Tuesday, August 13, 2013

an Ode to Klean Kanteen

It has been quite some time since I have been moved to write anything for the blog.  Something happened the other day, I almost lost my Klean Kanteen.  I remembered I had left it at a merchandise review at Luke's Locker on West Gray in Houston, the place I had purchased it so many years ago.  I was about half way home and realized it was missing, so I called and one of the girls found it for me.  Of course, I drove back to get it.  Seems as this inanimate object is a not so subtle reminder of who I once was. 

an Ode to Klean Kanteen

Eight years have passed
since you and I crossed paths.
Chubby and out of shape;
your cleansing water took the place
of diet sodas and milk shakes.

Funny how I remember the fear
I felt as I entered the place
where runners buy their gear.
Walking would save me from
a sedentary maelstrom.

My constant companion;
you went with me to the Grand Canyon.
Though I could not make it
to the river that trip...
I'll make it next time with you held tight in my grip!

Sitting at the dinner table
they tried to serve my water in a glass
but Klean Kanteen kept my hydration stable.
Kind of sounds like I am obsessed
but from my hands they cannot wrest.

One day while racewalking at the park,
I left you by my tire... what a lark.
I tired of carrying you
on that two mile loop
and you disappeared on the third pass through.

A busload of prisoners who were picking up trash
got too close to the rocket ship
and found my bottle stash.
Instead of throwing you in the waste receptacle
they loaded you on their bus... unacceptable!

That may have been the first
time I ever ran with such a speed burst!
That bus was leaving
with you held captive;
my chest was heaving!

Hand it over I stated
to the bus driver who provided
transportation to those incarcerated.
They looked around and just as I suspected
gave you back as I directed.

You have been with me to many races
5k to ultra, interesting places.
I left you at a vendor's stall
at the expo in Nashville, couldn't remember where...
found you at last, what a close call!

You tried to leave me at the place we met.
seems I have come full circle.  I work at
Luke's Locker, who would have bet!
Went to a staff meeting at West Gray
almost forgot you, glad it wasn't foul play.

I am no longer afraid to say I run
of course I'm slow but that's part of the fun.
Steadily improving, it's been a long
journey so far, but with you by my side
I know I'll be strong!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Making Tallow

Good morning!  Just wanted to write up a quick post about my recent purchase from A Better Way Beef. I purchased a mixed box of grass fed, grass finished beef and an additional 10 pounds of suet.  The price was great, $5.35 per pound and the mix included 7 pounds of ground beef, two beautiful shoulder round steaks, some beef short ribs, a nice sized rump roast and a couple of nice sized chuck steaks, and $3.00 per pound for the suet.  They keep the prices low by allowing smaller purchases rather than insisting a customer purchase a whole side of beef.  The cost of a whole side would be prohibitive for me, and that would keep me purchasing commercially produced meat at the grocery stores.  That is just not going to happen again, now that I have found "A Better Way!"

I finally found the extra time to render some of the suet into tallow the last Wednesday evening.
 This is the frozen suet after I removed the amount I need to render the bowl of tallow shown below.

The procedure is very simple and I was amazed at how easy it was to break off chunks of the suet with a sharp knife.

I chopped the chunks into smaller pieces and filled a 13x9x2 baking pan about 1/2 full, then placed it in the oven which had been preheated to 225 degrees F.  I checked on it once an hour, stirring the pieces to make sure it melted evenly.  Low heat and slow melting is the best way to do this, so make sure you have plenty of time on your hands if you are going to give this a shot.  I am thinking it took about 4 hours... Strain in a good stainless steel mesh strainer after you are done.

The resulting tallow is pure white.  Beautiful and probably the MOST stable fat for frying.  As a matter of fact, I fried my eggs in this fat yesterday morning, low heat of course, but not ONE splatter.

I can imagine how tasty the sweet potato fries are going to be!

I will make sure to add progress photos from the next batch I render so you all can see what the chunks of suet look like as they are melting in the pan.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hog's Hunt 25k

Saturday, April 14. Woke up at 4am, made coffee, cooked breakfast for the road and loaded my gear in the car.  Lucky for me, I had company for this trip, my granddaughter, my son, and my nephew.

