Monday, November 2, 2009

Wow

It's been more than two months since I've posted? Holy crap.

Well, it seems like it's been two months since I've ran. OK, it's not quite that bad, but it's pretty bad.

Same story goes as before. Work is keeping me busy, and when I get home, the little guy is doing the same. Between the two, blogging has just fallen off the scope. I don't want to bag it yet.. I'd really like to continue. You guys are an awesome group, and I'd like to keep hangin' with ya. So, keep me in the reader, and we'll see if this ship can get turned around soon.

As far as fitness goes, well.. I'm not doing too well. If I get one day of exercise in a week, it's a good week. Two days is absolutely stellar.

I realized that I'm not going to be getting my butt to the gym this winter. I just don't see the time existing. As a result, I'm trying out a bike trainer. A friend of mine is letting me borrow his for a bit, and if I like it, I think I'll spend some money on getting one. (Recommendations, anyone?)

Ideally, I'll bike a couple of times a week, and maybe going running once during the weekend, when it's light out. Realistically, well, if I can bike once a week, that'd be huge. Running just hurts right now. One ITB or the other, one foot or the other, etc etc. I'm hoping that some cross training and just building up the general fitness level helps some. It certainly isn't going to hurt. Right now, I just feel the fitness slipping away. Alas. (If only it was as hard to lose as it is to gain..)

At work, it's a constant battle of fighting for the job, making sure other people don't steal your assignment, etc etc. Political garbage. Blah. It's a job, and I'm glad to be employed, but.. blah.

At home, the little guy is doing well. We're emerging from the dark cloud of colic. There's still a bad spot here and there, but at least it's not constant. He's rolling over and generally interacting more, so that's pretty cool. It's amazing seeing him learn and develop. Truly amazing.

How's it going with you all? I haven't been around too much, and I apologize.

For all of the U.S. folks here, happy Turkey Day. For the rest of ya, have a day full of thanks for all that is good in your life. As always, keep on rockin'.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Running and Rye

Man, it's been a week since I posted anything. I haven't even been around to all the blogs to even read them. Ugh.

So, I got back to work, and guess what? They want me to actually *work*. That is totally cutting into my blogging time.

In the same vein is that work is cutting into my running time. When I was off of work, I could go running in the morning (yeah, right), the early afternoon, the evening.. whatever I felt like. Now, when I get home, if there's time, I'm not beat, and the stars align, I might be able to get a run in.

On Sunday I got out for a run at least.. It was actually my first one in a whole week. Killer week. I had a stretch goal of doing 7 miles, but I hoped for 5. I wound up settling for 4.25, because shizz was just hurting. Left ITB was bothering me (note to self: foam roll more often. Of course 'more often' implies I'm actually doing it at all.. errrr). My right foot was bothering me. I just decided to shut it down a little early.

I think I need to get on the bike a bit more (all of you tri-people are inspiring), and do that to maintain some level of fitness for now, with a couple of runs a week. (Well, that's the goal, at least. Gotta have goals)


It is Tuesday, so I'm here with a new entry for Alky Tuesday...



This is Saranac's Rye Pilsener. (Yes, I know that's not a Pilsner glass.. I didn't feel like digging for one in the cabinet. Sadly, yes, I do have pretty much every glass type for different types of drinks)

I vaguely remember reading about a rye beer on someone's blog, but my 2 minute attempt to locate such a post came up empty. I had never had such a creation, and there was a pair of these in the Saranac summer sampler pack. (The same sampler pack that has the lemony Summer Ale that I previously covered. Oh, and yes, *that* was a beer that Mrs. Raul actually took to).

Speaking of Mrs. Raul, she was going to the grocery store yesterday.. before leaving, she asked me "Are there any beers you need?".

Brought a tear to my eye, let me tell you.


Oh, and speaking of the grocery store.. In the area I live in, there really isn't much. We just got a Sonic, and we're finally getting a Best Buy in October, just to show you what little is going on. There's one specialty beer store, but it's not terribly convenient to get to. However, the local Wegman's grocery store redid their insides, and they opened up a specialty beer section. They had always done pretty good by me before, carrying Brooklyn, Ithaca, and some other non-mass produced beers. Now though? I'm like a kid in a candy store there. But, that's where I get most of my beer.


Anyway, back from the two tangents.. I'm typically not much of a pilsner beer guy. They're just "ok" in my book. I honestly just chalk it up to the fact that I haven't had many good ones, and I really haven't spent the time to find some I like.

This one had a bit of a bread-like smell.. nice golden color, with lots of small carbonation bubbles. The taste was slightly spicy, and it really was quite tasty for a pilsner.

I think the description on the bottle sums it up quite well: "Rye malt adds dimension to what otherwise is a relatively simple brew." It's a basic beer with some additional flavor.

Certainly not my favorite beer, but quite pleasant out of a sampler pack. I'd have it again if offered it. It's a limited release, for those that are going to hunt it down.

I'm going to have to locate some more rye beers, just to try them out. Alas, we're coming into my favorite beer season, that of the Octoberfests and Pumpkin ales... the quest will probably be sidelined.

So, that's it for now. You know what to do.. keep on rockin'.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gingerly

It's Tuesday! Alcohol Tuesday, everyone! Now that I'm back, I can get back on it. (I did feel bad not doing my Tuesday postings.. honest, I did)


Today's entry is Hitachino Nest Real Ginger Brew.


A certain someone said I should review wine while he's away, and I debated humoring him. I think instead, I'll wait until he gets back. Just for fun.

So this beer.. talk about a flavor bonanza! It's malty. It's slightly hoppy. It's got ginger. There's a lot going on with it.

The ginger flavor is certainly pronounced, and it's a slightly sweet beer. It's a really cloudy beer, and there's a decent amount of sediment (presumably ginger) in the bottom of the bottle.

It's a beer I could have one of once in a while, but I'm certainly not going to tie one on with this beer. I think it would accompany certain foods quite well, though. If I was having some sushi (vegetable-only sushi for me, though), it would be fine. Maybe some other Japanese-style food with ginger, as well. Just to drink, it's a beer that is slow going.

It's an interesting flavor, but certainly a specialized one. Definitely isn't an every day sort of brew. Sold by the single bottle, that's the way to go if you're going to try it.


Keep on rockin'!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Boo

Guess who's back?

Paternity leave is over, the furlough is over, I'm back at work.

That also means I'm back at the blogs, too.. I'm waaaaaay behind. I didn't really read many blogs while I was away, either.

I did put some pics of the kid on Facebook, for those that are interested. I probably should get some more up, but I've just been kind of floating around, not really doing a lot.

Running has been going well.. I've basically kept up a schedule of running every other day, or with two days off, depending on my schedule. One time I had 3 days off, but that was the only time. Regular runs are 3.5-4 miles, and the long ones are about 6. Things are going pretty well. I did a 6.5 miler this past weekend, and it was, eh, ok. All kinds of things are creaky now, so I'm going to not go to that distance for a while again. All in all, I'm pretty happy with the ITB rehab.

I need to get back into biking.. do some cross training. We'll see if my wife lets me leave the house once I get back from work today. I can see her handing me the little guy and running away. hah.

But, yeah, I should be posting fairly regularly now. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Updates, pomegranate martinis

Yes, it's been a while since I posted. :)

I'm quite fortunate that I have some time off from work right now. I get some paternity leave, but I'm coupling that with some furlough time from work.. One of those "cost saving" mechanisms at work. Whatever. It doesn't help the take home pay, but spending the time at home with the little one is so much more important.

Things have been going well here. The little guy finally busted through the remainder of the ounces in the 6 pound region and weighs a little over 7 pounds. He's been a really quiet boy, until the last few days. Turns out he's developing colic. Yay. Cranky little fella right now, poor kid. Of course, he's throwing his 7 pounds all around and kicking the shizzzz right out of me. How could someone so little kick so much ass? He's not even taking names.

Well, it is Tuesday... That means Alcohol Tuesday. And with a colicky infant, so totally appropriate. Today, I give you a pomegranate martini.



Guys, it sounds like a fruity and pansy drink, but it's not. I've recently came into some pomegranate juice (more on this in the next post), and this was one way I decided to sample it.

So. Ingredients:

  • 3 oz pomegranate juice
  • 1 oz lemon flavored vodka
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau


Mix, serve in a martini glass. Garnish with a slice of orange. That's my take on a pomegranate martini. It's not too sweet, it's smooth, and it goes down easily. If you don't have Cointreau lying around, you could substitute some triple sec with no problem. Similarly, you could use plain vodka, and maybe add some lemon juice or garnish with a lemon slice.

