Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's Next?

Think back to your PSAT or SAT tests for this one.

Complete this series: Earthquake, hurricane....

We here at the Earn Your Donuts Research Labs have concluded that the next catastrophe is right around the corner, and it will probably take one of three forms:

Space rocks.

Dinosaurs coming back from extinction.

Cats rising up against their owners and taking over the world.

Now that I've had my MS Paint fun, I should get back to running.

Even though the above scenarios render the Philly Marathon unlikely to take place, I've paid my entry fee and so I should probably hedge my bets and train for it. Since we'd been without power (and plumbing, since we have a well) from early Sunday morning through yesterday afternoon, it made it difficult to find a way to get our runs in. I finally got out for a nice 10-miler this morning. Though I missed out running on the two nicest weather days in months (Monday and Tuesday), it was a cool, beautiful morning -- the kind of day where running is a joy. So, kind of the opposite of Saturday's run.

Hal Higdon's going to be even madder at me, though, since I lost a run yesterday I'm winging my midweek mileage again this week. I'll also probably do my long run on Monday, when the weather looks cooler, instead of Saturday. I've got a 14-miler this time. I'd rather run it in 50-something degrees than 70-something, but I know I can get through it either way. That's as far as I've run this summer, though, so for runs longer than that (15 miles the next week, and 17 two weeks after that) I'll really be hoping for some cooler temperatures.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lights On

I am fully aware that it Irene's impact could have been much, much worse and that there were many in the Mid-Atlantic region and New England who did have a tougher time or more damage. Still, after 2.5 days w/o power or plumbing, this is a welcome sight.

It also means I can put my plans to adopt a nomadic lifestyle on hold for now.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Thankfully, it seems like overall, Hurricane Irene's impact was not as bad as predicted. Speaking only of our own property, there wasn't any flooding in the front yard and the water in the basement was much less than I expected. But, we've been without power at our home since 2am Sunday morning. Since we have a well, no electricity means no water.

We're at the point where we need to decide if we stick it out at home for a few more hours, or if we need to find somewhere else to stay for a night or two. I called Met Ed to see when the juice would be back on, and got this recorded message:

"The Met Ed Customer Service Center is closed due to outages from Hurricane Irene."

That's sure not the answer I was looking for, but unfortunately, I guess it is an answer. Looking for more information, I went to Met Ed's website and was surprised to find an informative outage map.

If you look at York County, we have 2,000-5,000 outages, which I was surprised to see was more than counties closer to Philly. However, I think it's because other utility companies service those areas. Compared to Berks County (Reading area) and it's 12,000 outages, York County got off relatively lightly with just under 5,000.

A quick drive around Manchester last night made it appear as if it were just our street that was without power, but there's 144 customers without power in Manchester.

This, along with Met Ed's own outage, makes me think the lights won't be back on for quite awhile.

If you're reading this from somewhere within Irene's Path of Devastation, or in our case, it's Trail of Inconvenience, I hope you fared well and/or wish you the best of luck with any repairs.

Update: Moments after posting this, I got a call on my cel from Met Ed's automated system to verify whether power had been restored. (Hit "1" for yes, "2" for no.) I felt like this was a huge cause for optimism, but since I'm not at home, I called my wife, only to find that the power is still out.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Long Run: Return to Humiditytown

It was really, really humid this morning. The kind of humid that makes me think it's time to find another hobby. The kind of humid that makes me question the existence of good in this world. The kind of humid that makes me right write posts complaining about humid it is. The kind of humid that makes me screw up homophones.

Hal Higdon called for 9 this week. Since I've done such a great job of listening to him so far, even this week, my first full week "on program", I just ran my usual 10-mile route through Manchester and Mt. Wolf. I had a slow pace again today, but unlike Monday's unexplainable bonk, I'm just going to attribute this one to slogging through 100% humidity.

