Sunday, March 14, 2010

Quality, Not Quantity

Sunday morning. Spring forward they say. Nothing like losing an hour and waking up already feeling behind. Not sure who came up with this concept. Outside of getting more daylight at the end-of-the-day, I'm not a big fan of moving the time back-and-forth. We'll just have to make the best of it in some way or another.

Just came back from Scottsdale. We make an annual trek to play some ball and watch Spring Training. Always fun to hang out in the desert. We did get rained-out our last day there. Still nice to be away from the office for a couple of days.

That You Run And Never Tire
I've now been on dailymile for the last couple of months. I find the platform very motivational and informative, especially seeing the distance and times a lot of the athletes are accomplishing out there. It definitely keeps me motivated to get my workouts in. I've participated in a couple of challenges and found that I have been somewhat able to keep up with my mileage goals per week/month. What I'm finding now is that I've plateaued and need to work on my pace. Speed work, hills, etc. come to mind. Not my favorite, but if you want to run faster, you need to run faster. Does that make sense?

Later this month I'm scheduled to run the Los Angeles Marathon. At the moment, it doesn't look like I will be running it. The same weekend of the race, I am scheduled for my Intro Sommelier exam. Both are in Southern California, but I had to choose one over the other. Unfortunately, I am also on a waiting list to take this exam, but I want to be available since I do not know if I will have the opportunity to take this exam any other time this year. For the meantime, I am staying with my training (race or not), with the hopes of completing one of the two this month. More on that later.

The Music Never Stopped
Not much to report on since the Elton John/Billy Joel concert. I did hear that Billy has gone back to his wife and left the tour. Rumor has it Elton is not very happy about it. Elton could and should tour on his own anyway. Would love to see him perform mainly his pre-80's material.

Ryan Adams is probably my favorite artist. When I mention his name, I always get, "yeah, I really liked Reckless and Cuts Like A Knife." Uh, no, that would be the "other" guy, the Canadian Bryan Adams. Or I get the "oh, he's the guy who married Mandy Moore". Yes, that's the guy. Well, if you know the story, Ryan left his band The Cardinals last year to take a break from music. He's now concentrating his art and writing. If you know anything about Ryan Adams, he has a fondness for heavy metal and the Grateful Dead. You can definitely hear the influences in many of his live performances which are much better than the studio work that is available to the public. Ryan's break from music has been short-lived, as he is releasing a metal recod. As his site states, "we're going to begin pressing ORION - - my most legit METAL record - - on vinyl next week." Take a listen. I like it and looking forward to hearing the rest of the cuts.

Sip The Juice
Interestingly enough, I have not tasted alot of wine (outside of my Scottsdale weekend - thanks Sanctuary! in the last several weeks. Mainly book studying and prepping for my exam. I always find interesting the wine notes/reviews after I have tried something. Here are some wines that I did taste that actually left a good impression on me, especially the Malbecs:

Chariot "Gypsy" 2008
Thanks to @jasonswineblog for turning me on to this Trader Joe cult classic. Nice garnet color, berries on the nose, and probably very versatile with food. This release from the Jim Neal Wine Company is value priced (as most Trader Joe wines are) and would make a good daily table wine. Check it out!

2006 Creta "Roble" Tempranillo - Ribera del Duero, Spain
90 Points - Jay Miller - The Wine Advocate
"The 2006 Roble is sourced from a single vineyard at 850 meters of elevation, the highest vineyard in Ribera del Duero. The wine was aged for 4 to 5 months in French and American oak. Purple/black in color, the nose reveals cedar, mineral, damp earth, and assorted black fruits. Powerful on the palate, this tannic, structured effort has superb depth and grip and should evolve for 3-4 years. Drink it from 2011 to 2020"

2007 Bodegas Colome Malbec - Argentina
92 Points - Wine Spectator
"The purple-colored 2007 Malbec Estate spent 18 months in French oak, 20% new. It has an excellent bouquet of lavender, spice box, black cherry, and black raspberry. Ripe and full-bodied on the palate, it has plenty of spicy, savory black fruit, good balance, and a lengthy, fruit-filled finish. Give it 2-3 years and drink it from 2011 to 2019. "

2008 Gascon Malbec - Mendoza, Argentina
90 Points - Wine Enthusiast
"A bright purple luster draws you in, and the nose is bright, clean, focused and full of wild blackberry. Balanced in the mouth, with sizeand tannin but plenty of acidity and fruit. Tastes of blackberry, vanilla cream, molasses and spice, and the finish brings it on home. Sincere and excellent for the price."

