Friday, May 29, 2009


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


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


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.