Marine Corps 10k

Sunday Jack and I did the Marine Corps 10k! It was a chilly 35 degrees for the race, and it was packed! I felt like I was running in a sea of people. But as the miles went by and I warmed up, the morning became gorgeous! With such nice views of the city and Arlington.

I stuck to my 9 minute pace and finished the 6.2 miles in 54:50!

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I’m de-thawing, snacking, and ready to take a nap!

Big football game later, Steelers vs Patriots and I am so excited for my special beer of the game!

Ladies Date Night! (with our driver, Jack)

Friday night, Jack and I took Kristen out on a dinner date in DC since her boyfriend was out of town.

We didn’t make reservations to get into our first choice but luckily another Belgian Restaurant was across the street, Sur La Place, and we got in there after a little wait.

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I ordered a St Bernardus Abt 12 by Brouwerij St Bernardus, Belgium Considered a quadrupel at 10%abv.

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Pours a very dark brown, mmm, yeasty and bready, but sweet like plums and vanilla, figs and cloves. Smooth,boozy and medium carbonation.

I was starving and drank this while munching on the delicious warm bread and butter. So good!

I really like Sur La Place because everything seems to run a little slower there. Yeah, it may take a while to order the food and get the food, but you don’t feel like you are being rushed. Its nice! You can enjoy sitting down to dinner for a while and getting a chance to enjoy the conversation and the company.

I ordered the asparagus wrapped in smoked salmon and a blood sausage with lentils. I love blood sausage! And now I’m starting to feel like an adult because I like asparagus!

Next I ordered the Westmalle Trappist Dubbel by Brouwerij Westmalle in Belgium 7% abv.

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Pours dark brown with a reddish tint, very smooth, velvety and sweet like dark fruits and caramelized sugar. This beer was basically my dessert, so good! Just sip and enjoy!

What a wonderful date night! Thanks for joining us Kristen!

Eat Bar

Not the most exciting name for a restaurant, but Eat Bar has good food, a huge wine selection, and a small but decent beer selection. We went out for a chilly motorcycle ride, possibly the last one of the year, and then hit up Eat Bar for a small dinner.

We split a plate of cheese and pate and of course, I got a beer! I ordered the Avery 18 a dry hopped rye- saison by Avery Brewing Company of Boulder, Colorado 8.12% abv.

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Pours a dark amber, sorry with the lighting I had a hard time capturing its glory. Its sweet and kind of funky. Yeasty, warm alcohol, orange peel, and a bit hoppy. This is not really my style of beer, but it was amazing!

Saison beers seem to confuse me, and apparently a lot other people. I feel like everyone is always asking me what a saison beer is when they see it on a menu or a bottle and I can never give a very good answer. I have always told them that I believe it just means slightly lower alcohol beer but could never pin down a style. But I’ve done a little reading (thank you Beeradvocate.com and Wikipedia) and here is what I’ve learned.

Saison means “season” in French. Traditionally the beers were brewed in winter and so were ready for summer or harvest time. I was correct in saying that they are usually lower alcohol beers. American saisons are between 5-8% but more traditional saison beers are still around 3-3.5%. The lower alcohol in traditional saison beers was because the beers were originally meant to be hydrating and refreshing in times before there was potable water readily available. They also are usually moderately hoppy, again traditionally this was because hops have antiseptic properties and helped the beer keep through storage.

Oh yeah, and check out what I ordered for dinner. A hot dog! But not just any hot dog, the foie gras and truffle hot dog, covered in raisins and figs. It was mind blowing!

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Trevor’s Birthday!!

Thursday night we headed over to Trevor’s house for a cookout and a party!

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There was tons of delicious food and I brought a couple of beers to try.

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First up was the Highland Oatmeal Porter, from Highland Brewing of Ashville, NC, 5.8%abv. I have had this beer before, only once, but I really enjoy it! A good balance of flavors. Chocolate and roasted malts. Not too sweet and light on the hops! Very drinkable!

