Thursday, April 30, 2009

Final Approach

Race weekend is just about here … I’m as good now as I’m going to get. This is a shame; since April has pretty much gone down the pipes.

I woke up Palm Sunday with some odd patellar dysfunction [hadn't even run in the new shoes I’d gotten that Friday yet]. I had 8 on my schedule, but turned around for home at the 2½ mile marker, when my right knee felt like someone had whacked just below the kneecap with a red-hot ball-peen hammer.


I wrapped it in a neoprene knee sleevie for a couple of days and it was fine enough to put a few miles down on Holy Saturday.

Easter Sunday, I woke up with that annoying toothache and weird sore-throat that prequels a sinus infection coming on. I fought it back as best as I could through three days of rain that washed out half of my Easter Break home with Mariel. There was no getting outside for laps on the track, as we do when we’re home together on days when Mom’s working and I’ve missed my morning run.

That Thursday though was clear and dry … the skies and my head. I put in a trip to the lake when D’Wife got home work, to shake things out. I felt little bit of a ping in the hams, but the knee was fine. I rested up, and stretched the legs out for another couple of days, then went back into my usual “run pretty much every day, because it’s what you do” routine.

The only thing that stayed true to plan for April, was that I consistently took Monday off. I didn’t get in any runs longer than 5 miles [although I’d done 7 and 8 in two days, way back in March] which worries me, but I guess if I can get through 8 okay on Sunday; I can “fake it” the rest of the way in.

My coach has great faith in me though, in spite of totally fucking up our plan:

“You will do awesome, Randy. Most importantly ... just have fun.”


Monday, April 20, 2009

Beer Wars: Brewed in America

Today is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts ... there's some sort of annual running event they do up there to celebrate it ... I might know a couple people participating, but I'm not sure.

In the spirit of the values* of Individuality, Ingenuity, Creativity and general Fucking with the Status Quo, I present ...

Beer Wars - Sadly, it was a one-time-only live event. No clue yet, as to when [or IF] a DVD will be available]

* Not exclusively American values BTW ;-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

Any recipe that involves a trip to the Hardware Store, is all right by me

City Ham
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

1 city style (brined) ham, hock end*
1/4 cup brown mustard
2 cups dark brown sugar
1-ounce bourbon (poured into a spritz bottle)
2 cups crushed ginger snap cookies


Heat oven to 250 degrees F.
Remove ham from bag, rinse and drain thoroughly. Place ham, cut side down, in a roasting pan. Using a small paring knife or clean utility knife set to the smallest blade setting, score the ham from bottom to top, spiraling clockwise as you cut. (If you're using a paring knife, be careful to only cut through the skin and first few layers of fat). Rotate the ham after each cut so that the scores are no more than 2-inches across. Once you've made it all the way around, move the knife to the other hand and repeat, spiraling counter clockwise. The aim is to create a diamond pattern all over the ham. (Don't worry too much about precision here.)

Tent the ham with heavy duty foil, insert a thermometer, and cook for 3 to 4 hours or until the internal temperature at the deepest part of the meat registers 130 degrees F.

Remove and use tongs to pull away the diamonds of skin and any sheets of fat that come off with them.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. [200° C, maybe Aud?]

Dab dry with paper towels, then brush on a liberal coat of mustard, using either a basting brush or a clean paint brush (clean as in never-touched paint). Sprinkle on brown sugar, packing loosely as you go until the ham is coated. Spritz this layer lightly with bourbon, then loosely pack on as much of the crushed cookies as you can.

Insert the thermometer (don't use the old hole) and return to the oven (uncovered). Cook until interior temperature reaches 140 degrees F [half of above, AB], approximately 1 hour.

Let the roast rest for 1/2 hour before carving.

*Cook's note: A city ham is basically any brined ham that's packed in a plastic bag, held in a refrigerated case and marked "ready to cook", "partially cooked" or "ready to serve". Better city hams are also labeled "ham in natural juices".

Serve with nothing less than a Dopplebock. My Big Beer of choice this month has been Flying Fish Exit 4; an American Trippel. Combined with the ginger and sugar of the ham-crust [plus honey-mustard sweet potatoes and garlic-bacon green bean cassarole (Yeah, I can cook!)] it's a good pint.

