Tag Archives: Pale Ale

Prairie dawn

I’m home again after a quickie trip to the Chicago ‘burbs and back.  My husband’s family is from there, so I’ve spent a decent amount of time in the area over the years.

Which is why I am astounded that I had never discovered this before:

I almost ran on the hotel treadmill on Saturday morning. Almost. It was 28 degrees outside, and although the sun was shining, I’d neglected to pack tights. And the thought of running around the area’s subdivisions with numb purple thighs was almost as unappealing as pounding the mechanical belt.

I’m so glad I decided to sack up and run outside, though. Quite by accident, I stumbled upon this gorgeous trail.

Apparently the Illinois Prarie Path has several branches that run all over the western suburbs. How have I been missing this all of these years?

My legs were a little chilly,  but my feet were toasty inside these Gore-Tex Nike Pegasus sneaks that I got a couple of weeks ago. I’ll admit: I totally brought them because they seemed to look relatively un-dorky with the jeans and hoodie I wore to the airport on Friday (I travel in style!) but they were great for crunching through frosty leaves, too.

Anyway. I ran eight lovely miles and was back in time for breakfast. It was a gorgeous day and I’m so glad I got out to enjoy it before spending the rest of the day trapped in a conference room.

(At least there were chocolate rocks in the conference room!)

And, lastly, no out-of-state trip is complete without local beer.

Three Floyds is actually an Indiana operation, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sample one of their beers, having seen them featured regularly on Marie’s blog before she went and got herself knocked up. The Pride & Joy is an American Pale Ale that’s billed as a “Mild Ale” – mild referring to the relatively low alcohol content, not the flavor. Because there was lots going on, flavor-wise: perky hops, puckery pine, summery grass, and even a little sweet citrus fruit. Lots of bubbles. It was the sort of beer that made you kind of want to hold it in your mouth for a while (shut up) so you could process everything that was going on with it. Very interesting, very enjoyable. 5% ABV.

Bottom line: Definitely worth trying if you can find it! (Purchased at a bar in Naperville, $6/12 oz)

Overall, it was a pretty good weekend. And the dry cough that was bugging me all week last week has disappeared, so guess who gets to make up that 20 miler tomorrow?

Drinking my calories

This post is not about what you probably think it’s about.

Because: nope, I’m not talking about booze.  I’m talking about smoothies.

This is probably the first time I’ve ever put a smoothie on to this blog.  I don’t generally drink them.  Too much work to haul the blender out.  Too many damn ingredients.  Less than satisfying, hunger-wise….

But this morning it was freakishly warm out.  And I was feeling more thirsty than hungry.  And since it’s probably unhealthy to pop open a bottle of chilled Chardonnay during Good Morning America, I decided to venture in to smoothie territory.

Just like those weird green concoctions, except I substituted Nutella for spinach!  Is there anything that Nutella can’t save?  This smoothie actually tasted kind of like my beloved DQ Chocolate Covered Cherry Blizzard.

And just to prove (to myself?) that this wasn’t totally unhealthy, I actually calculated the nutrition info:

1 C strawberries + 1 small banana + 1/4 C milk (2%) + 1/4 C plain Chobani (2%) + 1 TBSP Nutella + 1 C ice = 306 calories, 8g fat, 9g fiber, 12g protein.  [Via DailyPlate]

Sounds like a decent breakfast option to me!

(And this smoothie would totally be great with some vodka thrown in.  Or, maybe even some Malibu rum.  Beachy.  Yum.)

(Okay, maybe this is a post about booze after all.)

Today’s EAT: Someone (cough*hubs*cough) accidentally kidnapped the only set of keys to our lone vehicle this afternoon/evening.  Well, there goes the grocery run.  So I dug around and came up with some nacho components and tossed them in to my favorite nacho-making apparatus: the round cake pan.

A layer of chips, a layer of cheese, shredded chicken, chopped avocado and a little more cheese.  Put it in the oven for ten minutes, and then use a broad spatula to transfer the whole thing to a serving plate.  Like a big ol’ pancake.

With chopped tomato and plain Greek yogurt on top.  Super easy!  And using the cake pan eliminates any need for the microwave.  (Microwaved nachos are kind of nasty and are only acceptable in the early-morning,  post-bar hours.)

(Aaaaand one more thing – I thought about leaving the avocado out of the melted mix and adding it at the end, but this recent post from Brit made me stop and consider warm avocado. And I’m glad I did –  it was tasty!)

Today’s DRINK: I picked up a six pack of Lonerider Brewing Peacemaker Pale Ale last weekend.

Yet another local Raleigh brewery!  There are so many here.