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Steve here loves beer, maybe as much as I do. He just recently got into home brewing and I cant wait to try one of his beers!

Next up, Jack and I split a Rogue Mocha Porter, from Rogue Brewery of Newport, Oregon 5.3% abv.

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I’m sorry we love porters! I’m sure my descriptions all sound the same! I need to start using a thesaurus so I can have better descriptive words. Roasted malts and chocolate and heavy coffee flavor. Hints of brown sugar and vanilla. A little more hoppy bitterness shows up toward the end.

Trevor is a big fan of pumpkin beers and he suggested we split to taste the Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale from Weyerbacher Brewery of Easton, PA 8% abv.

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Wow. Lots of flavor in this beer! Caramel malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin and very boozy. You can really taste the alcohol. Pumpkin beers seem to turn out awesome when the brewer actually has a good beer to start with rather than bland shit. This was a good one. Weyerbacher has yet to let me down with a beer.

Natasha (also a climber) was also there for the party! Hello pretty lady!

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And what I thought was going to be my last beer for the night, was the Thirsty Dog Siberian Night Imperial Stout by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company of Akron, Ohio 9.7% abv.

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As you can see, this beer is dark as night, blacker than black. Chocolate and coffee, strong molasses and creamy. Also very boozy. Very little carbonation.

Right when I thought I was done drinking for the evening, Trevor’s roommate Sarge, brings out a beer for us to split. Such an awesome guy! He brings this beer out of his personal stash that he brought across the country, I owe Sarge a good beer next time I see him!

He brings out Deschutes Black Butte XXIII Porter from Deschutes Brewery of Bend, OR 10.8% abv.

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This may have been the crème-de-la-crème of beers for the evening. Bourbon flavors up front and a bit of woodiness. Chocolate and coffee, a bit of citrus. Low on hops, and creamy. Heaven!

Wow, what a good night! Thanks for throwing yourself such a kick ass party Trevor!

Random photo of Trevor:

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Is he or is he not wearing his birthday suit? Is he just cleverly concealed? I’ll let that remain a mystery.

Thanks Trevor! Here’s to another fantastic year!

RRG Part II

By Wednesday, almost everyone had left! It was just me, Jack, Natalie, and Jason. Since there was a smaller group, I felt like we got tons of climbing in and so I have fewer pictures, sorry!

Wednesday we went to Bruise Brothers wall in Muir Valley. I started off the day by leading another 5.10a called Rat Stew, and then leading my very first 5.10c! Clean! With no takes! We left that day totally exhausted! A celebration beer was in order!

We had planned on going to Rockhouse (good food! and good beers!) for dinner, but for some reason they were closed and we headed a little further down the road to Miguel’s for pizza.

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Miguel’s is the dirtbag climber paradise! Just tents everywhere since camping is only $2 a night! The only downside….its in a DRY COUNTY!! No beer! So unfortunately, I did not get my celebration beer. But I did get a half a pizza with sweet potatoes, avocados, pulled pork, and ricotta cheese. Amazing! (Too bad it’s a dry county, Miguel’s could make a killing selling beer! Rockhouse, while only 5 minutes away is actually just over the county line, good location!)

Although, when we got back I was hell bent on my celebration beer and Jack and I dug out our special beer for the trip! Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu, considered a Herb/ Spiced beer, 10% abv.

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Really unique and interesting beer. The smell told me nothing at all, in fact, it smelled like it was going to be run-of-the-mill terrible! The taste though, was complex. From the first sip to the aftertaste you can taste something different. Honey, sweet and flowery, and toward the end the grape hits you. I would have this beer again at least to experience a blend of unusual flavors.

Thursday, we got somewhat hard to get passes and got into Torrent Falls! Wow, overhung pockets and crimps! Very classic RRG climbing! It started pouring while we were there, but luckily the wall was so overhanging that we all stayed dry and were able to continue climbing!