(Yours truly at my finishing point, Humiditytown Middle School)

Did I mention that it was really, really humid? It was 73 degrees at the start of my run, which is quite warmer than it's been for my morning runs the past two weeks but nothing special overall for the summer, but the humidity must have been AT LEAST 1000% if not infinitely more. It was very overcast, which allows me to forgo the visor, but I was still disgusting and sweaty within half a mile.

Since words are powerless to convey exactly how much I was sweating, let's again use the power of MS Paint to try to capture the level of disgustingness (That's not a word, spell check? Screw you!) we're talking about here (click to enlarge):

Good luck on your runs, everyone. I'll be inside playing video games. (And best wishes to anyone in Irene's path.)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Haiku, Volume XIII and a Brief Word About Training

After a tough week,
With Irene now on her way
Step-back week is great.

It's been a tough first week back from vacation, and I've ignored the daylights out of poor Hal Higdon again this week. You see, Hal wants me to run on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, rest Fridays, long runs on Saturdays, cross-train on Sundays, and rest Mondays.

I ran my long run on Saturday and then rain prevented a bike ride on Sunday. However, since an off-site meeting would make a Tuesday run more trouble than it would be worth on this step-back week, I cut a run from Higdon's plan and ran 10 on Monday and 10 on Wednesday, which I went into more detail about in my previous post. My long run tomorrow, according to Higdon? 9 miles.

It was a step-back week, which I felt I'd needed because my long runs had been ahead of schedule, so I didn't feel bad about ignoring Higdon (again), but I should probably get on plan next week since my next two long runs are 14 and 15 miles. I've run 14 miles twice this summer, so the mileage doesn't scare me. If the weather's nice it won't be too bad, but if it's hot and humid those mornings...ouch. I probably won't be able to bike this week due to Irene's approach and my cat adoption room duties, but I can get on (and fall off of) the NordicTrack for the first time in years.

After that Higdon wants me to run a half marathon, but though that seems like a step-back I think I'm supposed to run the 13.1 like I'm in a race. After that, the distances get longer and the donuts become more rewarding.

Have a good weekend, and stay dry!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Don't Call it a Comeback -- A Tale of Two Runs

Running has been a bit of a struggle since coming back from vacation. I had my very tough 12 miler on Saturday, and went out for a run on Monday morning that definitely ended up not meeting my expectations.

It was a gorgeous morning, in the low 60s if not the 50s. The humidity was a bit high, but nothing unreasonable. I ran my usual 10-mile course (I'm kind of ignoring Higdon this week because schedule is permitting fewer than recommended midweek runs) and just sucked. I'm usually between 1:36 and 1:39. My best 10-miler this year is 1:33:26 back on May 8, and my slowest was 1:40:28. On Monday -- 1:43. Ouch!

I can explain this. It was a cool morning, with humidity no worse than most of August; I felt fine, ; level of effort seemed good (I don't race these didn't feel like I was taking it easier than usual); and I was on my usual route through Manchester and Mt. Wolf.

Today, ignoring Higdon again, I set out for another 10-miler. I was running a bit late, and it's the first day of school and my usual route has a lot of bus traffic and students walking to school, and since it was another cool, beautiful morning (around 60 degrees) I decided it was a good day for "Pain Lies On the Riverside", which I think is a tougher route.

When I run this route, I try to make it to the flagpole at the square in Goldsboro, 5 miles away, in 45 minutes. I hardly ever make it. Today, I seemed to have a good pace and felt great, but it was almost 48 minutes when I got to the square. Since the second 5 miles in this run is tougher, in my opinion, than the first, I know that I could be on my way to a similar pace to Monday's debacle. I dug in, knowing I had to make up time before I got to the steep, half-mile hill right at Mile 8, where I'm lucky to be able to go over 4mph. I climbed the hill faster than usual, and now, thinking I had a shot an under 1:35, which would be excellent, ran as fast as I could the last two miles, which are mostly flat or downhill...until a brutal quarter mile hill at the end that ended any chance of 1:34:xx.

