, yeah, it is unbearable. Doing that many runs all in one day would kill a mere mortal [and when it comes to running, I’m much less than a mere mortal]. But you don’t have to do them all at once. Just one run a day. For a total of maybe 2 hours max, usually something more like one. And then you’re done. And you have 92% of the rest of the day to spend on not running. Well, shit son, that’s a lot of time to spend not running. Not bad at all.

Yeah, very cliché, but take life as it comes. One moment at a time. One run at a time. And as a corollary to that, realize that every day won’t be like today. Tomorrow you’ll be better [or worse] than you are right now. And so on, to the last day of your life. Existence isn’t static. It’s anything but.

Well, that was quite the lame little pep talk. But it made the knot in my stomach go away, so I guess it served it’s purpose.

Time to do other things in life other than ruminate over the drama my “I” creates.

Like socialize.

Namaste.

Well, not really. But I felt the need to post something about my progress here during pre-season.

Look forward to more intellectual heavy lifting after this week. When there’s actually blood to go to my brain instead of to my heart, legs, and lungs. Those three damn organ systems take up so much energy!

There are only two more days left in preseason. And they’re probably the easiest of the the entire week. But there’s the tiny little difficulty of being completely emotionally, physically, and mentally spent. So that 30 minute run even gets to you. Even after that 90 minute run.

But yeah, I’ve learned from this camp how mentally week I am. Again. Not that big a surprise. I like things that are big and shiny. And easy. Luckily for me this far, that’s been the world of school. Otherwise, well, fuck, I don’t even know. But put me out on a XC course with 15 other guys and have me run way behind them, and I realize real quick how much of a physical wimp I am. I can’t keep up with the slowest guy. Forget the fastest. He’s lapping me.

But none of that matters. Just got to ‘do your best.’ And I have. Better than last year. But still not good. But I imagine doing something I’m not superlative at is probably good for my character. And as long as I don’t die [probably from some sort of horrible foot infection from the giant area of raw skin on the inside of my foot], I’ll leave camp stronger. With good memories. Nothing to complain about there.

Yeah, the thoughts of quitting fill my mind. Especially when I consider my litmus test for activities: do I enjoy this as much as reading. Lame, sure, but that’s probably how I judge just about everything in my life. Because one of my top all time favorite activities is just laying down with a good book and forgetting anything about my biological existence [at the moment, Ms. Rand is doing an excellent job of that with her Atlas Shrugged]. But even that gets old at times. And then I guess I just have to get out there and run.

Though that brings up another point. One that I thought about on a long run because, well, there was really nothing else to think about. Namely, that I don’t have any competitive drive at all. And I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, I love achieving. But not against other people, per say. If I do something, I do it for myself and myself alone, and not to prove it to someone else. And yet cross country seems so much more about beating the guy ahead of you. But not really. I think I’m just making up excuses for why I’m not as hardcore about running as other people. There’s nothing wrong with not being hardcore about running. Different strokes for different folks. Athletic competition isn’t for me. I’d rather go on a nice walk.

I don’t see any nice walks in my future though. Not with the way my legs and feet are treating me.

Just two more days. And then school will seem like such a relief.

I hope everyone’s move back to college goes well.

And now I should wind down for sleep.

But the sooner I fall asleep, the sooner tomorrow morning comes. Oh, the trade-offs of preseason.

Namaste.

Well, sophomore year has begun in earnest. Well, not in earnest. But in a meek sort of sheepish start.

I moved in today. I really love the new dorm. And the new room. And just about everything about my current living arrangement. I don’t care that some people call this building the ‘nursing home.’ I’m even becoming oblivious to the fact that it’s called ‘New Hall.’ I just really like the Spartan-esque setup. And the really high ceilings. And the fact that I can design my living space from the ground up. I really love designing my living space from the ground up. So much better than moving into some half-filled room.

And I love this chair. The top moves back. It’s like leaning back in your chair, but without the chance of falling. Bitch, I’ll keep all four feet on the ground and lean back!

Cross Country preseason starts tomorrow. Aw yeah, with a 5K time trial. I think I’ll pull of something in the 24 to 25 minute 5K range. Not really that great. But hey, I haven’t been running as much as maybe I should have. I learned the hard way, for sure this time, that my legs don’t especially appreciate anything harder than a trail. Concrete? Forget about it!

This week will absolutely fly by. I know that for a fact. And then school begins for real. And soon enough, it’ll be time for Fall Break. This shit it crazy.

The only thing I need right now it something to read. I kind of neglected to bring any reading material, forgetting how much free time there is during preseason. But luckily the library will amend that in a shockingly quick fashion. And until then, I’ll either write or, well, write.

I have a good feeling about this year in my gut. That doesn’t happen much. But I’m liking it.

Oh, and I love not being a freshman. Yay for no awkwardness!

Namaste.

Time for that annual post at the end of the summer. I just read over the one from last year to get some inspiration. Man, I was so perky and ready to take on the world. Isn’t that just adorable?

But now it’s time to face, well, now. This year. This moment. And gee golly, it should be about 20X easier than last year. I know people. I have been running [enough]. Plus I have all the experiences accrued between then and now at my disposal. In other words, I’m ready for some kick ass.

