Open all the doors and let you out into the world
The Lounge has had a good run, but the times they are changing and it is time for the virtual edition of the Last Mile Lounge to holler "Last Call" for the final time and lock the doors as a new chapter of life presents itself. The physical location still exists and beer is in plentiful supply!
Don't Look For Me On Twitter
Over the last few weeks I started whittling down my Tweeter Account. Too many posts without context; too many posts dedicated to only driving social traffic; too many meaningless posts in general. Today, I finally realized it wasn't worth the effort and shut the account down. Maybe I'll return, maybe not.
It is highly possible I will take my blogging talents to a new location and a new blog. If you want to know the details, leave a comment instructing me as such and I will notify you if and when it happens.
Thank you for taking the time to read my missives, my rants, and my random thoughts. A special thanks to all of you who commented. A special, special thanks to all of you who stuck with me during my multiple relocations. It's been fun.
On the Texas Gulf Coast, and in Florida, the season of delicious frozen treats is upon us and that means mornings where humidity smacks you in the face, before causing massive leakage from all pores before one is a mile into their run.
Before someone thinks this is a bitch session about the weather, might I remind you – gentile readers – that I love humidity. Seriously, humidity is my buddy, even if it means I have to work a little harder six or seven months out of the year. I embrace humidity like an overweight redneck embraces the buffet at Golden Corral. Just saying.
Thus, upon stepping out for a run this morning, I was not deterred in the least by the sweat balls immediately forming on my forehead.
By the way, speaking of life sucking humidity, there is a good article on hydration out at Runners World. I am heading to 150% as I type this missive, just on the odd chance I decide to run tomorrow.
Woah, “on the odd chance I decide to run tomorrow…” What in the name of Bea Arthur does that mean? It means I have gone old school. No, that can’t be it. I have returned to my running roots is probably more appropriate, but means absolutely nothing without a sense of my running history.
Let’s just say for the last couple of months I have been winging it. Running when I want to, with absolutely no distance in mind before heading out. The way I used to do it. After taking a few months off to recover, my fitness is low, so my mileage has been low too. But mileage isn’t the point, getting out and enjoying myself is.
Hence, I have been taking the route less traveled and discovering some neat things about the area surrounding my neighborhood.
I have not worn my Garmin since January so it’s rare I can tell you how far I have run since I am taking oft-traveled routes. Although yesterday morning was an exception. The body was on complete autopilot and chose a four mile loop I often run. But that is certainly not the rule.
Many people need a race goal or a training plan as motivation to get out the door. Others use fitness or weight loss as a prompt. I am not that person. I just want to go out and run; unbound by a particular route because it fits a distance in my training plan; and not worrying about hitting numbers specified on a chart.
I promise I will go into detail about how I arrived at this point, but that will be a series of posts for another time. Until then, know that I am running and afterward I am relaxing with an ice cold beverage, happy about the sweat dripping from my pores.
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Listening to: Cut Me Some Slack – Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear; from Sound City – Real to Reel.
In my beer travels, I am always thrilled to find a female who likes craft beer, especially the hoppy versions. The reason is because conventional wisdom assumes that only a small percentage of women enjoy craft beer. Fortunately, there are likely many more women who enjoy a well-crafted beer than anyone realizes.
One of the reasons is that we (the collective “we’) tend to put people into a box, consciously or sub-consciously. Doing so makes things easier even though, at the end of the day, it may not be fair. But being in a box or not, does not determine whether one likes beer or not.
There are several factors as to why someone may or may not like beer. Let’s begin with perception. Unfortunately, perception is a pretty big deal when it comes to getting people to try new foods or really anything. Perception can be formed based on words, names, other people’s experiences, advertising, colors and a plethora of other things.
For example, me and liver are not good friends. From a perception standpoint, the word “liver” just does not sound appetizing at all.*
However, let’s say that you are man enough, or woman enough, to cast perception aside and dive head first into new experiences. Why is it that you love the taste of some things, yet cannot stand the taste of others? If you said the answer is in the tongue, you would be correct. But not for the reasons you think.
Most people still abide by the theory of sixth grade health science and assume the tongue is a map, with taste centers strategically located around said map. Not so fast my friend.
This myth was perpetuated in the 40’s by a Harvard academic, based on a vague tendency of a 1901 German study. Harvard, setting us back 40 years!
The great thing about science is that it rolls along and many scientists are inclined to question, if not prove wrong, what their brethren stated before them. The tongue and our taste centers is one of them.
Scientists now agree there are five distinct tastes, four of which you know – sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. The fifth is known as umami. Umami is a pleasant savory taste, by the way. Further, while not yet confirmed, there may be a sixth taste receptor for fat.
Furthermore, the “taste map” is bogus as well. Which, unfortunately, means all the hype around the claims of a particularly shaped wine glass directing the “flavors” of the wine to the appropriate location on the tongue is a sham.
The kicker is that taste buds of all five (six?) types are scattered randomly throughout the tongue and how many you get of each is a complete crapshoot. This is why people taste the same things differently. By the way, your taste buds are not restricted to your tongue. They can be found on the sides and roof of your mouth, not too mention down the esophagus.