There's a lot of ways to mix this up and achieve a similar result.

The final product:


I hope everyone is doing well. I'll try to be back more frequently. Keep on rockin'!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Have a cigar

Hello everyone!

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I've been absent lately. I haven't even been keeping Facebook up to date. I have a good excuse, at least..


Reason being is, mini-Raul has been born! A couple of weeks early, but that wasn't terribly unexpected.

He and Mrs. Raul are doing fine, and everyone is home from the hospital.

Things are going well so far. I'm really glad we did as much prep work around the homestead as we did, so that there was little to do once we got home.

That's that.. I'll try to stay more in touch once we get into a groove. Keep on rockin!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Green Flash

Last night was another run in the rain. We've been having rain for the past few days, and there's no sign of it letting up. At least it wasn't too hot out, and the predicted thunderstorms never materialized.

Somehow, I decided to run last night's run on the faster side. Even including my walk break, the first mile was sub-8. Made me reflect on the fact that before I started running, I ran a sub-8 mile once in my life. Now, I'm walking part of the mile, and still wound up there.

The beginning speed wound up sapping the life out of my legs for the last half mile. I still wound up with 3 miles in, at least. I know I shouldn't be running fast while rebuilding my base, but I figure once won't hurt me (as long as I truly do keep it to a very limited once-in-a-while).

Lovin' the Galloway method still. I'm still lacking some calf power, as I feel like I need to walk after running a mile or so, just to take a break. That works out for me, at least. I wonder if that feeling will go away, and I'll have to force myself to take breaks, or what. We'll see.


I've been lacking a bit of my blogging mojo lately. Blah. Thankfully, I've got a product review coming up (sponsored, even!), maybe some books to talk about, and some new CDs I bought. (I know, CDs. So last decade.)

Today's Alcohol Tuesday entry is Green Flash Brewing's Trippel Belgian Style Ale.




Hailing from the San Diego area, this is a bottle-conditioned Belgian style ale. At a sporty 9.7% ABV, it's got a bit more kick than the average bottle of beer.

They call it a "fiery, golden brew", and I certainly agree with that in regards to color. A decent amount of carbonation, and a moderate head when pouring.

Sipping it fresh out of the fridge yields a high alcohol taste.. not something you really want from a beer. A lot of the trippels have that taste, but it's undesirable (in my opinion, at least). As it warms, the scent and taste of some fruit and spice comes out. It has a slight orange smell, according to Mrs. Raul.


.. Side note.. What is it with the sense of smell in pregnant women? Holy cow. One day, she was picking me up at home. I had a couple of beers in the last hour, but nothing too serious. I had just sat in the car, not even shut the door, and she says "You've been drinking, haven't you?". I mean, wow.

(She doesn't pick up on vodka & tonic, I've found. I only discovered this for the sake of science and experimentation, of course.)

OK. end of side note..


It's a good, but not great beer. I did like it more as the evening went on, due to the different flavors being released as it was warmer. Unfortunately, I do like pulling a beer out of the fridge and starting the consumption right away.

Of course, with a big bottle like this, you're obligated to finish it in one sitting.. I mean, you can't just recork it or anything. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

All in all, glad I tried it, probably won't pick this one up again, however. I'm not opposed to trying the other beers from Green Flash, though.

As always, keep on rockin'..

Friday, June 26, 2009

Us strange runners

Not a lot going on lately. I've been keeping up with running every other day, and my leg/knee/ITB all seem content.

I did take an extra day off on Wednesday, but opted to do a nice lengthy hill walk instead of running. I've been wanting to do hill runs (I know, so weird), but figured that was a better approach to getting something like that in.

On Thursday, there was a hellacious storm that was going to come through. I proved, once again, to my wife that I am a nut, and went out anyway. The weather was hot and humid, and the wind was fierce. Big dark clouds on the horizon, dancing with internal light. A storm was a-comin'.

Of course, while out there, I saw another runner, and we gave each other the knowing nod & smile. I mean, what nuts would be out there with a thunderstorm on the horizon? Me and him. Us strange runners. (You know you'd be out there too.) He was a pro.. he had a Camelbak on. I saw that and was wondering, "Hmm.. what's in there?" I probably would have taken a sip, it was so humid out. (I could have brought my own, but alas.. I didn't.)

Other than that, the run went well. I lengthened my run time and was a bit more methodical in mixing in the Galloway walk breaks. It was a run one mile, walk one minute ratio. All in all, the run went well, and the pace was still pretty decent. I made it home, dry and un-electrocuted.



Has anyone tried the 'Tacos at Midnight' flavor of Doritos? (I know, not exactly healthy eating fare, but that's how I roll.) All I have to say is this.. they nailed it. Totally good taco flavor on a chip.

I tried the 'Last Call Jalepeno Popper' flavor, and it was ok, but not stellar. The taco flavor, though.. Wow. Really good. Definitely worth picking up a second bag. Takes me back to the days of eating at Taco Maker, which is no longer in our area (and hasn't been for years and years. :( ).

Alright everyone, have a great weekend. Keep on rockin'.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lemony

I was reading an article about sponsored blogging. Here I am, just hoping for free beer and the like, and people are getting cash and trips to Hawaii. I need to set my sights higher.

Last night, I ran 3.5 miles. I listened to a little bit of the Runner's Round Table podcast during the run. All in all, an uneventful run, but they can't all be exciting.

I tried something a bit different for today's Alky Tuesday entry..

I give you..



This is Saranac's Summer Brew. The beer is a lighter beer, with a light yellow color. The description of it is "a refreshing blend of lemonade and lager".

With a description like that, I figured, I'll give it a shot. Plus some guy at the grocery store was talking about it. Not that I should take beer thoughts from a random stranger.

Yeah, well, it's lemony. Damn lemony. Sweet lemony. Sweet, too. But 'sweet' not as in "Oh, an extra day off? Sweet!". No, sweet as in sugary sweet.

Truthfully, after the first couple of tastes, all you get is a sweet taste.

This may be a good beer for a non beer drinker. Once mini-Raul arrives, I've saved a bottle of this for Mrs. Raul. She'll be a good litmus test for this hypothesis.

It's an interesting taste, but not really to my tastes. It really doesn't taste much like beer at all.

I see it's in their 12 pack sampler.. That would be the way I'd recommend it. A 6 pack was an awful lot.


That's all.. looks to be a nice day today, so if I can find some food for my wife, and she's agreeable, I might try to go to a ballgame tonight..

Keep on rockin', everyone!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Long run, rest, all sorts of good stuff

Back from the weekend. What a weekend. Before I get into that, here's something interesting..

I took a page from Lacey on Friday.. I went and sent Jeff Galloway a friend request on Facebook. A few hours later, I got the confirmation message that he is now my FB peep! Woot!

So, going into the weekend, the plan was this.. Lamaze, all day Saturday. Probably some Father's Day shopping. Sunday, there was a Father's day get together with the extended family. (I think there were to be 5 or 6 Dads there.). The weekend was booked solid.

I was a little apprehensive, to be honest, just because it was filled up. I don't know.. I like to take it easy on the weekends, do some unwinding from the week. Having every minute more or less planned out just isn't very fun for me.

That was going into the weekend..

We started off the weekend on Friday afternoon with a trip to the doctor's office.

"How did that go?" you might ask..

Thanks for asking!

It went well, but it appears that Mrs. Raul is starting to develop preeclampsia. As a result, she now gets to see the doctor twice a week, in addition to being put on bed rest. He also indicated that if we get 3 more weeks, we'll be lucky.. Mini-Raul is coming soon, it sounds like. So, if my posts drop off, that may be the reason why..


(For those that are not in the know about preeclampsia (and I wasn't either), it's really not too big of a deal if you're being actively monitored)

So, bed rest took the plans for the weekend, and threw them out of the window.

As a result, we stayed home. I think I traveled within a two mile radius of the homestead all weekend.

Yes, it would have been good to see the fam on Father's day.. That kind of stunk that we missed out on that.

But, I must admit.. a weekend of staying home (minus a trip to the grocery store and a last ditch effort to get all needed supplies for the offspring) was absolutely wonderful. I feel bad my wife is on bed rest, but I *loved* just staying home. Loved loved loved it. I got to do some stuff around the house that I wanted to do, and I got to take it easy. My wife was armed with the phone to page me when she needed something, and life was good.