Still, a much better pace than Monday, and I don't know why. I felt better Monday, they were equally nice days, and if anything I was better rested on Monday. Sure, there's some variance from run-to run, but this is a seven-minute difference on a distance in which I've been really consistent. A few theories:

1. My subconscious caused me to run slower on Monday in order to delay my return to the office. If that's the case, it should have impelled me to run even slower.

2. The East Coast Earthquake, which I didn't notice as I drove through the Philly suburbs in the mighty Neon, changed the magnetic field of the earth which somehow made me, and probably everyone else, faster.

3. This is just regular variance -- look at any runners marathon or half-marathon times and there's a lot more variance than this.

4. Monday's run was an outlier to even my normal variance.

The answer, I suspect, lies in numbers 3 and 4. So, in hindsight, this blog post is probably an over-analysis of nothing. But, not only did I have fun writing it, it made think about my two favorite local routes, how I attack each one differently, and how the one I thought was a lot tougher may not be so tough, after all.

Here's the elevation chart for "Pain Lies on the Riverside", aka York Haven to Goldsboro and back (click for a bigger view):

The tough climbs in this route are within the first two miles and at mile 8. But there's a five-mile continuous stretch of relatively flat roads in the middle of this, before the very steep climb at mile 8 (and it is devastating -- during my first year of half marathon training on this route, I walked this hill every time), and then a downhill stretch on the upper plateau for most of the last 1.5 miles in which I can make up some time.

Here's my usual route.

Until the end, the hills are not as steep, but the 2nd half of the course is mostly uphill. The overall incline is gradual enough that I can make up time on the 2nd half, but not as easily as the flat stretch of the other route, and by mile 8, I'm done. The steepest uphills are still both ahead of me so there's no real chance to make-up time.

What does this mean? Maybe I haven't gotten slower...or as much slower as I thought. Maybe the 1:33s or low 1:30s I'd been putting up in a flatter part of the county in the spring of 2010 aren't as unreachable as I thought. I'd love to be able to come in under 1:30 at the Broad Street Run next year, if I can get into the next one before it closes, that is.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Closing the Book on Montreal and Opening the Book on Marathon Training

Some odds and ends:

I already described my excellent, challenging run through Montreal's parks and waterfronts, but that wasn't my only scheduled run on vacation. I was planning to run on Tuesday, my normal "every other day" run, and then again on Wednesday, since I didn't want to get up super early to run and then drive all day on the trip home. However, I found that I was considerably sore from my Sunday run. I suspect it was a combination of a faster-than-usual pace at that distance and the inclines of the bridge and the park at the end of my run. But, at any rate, I'm used to running and then sitting around all day at work, not walking around a lovely Canadian city.
I wasn't up to doing so much walking after such a tough run.

So, on Tuesday, I decided to take it easy and stay on the Longueuil side of the river, taking the bike paths and sidewalks (mostly) along Rue Riverside in order to give myself a flatter course. At one point, I tried to take a path that crossed over the highway and ran directly along the river. However, the section that led northbound, through a portion of Jean Drapeau Park that had spread to this side of the river, was closed, leaving me with a southbound gravel access road along the St. Lawrence Seaway that I really didn't think I should be on, so I kept myself to the paths and sidewalks of Longueuil and Saint-Lambert. It was a nice run: 9.9 miles in 1:37:53.

(This sign either says "St. Lawrence Seaway" or "Keep Out, Idiot.")
(I just didn't know where "ici" was.)

Not bad, considering how tired my legs were. Since my calves hurt all day as we walked around Montreal, though, I decided to skip Wednesday's run and just enjoy the last day of vacation. Great decision.

With vacation over, I needed to hit the streets of Manchester again. At last it's time to officially start marathon training, jumping into Hal Higdon's Novice 2 plan at week five based on my current mileages. Since I needed 12 miles, according to Higdon, instead of 13 or 14, I just stayed on my local Manchester and Mt. Wolf course.

