Running in a cape
July 31, 2012

…otherwise known as “Things I Do For Beer.”

I’ve talked about doing the Yazoo Barely a 4k Beer Runs before.  They are always a good time and I have made it to all of them except one (that was during a triathlon race, damn!).  They are fun, relaxed and have an element of bragging rights.  This is not a run for the OCD, anal retentive, type A runner (yes I know I kinda fit into that bag).  The start time is approximate.  There is no timing, there are no winners.  The routes are not usually announced until you show up.  The distance is approximate.  The routes are always hilly.  And nobody really gives a damn whether you finish or even run at all.

Red capes and black capes finishing up the run.

They are really about getting out for a fun little jog with friends or meet new friends along the way, and most importantly the BEER at the end!  You also get a cool (limited edition) shirt.  During one Beer Run, we got a hoodie.  I love that hoodie.  But during this race, we got CAPES!

Yes, how can you turn down an opportunity to a. get a cape, b. get a cape emblazoned with your favorite local beer company logo, c. run in a fucking cape?!

So, yes, I ran another Beer Run, and did my first run in a cape.  It was awesome.  I was hot and sweaty.  I was tired from running 5.75miles before I showed up for this run.  The bitch of a hill on 8th Avenue nearly killed me sucked.  But I did it and had a Yazoo Sly Rye Porter at the end, and copious amounts of water.

Neil giving it all away.

The other awesome post Beer-Run activity is the raffle time where Neil from Yazoo raffles off cool stuff (crap from his office that he doesn’t want any more).  You never know what you’ll get: A bottle of their famous Sue, a bag of avocados, a sombrero, a wine glass with the stem broken off, a bunch of stickers that sat in the Yazoo van too long.  It’s like Let’s Make a Deal, but with beer stuff.

So will I run in my cape again?  Damn skippy!

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Tips for rocking a Beer Festival
March 26, 2012

Do you like to drink good beer?  Are you curious about beer?  Then get yourself to a local beer festival!

Beer fests are awesome for a number of reasons:

  • You get a great opportunity to try many craft beers from local brewers and from other brewers outside your area.
  • Sometimes breweries will bring awesome hard-to-get or one-time brews just for the fest.
  • If you’re just starting to get into beer, this is a cost effective way to try a lot of quality beers and find out what you like.
  • You can learn a lot about how beer is made and make connections with local brewers and beer lovers.
  • Supporting local festivals, brewers, and other vendors!
  • Oh and….BEER!

So Sally, how do we go about attending a beer fest, you might ask.  Here are my tried and true beer fest tips for having fun and surviving a beer fest.

  • Choose your beer fest wisely.  Pay attention to the time of year and time of day that the fest takes place.  I personally avoid festivals in the middle of the summer, I don’t want to be outside in the heat and humidity getting drunk and sweaty.
  • Have a buddy system.  Take a friend and coordinate.  You can watch each other’s stuff while someone is scoping out the beer tents, share a ride to and from the event, share your thoughts on the beers, and just have fun and watch out for each other.
  • Make a plan for transportation.  You will be drinking.  Drinking and driving don’t mix, period!  So, use your buddy system and share a cab.  Sweet talk someone into picking you up.  Pay for a non-beer drinking friend’s designated driver ticket (some fests sell these).
  • Take chairs and scope out a prime spot.  Check the beer fest rules, but usually you can bring in a camping chair and/or a blanket to sit on.  I always take a camping chair that has cup holders so I can hold my drink and even a friend’s if necessary.  Pick a spot that’s big enough for your group and in a good spot away from smells of porta-potties and pour-outs of brewers.  Shade is nice when it’s warm.
  • Be respectful.  Make sure you read the rules of the beer fest beforehand and go to have a good time.  Understand that other fest-goers are there to have a good time and usually beer people are a laid-back folk.  Relax, the lines may be long, but are worth it. If someone is getting roudy, tell a festival volunteer and let them handle it.
  • Make friends.  You’ll meet tons of other beer lovers at the fest, so you’ve got something in common.  Like I said, they’re laid-back folk!  Talk to the brewers if you liked their beer, find out how they make it and where you can buy it.
  • Be adventurous.  Check the beer list beforehand if available and create a plan of attack, but be flexible.  Sure the line may be long for that brewer that everyone loves.  But what about that new brewery over there with nobody in line?  Try them instead, you might be surprised and find something awesome!  Plus, no wait for beer!
  • Hydrate!  Take a water bottle.  Check the festival rules, but some will provide free H2O if you bring your own water bottle.  (these are the best!)  You will be drinking a lot of beer over a few hours, you need to stay hydrated and keep from getting too much alcohol in your system.  Water will help cleanse your palate between beers and rinse out your tasting glass.
  • Eat!  Make sure you eat a hearty breakfast/meal beforehand.  Scope out the food options at the beer fest when you first get there.  Know that the lines will get really long during mealtimes and at about the halfway to 2/3 point of the fest.
  • Protect yourself from the sun.  I’m not kidding!  If it’s not raining, you could get sunburned.  Even cloudy days will leave you with a red face.  Apply sunscreen before you leave for the fest, and take some with you to reapply.  Wear a hat to keep the sun out of your eyes and off your face.  Usually a fest won’t allow umbrellas, but check the rules and scope out a shady spot under a tree if you can.
  • Pretzel necklaces!  This is my signature tip for beer fest.  I always make these for my friends and they are a lifesaver.  They help you get a little more carbs in your system to soak up the alcohol, and they are a perfect palate cleanser between brews!  Take a string or ribbon (I use curling ribbon for presents) and cut a piece that is big enough to go over your head once it is tied into a circle.  Then take small braided pretzels (I find these are the best, they are big enough to provide a small snack and small enough not get in your way while you’re walking around, and sturdy enough that they won’t easily break like some of the larger, skinnier braids) and run the string through one of the loops.  Put on enough pretzels to cover about 1/3 to 1/2 of the necklace.  Tie  a knot and put in a bag to distribute to your friends.  They are great conversation starters too. You will easily make friends (see tip above)!