Granddaughter, Juliana, had never been to a race with me before, though her dad has accompanied me on a couple of occasions.  My nephew, Bill, was running his first trail race, and it would also be the first time he had run more than 10 miles.  We were both signed up for the 25k.

The temps were a little warmer than usual for this time of year, so I cautioned Bill never to leave an aid station with a water bottle that was not topped off, at the same time making a mental note of that fact for myself.

For some reason, I still don't think I have the fueling worked out for these shorter distance events... not sure if I should be mixing fat and protein with the carbs.  It seems I either need to go into them fasted (I do my training runs/walks of up to 10 miles with no fuel and fasted), or fuel with the sweet potato mixture I have come up with for longer events.  Hammer gel mixed with some egg white protein just did NOT get it for me.  I was able to maintain a 12:11 per mile pace all the way to about 10 miles, then the wheels fell off.  I am still not sure if it was due to the heat and high humidity of the improper fueling.  One thing for certain, I did drink plenty of fluids.  Thanks to my friends from H-T Rex, I was able to cool down with 2.8 miles to go by dumping multiple cups of ice water over my head.  Man, did that feel good!

No pr for me this time because the last 5.5 miles were a lot slower than the first 10, but everyone knows you can't PR every time.  3:28 and some change... 42nd out of 80 total females is not bad in my book.

I will add a start and finish line photo a little later.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Dinner in a Hurry

Didn't really feel like cooking when I got home from work, so I prepared something simple.

3 free range eggs over easy (cooked in butter from grass fed cows)
about 3/4 cup of roasted root veggies
               (turnips, beets, sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil with curry powder, sea salt and black pepper)
about 3/4 cup homemade sauerkraut

Saturday at the Park

Since the plan was to go to my sister's house for Easter Sunday, I felt like I needed to get a workout done Saturday.

I was very surprised to arrive at Stephen F. Austin State Park and find a sign stating all the campsites were sold out!  I was only planning to stick around for 2 hours at the most, just to get in a good hill workout, and since I have a state parks pass, I can visit as often as I like without paying a day pass fee.

Here is a map of the trails for reference... I started out at the Cottonwood trail head near the amphitheater.  Just a little way down the trail, the Opossum Loop breaks off to the right and there is a nice little down hill to a bridge over a creek bed then back up the other side of the creek.  As you proceed around the loop, you come to the intersection of the Raccoon Bend Trail. If you turn right, it takes you toward the Brazos river which is still pretty high, and if you make a left turn, it leads you back to the Cottonwood trail, or if you follow Raccoon Bend just a little farther, you can follow the Opossum Loop back to the Cottonwood trail.  None of these cover too much distance, so I chose a sort of figure 8 pattern for a decent 4 mile hill repeat workout.  Each of these trails have a nice little up and down near where they intersect with Cottonwood, so I ran up and down all the hills and walked the flats for recovery... I ended the morning with a couple of miles of easy hiking to check out the Riverbend and Copperhead trails which were both under water my last trip to the park!  Things had dried out nicely and the park staff had mowed some of the tall grass to make the trails more visible.  It was fun to walk along a few downed trees and jump back and forth over them for fun... also walked along the edges of the little bridge over the creek (forward, backward and side to side) to work on my balance... that's when the mosquitoes attacked in full force!

Side note: Thanks for leaving me the Deep Woods Off, Mellody.  Had I not sprayed myself down and rubbed that horrible stuff all over my face and ears, the mosquitoes would have just picked me up and carried me away.  As it stood, they were trying to fly inside my ears to bite my eardrums because that's the only place I didn't spray the Off!!!

I am always encouraged when I see families with their children out exploring the trails at a state park, and Saturday was no exception!  There were families headed out to the river with their fishing poles and families riding the trails on their bicycles!  One little lady was training for a triathlon and her mother had recently completed her first half marathon!

Notes on nutrition... started this workout about 3 hours after I ate breakfast, and find that I don't need any electrolytes or nutrition on walks/runs up to about 2 hours.  Anything longer than that and I use 1 or 2 Endurolytes an hour, and might take along a Larabar or a bite or two of cooked peeled sweet potato in a ziploc bag.  For ultra distance racing or training longer than 2 hours, I have a liquid nutrition drink that is made from sweet potatoes and other stuff... and I make home made Pemmican bars too.  I will post these recipes in a separate blog post.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Seabrook Lucky Trail Challenge 2012

Finally getting around to writing up a race report covering my second go around with the Seabrook Lucky Trail Challenge.  The challenge?  Do a half marathon on Saturday (chip time 2:47:37.3) followed by a full marathon on Sunday (chip time 5:54:57.7).  The reward? Receive an extra special medal for completing both races.  The reason?  Proceeds from the race benefit “The Bridge”; a non-profit organization that assists victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

This race did not disappoint!  I had a great time as usual.  The volunteers are extremely helpful, the aid stations are top notch, the runner swag is awesome… a hat, a pair of socks and a tech shirt that fits perfectly, and the post race food seems never-ending!  The best thing?  My dear friend Mellody decided to come to Texas at the last minute and help me finish out my week long birthday celebration with a bang!

The prelude to race weekend was epic.  I spent the first part of spring break week in Austin volunteering for and attending ThePaleoFX Ancestral Momentum - Theory to Practice Symposium.  I already wrote a blog post about that one… I ended my day Thursday with a fabulous meal at the 24 Diner.  The bunless lamb burger was just what the Paleo doc ordered.  It was a little late for me to be eating dinner, but I had 2 hour drive home ahead of me.  So, I ordered my usual supercharger: quad shot espresso with heavy cream.  When the bartender served it up, he said that should last me til tomorrow night.  Of course, I had to tell him it was my 3rd that day. LOL  Time to head back to my newly found friend Tannifer’s house, pack my car and head home.

I arrived home at around 12:20 am and barely had time to unpack from the conference and then re-pack for marathon weekend, which would also include a Broadway Across America production of Mel Brooks YoungFrankenstein at The Grand Opera House in Galveston.  Mellody’s flight was scheduled to arrive at around 8:15 am, so I really needed to hurry and get to bed.  I looked at my clock and was about to get into bed at 1:36 am, when all of a sudden, I heard a horrible noise outside.  My heart hit my feet and I said “Raymond, oh FUCK, something REALLY big just fell out of the tree in the back yard, and it sounded like it fell on someone’s car.”  I walked to the kitchen window in time to see a large blue flash of light and then watched the lights explode inside the duplex in my back yard.  Pow, Pow, Pow, starting at the back of the apartment, then finally the porch fixture… POW!

We cautiously went to the back yard and the smell of smoke was overpowering, so I called 911 to make sure they were close in case of a fire, then I made all the tenants come outside until I was sure it was safe.  We have a very large oak tree in our back yard… so large that two adults can’t join hands around the base of the tree.  We had a seriously dry summer last year and then lots of rain this spring, so the tree was weakened by the stress and a limb of about 18” in diameter fell on the electric service entrance in the back of the duplex, breaking the ground wire and causing everything in both apartments to blow out.  The amazing thing is that the electric company came right out and reconnected everything on the spot.  I think I finally crawled into bed at about 3:45 am.  Raymond woke me up when he came back in the house at 5am.  

Hahahahahaha… knowing what I know about stress and not getting enough sleep; that probably took a couple of years off my life.

This is certainly not much of a race report, but I really did enjoy the challenge in Seabrook.  The trails are immaculate, and what could be better than spending the weekend with 100’s of your craziest friends?  Well, maybe beating your previous finish time from 2010!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Here are two more home made versions of the famous Larabar:

Apple Pie:
1 cup dehydrated apple slices *
1/2 cup dates
2/3 cup raw almonds
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

add all ingredients to a food processor.  process until well combined.  press into a cookie sheet.  refrigerate and cut into bite size bars.  keeps well in refrigerator or freezer.
*Organic Braeburn apples, peeled, sliced and tossed in lemon juice before dehydrating at low temp.

1 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dates
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2T coconut oil

add all ingredients to a food processor.  process until well combined.  press into a cookie sheet. refrigerate and cut into bite size bars.