My knees had been hurting me on Thursday and Friday, during the long drive home and the day after, and I was worried that I was heading for a relapse of ITBS. While the knees were a bit sore during the run, it was my calves that were the biggest problems. It just took them approximately 5 miles until they really felt loosened up. It was a cool, but extremely humid morning and just one of those runs that makes me think I should get a new hobby. However, around mile 7 I found out that I was concentrating so hard on how much I hated running and how gross I felt, that I actually felt better!
I believe I ended up with 12 miles in 2:05.

(When it looks like this at the start of a run, I know I'm in for a tough time.)

Of course, my actual time and distance are educated guesses, as I paused Garmin to take a picture of the fog, and forgot to restart. For comparison, I ran the Philly Half Marathon in less time than this both times, but this isn't too far away from where I usually am on my training runs. (Keep in mind the Philly Half is a pretty fast course compared to stupid, hilly Manchester).
Not my best run, but I got in my garbage miles. Higdon's calling for a step-back week next Saturday, with 9 miles. While I just started the plan, I've run higher-than-recommended long runs the previous two weekends, so I think I'll take my step-back week, which works nicely with a busy weekend coming up. Midweek runs are 3, 6, and 3 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Schedule this week is crazy with business travel and even possibly a 7K race (which I'd just treat as a training run) Friday night, so I'll probably change this to two 7 or 8 milers tomorrow (Monday) and Wednesday.

I chose Novice 2 because even though I'm not a rookie marathoner this time, I still feel like a noob, since I didn't adequately prepare for Shamrock due to my ITBS, and also since I'm not really very far out of my current comfort zone until week 10, when I have a 17-miler, and week 11's 18-miler (which I may try to stretch to 20). Hopefully this means I'll have cooler weather for most of these longer runs.

One of the original, often ignored purposes of this blog was to keep myself accountable, so I'll be giving boring marathon training updates from here till November 20.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Running in Montreal

As I mentioned in my last post, we just got back from a great vacation in Montreal. Since I'm training (sort of) for the Philadelphia Marathon, I decided was going to try to get some runs, including a long run, in while we were away. I'd done my homework ahead of time, and found that either running the trails around Mt. Royal or looping around the trails of Jean Drapeau Park, on two islands between Longueuil and Montreal, would probably be my best options.

We drove up to Montreal from the Philadelphia area on Saturday. We waited in line at customs for almost two hours, got into our hotel in Longueuil, across the river from Montreal, at about 9:30. Exhausted, we probably weren't in bed until about 12:30.

Still, I got myself out the door at about six and headed for the stairway up to the Jacques Cartier Bridge. I began my run at the stop of the tall stairway, so the incline across the bridge, with a lower span which crosses to the Ile Sainte Helene and then a taller span that crosses over to Montreal, didn't seem so bad.

(Ile Sainte Helene and downtown Montreal as seen from the Jacques Cartier Bridge)

Once on the Montreal side, it seemed that the best route up to Mt. Royal park wasn't readily apparent. Since I wasn't familiar with any of the residential neighborhoods of Montreal, I decided to abandon this plan. Instead, I made a left onto Papineau, figuring that if I kept close to the river it would be hard for me to get lost. I followed Papineau through neighborhoods until reaching Rue Notre Dame at the Molson plant, where I made a right. I followed Rue Notre Dame for what seemed like quite a long way, and then turned left and ran two blocks to the waterfront as I entered what I learned later was Old Montreal.

(The Jacques Cartier Bridge seen from Papineau St.)

I ran along the quays, enjoying Montreal's picturesque waterfront area, until I reached the beginning of the Lachine Canal. I'd read that the trails along the canal were the best place to run in Montreal, but I was already about 5 miles into my run, so I only made it a little more than a mile down the canal before heading back.