Therefore, if you don’t like beer, it’s not because you are male or female or there is something wrong with you (OK, there could be something wrong with you…). It’s because of the make-up of your taste buds.
Finally, if you don’t like beer today, you may well like it tomorrow; or in ten years. Why? Because as we age, taste buds not only disappear from the side and roof of our mouth, but they become less sensitive as well. Hope springs forth!
The more you know…
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Listening to: Trojans – Atlas Genius
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* I have tried liver. Yuck and double yuck…
Evil will not win; Tomorrow we run.
You just pissed off a bunch of people who run faster than you and never give up.
The outward showing of the resiliency of runners has reached a fever pitch in the aftermath of the Boston bombings. A never ending feed of pithy quotes overlaid atop iconic pictures has permeated Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and every other social site on the interwebs.
We, the running community, are showing how tight we are and how we will not be deterred from following our passion. We are mad, we are frustrated, we want to take action to show that we will not shut ourselves behind doors and resign ourselves to a treadmill, but will instead hit the streets to prove they are ours and always will be.
It is an outpouring of unprecedented passion from runners everywhere.
I ask you to stop, if only for a moment.
Lingzi Lu – Krystle Cambell – Martin Richard
Every running blogger has at least once written how the roar of the crowd has energized them when they were down, has carried them to the finish line, or has motivated them to run hard those last several hundred yards.
Runner after runner will tell you that spectators make the race. It doesn’t matter whether there are several hundred thousand spectators lining the full 26.2 miles of a major marathon or a handful of people clapping and cheering at the finish line of a small race. The cheers of a thousand or the cheer of a few lift us every single time.
A finish line without cheering is anticlimactic. Most everyone there is there of their own volition. And in the coming weeks at marathons and races of all distances, spectators – and don’t forget, it was spectators, not runners, who suffered most due to the explosions in Boston – will be out there cheering. Out making noise to show they are not afraid. Showing that they, like runners, will not be deterred and the streets and sidewalks belong to them.
Many spectators are supporting friends and family running a race. Yet they still yell and scream for all runners passing by. Many spectators are also volunteers, not only working hard to ensure water and other necessities are available to runners, but giving encouragement as well. And many other spectators are out there just because. Just because they want to be.
Well over 99% of us runners are unrecognizable to the spectators who line the courses that challenge us. Yet they clap, they cheer, they shout encouragement. They stand for hours, sometimes in inclement weather. They spend time making signs, decorating their yards and preparing bowls of fruit or candy to hand out to runners. They do this for people they do not know and will likely never see again.
As runners, our interaction with spectators is limited. A quick wave, a random smile, a high or low five, a fleeting thank you. At best, it’s a one or two second transaction, and often forgotten as quickly as it occurred.
For just one race, let’s change that.
At your next race, whether it be next week, next month or next year; I dare you to stop. I challenge you to stop and thank a spectator or a group of spectators that you don’t know. Put the PR aside; give up your finishing kick; let the runner you are secretly racing go. Spend ten seconds; spend 15 seconds; take enough time to create a memory.
It can be just after you start, right before you finish or anywhere in between. Regardless of where or when, I challenge you to stop and show your support for the spectators.
We thank our supporters for holding our gel, carrying that extra pair of socks, and making a sign.
We provide words of appreciation to volunteers who hand us water, sticks of vaseline, and energy gels.
Now, let’s stop and take a long moment to thank all the random spectators that make the race so special. Thank the masses that make the finish line roar. Thank the three guys standing at a lonely curve goofing it up; making you forget your pain. Thank the lady standing outside her home who spent the morning slicing oranges to give to complete strangers.
I challenge you. I dare you. Stop and show your appreciation. It’s 15 seconds of your time to acknowledge those who have given you much more than that.
It appears, at times, there are bad people everywhere. Even in a 24 hour news cycle some events take front stage because we cannot fathom how an individual, or a group, could perpetrate an act of violence that leaves innocent and unsuspecting people injured and/or dead.
We would like to believe that Good will triumph over Bad. But there will always be Bad. There will always be Bad because we are human. Sadly, the very things that make us human also enable us to do bad things.
As humans, we are not perfect. Our imperfections are not consistent and they make for differences among us. Factor in beliefs, intelligence, the capacity for emotion, and numerous other intrinsic variables and differences can seem significant. And indeed, they are.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise there are people who appear to have a screw loose; people who seem incapable of understanding their actions; people who are easily led, like sheep, to believe in causes that promote violence on innocent people to make a point or call attention to their beliefs.
It can seem, at times, overwhelming and the easiest thing to do is to lock ourselves behind doors. But we don’t. Why? Because of the Good that flows through so many of us. You don’t have to look any further than the initial tape of the finish line explosion at the Boston Marathon to find the Good. Few people were running away, most were running to help.
Think about that again. Two explosions and no certainty whether there would be more and people were running straight to ground zero without a second thought to provide help. Because for many of us, that is our first instinct. It is not to hurt; it is to help.
There are numerous stories coming out of Boston of people who are the embodiment of good. From blood donations to opening their homes, the people of Boston are not only showing they are resilient, but that Good can triumph.
