Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's been how long....?

Today I realized that I have not run a 5K since 6/20/12.  I didn't believe that was possible until I checked the official record, and yep, it's been that long.  At some point, I must have been so focused on the marathon that I didn't think a 5K was worth my time.

The problem with this is, that's where I probably build up most of my speed (if you can call it that).  Combine that with the lack of races and training these last few months, and I'm in trouble.  On St. Patrick's Day, I'll be running Al Kayner #4 (Bay City), on its 40th anniversary.  The usual 8K has been eliminated for some reason, and there's only the 5K.  Honest truth?  I know nobody else is going to know or care, but, for me it would be a huge personal embarrassment to come in at something over 30 minutes.  It scares me enough that I'm making a late push this week.
New Medal (not the same old one)
Today, I put it all on the line and went as hard as I could for a little over a 5K.  Even then, I'm straddling that 30 minute mark.  That being said, it's gone a lot worse every time before that lately (we're talking 11/12 min/mile).  I ran about 9:44 pace, and could not catch my breath in the driveway for almost a minute (and what felt like an eternity).  Some more of this coming tomorrow.  Let's see if I can do a little better.

So what else has been up with me?

I went to 97.1 Sportsfest, and completely missed out on meeting any of the players/sports personalitiies I wanted to see.  However, I did get my picture taken with Sara Jean Underwood.  That holds a lot more weight in my nerd circles, so, still, great success!  I think some of the sports dudes just weren't keen on a dude in a Boba Fett hoodie and an ABBA bad.  Besides, my romance with sports of all kinds is really starting to die.

I did double duty concerts seeing K. Flay one night and In Flames the next.  Not very often do you chase a hip-hop show with a metal show, but it worked for me.

No luck on the job front yet.  I've been getting the resumes out for the things that apply (pretty much anything  chem. lab or environmental/waste management-related).  I even seriously debated applying to a zookeeper job in Battle Creek (1 hr 30 mins away from me), just because that's what my initial degree was in (Zoology).  The pay was a big step back, but the work sounded awesome.  No guarantees I even could have gotten it, anyway, but doing that would pretty much make us have to move, and just the gas for the time-being from here (not to mention the time wasted) would have been murder.

For now, to keep positive and make me not dwell on things, I've given myself a few self-improvement projects to keep my mind off things.  First off, I'm trying to become more computer literate.  Now, I'd say I'm above average, and I'm good with most things, but I've never really delved into the computer language/programming side of things.  I've always kind of thought HTML and coding were way above my head, and some of it is right now, but I figure it can't be that impossible.  So I've been setting aside a little time every week to learn a little more about that.  At the very least, I can help my wife with her photography website, and she won't have to find a techie every time there's a big problem.  So far, it makes sense.

Next, I've decided to go pro in my music geekdom.  In most of my social circles, I'm the guy who knows his music, can name the band, song, whatever.  I'm also usually the one that's turning people on to new stuff they like.  However, when it comes to actual musical notation, structure, etc. I'm completely illiterate.  I used to play guitar a little and could read tabs, but that's not really music.  Even that kind of got abandoned, because,  basically it was kind of my thing to do when I was down, or whatever.  Well, that doesn't happen anymore.  Even when I'm semi-sad, I have a wife that makes things better.  If she's not around, the cat or the dog do something silly, and that cures it.  It's hard to be depressed around here for any considerable length of time.  Anyway, I'm going to try to actually go back and learn it the right way, with scales and all that garbage.  It might be fun eventually.  Even if it's not, it might just be nice to have some technical expertise in the subject when discussing with my sister why I feel I've failed her as a big brother in teaching her about what bands are awesome (I only hope there's still time).

Lastly, I've decided that, if I'm going to keep up with this homebrewing beer thing, I'm going to try to actually learn what I'm doing.  I bought John Palmer's "How to Brew," and did some good reading of that.  My friend is really far into the learning curve, and makes some of the best stuff I've ever had, and he said that book is the quintessential cornerstone of learning to do things right.  The goal was to brew my first non-kit batch, selecting all my ingredients on my own.  I wanted to figure out how to construct something on the border of a pale and an IPA with a lot of Bell's Two-Hearted characteristics, while knowing what my alcohol % was, what ingredients I was using and why, what steps to take and the whys and whens of that, and get some idea how to start constructing my own beers around me, my wife, my running buddy, and my other friends' consumption needs.

Well, Sunday, just before and partially during The Walking Dead, after gathering up my ingredients, I went ahead and started the process of making the wort and getting it into the fermenter.  I went with a mix of pale malt extract and amber dry malt for the body and then hopped it initially with some Northern Brewer (which I just loved the smell of) Hops, finishing with the classic Cascade Hop (17.9 AAU between the two).  It looks and smells (from what's coming off the air lock) like it's exactly what I was going for.  If it turns out (and it should, I put way more into this than the Oktoberfest, which was also awesome).  I'm going to be ecstatic.  If you're good at this and know it won't, don't tell me now, I will cut you.  Honestly, though, I just won't believe you.  I've seen way too many "Is my beer ruined?" threads on where people did incredibly bad things and everyone says "Nope, it'll be fine."  Apparently you have to try pretty hard to ruin beer.  Who knew?
Fermenting (usually that blanket is over it to keep out the light)
It should be ready just after Easter, when Lent is over, and I can drink alcohol again (also gave up soda, meat, fast food, and pizza...yet haven't lost a pound...which is remarkable...however I will give myself a St. Patty's Day break).  For now it's just nice to be involved in beer culture.  I just kind of love it.  Maybe I was a bootlegger in a past life (maybe that's also why I love Doop & The Inside Outlaws "Everett Belcher" album so much).  Who knows?  I also have a Moylan's Hopsickle ready to go for my Easter basket (yes, I've planned that far ahead), and am looking forward to the day when I can use Untappd  (friend me!) again.  I'll let you know how I do up at the Al Kayner, and where my drinking shoes took me after.


  1. Well my fastest 5k (the last) I came in at 30:13 and two months later broke my am nowhere near that time now as I train to run the same 5k next month...oy son taught himself the guitar by ear then learned scales etc...he then taught himself to play the piano by ear is so important and it is hard to get depressed when you have so much to be thankful for...way to go getting more informed on beer brewing and html/code...just run your 5k to the best of your ability and enjoy the process! Blessings and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  2. I was a little dizzy trying to read your post after at least one of your pictures, but welcome back.

  3. One of the mushroom growers up here is also a homebrewer. He's entered a few competitions and most recently he won an award for a specialty beer with a Portobello Ale. He used actual portobello mushrooms for the brew. I unfortunately didn't get to sample it since I wasn't in his circle of acquaintances. But I've heard from those that did try it say it was ok. But they're mostly pilsner type drinkers.

    And Sara . . . Jean . . . Underwood.

    I hate you right now.

  4. Mushroom beer eh? Interesting. I'm not sure what the flavor point of that would be, other than just to say you've done it. I just don't imagine portobello as a primary flavor in beer. I can see beer as a major player in battering and frying up some mushrooms, but in the brew process, the only thing I've really heard about mushrooms is brewers selling used grain compost to grow mushrooms. Obviously they're not going to be alive in there so I can't think they'd clean up or absorb any unwanted byproducts.

  5. I know you'll pull through and be sub 30. It's always easier when there are people watching!

  6. Just over One week til the homemade brews! I hope it turns out good. Bummer about the job struggles but it sounds like you're able to keep busy with all your new hobbies and not dwell on it so that's good. Hope something comes thru soon!


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