(The Lachine Canal and downtown Montreal)

To return to Longueuil, I reversed the same course, finding the climb up the Cartier Bridge from ground level much more difficult on the return. I also turned off the bridge onto the Ile d Sainte Helene to add some distance through Jean Drapeau Park.

Big mistake. The trails through middle of the park feature some of the steepest hills I've ever run on, the equals of the Dreaded Druid Hills 10K, but this time 11 miles into a run. Still, it was beautiful and interesting scenery, as I saw a fox and Montreal's Biosphere. I also forgot to turn Garmin back on as I paused for a photo break, so I'm ultimately unsure the exact length of this run. It read 13 miles as I reached my starting point back on the Longueuil side of the bridge. I don't think it was 14. It felt more like 20. A tough run, but one of the best ever in terms of neat things seen while running. That won't help me on marathon day, but it made it a humid Montreal morning run more fun.

(Pauly Shore was nowhere to be found.)

I would take a shorter, less interesting run on Tuesday, and then abort a planned run later in the trip to give my tired legs a chance to recover. I'm used to running and then sitting and working all day, not walking for hours.

Personnes son Jercs
As I do at home, I greeted fellow runners or cyclists (cheaters!) with a friendly "bonjour!", one of a handful of French words that I know. Very few returned my greeting. A cyclist on Ile Sainte Helene was very nice though, cheerfully pointing out the fox. Unfortunately, the noise of his brakes is probably what prevented me from getting a picture of the animal, but he meant well.

Montreal as a Running City
Montreal apparently doesn't have the best reputation as a running city. However, I found it to be pleasant. The waterfront is beautiful and flat, with parkland out on the quays that unfortunately I missed. The Lachine Canal trail was very pretty, though, and also flat. Once away from the water, Montreal is extremely hilly. It's not called "Flatreal" for a reason. You're not going to have to search far for hills.

Montreal is a GREAT city for biking, perhaps the best I've ever seen. There are bike lanes, separated from automobile traffic by barricades, in high traffic areas, and these are used by runners as well. I'm not sure if I was breaking some taboo by running on the bike paths in Montreal, but I saw many other runners on the bike paths on the Longueuil side during a flatter, more boring 10-mile run on Tuesday.

If you're looking for a great vacation spot and want a place where you can get some runs in, I highly recommend Montreal.

Friday Haiku, Volume XII: French Canadian Style

Summer's saddest day
Returning from vacation
in Old Montreal.

I cleverly robo-posted my last two blog posts to keep the flow of high-quality content here at Earn Your Donuts from being interrupted, but I've actually spent the last six days on vacation in Montreal with my wife and a great friend from college.

It was a great trip, and Montreal is an amazing city with far too much to do in that short a time. Our style of vacation tends to be "cram as much fun as possible in during the day and then find cool places to chill out and have some food and drink in the evening". Montreal was a perfect fit for this, with its many historic sites, easy-to-use metro system, and plethora of outdoor dining options with varieties of beer that I can't readily get here in PA.

Here's my top 5 recommendations for a trip to Montreal:

1. Spend lots of time in Old Montreal and the waterfront. It really is like being in another time and another country...I mean another country farther away than Canada, that is. Lots of history, and great bars and restaurants, too.

2. The Basilica of Notre Dame. I was completely blown away by how gorgeous this church was inside.

3. The Oratory of St. Joseph. Spectacular from the outside and extremely interesting -- if not as classically beautiful as the cathedral -- inside.

4. Canadian Maple Delights. Maple everything. Trust me on this.

5. The Sailor's Church (Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel). Very different from the other churches, but beautiful in its own way. Excellent views of Old Montreal and the River from its tower.

"Merci" and "Bonjour."
Is the extent of my French.
Parlez-vous anglaise?

I went running twice on vacation, but that's the stuff of a separate post.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hearts All Gone (Another Stupid Music Review Because I'm Boring)

I wasn't going to do another music review until either Van Halen put a record out or hell froze over. But, there's not much going on on the running front for another week or so, when I'll start my training plan, which will be worth a couple blog posts.

