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Everything Else

Last week, I introduced a problematic new social media toy into my life.

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Problematic/AWESOME. (Focus on the awesome and go join so we can be friends and toast a lot.)

Clearly I needed another social media addiction in my life since I don’t spend enough time on twitter, multiple facebook accounts, blogging, and Daily Mile (Okay, fine, I actually don’t really spend any time on Daily Mile, but that’s a subject for a different post).

Of all the things I should focus more of my time and energy on, beer is probably not really at the top of that list. But after spending countless weekends gallivanting around the country, running and seeking out the best of the best of the local craft brew, but never tracking this in any way, shape or form (which, I know is shocking, given my dedication to tracking my training and mileage), I thought this would be a good and productive tool to introduce into my life.

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The real “aha!” moment that triggered the downloading of this app, was the discovery of a particularly exciting beer hidden in the basement of my local beer store.

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I was out to dinner with my old roommate, Tim, and I was catching him up on all the fun of brew fest. As a fellow native Vermonter, Tim also tries to attend brew fest on an annual basis. Unfortunately for Tim, he decided to become a doctor, and it’s hard to get time off from saving lives, or something like that, so he’s unable to make the trek back home every July to drink beer on the shore of Lake Champlain.

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Your loss, Doc.

Anyway, after listening to me go on and on about drinking limited batches of Maple Wheat Ale and finding Heady Topper readily available at bars around town, Tim exclaimed, “you know, I saw a beer brewed by The Alchemist at the store down the street the other day.”

“Bullshit!” I yelled, in his face, not-at-all disturbing the guys next to us at the bar.

“No, seriously, Halnon. We’ll go after we’re done here and I’ll prove you wrong.”

First of all, you guys know I’m never wrong. Second of all, I was pretty sure Tim was going to be doing no such thing. You see, the Alchemist is a Vermont brewery, that was devastated by the flood a year ago. Instead of opening back up as a full pub and brewery, it’s reopened as a small operation, focusing on producing Heady Topper, an extremely highly rated beer, that is only available in a very limited region of New England, where it generally sells out almost immediately, because as the boys at the brewery say, it’s “so drinkable, it’s scary”.

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You can see why I doubted my roommate.

We walk into the beer store and Tim confidently struts over to the coolers (if you ask Tim, he is also never wrong. This is why we make better neighbors than roommates).

Tim arrives at the cooler and…no Alchemist beer is to be found.

Desperate to not be wrong, Tim asked the guy working the floor that night if he had an Alchemist brew somewhere in the building.

What happens next should embarrass me a little, since in the end, I turned out to be not not wrong, but the product of my not not wrongness was so exciting, I’m over it.

The beer guy emerged from the basement carrying four bottles of More Brown than Black, a one-time only collaboration brew by three of my favorite breweries, including the Alchemist.

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The other two?

Stone, which you may remember from this little trip out West.

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And Ninkasi, which happens to be the creme de la creme of EUGENE beers.

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And where we celebrated the smashing of several marathon PRs this April.

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This beer is basically all of my happy places and a whole lot of magic in a bottle.

Anyway, back to the beer store. The guy holds up the four beers and asks, “want ‘em? It’s all I’ve got outside of another six pack.”

“You have another six pack? We’ll take it!”

And we did, in exchange for some of our hard earned dollars and also our pizza leftovers. We were really, really grateful to the guy for handing over their last stash of this limited edition beer, that they’d kept hidden in the basement for months, and he was really, really grateful that we gave him dinner. And also probably for taking our dance moves out of his store.

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Anyway, the procurement of this rare brew, inspired a little Friday evening tasting session of some rare, and also a couple more readily available, beers.

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Additionally, it inspired the beginning of my addiction to the Untappd app.

An addiction that carried well into Friday night and Saturday. An addiction that motivated me to be more concerned with earning new badges than eating dinner…two nights in a row.

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For those of you addicted to the Olympics, this badge is basically a gold medal in beer consumption.

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And this one is my second gold. I’m going for most decorated woman in untappd history.

As you can imagine, from my 17 unique brews in not-that-many days, my runs this weekend were less than stellar. I was dehydrated, I was tired, and I was under fueled for any length of athletic effort, nevermind double digit miles in DC heat and humidity.

The shittiness of my runs was a bit of a wake up call. I spend hours, every single day of the week, busting my ass (or actively resting it) to get myself in shape to kick ass on the race course. But I also spend hours every day, neglecting my body or treating it like shit, which is obviously going to detract from some of the fitness gains I’m making through buckets of sweat.

While I still have no idea which marathon I’m going to try and PR at this fall, or how much I want to slice off my time, I know that I’m going to end up chase something that is going to simultaneously scare me into wanting to hang up my hokas and retire from the sport, and inspire me to hit the pavement as hard as I can mother effing hit it. And if I want to reach this goal, I’m going to need to make some small tweaks to some of the things I’m doing when I’m not getting my sweat on.

