links for 2010-05-26

Sand Digger Honey Wheat

If you ever find yourself stuck with undrinkable beer, like, oh, maybe Miller Lite, after, say, a visit from your in-laws, it turns out that it can still be useful. Apparently beer makes good bait for garden slugs.

If your wife’s stained glass hobby does not leave enough broken glass around the garage on which to impale unsuspecting bare feet, then homebrewing is a decent way to add to the broken glass content of your house. This batch’s casualty: my third hydrometer. I think I’m just going to either stop measuring the gravity of my beer, or use an antifreeze tester, ha! These questionably named BrewBalls look like a nice unbreakable alternative, but they are very expensive, and imprecise, at that.

With that introduction, the latest batch from Barking Spiders Brewery is conditioning: a wheat beer, modified slightly from past years’ recipes, including local Indiana honey. Who knows where in the world the rest of the grains came from, but I can attest that the honey is the real deal, made by nice, honest folks.

We’re looking forward to sharing this batch with friends and family during our upcoming short vacations this summer. I still need to convince myself about the safety of homebrew in relation to border crossings, but maybe some creative labeling can prevent any trouble.

I’m also looking forward to entering the final three remaining bottles from a previous batch, the Big Wide Smile Bourbon Barrel Porter, into the Indiana State Fair Brewer’s Cup competition. I’m intimidated by the fact that last year’s competition drew 559 homebrew entries, but it should still be fun just to enter.

links for 2010-05-25

Geist Half Marathon 2010

Sometimes the bear eats you.

The first half of this spring, the IU Mini, was rainy. The second, the 500 Festival Mini, was very windy. So, I was hoping for the third half marathon of the spring to make up for the bad weather of the other two. Unfortunately, this time around, the factor that gave me trouble was the heat. We have had such a mild spring for training that I found the heat and humidity to be especially challenging, despite having brought extra water with me. Runners were given good warnings to start off easy — good advice. Even so, I had a lot of difficulty preserving my energy.

During the first couple of miles felt so good to finally be moving that I did feel like I was restraining myself. Later, I realized that I should have tried harder to hold back, because I was going faster than my goal pace for the entire first 5k, when it is important not to waste energy. Maybe I was rushing to pass my family, who was waiting for me to pass them in front of Scotty’s Lakehouse, where they ate breakfast after I got to wave to them. I’m glad they had a chance to have a fun breakfast, but I would like to have been able to join them!

Shortly after that point, I started to go downhill. I started feeling tired, and never seemed to be able to find any energy boost. Slowing down helped, but even that can be an effort because it requires concentration. At the halfway point, which was at the southern end of the reservoir, I threw in the towel. Courageous Drive has a rather steep, long hill, and I just could not live up to the name of the street. I took the first of several walking breaks until I reached the top of the hill. And once you take the first walk break, your pride is so shot that it’s hard to keep going. After that point, it is too easy to say I can’t do any more hills, and then just walk all the rest of them. Which is pretty much what I did. Oh well. At least I finished!

I was passed by a lot of kids from Belzer Middle School. These kids show up at all the local races, and it’s really cool to see them, even when they blaze past you. Their parents wear bright T‑shirts and cheer loudly for their kids. I’m proud of them too, and I always wish I had started running sooner, like them. More good programs like theirs are what Indianapolis needs to get out of the unhealthy slump we’re in. This morning’s news cited the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual list of the cities with the healthiest lifestyles, on which Indianapolis fell embarrassingly from 36th to 44th place.

While my own effort was weak, the race was well run. The medal and shirt were nice (last year’s shirt was weirdly defective, with misproportioned dimensions and unmatched sleeve lengths), the volunteers were friendly and helpful, and hey, who doesn’t like starting off a race with SpongeBob SquarePants waving at you from a boat?

links for 2010-05-24

links for 2010-05-22

links for 2010-05-21

links for 2010-05-19

links for 2010-05-12

500 Festival Mini Marathon 2010

What a windy morning! I’m glad that we did not allow ourselves to look out the window when we woke up. If we had, seeing the trees bending over in the crazy gusty winds would have sent us straight back to bed. For that matter, we were lucky to wake up on time, after a three hour power outage during the night. (Pop quiz: how do you figure out what phone number to call to report a power outage if the internet is out too? Oh yeah, the phone book. So, if I program the power company’s number into my phone, can we finally get rid of the last phone book?)

The temperature was fine, just windy.

Since the 5k started before the half this year, there was some shuffling around of corrals before the half. This was not a big deal, however, the corrals close to the front filled up more slowly than usual. As runners trickled in, there was less open space, and huddling more effectively blocked the wind. Presumably because of the wind, the huge flag that was usually over the course just after the start suspended from two ladder trucks was not there. That was too bad, because I love running under it. Also due to the wind, there was no archway over the finish, so the finish line was unadorned — a bummer. We heard later that it had been set up the night before, but blew over at 2:00 AM.

Not surprisingly, the Speedway was a major swirling wind tunnel, but after that, the wind was to our backs. It’s nice to finish with a tail wind, but the tail wind certainly did not compensate for the head wind during the first half!

The t‑shirts this year were upgraded to technical fabric, nice! The Geist Half last year also had an upgraded shirt. However, the Geist Half shirt I got was some sort of reject with really weird proportions. It was wider than it was tall, and one arm was shorter than the other. The Mini shirt was made right, and is usable. Bonus! I think the tradeoff for the nicer shirt was that the medals were not “interactive.” There were no moving race car bits like in years past.

I really appreciate that Rose-Hulman had a tent set up in Military Park to block the wind as I waited for Emily and Sarah to return. It was neat to watch her cross the finish line in her first half marathon, and to see that she was smiling and talking about the next one. Will she catch the bug? I hope so.