Otherwise it's pretty much been same route, same pace, with the only variation being how many adorable kitties I saw on my run. (On my most recent jaunt through Manchester and Mt. Wolf, I saw a mother cat watching over two baby kittens as they pounced at each other playfully. It was probably the most adorable thing I'll ever see on a run).

So...with not a lot else going on, here's "Hearts All Gone", the second song released from the forthcoming Blink-182 album, Neighborhoods.

Listen to "Hearts All Gone" here.

I really like "Up All Night." I stand by that. But this is more of what I think most long-time fans were hoping for. Noisy and fast, it sounds at first listen more like something from Dude Ranch or Enema of the State era Blink-182, but yet, it's not. It has a heavier sound to it and more serious lyrics. (It seems like each Blink-182 album got a little more serious. I'm wondering if we've seen the last of jokey songs like "What's My Age Again?" and "A New Hope".)

Mark Hoppus handles lead vocals; if Tom is providing any backing vocals at all, I sure can't hear him. That's ok with me -- I think Mark has a good voice. That said, I think Travis Barker steals the show on this one with the drums.

So far the two new songs we've got from the new album could hardly be more different from one another (and still be recognizably Blink-182 at least). I'm looking forward to getting my ears on the whole thing in September.

(This isn't Blink-182, but it was as close as you could get while they were on "indefinite hiatus.")

Monday, August 15, 2011

Toward a Unified Theory of Runner Social Behavior

Over the past few weeks, I've described some of my experienced with other runners on the York County Heritage Rail Trail. I've ranted and raved a bit about how despite my unfailing attempts to be friendly to other brave souls out on the trail on these warm humid mornings, other runners have tended to not return my greetings.

I'm not the only one investigating this important topic in social science. My Running Shorts, a far better blog than this one will ever be, featured a very authoritative investigation into this very subject.

In the interest of contributing to this weighty and relevant discussion, we here at Earn Your Donuts have decided to conduct our first foray into original research based on strict scientific methodology*.

We would appreciate it if each of our readers would take a few minutes to complete this short survey.

Click here to take survey

Thank you for your participation.

(She blinded me with science.)

*May not contain actual science.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Haiku, Volume XI

Burned-out, exhausted
Just one thing can save me now.

I need vacation.

It's been a good week of running and a great summer (both in general and for running). But after hundreds of miles through the hills of Manchester and Mt. Wolf and an exhausting summer schedule, I definitely need to shake things up a bit.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More Trail, Less Fail

I spent the week silently seething with rage over my highly unsatisfactory -- No! -- disgraceful run on the York County Heritage Rail Trail last week.

So, desperate for revenge, I set out southward from Brillhart Station determined to avenge my death!

Well...ok, the above isn't really true. I was ok with my run last week, but was hoping to do a little both in terms of preparation and distance. And I didn't really die. If I did, you'd be spared further blog posts, obviously.

Anyway, the part about heading south from Brillhart Station is true. It was a relatively cool, overcast morning, and there was even a nice breeze -- which the tall trees around the trail completely blocked. It seemed much more humid on the trail than it did otherwise, and so I think on mornings like this, where clouds are keeping the sun from just beating down on me and the actual temperature isn't too bad, I should probably stay off the trail and just run on the roads here in Manchester.

My preparation was a little better than last week. I remembered to both bring and charge Garmin, which worked really well on this relatively straight course. Although it would lose signal quite often due to (I'm guessing here) weather and the thick vegatation (Geez, Brian, you're making it sound like you were running in the stinkin' Amazon Rain Forest.), it seemed like it would "catch up" when the signal came back. That doesn't work so well on my twisty neighborhood courses, since Garmin assumes a straight line from where it lost signal to where I am when it picks it back up.

