Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hip Hop Jam Fest

This weekend I experienced my first Hip Hop Jam Fest in Kansas City, Missouri. It was JamFest 7, a Jigsaw Production, sponsored by Run Four Ever. What?!? Um....yeah. . . never really believed I'd write that sentence in a blog post. I mean, I couldn't have deciphered it before last night. However, I had a really good time and it definitely was a new cultural experience.

Let me give you some background on my hip hop expertise. . . (insert sound of crickets here). Honestly, all that I knew was from watching You Tube videos of my cousin Dan, a break dancer, and hearing his stories last summer at my Grandma's 90th birthday party--just the place one expects to get a lesson on B-Boys. (Here's a pic of the two of us chatting.)

If you're interested, you can check out some of Dan's video on YouTube here or here.
One of the videos includes random footage of Dan practicing and showing off his skills. The other is from Adelaide's Medal Jam--a breakdancing contest held at Rundle Mall. In that video, Dan's the one in the black t-shirt and grey pants. I know he's my cousin and I'm biased, but I think he's super-talented. :)

Anyway, back to my original intentions: Hip Hop JamFest 7 held in KC, MO. I had heard of these "underground" dance/hip-hop contests, but had never experienced one until Saturday night. It was interesting to see the different styles of hip hop. There wasn't just breakdancing; there was also a major showdown of "popping" and "krumping" experts.

A little etymology lesson for y'all. . . The word "hip" was used in the vernacular of African Americans as early as 1898, and means current or in the know, and "hop" refers to some kind of movement. Therefore, I will surmise that Hip Hop artists are "in the know when it comes to current movement trends." And yes, these folks can move! Here's a video from YouTube that was published after the event Saturday night that includes a couple of the guys in a "battle."Check it out.

As mentioned earlier there was also a krumping contest, which I had never really heard of before. Although I learned it's not my favorite form of expression, Wikipedia explains it like this. "Krumping is a type of street dance popularized in the United States that is characterized by free, expressive, exaggerated, and highly energetic moves involving the arms, head, legs, chest, and feet. The root word "Krump" stands for Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise. The youths who started krumping saw the dance as a way for them to escape gang life and "to release anger, aggression and frustration positively, in a non-violent way."Krumping has become a major part of hip-hop dance.

So, there you have it. I hope to have another cultural adventure some time soon, and I'll let you know when I do. Peace.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I did it. . . again! Yep, my third half-marathon completed, over, done. Hallelujah! I've actually been dreading this one for weeks. My running partner, Kenna, has been feeling a little "under the weather" off and on for the last few weeks and we've kind of slacked on our training during the winter, so I just didn't feel ready for the Olathe Marathon.

However, I was pleasantly surprised with our endurance---and the course wasn't too bad; it was a beautiful day and there were only a few minor hills. (Unlike the Kansas City course which makes you run uphill for around 8 miles or something horrible.)

As I said earlier, this was my third half and I've improved my time with each one. Of course, if I didn't improve, this post wouldn't have such a positive spin. :) Now granted, I still have a long way to go before I truly feel like "a runner," and I still want to improve my race pace. Hopefully, I can find the time (and perseverance) to keep working toward a time I can really be proud of. . . because right now I'm just happy to finish!

And now for the educational part of this post. (Couldn't leave you without some nugget of information, could I?)

According to legend, the name Marathon comes from the story of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger who was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon (August or September, 490 BC.) Apparently this dude, Pheidippides, ran all the way without stopping, made his announcement of victory and then promptly died--which is how anyone would feel after running a marathon. (And that is why I will never run more than a half. . . Hee Hee.) In 1876, one of my favorite poets, Robert Browning wrote the poem "Pheidippides". Browning's poem, his composite story of the aforementioned summary, became part of late-19th century popular culture and was accepted as a historic legend.

The half-marathon is, obviously, half the distance of the marathon and measures out at 1,097.5 meters, about 13.1 miles. The first two times I ran the half, at least 2 marathon runners finished in a faster time than it took me to run half the distance. YIKES. I was slightly embarrassed by that. . . but it didn't happen this last time and I'm hoping to avoid that little issue the next time I run as well. Below are the world records for 13.1 miles. Simply amazing to me.

The male world record is 58:23, set by Zersenay Tadese of Eritrea on March 21, 2010, in Lisbon, Portugal.
The female world record is 1:06:25, set by Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands on October 14, 2007, in Udine, Italy.

Needless to say, I'm not even close. . . and that's okay. Until the next time. . . I'm wishing for nice weather and a more devoted training regimen.

I'm posting this cheetah picture as inspiration for my next half-marathon. . . any suggestions on where I should run my next one? Hawaii would be nice--don't you think?!?