Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yankees, Breweries and a great race to boot!

our first two stops...
the rivalry!
the new Stadium...quite the palace


Riverside Park...we finished on the pier...and forgot our cameras til after the race
my new BFF DJ Lance
sorry, no bueno...

Time to catch up a bit...
At the end of September, Dave "Hi Alt Dawg" Eveland, Ben Biggs & I took a whirlwind trip to New York City, with "sidetrips" to Pennsylvania & Deleware to visit Dogfish Head & Victory Brewing Companies - two of the best in the country. We took a redeye from Reno-LAX-JFK two Wednesdays ago and left for Rehoboth Beach, DE (Dogfish) first thing Thursday, by way of Downington, PA to hit up Victory for lunch. We knew about the toll roads but were a bit surprised when the very first one was eleven freakin dollars! 11!! Both breweries were great, and we had quite a mix of styles, although all three of us were hoping for a better selection of Dogfish Head's crazy experimental beers. We stayed the night there before driving back up to East Rutherford, New Jersey and checking into our hotel. We actually went beerless on Friday since the Brooklyn Brewing Co was closed (and is open to the public a whopping 11 hours a week) and we only saw overpriced pee-beer at Yankee Stadium that night. That's ok though. That made for a better race for all 3 of us the next morning, and we still thoroughly enjoyed the Yanks taking it to the Red Sox in the first of a 3 game set (they would sweep the series and clinch the division that weekend!).
Saturday morning we drove to Riverside Park along the Hudson for the 5th Annual Race for the Kids, a 3000+ strong 4k run/walk put on by Big Brothers & Sisters of NYC. A rare case of the stars aligning just right alowed me to run my best race of 2009 in this race. A combination of things really. I slept well the night before, and was at the tail end of a good but lower mileage running week a week after putting in my highest mileage week of the year, so the training was starting to pay off. In the pleasantly cool morning, I wore a newly bought pair of compression sleeves on the shins/calves, which I beleive does help with circulation and/or injury, at least a little. I'd also warmed up at a faster pace than usual. I ran most of the 2.48 mile course in my racing flats, as we'd all forgot there'd be a bag check and left our extra gear in the parking garage several blocks away. This caused me to start my warm-up too fast, but by the time I caught myself running at workout pace, I just rolled with it and left out the strides and slow jogging, running about 6:20 pace. The course was also suited to my strengths. It rolled up and down some small hills for the first half, just enough to vary the muscles used, and had a downhill immediately following every up. By the time you'd start to tire, the course hit the river path back down to pier 70, where it finished, and was flat as a pancake for the last mile.
When the gun went off, we elbowed our way past the press still blocking the course, absent-mindedly still taking pictures of starter Nick Canon (of Nickelodeon & America's Got Talent fame). I noticed after the first little hill that maybe I'd gone out a little fast, but felt ok so far, and knew I'd have to red-line it to have a chance to win a run of this size. I led solo from about 0.1 and hit the mile in 5:04, right behind the pace bike. When we hit the turn, it looked like I had a good gap on #2, but it was hard to tell, so I tried to keep the petal to the metal (just hoping I wouldn't get into oxygen debt too far from the end). Mile 2 was a push as the lactic acid was starting to get into the bloodstream, but even though there was a couple times when the pace bike had to slow too much to get walkers going in the opposite direction on the path, I hit mile 2 in 10:14, for a 5:10 split. Fearing I'd slow too much and blow a sub-13 or get caught from behind, I pushed as hard as I possibly could in the super oxygenated air right off the water, and was able to drop down to 5:00 pace for the last .48, and finished 1st in 12:36+ (5:05 per mile, my fastest since running 5:04.5 pace for a 3000 in June). My friend both exceeded their goals as well, Dave just coming off a calf injury, and Ben running in his first ever race. We stuck around a while for the GIANT after party, and I do meen Giant. Ex-New York Football Giants great Tiki Barber was there, as well as a wide contingent from Nick & Nick Jr., as this race was part of Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play. I even stood in line with a bunch of snotty nosed toddlers to get a pick and autograph from DJ Lance Rock (host of Yo Gabba Gabba, one of Hannah's favorite shows).
Well, we earned our grog, but didn't want to deal with more city driving than needed, so we left the car, and hoofed it down Broadway for 3 miles, past the late show, Columbus Circle, Times Square, etc...to our destination at Heartland Brewing Co at the base of the Empire State Building. After lunch, beer, and the walk back, we were ready to go relax at the hotel, and would enjoy a good dinner there that night, a pumpkin-only beer tasting, and a hot tub soak, before going down for the last night. I'll leave out the grusome details of the return trip, only leting you know that
a) Delta sucks
b) Dave got home on time, Ben & I paid extra to get home 4 1/2 hours late
c) our bags were delivered to our house at 12:30 the next morning. Nice...
Anyway, the trip was great, but I think it's time to figure out a way to get the brew crew up to Deschutes Brewing in Bend, OR. I hear they have some races up in OR occasionally too. Another NY trip may be a ways off...

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