2006 Duckhorn "Paraduxx" Zinfandel Blend - Napa
91 Points - Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine
"Full and fleshy in feel, if still a bit astringent on the back end, it is beginning to hint at complexity to come and deserves to be left alone for some three or four more years."

Just Stay Hungry
I am now 100% vegetarian, at least until June. I orginally started this in prep for Lent. After a couple visits to my doctor, I then decided an adjustment to my diet in combination with my training would do me good. And it has. I've been pleasantly surprised at the variety of vegetarian food choices. I love trying new food, new cuisines, and this has given me the perfect opportunity. I really thought my Spring Training weekend in Scottsdale would be tough on the vegetarian diet, but it was not. Portion size aside, it was actually very easy and I was happy with some of the dishes I was able to try. Here are some of my favorites from my trip:

Scramble ~ A Breakfast Joint -
This Phoenix spot reminded me of Pluto's (, but for breakfast. A modern, comfortable joint that had fast and friendly service and a great menu selection. You can tell that "cool" people hung out here. I ordered the Veggie Omelette which was delicious when I topped it with some Garlic Cholula sauce. By the way, if you are going to be a breakfast restaurant, you better have good coffee. This place had "damn" good coffee with an offering of a Breakfast Blend and an Italian Roast. I went with the dark roast Italian. A great way to start the day in the desert.

Maria Maria Restaurant -
Truthfully, I was reluctant to go to this restaurant. I think mainly because the location of this restaurant was within a Tempe outdoor mall. I'm not really into "malls" and did not feel like going to one on my vacation. Anyway, this is a chain of restaurants that are located in the Bay Area, Tempe, and Austin. The restaurant is a collaboration between musician Carlos Santana and Chef Roberto Santibanez. The restaurant was named for Santana’s Grammy winning song “Maria Maria,” the restaurants’ look, sound and feel are inspired by the passion and spirit of the music of Santana. I really loved the decor, especially alot of Santana's artwork. Staying with my veggie diet, this is what I ordered off their vegetarian menu:

Maria’s Chile Relleno - Ancho chiles stuffed with roasted zucchini, red onions and potatoes served over melted cheese and roasted tomato chipotle sauce topped with crispy sweet potatoes and zucchini. This was accompanied by a side of Fried Plantains topped with Cotija Cheese & Cream. Very tasty!!! I'm looking forward to visiting the other locations here in the Bay Area. Hopefully they are not in a mall also. Nice work Carlos.

Frasher's Steakhouse and Lounge -

Went here on a tip from a local radio personality (@knbrmurph). Frasher's is just on the outskirts of downtown Scottsdale, away from the craziness. This restaurant is American cuisine with a St. Louis theme. Smoked babyback ribs, chicken, and pulled pork. One of the members of our group was from St. Louis and raved about Toasted Ravioli. I am not a big fan of ravioli. In fact, I hate it. I have never liked the "pocket of food" drenched in tomato sauce. Since this was toasted, I decided to give it a try. I have to say, I was sold. I really liked the crispyness of the ravioli and the melted jalepeno cheese inside. I hear the toasted ravioli stuffed with meat (veal, pork, beef, and Italian seasoning) is even better. I ordered a St. Louis Style Veggie Pizza. More crispyness, the thin crust was topped with mushrooms, tomatoes, red onions, and green bell peppers. I asked them to add black olives (my favorite), but had to settle with green olives since they were not available. Good thin crust pizza, with a perfect portion size (10 inch). I only wish they had more vegetable toppings available. We ended the meal with the Gooey Butter Cake. I am not big on desserts (and cake at that), but this thing was unbelievable. This is Frasher's Signature dessert. Golden brown sponge cake baked with gooey goodness then topped with our Bailey's and butterscotch-caramel sauce. You can't go to this spot without partaking in this cake. It's that good. We'll be coming back!

Last Thoughts...

Our visit to Frasher's, a St. Louis themed restaurant, was very enjoyable with the company of Jim Hendry, Chicago Cubs GM.

Still saddened by the Pink Pony’s demise. In case you missed this article:

On my next visit to North Carolina, this will be one of my first stops. A Ryan Adams-influenced pizza joint. Getting good reviews too. Sticks & Stones Clay Oven Pizza

The brine is back! I cannot believe they are marketing Sea Monkeys again.

