Sunday, July 29, 2018

why merge failed

hey folks,

to start, i want to say that everyone from MPA is still family to me. it's weird calling people i met on an online gaming family, but there were some good times. 

i can't say i know the exact details. but i think it's important for members to know what happened from when i was brought into the mix. when the merge happened, it was quite sudden. for anyone not in leadership, it was just fun. tons of MPA people ported over and the merge just happened. what most (and by most, i mean everyone outside the 10 or so people in leadership) didn't know was how much struggle there was behind the scenes.

old und had our style. loose, fun, kill shit, and worry about shit like TD, EA, EW etc 2ndary.

MPA had their own style. a lot more structured and organized, clear cut roles for each leader, and a clear chain of command.

seven recognized that in order to succeed, we needed to merge. we would be the ultimate alliance. obviously with merges there are difficulties. MPA gave up a lot, they ported over and ported their farms over. a few of their deputies stayed back to keep the MPA alliance healthy, a few stayed because they didn't think the merge would work out.

honestly, everything appeared to be dandy to all of us R2 and under folks. but behind the scenes a lot of bickering was going on. i don't want to go into exact details. but since i chat with everyone, things now makes sense to me. the first sign of tensions that i noticed was when ZK was booted from leader chat, he was upset regarding tech research. he was passionate and wanted our old mates back in (by expanding faster, they can all come back). the next sign was COhiker leaving, then coming back, then leaving again.

d/t tensions, lack of hearing voices and tones, people got more and more upset. an understanding was met when leadership was given to 7. this little peace lasted shortly. this is also when i was brought into the fold.

by the time i was brought it, i was overwhelmed. it took me 2-3 days to figure out what was going on, but the final 2 days of the alliance broke down to this.

seven brought milky way aka kit kat from MPA over to help organize. he needed a brute biatch to just come in and tell us what to do. so she did as asked. unfortunately, i think it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. i know i was a bit irritated. but all the things she implemented were positive (imo). unfortunately there were a lot of side chats. we have strong personalities here.. ZK DUKE SEVEN SKOZZ. it's not easy to get 4 type A guys playing a war game to agree.

MPA said they would stay if 7 was leader and we split deputies evenly. some people didn't want duke as a deputy. i honestly felt we were very close... but then skozz told a joke... someone mentioned something about skozz as r4. and he laughed and said he's r5. seven took it the wrong way. he thought skozz was accusing him of stealing the alliance and pretty much said i'm done. skozz got upset and pointed out that this is the exact drama that he was complaining about. seven quit, gave skozz leadership. skozz got pissed and said fine, you want organization. he booted a bunch of MPA from leadership positions. he sent out a letter regarding TD etc times and said we're going to go back to killing shit.

mind you, duke is traveling back from vacation and driving on and off. he signs on, sees he got booted from deputy, and pretty much says fuck it, i'm going back to MPA and offered home for anyone that wanted to come back.

that's how the split happened. by the end, UND representation was 7, skozz, myself, and lusty. mpa was duke, kit kat aka kk aka milky way, mad dog and juan sanchez.

mpa said the only way they would come back is if skozz was r4, not r5. skozz admitted to me that he made some brash decisions. but he honestly seemed tired of all the bullshit.. we all were. i was in a damn chatroom listening to people argue for 2 whole days. i hated it. he gave leadership to thrasher to let him solve it. now und representation was thrasher, myself and lusty.

thrasher had a good plan. r5 is a dummy account, 4 und members are deputies (myself, thrasher, lusty, skozz, 4 mpa of their choice). it was suggested that ZK and duke not be deputy, d/t both of them being too passionate. it was a starting point, but what broke down was.

1) mpa wouldn't accept that their leader would not be at least r4 in the merge. further reinforcing how they feel that some of the und members look down on them, seeing them as 2nd tier players.

2) mpa wouldn't accept a dummy account, because they worried that skozz could get upset again, take back leadership and boot everyone.

thrasher felt that a split leadership was the only fair thing. mpa didn't trust us with a dummy account shared by all. at this point, negotiations broke down.

note: this is MY viewpoint of what happened. i was there for every single conversation starting at the point where seven was the leader. anything before that.. the pre merge shit.. i have no idea.

we tried, we failed. we're stupid. i know for a fact that there were people in MPA that never wanted this to work out. i've spoken to them, i can just tell. but there were also guys in UND that didn't help the situation. they know who they are, they know they contributed to the fall merge, and yes, they feel bad about it.

