Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Okay, Let's Try This Again

As cloudy and wet as it's been in Boston, I wanted to send La Tortuga a bit of sunshine. I'm sure she's not running or riding much, so I would do it for her.

The Philadelphia Distance Run is September 17 - four months from today. With the restored confidence she has given me from our Broad Street performance, I am up to the task.

I woke up this morning to a clear, cool and slightly windy day.

'Enough rest, time to train,' I thought to myself. I had done a couple of three milers last week, just to see if I could; but mostly because, even after running the 10 miles on a bare minimum of training, I didn't hurt that much afterwards.

I gathered my gear and headed out. Out and back around the cemetery. Nothing new, no challenges, no changes. Just a nice easy three at 8:00 pace. Somehow, as I rounded the uphill turn into the development, I found ... what's that??? A kick???

I think that tomorrow may need to be 4 miles.

Oh, yeah, I might start counting beers again, too.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Broad Street Run 2006 - Epilogue

Post-race comments from Annabelle de La Tortuga:

Broad Street 10 Miler - a very fun race. That's all the race report that you can expect to get from me. However Randy was an outstanding race host. Top three reasons -

Getting me through a very complicated starting line. This required starting at the end, taking a subway to the beginning, leaving a belongings bag at a specifically numbered bus and the finding our correct pace group. All by 8:30am. I have no sense of direction and would have never made it there on my own.

He carried my jellybeans for me. I knew that I would need some sugar at miles 3 and 7, but somehow forgot that one needs pockets. Running 7 miles with jellybeans in your hands could be a problem.

Randy let me pick the pace.

Randy's other good qualities as a race partner -

• One gets a much more interesting and colorful tour of Philadelphia. Let me just say that it was beyond the Liberty Bell.

• He will make sure that you can properly pronounce Schyulkill by the end of a race – it took me 10 miles.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Broad Street Run 2006 - Part Four

"That was fun ... let's have a beer."

Our post run beers were to be DFH :60 and HopFish, until I spied Boulder Beer Hazed & Infused. Annabelle remarked "Oh, I've had this," as she turned the bottle over in her hand. She reached for its partner, Mojo IPA, "Or maybe it was this one" and examined that as well. "Maybe it was both???!!! I remember liking them both equally. You choose."

I chose the Hazed & Infused, on two criteria. First, was, of course, the echoing of Jimi, Secondly was that I was in a blue-green tie-dye mood vs. a red-orange tie-dye.

The H & I was slightly cloudy copper in color, a hoppy pine aroma, with a rich head and a beautiful peppery citrus taste. It could have been a little stronger (only 4.8% ABV) and it generated a touch too much "burp." It was good with dinner though.

Broad Street Run 2006 - Part Three

"Let's Roll, Sugarbowl"

The Broad Street Run is an odd road race. It's one street, point to point with almost no turns. It's pretty much downhill - there are some rises at the beginning. You run straight for 4 1/2 miles turn right for 100 yards, turn left 200 yards, turn left for another 100 yards, turn right and run 5 more miles straight.

Annabelle was concerned about what to wear on race day

"What to wear though - maybe my black running shorts, blue top and another layer in case it is cold?"

"That's good thinking, but let me tell you this. We will be running due south, with the sun to our left. If it's chilly at the start (and it will be) that's because the houses and trees at the beginning will offer plenty of shade. After 4 or five miles or so, we will be downtown; the trees will be gone, replaced by office buildings. But in that hour the sun will have climbed over all but the tallest. After mile six, the torture begins. The sun is right up, the tall buildings have been replaced by 3-4 story homes and condos. There are no trees by the street in South Philly."

It was a beautiful day, no clouds. As I predicted, it was chilly at the start. She wore a dark grey long-sleeved shirt (tossed away at mile 2), a black top and multicolored shorts. She also defied "runner common sense" and wore relatively new shoes. I braved the chill and started with a tank top. I had borrowed a bit of her sunscreen, since mine was left over form last September - yeah, remember when I hurt my knee??? That same weekend. I was not giving karma a second chance.

After taking forever to get to the line and having our chips start the clock, we settled into a comfortable rythym. I felt we were close to the 9:00 pace I had been training at. When we passed the mile one clock in 20 minutes and change, my only question was 'How far back are we?'

We got to mile two around 30 minutes. From then on we collected the miles at nearly exactly 10:00 per.

Not feeling any need for speed, I entertained her by "showing" her local landmarks.

"I used to lived 6 blocks down there"
"There's a very old, very haunted prison down there."
"There's the strip joint where I used to work."
And so on.

One story that completely slipped my mind occured to me later.

It must have been 1998.

I wore a home made tank top with the "Screaming Tortise" logo on the back. As we came back around the last turn at City Hall, a guy asked me (and I quote) "Are you with La Tortuga?"

I gave him a "Huh?" look.

"La Tortuga. The Turtle." and he pointed at the back of my shirt. "Are you with her?"

"Sorry, bud. No, I'm not. Is she here?"

"Oh, you'll find her," the guy said, like from this point on I'd be searching for some mysterious Turtle Girl.

We only walked through the water stops, I only took Gatorade once. The last two miles were something of a blur. A very quiet blur. At a certain point all the chit chat and loose comradery fades into a general agony of "when will this be over?"

After we passed the photgraphers and entered the Navy Yard - sorry, Philadelphia Naval Business District - we felt the rush of accomplishment.

