Thursday, June 30, 2011

What the French Toast?

Seriously, what the french toast?! I leave the country for 5 months and now all of a sudden the cross country team has ballooned to the size of a K-12 school! Why is Justin Bieber running? Why are we running on Alaskan time? How the f### are Carl and Pat still captains?

I quit.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Friends With Benefits

I was listening to the radio the other day on my daily commute to Costco when I heard an advertisement for the upcoming movie, "Friends with Benefits. I caught the tail-end of the ad, but the gist of it was that sometimes friends can be more than just friends. They can be friends with benefits. I assume "benefits" refers to some sort of intangible set of qualities that puts that friend a head above the rest. The one friend that comes to mind for me is Annelise.

Annelise and I are "friends with benefits" because she and I have the benefit of having a friendship without the work. From an outsider's perspective, Annelise and I probably don't look like friends because we don't have to behave like friends without benefits.

For example, most friends post on each other's walls for their birthdays. Annelise and I are such good friends that we have the benefit of skipping that exchange of internet pablum.

The worst part of having a serious friendship is having extensive time commitments together. One minute it's just a few hours longer than normal, and then all of a sudden your weekends, holidays and vacations are sucked up into the friend vacuum. Annelise and I made a deal up front that we would only hang out as friends when we wanted to, which as it turns out, was a surprisingly little amount of time.

Some friends talk on a daily basis and ask questions like, "How was your day?" or "Why can't you keep your hands off my boyfriend, b****? Annelise and I don't even bother acknowledging one another. We mainly communicate through a series of blinking, arm scratching, and coughs.

Ever since Adam and Eve, friendships have been weighed down by hours of boring conversation and endless commitments. That's why friends with benefits is so much better. It's like choosing store bought cookies over homemade; no work, no worries, no sweat.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Road Race to End All Road Races

I participated in the 2011 Whitefish Lake Run and it will unfortunately be my last. Not because my parents are moving to Albuquerque, not because I'll will be done with college running by next spring, but because it was the most unprofessional road race I've ever attended. I came into the race physically bruised and I left the race emotionally broken....

After some gibbosity in my right knee in the week leading up to the race, I was up in the air on my decision to race the night before. I talked in circles with G-unit (my Mom) and she bowed out after two "why don't you's" in. I lined up at the starting line alongside a myriad of road race regulars; there were the "happy and matching t-shirt families", washed-up high school athletes, ultra-marathoners who were using the 5k as their speed workout, and even the Vibram Five Finger "my-form-is-better-than-yours" snobs.

I amassed a considerable lead on 2nd place runner after five minutes. The race was well run up to that point. And showed its true colors.

The water station was a good three feet off the main road, to the point where runners would have to stop to get a cup of water. There were no gorgeous cheerleaders lining the sidewalks and chanting my name. There were arrows sprayed on the roads to guide the runners, but some critical intersections were not stationed by volunteers and so I did not run on the assigned 5k route.

I ran where I thought the route was; no one told me differently and the reality of my perception became clear when I crossed the not-typically-fast race in 14:22.

I wish I could tell you all that I ran a 14:22 that day, but it would be a lie, so I confessed my error and the race official mumbled something about disqualifying my time. My time. I understood this to be a mea culpa of sorts and that I would still be awarded 1st place. When the results were announced, however, I was not mentioned. It was if I had never raced at all.

And so I bid good day to the incompetent staff of the 2011 Whitefish Lake Run. May you find more than 3 volunteers for 2012.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Montana M.I.L.Fs

With summer finally arriving here in northwest Montana, there are more opportunities to mingle with tourists and plenty of members of the community I don't normally see. I have seen many M.I.L.Fs (Moms I'd like to Friend) around the Flathead Valley. They are at restaurants, grocery stores, and even on main street. I was chatting with one in Woodland Park the other day and she liked talking with someone her son's age because they offered a fresh perspective on life. I've gotten a chance to go on several lunch "dates" with this one mom, and let me tell you, she is just a delight to spend an afternoon with. Some of my friends ask me, "Seth, why are you hanging out with that cougar M.I.L.F?" (I believe a "cougar" is a female Bobcat fan) I tell them that summers in Montana is an excellent way to meet people that are a little bit older and yet still being just "one of the gals" at my Saturday evening hangout at DQ (Dairy Queen).


