Wednesday Wine: 40th Birthday Festivities Preview & Naked on Roller Skates

So. It has been somewhat crazy since last Wednesday. Crazy in a sorta life changing 40th Birthday kind of way. So much more to come on that.  So, stay tuned. For now, the Cliff’s Notes version: festivities were had and it was overwhelmingly about friends, wine and laughter. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

Unless you’re naked and on roller skates.

Well, then, life might be pretty darn good.

Or just breezy and chilly.

Fun 40th Birthday Fact #1: The Wine Aficionado showed up to my birthday party with this lovely gem in tow:

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If you know The Wine Aficionado you would know that nothing was implied by the sharing of this wine.  Well, other than the fact that The Wine Aficionado is also sometimes lured by a really cool looking label.

Truth be told, I am kind of musing it’s suggestion for future Bucket List opportunities.  Right up there with meeting Portuguese people, a really great kiss and going to sniper school.

But, I’m a big fan of littering my lists with things I can actually achieve.

As for the wine review: it was a Shiraz and it was really good.

Really good.

I did not expect that from a Shiraz on roller skates.**

Fun 40th Birthday Fact #2: Jules Cobb has some competition.

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Knowing my love for Cougar Town, one of my friends surprised me with this monstrosity. I’m pretty sure if Jules’ Big Tippi were in a room with my Ginormous George she would crack with admiration.

I’m also pretty sure that Ginormous George will come in handy in fulfilling Bucket List opportunities listed in Fun 40th Birthday Fact #1.

And probably numerous other things.

To milestone birthdays, shockingly naked grapes, and really huge glasses to drink it all in!

Cheers!

** P.S. – If you want an entertaining read about wines, check out Some Young Punk’s website (the genius behind the Naked on Roller Skates wine).  These wines just happen to be  inspired by certain pulp fiction novels between the 20’s to 50’s.  This former journalism major thinks that is pretty freaking cool.

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Wednesday Wine: Celebrating a One Year Anniversary of the B Side

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Oh, how I love this wine.

Wednesday evening a year ago I was, as you may remember, being introduced to Layer Cake.  I failed to mention that once we drained Hey Mambo’s Layer Cake Primitivo supply, our party moved to the B Side. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved Layer Cake and all the festivities that ensued thereafter but my absolute favorite discovery that night was B Side – a Cabernet so silky smooth that my tongue shivered in pure unadulterated bliss.  I felt like I had happened upon a diamond in the rough. Interestingly, B Side’s tagline is “From the Flip Side,” a nod to the additional song on a record (anyone remember these???) accompanying the A Side hit:

In the early 1950s record companies introduced the two-sided 45. The “A” side played the song the record companies hoped would become a hit. But the “B” side was often the real find, frequently revealing an undiscovered gem.

Inspired by these unheralded classics, B Side wines bring this alternative sensibility to the decidedly A-list world of Napa Valley wine. Hailing from Napa’s “flip” side, B Side reds are crafted with grapes sourced from the slightly-off-the-beaten-track vineyards along the valley’s eastern hillsides. They’re authentic originals: a little experimental and unexpected, crafted and perfected behind-the-scenes for those with a penchant for discovery. (source: B Side Wine)

Growing up with a grandfather that had collected over 3,000 records (including 6 full operas) that have nowhere to go but my garage, I can see why this wine speaks to me!  I have an uncanny connection to the record world for sure!  There is no doubt that B Side is one artistic wine through and through. Definitely worth a turn of the flip side.

And, another small confession from last Wednesday’s post . . . though it was a weeknight, I may have bended my training rules ever so slightly with a celebratory glass of B Side to singleness and 7 Blue Hey Mambo jazz night that very night.

Okay, maybe a glass and a half.

Aaannnd . . . I may have introduced another willing soul to the flip side as well.

But, where others are concerned, I am not one to sip and tell.

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To living . . . and drinking . . . on the flip side.

Cheers!

20 Mile Training Run Recap

20 mile training run locked and loaded.

Here’s an action shot of my running group this morning as they manhandled our longest distance to date:

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Don’t they make running 20 miles look easy?? Rock Stars, every one of them. They are inspiring and fun every week.  A large part of gaining the confidence of tackling the increasing distances each week is due in large part to everyone’s amazing attitudes.  Makes such a difference running with a group of people who are not only trying to build their own running confidence, they’re encouraging you in yours with every step we take together.  Priceless.