And the most important part is to have fun!  See my friend here below?  She’s having fun, and is part of my buddy system!!

Check it out, she’s a veteran beer fest goer: buddy system, pretzel necklace, camp chair with cup holder, sunscreen and hat, prime location, water bottle in her bag (not shown), having fun (see the smile on that face!!).

What are your tips for beer fests?

Racing rundown
October 25, 2011

I had my first race-related dream on Monday.  Not a bad one like where you wake up only 15 minutes before the start of the race or you realize you’re wearing high heels instead of your trusty kicks, but just a dream about the morning of the race.  I’ll take that as a good sign I’m not feeling unprepared, but that I’m just ready to do this!

What race you might ask?  Well I’ve been a busy little athlete this summer and fall, with tons of races!  My big race I’m training for is the Philadelphia Half Marathon.  I’ve developed some crazy speed over the summer, and my goal is to break 2 hours! That’s another PR by more than 15 minutes.  I think I can do it, I’ve been training on pace for the past few months.  I really think all the triathlon cross training has really helped my speed.  Extra strength from the biking, and learning to breathe while swimming (and not just whenever you want, like in running) has increased my lung strength.

Normally I only do about 3-4 races a year, tops.  Usually one big race, a half marathon, then maybe a couple training races, and of course the Boulevard Bolt on Thanksgiving.  This year, with all the triathlons and the wealth of fun different races I’ve done quite a bit.  Here’s my rundown from this year, some completed, a few more to go:

May 15: Ramblin’ Rose Women’s Triathlon (Nashville) – My 1st triathlon! Loved it so much, very well organized.

May 29: GJCC Memorial Day Triathlon (Nashville) – hated the bike course and had my first run-in with a jackass in a car on a major highway.

June 19: Music City Du Run Run Duathlon (Nashville) – massive storm rolled in during the race and was really scary, but at least not blazing hot like most years, and I totally chicked my guy friend who also ran it. (He hates me now.)

July 30: Yazoo Barely a 4k Beer Run (Nashville) – My favorite local brewery basically found an excuse for a bunch of beer drinkers to get up early on a Saturday, run 2.4 miles, then drink a lot of beer, before 9am.  (Chicked my friend again, he still hates me.)

August 27: Cedars of Lebanon Triathlon (Lebanon, TN) – Really tough bike course, but I trained on it and felt good. This was my goal sprint tri for the season.

September 17: Warrior Dash (Manchester, TN) – 3.15 miles of running and obstacles, dressed like 80’s Ke$ha with my friend Bunny! Tougher than I expected, but lots of fun!

October 1: Shelby Bottoms Boogie 15k (Nashville) – I PR’d on this course by 13 minutes!

October 16: Yazoo Big Wheel Championships (Nashville) – My favorite local brewery hosted a grownup size tricycle race.  (Didn’t chick my friend’s team, because we felt he needed a little confidence boost, so we tied him.)

October 29: Zombie Buffet 5k (Nashville) – Zombies chasing runners on a 5k course.  Yeah, I’m going to be a zombie and I want your BRAINS!!

November 20: Philadelphia Half Marathon – This is my goal race for the year, hoping to break 2 hours.  After I registered, I found out a lot of people I know online are also running it.  Can’t wait!

November 24: Boulevard Bolt (Nashville) – This is my traditional Thanksgiving Day race.  5 miles in the morning and you can eat whatever you want for Thanksgiving.  It may also be my first run after the Half.

So yeah, that’s quite a lot in one year, much less 7 months, for me at least.  What’s in store for next year?  I’m bumping up to Olympic distance in triathlons (with the goal of 70.3 Half Ironman in 2 years!).  So I’ll definitely have some more sprint tri’s and one or two Oly’s, maybe an Endurance Distance too.  I plan to run the Ramblin’ Rose again if they bring it back, because I loved it so much and it sparked my love of tri’s.  I’m thinking about Hooping the Half Marathon again in the Spring with the Hooping for Hope ladies.  Every year I keep saying I’m going to do the Louisville Triple Crown (a 5k, 10k, and 10 miler), so I’m going to try to work them in next year too.  Then to pick out my goal Fall/Winter Half Marathon.  Will I be able to get into the St. Jude in Memphis before it sells out on me again?  Or will I return to Detroit for the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon?