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Thursday, January 12, 2012


Last spring, I fenced four nights per week, and got back into running shape. I swam regularly (not enough), basically just keeping a feel for the water. Looking back at my training schedule, I should have found a different pool to go to, and actually swam real sets, not just did drills and 100’s while avoiding the obnoxiously slow people in my lane.

Summer was okay in the pool. I swam more, but still not enough. Not having a set daily schedule from someone else makes getting better at something you aren’t already good at pretty difficult. You start doubting yourself.

This past semester, I swam more. I got better. I did real sets. Well…I at least got better at swimming workouts. I sprained my ankle twice in the three weeks before worlds, so that put a damper on things.

After school ended, I headed out to the OTC, and got into the pool for some real work. Genadijus coaches me for real (as one would hope). The sets can feel like death, but they’re doable. I’m ACTUALLY getting noticeably better, not just saying that I am. He sends us the weeks’ practices beforehand if we’re not at the OTC (what I did when I was home), which I love. I know what’s coming, and I know that I can do it. I have a start point and an end point.

Swimming is such that you can’t just swim sometimes and get better. You have to be consistently in the water, pushing yourself. Hard. You have to put those meters in, or else you lose it. “Use it or lose it” applies here, oddly enough.

I posted my training spreadsheet a while ago on googledocs, but never kept up with posting it. In order to make myself stay in the water, I’m going to continuously update this:

…and log my training week, every week, publicly.

This is pretty much everything since I started college. I record the things that are actually useful to me, which is why I stopped recording my shooting scores.

Pretty much right after I get home, I’m going hiking in Patagonia for about a week, which means I won’t be in the pool. I know. Part of me wants to shank myself as well, but I’ll never get another change to see the one of the greatest wilderness paradises on the planet. After that, if you’re reading this, and you see that I’m not posting my training, or not swimming enough, please get on my case (if you have time). Gretchen, Mark, Matt, Mom (I don’t think she reads this…), Dick, Nancy, Kaleigh, Alexa, etc.

What’s enough, you ask? About 3000m/day I figure is pretty good.

Once I get to Buenos Aires, one of my priorities is going to be to find a good pool, and live in it. After that, I’ll get settled with fencing. Running is going to have to take a backseat, probably like 20 mpw, just to stay with it.

We’re going to do this. It’s going to happen. School is going to be difficult, but I’m going to make time. I’m going to be efficient with everything. I’m going to get faster.

When it comes down to it, if you put the quality time and quality effort into anything, you get better. Maybe you get better slowly and steadily, maybe you take two steps forward and one back, but you can’t spend time doing something well, and not get better. I’ll say it again. This is going to happen. I’m not going to keep swimming 2:30. I have the strength. I have the aerobic capacity. I have the anaerobic capacity. I ran 1:59 in the 800m, but only after putter in 4 years of hard work into track and field.

No matter how many people tell me how difficult it is to get a good stroke and get faster in the pool later in life, I honestly don’t give a damn. Imagine if I believed that? Anything is possible. No. More. Bullshit. Time for work.

There’s a reason I wear a necklace with a Prefontaine quote on it. No matter how many high school cross country shirts say this, and no matter how many people have it in their facebook profile’s “quotations” section, I believe it. It’s part of me.

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

I’m going to look back at this post in five months. What am I going to say?

“I knew I could do it.”

Let’s go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Gretchen Powers

Gretchen Powers. If you know me from school, or stalk my facebook, there’s a good chance you know who she is. She’s pretty dope.

Spring of ’09, I posted on the UVM 2013 facebook group that I detested putting wooden-handled knives in the dishwasher, under the “pet-peeves” of a “roommate survey” on the discussion board. Don’t ask. She was entertained. This is where it all started.

Freshman year we went skiing together a few times. She thought I was nuts, but she was okay with it.

Sophomore year, she still talked to me during no-shave November (Why? I have no idea), and we became pretty close. We ate dinner together frequently.

When I came back from Spain, we went hiking in Vermont, running in the woods, and cooked parchment paper fish at her house in Middlebury. We went to Anna’s Tacqueria. She didn’t like it at all. NOT.

Before Junior Worlds, she made this:

Truly special people exist out there. People that care. They’re people you’d do anything for.

This fall, we decided to make a film. It started out as 24 hours running, but we needed a theme. Freshman year I had written a whole dialogue about “chasing the person you want to become.” Tagline set.