MPA did not poach alex or karasu, they left on their own free will. we did not and will not poach players back. i absolutely condone poaching of players. if ya'll are former friends and chat, fine.. i don't care. if people come back, it's on their own, UND WILL NOT actively recruit people back from MPA.

right now our relationship is fragile. we are union with MPA. we fight our own battles, but we have a common enemy. if VKW comes and attacks MPA hard, i'll be the first to drop tags and go help. i did that earlier today when they rallied against fragles. MANY mpa players have said they would do the same for us. i don't want misunderstandings breaking things up. it's obvious we are stronger together. we just need the right leadership in place to lead US as a team. vs 2 different people in the same company competing against each other.

if anyone has any questions, please come directly to me. lets keep alliance chat to fun stuff, killing, and calling times.

all new members, GET LINE APP and send lusty your username. she'll add you. we have a 699 realm with current and former und member/friends. and we have an emergency line. you post there ONLY during emergencies, it's for if you're being attacked, or if farms are being attacked. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

shoestring fail weekend

Everyone talks about how awesome shoestring was, well, damnit, i'm going after it. I ignored the fact that it rained and was 60-70 F all week. i knew thursday night was cold and friday would hover around the freezing temps. everyone at work was getting sick, courtney to my left was sick all week, d, to my right was out sick wed and thursday. i was starting to feel like crap on thursday and was really worried about the weekend. by the time thursday night came i knew i was f'ed. i went to bed at 8pm, took a nyquil, 2 melatonin and a naproxin. i woke up at 6am and could barely open my throat. i called in sick, but i couldn't fall back asleep. i just laid in bed moaning like wuss for 2-3 hours. 

i had plans for a few weeks to climb with becca and a 2nd partner, but one after another the 2nd partners bailed. by the time it was friday i was too sick, and too tired to try and find a 3rd. i figured i wasn't feeling great anyways, so climbing in 2 would be faster. i generally drive up friday night, but figured it would be nice to go to bed early, in my own bed and get a late start sat morning if i felt better. shoestring is short anyways, i knew i needed the fresh air. i spent most of friday doing everything to recover, i made chicken noodle soup, i stayed warm, i drank tons of fluids. sat morning was rough, i was achy and congested, but we made the drive up. we got to shoestring and there was no ice... well, there was ice, just not something worth climbing. so we headed to willard, which looked pretty fat.

becca and i soloed the bottom section, which had more ice than i had ever seen, it was quite fun. prob wi2- stuff. i knew there were people on LHMW, so i decided to check out lower hitchcock, a climb i vowed to never do again. when i got to the base of the climb, i noticed a v-thread, i'm guessing someone decided to either rap off, or bail off. regardless, it looked pretty good so i called becca up and i went for it. super easy wi2 climbing lead to the rock section. the first time i was on it, i had no idea where i was going and went straight up the middle, it was scary and i had no pro the whole way up. with beta, i realized that i was supposed to go left, which i did this time. i tried traversing back onto the face, but the climb was so bone dry my tools wouldn't latch onto anything. i decided to downclimb and work my way up the left. a few tool sinks in the left and some hands on climbing got me up. of course, becca made it look super easy. she put her tools away and just climbed it bare handed...

we had some lunch and decided to get on east face slab south, a climb that i somehow have never been on. i recall aaron saying that he had to bushwack really far back to find a decent tree to anchor, and since we only had a 70 meter rope, i decided to just look around and see what i could find. luckily, i found a tree with rap rings on it. i brought becca up and decided that i should rap first in case the rope didn't reach. glad i did, they were about 15 feet off, even with rope stretch. i built an anchor on some stupid thin ice and let her rap off of that while i down climbed. a bit spicy, a lot of fun. next we hit upper hitchcock, it's a fun little calf burner and the upper headwall was in super candled conditions. really fun easy climbing, if you're ok with going the whole way without pro. i get up, anchor in and bring becca up.

it had been a few years since i've done upper hitch, i forgot that the walk off goes by the summit, it was nice to catch a decent view. we met a local who was on a hike after working at bretton woods, she was pretty happy to get up with some daylight left. from there it was a straight shot to the trellis to unload gear to dry. we opted for delaneys hole in the wall, got lucky and scored bar seating, ate all the things, then i just crashed. took a sudafed, a couple of melatonin and simply prayed i would sleep 10 hours and feel awesome the next morning. alarm rang at 6:30, i was so confused (yay drugs), i reset it for 7, then again at 7:30. after some bitching and moaning to myself i was able to pull myself out of bed, get packed really quick and head the bagels plus. bumped into the capitan and jake, so weird seeing her in NH, without 10 other news team members and 2 vans. i was going to yell out "news team, assemble" but it was like 8:30am and i didn't want the locals to hate me. by the time we got to the parking lot, it was 10 am. becca had to be back in RI by 5, 6 latest. figured we would do a single climb and call it a day. i thought of standard to penguin, or dracula. there were 3 parties on standard, so i opted for dracula. by the time i hiked up to the base, the leader was at least 8 or 9 screws and starting the stemming section of the climb. it took him roughly another 30 minutes to finish that section. they took a pretty cool line, center to right. i figured i would just go left, but i really wanted to dry dracula right, so i opted to wait for them to finish. all in all, it takes about 90 minutes. apparently these guys were "swinging" leads on dracula, in the sense that they couldn't do the crux, get lowered, switch off and let the other guy TR up to try it. one of them took a fall at the crux as well. people need to realize ice climbing is not rock climbing, if you're placing 12+ screws to get up dracula, and taking pretty much aiding up the climb, you probably shouldn't be on it... but who am i to say.  i got really cold, but figured we had to get moving. i wanted to take their line, but not use their holds, so i moved a bit right. i got about 30 feet up and my hands started to barf since my gloves got wet (on another note, is dracula ever friggan dry?). i threw in a screw, clipped in and hung for 2-3 minutes. i hastily started out too soon as my hands were not done barfing, put in a 2nd screw and hung on that, only to hear the ice crack once i weighted it, fired in another screw to the left, moved over, clipped that and decided to just wait until i was done barfing before i moved again. few minutes go by, my hands are done barfing and i was able to move again. i make my way up to the last 3rd of the climb fire in a screw try to warm my hands up before i work up the last section. the stemming made it really easy i fired in another screw before pulling the top out only to realize that i wanted to go left, so i down climb a bit, traverse over and climb rock that was covered in a thin layer of ice, covered by a thicker layer of snow. i bring becca up, she also gets the barfies on the first 3rd, and just hangs to shake out and warm up. after that, she fires up the climb quite easily. 

drying your gear, and drying your gear quickly is important. this is my getup, what is yours?