That night Jack and I made it to Rockhouse

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and I got a delicious cheeseburger and a Bell’s Porter! (I had to re-use a picture since I actually did not photograph this beer at Rockhouse! I was too hungry and tired to dig my camera out of my backpack in the trunk of my car)

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As always, relaxing and delicious! Roasted malts, hints of chocolate and coffee, sweet and smooth.

Friday, our last day of climbing we all decided to get in a little trad climbing. Trad climbing is a bit different. The climbs do not have bolts for you to clip into as you go, you need to place your own protection. Since you need to place your own pro, trad climbs are usually on a natural feature of the rock. So think cracks, chimneys, flakes, and corners. We chose Long Wall, and after a very steep approach we got to the two main climbs of the day, Autumn 5.9 and Rockwars 5.10a, both crack climbs. (But they were crack climbs that did not involve hand and finger jams (my favorite) they were all liebacks (not so much my favorite)

Haha! Nice socks, Jack!

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Since it was our last night camping, I realized I had some beers that needed drinking!

First up was Samuel Smith’s Imperial Stout, from Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery, United Kingdom. A Russian Imperial Stout 7% abv.

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I feel unlucky, I took a sip of this beer expecting greatness and got….a mouthful of vinegar! Again?! Seriously?! Jack confirmed it. The beer had gone bad. There are a few ways beer can go bad, sunlight, cycles of hot and cold, and just plain getting too hot. Yes, this beer survived a car trip in a cooler, but we never let the temperature drop and once we got to the campground we put it in the fridge. I’m guessing that it was lightstruck possibly in Total Wine. Fluorescents can skunk beer, but it takes longer. Who knows? What a shame.

But next up on the list was the tried and true Original Flag Porter from Darwin Brewery of England, 5% abv.

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This beer was one of the first porters I tried, and I loved it from the start. Its only slightly sweet, mostly roasted malts, maybe a hint of caramel, medium body and smooth.

And since I was trying to finish off the beers we brought with us (suck a hard task, heh) I also drank the oddball of the group. I brought this beer to try something new. I figured I’d either love it or hate it. Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer by 21 Amendment Brewery, California. 

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Yup, in a can! Pretty cool can art though! Much more exciting than your average silvery looking can. But of course its what’s on the inside that counts. I thought it was really strange. Did not taste like a wheat beer at all, but the artificial watermelon flavor hits you full force. Not much else to the beer. I kinda had a hard time finishing it. I tried to get Jack to help me but after a sip or two he refused. Damn! But at least now I don’t just have to guess that I don’t like it, now I know! There are a few other beers that I really need to try from 21st Amendment Brewery that I’ve heard good things about, so I’ll give them another try.

And that’s it! I now cannot wait to get back to the Red in the spring! I have a lot of projects I need to send! 

Red River Gorge!

Right now we are about half way through our climbing trip to the Red River Gorge, Kentucky. It’s been amazing! We had a really good group of people to climb with this week, they have been supportive and climbing super strong, and of course, good company!

Not too many beers have been drunk, but what has, has been pretty good.

The first day we split up the group and went to different areas in Muir Valley.The group I was with headed to Johnny’s wall and we put up almost every climb there!

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I actually started off the day by leading a 5.10a! And got another 5.10a later in the day! (I haven’t been climbing much recently because of the triathlons, so this is really pushing the grade for me!)

Later that night, I had a Evo Lucky 7, 5.8% American porter by Evolution Craft Brewing Co of Delaware.

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Tastes kinda strong and smoky, dry finish, bittersweet chocolate, medium mouthfeel, slightly higher carbonation. Decent porter, but I love my porters and I’m a pretty hard judge to please!

The next day we climbed at Left Flank, again the group ended up splitting up but it all worked out. I was really happy with a 5.8 I led. It had maybe a 20 foot run out section between bolts, but it was the most glorious hand crack! Up until the crack I was a little scared because it was a slab climb and the hands and feet were TINY! Once I sunk a hand in the crack though, I looked down at Rob who was belaying me and was like “oh yeah! I got this!” From there out, it was nice and easy!