I went for a "long" run this weekend, Galloway-style. 4 miles done in the rain, and no ill-effects afterward. I took Sunday off, and am ready to go back out today.


Other than that, not a lot going on. You know what to do.. Keep on rockin'!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Skidmarks

Ah yes.. skidmarks. I left 'em yesterday.

No no, not these skidmarks. I left a set with my tires.

I was driving along, minding my own business, and I saw a dear bound up the hill near me, and jump the guardrail. Now, I grew up driving in the "country", and have had a number of close calls. I generally think I do pretty well in spotting them in the turf ahead, etc.

When I saw the deer coming, the thought ran through my mind "Ah shizzzz... Here goes my record for missing deer." I know my day is coming, as there are just so many out and about.

So, I slammed on the brakes, left a portion of my tires on the road, hit the horn, and waited to see what happened.

Inches. That was it. I missed him.

I honestly thought that I could have brushed him with my car. I got out to look later, just to see, not quite believing it. (I did see that I really need to wash my car, however. Wow. What slob takes care of this machine?)

(Coming home later, I got to see my skidmarks, and was all "Ooh, I made those".)


I did go for a run last night, and included my walking in the run totals and time for the first time. Before I get there, I'll talk about the run.

I was going along, again, minding my own business, and feeling great. 3/4 of a mile into the run, I hear a dog barking and making a bee-line for me. Oh, great.

I'm not an animal person. I never had a dog growing up, and I don't really know how to approach a situation like this. I don't know the dog's intentions. I'd prefer him to do his thing, and I'll do mine.

The owner just sort of stood there yelling his name, not really moving. So, I decided to do the "flight" choice of "fight or flight". Not that I can really outrun many of the creatures here on Earth. But, what are you supposed to do?

So, I hauled it, dropped a few vocal choice words toward the dog and his owner, and off I went.

No harm done. Except, it just really turned the run into a crap run. A skidmark run, if you will, since we're in the toilet on this post. After that, I just wasn't feeling the groove. Sure, my numbers were OK, but I just wasn't feeling it.

I punched out 3.56 miles at a 9:20 pace. That included the walking. I'm really surprised it really wasn't too much slower than normal.


All in all, two potentially disastrous situations avoided during the day. Not too shabby at all.

Alright, that's all for now.. keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Running, thoughts on Galloway, Guinness

Running over the weekend went very well. I did two 3 mile runs, with no discomfort (apart from my calves, which are just plain out of shape now). The only interesting thing I saw was a policeman who had pulled over an old lady for presumably speeding.. (I'm familiar with the stretch and know my time will come, given that I speed through there twice a day).

The problem with that was that it's right in front of a known large abandoned property. I sometimes cut through there for my runs, but recently some "No Trespassing" and "Posted" signs had gone up. With the law right there, I figured I shouldn't risk it, even though the odds of him leaving his vehicle were low.

The Galloway thing seems to be working for me. I spent some time on his page and poking around various forums on the Interwebs, and my main problem with his plan is my own mental hangup.

I had always told myself, "If I run a marathon, I'm going to run the whole thing". Now, I read about his plans, and I'd be walking in it. That's purely a mental block on my part. There's no shame in walking part of a marathon, and who's to say I'd be able to run one myself? It's not just the marathon, it's races in general. I'm sure I could go through a 5K doing 100% running with little or no ill effects, but what about a 10K? According to him, that would be a no-no.

But, maybe I'll continue with his plan. I'm going to start including my walk time in my mileage calculation and see what my pace really is. I'll keep track of total distance covered, and see where I am.


And, without further ado, here's today's Alcohol Tuesday entry. It's beer, but I'll try to include a couple of tidbits for you non-beer drinkers. (And maybe I'll grab some wine for next week.. )

Today's entry is Guinness, the 250th anniversary edition.

First interesting tidbit for non beer drinkers: in 1759, the man, Arthur Guinness, signed a lease for the brewery. The interesting part? He signed it for 9,000 years. Not only that, the annual fee is £45. That's a man with some vision.



The above pic shows two glasses, one a good pour, the other, well, not so much.

The astute Guinness drinker will now say.. "What? You're not drinking it from the bottle?"

Indeed not. This was the first thing that I noticed was different in the 250th anniversary edition. There is no rocket widget in the bottle.

Second tidbit for non Guinness drinkers.. The bottles and cans typically have a 'widget' inside of them (a rocket widget for the bottles, a ball for the cans). This is so that when you drink from the bottle, you get a consistency similar to a draft pulled for you at a bar.

The beer itself had more carbonation than the standard Guinness. I'm not sure, but maybe the nitrogen aspect of the carbonation was removed (also explaining why the widget disappeared).

Compared to a standard Guinness, this was a little more malty. Also, disappointingly, the somewhat smoky flavor that exists in regular Guinness was not really present in the anniversary edition.

Change the carbonation, add the malt, and remove the smoke, and you've got yourself a stout which is OK, but not great.

The anniversary edition will run you about 10 bucks for a 6 pack of bottles.

My take on it is this. I'm glad I tried it, but I'll go back to the regular Guinness. (The 250th edition will only be around 6 months or so, anyway)

Ah, if only I was as knowledgeable about something more useful than alcohol. Oh well. :)

Keep on rockin!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Snuck away

I snuck away for a few days from this here blog. lol.. I'm back, fret not.

To recap, on Tuesday, I went for a run, and I got 2.9 miles in. It was probably the most humid run I've had since last summer. Wow. It wasn't particularly hot, just humid.

Wednesday was a rest day (legitimate!) and I went out to the local ballpark. It was an absolutely perfect night to take in a baseball game. There's really not a bad seat in the place (cliche, I know), but we upgraded (unofficially) our already really good seats just a bit and sat near a couple other people we knew for a view like this:



(Does this count for Foto Friday?)

Like I said, a beautiful night for it. If I could do that every night, I probably would.

Thursday I had severe motivational issues and wound up taking the day off from work, after not a lot of arm twisting from my wife. It was a quiet day around the house, but I did go for a run, and finished a whole 5K. I felt no knee/ITB issues during this, nor do I feel any after-effects today.

My ITB feels pretty solid right now. I'm going to keep the Galloway thing going, and try to keep all my runs around 3 miles for the next week. After that, we'll slowly increase the mileage and see what happens.


Anyone have any plans for the weekend? I'm not really sure what all is going on, but it's the weekend, and that makes it great, no matter what.

Keep on rockin', everyone!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Running and Mint Juleps

Last night I managed to get away from work before the rain came. I managed 2.5 miles, with minimal issue. It was a pretty non-eventful run, but I did frighten a groundhog. (Felt a little bad about that. :( )

Today my knee feels a bit tender, but I've been very very lax on doing my leg exercises. Need to get on that. In the end though, I'm definitely feeling better about this ITB, and I'm glad.


And, without further ado, I bring us to today's Alcohol Tuesday entry, the mint julep! It would have been ideal to do this the Tuesday before the Kentucky Derby, but alas, I was out of town. So, after all 3 legs of the triple crown are over, I bring you this entry. Better late than never!

The mint julep is a drink that really isn't that complicated to prepare, yet people are afraid of it. Don't be. I bring you instructions, complete with pictures, to make a killer drink.

Here's what is needed:



We need fresh mint, some extra fine granulated sugar, a little bit of water, ice, and some Kentucky bourbon whiskey. In addition, you'll need either a muddler or a spoon, a cup or glass, and optionally a measuring device such as a jigger.

The cup I use is an old-school traditional mint julep cup. It's pewter. As a side effect (one that is desired), the cup frosts up as it gets cold, due to the ice. If you go to Churchill Downs, you'll get a mint julep in a Collins style glass, just a taller and more narrow glass. Anything works, of course.

As far as bourbon goes, you'll want a Kentucky style, to be authentic. I'll typically opt for Knob Creek or Maker's Mark. Try to stay away from something really dirt cheap.


(One more side note.. You may note the mallet in the picture above. It will come in to play, but may not be necessary for you.. )



First up, take a teaspoon of sugar, and put it in your cup/glass. Then, follow that up with a teaspoon of water, enough to dissolve the sugar. This is the part of the recipe that is "to taste". If you want it sweeter, add a bit more.. less sweet, add less, of course.

You could use something like simple syrup if you have some on hand.



Next up, pull out 4 to 6 mint leaves. Put them into the sugar water, and gently muddle them. You only want to bruise the leaves, not crush them. Bruising the leaves will release some of the oil in the mint.. If you wind up crushing them, you'll pick up some extra flavors that are not becoming to the drink. You can use a muddler for this if you have one, or I just use the back of a spoon.