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Ironman Louisville Race Report

IMLou... this was my A race. I was really hoping to go sub 10:25 and set myself up for some confidence going into the winter. Alas, that didn't happen. Getting to the race was easy, I flew down thursday morning and met up with amber at the louisville airport. mike flew in later that night, john and danh drove from wed evening until thursday. by the time they got there, we were ready for dinner, we had el taco lucadore. it was uber tasty, i ate all the tacos.

friday we checked in and lounged. we ended up meeting up with mike and steve for vietnamese food, which ended up being pretty authentic! saturday was a bit more eventful than we wanted. we dropped off our bikes to find danh's rear wheel seized. he called every shop in the louisville area, no one had a 650 hub, we thought he was going to have to do the ride in a fixed gear. i got home and decided to make a post on slowtwitch. luckily, someone was kind enough to reach out and lend danh a rear 650 zipp wheel. his name was mark weghorst, total trooper.

the cool thing about sat was sitting in at the pro meeting. it was interesting, and really cool to see the race from a pros point of view. to be honest, most of us who know how to ride a bike, or finish in the sub 12 region really feel the same way. the refs need to do a much better job enforcing the rules.

we also watched kona.. all of it. no one could sleep, we all wanted to see sanders finish, lange ran an incredible race to catch him. though we all felt he should have been dq'd for the jersey being zipped too low, rules are rules, right?

race morning: 
i get up at 5am, have some covfefe, an rx bar, bannana, some juice and water. i pack an extra banana and a gu for pre swim. when i get to the transition, i realized that i left my garmin at home... fuck, i can't believe i did this again. i asked danh's fiance ("twin") to grab it at the house when she had the chance so i can possibly snag it during the run. how could i be so stupid to forget it, two races in a row... ugh. 

swim: most of my friends are stronger swimmers than i. i ended up in the 1:10-1:20 line. probably halfway through the pack because i realized my morning bag didn't have my number on it, i rushed to find a volunteer with a marker and we slapped 319 onto it. hopping in the water, i felt fine. i had no idea what i was going to do for time, i knew i would swim faster than my imkph time of 1:17 but i also didn't want to get tired like i did at kph. the water was dark, so it was really hard to follow any feet, more than 1.5 feet and you can't see anything. the swim out to the turn was fine, i got a bit off course a few times (all the way to the right, then left of the course). by the first turn the water got really cold, then warm, then cold. it was really weird. by the 2nd turn i knew i had gone almost half way... i just went into cruise control mode. i realized the current was stronger to the left of me. a few times i was swimming in really calm water, that was a mistake. the last 500 yards of the swim were probably my best 500 yards ever. i started kicking and for the first time ever, i didn't feel awkward, or expend more energy. i should try that more often. 

swim was 1:12, my new swim pr (choo was 1:12, without a wetsuit, but probably stronger current?)

t1: i got out of the water and ramped my heart rate up towards the bike. it was colder than i wanted it to be, so i was careful to dry off as much as i could. as i ran out, my helmet fell off, DOPE. i got my bike and as always, had to be careful of people stopping to hug family and friends. gotta remind myself that not everyone does these events as a race, some people are happy to dilly dally. in the end, it's my fault for being a shitty swimmer. 6:XX (i think)

bike: i generally am slow to get my HR up on the bike. but i think running hard through transition (despite the shitty time) helped me get amped up. i took in my water and calories and was feeling good. i was pushing good speed for the power as well. it was probably the best i have ever felt coming out of the swim. about 30 miles into the bike, before the sharp left turn, i was coming down a fairly straight hill. i was going about 40mph and screaming for people to move over yelling "on your left" 5-6 times. these 3 guys up front were riding 3 wide, and just not moving. i hit my brakes, crossed the double yellow and swerved back. in doing so, i hit a crack in the road pretty hard. i knew i flatted. about 1k yards later my tire went flat, i pulled over immediately as the 3 dotards rode by a min later.

i ripped off my pitstop, only to realize the plastic nozzle had fallen off. whelp. there goes my race. i just sit on the side of the road and asked folks to let neutral support know. about 7 minutes or so goes by and john yen rides by. he blows by me, but comes back to offer me his pit stop. great, this will work. i put his cover on my pit stop. i had never used one in the past, but it seemed pretty self explanatory.. nope. the foam blew out the sides, nothing went into the tube. i then use his.. same thing. now we're down 2 pit stops. i told him i would need his tube co2, lever and co2 inflator. but told him i didn't want to take his only one. he was under the impression i had one, but didn't want to use mine. so he agreed and went on. a few other friends rode by, i just sat and waited. then one guy stopped. #380. jim deruby of maverick multisport. he asked me what i needed, i said everything, just go. he offered me a tube, levers, and co2. i quickly did the repair and he was off. i got off not long after and to lack of better judgement, decided to push the watts to catch up.... unfortunately that's where the course tilted up, it was brief, but it was enough to really drain me. i didn't realize it, but i was sitting for so long that my bike computer turned off. i'm guessing it had to be at least 20 minutes of sitting around getting cold.

