Monday, November 23, 2015

My Year As A Runner, 2015

I haven't written much about exercise here at the blog over the second half of this year. And, here's the thing: I have no desire to write about it. I have nothing to prove anymore. I just want to do it. I just want to run.

Having said that, I realize that the mere fact that I am a runner is a huge step forward. It's progress, at least in terms of where I was when I first started trying to lose weight in 2014. At that time I'd never had dreamed that I'd get to where I am today. Especially not this soon.

At my worst I weighted 330 pounds. That's hard for me to believe now, because my day-to-day life is so different from how it was back then. Today I weigh about 170, and I don't even think about my weight anymore. Weight loss isn't my goal anymore, because my weight is healthy and stable. These days, when it comes to diet and activity, it's all about improving my performance. This is where I am today:

I ran nine races this year. I was the fastest adult in one 5K. I also won my age division in a couple of other races. I've learned this about running, and I think it applies to any kind of sport or active lifestyle: If you want to get good at it, you have to do it a lot. If you want to do it a lot, you have to love it. And if you want to love it, you have to get good at it. It's a three-stage cycle that repeats over and over again. And there is exactly one point of access to that cycle: Do it. Just get out there and do it. Now.

Next spring I will be running my first half-marathon. At this point, my longest formal race is a 10K. My longest solo run is eleven miles. Tomorrow I will do my weekly long run, and I hope to finally get my twelfth mile tomorrow. If not, I'll get it next week. Or the next.* I'll get it at some point, I can tell you that... because I'm in that three-stage cycle. Love it, do it, get good at it, repeat.

And I don't have a lot more to say about it.

But if a picture is worth a thousand words, here's nine-thousand words worth of pictures. Here is one picture from each of my races in 2015. What you are seeing in these pictures is a 46 year old dork who's happier than he's ever been.

Just get out there. It really is that simple. Do it and you'll get good at it. Get good at it and you'll come to love it. Love it and you'll want to do it. Repeat.

*11/24/2015 ... as it turned out, I did get that twelfth mile today, and then some.

Another mixed six-pack of beer reviews, this set (I suppose) is the Thanksgiving set.

Great Divide's Hibernation Ale is delicious. It's one of the best old-style ale’s I’ve had. It pours dark brown with a little splotchy head. The aroma is sweet spices, nutmeg, pears, pecans, other winter notes. The flavor is wonderful. Big caramel and tea qualities, with some citrus on the finish, and a boozy blast of vapor in the nose. Damn good beer.

Great Divide is two-for-two in this set of reviews. Fresh Hop IPA is outstanding. It pours bright amber in color with a fair amount of foam and carbonation. The aroma is big, grassy hops and cereal malt. The flavor is wet, pungent hops through and through. Lemon and buttery sweetness on the finish. Really nice beer. This is now on my look-for list.

Stone's Stochasticity Project - Your Father Smelt Of Elderberries - American Strong Ale is (as the name implies) a high concept beer. It grew on me as I drank it. It pours a bright brown with burgundy highlights, The head is average. The aroma is strong and sweet, and maybe a little medicinal. The taste is like a cross between a barley wine and Arrogant Bastard with cherry notes. I am not overly familiar with elderberries, so I'm not qualified to comment on the elderberry quality. It just reminds me of cherries. By the end of the bottle I was enjoying it, but I nave no real desire to get another bottle.

New Holland's Carhartt Woodsman Brown Ale is, I guess, not awful. But it's nothing special. It's really kinda meh, and among the lesser New Holland beers I've had. It pours brown/orange, with a lot of foam. The aroma is more like a Belgian than an American pale ale. The Slightly fruity, bananas and some vanilla. There isn’t really any oak to mention in the flavor. Just a basic, mildly Belgian tasting ale.

Great Lakes Ohio City Oatmeal Stout is really just one more oatmeal stout. It’s rich and smooth, but not overly sweet. It pours dark brown with average head, the aroma is coffee and cereal malt, a little chocolate. The flavor is big on coffee and roasted malt. The finish is clean.

As sweet ales go, Great Lakes Christmas Ale is one of the better ones. This ale pours deep copper color, the head fades quickly. The aroma is ginger, spice, winter squash, malt, and a little citrus. The flavor adds honey and a little lemon on the close. I actually like this quite a lot.