Thursday, November 1, 2007

My First (official) Half Marathon

I run through the woods
The distant cars sing to me
I am so tired

It's been a long time coming, but last Sunday I ran my first official half marathon. This blog entry is here to tell (and show) you all about it. Here's what I did; I took a ghetto digital camera with me and filmed various moments throughout my run. Consider it a series of "video vignettes" depicting my 13.1-mile epic saga. I call it an epic saga because my jogging pace was that of an old man's and the video sequence documents pieces of my three hour experience. I came up with the idea to film my run the night before we drove up to Humboldt County (where the run took place). I quickly MacGuyvered a camera mount ala Survivorman and off we went to the race!

These first three videos took place in the car about an hour before the start of the race. It was about 45 or 50 degrees outside so we where trying to stay warm.

Me talking about my gear...

Some pre-race Q and A, conducted by my beautiful wife.

The start of the race!

This one is very short. It mainly shows the crowd running in front of me.

Here is the first video shot on the infamous "camera mount". I don't say anything in it because I was running next to some lady and I was a little tentative about talking to my camera in front of her.

I'm already rambling at the beginning of mile 2.

At this point in the run I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed. It passed, eventually.

This video starts with me trying my first "Double Latte flavored Shot". I don't want to give away my reaction. Also, you can't hear it too well, but I wanted to capture the insanity of half a dozen people yelling, "WATER!" at me. As I passed the "aid stations" I had run by one already and thought it was hilarious that the people were so insistent--also that they all felt the need to each yell it when I had turned the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth ones down.

Oh, one more thing -- a six-year old little girl copiously blew her whistle as I passed her at the aid station. I could hear her high-pitched squeal for half a mile before I reached this station and half a mile after.

This (in my opinion) is where the story starts getting good. Every great story has a protagonist and some kind of antagonist. In the story of My first Half Marathon the antagonist is The Woman in the Blue Sports Bra. I don't know it yet but this woman eventually becomes my bitter rival.

We should file this video under "Thought it was a funny idea at the time, but turns out, I just made an ass of myself". I should have known that not everyone likes to hear people singing randomly--especially when they're running at imed race.

So, at this aid station they offered both water and Gatorade. I think that there might have been a little animosity between the waters and the Gatorades because the Gatorades sounded angry.

It is mile 8 and I am rambling. I don't really have much to say about it except that it makes me laugh when I mention The Woman in the Blue Sports Bra again. I'm obviously still hanging on to the fact that I passed her at mile 5 even though I hadn't seen her since then.

I'm screwing around--what can I say.

This one is interesting to me because at this point I tried to remember the words to Eye of the Tiger but couldn't. My mind was drawing a blank. My depleted energy level prevented me from multi-tasking.

After a couple of minutes practicing off camera, I remembered how the song goes... sort of.

Here, I am commenting on the way I feel at mile 11.

At an attempt to keep my mind on something other than how long I'd been running without stopping, I decided to write a haiku. It only took me a minute or two to compose it but it took me like ten minutes to will myself to say it correctly with the camera on.

This is the last video--me, crossing the finish line!
I was pretty much hobbling through miles 11 and 12. Then I noticed my foe (The Woman in the Blue Sports Bra from mile 5) just caught up with me from out of nowhere! She tried to pass me in mile 13 so I really started bookin'.You can see her struggling to pass the guy with the PVC camera mount dangling from his body. If you watch my face closely, you can also see the moment that I saw my wife waiting for me at the finish line.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Special Ed Blues

So I’m feeling a little discouraged about work right now. I love my job, I really do, it’s just that we started the school year one month ago and three of our nineteen kids have been up for expulsion already. I didn’t realize that this was the case (because things have been so crazy and I haven’t had time to think) until today, when I received a forwarded email from the school counselor originally from an assistant principle, who works a lot with our kids. The email said that he thought it would be a good idea to come down to our classroom and meet with our kids in person to discuss what can and can’t get you expelled. The email also mentioned bringing the campus police officer and the guy at the district office whose only job is to deal with kids that are getting expelled. Here’s the part that made me sad when I thought about it later: I read the email and thought, “That’s a great idea. These kids do need to be reminded of this stuff—they do need to understand that there are consequences for their actions. And those actions—if severe enough—may cost them years of their lives.” I really like the kids I work with, but realizing that this is what is occupying my thoughts just bummed the hell out of me. Why did this bum me out so much? Because I came to the conclusion that I can’t “save” any of them. I can only help them with their exponents and five-paragraph essays. I can only walk them to the door of their classrooms to make sure they don’t ditch class and smoke behind the bleachers. I can only sit with them at lunch to make sure they don’t get out of hand and start throwing crap and cussing at each other. But no, I can’t save them. It just got to me today, that’s all.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


So just in case anyone was wondering, yes I was planning on running a half marathon yesterday but I was lame and waited till the last minute to sign up for it and it was full. So in lure of an “official” race I decided I’d use my car odometer to find a 13.1 course in my neighborhood and I ran it Saturday morning.

