chasing a runner’s high in 2020

for 2020, i made the same new year’s resolution that i had tried and failed at in 2019. i wanted to start running seriously again. i set an arbitrary goal of 730 miles — an average of 2 miles per day, with the expectation that this would turn out to be more like 4–6 miles, 3 times a week.

so far, i am doing much better than last year:

January 2019: 19 miles/8 runs

January 2020: 88 miles/19 runs

aside from the fact that we’ve had far too many 40+ degree days for a january in NYC, there were plenty of differences and lessons learned from last year which have contributed to my progress this year.

  1. moving to strava from mapmyrun

ever since tracking mileage via the GPS on your smartphone became a thing, i had always had the motto that if you didn’t log your mileage, you might as well have not run at all.

i’ve always loved exercise logging apps. back in 2010 or so, I logged mileage on (RIP) and blogged on flotrack. (flotrack still exists, but probably costs $30 a month.) from there i migrated to nike+, mapmyrun, and now finally strava.

so why do i think strava is the primary reason for my success if i have always been logging my mileage on various other apps?

the community and larger userbase is probably the most important reason why i prefer strava to mapmyrun. it seems to be the de facto running app for nyc runners. i only had 2 active friends on mapmyrun, but i have 5 that are super active on strava. in addition, strava links your runs up with people who are running similar routes to you, which has helped me find run buddies around my fitness level who run in the same areas.

otherwise, it’s more aesthetically pleasing than mapmyrun, and i enjoy the segments tracking feature as well, so i can how fast i am running a certain route over time.

2. treadmill only when necessary

a half hour on the treadmill, even with music feels like a lifetime for me.

it is quite easy to say “forget the treadmill, run outside” when this is the warmest january i can remember. i still managed to get outside on the few days this year that were below 25 degrees. i would much rather triple layer than spend more than 15 minutes on the dreadmill.

3. nyrr open run

for the most part, i have had bad experiences with racing in nyc. spending $40 to wait in a corral, crossing the start line 10 minutes after the gun and then being boxed in for a full mile has never been my idea of fun.

new york road runners does free 5K runs in various parks around nyc every saturday morning. they are not particularly competitive (last year, i never placed below 3rd while running ~10 miles a week at most) but i found them to be excellent way to gauge your fitness, and of course extra motivation to have your results timed and posted somewhere.

4. run frequently and don’t make it a chore

in 2019, i was under the perspective that i could not run more than 3 times a week with my busy work schedule.

i regularly have stretches where i work from 9AM to 10PM for 2 weeks straight. i generally have a solid block between 6PM and 8PM where i can go for a workout but i rarely utilized it and ended up hating myself on the treadmill at the gym at 11PM.

i am not sure how my mindset changed on this one, but i am averaging 5 runs a week now — it’s very quick for me to hop into central park for a 5 or 6 miler in the quiet hours of my workday and blow off some steam.

5. resetting my goals

at this rate, i will crush 730 miles, and i knew if i held myself accountable (or more accurately, had strava friends to hold me accountable) last year, i have decided to set some more ambitious time goals for this year.

5K -19:55

my pr of course, is 16:50, but i do not believe i have run a sub-20 5k in my 20s. this number stands out to me as this was my PR during my freshman year of high school. i’d like to think i can beat myself at age 15.

10K – 42:30

i have never run a timed race longer than 5 miles before. i would like to be in a place where i can run around 7 minute pace for 6 miles. it seems to be the sweet spot to get my endorphins going at the level i like

half marathon — 1:41

half marathons have never interested me in the past, simply because i am not interested in running slow, and at no point after high school was i ever in shape enough to run a half marathon fast. i am finding myself enjoying hour long runs, and i can see myself finally running.

at the beginning of the month, i cramped up running a 5K at 7:30 pace. a month later i can maintain that same pace for over double the distance. i’m proud of my progress so far and am excited to see what i can accomplish in the running world this year.

Retire! #1: Hoka Clifton 4

I have this bad habit of wanting to keep clothing that either doesn’t fit anymore or has been worn out. Even though the item has no use anymore, I want to remember them or something, so I figured a decent way to memorialize them and toss them without worrying is to write a short blurb about stuff that I plan to never use again.

So without further ado,

Hoka Clifton 4 (True Blue/Jasmine Green) Size 10

Where Did I Get It?

Super Runner’s Shop on 7th Ave for full price. (MSRP says $130)

Why Did I Get It?

I needed a new pair of running shoes really bad, and Super Runner’s Shop is basically across the street from where I work. I wanted to try a Hoka Shoe as I’m a rabid Kyle Merber fanboy, so I tried these on in-store and thought that they felt decent enough to buy. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the appearance or colorway, but Kyle Merber.

How Long Did I Use It?