Because running on the trail is A) safer than running on the road since I don't have to watch for cars and also B) more boring than running on the road since I don't have to watch for cars, I decided to bring my Shuffle. Here, I failed again. I'd forgotten to charge it, and even though I have a USB charger on my phone's power cord, apparently a Shuffle of this generation needs to be plugged into a computer to charge. D'oh.

Overall, though, this was a nice run. I ran for seven miles, going past Hanover Junction, last week's turnaround point, and turned around. This worked out nicely. Since I take a pit stop at this access point to refill my bottles and eat some Sports Beans before setting out again, it made the run back seem a little shorter than the run down.

Here's a picture of Hanover Junction. as seen from the south.
Abraham Lincoln's train changed tracks here on its way to Gettysburg for the Gettysburg Address.

Until about mile 12, when my legs started saying "Hey Brian, we don't want to do this any more." I had sweating buckets for the whole run, but I was drinking water and (at that point) watered-down gatorade, and I'd taken a salt tablet before the run and at my pit stop, so I didn't think I was dehydrated or in danger of heat-related injury. I told my whiny legs to shut the hell up, and made i back to Brillhart and the safety of my car. In doing so, I abandoned a crazy plan, hatched at mile 10 when I briefly felt like I could run forever, to head a bit past Brillhart and turn around to add a 15th mile.

(This is what the rail trail normally looks like.)

(And here's what it looked like after I sweated my way back to my car.)

I'm really happy with this run. 14.13 miles in 2 hours and 19 minutes, for a 9:50/mile pace. It's my longest run of the summer (by .13 miles), but my pace for my only other 14-mile run of the summer, on July 15, was 10:00/mile, so this is a pretty nice improvement.

Time to eat the donuts.

People are Still (sort of) Jerks
Like last week, I said "hi" to everyone I passed. However, for some reason I got more responses today. I have several theories:

1. People who were on the trail last Saturday read my blog entry and realized that they are, in fact, jerks.

2. I appeared less creepy than last week. I didn't wear the visor today. Maybe the visor is creepy.

3. People saw how much I was sweating and didn't want to make me angry.

Further testing is needed.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Haiku, Volume X

I'll run tomorrow.
If I do not die, I mean.
Thanks, morbid church sign.

There's a church building in Goldsboro that's been converted to a house. The church marquee sign is still outside and the owners still use it. I ran by the house on my Pain Lies by the Riverside run on Tuesday to read, "If you wake up breathing, congratulations. You have another chance." I couldn't decide if it was motivational, morbid, or just kind of obvious.

Hey, if you're reading this blog post, you're not dead.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Shoe Revue: Adidas Supernova Sequence 4

When you're a running blogger who's currently having a bit of writer's block, new shoes are a godsend. Not only did I review my old shoes, a pair of Adidas Supernova Sequence 2's (While I prerfer to use roman numerals, Adidas does not), I can now blog about my new kicks, a pair of -- you guessed it -- Adidas Supernova Sequence 4's.

My approach to footwear has always been, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." So I went through three pairs of Supernova Glides until I broke. I don't blame the shoes for my IT band problems -- I suspect a lack of proper stretching was mostly to blame -- but it was recommended I try something with a little more stability. Hence, the Supernova Sequence. I'd put almost 500 miles on the Sequence 2s with no recurrence of IT band problems, so when Chris and I stopped at
Charm City Run to pick up her packet for the Baltimore Women's Classic, I inquired about a new pair. They didn't have any Sequences, but were glad to order them for me at no additional cost once it became apparent that I didn't want to try any other brands.

I'd seen a picture of the Sequence 4's in Runner's World, and they were cool:

I'd never had a pair of running shoes this funky looking, but I figured that these were also probably the newest models, and that I'd probably end up with Sequence 3s or another pair of Sequence 2s, which would be fine.

It turns out that my new shoes were indeed Sequence 4s, but just not in quite as wild a color scheme:

I don't care that much about what my running shoes look like (I had two pairs of Glides that were ugly yellow things) but I do think these are cool.