Stir the bruised leaves around in the sugar-water solution and let them sit for a few minutes, letting the flavor seep out.



Next up is the ice. You're going to want to use crushed ice for this drink. While I absolutely love my fridge, the one thing it can't do is make crushed ice. Hence, the need for a mallet.

After banging away on the counter for a bit, you'll be left with some crushed ice:



Crude, but effective.



OK. So you fill your cup with the crushed ice. Pour a jigger (1.5 to 2 ounces) of bourbon in the cup. You'll note that this settles and melts the ice a bit. You'll want to top the cup with some more ice.

Finish this off by retopping the cup with bourbon, garnish with a sprig of mint, and you're good to go!




That spoon I included in my julep is peer with my cup. It actually serves as both a straw and a spoon, as the handle is hollow. Really killer. So you can sip, stir, and have something fun, all in one. :)

Alright everyone, that's all for today.. Enjoy responsibly, and keep on rockin'!

Monday, June 8, 2009

2 Years?

Wow. I've been running for 2 years. Looking at my log, I realized that on Friday, it was my 2 year anniversary.

Of course, how did I honor that? By not running. All weekend long. Way to go, self.

I mean, really, wtf is up with that? Ugh. Schedule and laziness got in the way. (More of the latter, if I really wanted to be honest with myself.)


But, 2 years. Wow. I laced 'em up thinking I'd give it a try, and I've actually stuck with it.

Highlights from the year were my first 5K, which I ran with my running buddy. The other highlight was running 15 miles (during which I realized I really need to learn about fueling). Epic. The only injury I had in my second year was another case of ITBS, which is all due to poor muscle balance, poor flexibility, and the main contributor of "too much, too soon". My high point in mileage was in January, where I punched out 99 miles for the month. Had I been more alert, I would have done that one extra mile.

Training went really well this past year, apart from the last few months. The summer and fall had a decent amount of mileage, and I really ramped it up over the wintertime. I didn't really enjoy running the indoor track that much, but I made sure I got to the gym 4 or 5 times a week.

I think back.. uhm, a lot of years. Back in the 7th-8th grade timeframe, I ran cross country for a season, and it just didn't agree with me. I ran track for another season, and I didn't agree with it.

What would have happened had I kept running? If I had actually worked at it? If I had 15 more years under my belt of running, where would I be now? (Oh, wait.. It's more than 15. Hrms. 17. 18. Something like that)

Of course, at such an age, I didn't have the mental strength to run. It hurt, and that was it. Hurt='stop and walk'. Or, at the time it did.


Anyway.. goals for the next year are to make sure I don't do too much again too soon. I'd like to run a couple of 5Ks this year, along with a 10K which usually crops up around here in October. If my ITB stays really really good, I'll toy with a half marathon in November. I think I'm throwing my marathon plans out for the year. I had toyed with rolling down to Philly, but I should really make sure that I'm strong enough to do it.

My main goal will be to get back up to the 20-25 miles a week I was doing over the winter time, and try to maintain that sort of quantity. With the little one coming along soon, I don't know how I'll do as far as keeping a schedule.. (that's another reason I'm going loosey-goosey on my goals right now)

I'm going out tonight, rain or shine. And that's that.

Keep on rockin'.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

NRD results, Marcy



For National Running Day, I made sure I got out there. The weather forecast was not what I predicted. Not at all. In fact, it was pretty much ideal running conditions. Slightly overcast, probably in the 60s.

I kept with my run some, walk some approach, and banged out 2.75 miles. Furthermore, I went longer before mixing in the walking. Today, the knee/ITB feels fine. I think my stretching and muscle toning regimen is starting to work a bit.. whoo hoo! Maybe I'm on the mend..?

So, I take my whopping 2.75 miles, and I donate them to Mel. You go girl!

And, for those of you who don't know, today is Marcy's last day. A sad day for all of the blogosphere. While I can't write true sentiment like my bro G did, I'll share my two cents.

Marcy's blog was one I thought where all of the cool kids hung out. I lurked there for a long long time, pretty much from near the beginning. I have no proof of that, as I was shy and lurking. (Not stalking, just lurking, mind you)

I always enjoyed reading her stuff, but with her massive blogroll and number of active commenters on her blog, I figured she'd never never notice me, never mind swing by here. And, yet, here she is. She's funny, entertaining, and a really nice person. (And if I were better with words, I could come up with better adjectives)

Happy Birthday Marcy.. it's been fun. Hope to see you around.

Alright everyone.. keep on rockin'.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Running, Drinking, Tao, Pooh

How's that for a title?

Last night, I went out and did my pseduo-Galloway thing while I work on recovering. I dare not jinx it by saying too much, but I did get 2.5 miles in.

Don't forget, today is National Running Day!1



I plan to get out there, dodging the lightning bolts that are supposed to be coming down this afternoon. Should make for an interesting time.

As far as Alky Tuesday goes, yes, I'll be keeping this theme going.. It appears to be reasonably successful, and I'm planning to mix more things in than just beer. (Next week is the construction of a good mint julep, for instance.. I have the pictures ready, even. :) ). I know a couple of you wanted a beer Thursday as well.. I'm not opposed to it, and I'll try it for a bit.. not sure how long my waistline and my wallet will handle it, but I'm willing to give it a go.

So.. on to TFH's 'Literary Wednesday'. In order to have a quality post for you, I took the time and finished my last 15 pages before work. Yes, I'm willing to do that for all of you. (yeah, ok, so I'd be willing to do any semi-reasonable thing before work, just to delay that)

Today's entry is...
The Tao of Pooh.



Laugh if you want, but this is probably the closest I'll get to what TFH intended for LW. This book was not only great, it was one of those books that gets you thinking and does something for you.

I'll preface this by saying.. I don't know a lot about Winnie the Pooh. Sure, I know who he is, and can pick him out in a crowd. But, I've never read the stories. Similarly, I don't know a lot about Taoism. It is a philosophy which intrigues me, though (and always has).

The book is written to use the two themes (Taoism and Winnie the Pooh) to explain each other. Now, you might say, that's just silly, and it can't work. But, it soooo does work.

The book is funny, cute, and really deep. To really take away everything from this book, I'll need to read it again (and probably will at some point). The book uses various excerpts from Pooh stories to explain Taoist concepts, and various extracts of Taoist texts to talk about the characters in the 100 acre wood.

It's written as the author talking with Pooh about different concepts, and then jumps into story fragments to back up the point. Truly a fascinating read. It's a quick read, but I think you'd need to read it multiple times to get everything out of it.

Not having read other Pooh stories, I was laughing while reading it. 2

Alright.. that's all.. 3

Don't forget to get out there and do some running today, everyone.. keep on rockin'!



1 I didn't know it until I saw it on FB a week ago. I guess FB is good for something, after all. :)
2 That didn't work out so well while proctoring a test, but, well, that's their problem. :P
3 I see why G does these footnote things.. They're pretty nifty and fun

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Alky Tuesday

I'd talk about running, but I didn't run last night. I did a little foam rolling and some leg exercises, but that was it. There was a nice lunchtime walk mixed in during the day, so we'll call it a day of cross training.

I should also remind every one that tomorrow (Wednesday) is National Running Day. I don't think my area has an organized run, so I'm just going to hit the pavement on my own. Just make sure you get out there for a mile or two at least.


So, with nothing else athletic to say, I turn to today's Alcohol Tuesday entry..

This one comes from a recommendation from of Sun Runner. (I do keep track of all of the drinks recommended, and get to them all eventually).



She proposed I give 'Arrogant Bastard' a shot, from Stone Brewing. With a name like that, sure, why not?

Not only do they have an interesting web site name, the aptly named www.arrograntbastard.com, they have an interesting and amusing label on the bottle.

Here's the text of it:


  • This is an aggressive beer. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory -- maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it's made in a little brewery, or on e that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns make a beer taste better. Perhaps you're mouthing your words as you read this.


I found it amusing, at least.

So, the beer itself? It's a darker colored amber beer, with a light to moderate amount of carbonation. I think it's classified as an American Ale, but is truly the epitome of what microbrews are about. A smell of it yields a decent hop smell, but the taste of it has a underlying malt taste mixed with the hops. The malts really cut the intensity of the hops, and yield a pleasant taste overall.

