Monday, October 19, 2009

Hilarious

Every now and then I cannot find any acquaintances in the dining hall to help give me moral support while I attempt to choke down the U of R food (I have lost 10 pounds since I got back to school). In cases such as these, I reach for the newspaper and read about that day's events. About once a week, however, I peruse the student-created "Campus Times." I am a huge fan of the campus times. I think the contributors and editors do a fantastic job. Many of the articles are written with a humorous tone, which I love. My favorite section of the paper is consistently the Security Update section. It basically details some of the issues that erupted that week, requiring attention from UR Security. Obviously sometimes things happen on any college campus that are incredibly serious in nature should not be joked about. However, the incidents mentioned in the Security Update are usually somewhat minor. The reason I like this so much is because they are presented in a totally hilarious style, and some of the events are ridiculous in and of themselves. The column is written by Jerome Nathaniel, a very cool, very smart dude who I have a class with.

When I was reading the issue of the paper from October 8th, I came across a section in the Security Update that made me laugh incredibly hard. It is undoubtedly the funniest, most bizarre, and thoroughly hilarious entry I have ever run across. Enjoy...

Elevator Enthusiast Gets Escorted Out of UHS
On Oct. 3, at 1:25 p.m., UR security responded to a report of a male photographing the elevators at the University Health Service building and riding the elevators up and down.
According to Daniel Lafferty (Head of UR security), officers located a male matching the description and walking rapidly down Library Road.
When the officers approached the suspect, he admitted to being in the UHS building. Lafferty said the suspect told the responding officers he had a "thing" for elevators and wanted to check out the new ones at UHS. He further insisted that his spouse was an employee of the University.
He was advised that his behavior was inappropriate and was warned and released.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Amazing

Craig Alexander: Two-time Ironman World Champion. What an amazing performance on Saturday. Alexander came off the bike 12 minutes behind Chris Lieto, who absolutely shredded the bike leg. In the famously brutal Hawaiian heat and humidity, Alexander chipped away at the lead, stalking Lieto, pulling back half-minute chunks of time every mile. He had some trouble getting rid of the incredibly-talented Andreas Raelert of Germany, as the two ran stride-for-stride for quite a few miles. However, Crowie eventually was able to drop Raelert, and begin stalking his prey on his own. The pass occurred at around mile 21, as the tough-as-nails Lieto tried to keep pace, but simply could not. Alexander finished 2 minutes ahead of Lieto, in quiet disbelief that he was able to pull it off. He would later say that his main focus "was just to give a good title defense and put in a performance I could be proud of." Crowie, I think you can be pretty damn proud of yourself. You are a true champion.

The courage of Lieto was simply inspiring. To lead a race for that long and not win is heart-breaking, but he raced like you are supposed to: flat out until you have nothing left. He did not win, but he took a huge second-place result, and made Alexander dig incredibly deep into his soul to win. A true champion makes everybody else better. You did that, Chris.

Other notable performances: Raelert is a beast, and took 3rd in his Kona Debut... Chris McCormack fought leg cramps all day, had to walk some during the marathon, and still was able to regain his composure and running stride to finish an incredible 4th place... Rasmus Henning finished 5th... with a BROKEN HAND! Unbelievable. Andy Potts ran himself into 9th place with a 2:52 marathon, in a race dedicated to his recently deceased father-in-law. Great job Andy!

The Women's race was much much else involved. Chrissie Wellington gave us a lesson in how to go about demolishing a field. With a 20-minute gap over the second-place woman, and a new course record in hand, she crossed the line with her trademark smile, and did the Blazeman roll, to remind us that there are more important things that racing. Thank you, Chrissie.
Watching this race on the internet was absolutely surreal. It was the first time I have had the opportunity to watch it on anything else than the NBC 1-hour long show. In the 8 plus hour race, I watched most of it. I could not look away... the racing was so great. The best athletes in the world pouring out their souls in the Hawaiian heat, showing us what the human body and spirit are truly capable of. It makes me want to be better. It makes us all want to be better. Triathlon.

Photos taken from traithlon.competitor.com

Friday, October 9, 2009

Two Words: EPIC FAILURE


Well, for my first non-triathlon-related blog post, I will at least keep it on the subject of sports. As most of you know, I am a baseball fan, and have been a die-hard New York Mets fan since birth (thanks, Grandpa Dolan). I would like to sum up the 2009 season for the Metropolitans. In short, no other season has done more to increase my apathy toward my beloved team, or to decrease my interest in baseball in general. But don't worry, I will stand by my boys 'til death.

A year of promise started well, with a new stadium and the promise of erasing last year's monumental collapse (a re-occurring theme with the metsies). The first hitter in the new park was Jody Gerut, of the San Diego Padres. He hit a home run. I would consider this to be the point at which the season went to hell. But, thanks so my friends at deadspin.com, I was able to find a couple of other key dates in this 2009 season, which is one we would like to forget as soon as possible.

