Monday, June 14, 2010

Am I really 22?

So today is my 22nd birthday! Just about as pointless of a birthday as turning 20. At 18 you can buy lotto, and smoke cigars and cigs, 19 you can (or at least could at the time) go to Canada and get sauced out of your mind, but when you turn 22 you have nothing to look forward to other than getting older, which is nothing to look forward to at all.

My sweet and beautiful girlfriend (Iris) came down to visit me this weekend, which I appreciated very much. She came down Friday, and we went to the movies. We saw "Get him to the Greek," and going into the theater I had high expectations of pissing my pants, but much to my chagrin, i was disappointed. There was potential for nothing but humor throughout the entire movie, but i was let down :(

Saturday we got up and went for a bike ride that was cut short by torrential downpours...It was very entertaining to watch, but not to be in. We only rode about 20 mins, but that was ok because we just needed to spin our legs out for the upcoming race on Sunday.

After cleaning up, Iris took me to downtown Chicago for a nice birthday dinner at Bistro 110. It was a very classy place with delicious food...probably one of the top 5 french onion soups of all time!

While downtown, we walked through Memorial Park, which is home to the largest Bean Statue of all time. 50 feet tall and probably 300 feet long, this bean is massive! There were also a ton of other cool things around the park that I enjoyed such as this wierd ass pig with 12 nipples with fat people hanging onto it:

One of the more controversial sculptures I have seen in my days, but nonetheless, I am still very amused by it.

Sunday morning came very early, a 3:30 AM wake-up call was not exactly ideal for any person, but the race we were doing started at 6:30 and was an hr and 15 mins away, so when duty calls, duty calls. We were on the road by 4:00 and at the race site by 5:45. The race was called the Lake in the Hills Sprint Triathlon. Consisted of a .5 mile swim, 15.5 mile bike, and a 4 mile run.

Overall this was a very fun race. Relatively small (320 People), very well run, and the weather was perfect, low 70s and cloudy. I signed up for the race 3 days before race day, so naturally I was thrown in the last wave with all the procrastinators who cant make up their minds what races they want to do.

As the gun went off, into the water we went. I felt really strong in the water, and managed to put a gap between myself and the other racers in wave 8. I came out of the water feeling very strong, and confident that this race could be my first W of the season.

I hopped onto my bike and off I went. I saw a guy in front of me who was from wave 7 and seemed like a strong cyclist, so I tried to latch onto him for some competition, but by mile 2 he was out of sight. He pulled away from me hard, I was holding 27.5 MPH for the first mile and a half, but that wasnt enough. The bike course was particularly deceiving. It had lots of false flats, and lots of extended uphills that you couldnt roll your speed from the downhill to carry you up it. I came off the bike knowing that I had given back some time, feeling as if I needed quite a strong run to pull out the victory.

After struggling to put on my shoes in transition, I knew I had my work cut out for me. I passed the first mile in 6:15, and knew that wouldnt be quick enough. I tried to find some strength from inside to motivate me to a stronger run, but nothing was working. I hit 2.5 miles and saw the guy that had pulled away from me on the bike. I marked where he was at and found that I was about 3 mins behind him. His wave went off 3 minutes before mine did, so I said to myself 'beat him and you got the race.' I hit the aid station with a mile and a quarter left and found the strength needed to kick it into the next gear. I passed the 3 mile marker in a time of 18:44, and knew that wasnt going to be enough. I told myself the only way that I am going to beat this guy is if i run a sub 6 min mile. The pain came on me like a ton of bricks with 3/4 of a mile to go, but I pushed it to the side as if it was the last thing I was worried about, I had one thing on my mind, and that was beating the bike machine. with a quarter of a mile to go I was feelin the pain everywhere, luckily just about that point I came into the park where all the spectators were, and they were cheering me on tellin me i was 200 meters away. Usually when people tell you how close you are you need to double it to get to the right distance, but as I passed the last tree line, I realized these people were right. I sucked every last bit of strength I had left in those last 200 meters, and crossed the line. I ran the last mile in 5:39, and I was pumped. Unaware of what the rest of the field had done, I thought I had the race in the bag.

When they posted the results, I looked and did not find my name atop the the list, which was frustrating. I had placed 3rd, but I beat the bike machine by 1 second. Even though I didnt win the race, I was pleased with myself for the effort I gave in the last mile, but i was mostly pleased that I beat the guy.

