Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Recent Wine Purchases

So in an effort of full disclosure, I suppose I should let everyone know what this poor grad student has been spending his money on.  Lent has arrived and being the good Catholic I am, I have decided to give up a few things.  The idea is to give up something that will be very difficult, thus I have given up wine purchases for the next 40 days.  But, of course, Wine Library had a decent sale/free shipping offer yesterday...yep, I bit.  I mean, if I can't buy wine for awhile, I need to stock up, right?  I also bought a couple bottles at a LWS last friday.  Here we go!

2 x  '06 Cova Dels Vins Ombra (Grenache, Cab, Carinena)
1 x ' 06 Cantina Dolianova Cannonau Di Sardegna Anzenas (100% Grenache)
2 x '06 Vallee De Valeur (Bordeaux)
1 x '04 Leeuwin Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon (Austrailian)
1 x '03 Nicholas Cole Cellars Camille (Washington Red Meritage)
1 x '05 Chateau Haut Brisson La Reserve (St. Emilion  Bordeaux)
1 x '05 Chateau La Galante (Bordeaux- 65% Merlot, 30% Cab, 5% Cab Franc)
3 x '04 Monteviejo Festivo (Argentina Malbec)
1 x 2005 Petit Chapeau Côtes du Rhône
1 x 2002 Rotllan Torra Priorat Reserva (Grenache Blend)
1 x 2005 Domaine de la Serre Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes Cailloux Vieilles Vignes (Grenache Blend)

As you can see from above, I'm getting fairly into Malbecs and Grenaches.  I've been loving the leather, dirty, earthy, poopy aromas and tastes lately.  Dunno, maybe it's from growing up on a ranch.  

What do you guys think?  

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Cheated

I'm going to come out and say it...I cheated on my running partner.  Yep, I ran with others and didn't consult her about it.  Do I feel bad?  Yeah, a little.  Do I feel a little guilty for not asking her to come?  Maybe.  Did I have a good run without her?  Not too bad, except for my IT band (again.).  Was I upfront with her about it afterwards?  Yes.  Did she have any idea I cheated on her?  She says yes, but I don't know how she would have known.  Was she upset?  I dunno, we only texted, hard to get a feel about one's feelings through text.  

I guess the backstory is in order.  Amy and I headed out with all of our fellow Nashville Striders on our 18 mile training run on Saturday.  The run started at LP field, went downtown, and went along the final 16 miles of the Country Music Marathon route.  Now, I had never run the full CMM, so this was pretty new to me.  Amy, however, had run it and told me it was a pretty boring run, scenery wise.  Boy, was she right.  I don't know how marathoners running that race could keep themselves motivated.  Anyway, we finally met Strangluvr along the way (BTW, sorry we didn't chat) and we ran with another nice Striders newbie.  It's always nice to meet new people when running.  I've found it kinda hard to get into the clique of certain runners, so it's nice to meet other newbies.  About 14 miles in, my IT band was starting to kill me, but I kept at it.  Other than my knee, I felt great.  It was very nice out, although a little windy towards the end.  At mile 15 or so, another runner ran with us for a mile or so and told us that he and another training group had runs on Sunday morning and invited us out at 9 am the next day.  I had planned to run a bit on Sunday, but I really wanted to sleep in and run in the afternoon.  I told him thanks and he went on ahead (thanks to Amy, who had some sort of issues, I'm sure she'll talk about those in her blog).  I left Amy at the water station at and did a couple miles by my lonesome (first sign of a troubled running relationship, I say).  She leapt back on the road and we hobbled to the car.  18 miles at a 9:05 pace.  I was pretty happy with it except for my IT band.

