Sunday, February 27, 2011


This mornings easy shake out run produced something, I've only seen once this cycle. Sweat! Surprised me really. Knew it was warm when I started out, low 60's and a really strong wind. Took forever for my legs to loosen up. Indoors on the treadmill is probably the only other time I was aware of any sweat during a run. Most runs this cycle have been cooler than 50 degrees, to downright cold. One things for certain, if we have temperatures close to 70 degrees come race day, I'll wilt.

Still watching the weather to see what race day will look like. Probably around 50 degrees, warming to low 60's by the time I'm finished. I can deal with that, almost a carbon copy of race day in Cincinnati, perhaps even some rain to truly mimic the day.

Last week's training was a disaster. Only ended up with 47 miles, partly because I took one day off. Slogged easy a couple of days as well. Somehow, I irritated the outside of my heel. The off day actually made it worse. It swelled to about the size of a half dollar. Finally seems to have gone away after a few easy days. The one big thing that seemed to have helped was some trigger point massage. I'd really forgotten how tight my calves get, it hadn't really been an issue this cycle. It must have been the trigger to the heel pain. Some stretching, some massage and everything loosened back up. Not before some tense moments this week. The trigger point stuff was new to me. I've used self massage in the past to loosen up my calves. The stick works well, also.

I'll start my carb depletion tomorrow. Three days of high protein and little to no carbs. (Atkins diet, pretty much) Then on Thursday and Friday I'll start carb loading. Really just back to my regular diet, just a few more carbs than normal. Try to emphasize some liquid carbs, not necessarily beer. Don't really expect to lose any weight, maybe a pound or two. I'm already at 151 pounds, same place as the Flying Pig. Hardest thing will be avoiding to much weight gain with the reduced mileage.

Not even going to list any excuses going into this marathon. The training is about where I wanted it. More miles would have been nice, but its a fine line between more miles and staying injury free. Only thing I've noticed different is the mid week easy runs with the fast guys. (easy for them, about 20 seconds slower the marathon pace for me) That didn't really happen this cycle.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Brew day

Tub with ice to cool water before it goes into the wort chiller.

Original gravity reading, not quite where we expected.

Grain before the mash.

First hop addition. We added 4 ounces of Simcoe in total in the boil. We'll add another 2 ounces in the secondary.

Wort chiller setup. Shows the water from the hose going into the pre-cooler and then into the wort chiller in the brew pot, and then the hose exiting the brew pot with the hot water.

Last hop addition at flame out and before chilling the wort to pitching temperature.

During the boil and just after the first boil over.

Darrell and I started brewing a Simcoe IPA this afternoon at 2pm. It only took us 4 hours this time until we started cleaning up. The pictures above aren't really in chronological order. We started the process by bringing 4.5 gallons of water to 170 degrees to start our mash. I had to add a little water to cool it to the 152 degree mash temperature. We mashed for one hour. That gave me time to run to the store and buy another propane tank to ensure we didn't run out of gas for the brew. This was our second all grain brew, but the first brew outdoors with our new burner.

We brought another 3 gallons of water up to 170 degrees to sparge the mash. This was the second time using the Zapap setup. This has to be where we lost some of our efficiency and didn't hit our original gravity. Lost a little wort due to a spillover. Perhaps we sparged to quickly? Plus, it almost got stuck a couple of times and I had to stir the bottom to get it flowing. Need to get a wooden mash paddle on the next trip to the brew shop.

The boil seemed to take forever. At least after we had our first and only boil over. It put our flame out on the burner. We had a spray bottle on hand to douse the boil overs, but the flame was just a touch to hot evidently. Hops really smelled great with every addition. First hop addition was 30 minutes into the boil and then about every 10 minutes another addition.

I set up a pre-cool tub with 2 gallons of ice to cool the hose before going into the wort chiller. This worked great and cooled the wort 100 degrees in less than 20 minutes. We were ready to pitch the yeast a short time later. Great setup, don't know of anything I'd change for this stage. Used the Zapap to strain the hops out of the wort, into the fermenting bucket.

Pretty good brew session. Only error was the boil over and the lack of efficiency. Both should be corrected in the next session. We'll ferment this for a week and then move it to a secondary carboy to add 2 more ounces of Simcoe to dry hop for some aroma in our final beer. I was really shooting for a Sweetwater IPA clone, but settled for this recipe because of all of the Simcoe hops.

few pictures

Princess "Zoey" about to go for a walk with Paula.

Everyone gathered for the old fart's 49th birthday.

Birthday cake.

Pop, Bryan and Dylan. January of 2011, only a couple more games to go. This was the game they played against each other. Bryan's team won.

Bryan and Dylan.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

two weeks to go

Only two weeks to go until the Snickers Marathon in Albany, Georgia. Training this cycle is almost a complete replica of the training for my last marathon PR in 2009 at the Flying Pig Marathon, in Cincinnati, Ohio. That day was a huge PR with a 3:05. This time out, I'm shooting for a sub 3:00.