They were my primary long run shoe for an entire year. That’s definitely a little longer than a running shoe should last with serious use but I don’t do many long runs, and I was using other less-cushioned shoes for shorter and faster runs.

Any Special Memories?

I remember wearing these to run from my place and looped Roosevelt Island. It was one of my longest runs since High School, with some nice scenery.

Why am I getting rid of them?

  1. The soles are pretty damn worn out.

2. They hurt to run in after a couple months of use. There were no issues at the start, but eventually the inner insoles in both shoes started to tear a little bit, and the they would chafe and blister my feet up through my socks if I ran any more than 2 miles in them. (Which is obviously not good for my long run shoe)


Until they hurt, they were probably 5.5/10. They didn’t feel particularly good or bad. They were definitely cushioned enough for long runs but they definitely felt a little blocky to me. As a long run shoe, I have replaced these with the Nike Vomero 13.

Phillip Lindsay’s case for Rookie of the Year

Phillip Lindsay has made a strong case for Rookie of the Year and deserves your vote. But the media probably doesn’t see it that way.

Anybody who knows me knows that I am a big fan of the Denver Broncos. I don’t have much claim to the fandom, other than the fact that I was born in Colorado, and they were the first team I chose to be a fan of for that very reason. Part of why I like the Denver Broncos so much is that they have a lot of history with low-drafted or undrafted players finding great success. They’re constantly underrated, and some of their greatest players are snubbed for Hall of Fame consideration year after year.

The Orange Crush defense of the 80s. Rod Smith. Terrell Davis. Shannon Sharpe. Chris Harris Jr. Now running back Philip Lindsay is just yet another snub waiting to happen.

With Terrell Davis’s blessing, the former CU Buff wears #30 as he currently leads the NFL in yardage per carry at 6.1 yards despite running behind a banged up offensive line. He’s established the Broncos as a potent rushing team and posted 8 touchdowns to help the Broncos to an even 6-6 record. Lindsay has helped put points on the board for a team without a consistently elite passing attack. Not only is his 154 carries for 937 yards good for #4 in the league, he’s doing it with almost 40 fewer touches than New York Giants rookie, Saquon Barkley. And its happening because Lindsay is consistently breaking off huge plays that lead to scores.

Yet, the league favorite remains the 2018 second overall draft  pick, Saquon Barkley, who is in the middle of an impressive debut season himself.

Barkley is obviously a very talented football player, but there is question for his value to the franchise this year. He was drafted high, expected to do well, and pretty much meets the expectations of a running back taken with the second overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft by the Giants. He’s an athletic beast.

But at 4-8, I’m asking: where is the rest of his team? Is Barkley the reason that they are winning the games they do? How absolutely valuable has Saquon Barkley been to the Giants 2018-2019 NFL campaign thus far? The numbers don’t exactly favor Barkley. In my head, the Giants could be 4-8 right now with almost any other RB in their backfield.

To put it another way: Saquon Barkley has not picked up the slack of others to help the Giants win more, despite his statistical success.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Phillip Lindsay (#30) running past Michael Johnson #90 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The numbers support Phillip Lindsay; the Denver Broncos are winning BECAUSE of Lindsay. If the Rookie of the Year award weren’t a popularity contest driven by the narrative the NFL wants to push, Phillip Lindsay would be winning this award 9/10 times. He is picking up that slack for an injured offensive line, a journeyman quarterback in Case Keenum, and a beleaguered defense also struggling with injuries. First down after first down, #30 and co. have been draining clocks and single-handedly changing the perception of the Denver Broncos as a ground-and-pound team ready to slug it out for 4 quarters.

In that vein, #30 Phillip Lindsay deserves your vote for NFL Rookie of the Year.

matt doesn’t have all the numbers because he honestly cannot be bothered to look that deep into the stats. But by the eye test, Saquon Barkley probably actually contributed meaningful yardage and touchdowns during like, 1 win. Against the Bucs.

Just pay student athletes already

You’d think with the hundreds of millions the NCAA and affiliated colleges are raking in, they could afford to give some kind of compensation to their players. You’d be wrong, apparently.

They’re referred to as part-time athletes, full-time students, but the physical and mental reality of it all is that you’re working two full time jobs in order to excel at collegiate athletics AND collegiate academics. I’m told that having money would be a distraction to the athletes, like it is to Susan and Xu Wei as they walk to their 9am class decked out in Raf and Gucci.

It’s true that student athletes should be students first, athletes second. I’d be impressed by this rhetoric if the top NCAA schools actually bothered to follow this model instead of having virtual slaves play their sports to secure profit for their institutions.