April 12- Daniel Murphy drops a routine fly ball with Johan Santana on the mound and leads to a loss. This would be the first of many similar incidents (April 21, June 25, etc.).

May 13- Jose Reyes goes down with a calf injury. Season over for our most talented and electric player.

May 16- Carols Delgado's seasons descends down the tubes with a hip injury.

June 4- J.J. Putz, our lights-out set-up man wrecks his elbow. Done for the year.

June 12- Shoulder injury for starting pitcher John Maine. To make matters worse, with the Mets winning by one run in the 9th inning facing the Yankees, Luis Castillo drops a routine pop fly, allowing two runs to score.

June 22- Carlos Beltran hurts his knee. Misses half the season.

August 4- Luis Castillo sprains his ankle while walking down the steps of the dugout. WOW!

August 15- David Wright, who hit 10 home runs all year (after consistently hitting 30 for the past 3 years), gets hit in the head with a fastball, putting him on the DL.

August 25- Johan Santana's season ends with a trip to the surgeon for his pitching elbow. Great.

Final record: 70-92. 22 games out of first place. What a terrible year. I think some things need to change. I hear rumors of them changing their strength/conditioning program, and all I have to say is "I should hope so." Nobody hit home runs, and everybody got hurt. Great job.

Next year? Well, that's why we have sports, so we can always look to next year. Let's proceed with a sense of cautious optimism, shall we?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Kona picks

Alright, ladies and gentlemen. There are several very special days throughout the year. For many triathletes, these may include, but are not limited to, Christmas/other Religiously affiliated traditional holidays, New Years, Birthday, Anniversary for those of us who are married, and Ironman Hawaii Day! It's the most prestigious race in our beastly sport. The fields are always loaded, and the head, humidity, and wind make it such that if you win this race, you have literally persevered through hell and back. This year promises to be one of the most exciting races yet. Let us examine the contenders for the 2009 Ironman World Championship, happening on October 10th!

The Dudes
Craig Alexander (Aus)- Last year's champion. Extremely strong among all three disciplines, but especially beastly on the run. Has not raced an Ironman this season, but has dropped the hammer on a plethora of 70.3 events. Perhaps most impressive was closing a 1:45 gap in TWO MILES to Chris Lieto at Ironman Boise 70.3.

Chris McCormack (Aus)- One of the most brash, confident fighters ever to race triathlons. His resume at Kona contains a win (2007), but also some epic failures. Last year his dream of a repeat was crushed by a mechanical mishap. He has had a successful season, and you know that he has targeted Kona as the most important race of the year for him. Watch out for him.

Eneko Llanos (Esp)- A real beast, who oftentimes finishes second, as he did in Kona last year. If he can put it all together, he can challenge for the win.

Normann Stadler (Ger)- The past five years in Kona for the Normanator have been all of nothing. In 2004 and 2006 he used huge bike splits to power himself to the win. However, in '05, two flat tires crushed his hopes. In '07 he stalled at the half-way mark on the bike to puke his guts out. And last year, he cramped badly on the run, after making a ballsey move on the marathon. Can he return to fine form in '09? We shall see.

Other veterans- Cam Brown, Timo Bracht, Faris Al-Sultan, Ronnie Schildknect, Chris Lieto and Timmy DeBoom have all had fantastic races here in the past. Can they pull something special this year?

Dark Horses- Andreas Raelert, Rasmus Henning, Andy Potts, and Terenzo Bozzone have all had success on the short-course circuit, and they have awesome speed. They have the ability to shake things up on a good day. Henning and Potts have both recently suffered bike crashes, which is too bad, because they have the potential to really put the pressure on the pure distance guys.

My pick for the win: I think that this year is going to be one of the most epic ever. Macca is getting older now and is incredibly motivated to win one more time. Yet, it will be difficult to beat Alexander.

Without Torbjorn Sindballe in the race this year, look for Chris Lieto and Stadler to push the pace on the bike. Lieto has been training with Ryan Hall in Mammoth lakes, so can he put together a good marathon and steal the win? It will be very tough for him. Look for the super-runners to catch him and Stadler about halfway, and we will see a serious duel between Macca and Crowie that will come down to the wire. Macca would seem to be the biggest and most aggressive competitor, but Alexander's win at Boise showed us all that if he is anywhere near the win, he will absolutely bury himself for it. Look for Alexander to pull away late in the marathon, and take the 2009 World Championships.


The women
Chrissie Wellington will obliterate the field, again.

Mirinda Carfrae, Rebecca Keat, and Yvonne Van Vlerken are all really good.

Wellington cannot be touched.

Motivation? Yes.

So, stay tuned for my Ironman World Championships predictions. In the meantime, let's remind ourselves what happened last year...