So the bad news is I won’t be running an official half marathon until late October (there’s one in Humboldt through all the redwoods) but the good news is I placed first in the “Phil’s Neighborhood Half Marathon”.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Three "Firsts" in One Day

Last Monday (April 9th) I ran six miles without stopping, I gorged myself at an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet, and I shot 20 gauge slugs at stuffed animals. It was a good day.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

I have a confession to make

I am a horrible person. This is the panic that just lightninged through my mind about an hour ago – tomorrow night (Monday, the 22nd) I have too many shows to watch. Oh sure, I have TiVo, but it took me till just a little bit ago to realize that I have four and a half hours or programming of which I am addicted that all falls into Monday prime time. I know it looks bad now, but it gets worse. Because of my schedule, I get up early (3:30 am) so I really have to get to bed by ten at the latest. Now this is where it gets worse. I’m taking a Statistics class Tuesday and Thursday nights so I can’t spend all of Tuesday reveling in all my glorious audio visual entertainment. So here’s the bottom line. If we were trying really hard, I think we could watch The Hills at 7:00, then I might be able to watch Prison Break (8:00), so we could then catch Heroes at 9:00. But even after all that, there’s still two hours left of 24 and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking Phil is crazy. Well listen, I don’t blame you for thinking I’m crazy. It blows my mind that I have fallen this far. I can remember a time not too long ago, when almost everyone I knew started saying, “Is that your final answer?” and I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about – I’m not kidding about that.

Here’s the really horrible part – the way I feel right now about it, I think the only one I would be ok with letting go of is Studio 60. Giving up the four other shows? That would kill me. Yeah I’m sure I could muster the will power to cut out watching them, but I would try to watch vicariously through people I know who are also addicts of the shows. “What happened last night?! Has Hiro gotten to use his sword yet?! How many larynxes did Jack crush in one hour?! Lauren didn’t get back together with Jason, did she?! Has Michael kissed Sarah?!” This is what I would be harassing people with if I quick these shows cold turkey. And even if I was too ashamed to ask these questions, the questions would just float around my mind, festering, driving me mad. All this to say, I think I could give them up physically, but emotionally I don’t think I could do it in a faquillion years.

As these words move from my conscious mind, down to my fingers, and then onto this blog page, I am realizing that I’m worse off than I thought. There is no excuse – I watch too much television.

I can’t think of what else to say so this is it for now.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Things I Hate

(I got the idea to do this from a 9 year old with autism. I find it very freeing and I encourage you all to have your own "hate list")

- When people clap at the end of a movie -
- When people say, "excuse you" -
- Small drinks at fast food places –
- Chain restaurant –
- Chain emails –
- People driving slow in the left lane -
- Jason from Laguna Beach -
- Jessica from Laguna Beach -
- This season of alias -
- Emo haircuts -
- Elmo -
- People on Myspace who want to have like, a million friends -
- Lettuce wraps -
- Kids with too much school spirit -
- Crimes against humanity -
- Subway -
- Girls that love that notebook movie -
- Movie theaters that don't take student IDs -
- Parking at the AMC 20 theater -
- People who use the phrase "snail mail" -
- Danny Bonoduce's addiction -
- Fabian Basabe -
- People who use the term "hypocrite" more than once a month -
- People who use the term "ironic" more than once a month -
- People who make "quote signs" in the air when they talk more than once a week -
- The term "freedom fries" -
- People who use the word "literally" when they mean figuratively -
- Any story that says candy canes have anything to do with Jesus -
- The blurred line between burritos and wraps -
- People with zero sense of humor -
- Tom Cruise -
- Kim Kattrall -
- Tye Pennington -
- Paul Walker -
- Kirsten Dunst -
- When people say, "exspecially" or "liberry" or "drawlings" or "punkin" -
- Inexperienced sandwich artists -
- Ayla Brown -
- Dust ruffles -
- "Shams" -
- When people say, "We just need to love ON that guy" -

On Going to Egypt

In August of 2001, I lead a two-week mission to Egypt with nine high school and college students. I still have really mixed feelings about the trip. On one hand, I was really hoping to “do” a whole bunch of stuff for God and His Kingdom – I wanted to be able to come home saying how we had given testimonies and prayed for hundreds of people and people cried, fell down, and gave their lives to Christ (we didn’t see these things didn’t happen). On the other hand, now I see that God doesn’t always let us see what he’s doing even though he is always working and moving.

So with these things in mind, I go back and forth on whether or not the mission was a “success”. I really don’t like the idea of God using me to “do his thing” and not letting me see the fruit that comes from it. …Holy crap, that sounded insanely horrible. Like I said, I go back and forth. As lame as this sounds, it’s hard for me to believe that (even though I know He’s sovereign) God is working and moving when I can’t see Him doing it. This is really the big thing God taught me from this experience. It was extremely humbling to learn (really in front of my entire church) that God is the one in control (not me) and that He sometimes blesses us with getting to see the fruit. I guess taking God’s character and sovereignty into consideration, the whole thing was a success. God used us to do what he wanted to do. What if we would have said, “No” and not gone to Egypt or if we got mad and started saying, “That’s it God! We’re not making another move until we see some results!” God would have accomplished what he wanted to accomplish, he would have just done it without us.

This fact is what made the experience so humbling. I think I am so awesome but I’m wrong. God isn’t lucky to have me working for Him – I’m lucky to be included in what God is doing. The good news is that he includes us just simply because he loves us and he wants to be with us.