Matching Tie & Handkerchief

The Exit Series is a multi-year collection of extremely limited release beers celebrating the great state of New Jersey. Each beer will focus on the unique aspect of an individual exit, whether it's an ingredient, attitude or weird event. The releases won't follow a pattern, instead, they'll bounce around the state as the whim strikes us.

For the first release, we chose Exit 4--right up the street from the Flying Fish brewery. Because we were one of the first craft brewers to embrace Belgian-style beers, we've chosen as our representative beer, a Belgian trippel finished with plenty of American hops.

This inspired Belgian-style Trippel has a hazy golden hue and the aroma of citrus with hints of banana and clove. Predominant Belgian malt flavors give way to a subdued bitterness in the finish. Bottle conditioned, this beer will develop as it ages.

To find out more, head over to

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Re-Arranging the Furniture

I moved some stuff around ... mostly because (after how many years?) that monthly Archive listing over there to your left was getting just too damn long.

Yeah ... I'm all about customer service - for the seven people who drop by every week.

Cheers and good runs [not necessarily in that order]


Monday, April 06, 2009

The Art of the Clean Waveform

As a surfer, I appreciate and celebrate anything that incorporates our Mother Ocean as a metaphor ...

From Paloma Vita at Momentum Magazine:

Next time the weather is nice enough to fully enjoy a good bike ride, do yourself a favour and ponder the following: not only is riding a bicycle a wonderful pollution-free way to get around, it can also be made into a nifty spiritual metaphor. Let me explain: clearly visualize yourself booting down the road all while leaving not a single trace of nastiness behind you… what you get is a perfect analogy for being a clean waveform.

The concept of being a clean waveform is something I picked up in a book I read a couple of years ago, Surfers of the Zuvuya by José Argüelles of Dreamspell Mayan Calendar fame. As a matter of fact, that was the best part of the book – which is written in a semi-fictional style that did not quite appeal to me. Here is how it goes:

As we move through life and travel around our little corner of the spacetime continuum, we often create what Argüelles calls “psychic lint;” an energetic residue composed of negative imprints such as our self-doubts, stale judgements – toward ourselves and others – and/or neurotic attachments to painful or traumatic past events, to name a few. All these less-than-happy emotions and thoughts end up creating a swirl of linty debris that brings us out of sync with our present moment in our incarnation by creating drag in spacetime. This often leads to unhappiness, feelings of futility, and/or states of “dis-ease(s).” Imagine having innumerable strands of hefty lint hanging from you and your bike as you ride around; dodging cars, dogs, and pedestrians. Right!

But do not despair! Argüelles also offers a simple and effective analogy to help us become cleaner waveforms. Take a quartz crystal, he advises; often, it is its flaws that make it so beautiful. The layers, fissures, and textures revealed therein are what make it interesting; otherwise it would look like a modest piece of glass. When we place such crystals in sunlight, it is also those very flaws that refract rainbows at us and fill us with an irrepressible joy. Well, argues Argüelles, the same can be said for us. Once we expose our “flaws” to the “sunlight” of our acceptance, they too refract the light of our soul and become a source of rainbows. This also implies that our so-called flaws are what gives us substance and texture. This analogy does go a long way in showing us how to eliminate the psychic lint we drag around as we travel on our timeline. Just accept yourself.

Taking it further ... imagine all that day-to-day nastiness as little fuzzies and stringies on your riding or running gear; a stray thread here, a little grey "pill" there, inexplicable schmutz. After a few miles, concentrating on your task, your goal for the day, you've shaken them off. They've dropped by the wayside, and you didn't even notice where or when. The burden was so slight, that the lessening was inconsequential - and far from dramatic.

I run first thing in the morning, so I don't have the daily build-up of stress to deal with like my "post-work work-out" friends do ... but don't think that I don't carry the stresses of Monday overnight into Tuesday morning. Sure, I may not feel them - they may not always manifest themselves as a sleepless night - but they're there, and need to be dealt with. Even if I don't know it.

My morning run clears off whatever bad vibes haven't been resolved from sleepytime or dreaminess and gives me something fresh to start with.

A Karmic lint brush.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April = Fools

My kind of MTB Race

My kind of people

And, of course my "kind of" theme song