As these days, weeks, and months rolled on I found solace in the repetitive nature each new day brought. While I enjoy new adventures, new discoveries, and new horizons to face, there is something to be said for Groundhog day: more or less repeating the same day over and over again. I lived through Groundhog day before, during my two tours in Iraq, and unlike Iraq I have to say, this time it’s much better with family close and alcohol. This post is my highlight reel of just some of what we have done so far during these tumultuous days, based on my guidelines of this blog: paths, pilsners, pinots, and pedals.
More than anything else, I used this time of self-isolation to get back into shape and routine with my fitness. Years of travel across time zones and sometimes continents takes its toll. Upon returning from Maryland in early March, I got back into a training regimen because I wasn’t going to be going anywhere for a while. I loosely followed a schedule in my mind of workouts and sought each week to modify them. The data three months later speaks for itself:
- I lost nearly 15 pounds since the beginning of the year
- I ran over 360 miles so far this year, compared to 229 miles for the same period last year.
- I biked over 820 miles in just the last two months compared to less than 338 for the last year.
Within mileage like that is where the real magic occurred, as I improved my speed and mileage gradually, particularly for running. Again the data:
- My monthly running totals increased from 43 miles in January to 90 miles by the end of May.
- I added one track workout a week in from quarter mile intervals to more robust 1200m intervals.
- I checked myself with harder runs of 5 miles, pushing the pace and breaking the 40min barrier for the first time in 5 years, running a time of 38:18 and a pace of 7:38min/miles.
- On 6 June, I decided to run a half marathon in 1:53:03, averaging 8:37min/miles.
Needless to say, despite not having trails, not having races, or even exploring new paths, I’ve stayed the course, stayed consistent, and improved my running prowess. One step at a time, right?
Besides the paths and pedals, there were also plenty of pilsners & pinots…and some cocktails thrown in too. Despite being locked down, self-isolated, and quarantined, there was no shortage of beverages in the house…and quite honestly, with two children under 6, this was a prerequisite! Early on I loaded up at Trader Joes for wine, and over the course of the quarantine, loaded up at the local liquor store on base with some local brews but also some of my old favorites. Here are the highlights:
First the wines:
- Oxte: A Spanish red blend from Trader Joes. I first picked this up in a TJs in Tampa in January. Definitely a great table wine for any occasion. I bought four bottles.
- Brethren of the Road: a gewürtztraminer white wine usually from Germany, although this one came from Monterey County. Light, and not overly sweet, it was perfect for a warm spring nights around here.
- Educated Guess: this cabernet sauvignon from Napa County was the perfect table wine. Robust in flavor, but not overly heavy, it had light hints of fruit as it danced across the palate.
- Ghost River Gold from Ghost River Brewing Company. A perfect golden ale for a warm spring or any day that ends in “y”. I keep a supply of it in my beer fridge now.
- Lovebird from Jackelope Brewing. A great wheat beer in the style of a German hefeweizen. This was a gift from Trader Joes. Apparently it’s only seasonal so finding it and being able to cherish it during these tough times hit the spot. I thought this beer was excellent and full of flavor but still able to bring out a certain fruitiness to it.
- Blue Moon Mango Wheat: This Blue Moon seasonal is just the right mix of fruitiness, hops, and wheat to make you wanting more. I think we’ve gone through 3 six packs in the last week…no really, it’s that good.
And the cocktails:
- Margaritas: If there’s a silver lining to this whole COVID thing it’s the ability to get take out drinks at your favorite restaurant. So when we heard that the local Mexican restaurant, coincidentally named “Margaritas” had drinks to go, you better believe we placed a to go order of drinks and tacos for no other day than Taco Tuesday. They were incredible! And although two each may have been overdoing it, they were worth it!
- Gin and Tonics: No better drink on warm evenings than the class G&T. While I’ve often talked about my quest for “porch beers” this cocktail for me is the definitive “porch drink” — especially during summer. Easy to make, and easier to drink, G&Ts have a place here in the spring and summer.
- Moscow Mules: Again another easy drink that goes down real quick. Probably because any hints of vodka are downed out by the ginger beer, this drink is just SO DAMN GOOD! On a few occasions an early afternoon Moscow Mule was called for.
With a variety of drinks in hand and my only outlet being running and biking, I’ve lived this season of life. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it, getting back on track (literally) as my miles progressed. Yet despite all the progress, I yearned for the beauty and solitude of running trails, of the beauty of the wilderness, and the sense of discovery that comes from trails. Fortunately, I managed to find those trails nearby, but that’s another story.