When the awards were passed out, I was eager to see who had won. Turns out that this big Russian guy who is 37 years old ran 5:30s and took the race by 2 mins. It was, and still is hard for me to believe this result, seeing as the guy was 6'4, must have been 200 + lbs. Maybe its the competitor in me, but I would love to see this guy run 5:30s.

But Congrats to the big Russian guy for the W, and also congrats to Iris, who placed 8th out of nearly 100 women, and posting up her best bike avg and run avg at a legit tri.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memorial Weekend Part 2 (Willy Wonka and his Oompa Loompas)

At the lake you dont get shat for service on your cell phone, so I had left it in my bag for all Friday and Saturday, but for some reason I remembered that a good friend of mine told me he was going to the Willy Wonka factory to get some dank chocolate, so I went to get my phone to see if I had any calls. I had a few missed calls from Wonka himself, and so I gave him a call back, which was the greatest decision i made all day. This dear friend of mine has quite the "Sweet Tooth" when it comes to chocolate, and when i called him back it seemed as if he had a little bit too much chocolate for one night...He was telling me stories that he wanted to get a couple little minnow fish, and a big piranha so that he could watch it the piranha shred these little fish to pieces...sick thoughts this kid has...the other bizarre thing he told me was that when he was younger (he wouldn't tell me how old or any details about the situation) he wore a chastity belt. I was a little upset because thats one of those things you dont just tell someone about without I am still working on more info, will keep you posted.

After our very long conversation about weird shit, my beautiful and sweet girlfriend (Iris) joined me outside under a big tree by the lake and we stared at the stars. On a clear night, star gazing is a very entertaining and relaxing thing to do.

The next morning Iris and I woke up pretty early and went for a bike ride around the lake. It was a very nice, scenic ride, that naturally ended in me dropping Iris like it was my job...just kidding cutie. But the ride was great, the weather was great, just the perfect way to start out the day.

When we got back we jumped in the lake for a quick rinse before everyone dug into breakfast (300lbs of Egg Bake, Fresh Doughnuts, and Gallons upon gallons of OJ). It was delicious!

Next up on the list...any guesses?? Golf, haha, time to hit the links again. 9 more holes were played, and nothing really exciting happened, I sunk a few long putts, got a birdie, but the most exciting part was when Chris chipped it in from 45 yards out. He was having quite a rough hole up to that point but managed to salvage a bogey and get the carry over for the skin.

After we finished up the 9 we stopped back by the colorful Chuck-E-Cheese bar, and got a couple pitchers. Little did we know we were avoiding one of the most catastrophic events to ever take place at the lake...

Elise (Amy's 16 year old daughter who is, to say the least, very similar to Cady Heron from Mean Girls) brought 2 of her "plastic" friends with her for the weekend at the lake, and naturally they thought they were all hot shit, layin around the boat trashing it, not cleaning up after themselves. Elise was about to dig herself a grave she would not be able to climb out of.

My grandparents own a baller Jet-ski that is unreally fast. I have reached a top speed of 71 MPH on it. Elise had the great idea that she was going to pull tubers behind this thing. So they hooked up the cords for the tube and off they were (this was all happening while we were at the bar, so this is all hear say, I unfortunately didnt visually see anything happen). About 10 minutes after being out, my grandpa (A former basketball player at the University of Illinois way back in the day, who has been a teacher at Oakland Community College and a member of the Farmington Schoolboard for 40+ years, who is one of the most kind and gentle soft spoken people unless you do something stupid, which causes him to transform into a horrible beast, like Professor Lupin does when he sees a full moon in Harry Potter 4 Prisoner of Azkaban) saw Elise and my younger brother swimming the Jet-ski back in from across the lake. What had happened was Elise, a very unexperienced driver on the road, let alone on a Jet-ski, had not let the rope tighten enough before she gunned it, and sucked up all the ropes in the intake, causing the jetski to completely shut off. The most entertaining part of the whole story is that the whole weekend she was convinced that it wasnt her fault. How she believes this I do not understand...but the 16 year old teenage high school cheerleader thought otherwise.

The rest of the day Sunday was pretty mellow, and everyone dreaded the thought of driving home to start work back up Tuesday, me included.

The 5 hr drive home was terrible, as I expected, but overall the weekend was fun, full of entertainment, harassment, and most importantly family bonding...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Memorial Weekend Part 1

Well, I have been pretty busy at work, so I have been unable to post anything new, so this one is going to be long...