Fast forward to Sunday morning.  I had gotten to bed about midnight with hopes to sleep in a bit.  I was EXHAUSTED and didn't feel all that well.  I woke up at 7 am and tossed and turned for an hour or so.  At 8 I decided it wasn't worth the effort, so I got up and started to stumble about.  I checked my knee...it was OK.  I figured I could run 5 if I needed to.  Then I remembered the invite to a training run out at Percy Warner Park.  Well, I might as well run and get it over with, I told myself.  So, without any consultation with my running partner, I headed on out to PWP.  When I got there, I saw a few people warming up, but I decided to stay in my truck until a few minutes before start-time as it was 19 degrees according to my truck.  I got out at 8:55, asked if this was the running group and waited around a bit.  I found the guy that invited me and he introduced me to the leader of the pack, who seemed like a nice guy.  He then told me that they usually start about 10 minutes late!  Jeez, I had no long spandex on and it's 20 degrees!  But, it gave me a chance to meet a couple of the regulars and chat with them about the group.  Right before the run, I met another group newbie, who I ended up running with.  The group had three divisions: novice, intermediate, and advanced.  The run-wrecker and I decided to go with the intermediates, because I had never run trails, and I didn't know how my IT band was going to take the hills.  We ran a comfortable 9 minute/mile pace for the 5.8 mile loop in the park.  The intermediates were then supposed to run another 4ish miles, but my IT band had had enough, so I left the run-wrecker to finish the run without me.  

Well, Amy, I hope you aren't too upset with me.  It will not happen again (until maybe next Sunday)...

Peace out, homies.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wine Philosophy

Got this from a wine forum...


When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the lecture on “The mayonnaise jar and the 2 glasses of wine”.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else---the small stuff. 'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf
balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.
Spend time with your parents.
Visit with grandparents.
Take time to get medical checkups.
Take your spouse out to dinner.
Play another 18.

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The wine just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple glasses of wine with a friend.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cedars Lebanon Frostbite Half-Marathon Report...Sober...

I'm sure some have read Amy's 'report' of the Frostbite Half.  Well, we were in that condition because we both PR'd and had to have a little celebration.  Oh, and I was drowning my sorrows at the sorry effort Vandy put forth against those orange dudes from the east.  Ug.

The plan for this half was to just run nice and easy, getting used to race conditions, and have a nice plan for my pre-race routine.  Now, I'm a huge Seinfeld fan, and I'm sure that some of you may remember when Elaine had a world-class marathoner stay with her before the NY Marathon.  If you can recall, this particular marathoner slept through his Olympic run because of the volume on his alarm clock.  Later in the episode he again almost sleeps through the alarm because Kramer fell asleep in his hottub (that ran out of heat) and his internal alarm clock didn't work.  ANYWAY, on this particular day, I thought I had set my alarm for an hour earlier than I actually did.  Luckily I woke up about 15 minutes before I was supposed to pick Amy up, so I didn't get to do any of my 'pre-race' routine, like find a healthy banana that wasn't as black as the one in my fridge.

So here I was, breakfast cut short, running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, and a little late to pick Amy up.  Luckily we had planned to get there rather early, so we had plenty of time to park and pick up our shirts.  FYI, congrats to the TN State Park Running coordinators for putting together great shirts.  For 18 bucks, you get to run and get a decent Tech-T.  They kinda resemble the home jerseys of the female basketball team of the east tennessee variety, but good other than that.

I had hoped to finish the race in a comfortable 8:00-8:10 pace.  I didn't want to push it or get injured because I have another chance to PR on a flatter course in a month.  Over 300 runners gathered at the starting line on a fairly nice day (partly cloudy, wind at about 10 mph).  The start was a little cozy as we all darted out, the first mile was my slowest as I ran an 8:25.  I wasn't unhappy because my plan was to start off slow and work off some time as I went.  Now for the next 1.5 miles, we ran on the side of a rather busy road.  This left about 10 feet of road to work with.  I had started a little back in the pack with respect to my predicted finish time, so I had to bob and weave around some runners at this point.  Probably not the safest thing to do.  After mile 2 I look at my watch and see I ran it at 7:22...uh, wow, a little fast.  It was a downhill section, but jeez.  I felt good though, so I'd take another mile and do a systems check.  Next mile: 7:45.  Alright, it seems like I can't go as slow as I want (this happens during training runs to), so I guess since I feel good and don't think I'm pushing it, I'll keep this pace.

So, that was the plan.  It worked out well as I posted splits from 7:30-7:50 the rest of the way.  I did run into a little trouble a bit after mile 7 when a runner 10 yards ahead of me decided he needed to 'blow off a little air' if you catch my drift.  I yelled up to him 'Whattya doing, stepping on a duck?'  He said something I couldn't hear, but I thought he could have given me a warning or something.

