Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Crawling Out of a Hole. Catching Up. Slowing Down.

I haven't written a single word in over a month. I'd forgotten completely that I had a blog until I read an email from a sponsor asking me to remove their ads from the sidebar. At first I was sad about a bygone era of my life, then I thought, "I'm not even good enough to be used for free advertising! A new level of awesome!" and actually laughed aloud at myself.

I decided to post on here after a convoluted path led me feel that writing is a part of me, for better or worse. I was taking a Graduate Record Examination(GRE) as one of the many monotonous, tedious, stressful steps toward acceptance into a doctorate program. In the "verbal reasoning" section, there was a passage about the French essayist Michel de Montaigne.(The testing center was  a strange prison-like building, or one of those places you go to in order to donate semen. Either way, I'm not supposed to talk about test content, but I hope that the mention of a writing sample isn't too much sharing). Montaigne was known for being a true skeptic among skeptics. The humility of knowing that you know nothing is the key to learning. The crooked path that is your own is vastly superior to relying on assumption and dogma. Jack Kerouac stressed the importance of "100% personal honesty." Writing things down helps keep me honest and accountable. The things I'm learning about myself are improving me, even if it hurts.

In the last months, death, injury, and disease have plagued my family. I lost my best friend from age 4 in a motorcycle accident. His wife and children are without him. The other things, I'll leave out. Not my story to tell. I can't quite bring myself to post about these things here.

I think back to older posts on this blog, and I get embarrassed. The aggrandized self-centeredness I've placed on running makes me want to talk to myself in the past on an old HAM radio(ever see that movie "Frequency?" It's a good one) and say, "Get the hell over yourself. If the worst problems you have in a day are running related, you're doing better than most." Running will always be a part of me, but now I'd like to think I've put the obsessive part behind. It's what I do, but I just don't have the heart to worry about it. Maybe it's a passive aggressive way of letting go of a dream, or maybe it's just a change I was bound to go through. Maybe I'm just putting running on hold and working my balls off to try to get accepted to grad school in Missoula, Denver, Flagstaff, or Pocatello, giving me an excuse to return to mountains. Maybe.

Life isn't as fun as it was a year ago to say the least, but given how incredibly wonderful life was to me during my mountain Summers, I'll pay my dues for a while. I essentially stopped training altogether for the Seaway Half Marathon in June, so I missed my foolhardy goal of 1:20. I did still run a steady pace in the humidity and hit a 1:23 for 6th place, but it was mostly just an excuse to get out of work(Oh, right. I forgot to mention. I work as a shelf stocker at a grocery store. Don't get an exercise science degree, kids). On a whim with no food or water bottle, I finished the race and jogged back to Grand Haven with Mikey and Erik for a total of 32 miles for the day. Without really training, I'm about as fast as I've ever been, with the exception of being abysmally slow at 5ks. Gots to hit the track.

The cups say Michelob Ultra on them. Mic ultra tastes like water anyway.

About halfway through the half.

beers after a half marathon and a 17mile cooldown. Having good friends is helpful.
Erik, Me, Mike

No real running goals for the immediate future, which is for the best. Running is dumb. Running running running. Blahblablablabla. Without people, it's all bullshit anyway.

even the small people.

I had something more relevant to say, but I forgot. Just trying to get back into the habit of kicking habits.


  1. Montaigne's quote about knowing you know nothing sounds suspiciously like's Donald Rumsfield's famous "unknown unknowns" quote. Humility was never however one of Disco Don's strong suits.

    I'm sorry to hear that life (and death) is playing havoc with your inner circle. You are right to take this time to better appreciate the people in your life, such as is expressed in the last couple pictures of this post.

    You don't however need to feel shame for participating in such trivial activities as running, nor for flippantly writing about them. The serious side of things takes up enough of our precious life - pursuing goals beyond food and shelter are what we live for.

    Running is alternately social and introspective, motivating and relaxing, focusing and distracting. I truly believe it makes us better and more well-rounded people through emergent effects.

    No, it's not curing cancer, or feeding the homeless. But talking/writing about it is interesting and entertaining, and is not self-aggrandizing (at least for most people), so long as borderline-bragging is balanced with sufficient self-effacement.

    1. Well said, man. Once I complete posts like this, I realize I've been a little too hard on myself. Running is, for most of us, a celebration of life.