I’m not going to lie, this running pup was hurting by the end.  Nothing injured, mind you.  Just noticeably SORE.  It was definitely not the most pain-free running adventure I’ve been on.  Somewhere around Mile 6 my calves started to protest.  I’m sure that was due in part to overcompensation for the back cramps that plagued me before we even started running.  But, some things cannot be helped, and one runs anyway.  Every step of that 20 miles I felt today.

20.64 miles to be very exact.

Unbelievably close to that final distance.

Today was also a dress rehearsal of sorts for the marathon.  The motto goes, “Nothing new on race day.”  Everything we plan to implement throughout our race was to be tested today.   A number of essentials that I have tested on other races will of course be with me – the Nuun, the Honey Stingers, the Honey Stinger Waffles and my trusty iPhone.

Today I tested out:

  • Body Glide.  I have rarely found a need for this but this morning I slathered myself anywhere I could possibly be chafed.  I’m guessing it worked as nothing caused me any noticeable concern.  Thanks to this level of awareness, we’re all becoming better educated as runners I suppose on this silent but irritating issue:

  • My newly acquired Mophie iPhone battery extender.  Because I use Runkeeper to track my runs I wanted to make sure I had the necessary juice to track my pace through until the finish line.  Before my run, I made sure Wi-fi was turned off as well as all Location Services except for Runkeeper which uses GPS.  I took a few photos on the run as well knowing that I would for sure be taking some pictures on race day.  By Mile 19 my battery was down to about 29% at which point I flipped the switch to the charging setting. By the time we finished, my battery was still charging at 41% which leads me to believe that I will have plenty of battery power for race day.
  • Tylenol.  A number of people have mentioned taking a few Tylenol at some point during the race to help take the edge off the aches that just naturally come.  Around mile 10 I took a 500 mg capsule as I was definitely achy.  By mile 13 I had not noticed much difference so I took another 500 mg.  I think it helped to some degree though I can’t say that I noticed any significant difference.  Some of that may be due in part to the fact that I’m a ibuprofen girl.  But, it was highly advised NOT to use ibuprofen during a race as it is both dehydrating and very hard on your liver.  I don’t see any reason to not keep Tylenol in my race day plans as it certainly did not hurt anything and ibuprofen is out of the question.
  • Sucking on a peppermint at Mile 16.  This was highly advocated by our coach who declared that a peppermint is a great pick-me-up during a race.  Apparently, peppermint is a strong mental and physical stimulant that can help one concentrate and stay awake and alert.  Seems silly but it was noticeable!  I sucked on my peppermint from about Mile 16.5 until our last water stop at Mile 19.  Though my body still ached, those 2.5 peppermint miles were some of the best that I felt mentally of the entire run.  Big surprise of the run for me.  Definitely keeping a few of those handy on race day!

I have to say that despite the inevitable aches and pains of the day, today’s run was a definite confidence-builder.  Just as we were rounding back to our finishing point, I had no doubt that I could do the additional 6 miles to a finish line if today had been race day.  Sure, the last 6 miles might be slower…and, I might be limping them out…but I can defeat 26.2 miles.

Route 66 Marathon, here we come!!

Wednesday Wine: Tempranillo

I feel that in the pursuit of finding and enjoying wine(s) — especially when you enjoy the challenge of finding diamond in the rough wines as I do — it is a true discipline of the soul to be content with the fact that not every wine in your stash will live up to the hype.

Or, in my case, the pretty label.  Let’s face it, when you’re less of a wine connoisseur and more of a wine drinkeur, the growing wine collection is probably based more upon an overwhelming ratio of pretty and appealing labels versus any real standing in the wine rating charts.

Judge a book by its cover?

Why, yes, I do.

Admit it, you do it too.

I don’t normally drink a lot of wine during training. I usually save the enjoyment of a glass or two for the evening or day after our long run.  This past weekend I went to an All Things Pumpkin party and surprisingly — and thankfully — there aren’t a lot of pumpkin wines out there.  And, really, I don’t feel that there ever needs to be a market for one.  Pumpkin really should just stay to the muffins, pies and pancake markets of the food industry. Just sayin’.

So, I broke a small rule on Monday night and opened one of my cheap inexpensive bottles that I had recently acquired from my Kansas City/Trader Joe’s run weekend.