I'm not feeling too good about my BOILERS this week. NCAA tourney time starts next week. Let's hope for the best. GO PURDUE!

This blog was brought to you by Reflection Eternal - Just Begun, Ryan Adams - 29, and Neil Young - Greatest Hits.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


That You Run And Never Tire
I really hate making excuses, but this week I felt I had a good reason for the "goose egg" in my mileage as of last Friday morning. Without getting into any heavy detail, work had kept me away from getting my workouts in. Long hours in the office left me mentally and physically drained. Post-work runs were replaced with late night office hours and dinner. Early morning runs were replaced with the necessity to get some rest and sleep. Was it all worth it? At this moment I am going to say yes. I always say hard work always pays off, so I felt sense of accomplishment when my promotion came through. Now the hard work starts all over again.

Friday night after work, I went straight to Stanford to one of my favority running spots. Weather was clear and only a couple of runners in sight. I took the trail and just started running (sounds kinda Forrest Gumpish). Not sure if it was the sense of relief of finally being out-of-the-office or just feeling ecstatic about my recent promotion, but my body felt like it could run forever. And then it hit legs felt like cement and my lungs were burning. Seems as though my body was screaming, "hey, we haven't done this for a week, what's the deal?!" Funny thing is my brain just kept telling me to GO! I compromised and ended-up doing some shorter/faster pace runs. This felt perfect. I could run faster in shorter distances, with a little time in between to suck it up and do it again! After 4 miles of this, I then completed my workout with a 2 mile cool-down which was just enough time to completely decompress before the darkness hit. 6 miles in the books, the shutout was over! I'll tell you, I was sore after that run, but it was one of the best "feeling" runs I've had in a long time. As of today, I'm short 24 miles for my 30 mile/week goal. I can assure you I will NOT be running 24 miles today, but I am sure I can make up some miles on the bike. Let's see what pans out.

The Music Never Stopped
Last night I attended the Elton John/Billy Joel concert at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. This was a reschedule to show that was cancelled last Fall due to Elton being ill with the flu. It was interesting seeing the reaction from my friends when I told them I was going to this show. "You're seeing who?" "Are you kidding me?" "Are you now going to the Taylor Swift or Jonas Brothers show?" If you understand my musical tastes, I don't listen to just one genre. I go from Ryan Adams, The Grateful Dead, Jay Z, Y & T, Musiq Soulchild, Mute Math, to Tea Leaf Green. Does that stretch far enough for you? Anyway, this was a show I was really looking forward to.

I am a big fan of Elton's music from back in the 70's (Tumbleweed Connection, Madman Across The Water, Honky Chateau, Don't Shoot Me I'm The Piano Player, Caribou, Captain Fantastic). The last two were albums I remember my dad playing frequently on vinyl and cassette (two music sources that were a big topic of conversation last night - does anyone remember K-Tel?). Elton is one of the artists on my "concert bucket list". I will have to share with you that list, but that will have to wait for another time. I'm not that big of a fan of his music in the 80's, but that doesn't change my admiration of him as an artist as a whole. He has had an amazing career.

The first time I saw Billy Joel was back in 1994. This was the 1st music performance of the newly constructed United Center in Chicago. What a great opportunity to be part of history. We were curious to see how Billy would perform as he had just recently divorced his famous "Uptown Girl" wife, Christy Brinkley. Billy put on a great show, showing no signs of slowing down. I also prefer his music from the 70's (Piano Man, Streetlife Serenade, Turnstiles, The Stranger, 52nd Street) to the 80's.