So, all in all, a good race.  Finished in 1:40.40 with no injuries and feeling great.  Took Sunday off with a rather painful headache, and ran 9 today.  Today's nine miles were probably the best 9 I've ran all season.  8:33 splits.  I need to learn how to run more slowly.  Felt great.

Have a great week!!!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Craig has had a few...

See Amy's post...  I was a co-writer...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Well, it has been awhile since I've posted anything, but it has been busy on this front!  

First things first...SHARKS WIN biggest game of the season in the NHL.  They were losing 2-1 going into the third period at Boston. I was a little frustrated at how we (yes, WE) had been playing so I took off my newly purchased jersey.  Well, that must have worked because we scored 4 unanswered goals for a final tally of 5-2.  This was the first loss in regulation for the Bruins when they had been ahead going into the third.  I'm telling you, this is the season.  They will not let us fans down in the playoffs.  The Western Conference Final is going to be a great series if it's Sharks-Red Wings...

Nabokov's awesome save in the 2nd!  

Last week I decided I needed to figure out my knee problem.  I figured the best place to look would be the shoes.  I have 200 miles on my current Nike Vomero2 pairs, so I took a nice little trip south to Franklin, TN to Fleet Feet.  I had never had my gait analyzed and I thought it would be a good idea to have that done.  Now, I hate going to stores.  I'm the kind of person that does all of my research beforehand and only goes to the store to pick the unit and pay for it.  I hate salespeople and I hate asking questions.  However, this time I had no idea what I was looking for because I had no idea about my gait.  I figured I was a neutral striker, but Amy suggested that maybe I was doing a little over-pronation with my knee problems.  

I talked to the salesperson and told her about my knee problems.  I brought my current running shoes and wore running socks (like you should when you buy new running shoes).  She could not tell from the wear on my current shoes, but she wanted me to run a bit to determine my gait.  Well, we did all of this, including running on a treadmill with a video of my foot strikes.  Lo and behold:  minor over-pronation.  *sigh* Amy was right.  

Now, I've been a Nike person since I have been running.  I have the Nike+ ipod setup and such, but I told her I absolutely have no loyalties to Nike.  I don't care what my running shoes say as long as they aren't UT orange.  She showed me the Saucony Guide's and another pair of Nikes.  I ran in the Saucony first and felt very comfortable in them.  They are a good stability shoe with over-pronation correction.  Much sturdier and less giving than my current Vomeros.  I then tried the Nikes, and by the time I walked to the door to go job in them I already knew I hated them.  They made contact with the top of my feet when I pushed off.  Ug...

So, I ended up buying the Sauconys.  I asked if she had another pair that may be in another color.  I like to have two pair so I can rotate and such, and another color so I could tell them apart.  She looked and only had the one pair in my size.  Ug.  She then told me that she was getting the 2nd generation of the Guides in in a couple of weeks.  She said that the only changes were purely cosmetic.  Well, I bought the shoes for $90; quite a steal I though when my Nikes were $125.  The only problem was that this particular store does not take the Nashville Striders discount.  Oh well.  

I then got into my truck and thought that maybe another store that does take the discount may have another pair in my size.  I went to Athlete's House and their display model for my shoes were the same color.  I asked if they had another pair in a different color, but he said no, but he DID have the Guide 2!  I tried them on and liked them, so I bought them as well.  They are cosmetically different, but the same colors.  I then bought red shoe laces to tell them apart without having to look at them for more than a second.  One problem: Now the Guide 2 pair with the red shoe laces look like a pair that an Ole Miss fan would wear.  Stupid SEC schools (other than Vandy, of course).

My new shoes!  Guide 2 on top.

Stupid Ole Miss colors.  Why can't shoe companies make Black/Gold or Maroon/Silver shoes?

Oh, and when I got home I looked to see what other colors these models come in...yeah, they come in ORANGE.  Stupid UT.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Sad Day

I have finally come to a stark realization.  I know that I'm going to have trouble with what I'm about to say, but I think it's time that it happens.  This won't only affect me, but it will also affect all of my karaoke fans.  