1) Sleep hard.

If there’s one thing I’m sucking at right now, it’s sleeping. I don’t sleep enough, and when I do sleep, it’s a pretty half ass effort. I like to be social, I like my friends, and so I spend a lot of time, being social, with my friends, usually at the expense of my sleep schedule, and usually on the majority of both week and weekend nights.

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Furthering the problem, I like to watch mindless television to help myself fall asleep at night. It silences anything that might be racing through my mind as I try and nod off, and it means I can spend a little quality time with my besties like Chandler, Ross and Monica at the end of a long day. While this is a great strategy for getting the initial shuteye going, it’s problematic for entering anything resembling a deep sleep for the rest of the night.

And while you’re probably thinking, “Easy solution, Em, turn the TV off when you wake up.”

My 2am half-asleep, genius brain is much more like “Top Chef! Thank God I woke up for the Quickfire Challenge.”

And this repeats until the infomercials come on at 4am and I finally turn the TV off, because I’m not really that interested in pajama jeans, about an hour before my alarm goes off.

Second problem: I am an overly ambitious alarm setter. Sure, I’m a morning person and sure, I like to get up early. But every night I go to bed with a 4am to-do list of chores I want to complete before heading out the door from my run. Fast forward to 4 am, and I am very persuasive as to all the reasons those chores are not really very critical to my life.

And so I snooze for an hour, getting more shitty sleep, as I remind myself every 15 minutes that ironing is really not that important when you have a “dewrinkle” button on your dryer.

2) Hydrate.

While I may go through a tube of nuun on a near daily basis, it’s also summer in DC. And if you’ve never had the pleasure of summering in our little swamp, let me assure you, our hydration needs are seriously amplified. And the days that I happen to be worst at keeping my water intake high, just so happen to also be the days I am earning several new badges on untappd. Not exactly a match made in heaven.

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So, water, water everywhere. New theme of my life.

3) The “D” word.

My diet. Not “diet” like “today I ate 1,200 calories and earned 4 activity points.” Because, let’s be real, most days I eat 1,200 calories before noon. But, “diet” like all food is not created equal, and while a bag of popchips might be delicious for snack #3 of the day, I might not be getting a lot of nutritional value out of housing a bag.

Recently, the Washingtonian asked me to document what I ate for a day. First, try not to be too envious of my mad food blogging skillz, and second, keep in mind this is a sampling of ONE day and is in no way, shape, or form indicative of my regular diet.

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After the article was posted, a few people expressed concern at my caloric intake for the day. I found this entertaining, since last time I checked, it’s pretty hard to calculate calories without knowing portion sizes or, even, seeing everything pictured. By my estimation, as someone who never actually counts calories, I ate about 3,000 calories that day. Maybe a little low based on my activity level, but considering that many days I eat well over that, and rarely, if ever, eat less, I think it all works out in the end.

But, what I did realize, after my old roommate made fun of me during our pizza outing about the noticeable lack of chips or popcorn (or, importantly, pizza), is that I’m not always getting the best bang for my buck when it comes to nutrition. I pay very little attention to when I’m eating, or whether I’m fueling my body with what it needs, when it needs it to perform as hard as I want it to.

Example: you know that 30-60 minute refueling window you’re supposed to jump through after every hard workout?

Well, the blinds have been pulled solidly shut on my window for months.

My regular morning routine involves: working out hard, getting ready for work, walking 40 minutes to work, turning on my computer, making breakfast. The time between watch beep and feeding is usually well over 90 minutes, if not closer to two hours, not exactly ideal for my muscles.

During Ironman training, I was a rockstar about chasing every tough workout with a fruit/protein smoothie. This habit died along with my biking and swimming habits last year. It might be time to consider picking it back up again, if I don’t want my muscles to rebel and stop working.

4) Stretching/Muscle massaging/Icing/Compression Gear Wearing

AKA making my muscles happy.

When I do these things, my body loves me. When I start to regularly choose to use my extra 10 minutes in the morning running another mile instead of whispering sweet nothings at my quads, I feel it.

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Bottom line: it’s foolish for me to devote so much of my time and energy to running, while doing things that are so counterproductive to the fitness gains I should be making through that work. So I’m going to make some changes so I can get faster. Good plan? Great plan.

Note: while this post was framed by my slightly problematic addiction to an app that encourages me to drink more craft beer, you may have notice that no resolution to drink less or earn fewer badges was added to the list. It remains a critical part of my healthy balance lifestyle.

23 Responses to Everything Else

  1. I actually can never get into beer. It’s a little too bitter for my taste. I wish I liked it so that I can at least gamely have one beer with my coworkers, but I can’t stand it!

    I actually love your ability to socialize/hydrate with beer and still run long and hard. I have trouble with balance.

