Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thoughts Before the Cherry Blossom

I have trained hard. I have fought the good fight. I did not train as much as I wanted. I trained enough to set a PR. Physically, I feel the best I have coming into a race, perhaps ever. I am in shape and have no nagging injuries. Mentally, I am confident in my abilities. I know the course well, having run all or parts of it multiple times in previous Cherry Blossoms, Army 10-Milers and the Marine Corps Marathon. It has been a long road and the race is almost here. Now I am settling in to my taper runs and it is time to focus on and enjoy the upcoming race. What am I looking forward to most?

  • Running with my friends and family. This is what got me into running and keeps me running. I love my daily runs with the guys in the neighborhood, but it is the excitement of competition and the camaraderie of doing it with the people I love that keeps me getting out of bed every day at 5:15am. This year, I am running with my brother-in-law, Eric, and some peeps from the old neighborhood in Silver Spring. It is Eric’s first 10 mile race and I am excited to be doing it with him. Hopefully, he doesn’t kick my butt, at least not yet.
  • Running in DC. It is my favorite city and I say that not because I am from there (ok, maybe a little bit), but because it truly is one of the most beautiful cities to run in. This will be my fifth race in DC and I can’t think of anything more beautiful and inspiring than running past the monuments and cherry trees, even if Mother Nature brought Spring a little early this year.
  • Running for a PR. Last year, my brother and I ran the Cherry Blossom together and I’ll never forget the moment I looked at my Garmin and thought to myself, “We can set a PR.” I hadn’t really trained for a PR and didn’t really think about breaking the 90 minute barrier. But somehow we put ourselves in position to do it. We ran our butts off for the last couple miles and came in at 1:28:25. It was a great feeling. This year, I am older and wiser and have learned how to train for races rather than just going out and running every other day. I followed the Intermediate level virtual training program offered by the race organizers. I’m pretty sure I can beat last year’s time, but if I don’t, it won’t make or break my race.

Over the next week and a half I’ll probably concern myself with more trivial matters, such as which songs to load on my iPod and what I’m going to wear on race day. I’ll scrutinize the course map and over analyze a “race strategy”. And I’ll keep running until I cross that finish line.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Clementine Hefeweizen Tasting Notes

I’m finally getting around to posting my tasting notes for the Clementine Hefeweizen. It is long overdue. I will cut right to the chase and say that my esteemed panel of judges (me, Dennis Beecher and Tim Godzich) reaffirmed – with numbers – that this is, in fact, the best beer I’ve ever brewed. While Polly chimed in and said, “it’s great, but not as good as last year”. Well, I guess you never forget your first Clementine. Meanwhile, Dr. John Butsch can be heard asking, “Clint, do you have any more of those Hefeweizens?” All the good vibes means this one will become a more regular part of my brewing rotation. And if you’re lucky enough, you might be able to order one at Cole’s some day.

Before moving on to the tasting notes, I wanted to touch on a personal achievement that I hit with this blog post. Over the last couple of years, I’ve promised myself to spend more time on my blog. And while I wish I could find more time to write, this year I’ve found enough to post my 15th blog post of 2012. This output exceeds the total number of blog posts from 2009-2011. I am very excited to be back and writing actively on my blog! Thanks for your readership and for sharing my love of beer, running and sometimes business.

And without further ado, here are the tasting notes.

Beer description: A wheat beer fermented with German ale yeast to produce a crisp, clean, lightly hopped beer with orange liqueur in the nose and a sweet Clementine finish. ABV ~4.5%

Appearance (0-3 points): the beer pours with a nice head and has good carbonation. The head fades within a couple of minutes, but keeps a nice layer of white bubbles throughout. It is a slightly hazy, orange-copper that is clearer throughout than most hefeweizens. Average score: 2.67

Aroma (0-4 points): the nose is dominated by orange liqueur notes and a crisp, citrusy malt aroma. Hop aroma is subdued. Typical banana and clove notes are missing due to clean fermenting ale yeast. Average score: 3.33

Taste (0-10 points): Starts with a soft wheat malt flavor then transitions to a sweet Clementine flavor as it rolls over the tongue. Good balance and conditioning. Has a slight grainy, Clementine aftertaste. Overall flavor profile was enjoyed by the judges. Average score: 9.00

Overall Impressions (1-3 points): Just a great beer to have one or more than one. Goes well as a food pairing or alone at cocktail hour. Average score: 3.00

Total Score: 18.00

Coming soon: more beer tasting notes and updates on the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler


Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Beer Run

The best thing about today’s post is that it’s about beer AND running. This past week, the 536 Run Club added a new element to its training program. We call it “The Beer Run”. The brilliance of The Beer Run lies in its simplicity, combining our love of running with Friday Happy Hour.

This past week, we started our Friday run at 4:36pm with a carefully planned route beginning on Clarendon Place and ending 3.5 miles later at Cole’s (we thrive on precision in the 536 Run Club). It was also a great day to run and test out the program with temps reaching 50 degrees. Not bad for Buffalo in early March. The first 1.5 miles along Delaware went swimmingly, but as we reached the half way point, turned onto Elmwood and set our sights on Cole’s , the hecklers came out. That’s right, heckling, mostly from young bar goers catching a cigarette while downing a pint or two at one of the many establishments along Elmwood Avenue. But there were also a fair amount of patrons at Cole’s surprised to see a couple of guys walk through the door in their running gear.

Overall the run was a success. We persevered through 3.5 miles in 31 minutes, then topped it off with a Sixpoint Bengali Tiger and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA. Many of my running friends understand the undeniable pleasure of a beer after a run, and to you, cheers. For those who don’t, I still love you. But I also love to run and to drink beer. So, for now, I’ll take the run and the jeers. And I’ll see you next Friday at Cole’s.