So here it is:  I've decided to quit drinking beer/hard liquor until the marathon is over.  Oh, wow, I can hear the gasps from here.  Not true, you say?  Yep.  No more Guinness, no more single malts, no more IPA's.  I'm going cold turkey.  Now, I will have the occasional glass of wine, mainly because I need to trim some inventory before a big purchase in April, oh, and it's apparently good for you.  

This is not an unprecedented move; my last marathon I went cold turkey on all alcohol for the month prior to the marathon.  Of course, I was 24 years old then and a little more rambunctious, as were my friends.  I remember one of them telling me that I was 'no fun' anymore.  I thought that was a really funny thing to say.  I mean, jeez, thanks for the support.  Well, all of those friends are married, with kids, or have moved away, so I think this venture will be a little easier.  I have no trips planned, no college friends coming into town, and no friend's birthdays that require two tequila shots.  Just me and my will.  Plus it's a TON easier to run those long weekend runs without a hangover.  

I am doing this as a preliminary step to lose another 12 or so pounds before the marathon.  I've lost 20 so far, but would feel a lot better if I get down to a decent fighting weight.  I have a little more than 10 weeks before the race, so I figure I can lose a pound a week.  I'll be happy with that.  Next I look to eat a little healthier, you know with vegetables and fruits and stuff.  

So if you see me out in the greater Nashville area, say hi and buy me a water.  Or a Rioja...maybe just the water...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Ice Packs, Knees, and Frozen Peas

Last week was a rough week for me, as I continued to be nagged by my knees.  Just when I think I have reigned in my IT-band issues, I get some tightness and discomfort in my left knee.  This inconvenience (not a pain yet) is located on the inside of my knee a little below the knee cap.  I haven't seen much information about pains in this location, but my 0 days of Med school tell me that it's just tightness.  It is a nuisance for the first mile or so of a run, but it subsides to a point where I don't really notice.

So last week I took a total of 3 days off, which really bugs me since I have to get my mileage up for this marathon I have already paid for. 

Friday's run was a sprint interval workout with Amy.  A lot of people don't like these workouts, and some neglect them, but I kinda like doing some sprinting.  It takes a lot of monotony out of the workout.  Amy and I run the 2 miles to the Vandy track, do the 800 Yasso repeasts, and then run the 2 miles back.  It makes for a good opportunity to get a good warmup and cool down period.  The Yasso repeats are designed so that you run each 800 at a pace predetermined by your expected marathon finish time.  You take your predicted marathon time and just switch the hours to minutes and minutes to seconds.  For example, if you hope to run a 4 hour marathon, you should be able to do each 800 repeat in 4 minutes.  I really haven't decided what time I expect in my marathon (I did put down 3:40 on the entry form), but I've tried to do my Yasso's in 3:30.  I was excited that even after my knee problems, I was able to do my 5 repeats in 3:27, 3:30, 3:31, 3:31,3:35.  I held out a little bit on the last couple and I think I could have done one or two more if my schedule told me I needed to. 

Saturday was an 8 mile run at marathon pace.  Again, I haven't really decided what that exactly is, but I finished the run with 7:55 splits.  Probably a little too fast, but the last mile is downhill, which I had a 7:30 split.  

Sunday was the famed 11.2 mile loop in Percy Warner Park here in Nashville.  I really wanted to run this loop because I'm trying to plan out my running schedule for the remainder of 2009.  I am very interested in doing the Flying Monkey Marathon in late November so I wanted to make sure I could actually finish this extremely difficult course.  We ran it at a pretty steady 9:25 pace, which i was happy with especially since there is a 1500 foot climb throughout the route.  Amy has her own insights into this run on her post today.  

I'm still a little sad they didn't review the last Cardinals play in the Super Bowl, but I doubt it would have been overturned anyway.  My chili was extraordinary, however.

Favorite commercial:  either the career builder commercial where they punched small animals (I believe it was a Koala with glasses and a cup of coffee) OR the E*trade commercial with the talking baby and the skins beatdown.  HA HA.  Shankapotumus.