Sometimes, it takes a tragedy to remind us that Good is still out there. But it is. On a daily basis Good far out-numbers Bad. And because of it, our lives are not thrown into chaos every single day.
We will not forget the events that unfolded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. But let us also not forget all the Good that followed.
Best Run Ever
Sausalito to San Francisco. I know most people choose a race, but this is my favorite run of all-time and I try to re-enact all or part of it just about every time I visit the San Francisco area.
I began with an easy run down to the San Francisco Ferry Building and took the ferry across the bay to Sausalito. The run officially started in picturesque Sausalito and I made my way out of town and over to Fort Baker and the Bay Area Discovery Museum, before beginning my climb up the mountain to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Then it’s over the Golden Gate Bridge. You can definitely feel the temperature change as you get out over the water. Running along the bridge provides magnificent views, along with other runners, cyclists and of course, tourists of all persuasion.
The bridge dumps you into Fort Point National Historic Site and you get to run along the Golden Gate Promenade which features, among other things, a dog beach and a stretch of beach inhabited by wind surfers. Once you hit Fort Mason, you get to run through the Great Meadow and an Aquatic Park.
Then it is along Fisherman’s Wharf and the Embarcadero, before turning and heading back to the hotel.
The first time I ran this, the weather featured blue skies and comfortable temperatures. Add in mountains, beaches, an iconic bridge, and views that are breathtaking at the very least, and you have my best run ever.
Three Words That Describe My Running
Joy, frustration, joy.
My Go To Running Outfit
I think it would depend on the weather, but put me in a singlet and shorts and I am a happy camper.
I Won’t Run Outside When…
…there is lightning or ice. Everything else is fair game. Hot, cold, windy, rainy; bring it on.
Worst Injury and How I Got Over It
January 1, 2008 – Texas Marathon. I should have stopped. I should have stopped. I should have stopped. But my stubbornness pushed me forward. Good news – I finished. Bad news – I required knee surgery.
Time and lots of therapy brought me back.
I Felt Most Like a Badass Runner When…
I ran the final 4 miles of the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon.
After a timely stop at a port-a-potty I was re-energized and ran my fastest miles of the race; blowing by runners who were faltering in the rising heat and humidity. My pace was blistering and it felt like runners were standing still. Training in Houston does have its benefits.
Potential Running Goal for 2013
Get back to running happy.
My Next Race Is…
…against the wind. I’ve got nothing for this one. There are zero races on my radar. Just a will to get healthy and get out and enjoy myself on whatever route I choose.
Want to join in?
Just copy the prompts below, answer to the best of your abilities, then head over and link up.
Best Run Ever
Three Words That Describe My Running
My Go-To Running Outfit
I Won’t Run Outside When It’s...
Worst Injury – And How I Got Over It
I Felt Most Like a Badass Runner When...
Potential Running Goal for 2013
My Next Race Is...
You can’t put things off for too long because in the end, there just isn’t a viable excuse. So after multiple emails, and a not so subtle hint via Twitter, I give you a blog post after numerous weeks of absence.
There is news to report. But first, I have to say I am a bit amazed that folks I have never met, except in the virtual world, would check up on me to inquire if everything is OK. You know who you are and thank you.
Over the past several weeks, some intense downsizing has taken place. Lady J has made so many trips to Goodwill they think she is an employee. In addition to downsizing, we have been working feverishly to put our house on the market.
Yes, we are moving.
Lady J is looking in the Clear Lake area south of Houston; I am looking toward Austin.
If you are having trouble putting two and two together, I’ll just come out and say that Lady J and I are going our separate ways.
It is sad to be sure, but the entire affair is amicable and we are still friends. In fact, we make much better friends than we do a married couple.
Feel free to take a deep breath and say, “wow”.
There is still Beer to be Consumed
Yesterday evening I scouted the Beer Hibernation Unit and pulled out a Hoptologist Double IPA, from Knee Deep Brewing.
I am stunned at the amount of crap I have accumulated since being in a house. I am equally stunned at the number of beers I am going to have to transport once I move. Better start drinking…
Anyway, the folks at Knee Deep did a good job with the Hoptologist. I have run into a rash of breweries trying the outrageously hoppy thing, only to succumbed to producing an obnoxiously hoppy beer with no backbone to balance it out.
This is not the case with the Hoptologist. Say hello to a wave of malt that compliments and balances the hoppiness of the brew.
Since we all taste and smell things a little differently, I hesitate to go into all the details. But I think it is important to note the hops in this brew impart a piney/citrus taste and smell that is not overwhelming on either account. I bring it up because when it comes to IPAs some people prefer a more citrusy brew, while others favor a more piney effort.
I am giving this beer a solid Half-Marathon Rating.
The Running Front
I have an entire post dedicated to my direction with running, so all I am alluding to today is that I am not running and am instead strengthening the knee and the surrounding muscles. My Sports Doc put me on the treadmill for an impromptu gait analysis and found that I am favoring my right leg. In fact, my left leg is bending well before impact as a mechanism to protect my left knee.
Thus, while I have not been told forbidden to run, I want to work to a point me and my subconscious have much more trust in the knee.
There you have it. I’ll shall return when there is news.