Their APA is a pretty enjoyable beer!  It’s certainly nothing fancy, and perhaps a touch mellower than the average APA, but the flavors are pleasant and it’s hoppy enough to remind me that I’m drinking a real beer.  5.7% ABV, very drinkable.

Today’s RUN: After two post-race rest days, I headed out for an easy 5-mile recovery run tonight.  It felt pretty bleh.  My legs felt decent, but my back – especially my upper back, around my shoulders – is rather sore.  I don’t know if that’s from the race or the drive home or both.

In any case, I could totally go for a massage.  If only those were free.

Anyway, here are last week’s stats:

Tu – 7 easy (1:00:56, 8:42 pace)
W – 5.1 easy (3:49, 8:35 pace)
Th – 3.4 easy w/hubs (33:00, 9:42 pace)
F – 3.1 easy (27:03, 8:43 pace)
Sa – OFF
Su – 13.1 race (1:38:01, 7:28 pace) + warm up and cool down, total 15.3

Strength training and such: zero

Total miles: 33.9

I’m taking things pretty easy this week: just recovery miles, nothing too taxing.  I might try a longer run (10-11 miles) this weekend if I’m feeling up for it.

Today’s QUESTION: Are you a smoothie person?  What do you put in them?  Any suggestions for future blender play?

(Aside from the spinach.  Because I just refuse to go there, on principle.  As a salad addict, I eat more than my share of leafy greens anyway.)

Killing thyme

Sipping wine with the hubs on our tiny balcony this past weekend, I had the opportunity to make an observation.

Namely: that most of our neighbors seem to have things growing on their tiny balconies.  And I don’t mean mold.  Flowers.  Plants.  Shrubs. Things that need to be watered and…well, watered.  I guess that’s all you really have to do with most flora.  I mean…right?  Remind me of why they are so intimidating?

“We should get some plants to put out here,” I remarked casually to the hubs, swirling the wine in my glass.  He paused, mid-sip, and looked at me like I’d just grown an extra nose.

“Um.  I don’t see that ending well.”

“But look!” I pressed.  “Those plants inside, the ones that I got last fall.  They’re still alive.”  It was true.  The snake plants are indeed still alive.  I mean, they are essentially cacti that only need to be watered like once a month, but still.  Alive is alive!

Well.  Perhaps I’ve grown overconfident in my abilities, but today I bit the bullet.  I made an investment.  I purchased a set of terra cotta planters and a host of tender young herblings.

And as soon as I unloaded them, I realized that I’d probably just wasted $50.

Because…the poor little things.  They’ve hardly had a chance at life.  And here they find themselves at the mercy of my dubious botanical abilities.  In the square pot: we’ve got mint.  The round pot on the top: rosemary.  And buddied up in the round pot on the bottom: oregano, thyme and sage.  (I can only hope that particular pot doesn’t become a mass grave.)

And then we’ve got the basil.

Sissy-footed little basil.  Apparently it needs to be “taken in at night” for the next few weeks because it can’t handle the cold. According to the guy at the garden store.

I’m not sure he realized that the cold would be least of this little guy’s problems.  Wait until it meets the cat.  Or the oops-I-forgot-to-water-you-for-three-weeks.


When you buy plants, apparently you also must buy dirt.  I didn’t realize that I needed to pay for something that coats most of the earth’s terrestrial surface,  but…okay.

$15 worth of Organic Dirt.  Packaged in a tidy plastic bag.  Pretty sure I’m going to have some left over.  (Anyone want to come over and make Organic Mud Pies?  To fling on to those neighboring balconies with their thriving container gardens?)

Anyway.  Tomorrow is planting day.  Is there a green thumb under that glove – or will this be the hand that rocks the cradle straight into the grave?

Only time will tell.

Today’s EAT: I wanted to make fish tacos for dinner.  And I really thought I had a pack of corn tortillas in the freezer somewhere.  Turns out, not so much.

Improvisation: a massive flour tortilla, cut in to chunks and baked in a muffin tin to create crispy “cups.”

This worked out quite well!  I stuffed each cup with battered and fried mahi mahi chunks…

….and then topped them with avocado and grapefruit salsa and greek yogurt.

A little messy to eat, but totally tasty!  And no, you don’t have to fry the fish.  I fried it because I like fried things and by my rough mental math, the whole dish seemed to be rather lacking in calories so I figured I had some leeway.  But it would be almost as great with grilled fish, or shrimp, or chicken, or tofu, or whatever the hell else you want to put in there.

Recipe: Mahi Taco Cups with Pink Grapefruit Salsa (original)

Today’s DRINK: I’d been hanging on to this Great Divide Fresh Hop Pale Ale for a few weeks now.  It seemed like it would go well with my citrus-y dinner, so I finally popped it open tonight!