Friday, June 10, 2011

Apologies and Cloud Running

My friend Dan Jackson pointed out that my "tone" in my last blog may have come across to some as offensive. I am a sarcastic person at heart and it never seems to translate well online. Best wishes to his "blog".

Now on to Cloud Running.

Ever wish you could run in the clouds? Or hang out in the origin of a rainstorm? Now you can with the help of our friends, the Mountains. It all began with a run on 544. On a Tuesday.

For those of you not "in the know", 544 is one of the most divine running trails you can run on. It's nestled below the Jewel Basin and rises gradually in a dense canopy past roaring creeks. The way back is not knee-hurting-steepness, but is instead perfect for cruising speed. The kind of speed most people experience the coveted "runner's high".

Anyway, I was bounding up 544 and like any typical June day in MT, it was raining. Heavily. There was also a noticeable fog filling the spaces between trees. But it wasn't particularly foggy when I drove up to the trailhead. Then I realized something idiotically simple: I was running in the clouds. I was in the low-lying clouds that hugged the Swan Range each morning. This is as close as humans can get to cloud running. In some ways using the mountains is a bit of a cheat, but so is flying in airplanes, skydiving, and any other manufactured forms of flying. Not only was I running in the clouds, but the heavy raindrops were forming right over my head. If Mother Nature were using a shower-head to wash the earth, I was right near the top of the spout. It may sound like hippy existentialism. You might be saying, "Yeah, so what?" But it's moments like these that make me thankful to be a runner. So go forth and experience your own form of runner's high.

You just might end up in the clouds.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Lessons, Adventures, and the Wannabes that Follow

A lot of people think they can wake up one day and create a blog. These people have seen amazing blogs and think that they too have important life lessons to dish out. Well folks, I hate to break it to you, but it's not that easy. A blog is more than words on a webpage. It's more than slinging a few jokes and bouncing ideas off a fan-base. It takes time, dedication, and most importantly, well-put-together thoughts (also known as Sethoughts). I wish all the best to my fellow wannabes, but we all know they'll probably end up writing increasingly desperate blogs for attention (DBFA). That is what happens when amateurs think they can hit it big on the world wide web (WWW). Their recklessness leads them to a path of self-destruction and terrible, hacky puns.

On a quick side tangent I would like to say a few words about the word "literally".

There are those out there, I will not name names, who use "literally" too much. It becomes a crutch in their lexicon, a cortisone shot for their pain , or a stick of butter in their baking. In other words, there is a time and place to utilize objects, but not at every opportunity. "Literally" needs to be used in moderation because it loses meaning with each pause-filling dump in conversation. Let's take a look at this example conversation I overheard at the local deli:

Person A: I heard you got slammed at the car wash yesterday.

Person B: We were LITERALLY washing cars for four hours straight. I mean it was nonstop. There had been a few busy days last week, but we LITERALLY ran out of soap in the first hour.
Person A: Wow

Person B: I LITERALLY went insane.

Even though Person B used literally in the correct context the first two times, it was still one time too many because no one should use literally in back to back sentences. Once literally was used a third time, it was used unrealistically and well past the point of meaning.

Save those literallys. A little goes a long ways. Do you know how AXE Body Spray became a disgusting fragrance in locker rooms across the country? One tool thought to himself, "When I use this deodorant, it makes me smell good. I should use half a can after every shower and I'll smell that much better!" This is simply not true and because of a select few individuals, AXE has gotten a bad rap and no longer functions as deodorant.

On a running-related note, here is a video of me running in Southern Spain. It was in Malaga, one of the oldest cities in Europe.