Leading up to the show, I was wondering who was going to be the actual headliner. Both are very accomplished artists and I knew they would share the stage a certain points of the show, but part of me was hoping that Elton would be the last act/headliner. Lights out and both Elton and Billy are on stage with two grand pianos facing each other and a large ensemble of musicians in the background. I figured the setlist would be a "hit list" consisting mainly of popular songs. For the most part, that was true. The show pushed through without any lulls. Elton showing off his amazing library of songs and a band that "jammed" and was on-point. His voice range is a bit limited, as he cannot hit the high notes anymore. There was one gliche at the beginning of Daniel. Elton and the band were not in sync at the beginning. He stopped, laughed it off, and started the song over again. No worries, no temper tantrums, just making light of the situation and moving on. There was a lot of this that went on throught the show, especially on Billy's side. At one point, Billy was discussing the images of his younger years that were flashing across the video screens during his performance. He then questioned himself saying "I see these pictures of myself and ask isn't there a mandatory retirement age for musicians?" His response, "And then I saw the Who during the Super Bowl." The crowd roared in laughter, including myself. As much negative publicity the Who has gotten for that performance, I admire those guys. I couldn't imagine being in my late 60's playing to a full capacity crowd with the whole world watching and rocking out with a band. Just think of all the bingo players their age and then rethink their "horrible" performance. I digress. Anyway, my last tidbit from the show was another Billy moment. One of the songs in the last set was Uptown Girl. Elton and Billy would trade off lyrics during the song. As the singing traded off to Elton, there were several times Billy would give the "gag sign" (finger into the open mouth) in reference to his former gal, Christy Brinkley. All-in-all, I enjoyed the show. I was happy to see Elton perform Tiny Dancer (one of my all-time overall favorite songs). Also glad to see Elton perform Madman Across The Water and Billy perform Zanzibar, two deeper cuts that played well live. Although I didn't talk much about his performance, I would give the nod to Billy Joel this night. Great energy and amazing backup band. I still can't believe Richie Cannata (saxophone) still tours with him. Here's the setlist from the show:

Elton John/Billy Joel - Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA - 02/13/2010

Elton and Billy Together
Your Song
Just the Way You Are
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me Play
My Life

Elton's Set
Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting
Madman Across the Water
Tiny Dancer
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Rocket Man
Philadelphia Freedom
I'm Still Standing
Crocodile Rock

Billy's Set
Angry Young Man
Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
Don't Ask Me Why
She's Always a Woman
Scenes From an Italian Restaurant
River Of Dreams
We Didn't Start the Fire
It's Still Rock and Roll to Me
Only the Good Die Young

Elton and Billy Together
I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues
Uptown Girl
The Bitch is Back
You May Be Right
Bennie and the Jets

Elton and Billy (Pianos - No Backup Bands)
Candle in the Wind
Piano Man

Some final thoughts about Elton and Billy...
  • "A bottle of red, a bottle of white..." is still one of my favorite opening lyrics
  • What is the meaning of Bennie and the Jets?

Sip The Juice
This week marked the end of my wine classes at Clos La Chance and the beginning of the stress associated with the studying for my sommelier test. Although it is just the introduction class and exam, this will be a challenge with all the other things going on in around me. With the recent happenings in my job, I'm a little upset that I missed some classes with our instructor, Roy Froom. I always enjoyed my conversations with him in the tasting room and in class. The man is a wealth of wine knowledge and I can only hope to have a sliver of that. There's always something to strive for, which helps with the motivation. The countdown is just over a month...YIKES!

Haven't drank anything new or exciting this week, but I do have two bottles on the kitchen counter ready to be consumed:

2007 Klinker Brick Winery Old Vine Zinfadel

Impulse buy from a small Palo Alto market/deli. The family are 5th generation grape growers from the Lodi region. I'm big on fruit forward wines, so I'm assuming this zin will take care of that. Here are their notes:

With an average age of the vines at 85 years and yields below 3 tons per acre, this wine has aromas of fresh blackberry, raspberry, pepper and cedar. Showing exceptional balance on the palate, there are rich flavors of berry pie with a long, lingering finish.

2007 Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards Pinot Noir

A gift bottle from Oregon's Willamette Valley. I've had it in the past and enjoyed it. Here are their vintage notes:

This single-vineyard wine is one of our "Terroir Series" Pinot Noirs and showcases the Lange Estate Vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA of Oregon. Always elegant and multi-layered, with earth, minerality, and lively red fruit. As elegant as they come.

Download the full Tasting Note (PDF).