The beer is very smooth, and packs a decent punch at 7.2% ABV. There are a lot of complexities to this one, and I'm willing to be a student and study it for rounds to come.

This is actually my second bottle of it. I tried it a few weeks ago, and really liked it. This one makes the rotation.

Keep on rockin'!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekend running and the avatar

Well, I went out 2 days this weekend. Both days I left my knee strap at home, and tried a different approach to my running. I took up a Galloway-style approach.. I'd run .5 or .6 miles, then walk a block or so. Repeat. That *seemed* to keep the ITBS at a manageable level. I also stuck to flat routes, and I limited my runs to 2.25 & 2.5 miles. (The running part was those numbers, I don't count the walking).

The other thing I did was to pick up my pace a bit.. (mixing in walking allows me to run fast for a short period of time.. lol). I think that causes me to run more on front part of my foot, and it doesn't hurt the ITB as much. I know running faster leads to more injuries, so I'm hesitant to keep with this aspect of my weekend runs.

Today I feel pretty good, and I'm happy about that. I think I'll just go for a walk today and not try to push it to 3 days in a row.

Props to joyRuN, who correctly identified my avatar's origin. It's from Doctor Who.. It's a 'Dalek'. Wikipedia has a lengthy article on them here, because what else do sci-fi people have to do, but write detailed articles on Wikipedia? The long and the short of it is, it's an "evil alien race".

I really didn't know what to choose for an avatar, so that was it. I'd put pics up, but then people from work might stumble across this, put 2 and 2 together, and that just wouldn't be good.

That's all for now... I need to find something for tomorrow's alky Tuesday entry..

Keep on rockin'!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Blogaversary!!

Welp, it's been one year since I started this little blog. (Well, it's really tomorrow, but I don't really blog too much on the weekends) This is #260 of my posts over the past year. Wow.. really? That means I have a rate of 5 posts a week? Wow. As XC2 said, employee of the month. Well, really, I guess employee of the year.

Well, like most of you bloggers, I started a blog saying "who would read my writings?". However, over time, I've slowly built up a little "fan base". I find it really incredible, and I'd like to thank all of you who stop by here. I've made some good friends doing this, and I hope that continues on. The blogosphere is a really great community.

The reason I started blogging was that after I started running a couple of years ago, I went to Google and searched for something incredibly silly like "beginner runner tips" or something along that line. One thing led to another, and then I found a series of running blogs. I wound up lurking on the blogs for pretty much a year before starting my own.

(As it is, I still read a number of blogs that I lurk at.. haven't come around to posting, or don't post regularly).

So.. in honor of all of you, my readers, is there anything you'd like to read on here that you don't? Anything you want to see less of? Stuff you want changed?


On to running.. last night, I got in a humid 2 miles. No Garmin on me.. just wanted to go out. I think I'm not really sold on the whole running with a knee strap. I noticed that I felt my knee cap sliding around a bit (something I'm intimately familiar with, having a scorching case of patello femeral pain a few years back), and I figure that's due to my quad not having it's full control with the strap in the way. I think I'll try my next run without the strap, just to see how it goes. If I'm not better soon, I'm chugging my butt over to the doctor. It's been long enough. I'm tired of this.

I'm looking forward to the weekend.. I don't think we have any plans (I haven't verified this with Mrs. Raul, so I'm 99.99999% sure I'm wrong, and there's probably something really important going on). It was only a 4 day week, which is certainly better than a 5 day one, but I still like to leave work. Something tells me that even if I got down to a 1 day week, I'd still be exuberant at the end of the lone work day.


Thanks again.. keep on rockin'!

(and, an extra one for you, G, keep on rockin'!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

TIaRT: Running Injuries and Treatment


Today's TIaRT post is all about running injuries and treatment(s).

I'm relatively knowledgeable about injuries, as I have a tendency to do "too much" "too fast", and wind up sidelined for months at a time (see exhibit A, myself, right now).

As far as treatment goes, I really don't like taking medicine and such like that, so I really don't do Advil as much as some people. If my legs are really bothering me, I might pop a couple, but that's about it. I certainly don't throw them down like candy.

Instead, my treatment regimen is more along the lines of some rolling with my foam roller and some stretching. Alas, I lack dedication to do these things as much as I probably should, though, slowing down my return.

The one thing I do a fair amount of is self-diagnosis using the Internet. The last few times I went to the doctor, I knew exactly what I had (ITBS, broken bone, etc). The research does give me an opportunity to learn about the ailment, and more importantly, how to prevent it.

I know, no rocket science in this post. Sorry.


On a note of humor.. The other day, we had a fire drill at work.. I was relaying the story to my wife and said something along the lines of "Yeah, it was pretty inconvenient. I was right in the middle of doing some stuff."

Her response? "Oh, were you blogging?"

Har har har. (Good one, though!) She's learnin! :)

Alright.. that's all I've got for now.. Keep on rockin!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Running, biking, scotch

Over the weekend, my running buddy came home for a few days.

She and I went and did a couple of workouts. First was a 2+ mile run with some good sized hills... We did mix in some walking in addition to the 2 miles, so it was a pretty lengthy excursion. The knee felt pretty OK, but I wouldn't want to do too much more than that.

The next day, we went for a nice little bike ride, a little over 5 miles. Thankfully, I didn't have any incidents and come home with any broken bones, unlike the last time she and I rode together. This was the first time I pulled out my bike after I got it tuned up, and I was really pleased with how well it rode. The tune-up was definitely worth the money. (Plus, I have brakes now!)

I must say, I really missed working out with her. While I do like the solitude when working out, I really do enjoy her company, and the time really flies by. So, if I had to choose, I'd certainly choose having her around for the workouts. Plus, it's really good having someone that will drag your butt outside and make sure you work out on those days where you really just want to phone it in.


And now... Today's alcohol Tuesday entry is....



Glenmorange's 12 year 'Port Wood Finish' scotch. It's a single malt scotch that during its final years of maturation, is put into port containers for aging. This allows it to pick up some of the characteristics and flavors of a port, while retaining its scotch-ness. (What else would you call scotch-ness?)

In an effort for full disclosure, this is the scotch that got me into scotch drinking. It was a Christmas party with a very kind and generous host, a drinking buddy, and a bottle of this. (Unfortunately, the host only had about a single glass, and there was confusion the next day on how my buddy and I got home. Props to Mrs. Raul here for not killing me, as it was really a party for her and her co-workers)

Anyway..... The scotch has a somewhat rose tint to its golden color. The smell is slightly fruit-like, in the vein of cherries. A first sip is pretty dry. As you taste it, you start noticing more and more flavor. There's a very faint underlying smoke taste, but there is also the port taste. In some ways the port taste reminds me of Courvoisier cognac. (I'm no cognac expert, though. Nor a scotch expert for that matter)

The scotch itself is... pricey. So, it's definitely designed for sipping, and for special occasions. One could argue that it's not for a newbie scotch drinker, due to its price and complexity. However, I'll argue the opposite, saying it's a good way to get into scotch.. a 'gateway scotch', if you will. It worked for me.. (Of course, there are very few drinks I'll turn away from)

Hmm.. After doing a bit of research this morning, it appears that this scotch is discontinued, and has been replaced by the 'Quinta Ruban' variety (of which, people seem to prefer the Port Wood Finish version). Oh, this is disappointing. Plus, I robbed you all of a good review, because this is discontinued.. I guess I'd rush out and get a bottle if you are at all interested. lol. I'll have to do something else later on this week to make up for this.

Alright everyone, keep on rockin!

Friday, May 22, 2009

End of the week

Made it through another one! Whoo hoo!


  • I'm looking to skeeeeedaddle early, if you will. Long weekend this weekend, and I'm hoping to enjoy it to it's max.

  • This weekend, well, maybe not full maximum enjoyment. For all of you ladies out there, I'll probably be doing housework and cleaning toilets and mopping floors.

    (The place is really a wreck, and I'd like to get it cleaned up before mini-Raul surfaces. I figure it will only go downhill from that point onward, so I'd like to start at some sort of respectable level)

  • My running buddy comes home this weekend for a few days. I've been rolling my leg to get ready. Here's hoping.. I'd like to get a few runs in with her.

  • I did go see the Star Trek movie. I must say, I loved seeing the younger versions of the characters. Really did. The plot, well, ehh... it was a little more convoluted than it needed to be, but all in all, I liked the movie. (I mean, the plot is still follow-able, so fret not if you haven't seen it)

  • Oh, yeah. The Facebook thing. As I mentioned, I did finally cave. It got to the point that my dad (who is on FB), was sending me notes saying "so and so wants to talk to you, here's their e-mail", etc etc. Now, this isn't a slight against my dad, but I really don't need him as the middle man for my e-mail social life. So, I signed up, breaking that whole "I'll never join that blah blah blah" line.

