Yesterday I had my first day of a two week stretch of training out in the western Virginia woods. On my drive to Blacksburg, Virginia, I stopped in Montebello to do The Priest hike, one of the longest climbs on the entire trail. It was a beautiful cooler day and it’s great to be back out in some shaded woods after training through the winter in the leafless forests of Shenandoah National Park. I met some awesome thru-hikers, Koz from South Carolina hiking for his second attempt, Patterns and her canine companion The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and her other hiking friend Scarecrow. I gladly let them help themselves to the snacks, drinks, and candy I housed in my car and it felt great to have the opportunity to do so. I told them I would be hiking south in a few weeks and may see them again. It certainly would be nice to see a familiar face out there.
Recently I’ve disappeared from the triathlon scene. I know I’ve kind of disappointed some people. With the college degree in hand and the ability to pick the next step, I know a lot of people hoped I would explore my endurance capabilities. I’ve struggled with inspiration in seeing the worth of such an endeavor. However, the mental inhibition from my curiosity has not been the primary reason for my backing away from the endurance community. My lack of training was entirely involuntary, set in stone by an ankle sprain on New Year’s Day. A foolish question of the party of the night would be mistaken. I was trail running with a couple friends, exploring mountain peaks and bushwhacking through mazes of snowy slopes covered in thorny briers. Wearing MICROspikes which gave my feet a little too much traction, my ankle rolled, tearing two ligaments on an already bum leg.
With an appointment scheduled the next day to find a tiny fracture on my patella, the diagnosis was quick. With an ankle the size of a softball, my leg was booted up and I was on crutches for six weeks. At the end of the six weeks though, something was still not right. Continue reading Triathlon hiatus
I’m about to make an argument on a premise that not many people agree with me on. I guess that’s a pretty silly idea but hell, I’m doing it anyways. I wrote a post not long ago encouraging people to be more selfish. You can read it here. But the general gist of it is that selfishness is not synonymous with greed and that if one is truly concerned with oneself, then they will inevitably help everyone more than someone who strives for selflessness. An analogy would be to giving an employee a higher wage so they can come to work without hunger and therefore, be more productive. Sometimes, I understand that this is not the case, that to the employer, the benefit of satiety is minute in comparison to the cost of feeding. But I argue that this is a dynamic stage, not a homeostatic one. I believe from fundamental logic of thermodynamics that an economy can reach equilibrium unless restrained by external interference. Of course there will be unemployment but there will be less than if restricted by regulation.
So here I go. Grant me that initial premise and you may realize this one. Or maybe the combination of two seemingly faulty premises will help with acknowledging that I may not be a quack after all.
Walmart is actually an awesome corporation. There I go; I said it. I know I’m not the first one and I imagine (I hope) I won’t be the last. Why is Walmart awesome despite the overwhelming hatred for it and its customer base to be, shall we say, less than classy and occasionally inbred? Walmart is great exactly because it is as selfish as it can possibly be.
I have tried many times now to comprehend the Connecticut shooting and understand it well enough to put those thoughts into words. Frustration has prevented me from doing so. I will try my hardest to refrain from metaphors in this post but please excuse me if I slip. We have been trained our entire lives to tie so much emotion to everything that it makes it damn near impossible to actually comprehend the actual event in a logical manner. My frustration following the shooting was mostly due to people’s reactions to the incident. It was yet another thing that I watched tear my country apart. Everyone had an opinion. Everyone thought they knew what was best. And when it came to the actual shooter, words such as “evil” and “crazy” were thrown around without any authority. We dehumanize these killers and therefore make it impossible to see the potential for murder among ourselves. Continue reading Treating the problem
I just got back from another 100 mile adventure through the woods. When my professors cancelled my Monday classes, that opened up the door for me to turn what could have been a simple walk into an epic trek through southwest Virginia.
On Friday, my friends were going backpacking in Grayson highlands near the Tennessee-Virginia state line. I rode down with them but instead of travelling south with them into the familiar, beautiful Grayson Highlands, I decided to head north to cover some new Appalachian Trail territory. On Friday morning at 11 AM I turned north and with a simple “See ya broskies,” I was off walking. I had abandoned my rain gear, my tent, and all extra clothing. I exchanged waterproof, thick boots for running shoes. The physical goal was simple: go as far as possible in 72 hours.
I don’t believe in working out. This may seem shocking to many of you, especially those who believe I am a working out fanatic. Some people think, “Wow he exercises a lot for someone who doesn’t believe in working out.” But working out is done for the purpose of health. Training is similar to a basketball player practicing free throws or a tennis player working on serves. I don’t work out. I train.
I have always been extremely harsh on people. I have high standards for humanity and myself. However, one thing I have always been able to empathize with is unintended weight gain and the difficulty of losing it. Three years ago I topped out the scales at 160 pounds. That might not seem like a drastic change but currently weighing in at 130 pounds, that weight put me into the portion of the population of overweight that I never thought I would be. I know what it feels like and I know how hard it is to lose weight.
It has taken me over a month to write this race report. But with it I hope to put this race in the past. Very rarely am I disappointed with my performance. I can have off days, just like anyone else. It is, in reality, rare that, as a triathlete, I attain some god-liked fueled rhythm where everything feels effortless. I am not saying my performance is god-like. Simply, sometimes racing feels effortless. As hypocritical as this sounds, sometimes it feels effortless to exert myself beyond belief, to push my body to the limit. But at Collegiate Nationals in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, I did not get that feeling and unfortunately had the opposite of that effortless exertion.
Back in January, a race director from South Carolina proposed that we Mid-Atlantic Collegiate triathletes pitch to the NCAA triathlon as a varsity sport. When I heard about this opportunity, I was extremely excited and told the other officers of Virginia Tech triathlon team about the race. However, with weeks going by with no word on whether the race would actually happen, none of us were overly committed to keeping that day on our calendar open. But when Taylor Knight of the Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Triathlon Conference (MACTC) sent me an email with a link to the race website, I immediately signed up and encouraged my teammates to do so as well. He told me of some of the other competition he was rallying and it seemed an opportunity that I definitely wanted to be a part of.
I don’t want any more candlelight vigils or any more ceremonies in Cassell. I want Westboro Baptist Church and CNN and Fox news to leave us alone. I want Virginia Tech to fall under the radar, to be unknown.
I love this school, I love this town and corruption has muddied the reputation of the greatest school in the nation. It seems like graffiti, one plot spoiled with the disgust of aerosol paint and before long the entire surface is covered with the grime. Is murder the same? Have the most pitiful of humans come to some conclusion that this is alright because it happened once?