Just Stay Hungry
It doesn't take much to make me happy. I am a "no-frills" person. My favorite bars are "dive bars". My favorite restaurants are "hole-in-the-walls". And my favorite taquerias are the small, unknown spots off the beaten path. One of my favorites is a place called Fidel's Mexican Food in the town of Freedom (just outside of Watsonville). I first encountered this place years ago on one of my many surf trips going from Gilroy, over the Santa Cruz Mountains, and over to Manressa. The half hour trip always takes me through the city of Watsonville and the by the Watsonville Airport. On many of these trips, we could see smoke bellowing from a small parking lot. The wonderful smell of barbequed chicken always filled the air. After that first visit, I was hooked. My initial visits were always for the barbequed chicken (quarter, half, or full cuts) value priced and delicious. I then realized that they made homemade tortillas. Not your typical store bought package, fresh homemade tortillas are to die for. Their flour tortillas just melt in your mouth. Warmed up and add a little melted butter is an unbelievable snack. This place has a small menu, but great food (burritos, tacos, carnitas, breakfast food, menudo, etc.). Menudo is made everyday and it is probably one of the best I've had in Northern Cal. They have a small dining area, but I usually take the food to go (eat in my truck or take to the beach).

Fidel's Mexican Food
301 Airport Road
Freedom, CA 95019
(831) 761-1321

Last Thoughts...
The other week I was playing around with the idea of going vegetarian. Nothing new for me. It's something I do usually during a marathon training or for upcoming Lent. I decided not to go "cold-turkey" and have gone 5 days veggiesaurus and 2 days meatasaurus. Not sure that really makes a difference, but it has just made me aware to review what I'm eating, keeping appropriate portion/meal sizes, and remembering moderation. I still eat what I want to, but this has upped my awareness. I will go full vegetarian during Lent.

A little late, but congrats to Drew Brees and the Saints on the Super Bowl win. GO BOILERS!!!
Gong Hay Fat Choy!!! Happy Chinese New Year!!!

This blog was brought to you by Jill Scott - Who Is Jill Scott?, Ryan Adams and the Cardinals - The Vogue, Indianapolis, IN - 08/03/2006, and a couple cups of Vietnamese filtered coffee.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hello Again Mr. Blog

What Happened?

Hello again Mr. Blog. How have you been? I see it's been awhile since we last spoke. Since last September to be exact. And to think every week since my last post, I've had a note in my Task List to "write blog". Maybe it was a case of not having enough time. Maybe it was a bad case of writer's block. Well, whatever it was I am hoping the New Year will bring about more thoughts, more insights, and a steady stream of blog entries for my small audience to read. As they say, a new year, a new start.

The Blog Itself

One of the things that I know that was an obstacle for me was trying to understand the direction that I wanted to take this blog to. A glance at my bio will tell you that I have many different interests. Would this be a running blog talking about my physical struggles with speed and endurance? Or would this be a wine blog discussing my studies towards achieving first level sommelier and a CSW (Certified Specialist in Wine)? Maybe I talk about all the different cuisines I endulge in and the various recipes I am always experimenting with? Or do I do my best William Miller and report on the wide variety of music performances that I attend on a regular basis? Lastly, maybe I go into full jock mode and just talk sports and emulate every sports talk radio station out there? Well, the answer ends-up being (D), all of the above. At this time, I've come to the conclusion that I cannot have a blog dedicated to just one subject. If this blog is about me, then it will have to talk about all these different things that encompass me. As you will see, it will all make sense in the end!

Where Am I Running In 2010?

For the past couple of weeks I have been contemplating what races I should run this year. I actually wanted to "plan" my year out so I could train accordingly. Well, here is what I came up with:

March - Initially, I had myself scheduled to run the L.A. Marathon Way back when (1989), L.A. was my first marathon. With this being the inaugral year of the new course and myself just recently reviving my running last June, I was looking forward to this race. Unfortunately, as I started mapping out my year, I saw that the race coincided with my sommelier exam Having to train/study for both which occur in the same week was a bit too much for me. So I decided, no race, as I go forward with my sommelier exam. L.A. will have to wait another year. As Ryan Adams would say, "Goodnight Hollywood Boulevard, see you sometime..."

April - A little birdie told me about the Santa Cruz Half Marathon For as long as I have lived in the Bay Area and the numerous times I have surfed the area, I have never ran a race in Santa Cruz. In the summer, I can easily say that I spend over half my time there either surfing or hiking this amazing area. I'm really looking forward to this event. Oh yeah, don't forget to visit the Dooniverse called Bonny Doon Vineyard. The vineyard is tucked away in the Santa Cruz mountains, but you can visit the tasting room in downtown Santa Cruz. Say 'hi' to Randall!