at mile 50 i felt pretty crappy, the same feeling i normally get when i am at mile 95 or 100 of the bike portion. i wasn't sure why, but i was really uncomfortable and i couldn't push any watts. i realized my bike saddle was off, i must have landed on it, causing it to tilt up. i couldn't ride aero for more than 1-2 minutes d/t the discomfort, and i couldn't pull on the pedals d/t the saddle position. i think i got things fixed at around mile 84 or 87 which allowed me to put out decent power again. it was good timing though, the winds had picked up and i needed the watts to be able to keep going straight.

bike: 6:13 or 6:17. my 2nd worst im bike ever.

t2: i got off the bike and did the long run on cement (god, i have the softest damn feet in the world). as i grabbed my bag, i reached into my bike bag to grab my arm warmers and gloves as well. by the time i get into the tent, i realized my watch was in my run bag the whole time.. oops sorry "twin"! i scurried out to the run, making a pit stop to clear my insides. because i was on the bike for much longer than expected, i had to take on gatorade, which just doesn't sit well.... time: 7:xx

run: whelps, i probably had a decent run in me since i didn't put out too much power on the bike, at least that's what i had expected. about a mile in i felt my legs cramping (i didn't get enough salt in on the bike). i stopped to stretch for 2-3 mins and got going again. i felt pretty good, i saw a bunch of friends on the course, but as the sun was setting i could feel it getting colder. not good. i just don't run well in the cold. i caught up to joe and we ran together from mile 3 or 4 all the way to 11 where we caught kimball, we ran together for a bit and i con't onwards with joe until mile 15 or 16. at that point i was too cold to run well and told him to carry on. when i'm not having a great race, i take care to take on lots of nutrition and pee about every 3 miles. perhaps those mini intervals to pee and catch him were taking a toll on it. i ended up linking up with jim deruby again, we ran 5-6 miles together and chatted until it suddenly warmed up at mile 24. my stride was widening and i saw della at mile 25. i ran up to her to say hi and told her we were at 25.37, possibly further d/t me delaying my watch start. when jim caught up i took off with him, and pushed a bit faster towards the finish, not because i cared about my time, but because i just wanted to run hard since it was warm. i crossed the finish line. 12:13:XX my 2nd worst ironman time. marthon was 4:45 or something horrible like that. 

i saw john, mike, and amber at the finish, it was nice of them to wait for me, they must have been cold. i then saw kimball, joe, kate, and jeff at bag pickup. we went home to shower and come back to cheer danh but he finished before we could get back out.

this was a tough race for me. the bike was really mentally taxing. my mind went from such a happy place, to such an unhappy place. i knew i put in the time and effort to have a good bike, to have a few mechanics (also dropped my chain 4 times, long story, but i've never done it on a race), really throw a monkey wrench into things.  2017 was a rough year for racing, that's for sure. this is now 4im's where i have done much more poorly than expected. yeah, there are excuses for each one, but in the end, this is a long race, i have to do a better job reducing the chances of these mistakes.

back to the drawing board. i'm hungrier than ever for a strong race in 2018. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ironman Shingles Race Report

A few years ago I was treating a teammate of mine and he suggested Ironman Copenhagen. It really wasn't on my radar, potentially cold race, traveling to europe would be expensive, etc etc. We ended up doing IMMT together a year later and I guess that seed he planted just sprouted. Next thing I know I signed up for IMKPH.

I had a pretty crappy buildup. I was trying to do my own thing and train under 10 hours a week. Not because I thought it was the best plan, but because I was still mentally broken from IMChoo Sept 2016. For those who don't remember, or don't know. I dropped a key nutrition bottle 40 miles into the bike leg, during the hottest day Chattanooga has ever seen in Sept (165+ degree heat index), 30% of the race ended up requiring serious medical treatment. Well, it was a sufferfest to say the least. I put in a few monster weeks of training and it went all down the drain.

I figured a shorter buildup with lower volume would help me jump start things. It didn't. I couldn't get going until it was too late, but that's ok. KPH was a tuneup race for me. I was going to test myself in the swim, push the bike hard and the plan was to CRUISE the run. ZR/Z1 training pace.

A week before leaving, I noticed I had an itch on my back. I had my co-worker look at it and she said it was a pimple. I thought it was a spider bite for sure, but ok, whatever. Except it kept itching and just got worse. By the time I got to Denmark it began to spread to the front of my chest and started to hurt. By friday (2 days before the race), it started to hurt to move, and take a full breath. I thought it was bed bugs, which is the most terrifying thing to read about online. I freaked out, started putting all kinds of bed bug killing shit in my amazon cart... almost pulled the trigger too. My buddy John said it looked like shingles. I was kind of surprised, I'm 32, I eat well, I'm fit, I'm not supposed to get shingles! I decided to FB my PCP (holla ajay!) and send him some pics. He also diagnosed me with shingles and advised me to get some meds if I could, or suck it up. Well I didn't have time to see an MD then get meds from a foreign pharmacy, so I decided to suck it up. Not going to lie, I never thought I would be HAPPY to have shingles, I mean, it beats bed bugs...