  • Yeah, I really don't have too much to say today.

  • Have a great weekend everyone! Keep on rockin!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Facebook

OK. I did it.

I'm joined up. I'll be slowly hunting all of you down that previous admitted you're on there too.

I'm going to do my best to keep my blog separate from Facebook, because I don't think my co-workers know about my blog, and, well, it's probably best to keep it that way.

So, I'll see you all on there. :)

Take It and Run Thursday: Eating Right

Today's TIaRT post is about what we can do to eat right, eat better, and all that jazz.

I haven't jumped on the smoothie bandwagon. My body really isn't much of a temple. I eat pretty much anything (except for my standing rule that if I swim with it, I don't eat it. Not a seafood fan)

I try to make up for my consumption shortcomings by doing a few things.

First off, at work.. When someone has birthday goodies, or brings in donuts or whatever, I do my best to avoid the aisle completely. That's just calories waiting consumed that don't need to be. I've been largely successful at this.

My next approach is to work on portion control. I'm one of those 'clean plate' club members, and I like to put it all away. There's no need to do that. I have largely failed at this. But, I'm consciously aware, and still thinking about it and trying to work on it.

I will try to eat a salad for dinner if I've been throwing down too many burgers and pizzas as of late. Kind of an attempt to balance out the week..

My biggest weakness as far as calories consumed is the drink. LOL. However, I'm not about to drop that. Let's keep that BMI at a respectably high level.

But yeah, there's a lot more that I could do and should do. It will be interesting reading today's posts on this topic. Keep on rockin', everyone.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

LW and whatever else I can come up with

We'll start with my Literary Wednesday entry for today.....



War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells.

Now, it's not that this book moved me or was highly inspirational, it's just what I've last read (as with all of my LW entries).

This book was truly captivating. I saw the piece of crap they called a movie with Tom Cruise based on this book, and the book just blows it away. If you haven't seen the movie, don't. Read the book. Wells does such a good job in describing how the character feels, what he is going through, his confusion and amazement about what is going on. It's not a terribly deep book, but it is greatly entertaining. Well, I suppose you could go on that it is a deep book, with Darwinism and things like that. I really try not to get that involved with stories. It's hard to believe that this was written in 1898.


As far as running with my strap on (oh! and again!), it was.. different. I bought a strap that appears to have been designed for "below the knee" rather than above, as you would normally use for ITBS. Due to my uber-awesomely muscularly legs, it was a tight fit, but it did fit. I found that after about 3/4s of a mile, I'd need to stop and slide it up and re-adjust.

I *think* running was easier with it on, but I'm viewing this as a stopgap solution. I can't fart around with this forever. I'm going to stretch and do some rolling (of my leg, of course), and hope that gets it all fixed up. I wound up doing 2 miles and shutting it down. Today it's not too bad, so I'm "cautiously optimistic" about my running.



The whole stopping to readjust thing worked out well, because I got a little break too. I've also come to find that where my hamstring attaches to my azz is probably the crankiest part of my body right now, too. That whole 'Moons over my Hammy' of Denny's is the spot.


Lesse.. what else? Oh, I cleaned up part of the DVR by finishing off what was left of a TV series... The ol' 'Prison Break' show is no more. About fricken time, as it jumped the shark 3 seasons ago. :) Really, it would have been awesome as a mini-series, even a long mini-series. But nooooo... we had to go get the 'government conspiracy' plot line out.

Good series, interesting idea. The ending, well, it was OK. Not sure what I wanted, but they pretty much punted and wrapped everything up in a package in 10 minutes. Now, I'm down to 3 shows that I watch.

- Rescue Me
- Stargate (on hiatus, until the new series comes out)
- Doctor Who (also on hiatus)

That's it! I've been cutting back on my TV watching, and it's starting to pay off. I basically have a rule "no new shows", and as they drop off, I'm good to go.

Alright all.. you know the drill. Keep on rockin'

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lack of running, AT

Thank you all for the support regarding yesterday's post. It's something the family will work through, one day at a time.

I haven't been running for a week. None. Zip. Zero. My knee has been cranky. I'm totally bummed. I did go to Dick's yesterday and picked up a knee strap yesterday, though. I've got a bit of a chest cold today, but I think I'm going to put my strap on (hey now!), and give it a shot.

My running buddy is coming back in town for the weekend, so I'm hoping to be able to grind through a couple of runs with her. Hopefully the strap works.

While at Dick's, I ran into an old friend of mine, who was asking me about how far I ran. I was telling him that I'm sidelined after 2 miles, and he was incredulous at that. I guess I forget that I never used to be able to run 2 miles, and take that for granted any more. It's a good bit of perspective for myself.

So, no run stats for today, maybe some for tomorrow..

Today's Alky Tuesday entry is this:



Lagunitas IPA. It's no secret, I like IPAs. I do like the hops found in IPAs.
So, what do I think of this one? It pours a decent amber color, with a moderate amount of fine carbonation. The smell is a classic IPA smell, and is very well balanced.

When drinking it, however, I found it rather... flat. The initial taste was really kind of tasteless. A classy person might call it 'muted'. With the great smell, my mouth was confused. Where's the hops? Where's the slight pine taste? After sitting in the mouth a little bit, the taste starts to come out, but it was a bit dry.

This is a beer I'd drink if served, but probably wouldn't seek out.

Alright all.. tomorrow is LW, hopefully a report about strap running, and whatever else I can think of. Got some movie and TV thoughts cookin'.. Keep on rockin!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reach out

Well, it's like this. I debated about posting this. In the end, this blog is a sort of mini diary, plus, I'm a person with feelings and all of that, so I decided to go ahead.

Last week, a member of my wife's family died, so I was off and doing all of the stuff involved with that. I'm very fortunate in that I'm close to all of the members of my wife's family. They're extremely good people, and I'm blessed that I live near them and they are a part of my every day life.

I thought about writing some words about the wonderful lady who passed, but my meager words could not even attempt do this good and kind person the justice that she deserves. I've been running the full gamut of emotions. I'm sad, of course. Bitter, that a life ended entirely too soon. Confused on how things turned so quickly. The list goes on.

Since my words won't do to describe her and what a cornerstone she was the the family, I'm going with a different approach. So, today, I bring forth a couple of points. They're pretty much the same point, but present two different facets of it.

First off.. there's a whole list of things that we all say "oh yeah, I'm going to do that one day." Are you? Life is short. You need to make it a point to do these things. Push your limits just a bit, even. You might do it and not like it, but at least you've tried it.

As trite as it sounds, a couple of years ago, I started 3 lists. The first is a "life long goals & to-do" list, the second a "movies to watch" list, and the last is a "books to read" list. I've knocked a couple off of the first one (not as many as I should), and made good progress on the other two. It's good to see the list written down. It serves as a constant reminder of things you planned for yourself.

Try new things. Even little things. If you go to a restaurant, don't order the same thing you always get. Branch out. Expand yourself as a person. Pick up a new hobby. Take a class. Whatever. Push yourself. Don't find yourself looking back saying "where did the time go?"

My second point is this.. Do you have some family or a friend you haven't reached out to lately? You say "oh, I'll talk to them tomorrow." Then tomorrow becomes "next week", followed by "next month". You know how it goes. Take the time. Give them a call. Send them a note. Just reach out. You never know when the last time you can talk to them will be.

Yeah, some family members, some activities, it may be somewhat of a hassle. It may not be what you really wanted to do that day. But, it's often the right thing to do. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that a majority of what we do really isn't that important. Sure, it may seem important at the time. But really, if you look at the grand scheme of things, it's not.

I'm fortunate that I was there and I did the things I could do for my family member. (I've previously been in situations where I hadn't, and that really sucks.) Why is it, though, that we go through these experiences and say "Oh, I'm going to change how I live.", and then some time later, we're back to doing the same shit we always do?

Alright, that's all. Tomorrow, I'll get back on the semi-regularly scheduled program, and attempt to catch up with you all.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Running, finger shoes, AT

Last night, I set my Garmin on the windowsill, let it find the satellites, and promptly went out for a run without it. So, it was a run a little under 2.5 miles, pretty uneventful. I'd call it a light hill workout.