May - Last year, I had the pleasure to make a road trip up to Eugene, Oregon with my brother, who is a Duck Alum. I was looking forward to visiting the University of Oregon (Nike University), but was excited to see Pre's Rock and Hayward Field. For any runner out there, these are mandatory to visit. This is an area that is rich in running history. I left that campus very inspired about running again. With that in mind, I am planning to run the Eugene Marathon as my first of the year and my first in over 5 years. I'm hoping Pre's spirit guides me to a PR!

June - My birthplace and one of my favorite cities, San Diego! I'm planning on running the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon Looks like there is a 1/2 marathon option now. This was the last marathon that I ran (if you want to call it that) over 5 years ago. A good excuse to run and then surf La Jolla afterwards!

July - It's back to my childhood roots to the city of Chicago! If you don't already know, I am a huge fan of the Grateful Dead. Yes, looks can be deceiving. I'm a Deadhead, but not a burnout. The Terrapin 5K celebrates running and the love of the Dead I'm going to bet that this is more of a "fun run" and not so competitive. The route is based around Soldier Field and there is post-race entertainment, usually a Dead cover band. C'mon, this race is all about the vibe and a bunch of cool people. You can't beat that! The Thursday race also gives me a chance to enjoy the city, hang out in Wrigleyville, and take in some CUBS games!

October - Back to the Midwest for the Chicago Marathon I've been literally chasing this race for over 10 years! Back in college I trained for this race only to get sidelined due to a back injury forcing me to cancel the race. I've come to seek my revenge. Hopefully my bag of bones can handle all this training and make it to October for this race. If not, also a good excuse to visit my alma mater, Purdue University, for a football game. Plus, I am pretty sure the CUBS will be in the playoffs at this time.

So, that is what I have brewing on my running calendar for 2010. I've left some months open on purpose, which includes the latter part of the year for some tentative races. I would like to do at least one trail run this year and possibly an ultra, so the Skyline 50K may be a possibility This will be my first ultra, but I will have to see how I progress through the Spring and Summer. In November, I may decide to run the Big Sur Half Marathon again Finally, December brings the Honolulu Marathon I would really love to finish off the year with this race, but I also have to consider the travel costs. Maybe I can ask Santa for an early Christmas present?

Outside of running (and attempting to complete at least 1500 miles this year), I still have to fit in studying and taking the CSW exam. At the same time, I will be coaching two Youth Basketball teams and helping out with our local Little League baseball teams. Where is all this time coming from? How is this all going to come together? I still don't know how my family puts up with me.

Did I mention that the last time I submitted a blog entry, we had just experienced a small earthquake? And what happened in Northern Cal this weekend?

OK, that was easy to the real work begins. Wish me luck!

This blog was brought to you by the sounds of Further (Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, 12/30/09), Ryan Adams - Gold, The Best of Busta Rhymes, and a bag of Mike and Ike Zours.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


8:30PM - Watching the CAL/Maryland football game. In the midst of my screaming boys, a neighbor's rumbling hot rod, and the TV at full volume, I could swear I hear/feel a tremor. You know, one of California's natural wonders. Nothing confirmed and no harm done, so I chalked it up to be my imagination.

9:30PM - CAL is taking care of the Terps. I'm losing interest and have gone in-and-out of a state of sleep. I'm now grumpy that someone has hijacked the TV during one of my states of unconsciousness, so I get my arse off the couch and head upstairs to bed. Mr. Sandman is calling.

2:47AM - Something awakens me. With all the bedroom windows open, I hear the barking and howling of the neighborhood canines. They too, felt/heard something just now. I'm not a big fan of shakes or earth movements of any sort. This, especially, being a home owner. It was a short tremor, but enough to get me out of bed and see what's going on. I check the USGS website and they confirm that the dogs aren't barking at the moon. It's a 3.9 - 4.0 magnitude with the epicenter just down the road from me (Hollister). A little too close for comfort.

4:00AM - After reviewing the USGS website, Tweeting, updating Facebook, and paying my DMV registration, I come to the realization that this is the second morning in a row in which I have been awaken at this god-awful hour. I am not very happy about this, considering I have been making an effort to get to bed early to get some much needed rest. Typically, I can function on about 5 to 6 hours of sleep, but averaging 3-4 hours the last two nights is not cutting it! I just feel worthless during the day, especially with all the energy and effort I usually exert on my morning runs. Now I'm really concerned because I have a 15 miler scheduled later this morning. UGH!

4:36AM - I had already made the decision to attempt to sleep. I had grabbed a book to read which usually does the trick. Nope. I'm enthralled in my read. It's a book of poetry/short stories at that (Ryan Adams - Infinity Blues)! Things do not look good. Is it too early/late to have a glass of wine or some Jameson's?