  2. Um, I am so jealous of all that beer! Although, my husband randomly fell upon the Rogue voodoo doughnut Maple Bacon beer this weekend and I cannot wait to try it! Have you tried it yet? http://rogue.com/beers/voodoo-bacon-maple.php

    I am really hoping I can figure out how to get to Voodoo Doughnut when we are out in Seattle/Portland for HTC! I’ve heard they have the best donuts ever!

  3. I’m slightly embarrassed by the number of cardigans making an appearance in this post. OUaL your beer-drinking librarian friend signing out.

  4. Oh, I just read through your food diary, so let me go ahead and get all the criticisms out of the way:
    -You eat too much.
    -You don’t eat enough.
    -You eat too many carbs.
    -You don’t eat enough carbs.
    -You don’t eat enough protein.
    -You eat too much protein.
    -Tofu is gross.
    -Eat more tofu, it has more protein.
    -You need more fat in your diet.
    -I can’t believe you ate a cookie! There’s so much fat in a cookie.
    -DRINK MORE BEER.
    -DRINK LESS BEER.

    I’m sure I forgot something.

  5. you just rocked my world. I literally sent an email to all my beer enthusiast friends with the link to the app attached. looks like i know what i’ll be doing this weekend ;)

  6. I loved this post. It reminded me that sitting around in compression socks for an hour after your run while vegging out to reality television is not in fact the same thing as stretching and rolling. Love your healthy balance lifestyle disclaimer!

  7. It’s my favorite social media tool – and I have tried Alchemist beer – it’s great, we just started getting it around here, I also ordered a shitload of Ninkasi for me and my husband in December – we can’t get it around here :(

  8. You can get a TON of badges at Belgian Beer Fest… just saying :)

  9. Oh my gosh, I am such a snoozer too. I snooze for an hour each morning….at 10 minute increments. It’s terrible.

  10. I’m not on Untappd, but I suppose you could call me Untappd-adjacent, and I think it’s funny how much Untappd freaks out at beer festivals. Like, it will refuse to believe you could “check in” to that many beers in such a short time, even if they’re all 2-oz pours. I also still believe that you should not check into a beer but CHECK A BEER INTO YOU. But that’s semantics.

    I’m a TV-sleeper, too, so not that you asked, but here’s my recommendation: set the sleep timer on your TV when you lie down. Then when you do wake up after dozing off, there’s no “but suddenly I really need to know which house they pick, despite not having seen any of the rest of this episode!” to keep you up. I fail at this myself, but I have to admit it seems like a really smart idea.

  11. I need to do the same things as you – sleep more, eat better, hydrate better. I was making just those resolutions today and then you write this post!!

    I can avoid the lure of beer, I don’t like it…but a glass or two of red wine?? Yes please.

  12. saw you this morning running along the water near the mall! ha. hello from one running DC blogger to another.

  13. thought you might enjoy this. There is a race series called “Tap n Run” where you for a team, dress up, and at each kilometer mark you chug beer followed by more free beer at finish line (yes please) it showed washington dc was an upcoming city, so be on the lookout

    http://www.tapnrun.com/2012TapTour.php#

    its only a 4k, but nothing wrong with that since beer is involved

  14. I got my zzz and massage this past weekend…super happy! And why are you analyzing things so deeply?!?!? Just go out and have a beer, pizza, bazillions of food, runs etc!

  15. I’m sorry, but the comments on the food diary post start to get hilarious with every one jumping in to tell “Jameson” that salt has no calories.

    As for your goals, this is a timely post for me in many ways, as I share the exact same ones, with an addition of one: leave the office at reasonable hour.

  16. I was also in Burlington during Brewfest weekend. And I tried Heady Topper for the first time said weekend.
    I will never be the same again.

  17. I hope that this picture of me with amazing cheekbones continues to appear on your blog for the rest of eternity ok thanks.

  18. I don’t know what happened, but somewhere over the past 2 years or so, I became a total beer fan. Love the IPAs! I’ve spent much of the summer visiting beer meccas – Pacific NW and now Boulder. I’ll definitely have to check that app!

  19. I’ve always found it impressive how hard you live your life, and how you still manage to run so well!

    Maybe if you plateau then start sweating the small stuff, but I reckon you just need to keep training hard and you’ll keep improving!

  20. From one DC runner to another I have a very important question…Can the margarita pictured in this post be found in the DC area? And if so–where?! That’s the biggest margarita I’ve ever seen and I want one!

  21. Love this!!! I use Untappd all the time. I am not on beer advocate though. My Fiance is and is literally obsessed. You should see the beer in our basement. It is ridiculous. We recently got a kegerator as well so I am super excited to have our favorite beers on tap in the house!!!!

  22. Let me know if you ever want to do any beer trades. Would love to try that collaboration beer, heady topper or Firestone walker which I believe they distribute by you. Then I can send you some Ohio beers!!!

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