Even did the same last 18 mile run. That's the course elevation with splits above. Big climb up Spain hill, out to the hills of St. Johns, and then back on Charles Smith. Rolling downhill for the last 8 miles which I did at marathon pace. Last cycle target pace was 7:03, this year 6:50. Guess the hills this cycle are the only real difference from last cycle. Four trips out to Percy Warner Park and the course at Snickers is basically flat. That should provide the strength needed to maintain pace in the final 6 miles home.

Really surprised at the number of cars parked at the Lascassas Baptist Church when I finished that last training run. Saw a few runners in my last three miles home, plus another group of runners heading out for a long run. Most of the cars were for bikers I suppose. We usually run from that location on Sunday mornings, that was probably the reason for the crowd.

I started checking the weather in Albany a few days ago. Way to early to see what kind of weather we'll get, but that's just part of the buildup. Didn't realize Accuweather does a 15 day forecast. 40 degrees to start and around 60 degrees to finish would be my ideal race day. That's about what the averages show for this time of year and about what the extended forecasts are showing. Though the high today in Albany is scheduled to be 80 degrees, here in Murfreesboro 70 degrees. But, that's only going to last a day or so and then back to normal.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm gonna be really pissed

"I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. I see my doctor once a year and my dentist twice a year. I floss every night. I've had chest x–rays, cardio stress tests, EKG's and colonoscopies. I see a psychologist and have a variety of hobbies to reduce stress. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I don't have crazy, reckless sex with strangers.

"If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I'm gonna be really pissed."

Chuck Lorre, creator of Two and a Half Men.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cedars Frostbite Half Marathon

Think they added a couple of hills in the last 2 weeks. The hills just seem to keep coming. Especially in the last 3 miles. Wondered why I couldn't get my legs to turn over. (a description of the course "mostly flat with a couple of hills", yeah right)

I arrived at Cedars of Lebanon a little earlier than my planned 9:30 am. So, I decided to ride the course backwards from mile 10 to the start to see how much snow was still on the road. The snow was on the road in sections and slippery, but it could be avoided for the most part. I can't blame my slow time on the snow, the hills yes, but not the snow.

Got in 5 miles of warmup, so I could treat this as a long run and practice marathon pace. I only managed to hit marathon pace on about 3 or 4 miles. Hills made it tough, but I expected as much. Knew I'd be slower on the uphills and get it back on the downs. Overall I'm pleased with the 1:31:40, would have liked to have run 1:30 but the last few miles were tough. Still, considering I just ran this as a marathon pace effort, I'm happy. Didn't really have much race left in me, so really surprised by the 5:50 pace for the line. No way I could have kept that going for a mile, but surprised I had that much left even for a tenth of a mile. Still, got smoked at the line by at least 2 runners.

The fast master ran faster than his marathon pace, but didn't get sucked into racing. That's some discipline. He's looking really strong and should crush the marathon in 3 weeks. Saw lots of familiar faces, but didn't really hang around at the finish. I had to get back to the house for birthday cake. Surprised when I got a call from the FM, that I'd gotten 3rd place in our age group. Don't know where that came from, thought I'd ended up 4th.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

30 days

Probably let the current running streak of 30 days go. Not by plan, just the threat of snow this afternoon and evening. Don't really need the miles this week, anyway. Should still hit 60+ miles even with a day off. This is all because of 2 long runs in one week. Only because the Cedars of Lebanon Frostbite Half Marathon is on Saturday. So, next weeks mileage will be short a long run. That'll be just fine, time to start scaling back the miles anyway.

Only 24 days until the marathon as of today. Time now to start worrying about how my training has gone this cycle. Went back and compared my marathon buildup for the Flying Pig to the current training cycle. Long runs are identical to this point at 9 runs of 18 miles or more. I should end up with one more 18 mile effort after Saturday's race. Plus this cycle I've been to Percy Warner Park 4 times. Only doubled twice at PWP, the route backwards and forwards, not 2 runs in one day(not once). Weekly mileage is just about 1 mile per week more this cycle on average than for the Pig, at 73 miles per week. The marathon plan is the exact same. Only regret is maybe not enough miles, but I started this cycle with the thought that bumping up to 80 miles per week wouldn't be a difference maker, but potentially a injury inducer.

We did run the Tom King Half Marathon 6 weeks out from race day at the Pig in 2009. Tied my half marathon PR time at 1:27. (still short of the 1:25 where I need to be) This time, our only race will be Cedars, 3 weeks out. That kinda has me worried. The course is rolling, so not really a PR course like Tom King. Plus, this course has about a mile worth of rough asphalt and then 2 miles of gravel. With my tender feet, I'm not going to wear a light weight trainer, definitely not a racing flat. Guess, I'll just go out at marathon pace effort for the hills, marathon pace on everything else and call it a 13 mile marathon pace run. Add a 5 mile warm up and it's a 18 mile long run.