Race morning:
I get to the swim start, it's starting to drizzle a bit, but not bad. I realized that I left my solids at home (2 cliff bars, 1 pro bar)... ugh, that's 600 damn calories. I really need real food during cold races. Not good. John offered me one of his bars, but I didn't want to dip into his backup food. I declined. The swim was pretty cool, single lap swim, wetsuit legal and you enter the water depending on your pace. I lined up with the 1:10-1:15 group and we were sent into the water 6 at a time, every 5 seconds (something like that). The swim went well enough for me, I had a lot of trouble sighting, but that's nothing new for me. After about 700 yards, I found a pair of feet to follow, except some guy liked those feet and pushed me out of the way. Nothing you can do when you're 5'3" and he's 6" and fat. I made a few mistakes on the swim, 1 was not getting a new pair of goggle, the sun was in your face on the back half of the swim and it would have been nice to be able to see better. There was also a ton of seaweed, but meh, you can see the bottom. I swam 1:17, which is a PR (for the full 2.4 swim) for me. I knew my neck was really chaffed, it stung as I swam. More body glide next time.

T1: was cold, and wet. I didn't like how there was no changing tent, it would have been nice to get a bit warmer. I ended up stuffing a plastic bag in my jersey to help build up heat for the first 5 miles. I hate being a crap swimmer, I get out of the water with a bunch of horrible cyclist. Did I mention how shitty triathletes are when it comes to bike handling skills?

Bike: I was ready to crush the bike. I felt strong, a bit cold, but strong. The first 40 miles of the course is FAAAST. There was a slight tail wind and I was averaging 23+mph with 120ish watts. The race director warned us of flintstones the night before the race. He said to put on tires that had protection... ooops, I was rocking my supersonics and grand prix tt. aka the tires with the LEAST puncture protection, faaaaak. Flintstones are round stones that flip upside down and go point side up when it rains. Rain was in the forecast, I was scared. The first lap was uneventful, I was blowing by a lot of people, which is normal for me since I'm such a crud swimmer. By the time the 2nd loop started, it got a bit cold and started to rain.. crap, I threw away my bag already. The rain really killed me, I started to get cold and my power started to drop. Oh, my BTA bottle also broke, so I was forced to hold it on during the whole ride, that sucked. I realized I wasn't going to PR the bike, so I just rode tempo and used it build on my bike fitness. I finished the bike in 5:26. Not my best time, but considering everything, I could live with it.

T2: I got into t2 and I really wanted some vaseline for my bottom, just in case. I knew it was going to be a long run.

Run: KPH course is incredible and shitty at the same time. The crowd support at KPH is the best I have ever seen in any IM. The downside is that its' 4.5 laps, which means it gets REALLY tight in some sections. By the time I was on my 2nd lap, the part that runs through the cobblestones was really congested, I'm really surprised no one twisted an ankle or fell. I took off a bit faster than I wanted to, which was fine, cus I planned on walking a ton of the marathon. Every water stop, every hill, then at least 6-7 bathroom breaks. I stuck to my plan, walk/run a lot of miles, with the exception of mile 23 or 24? It started to rain, I got cold and cranky and I just wanted to be home. So I took off and put down a random 8:15 mile snuggled between a 13 and 14 min mile segment. oops. I also forgot my charger at home, so I ran with my garmin 520 (bike computer) hitting lap every mile. This means I found my pace AFTER I ran the mile. It was a fun little experiment. I was going to just walk from 24-26 since I was vacationing in Iceland the week after and I didn't want to have junk legs for any of the hikes, but my 520 battery was low, so I ended up jogging it in.

During the whole race, the shingles didn't bother me too much. Sure I couldn't take a full breath, but I only had like 1-2 moments where I thought my body was going to break. It was actually worse the days before and the days after. I always thought shingles was adult chicken pox, that it just itched. NOT TRUE. it feels like someone is taking a blowtorch to your skin, it hurts to move, impossible to sleep. But hey, it's not bed bugs.

This is a shitty race report, I know. That's cus I have to wake up at 6 tomorrow to run with my croo. I promise a better race report for IMLOU in 6 weeks.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why we keep the things we keep

Over the past 5-6 months I have been trying to reduce the things I own. It seems like it would be easy to get rid of things you just don't use, or just don't need, but it's not. People are sentimental creatures, we give life and emotion to inanimate objects, we project our feelings onto them. Thus we hold on to things because they are "important" to us. It is because of those feelings that it has taken me over a year to get rid of some of the things that I have.

I started small, getting rid of things that had no sentimental value, nor use. The next round, I got rid of race shirts that I didn't think would go well with my race quilt (yes, one day, i'll learn how to sew and quilt all my race shirts that don't fit).... Then came sneakers that I didn't wear anymore.