Grayson Allen and Duke will be one of the big TV draws in the 2018 NCAA college basketball tournament. Getty Images (from Metro US)

The best athletes are making tons of money for their schools while earning chump change back in the form of athletic scholarships – the middle-of-the-road athletes put everything in and get nothing back. All of these students are putting in effort for a full-time job and getting nothing from it beyond fond college memories. To be blunt, many collegiate athletes come from struggling, poor backgrounds. They will struggle with things that many other families never had to worry about: will I be able to afford new cleats, can I eat tomorrow, can I afford that textbook, that online resource, will I be able to travel there?, etc.

Professional sports are hardly helping, as they are still mandating players go to college for a minimum number of years before qualifying for professional league play. Again, I’d be totally behind this if it weren’t so painfully obvious this was only done to make that much more money for schools. Imagine if all the superstar talent bypassed collegiate level sports and entered professional play immediately – all that profit is lost from colleges!

Continue reading “Just pay student athletes already” »

Reminder: Punching Nazis is okay

A lot of debate surrounds the ethics of punching Nazis. To me, there is no debate. If the Nazis are low enough for Captain America to punch, then they are low enough for me to punch.

Punching Nazis is still okay today because we suppressed Nazism with violence in the past and it worked out pretty well. In Germany, they just arrest people who promote Neo-Nazism in any form, so I don’t see why the US feels such qualms about it. You should see how the polizei operate, too. It’s a thing of beauty. So if I saw someone wearing a swastika in public, I’d be sure to kick their ass too.

Image result for seattle nazi
“Hey man, I have the freedom of speech okay let’s just talk about it”

Image result for seattle nazi
I’ve never seen someone so peacefully asleep.

Image result for seattle nazi
“Ain’t nothin’ to talk about.” – Actual quote from the puncher.

Let me give you a few reminders:

On September 1, 1939 the leader of then-Nazi Germany launched an invasion and attack on Europe that would throw the world into hard, bloody chaos for the next 6 years, millions dead, countries and families torn apart.

On December 7, 1941 the US entered the war after Germany’s ally Japan launched an unprovoked attack on American soil: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, USA.

When news of the Holocaust broke loose in Europe, and more and more atrocities committed by the Nazis became apparent, the US adopted a staunchly violent view against Nazis. Why? Because using the plight of the people in conjunction with blatant racism and homophobia to gain power and justify war is a vile and broken act that deserves no reprieve. Only swift and violent justice is the answer for these people.

Today, there are people who admire the same people who slaughtered countless humans and threw Europe into irreversible chaos and set the stage for the Cold War. There are even those who deny that the Holocaust even happened.

Many of such filth admire the Nazis because to them, they represent power, something usually lacking in the lives of Neo-Nazis. Really, they are a symptom of the system breaking down at every level to produce such dysfunctional human beings. I feel sorry for many because I’m sure bullying had a lot to do with it. But turning to Neo-Nazism to cope and feel empowered is not the answer; turning to hate and encouraging violence and race purging is not the answer.

And because I remember what the Nazis managed to do the first time around, I don’t want any of them to feel encouraged to feel the way they do. People who are incapable of realizing why they are getting punched deserve to continue to get punched then given a lengthy lecture about it. Anyone who wears the German swastika or the Iron Cross or any Nazi symbols/regalia should be considered traitors to the US. And summarily punched by the nearest US citizen.

Because remember, if Captain America can feel justified punching Nazis, so can you.

If you know anybody that promotes Neo-Nazism, or you are a Neo-Nazi, let me know. I’d be glad to sit down and have a talk with you.

Alex Jones is the greatest face of the Internet 2.0

Did you know that Alex Jones is one of the only fighters in the resistance against Google and their plans for world domination?

look at that body
Good god this man is capable of doing anything isn’t he

If you don’t know who Alex Jones is, he’s a radio show host and a pretty (in)famous conspiracy theorist. He has all kinds of zany theories, and has in recent years appeared on Joe Rogan’s radio show (among many, many others) and CNN. He’s convinced chemtrails (condensation trails from airplanes) are turning our frogs gay.

Recently, this happened:

David Hogg is that high schooler who stepped up into the national spotlight after his high school got shot up by a loser with no friends with guns. He’s seriously giving Alex Jones the time of day about this, which is outrageous and ridiculous to me.

This really confirms it, Alex Jones is the greatest pot stirrer ever. Ever since he got national media attention, people continue to feed into his bullshit at every turn. It’s quite amazing what he’s managed to do, honestly. I was really mesmerized by his explanation of Google’s plans for world domination.

I mean this guy really sounds like he’s serious, you couldn’t make up the stuff he’s saying:

So now this is the person that this David Hogg kid has to go on his show and act like Alex Jones is a sane person who is totally serious.

I don’t understand. Either Alex Jones is psycho, or he’s making all of this up and we’re all buying that he really believes it. If he doesn’t believe it, does that make him the fool? I don’t think so, I think he’s playing us either way. He’s getting paid either way.