They're clearly based on upgraded, perhaps even alien, technology. The pro-moderator is much more pro-moderational than that of the Sequence 2:

And look at this, this isn't just the inside of the top of the shoe, it's "GeoFit!"

I'm mocking my new shoes a bit, but I'm doing so with love. You see, these are the first pair of Adidas since my very first pair of running shoes (Ozweego Running Classics that I got at Value City) that I actually thought felt really soft and comfortable when I tried them on in the store. I've also disliked each pair of Glides and the Sequence 2s for my first couple runs with them, but then loved them once they were broken in a bit and I got used to them.. However, I felt very comfortable in my first run in the 4s, a cool, overcast, but very humid10-mile slog through Mt. Wolf this morning.

Hopefully, that's not a harbinger of doom. I'm a bit worried that since I like them so much right out of the box, that 2 weeks from now I'm going to hate the Sequence 4.

But I don't think so.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mudhook Brewing Co.: York Just Got a Little Cooler

I ran, it was humid...yadda yadda yadda. Let's go off-topic again and then I'll blog about running tomorrow.

I've spent most of my life living in the suburbs of York, Pennsylvania, and for a town of its size, I actually think York is cool.

York is within reasonable distances of larger towns and cities like Baltimore, Philly, DC, even New York, and Harrisburg (not that Harrisburg is in the same class as the others), but I think it's also got a lot to offer on its own.

York is "The Factory Tour Capital of the World"; it served as the home of the Continental Congress when the Articles of Confederation, the United States' first attempt at a constitution, was signed, making it the first capital of the U.S.; the Revolution are Atlantic League Champs, it has a great rail trail (I have to mention that!); it has lots of golf courses (though not as many as it used to) and I think for that a town of its size it has lots of good restaurants!

Some of my favorites are Cobblestones, with a great bar menu and an excellent beer selection; White Rose Bar & Grill, which has very good food and a beautifully renovated outdoor dining area; and Field House, a sports pub in Newberry Township (going a bit north). This list is by no means exhaustive, of course.

York just got another great addition -- a brewery! Mudhook Brewing Co. opened this month at Central Market, and Chris and I checked it out for the first time on Saturday before our Rev
olution game.

In short, we were very impressed.

Mudhook currently offers four beers:
Panfish Pale Ale
Live Bait Amber Ale
Redeye Irish Red
Deep Sea Stout

Each glass is $4.50, and so the sampler at $5.50 seemed a good deal.

We liked all four beers! Neither one of us normally likes pale ales, but we both enjoyed the Panfish Pale Ale. The Amber Ale was the hoppiest of them, and the only one of them that could pass for a Troeg's brew (I say that as a frame of reference, not as a negative -- most of Troeg's beers are too hoppy for my taste). We still enjoyed it, but it was our least favorite of the three. The stout was excellent in my opinion. It was very smooth and refreshing. I do love Guiness, but Guiness is thick and heavy, and is not my choice for a warm summer day. The Deep Sea Stout had a good stout flavor but wasn't as thick and heavy. Very good.

The Redeye Irish Red was both of our favorite, and when we finished the samplers we each got an extra glass. Delicious!

Our food was very good, too. Mudhook Brewing Co. has a good selection of appetizers, and a dinner menu featuring burgers (you had me at burgers), chicken sandwiches, and hot dogs. You can select one of several topping combinations on your sandwich. I went with "Mushroom Madness", mushrooms, onions, and swiss cheese. Although burgers are my favorite food group, I went with the chicken since I'm supposed to watch my beef consumption due to gout. It was excellent, and the fries were good too.

We didn't have room for dessert, but the menu features a stout float, which intrigues me.

Everything about the place was great. We'll definitely be back!

If you want to learn more, you can visit the brewery's website at and it's facebook page here.

I guess I should mention that I'm not affiliated with the brewery or anyone working there in any way, nor was I compensated in any way for this review. I just wanted to share my opinion of a very good new place in York.