I tend to be a collector, but not always of things worthy of collecting. I had things like old redsox ticket stubs, all my concert ticket stubs, and old race bracelets. Those things were a little more difficult to get rid of. But I found that once I committed to getting rid of them, it wasn't that hard. The reality is that people only have so much to give. These objects are taking up part of my emotional energy that could be better directed towards other things/people/activities.

More recently, I donated a few items that held a lot of sentimental value. One was a hoodie that I have had since 9th grade. It was one that I designed with my high school best friend (for our paintball team). That hoodie represented almost everything about me in my early life. Paintball was my passion, and I spent every moment of my free time with Jared. I thought about it long and hard. I put it in the bag, I took it out of the bag. In the end, I let it go. The fact is, Jared and I don't even talk anymore. This tends to happen with most of my friends who have had kids and are living more of an "adult" life, whilst I play vagabond bachelor. I think part of letting the hoodie go was telling myself that it was OK that people come and go in your life. Part of it was that it just wasn't a very comfortable hoodie anyways. I needed to downsize, and now I am down to 3 hoodies that fit well and are comfortable. Of the 3, 2 have sentimental value, and the 3rd one is starting to develop a little history. Eventually, I'll let one of them go, but for now, they are too comfy...

The other items I let go were my first pair of racing shoes. The Brooks ST Racers. I haven't worn them in 10 years, but I still held onto them. In fact, I had 4 pairs (to go with my almost 50 pairs of sneakers). The last purge was a big one. I had donated over 27 pairs of sneakers to goodwill. I must say, donating the sneaker was relatively easy compared to the MFL (massholes for life, that was the name of our team lol) hoodie.

This particular blog entry was inspired by my friend Rebecca. She asked me to send a photo of something that had sentimental value to me, and tell a story about it. For a week, I thought about what I would write about. I have all my race bibs, I have my race medals, I have my pint glass collection, I have my first carabiner, I have something that was given to me the day I was born.

Whilst rummaging through my race bibs (looking for Big Lake Half Marathon 2007), I stumbled onto my Penguin Pizza beer list and immediately knew that I was going to write about it. It's funny that I keep a piece of paper that chronicles exactly when I had each beer. It's really a 10 month journey that encompasses undergrad and grad school. From a Bachelors degree, to starting the Doctorate program. All the trials and tribulations throughout that period of my life. New friends, old friends, breakups, new loves, all of it is there. What an emotional journey. I never really kept a diary growing up. I would write things here and there, but I've always had a knack of remembering things so I have never felt the need to write things down.

It's weird, when I gave up the hoodie, I was ok with it because I knew that my memories that the hoodie encompassed would not go away. That period of my life meant so much, but also so little in the grand scheme of things. I still remember the tournaments, the long drive to the cape every weekend, the custom paintball guns, to paying 12 bucks to fill up the tank. Yet here I am, holding on to this piece of paper, not willing to let it go.

Part of being minimalist is that things have to serve multiple purposes (at least it gives more reason to keep the item). This journal into my past takes up relatively little space, compared to a hoodie, not to mention, Jared (high school best friend) was also part of many penguin nights. Is it weird that this all came up, 24 hours from his birthday?

How does someone who is so sentimental (myself), cope with trying to be a minimalist. I'll let you know when I move into my van next year.... ;-)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Proof that white people are the most racist....

OK OK OK, the title was click bait. But now that you are here, you might as well hear what I have to say, right? Earlier today I made a post on facebook about an incident that occurred on the way home from Concord. I'll spare you the details, you can read it on facebook. I had no intentions of posting about it on facebook, but I mentioned it to my roommates and I was fascinated by their responses.

My roommate Mandi was surprised by me telling her "I was called a chink for the first time in years". Her face was priceless, she thought, due to the tone of my voice (which apparently was happy) that I would have great news for her. She immediately apologized for what I had to go through. My socialist (just kidding) roommate Matthias comes out with his input as well. I was floored at how upset they were. For a fact, they were more offended than I was. I think I was too busy figuring out where to place my 15 cases of DRINKmaple (which you can get for 15% off with the code FRIENDofJDT, shameless plug, I know), to be upset. We had a brief discussion about race relations, how we each defined racism, and what is (in our opinion) acceptable and what isn't. I really relish these conversations, it forces me to expand my understanding of others, it forces me to push on all 6 sides of the box.

I decided to blog about it and parlay it into a shout out for DRINKmaple (I happen to be chugging a bottle at the moment anyways), partly to break up the seriousness, partly, because I think I'm funny.

This blog post is about my friends, the outpouring support that I have from my social network. You people, are truly inspiring and I am so incredibly proud to call you my friends. I didn't make the facebook post so that people could tell me how sorry they are for me, I didn't make it so that people could pity my life as a minority in this country. I wasn't even offended by the racist, I just thought he was stupid and I thought the post would get a few laughs.

I didn't get a few laughs (well, I know at least Eliana thought I was funny), I got an enormous amount of support. I had friends text me, I had friends call me, the first thing that happened at band practice was hugs and apologies for what happened. It was incredible, and I want you all to know that you DO make a difference, you folks are the game changers in America. Do not be silent. I don't buy all the love trumps hate bullshit, but I do believe in sharing knowledge, sharing stories, and supporting one another.