My brother in law sent me two articles over the last few days. Both deal with these 'finger shoe' things.



First up is the guy that wrote the 'Four Hour Workweek'. He claims that running barefoot or with these shoes is better than running in sneakers. The basic idea is that your foot arch is designed to handle and return energy properly, and by using sneakers, you're hindering that.

Similarly, this article talks about sneakers and says they're a big honkin' waste of moola. It goes on to say that no sneaker has been shown to prevent injury, etc etc.

What do you guys think? I've heard that running barefoot or with a minimum shoe is the way to go, but that's just from various articles or nuggets on the Internet.. hardly a reliable source.

Honestly, if there was a closer place to try on a pair of Vibram shoes, I think I might give it a shot. Yes, I'm that crazy. My feet are so wide though, I just hesitate to order something like that sight-unseen.

I think having a minimal shoe like these VFFs would be ideal, because you're pretty much running barefoot, but if you step on something that might cut you, etc, you can skate by (hopefully) uninjured.


And now.... in my effort to "theme it up" (read: make sure I have content on Tuesdays), I give you.... AT! Also known as "Alcohol Tuesday". Perhaps you had something tasty over the weekend. Perhaps you can't imagine why Friday is so far off. Feel free to join me in celebrating Tuesday!

The first entry for AT is for Denise, who I left out of my shoutouts before traveling. Sorry girl!

When I previously discussed Chimay, I had sampled the red label and the white label. I figured, "That seems like a decent assortment."
Well, she went and asked if I had tried the blue label.

Well.. no, I hadn't. So, I went and picked up a bottle.



Daaamn. That is, without a doubt, the best variety of the 3. Chimay makes Belgian style beers. (I'm learning to appreciate the good ones more and more. Yeah, I may need extra study time on them.. all for the sake of research)

The blue label is marked the "Grand Reserve". It packs a decent punch, being 9% ABV, and pours a nice dark color. It's got some nice malt and caramel sort of flavor. The beer is incredibly smooth, and it leaves you wanting more. Certainly not a hoppy beer. This rolls to the other end of that spectrum.

The other two Chimay varieties were good, but wouldn't make a standard rotation in my fridge. This one will.

My bro G correctly noted that the big problem with Chimays is that getting a bottle is going to set you back a bit. Yea.. one of these is going to rock your wallet about $10.

A very good beer if you want to try a Belgian style.


Alright everyone.. keep on rockin!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back to running

So, my running posts have been lacking lately. Not many of them. This corresponds, sadly enough, to real life. Not a lot of running going on.

I'm attempting to turn the corner. I've determined that pure rest just isn't doing a lot for my IT band. (I sure gave it my all, though).

As it stands today, I can run about 2.5 miles, and then I start to feel "it". Capital IT.

I can foam roll with minimum discomfort, so I'm guessing that I've just got some sort of muscle imbalance or something along those lines. *shrug*

While traveling, I got in a 2 miler, which was pretty awful. After I got back, I did a 2+, which was "ok".

Yesterday I did 2.5 total. I was planning to do 2 miles, but got a little sidetracked. I had a mile and a half "warmup". About this time, I got to the entrance to the nearby high school, and I said to myself, "Self, go check out the track." OK. So, I did. I'd never been, and it's pretty darn convenient, really only being about a mile away.

Niiiice track. Way nicer than ours was. It's along the lines of the college track that's not too far away, but really not convenient to get to. Only downside is that it's on top of a hill and it was damn windy. I wound up doing some blistering 1/4 mile repeats. 3 of them, all of them under a 6 min/mile pace.

Afterward, I did a little more running, but felt IT acting up, so I called it a day and walked home.


So, I've seen references to the IT band straps. I've wondered, does wearing them just kind of "hide" the problem? Are you not fixing it, and you're just slapping a temporary workaround on?

In the mean time, I'm working on doing some leg exercises and doing some stretching/rolling. Don't know what a "normal" amount to do is, but I'm going to up what I was doing (meaning, I'll do more than 2 minutes 3 times a week or so). My old plan just wasn't working.

Furthermore, I know I can't run long distances (sniff), but I'll keep doing these 2 milers and see where I get.. My fitness level has been slipping from where it was in February, so I really need to stay on top of this.

As far as other stuff.. let's go bulleted list style:

  • I still haven't decided on getting a FB page or not. I'll let you know.
  • Travel went well. Good to see the fam. I'm now back from the land of "y'all" and its plural "all y'all".
  • Hitting the road at 3:45am sucks. Bad.
  • Went out a couple of times at night while I was there. Big cities are SOOO much more happenin' than where I live. Wow.
  • I haven't been out that late in years.
  • One of the places I went had this line dancing to modern hip-hop/etc music thing going on. I was kind of regretting I ditched all of those high school gym classes where they went over that stuff.
  • Got myself served some 'Knob Creek' in a plastic cup. Classy.
  • I actually did some situps for the first time since completing the 200 situp challenge the other day. Way to make it a habit, Raul. Way to go.
  • I'm about half caught up on blogs and email. I'll get to ya all.
  • Go Celtics!
  • Keep on rockin'......

Friday, May 1, 2009

Travel!

First off, let me say 'thank you' for all of the kind words yesterday about my big news.
We went and got our first '4D' sonograms yesterday.. that was pretty cool stuff.

So, as I previously promised, one of my upcoming topics is travel. I'm traveling. I'll be away for a week. No internet during that time, either, so I will be vanished from the ol' interwebs. It's a family visit, so it should be pretty low-key and such. I should be able to get out and do some short runs.

I won't be home to watch the Kentucky Derby, though. I guess I'll need to make my mint juleps another day. Hey, there's a blog post right there.. how to make a kickass mint julep..

How about that Celtics-Bulls game last night? Triple overtime.. holy cow. That was a fun game to watch. Too bad the C's didn't pull it out. Guess we'll see how game #7 goes. What a series, though. Wow.

This weekend, good luck to all of you racing. I know I'll forget somebody, and if you're that person (more likely 'people', as I can't forget just one), I'm sorry! Good luck to Cindy, XC2 (or should I say 'Sarah'?), Aron, joyRuN, Melanie, and ShoeRunning!

Alright everyone, keep on rockin'. See you in a week or so.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Big news..

So, I've been sitting on this for a bit. Even a few months ago, this was in my mind.

Yeah.. Big news. Life as I know it is turning upside down, inside out, and going every which-way. Consider it a glimpse into my personal life. :)

Ladies and gentlemen, here it is..


I'm having a baby. Well, not me, really. I offered to my wife, but yeah, no. She's having the baby.

There will be a mini-Raul on the Earth in a couple of months. Brace yourselves. :P

This will be my first child, and yes, I really have no idea what I'm in for.
(I verified with my wife that we checked off the box for 'already potty trained' and such, so I'm sure we'll be good to go.) I have a sneaky suspicion that my days of lounging in bed on the weekends until 9:30 or 10:00 are coming to an end.

So, we've been doing all of the various 'new parent' things- building a nursery, taking some classes, etc. We've got most of the stuff we need (or think we need, at least).

We're fortunate to have a lot of family in the area, and there's a lot of wisdom and experience to lean on there.

And, with that, I'm off to an ultrasound. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pi and Pi+1

Greetings!

Partial weekend recap is this..

Went for a run Saturday morning.. (9:30ish). It was already hot. Hot. It's April. WTF? I went and ran a nice casual pace.. When I stopped my watch after my run, it read: 3.14. I said "oo! It's never stopped on that before! Pi!" Yes, I am a geek.

I also got to see an old bud from high school (and earlier) on Saturday.. it was good to see him. Been a couple of years, so it's always good to catch up.

Sunday, it was slightly cooler. I wound up doing 4.14 (on purpose). That was too far. ITB cranked up and I wasn't doing well the rest of the day until I slugged down some Advil that night. Oh well.

I took Monday off, even though I wanted to run, just to heal up. Gotta figure this thing out.

Oh, so here's a question for all y'all: Do you have Facebook pages? I've never gotten on this bandwagon. Just curious.. an informal poll, if you will

To swipe a page from Shannon, I've got some posts coming up about:
- Shoes
- Beers
- Scotch
- Travel
- Big news

In the meantime, I'll get back to work listening to some mashups and doing my real (but certainly not as fun as blogging) job. Keep on rockin'!


PS, check out a guy down a pitcher of beer in 5 seconds: video.

New Balance 992s

A while back, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to be sponsored by New Balance of Harrisburg. The deal was, a free pair of shoes, provided I post a review of the shoes (and a link to them, of course).

