Comparing ice cream and a national-champion runner is kind of a stretch, but I have a way to do it, and I needed something for a headline. Yesterday, I had frozen yogurt and ice cream to stretch my streak of eating ice cream or frozen yogurt to 106 days. I decided I’d write about some other streaks I’ve had in my life. But before I get to those, I want to talk about the success streak of one of Operation Jack’s amazing coaches — one of the nicest, fastest guys you’ll ever meet.
John Loftus, a great guy, a friend of mine and an RRCA-certified long-distance running coach, graciously volunteered to help Operation Jack with our Ask The Coaches feature. On Sunday, the Marathon Gods were good to him for his service, rewarding him with a healthy PR at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in the USA Men’s Masters National Championships.
John turned in a 2:41:19, an amazing time for a 21-year-old. Of course, John is 51. The run was good for second in his age group, amazing for a national-championship event. He went up there aiming for a sub-2:40, and he was on track late. He was also just 16 seconds shy of winning his age group. So, he didn’t hit those two goals. But to him, I say the same thing he tells me when I run well despite not hitting pretty time barriers (for me, a sub-3) — he ran an amazing time and has nothing to be ashamed of.
Sunday continued an amazing run he’s had over the past year. He won his age group in this race to capture a national championship last year. This April, he won his age group in the Carlsbad 5000, the nation’s most competitive 5K. Three weeks later, he won his age group in the Boston Marathon, the nation’s most competitive race at that distance. And Sunday, a PR and a second-place finish in a national-championship event.
How fast is John? Well, for comparison’s sake, I’m not the fastest guy in the world, but I’ve won age group awards in distances from 5K up to the marathon, I have 12 Boston qualifiers in my 25 marathons and I have a marathon PR of 3:00:05. And John’s 5K split on Sunday (yes, during the marathon, so it was a conservative pace) was 37 seconds faster than my 5K PR. Mind boggling. Nice job, John … proud of ya!
I’ve got the ice cream streak going. 106 days now. It’s not something I really planned on, but it just kind of happened and the longer it goes, the tougher it’s going to be to snap it. Here are some other streaks I’ve had in my life:
– My dad used to buy season tickets to the Angels in the 1990s. In 1991, I went to 60 consecutive home games without a miss. My mom wrecked it, though. She was living in North Carolina and bought plane tickets for me and my brother to go visit her and she didn’t even look at the baseball schedule first. Totally inconsiderate. She reads my blog, and she’s probably saying, “Bite your tongue!” Heck no. It’s my blog. Thanks for nothing.
– In 2000 and 2001, I worked as sports information director at Orange Coast College out here in California. Spring is busy for college athletics and in 2001, I went 78 consecutive days (including weekends) without a day off. That was kind of a bummer. That’s also why I didn’t work there in 2002!
– I’ve never really been a running streaker (for those of you non-runners, that means somebody who runs every day). I never really intend to take days off, but the longest running streak I think I’ve ever been on was about 55 or so days in August and September of 2007. Now that I think about it, I think I had a stretch of eight or nine straight days with a run of at least 16 miles earlier this year. I thought that was pretty cool at the time.
– In the Fall 1995 semester at K-State, in the ultimate anti-streak, I didn’t have a single week where I didn’t miss a class. Every Monday, I told myself, “this will be the week.” Never was it the week, though. Amazingly, I went on academic probation and was kindly asked by my dad to find a different hobby and stop wasting his money. I went back to school in the spring of 1997 and didn’t miss a class the entire semester. A funny thing happened when I went to class: I doubled my GPA!
– I wasn’t the greatest student in high school. I’m a pretty sharp guy, but I certainly didn’t work hard until I got to college (and even there, I had that bad semester at KSU!). Due to an absolute lack of effort, I went 24 consecutive report cards (progress reports, quarter grades, semester grades) with at least one D or F. The first report card I had without a D or an F during my entire high school career was the first semester of summer school after my junior year, when I got a C in my only class, English.
– During that year off from college when I was on academic probation, I lived in Las Vegas. One day, I went to the Gold Coast to play 25-cent roulette. I played with a method called “negative progressive” betting, where you double your bet each time you lose. The theory is that once you finally win, you recoup your losses. If you’re betting black, how many times in a row could it possibly come up red? And how much money could you possibly lose?
I played for hours. I’d lose 2, 3, 4 times in a row, but then it would come up black, and I had all my money back. My betting pattern was $0.25, $0.50, $1, $2, $5, $10 and so on. My incredible streak that day was nine consecutive reds. NINE. Too bad I was betting black. A quarter, a half-dollar, $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $40, $80. Gone x 9. I was only winning a quarter or a dollar with every win, so I’d only earned about $25 through all those hours of playing. All of a sudden, I had $160 as my bet.
I had originally bought in for $20. I lost an additional $140. And I had an additional $160 down now, wondering if my streak would hit 10. This was my last chance, and once the dealer locked in the bets, my stomach sank, because I realized I’d have problems explaining to Tiff how I lost $300 or so on 25-cent roulette. But it came up black. I tipped the dealer $5, left the table with what ended up being about a $20 net profit, and I never played roulette again!
Bad Joke Of The Day
Back when I was in college, I used to drink a lot of beer. I’d get drunk, take my clothes off and run through campus. It was a big problem. I nearly got arrested a few times. I loved the rush though, and I just couldn’t quit. But finally, I stopped drinking beer and started drinking Windex. That stopped the streaking.
Three More Days Until I Run A Marathon With My Wife!
I’m going to blog about the race through her persepctive as much as I can next Monday. If you have any questions you want me to ask her, let me know! Have a great Thursday, everybody. I’m planning on In-N-Out for lunch. I hope you enjoy your mid-day meal as much as I will!