Alex Jones is an entrepreneur and a true bearer of the American way, in my opinion. Nobody masters and synergizes free speech with capitalism, entrepeneurship as well as Alex Jones has in the last century. He’s also an expert fighter and will beat you up if you challenge him; that’s right, he’s not just a master in the debate room, he’s a master in the dojo.

I love Alex Jones.

matt writes when he’s bored. follow matt on twitter @bokchoifresh (nsfw) Opinions are matt’s

The SpaceX Launch freaked some morons out; Trump aims sights at FBI director; a drug dealing moron; and more stories

A few interesting things happened in the past few days. Here is a small collection of stories to read on your Christmas Eve.

NPR: SpaceX Rocket Launch Lights Up The California Sky, Freaks Out Some Residents

The contrail from a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen from Long Beach, Calif., more than 100 miles southeast from its launch site, the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Friday. Javier Mendoza/AP

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket had a successful launch on Friday, December 21st. The resulting gas and contrails from the rockets created a beautiful mark on the sky – or an alien UFO, according to some people.

In a bid to ease the minds of worried witnesses, the Los Angeles Fire Department released a statement saying the “mysterious light in the sky is reported to be the result of [Vandenberg] Air Force Base launching rocket to put satellite into space.”

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk didn’t help matters when he tweeted, “Nuclear alien UFO from North Korea.”

“People were wondering if it had something to do with movies, or TV or a UFO,” Jimmy Golen, who was touring the Warner Bros. studio in Burbank at the time, told the wire service.

NPR: Trump Seizes On Reports FBI’s Deputy Director Plans To Retire In Early 2018

President Trump used Twitter Saturday to suggest that Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s increasingly embattled deputy director, was holding onto his position in a race against time to claim full pension benefits.

Trump said McCabe was “racing the clock” in one tweet Saturday:

“FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!”

Read More

Continue reading “The SpaceX Launch freaked some morons out; Trump aims sights at FBI director; a drug dealing moron; and more stories” »

The way the video game industry exploits the human dopamine response is unethical.

Bogus achievements and subtle changes to the way games are presented today maximize the dopamine hits the average gamer will receive so that they return to play habitually. This is taking advantage of human biology, and it’s unethical.

It’s just a part of human nature. When you accomplish something, your body releases the hormone dopamine to make you feel good about what you just did. Normally, this would be for things like a successful hunt, or watching a crop grow successfully, or scoring a goal in soccer, or managing to get more than a stammer out to the lady at Safeway whom you constantly forget is paid to smile at you. Increasingly, social media is actively trying to exploit the human dopamine reward system by pushing meaningless notifications – that’s right, just getting notifications is enough to give you your pleasure hormone for the day.

But that’s been written about enough. Let’s talk about the way video games have been trying so hard to brainwash you into returning to play.

First of all, achievement trophies are total bullshit. They’re immaterial titles that were once reserved for actual challenges and accomplishments, and now are awarded for as much as buying the video game. I’m not kidding, that’s an achievement. Executives and marketing teams and whatever bullshit hacks realized they could trigger our desire to keep playing without actually rewarding the player with anything. Once, completing levels and challenges unlocked cool content or bonuses for the players, and this is increasingly harder to find in video games. The best video games continue to reward the player with substance.

Money well spent. Ahhhh dopamine.

Continue reading “The way the video game industry exploits the human dopamine response is unethical.” »

Trump: ‘Hundreds more’ would have died; Silicon Valley’s homeless; an autistic stage actor; and more stories

Just sharing some articles I read today that I thought others might enjoy. Click the links to read the full stories.

Los Angeles Times Trump: ‘Hundreds more’ would have died in Texas shooting if there was more vetting for gun buyers

Donald Trump speaking in Korea (AFP)

Los Angeles Times: Trump: ‘Hundreds more’ would have died in Texas shooting if there was more vetting for gun buyers

President Trump said that even with tighter vetting of gun buyers, “there would have been no difference” for those killed in the mass shooting at a South Texas church on Sunday.

Trump made the comments during a news conference in Seoul with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in response to a question about why his promised “extreme vetting” for visa applicants shouldn’t also be applied to gun purchases.

The New York Times: Harvey Weinstein Expelled From Television Academy Over Abuse Claims

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer accused of sexual harassment and assault by several women, has been banned for life from the Television Academy because of “widespread examples of this horrific behavior.”

His ouster from the Television Academy is the latest in a series of professional condemnations since widespread accusations about his treatment of women were published last month. Since the accusations surfaced, he has been kicked out of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and fired from the Weinstein Company, which he co-founded.

Associated Press: In Silicon Valley, the homeless illustrate a growing divide

Continue reading “Trump: ‘Hundreds more’ would have died; Silicon Valley’s homeless; an autistic stage actor; and more stories” »