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 I picked up this cheap inexpensive Tempranillo as I was motivated to branch out from my Cabernet Sauvignon leanings because I am, in fact, like a moth to Cabernet’s flame.  I will pick it almost every time.  Remembering that I had a Tempranillo once at Vintage 1740 (also in an effort to branch out from my Cabernet predilections) with some fairly fond memories of it, I deemed it worthy for my stash.  Plus, the label was kind of cool.  Interestingly, I have no memories of this certain Tempranillo’s name.  Wouldn’t it be funny if it was this very same wine??

In any case, Monday night’s dinner was Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Cheesy Hash brown Casserole and green beans. (If I’m ever in a last-meal type of situation, I’m pretty sure this would be my pick.  Especially since Smoke has failed all my pleas to bring back the Petite Tenderloin Medallions over heavenly pillows of risotto. Such rejection!)

On opening and first pour, the aroma was pretty powerful.  I got a little giddy thinking I was about to partake of something similar to a Cabernet.  It smelled very bold and complex.  Surprisingly, it was very thin and weak.  The lack of body really took me aback.  Thinking that maybe I had failed to give the wine a chance to breathe, I set it aside.  But the remainder of the glass was the same – a nose full of promise and very little payoff.

Not ready to give up, I attempted another glass last night with the same meal as Monday night hoping that I would find some improvement.  Again, the initial nose was outstanding!  It smelled of tart cherries and plums.  I think I even smelled a hint of tobacco!  And while the aftertaste had a little more body than the night before, it was just not enough to endear itself to me. Don’t get me wrong — I won’t dump the bottle down the drain — but life’s too short for wines that are all talk and not enough action. Wouldn’t you agree?

To the pursuit of wines with a little less talk and a lot more action. . . and to knowing when to fold ’em and when to walk away . . .

Cheers!

You never know until you try . . .

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Today’s “declarative statement cookie” at Pei Wei.

I don’t put a lot of stock in fortune cookies but I kind of cherish this one. One, it couldn’t be more representative of a weekend where I’ve logged another race and a new PR. I honestly didn’t really plan to do it. I already had a decent Tulsa Run course time. I knew to try and beat myself would mean pushing a pace that may not be the best for recouping my upper thigh pain not to mention taking on Training Week 17 which culminates with a 20-mile training run this coming Saturday. There will always be Tulsa Runs and plenty of time to best oneself. So, to shave almost a minute off my 2011 time was kind of sweet.

Secondly, this PW declaration reminds me that running really is a sport so many of us get into because in forcing our bodies to do more than it thinks it can, we win. Every time. You don’t have to take home the #1 spot overall. Every time you cross a finish line, whatever the time, whatever the distance, you win.

I think more than beating my own time this weekend, my real joy was watching other people with very specific race time desires walk away with some really huge accomplishments and new wins in their race portfolios. I ran this year’s Tulsa Run with a running buddy for this very specific reason. She wanted to shave about 15 minutes off her previous Tulsa Run racetime. Kind of a big jump. I told her that I’d run with her if she wanted to have someone to help pace her toward that goal. Not that I’m really any great pacer but I thought at the very least I could help get her in her goal time window.  About halfway through the race, a few other buddies found us along the trail and whipped out some movie trivia in an effort to pass the time. At about 7.5 miles, my buddy started speeding up and I laughingly thought to myself, “Oh my gosh. She’s going to majorly PR…and beat me!!” I was afraid that if tried to keep up with her I might risk pushing the pains of the past week too far so I held my pace — and my running ego — in check and just enjoyed the last moments of the course. My running buddy crossed the finish line 30 seconds under the time she hoped for.

Rock Star amazing.

She told me on the race course that the theme song in her head that day was Katy Perry’s Roar:

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roa
r

The thing was she never needed my help or my other buddies’ help. The champion in her to cross the finish line with her race goal secured was already in her.

Really, no one can get you across that finish line but yourself.  Sure, other runners encourage, prod, and cheer on their fellow running buddies when it gets tough but the effort to get across that finish line is all you in the end. Others may disagree, but I think on race day, all your training amounts to about 5% of what gets you across the finish line.  Believing you can get there is probably the other 95%.