Lets travel back in time 2 weeks ago to Memorial weekend. I spent the weekend at my grandparents lake in Manitou Beach, MI. They live about 15 min bike ride from the Michigan International Speedway. A couple of years ago, they tore down their old shithole they called a shack, and build this sweet ass mansion house! They live on Devils Lake.

I left work around 2PM Chicago time, and hopped in the car to start the 4 and a half hr drive (5 and a half due to time zones...what a joke). Within 20 minutes I was in bumper to bumper traffic and was not happy. Who leaves work at 2 on a Friday of Memorial weekend Jesus! So after traveling 3.5 miles in 95 minutes, something finally clicked in the other drivers heads that, 'O i dont have to drive 5 MPH and watch the people do construction! If i keep my eyes on the road, and drive, I can go a respectable 40 - 50 MPH and actually GET SOMEWHERE!'

Traffic Jams are a little frustrating for me, but I got through it. So I got to my grandparents place a little after 8:00, but unfortunately my uncle (Chris, an obnoxiously fast runner in HS and at the University of Illinois, ran a 4:07 and 9:02 mile and 2 mile in High School, but has since shriveled up to suck at nearly all things) and my dad (Terry, a former Captain of the Michigan State Swim team in 1981 and 1982, where he swam 15:30 for the 1650, placing 8th at the Big 10 meet his Junior year, has also lost all sense of speed or athletic ability, but proceeds to think he can still swim faster than me in any race) had already finished golfing. When we are at the lake we do a lot of a select few activities:
  • Play Golf (usually 18 holes a day when we are there, 9 in the morning and 9 at night)
  • Drink (sneak cases of beer onto the golf course because they wont sell it to us that early)
  • Play shuffleboard in the garage like hillbillies while we watch the Detroit Tigers on the 52" Sick flat screen my grandparents recently bought
  • And Lastly, sit on the boat and get some sun, naturally still drinking
So, back to the story. I got into town around 8 Friday night, and my dad and uncle told me to meet them up at a bar just down the street from the house. This bar used to be a shitty old place, that stank like my brothers "shit-mop" breath, but recently had been redone, and now looks like a colorful Chuck-E-Cheese on the outside, and is no different on the inside. I met them there for a pitcher, and they told me how their rounds on the links went.

We are pretty good golfers, I usually shoot right around 40 for 9 holes, my dad usually shoots right around 45, and chris about 45-47. We play skins games for money, so I typically have to give my dad 4 strokes, and Chris 5. They both told me that it was a rough round out there, and they both shot 52's. It seemed a little high for them, so i called BS, but they stuck to their story. Turns out I ended up getting their cart the next morning and their scorecard was still in it which they both shot 46, and were trying to Swindle me to give them more strokes, a very "Hook" move to say the least.

Nothing too eventful happened Friday night, some drinking, and lots of pizza from the greatest pizza place in town "Luigis."

I awoke Saturday morning feeling pretty fresh and ready to enjoy the lake. The sun was shining, and the fish were jumping. We had a Tee time for 10:30 to play golf, so we all ate breakfast and talked shit about each other (the usual activity at the lake), until we hit the links.

By 10:30, the sun was shining, and it was quite toasty. We got up to the clubhouse, and the course was relatively empty, which seemed kind of weird on such a beautiful day. We got through the front 9, and all of us were playing right around where we usually do. Nobody really had taken too much $$ from the others. I shot 39, my dad shot 42, and Chris shot 47.

Later on that night, I decided I was going to go for a run. I was still pretty drunk, but I felt like a run was a good idea, so I went for it. Surprisingly, it felt great, I was averaging 20 seconds faster per mile at the same HR than I had for my previous runs the past few weeks, so there might be something about drunk running that I need to look ill keep you posted.

When I got back, went for a quick dip in the lake and grabbed another beer. My dad is the kind of person who drinks then takes naps and drinks and takes naps, so naturally just when I got out of the lake, he was up, de-pantsing Chris, and my younger brothers, just being his normal self (which you would never picture a 50 year old VP doing). He brought up the idea of playing more golf, so we went back out for 9 more.

The rest of the day and night was pretty low key, everyone was tired, but everyone was in anticipation of the arrival of my aunt (Amy, whose personality is straight in line with my uncle, my dads and mine). She is a fanatic Tigers fan, and drops everything when they are on.