I loved it.  It was…well, fresh.  While I feel like some pale ales can get a little cloying and flowery (*cough*SierraNevada*cough*), this Fresh Hop had none of that.  It was light and refreshing.  Definitely some strong citrus flavors in there too, which complimented dinner nicely.

Today’s RUN: An easy 7 miler.  Yesterday ended up being an impromptu rest day, so I tacked a couple of extra miles on to today’s run.   Now it’s all downhill until Shamrock, mileage-wise.  Five days to go!

Today’s QUESTION: Um…anyone have any tips on growing sage, thyme or oregano?

With the basil, I know not to let it get frost exposure (I’ve got it all tucked in for the night indoors!)

And the guy at the nursery said that mint is basically indestructible (“mint would take over the world if it could,” I believe were his exact words.)

Rosemary is basically a pine tree in shrub form so I’m not too worried about it.

But the others…they just seem so tender and destructible!  I’ll take any advice I can get to avoid accidental herbicide.

Hard in da paint

First off, I’d like to thank the landscaping guys who were working the area next to the track for blasting Waka Flocka Flame when I arrived for my speed session today.  Because my intervals are totally fueled by f-bombs.  How did they know?


I jogged up to the Big University Which Shall Not Be Named (because, you know, that whole trespassing thing) with 800s on my mind today.  Six of them.  At 5K pace.

Or rather: goal 5K pace.  Lately, I’ve been hanging out right around 7:00 when racing 5Ks.  Which is a little ridiculous considering that I’m cruising through longer tempo runs at 7:10-7:20 no problem.  Those 5K splits need to go on a little diet.

So I set my sights on 3:20-3:25 per 800M.  6:40 to 6:50 mile pace.  Very attainable, and about what I was doing at my peak last summer.  200M recovery, mostly because that would encourage continuous looping of the track while allowing me to alternate starting points.

First 800: 3:19.  Hmm.  That felt easy.  I picked off two more: 3:16, 3:16.  And suddenly I was halfway done.

And then, I started taking some liberties with that jog-between.

For me, enforcing recovery times is probably the single hardest thing about solo speedwork.  I’m pretty good about jumping right in to my recovery shuffle as soon as I finish, but as I approach the line for the next one, I start making feeble excuses.

  • My shoelace is too loose/tight.  Must retie.
  • My boob is chafing.  Must adjust.
  • My keys feel like they’re falling out of my pocket.  Must secure.
  • My…my…uh, I just want a few more seconds.

Seriously, I’m like a stubborn baby bird that has to be pushed out of the comfy recovery nest every single time around.

(Which is why I miss my good old team workouts so much.  Because there was no time to think about how short and crappy that recovery felt.  The group was leaving, and you just jumped in and went for it.)

Anyway.  I got through it tonight.  It’s only three minutes, I told myself.  You can withstand discomfort for three effing minutes.  Just effing go.

Last three repeats: 3:16, 3:14, 3:12.  Well.  That’s faster than 6:40 pace.

Hard. In da M-EFFING paint.

Running back home, I reflected on the workout and was really quite pleased.  It was a tough workout with short recovery and I ran it faster than I’d intended to.  And was only a little bit wiped out at the end.  And that was mentally, more than physically.

It usually pays to give yourself that nudge out of the nest.  Even if it means using some unsavory language as you tumble down.

Today’s EAT: A rematch of sorts.

Last time around, it beat me.  But this time, I brought frying oil.

I don’t know what it is about this stuff, but I’m determined to master it.  Maybe because it’s such a cheap source of protein and I really do enjoy it – more than, say, a boring chicken breast – when it’s cooked well?

With rice, edamame and teriyaki sauce, this was pretty tasty.  Standard batter of whipped egg whites and corn starch.  Pan fried to golden brown in a tablespoon or so of Canola oil before baking it (elevated on a rack, to keep the soggies away) to finish it off.

Fluffy, fried batter for the tofu win.

Today’s DRINK: In the big-girl bottle: Rogue Juniper Pale Ale.

It was alright!  Maybe I’m getting a little too accustomed to high-ABV IPAs, because this pale came across rather mellow tonight.  It had a light and delicate honey flavor – not at all what I expected when I saw “juniper.”  Much smoother and sweeter than some other notable pale ales, like Sierra.  I liked it, overall…it just wasn’t what I’d expected.

Today’s RUN: Total, with warm up and cool down, 8.3 miles.

Today’s QUESTION: Do you ever feel like you have to nudge yourself out of the nest? Even though I love running and racing, I have to admit that it can sometimes be a battle to lace up my shoes and put myself out there when I embark on a hard workout or race.  There’s always something to fear: pain, lack of speed, failure to finish as planned.  It’s always a bit of a head game!