Long story short, we almost killed each other making it, but it was totally worth it. Best user-video of the year on Flotrack, WHAT? 10,000 views on Flotrack, 4,600 on Vimeo? (1/11/12) Yeah. She’s a film genius, and I have really good running form. Modesty is a virtue. Here’s the link:

Gretchen spent more time on this film than the gestation period of an elephant (yes, that was necessary). Filming lasted a few months…editing a few years.

Shot locations:

Colchester causeway in South Hero, VT
Spear St. Trails
Lincoln Woods
East woods
Red Rocks
UVM Track
Burlington Country Club golf course
Mt. Philo
Rolling fields and dirt roads in Charlotte


1. Dangerous, Pete and Mike Band
2. Scott Miller

Gretchen is going to Nepal this spring. She doesn’t know it yet, but when she comes back, she’ll be a Level IV badass. There are six levels. Ernest Shackleton, Mick Jagger, Ryan Lochte, Dean Potter, and Paula Radcliffe are at Level VI. She’ll probably find this and give me shit, but that’s okay.


Last spring, being away from the UV made me realize how much I love it. Madrid, however much I love it, and fondly look back on it, made me find myself.



We care about what we eat. We don’t put chemicals into our food.

We like renewable energy and efficient cars.

Not so goods:

Why are you judging me? You’re a posh, superficial ninny. Get over yourself.

Why don’t these people recycle?

Do all of these women come from the Spanish girl factory? Are you all the same? Do you think for yourself?
Clarification: They’re not all the same. There are down to earth people everywhere, but Madrid is considerable more homogenous than Burlington.

I’ve already gone through this, and I fully appreciate and embrace cultural differences, but y’all hopefully know what I mean.

Where does this all point? Where does this mindset I love hang out?

Yes, you guessed it. Vermont. Thank you admissions at Boston College, Dartmouth, Villanova, Cornell, etc. for not accepting me three years ago, because I wouldn’t be where I am today had I gone somewhere else. Sure, I can be happy anywhere. Cornell would be great. Zack loves Dartmouth. Life is give and take, and it just to turns out that I’m doing everything I want to do here at UVM. Pentathlon. Business. Spanish. Spain. Argentina. Slade.

Yes. Slade. It’s like Oz for people who care.

Being away from UVM made me realize how much I love my school. Where does the essence of the UV reside? The environmental co-op. Slade Hall.

Senior spring of high school, visiting UVM, my parents and I went to talk to Stacy, a counselor at Nashoba North who was a senior (?) at that point. She was an RA in the Greenhouse (dorm with an environmental theme). I asked how green the greenhouse was. She informed me that it wasn’t excessive. There was a dorm called Slade for the hard-core folk.

Well, freshman year, I roomed with a high jumper named Ross. Ross and I learned a lot from each other. We made each other a lot more open-minded in terms of peoples’ differences (in a good way).

Freshman year, when I wanted to go out, I would go to 239, So. Prospect Street, or what was then known as the Cross-Country House. One night, some sweet people came in, and invited us to a party down the street at Slade. I thought SURE. I’m down. In my polo and white jeans (which are now white jhorts, thank the Lord Jesus my Savoir*), I walked south to 420 So. Prospect St, looked into the basement, saw people dancing shirtless to a jam-band, and said, I can’t go down there, I look like a yuppie. I went back to 239, not realizing how open the people down there was. Slade was intimidating at first. That was my first and only experience with Slade.

*This is sarcasm. Jesus and I aren’t friends.

One day in nouveau-riche Madrid, I thought, “Where do I want to live next year?”

On campus was good, but where can I find the true community I have here in Spain? Where can I find people like me? Can I bend the rules, so I don’t have to deal with dining halls, annoying freshmen, and people who just don’t care? Wasn’t there that place called Slade?

*Does research*
*Thinks more:*

Isn’t that like Chewonki? Didn’t I love the Chewonki mindset?

Don’t I love eating good, fresh, local, sustainable food?

Do I love gardening?

Do I like people who are interested in who I am as much as I’m interesting in who they are?

Verdict: Yes.

*Writes long application to Spring 2011 Sladers about dancing about liking wolves etc., running, eating my pseudo-paleo diet, just normal HPG stuff, being shirtless frequently, Pentathlon.*

*2011 Sladers like application.*


Over the summer, I email Emily Piché about stuff. I become more excited. Emily is the shit.

Fall 2011. I show up at Slade. The first person I meet is Taylor. I don’t know her name. She just looks at me. She is wearing a white and blue dress. Is she judging me?

First Slade meeting, I fall in love with it. It’s like heaven.