I find it interesting that back in my youth, I could stay up all night and party and such. Get a couple hours of sleep and still be fully functional the next day. In my college years (and there were many), I had only accomplished one "all-nighter" ever. I remember staying up all night with some roommates, drinking bad coffee, popping No-Doze, and attempting to cram for our finals. I ended-up completely bombing the final the next day and swore I would never do that again. I felt that if I am going stay up all night and bomb on a test, I better be at a bar enjoying some beverages and the company of some co-eds. That never really happened :)

Funny enough, two nights ago when this bout of insomnia had decided to pay me a visit was when I read the following Runner's World article about Tera Moody, a U.S. marathoner who has been dealing with insomnia since the 6th grade.,7120,s6-243-297--13267-0,00.html

They say some causes of insomnia can be related to stress, anxiety, and/or depression. Believe me, I have none of those symptoms. I've recently been promoted at work, have a wonderful family, great friends, etc., etc., but is there something that I'm missing? I don't think so, but being up this early in the morning gets you to analyze things a little closer than usual. I'm sure this is a one-time deal and it will go away sooner than later. By the way, I hope you realize at this point, I have given up the idea of going back to sleep :(

The sun is about to rise. My office window is open with cool air coming through and a whiff of skunk. WTH! Another blog in the books. I hope this early wake-up call isn't what it takes to keep up with this blog.

This blog was brought to you by a 3.9 tremor, the cool sounds of Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane, the country vibe of Whiskeytown, a classic Grateful Dead show (07/18/09, Deer Creek, IN), and a couple of cups of Daybreak Caribou Coffee.

Oh, and about that run...


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lead-Off Batter

Hello All!

My 1st official blog post! After several months contemplating this idea, it took a sleepless night to get me in front of the tube and start hammering away. I am not sure what I am getting myself into, but I hope that there is someone out there that will read my random thoughts on my life. Content will consist of everything from eating, drinking, running, traveling, sports, music, and anything else that I may partake in this thing called life.

I am a big fan of Anthony Bourdain and his show No Reservations. This guy stole my gig! I envy the guy who is paid to travel worldwide, eat anything in sight, absorb various cultures, drink enormous amounts, and to display a sense of sarcasm and wit. Does he run, because I still don't know how he stays thin?

Speaking of running, or in my case plodding, this is one of my favorite activities. There was a time where I would run 10Ks and marathons on a consistent basis. Somewhere along the line, I stopped running for whatever reason. Oh, I think it was something called marriage and starting a family. Excuses aside, I have come back to the activity that I love. I have never been a fast runner, but I would always find a way to finish. I think what's important to me now is just being able to get out and soak in the surroundings and have that feeling of freedom alone out on the trail. Which brings me to my recent conflict. I started running about 4 months ago and have been training for a marathon this fall. I've enjoyed the runs and the workouts, but part of me doesn't want to commit to a race anymore. Am I crazy? I still want to follow a training program, reap the results, and feel a sense of accomplishment, but I am not sure about signing up for a race. We'll see what happens. Long Beach and Big Sur are around the corner.

And then there is the wine. Living in California, we are very blessed to have access to all the wineries in our area. I'm lucky to have wineries literally minutes away and wonderful owners and growers that are willing to take the time to talk about their wine, their craft. My love and intrigue of wine has me wanting to learn everything about Vinticulture from the ground up. With that in mind, I'll start taking wine academy classes this Fall, hopefully prepping me to get my CWS certification (Certified Specialist of Wine). If not, worst case scenario, I'll be an edumucated wino :)

Funny thing, the hardest part of the blog was coming up with a title. It had to tie in all the things I love, not just one aspect. Food, drink, running, music, sports...geez, what in the world could that be. I played around with "Fill Your Glass", "Fill Every Glass", "The Long Run", "Making A Run", "Plodding Along", and some others which were references to a Grateful Dead, Eagles, or Ryan Adams song. So, "Life In My Years" made the final cut. There is another blogger out there using the same title, but I'm sure we won't get confused based on my screen name and my blog content. Anyway, here's the quote that did it for me and I felt very fitting:

"It's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln.

Well, this zombie has just seen the sunrise through his office window and is going to muster up some energy to go out on a morning run. Let's see what happens.