Saturday, May 30, 2009

Results of the latest (2nd) 3 km time trial are in. times are the 1-km splits for those that need the decipherin'. I think they know who they are.

May 6: 3:52, 3:52, 3:54
May 28: 3:48, 3:52, 3:52

Actually, I thought it had been a month since I did the first one. A bit silly. I better wait a full month now until the next one.

Anyway, not much progress to be seen. The weeks since then (including the May 6 week) have been 69, 46, 91, 85 (if I do the expected 25 tomorrow). That awful 46 km week happened because I had a weekend that was beset by work and weather and brewing that conspired to stop me running on either the Saturday or Sunday. A very rare event. That resulted in me going into the next week rather fresh and racking up the 90 km. I can't really expect much progress on the back of those numbers, but the regular aerobic runs of 15 km have had a bit of quality about them and are setting me up to handle increased frequency and distance (like he 17.8 km at 4:27/km I did today). After that the results should start to come through.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Beer!!

I think I mentioned last July that I got a best of show in a home brewing competition. The main prize was that the organizers brew a commercial batch of the recipe, the Yokozuna beer, at a micro brewery in Chiba (Loco Beer). I helped out on the brew day in late December.

Now, five months later, lookie, lookie, that there beer is now on sale over the Interwebs. It isn't cheap, but if you are in Japan, go at it and try some of the best beer ever made in the 5000 plus years of the history of brewing. Oh!! You think that's a bold claim do you? Well, it is a bold claim. And there is only one way you will find out if it is true ;-)

There is a page with an English explanation here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Where I is at

Running. I've been running. I took a full six days off after the 30k trail race, but then came out and ran pretty easy the next week, reaching a tad over 70 km. I certainly wasn't fully recovered the first few runs, but by last weekend, after two weeks of recovery, felt pretty good and ended up on Sunday running around the trails of Kamakura with Satohi before a BBQ at friends'. I really enjoyed the Kamakura hills because there was not so much walking. Not like the western Tokyo trails, where the hills are up, up, up, and down, down, down. But when the hills are relatively short and technical (read complicated by roots, rocks and erosion), such as at Kamakura, you can attack and use momentum to pick out interesting ways of navigating the terrain. I like that.

This week is Golden Week--three consecutive national holidays from Mon-Wed--and with added rest I've felt my speed coming back naturally, and steady aerobic runs are dipping down under 4:30/km. In fact yesterday I spent 4 km of a 13 km run at below 4:20/km and averaged 4:28/km...not bad.

I'm also throwing in a little bit of speed work here and there. Last Saturday I did two 1.6 km intervals midway through a 14-km run. The first was right on 6:00 min, but it felt forced and labored. The second I tried relaxing into it and ended up running a couple of seconds slower, but it felt more like the right pace.

Today I was going to run in the park in the afternoon with Colin, but the rain set in for several hours, and Colin couldn't make it anyway. I was very frustrated as I really wanted to run, but just couldn't bring myself to head out into what was pretty heavy rain. I waited and waited and was about to give up and pour a beer around 5:45 when I noticed the rain had eased right off. So I made sure dinner was under control and squared things up with the good woman before heading out. I ran up to Oda field (5.5 km) at 4:45/km. There I decided to do the first of what will be a series of monthly 3-km time trials. Did that at a pretty hard effort with rather pedestrian (but not surprising) splits of 3:52, 3:52, and 3:54 ... I was pushing that last km too, so the loss of 2 s really shows I was near the limit. Good. This will stand as a good benchmark of where I am at here at the beginning of May.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Plate Chiller

I recently acquired a plate chiller for my home brewery. Here it is in action.
Edit: For those not sure what is going on here (Bob), beer production involves boiling up malt and hops. At the end of the boil, you want to chill the wort (what it's called before it's fermented) to a suitable temperature for pitching yeast. That's what this device is for. It could also be called a heat exchanger. Hot wort and cold water go in through separate flow paths, make contact along the surfaces of 30 brazed plates, and cold wort and hot water come out. Now I can pitch the yeast and get fermentation underway. I could just let it cool down naturally, but it will take a day or two to reach pitching temperature and increases the risk of a wild yeast or bacteria infection. Happy?