Ready for a Long Winter’s Nap

One thing to know about how Hubby and I run is that even though we both are usually training for the same race (in this case, the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Nation’s Capital Half Marathon), we don’t run together.  That is true in training and during races.  At a race, we’ll start at the finish line together, wish each other a good race, and then go our separate ways.  Hubby is much faster than I am, so he’s always at the finish line cheering me across it.  From there, we grab our water and banana, take some photos, and recap our race experiences.

When it comes to training, we both usually hit the treadmills, and running together on treadmills isn’t really fun.  Plus, honestly, I think there’s also an element of enjoying personal quiet timing.  We both run with music, but it’s also a chance to just be in our own heads and go.

11 miles on the treadmill doneA few Saturdays ago, we both had to get in an 11-mile training run, and we ended up actually hitting the treadmills at the same time.  I don’t know what it was about those 11 miles, but for me, the run was a slog from start to finish. Maybe the problem was the couple of previous runs, including my 10.5 mile run the week before, were good, solid runs.  Maybe the gym was a little too hot, so I was over-heating a little.  Or, maybe I just wasn’t feeling it, so it was a rough run.  Whatever it was, from mile 3 on, I was looking at the mileage counter thinking there was no way I was going to make 11 miles, and by mile 9, my 6 mintue:1minute run/walk intervals switch to 3:1 intervals.  Instead of being motivated by Hubby when he finished before me, I was green with envy, and I was sure that was going to be the end of the run, even though I hadn’t actually gone the full distance.  But, somehow, I struggled through, and the moment I saw I was at 11 miles, I dropped the speed down to the slowest walk I could do while still be upright.

Blue Mountain Barrel House Long Winter's Nap

Blue Mountain Barrel House Long Winter’s Nap

To say it was a bad run would be an understatement, but it was done.  I had just enough energy to drink my post-run protein smoothie, stretch, foam roll, shower, and open the beer I couldn’t stop thinking about from the moment I stumbled into the condo.

Long Winter’s Nap is a Maibock by Blue Mountain Barrel House, a division of Blue Mountain Brewery in Virginia (brewery).  The beer was a medium golden-amber that was almost honey-like with 1/4 inch of off-white, sudsy foam that lingered.  On the nose, there was a breadiness mixed with hints of grains, apples, and nail polish remover and a sweetness on the finish.  In the mouth, there was toffee, bread, and hints of apples and honey.  It had a medium body and some lacing.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $13 for 750 ml, this beer was a slightly heavier, very smooth winter ale.  Usually I find that winter ales taste a little too much like I’m drinking beer that has been steeped in potpourri or that has had pine needles left to soak in it, but this winter ale didn’t have any of that.  There were hints of the season without it being a dominant characteristic, which is exactly what I like.

Blue Mountain Barrel House logo and corkAll in all, I’m not sure if it was the beer or the long run (or maybe a bit of both), but it definitely left me feeling ready for a long winter’s nap by the time I was done with it.  It paired nicely with the spinach and artichoke ravioli that Hubby made for dinner and was even better as I stretched out on the couch to watch a movie.  Without a doubt, it was the best part of my run!

Question of the Day:  What do you think of winter seasonal beers?  Do you have a favorite?

Price: $13 for a 750ml bottle
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Dying for Another Dead Guy

This past weekend was the Marine Corps Marathon 10k (known as the MCM10k).  Hubby and I set the alarm for 6:15am, which is earlier than we both get up for work and a very painful wake-up time on a Sunday morning.  We spent the next half hour waking up, putting on race clothes, drinking some water, and eating the little bit of “fuel” that we could stomach that early before we headed to the metro.   We were on the National Mall in time to see the sunrise over the Smithsonian Castle, which was beautiful, although very cold, to watch.  We clung to our sweatshirts, turning them into the baggage claim at the last minute before heading over to the start line.  From that point on, it wasn’t long until the race got underway.

For those of you who are runners but have never run the MCM10k, I highly recommend it!  You essentially run the last 6.2 miles of the Marine Corps Marathon, including the killer uphill finish that is lined with Marines cheering you on.  This was my first long race since my hip surgery, and I’m so glad I did it.  Sure, my hip and my leg muscles are still feeling it a couple of days later, but it’s a good race.  I was mentally and physically in a good place the whole time, and now I’m pampering myself with a little recovery time before lacing up the running sneakers again.

Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales

Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales

Unfortunately, though, the race was the start of our day on Sunday, which meant several hours of grocery shopping and other errands before Hubby and I could finally relax on the couch to recuperate.  When we finally finished, we grabbed some pizza and beer at one of our favorite local spots and then came home to watch Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead.  Earlier in the day, I bought a couple of beers that felt “Halloweenish,” and, for me, there is nothing like drinking beer on a day that I’ve been running, so I was excited to open one of them up while we settled in for the evening.

The Dead Guy Ale (brewery) is a German Maibock from Newport, Oregon.  The beer had a dark cooper color with a think, foamy, cream-colored head.  On the nose, there was a doughiness mixed with some caramel and hints of apricots.  In the mouth, there is caramel mixed with bread.   The beer was medium bodied.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $10 for 650ml, this beer wasn’t overly complex, but it was a solid, enjoyable choice.  It had a strong maltiness with just a touch of hops peaking through to give it a brightness that wasn’t too bitter, but that lingers on the finish.  I drank it with a leftover piece of white pesto pizza, and while that may not have been the best pairing, there is no doubt that this is a food-friendly beer.  The one caution I have is that it’s very drinkable, so don’t be surprised if you find your glass is empty sooner than you expected.

Question of the Day: Have you had any of Rogue Ales?  Do you have a favorite?

Price: $10
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 4 Corks