Within all this, is a small lesson to be learned. A very important one, if you ask me. The majority (and we're talking great, you could say YUGE majority) of racism that I have experienced in this country have come from white people. But this blog is dedicated to all my friends, especially the YUGE (ok, that's just a funny saying) majority of support that has been poured out to me were from white people, some even trump supporters (no, I'm not getting political). This is important because I am fortunate. I am fortunate to have a diversity of friends to pull from, to learn from, to experience. This diversity of friends allows me to understand that not ALL white people are racist. I think we as people, need to better understand others. There are minorities out there that are not as fortunate as I am. Their surroundings, their social networks, their friends, are the same spectrum. Take a black child in Compton (gah, I'm dating myself, Comptom is probably gentrified by now), his friends are going to be other poor black kids, he's not going to be able to draw from experiences like I am. The same can be said about many other ethnic minorities in our republic. The same can even be said for "white supremacist" in parts of America. It's hard to think otherwise of someone of color, if you have never had the chance to get to know that person. You take the 4 year old of a racist and put that child in the playpen with 5 other children of color, they'll play. They'll fight too, but that's because of a toy.

Perhaps the key is diversity, perhaps the key is forcing children, at a young age, to be friends with people of color. School desegregation works... but it is vehemently fought against, as per the case of Michael Brown's mother. Episode 562 of This American Life did a phenomenal job covering this.

I'm not sure what the point of this blog was, this is quite typical of my blogs, if you are a follower (do I have any followers?). I start off with this grand idea, then my mind floats, perhaps it was the 2 fingers of scotch... nah, it was probably the second 2 fingers of scotch....

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vegas baby, VEGAS!

OK OK OK, so this is probably not your typical blog about vegas. I didn't hit any strip clubs, nor did i get shitfaced drunk. in fact, the only time i step foot into a casino was because i had to in order to get to see rock of ages (more to come later).

i had my first taste of red rocks earlier this spring, it was great. my sister from another mister couldn't make it out so we talked about doing a fall trip. i've been needing to tick off nevada for my 50 states marathon, so i figured i would combine the two. luckily, vegas marathon happened to be in november, which is perfect fall climbing season.

my training for vegas was pretty spotty. i had about 5 weeks after ironman choo to recover and train. the recovery happened, the training itself.. meh. i had a 20ish mile week, a high 20's week then a 38 miler week followed by a 2 week taper. i had originally wanted to run a 3:20 or lower but i knew that wasn't going to happen race day. again, we'll get there.

i got into vegas early, around 10am. deirdre, one of kristie's friends from SF was getting in at 10:30ish so i waited for her at the lounge. we kind of had a little goof moment, taking the tram to terminal 1, only to realize we were not actually leaving the airport, then when we tried to order an uber it took us a good 20 minutes to find it. it was as if mccarran airport didn't want the coolest 1.5 asians to leave.

we were both pretty hungry (ok, i'm always hungry) so we decided to find this ramen shop where we decided to eat and wait for kristie and johnny to get in. we ended up waiting for quite some time, the shop closed and kicked us out (perhaps we should have eaten more, or more slowly) so we sat outside like bums until our friends showed up.

the croo on frogland

the original plan was to do some single pitch climbing on friday since the marathon was saturday (or so i thought), but we decided to go after it and do some multi pitch climbing. frogland is a classic 5.8 climb that i had done in the past but not lead any of the pitches. i wanted to get back and try to lead a few pitches and it was something kristie was stoked about. we got up early (not early enough) and headed there with dierdre and jacob. there were 3 parties ahead of us, but we decided to wait and eventually all got on the climb by 11. mannnnnn, was my lead head gone. i got lots of work to do. maybe the injured wrist kept me worried, maybe not. i'm not sure. but i'm glad i got some lead climbing in on my trip. the climbing was good, we had some rope stuckage the last pitch which slowed things down. hiked out as the sun set and got to the car in the dark. i was toast. only had 1 liter of water and 2 bar (340 calories). we got back to the house, picked up johnny and headed out to goyemon for awesome all you can eat sushi.

jacob destroyed after all the sushi... we ate all the things. 

i was pretty pooped the next morning. i was dropped off, got my bib etc but realized on the way home that the marathon was sunday, not saturday. by that time it was past noon and everyone was out climbing. i decided to take it easy, chill in the hot tub, have some beers and just relax. i ended up eating ramen and meeting up with dana as his teammates had 2 extra tickets to rock of ages at the rio.

dana and i met up with folks, had komex (korean mexican fusion) and headed over to the rio where we met some folks. i would recommend rock of ages, it was a funny show, had some good songs and the seats were pretty good. the next morning folks slept in a bit, i didn't want to spend another day sitting around doing nothing, so i opted to head out to kraft boulders with thomas and beau, with ryan and cat joining a bit later. we worked some warmup problems, i snagged both classics on potato chips and then got 6 or 7 burns on the pearl, which is an awesome boulder problem that starts with a 3 finger pocket that you have to crank on to get to a pinch while cranking on a toe, only to bump to a super super shitty 3 finger slope, to bump off to a rail. it was extremely painful, it did not go, it was in the sun all day.