So if you’ve read this, and you’re still confused, here’s what Slade is (Angie Freeman, if you’re reading this, take notes):

Slade is an environmental co-op. Cool, thanks for the description.

We order our food locally from the source or City Market, and we each cook once per week. Cook crew gets together two hours before dinner, and whips up the greatest vegetarian food ever. Creativity is a plus.

We also have a garden and a greenhouse to grow a lot of our own vegetables.

We have open-mics every other Wednesday night.

Weekly meeting is on Sundays, where we talk about our weeks, and what we need to do in Slade. It’s super constructive. Usually. Sometimes we beat dead horses, but that’s okay. They’re already dead…no harm done.

Every night is a potluck as well. Anyone can show up, bring whatever large vegetarian dish they desire, and eat with us.

What kind of people would Slade attract?

THE BEST KIND. We’re being articulate here.

Everyone is interested in who everyone else is. Everyone cares.

We compost. A lot. I love compost.

We turn the heat off, because we don’t need it.

We use drying racks instead of the dryer.

We eat together as a family.

We love the natural world.

We bike places, even when it’s cold as balls, just to nix that little bit of carbon dioxide.

We don’t use plastic wrap (frequently).

We feel bad recycling things, because we aren’t re-using them. Jars, yogurt containers, cups, everything gets re-used.

Music is good. Oh, so good.

So, that’s what Slade is all about, but there’s so much more to it than than. You have to be there.

One weekend, a bunch of us went to Greg Soll’s (slader) farm to work, get veggies, and make KILLER salsa. Unreal Salsa. So good. On my bike home, I noticed a wild apple tree growing on the side of the road. The next week, Patrick, Nick, Emma, and I drove back to pick apples. So many apples. We made apple sauce, crisp, apple everything. I’m going to go with *epitome of decreasing carbon footprint* for this one. It was great fun, too. Climbing apple trees. The best ones really do grow at the top of the tree.

Things I made on cook crew:

-Tortilla Española
-Vegetable Lasagna, homemade pasta, tomato sauce, everything from scratch except the cheese.
-Veggie Burgers.
-Corn muffin patty things that were meant to be tortillas, but ended up not being tortillas.
-Vegan soup. Celery root, garlic, rutabega, butternut squash, beans, tomatoes, chickpeas, kale, tomatoes from the garden, peppers, carrots, oregano, olive oil, salt, etc.
-Pesto pasta with homemade basil from the garden. I used hazel nuts. It was dope.
-Potatoe fries and sweet potatoes fries with homemade ketchup and tomatillo ketchup. Tomatillo ketchup is tangy and perf.


Bro’s night + Sladies night turning into clothing-optional invasion of most of Redstone campus, turning into singing Bob Dylan on the front lawn. Amazing night.

Standup and open mic and people laughing at it (WHAT?)

Cooking venison burgers with Gretchen. Avocado + cheddar + English muffin + Venison.

Spaghetti squash with Kaleigh.

Ernest the cat.

Ocelot the rabbit.

Angie (resident director) walking in on everyone sitting naked in the living room after the naked bikeride, seeing Patrick holding a beer, and doing NOTHING about it (dorms are dry).

Compost. 3-bin compost getting funding from SGA, but never making it past ResLife.

The Trial and Execution of Bozo the Clown. Henry Kellogg put on a play. I was Beastman. It took place, the future, and Bozo was on trial for being a clown. In a corrupt judicial system, he was sentenced to death by a pie to the face. Three judges. Glog (Carmen), Oswald (Devin), and Beastman (myself). Witness: Jenkins (Patrick), Mr. Jeanine Priss (Piche), Dr. Nanjoo Nakarimplati (Nick, the clown expert), Bailiff (Ilana), and Bozo himself, (Anders). Beastman sits through the play, making grunting remarks at the ridiculousness of the other judges, and finally at the end gives a speech (broken with beastly gibberish) about how Bozo is innocent. Glog and Oswald cannot understand him, and thus find Bozo guilty. Brilliant.

Sloliday: everyone gets together, does yankee swap, sings songs, eats breakfast.

Swords: Each member of Slade, during finals week, must carry around something longer than his or her forearm at all times. If you are seen without your sword, you may be challenged to a duel by another slader. If you decline the duel or fail to produce your sword, you are out. Bathrooms, and rooms are safe. I made it to the final four. Hallie, Hana, Devin, and myself. I left early to head to the OTC, and thus forfeited. I tied my sword to the top of the Mother Tree. It’s probably still there.

That’s it for now. I love you all. I’ll be back to Slade next fall.