Broad Street Run 2006
Bib: 4832
Last name: del mar
First name: raoul
State: NJ
Overall: 10973
Chip time: 01:38:55

Bib: 15113
Last name: de La Tortuga
First name: Annabelle
State: MA
Overall: 10974
Chip time: 01:38:56

I didn't mean to imply that I beat her by ONE second. Our clock times were exactly the same, as it should be. I think that her foot crossed the starting mat one second after mine ... like, I had my right foot forward, and she had her right foot back ... in the computer's mind, it took her one second longer.

Maybe I got that backwards ... maybe she started ahead of me, and because I ran :01 faster, I caught up to her, right at the finish line???

Either way, ONE OF US ran the last mile in a blistering 8:55.

Broad Street Run 2006 - Part Two

May 6 - National Homebrew Day: A Tale of Two Pints

I met Annabelle at the airport. I mean "met" literally. Although we had shared writing / editing duties on the BEER bulletin board, communicated by e-mail and sent photos back and forth, we had never had any physical contact. So it goes, over the internet. In fact, since the photos we shared were taken over a course of many years, and many identities, neither of us was sure exactly what the other looked like.

When the petite backpacking cyclist coach met her medium-sized retired surfer charge, we were both pleasantly surprised; and also, not so much.

We then travelled a short distance up I-95 to the Linc for the Expo. We collected our numbers, scooped up whatever freebies and cheapies we could get, and I took her up to her hotel near Penn. I had planned to stop at Doobies or Dirty Franks but the time was getting short.

She made the call: White Dog Cafe, Penn Campus.

The day's choices (all on tap) included FF HopFish, FF Farmhouse Summer Ale, Victory HopDevil, Yards Philly Ale, Stoudt's Scarlet Lady, and Legacy Midnight Wit.

Now, granted they weren't "homebrewed" - on premises - but they were once by someone. I say we were covered.

Althought she hadn't had either Flying Fish yet, Annie chose the "safe" HopDevil. I countered by taking the Farmhouse. The strawberry blonde beertenderness mixed them up, however. I don't know how. We were two of only five people at the bar. No matter. I offered LT a sip of the Farmhouse and the right of first refusal. She preferred the HopDevil. As you wish.

For the second round we both took the Legacy Midnight Wit.

Legacy Midnight Wit

Brewed in the true Belgian-style, the Midnight Wit is a silky smooth,
full bodied witbier with a spice aroma from the coriander (and other spices we
keep secret!) and a citric zest from the addition of Curacao orange peel. The
smooth taste and mouth feel comes from using 60% wheat malt in the brewing
process. Very little hop bitterness as is typical of the style. The Midnight Wit
is fermented using the same yeast strain as Hoegaarden. We leave the beer
unfiltered to retain all the flavors.
Style: Belgian Witbier

Alcohol: 4.90% ABV
IBU: 17
Hops: German, Czech
Malts: Belgian
Availability: Year round

I thought it was quite tasty, very Hoegaardenish, and that's a good thing. LT couldn't find the coriander, but it was nicely tangerine-y. As yeasty as it appeared, none could be found at the bottom of the glass. It's a good beer to have in late afternoon with someone special on a very summery spring day.

Even if you ARE running ten miles early the next morning!!!

Broad Street Run 2006 - Part One

Free Comic Book Day: A Tale of Two Stores

StormWatch Comics - Berlin, NJ
I arrived just about five minutes after opening at 11:00 Saturday morning. A giant "Free Comic Book Day" poster covered each window and the door. Being a bright sunny day, I couldn't even tell if they were open at first. I opened the door to a jingling bell. I hadn't been in here in a few years, but it looked the same; dark, cramped, boxes of books and action figures stacked on the counter, posters covering all the walls, some Japanimation DVD running in the background.

"Free Comic Book day??? Am I first???"

"Yes it is and yes you are. You get a choice of three in the displays there, but since you're first, I'll let you take five. Plus everyone can help themselves to the Dollar Bin as well."
Three??? Five??? I had only prepared to take one, and I still couldn't decide between "Dead @ 17" and "Buzzboy"

I ended up dragging off "Dead @ 17", "BuzzBoy", "Free Scott Pilgrim", "Superman / Batman #1" and the "Star Wars / Conan" flip book. I passed on the dollar bin. Once I started in, I wouldn't be out for hours, but I had things to do.

I felt guilty about peeling out of there without paying for anything, so I browsed a bit. The owner / manager guy was very helpful and even offered to order The Tick for me. I declined but did assure him I would return another day.

I walked out and realized I had forgotten to get the Simpsons book.

No problem I thought, I'll get it at ...

Hall of Heroes - Voorhees, NJ
The "mall" comic book store, bright and open with comics, action figures, DVDs, T-shirts, everything. But no "Free Comic Book Day" display, only a small flyer taped to the glass.

"Where are the 'Free Comic Book Day' books?" I asked.

"Behind the counter. You get one. Would you like ..." and he rattled off all the titles I had NO interest in, in that condescending tone that would make any kid think that these were the only books that mattered. Suppose I had come in with my daughter and she REALLY REALLY wanted "Donald Duck" or "Owly: Breaking the Ice" or "Amelia Rules?" We'd be out of luck. I took the Simpsons book and split.

Epilogue: Mariel is keeping the Simpsons book for herself