i was getting tired so i decided to head back to the house and chill and get ready for the marathon. after some resting, i took a lyft to the race, but the traffic was poop. i ended up being almost 2 miles from the race and had to walk there drop off my bag and then make my way to the front of the line. it was really awesome walking down the strip, no cars on the road, a pretty cool experience.

the whole strip, all to the runners!

the marathon was... well, it was interesting. the first 6ish miles were on the strip. afterwards it took us into old vegas and into vegas and took over a billion turns, in and out of industrial parks and regular parks before it looped back onto the strip. i put down an expected time of 3:20 so i could start in corral 2. but next time i run a rnr marathon, i'm going to lie hardcore so i can start in corral 1. i was extremely annoyed when i saw a lot of folks with high corral numbers make their way up front. the first 4 miles of the race was a complete cluster fuck. races really need to at least threat disqualification when slow runners get up front and bog up the race. what's the point of going out at 8 min miles for the first 4 miles when you run 11 minute miles to finish the race. either way, i kept a solid pace for the whole race. by mile 6ish the 3:30 pace group passed me. i'm not one to run in groups as i prefer to run my own pace but for some reason they seemed like a fun group, the pacer was enthusiastic, so i decided to join then. we ran together for a little over 6 miles, he was not the best pacer. at times 8:20 pace, at others 7:05ish pace. i figured the surges back and forth would hurt my later so i kept at my even pace and just yoyo'ed with them. by mile 10 i decided to just stay with the group. mile 12.5ish came and the 2 people i was running with kind of started to pull ahead of the group. that was when the pacer yelled "ugh" and grabbed his leg, i asked if he was ok, but he told me to keep going. i looked around and it was pretty obvious the 3:30 folks were a little lost. i could tell that folks were thinking "oh fuck, now what". i looked around and a few folks were with me so i said i would hold the pace. i pushed it a bit to catch up to 2 others who were in our group. by the time i caught them, the 6-7 folks with me withered down to 4. we stuck together from 13-18 miles. by then the 2 picked it up a notch. it was clear they were a little competitive with each other, it was pretty cool to watch, but i had a feeling they were going to pay for it. about a mile into it they were about 100 yards ahead, i looked at the 2 guys i was running with and told them that i would bridge the gap. i could see that they were losing steam a bit, so i picked up the pace steadily until i caught the two. i stayed with them until 22 and the 3 of us started to work a bit harder since we both knew we were really close to the 3:30 marker (or so we thought). i was the first to break, probably at mile 24. but i found a 2nd win and caught them again only to have to pee and get passed. i dug in another time, caught one of the runners and tried to chase the other down but decided that i wanted to enjoy the rest of my trip and just jogged it in. 

it was a pretty cool finish line, with all the buildings lit up, with all the people watching and cheering. it was a bit lame to watch all the folks finishing the half in 3:35, most of them walking the last mile.... i mean, not because they didn't train or whatever, it was more so that there were sooooo many people on the course, you couldn't run if you tried to. i ended up doing a 5k cooldown walk/jog and took a lyft home to join folks in the hot tub for beers.

the next morning i decided to sleep in. thomas and i hit up the crag afterwards but it took a good 90 minutes to find everyone. i got on one climb and realized i was too tired to climb, so i just hung around, took photos and chatted people up. 

later that night we hit up lotus of siam. it was amazing food. we ate all the things, and all of the things of all of the things. even the white people ate all of the things, i was impressed with my new friends. 

red snapper by: myself, deirdre, aaron, jacob, and ayaka

red snapper by: thomas, kristie, martin, and johnny
don't worry, we helped them finish their red snapper. we also ate both pad thais, soft shell crab noodles, pot of soup, pineapple fried rice, papaya salad, stuffed chicken wings, shrimp salad, pork belly, and then had some bubble tea. i'm pretty sure the bubble tea was what pushed me over the edge. we got back, redid hot tub and beers, and everyone crashed early. 

tuesday morning involved some cleanup and we all departed the house. kristie and johnny hit up the strip to explore. the rest of us decided to boulder, and boulder we did. i ate all kinds of crap and didn't scend any of my projects. but i was happy to be in nature, among new and old friends. 

i think someone is tired.....

the croo checking out potato chip boulder

how the hell does this girl climb in those?

pork chop boulder, super fun problem

the pearl v5, my new favorite project

sick shot

martin on monkey bars traverse

jacob, finishing the climb

this is why bouldering is better than ropes... ha ha

of course, we finished the trip with ramen and i hit up the lounge for a few hours with jacob, deirdre, and ayaka whilst i waited for my flight to board. 

all in all, i didn't get nearly the amount of alpine climbing i wanted to get done, i didn't get on any of the hard sport problems in the sport crags, nor did i scend anything higher than v3. but considering i didn't climb for 3 weeks and i'm still nursing tears in my dominant wrist.... well, i'll take it.

super stoked that i made new friends, ticked off nevada, got to see kristie and johnny (and brooke! who we bumped into leaving the 2nd pull out), and got to eat at lotus of siam.

as for vegas marathon: if you think running 7 miles out of 26.2 on the strip is worth it, do it. otherwise, there are likely better marathons in nevada. it's one of those bucket list items that only kinda sorta live up to it.