Monday, January 25, 2010

World Record, Seriously?

So this afternoon I broke a world record, I think. There was no fanfare, no media, no confetti, and rightfully so. This was perhaps the most trivial world record out there, and I doubt if it's even a real "record" per se (certainly won't find it anywhere on Guinness...). Gotta do something to brighten up the "most depressing day of the year" though, right? Also, there's that age old saying- "Nothing like breaking a world record to start the week off right." That said, here's the low down;

My wife wanted to go to the gym this afternoon, so I thought that sounded like a fun adventure to join. So I ran out and did some miles, then ran to the gym to meet her there at the designated time. So there I was, on a beautiful sunny 50 degree Seattle afternoon stuck inside a stuffy gym. Obviously I needed to do something exciting to compensate. So I remembered reading a link someone sent me a few months ago about this guy that broke a bunch of "world records." I use the quotes as I think it's debatable as to what exactly constitutes a world record. But I digress. I remember seeing that one of these trivial (in my opinion) records was the World Record for running a 1/2 mile on a treadmill with a 40 pound pack on (now see what I mean about trivial?). The mark was set at 2:51. I figured I could beat it. So the race was on. I unloaded my hydration pack, and filled it with 5 pound plates (8 of 'em), slapped on my pack and headed to the treadmill. I ran a 1/4 mile first to get the feel of the weight on my back, then pounded out a 1/2 mile in a blazing 2:49. Yep, that's right. You read it correctly. I shattered the world record by 2 seconds.

While I realize this is hard to believe, there was no media present, no clapping, and no fanfare after this momentous occasion. The only result was a few strange looks from other gym rats and a raw sore spot on my lower back. Ah well. Then I just ran a lot more miles (sans 40 lb. pack this time) til my wife was ready to go. My lonely moment of glory was over, and now I'm making chicken pot pie for dinner.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Well, Haiti is certainly the hottest topic in the media right now, so I won't go on ad infinitum about the devastation there. I will share some of my own thoughts on this devastation though, and maybe hopefully point someone in a new direction to help. It is heartbreaking to see the vastness of the impact of this earthquake in such a small, already fragile country. I hope and pray that the many families affected are getting the aid they need right now as effectively and efficiently as is possible.

Seeing these images, I cannot help but be reminded of my time on the MS Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and I only wish I were able to help as directly as I could when tragedy struck the Gulf. Ha, I wish I could run around Haiti to show my support in lieu of running 51 marathons. Of course, my life was in a different place then, and while I can't go to Haiti and set up a relief operation like in Bay St. Louis, I hopefully can help in a small way by offering at least a little bit of direction. The many aid organizations active in Haiti now are working in high gear to triage the situation, and their greatest need is certainly financial. Secondly, the need is for skilled volunteers (specifically at this point the need is for medical help). I was thrilled to learn that my brother (an orthopedic surgeon) is headed to Haiti to help directly. Although helping directly would be incredible, I know that right now the best help I can be is to contribute financially what I can to the efforts already in place.

It's exciting to see the swell of support not only from our country but also from around the world. For example, I read that even the financially devastated African country of Liberia has donated $50,000 in aid. Amazing.

Another interesting connection for me between this devastation and the time I spent on the Gulf Coast leading aid efforts is the resiliency of the people. The Haitian people have had a strong influence on the culture of New Orleans, and it's wonderful to see the similarities. The stories of new communities banding together to help each other in Haiti are wonderful, and pictures of impromptu groups singing praise songs and banding together for support are amazing. Haiti will need help rebuilding for many years to come, and I only hope we are able to keep their people in our hearts and minds as the months pass, but the needs continue.

Here are a few great organizations working in Haiti if you're looking for some ideas;

Please feel free to share any other organizations you may be aware of or other ideas/thoughts. Let's all do our part to help!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Christmas Eve Marathon(ish) Video

Christmas Eve Marathon(ish) from Sam Thompson on Vimeo.

A quick running video with no actual running footage. Just a Christmas Eve celebration run with lots of good coffee with miles of running all over Seattle hidden in between stops.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Fastest 6:03 Mile Ever

I'm not terribly into making New Year's Resolutions, so I won't say that trying to incorporate a bit of speedwork into my training is my resolution. However, I am somewhat motivated to give it a whirl in the coming months just to see what happens. After talking with North Face teammate Kami Semick a few weeks ago I definitely realized that I probably won't be racing a whole lot faster without actually training faster. Interesting concept.

So today I decided I'd better get a baseline reading- find out what I can run a mile in on the track. I'm not sure when the last time I actually ran on a track might have been, but it's certainly been a while. Fortunately I do know where a high school is in the neighborhood, so I knew where to find one of those 1/4 mile running ovals. So I ran over there today, did my mile, and ran home. I was sure I'd be able to get under 6:00, but didn't imagine I'd be much under. I was sorely disappointed. My "official" time was 6:03, but I've decided that that time needs some adjustment. What better way to start the new year than with a list of excuses? Hence, I have compiled a brief list of lousy excuses (complete with corresponding time deductions) in order to calculate my actual adjusted mile time for today;

Lousy Excuse #1- I ran to the track, so already had tired legs when I arrived. (- :05 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #2- A belly full of Swedish pancakes and coffee I had just consumed. (- :20 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #3- The cheese fondue I had last night was still heavy in my tummy. (- :10 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #4- It was really windy. (- :05 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #5- It was warmer than it looked so I was overdressed for optimum performance. (- :05 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #6- I was wearing trail shoes and not uber-fast racing flats. (- :05 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #7- My mind was too focused on all the football bowl games going on today to pay any attention to the track. (- :05 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #8- No iPod, so my eye of the tiger was absent minus Eye of the Tiger blasting. (- :05 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #9- Unaccustomed to the tight turns of a track, I felt intense pressure on my inside knee. (-:03 seconds)
Lousy Excuse #10- I'm a trail runner and never run so fast in the mountains. (no time deduction, just an excuse)

So if my calculations are correct, that brings my adjusted time to a 5:00 minute mile. Very respectable I'd say. Wow, I guess I'm not so desperately in need of speedwork after all. Yes, I'm very pleased with that.

Though I did run a mile on the track today, this is all a joke of course, and I am still motivated to try a bit of speedwork moving forward. We'll see how it goes. Happy New Year to you all! 2009 was a lot of fun, and I know 2010 will bring many exciting and fun adventures for us all!