Funny, last year right before I left for school I saw Accepted [I can’t for the damnedest remember with who though. I think it might have been with K. Phil, but at the moment my company is escaping me.]. That capped off my summer with expectations about college: attending crazy parties, constantly getting laid, and having the most amazing time of my life. Yeah, a lot of that stuff didn’t happen. And if it did, I wasn’t there for it. But not because I ‘missed out,’ but because I had other things to do.

This summer was capped off by Superbad. Soooo much more of an appropriate movie for getting into the college mindset. I mean, Superbad is real life, but in technicolor and on the big screen. It shows you that life isn’t a constant string of awesome, but a lot of bad mixed with a little good and all stirred together to make reality. And there’s nothing wrong with any of it. If you have an addiction to drawing penises, well, more power to you. If you pass up on getting a BJ from a really hot girl that digs you, that’s cool too. Life isn’t an all or nothing ordeal. Take it as it comes, and most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously.

I would try and come up with some overarching motto for this year, but I know I’d blow it before I even left home tomorrow. And you know, that’s cool. Because life is just one lurching progression after another after another.

Here’s to a lurching, awkward, memorable year.

And just for old times sake, huzzah!

Start Where You Are

March 24, 2007

I’m trying to live more and more by the axiom of ‘start where you are.’ I guess this comes as a direct result of my earlier post on the “I could totally be great at that” effect. The antidote to that sort of thinking is to start where you are. Add to that some humility… [more]

It’s been a day since my first cross country race. Amazing how time flys by.

Anyway, my first race of the year (and my career) was Saturday, September 2nd. I got to Delaware Valley College (which looks COMPLETELY different in the summer, by the way) around 9:30 and then sat around for a long while. I ate a turkey sandwich (I know… and later that day I ate a tuna sandwich… I’m just falling apart…), talked to some of my teammates, and generally was dreading the race.

Why? you ask. I don’t know if anyone remembers the weather from Saturday, but it was wet, cold, and windy. The ground was literally mush. You couldn’t find sure footing on about 30% of the five mile course. And wearing really short shorts and a singlet in rain and wind doesn’t amount to much clothing.

But then the run started (around 11:30). The amazing thing is, once the run started, nothing else really mattered. I mean, it was still cold and windy out, and the ground was still like quick sand, but when I chugged along, everything just fell to the wayside. I started way behind everyone else, though I did have a few (maybe three or four) people behind me. Everyone else took off.

I could describe in vivid detail the race. But that could get boring, for you and for me. The best part comes in the end, anyway. After the 3 mile mark, I had no idea how much longer I needed to run. Del Val’s course doesn’t have very clear mile markers. So, I ran for the next two miles and when I came to the last 200m or so, I saw my team cheering me on. I had a lot of energy left in me (I ended up running a 47 minute 8k, nothing all that impressive at all), so I kicked it into high gear for the final stretch. Unfortunately, I didn’t know where to find the final stretch, so I ended up turning around about three or four times before I found the finish area. Unfortunately, just before I went down the straigh-away, I slipped and fell into the mud. No lie. About 30 seconds left of me running, and in that final 30 seconds I manage to slip and fall, covering my entire right side in mud.

Then, I finally crossed the finish marker, walked back to my team, and relaxed. The best finish ever! as I put it.

I figure next time I’ll try to run closer to a 40 minute 8k. And I won’t slip and fall at the end. Though, that part really makes the race memorable. I’ll always remember my first XC race as the one with my right side covered in mud.

I definitely enjoyed the race. Despite the mud and rain and cold. Only five more to go this season. Wow, that’s amazing.

Hope you enjoyed my story.

Namaste.

XC Camp is Over = Yay!!

August 26, 2006

Well, I’m still here to talk about the end of XC camp, so I must be alive. Or maybe I’m undead. I don’t know which.

Anyway you cut it, cross country camp was (literally) kick ass. I felt my ass kicked several times. But I kept getting back on (except for that one time I tried to quit, but apparently [fortuitously] that e-mail got lost in the aether of cyberspace). And I’m so glad I did. I’m in better shape today than I’ve probably been since 10th grade when I ran constantly. Amazing how much a lot of work in one week can do. I mean, I ran for 75 minutes today. I’ve never done that before. Never. Admittedly, I was running REALLY slow, but still, it felt so awesome.

Now I remember how much fun running can be. You just have to be in shape for it to work out. Unfortunately, the out of shape part is incredibly unfun. So, definitely staying in shape for the next four years, especially if I stay with XC. No need to experience this week in the same way again. And if there’s one thing I can do, it’s keep with a well ingrained habit.

Hehehe, and I now can say I’m an “athlete.” Yeah buddy. I even have a “Ursinus Cross Country” t-shirt. How insane is that? Dave Darmon, an athlete. A new label to add to my wall of labels. It feel liberating someone.

I’ll keep you updated on how XC goes through this year. Not that you’ll want me to. But I will anyway. :)

I’ll post more in the next two days. I have most of today off (other than a dinner at 7 and a semiformal at 8:30) and all of tomorrow off (unless I decide to go to a Catholic Mass, which, oh yeah, I’m not Catholic anymore!).

I hope everyone’s enjoying college. Almost everyone’s gone now. Chi’s empty of the best class ever. I hope it doesn’t collapse into some sort of black hole.

Peace.