Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Watermelon Beer Reviews

First things first...I was out the door and running at 5:41 am this morning....you may give me a standing ovation now. This probably explains why I'm drinking my second iced coffee of the day as we speak.  But this isn't about my awesome morning running skills, this is about beer.  Yes, beer.  I've decided that since I spend way too long not blogging because all I'm doing are lamesauce easy runs, that I need to find some other things to write about once in awhile.  One of these things might be PT related stuff.  The other is craft beer.  I'm well beyond the "OMG COLLEGGGGGE" drinking stage, but damn, do I enjoy a good craft beer. So today's topic: watermelon beer!

Watermelon beer is somewhat new to me, as I'm usually more of a stout/imperial IPA kind of girl...but in the summer, it's pretty hard to find one that's more refreshing.  Here are 3 different watermelon beers, each very different, that I've tried and would like to share with you!

#1 - 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat
This is, hands down, my favorite of the 3. Pretty much it is the most refreshing beer I have ever tasted.  It's pretty amazing because it tastes like watermelon, but it isn't really sweet (kind of like...a real watermelon!).  The flavor is much subtler and it's really light and refreshing.  And it comes in a CAN!  Need a beer for a picnic, the beach, a backyard game of frisbee? This is about as good as it gets.  Also, I drank this beer while cheering both the Bruins and Packers to national championships this year, so I think we will call it the official beer of my sports teams winning things.

#2 White River Watermelon Wheat
This is from a tiny brewery in Amesbury, MA, and I was able to try it at the American Craft Beer Festival, although I'm not sure if you can find it outside the Amesbury area.  From what I remember it was was similar to Hell or High Watermelon, with a lighter watermelon flavor. Very refreshing.  Also, they served it with a little chunk of watermelon in it at the festival...a nice touch. :)

#3 Thomas Hooker Watermelon Ale
This one is completely different.  And honestly, I'm not 100% sold.  Andrew deemed it 'surprisingly ale-like' for a watermelon beer, but for me it was like being punched in the face with a watermelon Jolly Rancher.  The taste was a little too fake-watermeloney for me, but considering that Andrew hates sweet beers and enjoyed this one, maybe everyone tastes it differently.  Worth a shot if you're looking for a little sweeter watermelon beer, I can still imagine this one being good at a cookout.

Well that was fun!  I'm off to yoga because my hamstrings are angry at me for not going last week.  Hopefully a good yoga session will fix me right up :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Under the radar racing: Tuesday Nite Trot 5K race report!

Hi. I know. It's been a month + again.  I started my first full time PT clinical in the middle of May and blogging has been on the back burner a bit...but you know I'm around. I'm done in 2 weeks so should have more time for blog fun times then!

First things first...I actually have a RACE REPORT to share. Shocking, I know. It's June and here I am reporting only my 2nd race of 2011...sad.  But alas, I have been afflicted lately by something I'll call "race chickenoutosis". Symptoms include seeing races and being totally gung ho like 'oh, I am totally going to race that 5K!' and then not following through with it because you are too afraid that your 30-35 miles per week of easy running just isn't going to cut it when it comes to a 5K, and you're going to run a terrible race.  And really, my confidence at this point doesn't need another hit, what with the Nashua 6K being basically the worst race I've ever run and all.

But finally I put on my big girl running shorts and decided I was racing a damn 5K. I picked one specifically for the fact that I thought it was going to be small and low key - the Tuesday Nite Trot.  This was also good because I could go straight there from work, without having any time to go home and chicken out.  So I finally showed up at Artesani Park....with no watch.  I was running late for work in the morning and completely forgot it, so for the first time since freshman year of college, I would be running a race watchless.  As I had expected, things were very chill, which was exactly what I wanted.  Definitely a small race, tent with no frills t-shirts and numbers, a few people milling around.  I kept telling myself that it was just a tempo run, run by feel, no one cares what time you run today. It's not big deal if you run a 22 something. Whatever.  This is baseline...see what baseline is.  There were only a couple of other women who looked even moderately serious so I knew I would probably be close to the front regardless...perfect opportunity to just go run hard and see what happens.

Annnd we were off.  One of the fast looking girls and 3 or 4 guys shot off in a pack and I had no interest in going that direction since the more I looked at the girl the more she looked like the sub-20/sub-19 type.  I glued on to a guy in a BAA shirt and just ran by feel.  This was quite the interesting experiment - can I use what my body is telling me and figure out what I need to do here? I passed BAA guy, and was shortly passed by a college-age guy I had been chatting with before the race. Whatever.  Then I heard someone's Garmin beep and I knew we were at the mile (not that it mattered)...apparently there are no mile markers in this race either.  Another girl passed me and I wanted to go with her, but I was having the beginnings of a wicked side cramp and so decided to let her go.  It was getting into misery time but it was like...just keep the legs moving, strong strides, breathe through this stitch.  We finally crossed the bridge that signaled the turn towards the finish (running up the teensy 'hill' of the bridge and my legs were like whyyyy) and I was just desperate to be done.  I felt like I had slowed down immensely the second half and really wasn't expecting anything stellar...so imagine my surprise when I get close to the finish and the numbers are still in the 20s! Um, what?!  I crossed the line in 20:39 and it was like....WHAAAAT?!

So this...is really good.  First of all, because my confidence has been restored that I'm not a slow pile of blah and that I actually am still capable of running fast, even on limited training. Second, apparently my baseline is a lot higher than I thought, because I remember when I had to kill myself over 3 months of XC training to run a 20:42 on a similarly flat course. Needless to say I am pretty pleased to run my 2nd best non-track 5K on probably the shittiest month of training I've put together in the last 2 years.  Maybe there is something to this "run easy" business after all...but of course I also see the bright and shiny allure of sub-20 and the wheels start turning: If I can run 20:39 on no training, imagine what I could do with a couple months of 5K specific speedwork....

Oh, and I won a pint glass. Which is pretty much the best possible award, even though I have way too many at home already. :)