I think what inspires me about running and runners is that it is laden with people who try. They’re people who push themselves. They are not people who say, “No, I’m sorry, I can’t do that.” They are people who are willing to try.  And every time they try, they win over life’s setbacks and in some small way slay life’s demons. Every time they cross the finish line, just by trying, they win.

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You know you’re an athlete when . . .

Trigger point therapy

. . . you start getting closely acquainted with your trigger point paraphernalia, your nursing home approved bath salts, your relaxation drugs and your massage therapist.

Training Week 15 ended with a fantastic 18-mile training run.  At a crisp 37 degrees with light and variable winds, it couldn’t have been more perfect running weather.  The only slight kink in this otherwise perfect run was becoming suddenly aware of my rather full bladder approaching the last mile shortly followed by becoming agonizingly aware of my gastrointestinal tract.

Every runner knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  Those stories get passed around.  And some of them are hiLARious.

Uncomfortably so.

And you really don’t want to be one of that kind of famous.

I might even be willing to bet that the average runner is less worried about finishing their race as they are getting to the end without any bathroom issues.

In any case, mile 17 this past Saturday brought about some very deep-seated personal issues and when everyone turned north to head up a hill running what seemed away from our finishing spot, I turned back south into downtown gunning it in desperate search of facilities.  Another running buddy was kind enough to go with me despite the fact that she did not share my issues.  (Of course, it’s these kind of buddy systems that probably perpetuate the sharing of these stories! Ha!) We very quickly realized the downtown bus station would probably be our best bet.  Thankfully we were successful and all possible crises were averted.

Whew.

Sorry. No funny bathroom stories here. This is a respectable post about training injuries people.

So, due to the “gunning” it situation, mile 18 logged in at about a minute faster per mile than our training run pace.  Doesn’t seem like much but my guess is that when increasing speed at that pace after doing 17 miles may have made me a little more susceptible to the “twinge” of pain in my upper thigh that made it’s nagging appearance much later that evening.

And thus Training Week 16 began with the dreaded “twinge” of pain.  Ugh.  Thankfully Week 16 was a low mileage week in the schedule.  A good week in my mind to keep the weekly runs easy and do everything I could to keep my muscles loose. Between staying on top of my core work at 52 Fitness, foam rolling and trigger point ball rolling like a madwoman (I even took a roller up to my office), taking Epson salt baths and staying on top of the ibuprofen, my 5-mile run on Thursday night seemed to show that it had all been working.  And just in time for a Tulsa tradition tomorrow, the  Tulsa Run! Thirty-six years and counting.  Probably one of my favorite races.

So, if you don’t have anything to do in the morning, bundle up and grab a cup of coffee and come out and cheer us on!  Race start for the 15k runners is 9:00 a.m.  You can even get your Saturday sleeping in time in with that kind of start time. 🙂 Here’s a map of the course:TulsaRunMap10262013

If you just can’t get out of the house or don’t live here in Tulsa, KJRH Channel 2 is streaming the race here.  Look for me to cross around or after the 10:30 a.m. mark. If you see me, come back here and let me know!  It will be like my 10 seconds of fame…or failure, whatever the case may be. 🙂

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Wednesday Wine: A Nod to a Sav Blanc

It’s that time of year when everyone is putting away the summery white wines in lieu of the winter reds. You know, like putting away white pants and shoes after Labor Day. Probably due to bringing out all the winter red wines. Give me a moment and I can tie everything back to wine. 🙂

Seeing as I have only recently been discovering white wines thanks to the enthusiastic encouragement of The Wine Aficionado (and I am most enthusiastically a red wine girl) I feel the need to share this inexpensive little white I picked up at Trader Joe’s while I was in Kansas City a couple of weekends ago. (Or, maybe you’ve just been pulled into my shameless plug to bring Trader Joe’s to Oklahoma. More specifically bring Trader Joe’s to Tulsa.)

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I pulled this Sauvignon Blanc out, 1) to kick up my White Chili and 2) to have a glass of wine. Definitely citrusy with hints of kiwi and minimal dryness on finish. This was nice as my hesitance to most whites is that they are either too sweet or too dry. I know. I’m quirky that way. In any case, I’m growing into my appreciation of the whites and for the $7 price tag at Trader Joe’s I would keep this one in my wine stash.

That is, IF I had a Trader Joe’s quotes handy. Say, right here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Shameless plug x 2)

To drinking white in winter and shameless plugs!

Cheers!