Today's that day!



I wound up picking out the 992 shoes.

So, what do I think?

The first thing that hit me was the styling. The first thing that came to mind was the early to mid 80s and the Kangaroo sneaks I used to have. You know, the shoes with pockets? (I think mine were even velcro. Oh yeah!)

It's the whole suede thing, really. But, I'm not the go-to guy on being up to date on fashion matters, anyway. Plus, I knew they had suede on them when I ordered them.

(One last side note.. Did you know that KangaROOS are still going strong? I had absolutely no idea.)


So, the shoe. I picked this shoe because I believe I have a pronation issue, and I'm looking to find something to help out with that. In general, the outside of my heel and the inside of the toebox are worn out first. I have a moderate to high arch, and wide ass ugly feet. Anything that can help my running, I'm willing to give it a shot.

I haven't been able to take these on a run longer than 3 or 4 miles, due to my ITBS issues, so I can't really go into detail on how these perform on a long run.

The first thing I noticed after putting the shoes on is that they have a lot of cushion. I'm all about the cushion. Even while running, you can feel cushioned.

The shoes are sturdy. They look like they'll hold up longer than some. No 300 miles and they're done. They really look solid and well built (and feel it too).

So, after doing runs in them, what do I think? The cushioning is still there. Lovin' that. I think they've helped somewhat with my pronation. The heel area is worn down, but definitely not as much as with other shoes. To that end, when I run in these shoes, the insides of my ankles feel somewhat strained. I'm guessing that has to do with my pronation being slightly different, and I'm just not used to it. That's purely a guess though.

Practically speaking, these shoes have ultra wide laces, and, as a result, don't seem to become untied magically mid-run. I like that. (I always double knot, but still..)

End result, I like the shoes. I'll probably hold off picking up another pair, until I've tried a bunch of other types of shoes. (This is my "playing the field" time with my shoes.) But, if someone was thinking about the shoes, I certainly would give them positive press.

Thanks to NB of Harrisburg for this opportunity!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Nice weather is here

I woke up today, it was 34 degrees. It's been dorking around the 30s and 40s most of the week.


The forecast for today: 73
Tomorrow: 84
Sunday: 79

Etc. I'm stoked.

Should be a surprise to the body while running, though. lol.


And, the nice weather brings out the shorts.. aw yea! I'm fortunate enough to be able to push the envelope a bit here at work. For the next 6-7 months, I'll pretty much always be sporting a pair of shorts at work.
Not running shorts or the basketball shorts I'm lounging around in at the homestead, mind you, but they're still shorts. Cargo shorts and the like.

You know what I like about cargo shorts? Lots of pockets. I've been informed by people in the fashion-know (read: my wife), that you really aren't supposed to use all of the pockets. As she pointed out, though, they really shouldn't put all those pockets on clothing for men if they don't want them to be used.

(And yes, in the case of cargo pants, with like 20 pockets, I've "lost" things, not knowing which pocket something is in.)

So yeah, it's relatively relaxed here at work, dress-wise. I can't do sandals, though. That is strictly verboten. If I deal with a customer or an executive or something like that, I need to shape up for the day. Otherwise.. I'm good to go.


I've been lax on working out this week. This weekend, game is back on. At least one of the days.

I'm going to get back to work, in an effort to slide on out a bit early and enjoy the weather and some sort of tasty beverage.

Keep on rockin'! Have a great weekend, everyone

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

So, just random miscellany today..

Went out for a run yesterday. My calves were pretty achy, my shins were pretty achy. The weather was great, though. I wound up stopping to stretch a couple of times, but managed 3.5 miles. I'm taking today off, or just doing the elliptical or something.

The weather. Holy cow. It was downright cold on Monday, in the high 30s. Looking at the weekend, they're predicting 83 the last I looked. What the hell?

I'm getting old. Unlike some people, it appears I no longer need ID to buy stuff in a liquor store. I went in the other day and made a decent purchase and was thoroughly disappointed that I wasn't carded. While I do go to liquor stores a lot, I'm not really monogamous in my store- I tend to hit different ones for different things. So, the hope that "oh, they know you" doesn't really apply.

I'll throw my first entry in for Literary Wednesday (wow, two tfh link loves in today's post).

This book isn't one that moved me or anything like that, it's just the book I just finished reading the other day. It is:



The Invisible Man, by H. G. Wells. This book has been on my 'to read' list for quite a long time. Actually, a sort of funny story about that. When I was younger, I went to the library and grabbed 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison. That book is certainly an excellent book, being deep and thought provoking. So, yeah, I was kind of caught off guard, and "The Invisible Man" remained unread for many years after.

So, I busted it out recently (along with a whole slew of H.G. Wells entries for LW for weeks to come), and finished it. Nice easy read, fun little book.

That's all I've got for today.. keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Long weekend!

Well, I did make it back from my trip. Thoughts from the road are as follows:

I got an EZ pass for the trip. Not that I really needed it, but I thought it would be fun and cool. It was.

I know my wife doesn't want to hear this, but I really had a blast. I fought the trip tooth and nail before I went. Once I got there, I really didn't want to leave. I could go out and do my own thing at night, and that was that. No real schedule after work, so I could just go work out at the hotel, and then go out and about.

Plus, I wound up sleeping diagonally in the bed, so that was pretty cool too. And no one stole the sheets. :)

And that's the end of my trip report..


So, Saturday was a 4 miler in absolutely beautiful weather. Sunday was a 3.5 hill run, with weather that was slightly not as good, but it was still pretty awesome. My ITB felt pretty good, which is really nice. I'm going to try to keep upping the quantity of runs I do for a while, and then work on lengthening one of them.

I've got to say, having nicer weather to run in is just so awesome. I love it.


Monday was a self-prescribed day off. A couple of us from work went up to Cooperstown for the day. Here's a photo montage..

This is outside of the baseball hall of fame, our main destination for the day:


This is a shot of some of the plaques in the hall of fame:


My wife views this room with the plaques (the actual hall) as her own personal hell. It is analogous to me being confined in 'Jo-Ann Fabrics'. She was absolutely thrilled that I found people to go with, so she never has to step foot in here again. (Now, I think that's a bit extreme, but what can you do?)

This is where we went for lunch, a place called 'The Pit':



After the hall of fame, we went to Brewery Ommegang. This is their building:


After an informative tour, we sampled all of their beers, plus a couple of special ones. The 'Hennepin' was my favorite, until they got to this 'cave-aged Abbey Ale', which is a bottle of their 'Abbey Ale', which had been stuck in a cave for 11 months. I'm thinking of telling my wife I need to dig a cave. That beer was phenomenal.

The ending note of the beer sampling was this:



It was a special beer, not ever bottled, made for the inauguration. They dubbed it 'Obamagang'. I thought that was pretty funny.


Today, I'm back to the grind. Keep on rockin', everyone!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Heading back

On my way back home.. got side tracked at the 'Gilded Otter' brewpub. Didn't do too much in blogland this week.. I'll try to swing around over the weekend. I did work out 3 for 3 of the days. First day was 3 miles of running, 25 min of biking. Second day was a 3 mile progression run. Last day was a 30 minute bike ride. The hotel's workout room wasn't too bad,really.

Have a good weekend everyone, and keep on rockin'!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Strange Sleep Patterns

Well, this weekend was full of odd sleep patterns for me. I stayed up late on Friday, which generally doesn't lead to good things. Saturday, I woke up, not nearly rested enough. Tired and cranky was I.

Shortly after, I was called in to work and spent the day there. I came home and caught a quick 20 minute nap, also out of the norm. I usually only nap if I'm sick. After that, I went out for a run, my first in 6 days. Did 3 miles.

After the nap and the run, I felt immensely better. I napped and ran the crankiness out of my system.

So, Sunday, I wound up waking up early. Also, well out of the norm. Now, 7:30 isn't early for a lot of people, but for me on a weekend, that's at least 2 hours earlier than normal. LOL.

Strange thing is, when you get up earlier, there's more hours in the day to work with. hah.

So yeah, I went for a run that morning, and it was kind of nice, having it out of the way by 10:30. Another 3 miles in the books.


This week, I'm rolling downstate for a business trip.. Yee-haw! I'm hoping that I can hop on the treadmill in the hotel and work off the extraordinary free breakfast that the Holiday Inn Express serves.. (seriously, it's good)

I'm also hoping I can get caught up on my blogging at night and get a couple of posts out.

Keep on rockin', everyone!