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Austin and Sarah made it out on the trip, and they both had a really strong day! I really need to get in the gym and boulder with them more! Bouldering makes you super strong and you can (more) easily pull the power moves. The Red notoriously has hard start moves right off the ground, bouldering would help.

That night I had a YETI Imperial Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout 9.5% by Great Divide Brewing Company of Denver, CO.

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Yeah, this beer tastes a bit alcoholic. You can definitely taste the alcohol, boozy, dark chocolate, smooth but not really creamy. Full body.

The third day climbing we went to Eastern Sky Bridge Ridge area. We got split up while hiking there. (it was supposed to be a 5 min approach! haha) but the other half of our group finally showed up at the crag an hour and a half or two hours later! For them, it was an epic hike in! In fact, fast forward to that evening, Rob showed us the damage that was done.

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Yup. He split his boxers in half, didn’t realize it, and climbed in them all day! Haha! Yeah, it was a tough hike in for them!

Eastern Sky Bridge was beautiful! I top roped a few climbs because they were all super hard! But every one in our group was sending hard!

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Here’s Jack sending Super Dario 5.11a.

Later Jack decided to get on a trad climb called The Underling 5.9. It was a crack climb, a traverse, and then you go through a hole, and come out on top!

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(Look at the top right corner and check out the hole to climb up through!)

When he was getting to the hole, a climber passing by told him to go through feet first! Jack somehow thought this was a good idea and attempted it!

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I was scared as hell belaying because is he falls out he would come out of the hole head first into the wall below. Right when I thought he had it, he fell out! He tucked his head and managed to take an easier fall.

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Ryan, who went up after him, managed to pull the feet first move!

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That night, I had a Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale, Kiuchi Brewery of Japan.

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Supposed to be a Belgian Strong Pale Ale 7%. I really like their white ale, but this one, not so much. I hate to say, but just by smelling it, I knew it wasn’t my thing. Liz even smelled and tasted it before I did and said I was not going to be a fan. Very true. It tasted like a macro, like Bud, only with a different aftertaste. I cant even put my finger on the aftertaste, I suppose the red rice! But to me, not really worth drinking to experience something different. (ouch! sorry!)

Ok, I’m beat! Check back for more RRG updates!

Giant Acorn Triathlon Race Recaps

I can’t believe we did a triathlon this past weekend. It was rough.

Saturday, Jack had his international tri. He had been sick all week, was running a fever, sore throat, and stuffy nose. We drove down to Lake Anna in the rain and the weather was really starting to make us nervous. It was 46 degrees and raining. When we got to the Lake Anna Marina it was also really windy! The water actually had waves and quite a bit of chop. We found out that the power plant, which the water is used to cool, had been shut down since the earthquake in August and so the water temperature was a lot cooler than usual. Its usually about 77-78 degrees and Saturday it was 73. Still, not too bad.

My parents also came out both days to cheer for Jack and I! I think it really helped to have more people cheering for you!

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You know its gotta be cold if Jack is putting on a jacket for the bike!

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Apparently, Jack stopped next to my dad during T2 (for almost 5 minutes!) and had a little pep talk. He really was feeling like shit and wanted to quit. But he put himself on auto-pilot and managed to finish the run.

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Seeing Jack struggle a little didn’t make me feel any better about my tri the following day. I was stressing out all evening about my fear of being frozen and cold the next day.

Sunday, I woke up and didn’t want to get out of bed, it was warm! I knew it was going to be a miserable day, but I just kept telling myself that it’s only a sprint and will be over in less than 2 hours.

It was basically the same weather as the day before, only it was raining and overcast the whole time. No sun.

This is me stressing out about the cold!

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I kept telling myself that getting in the water would feel warm! A nice toasty 71 degrees. It was one of the hardest parts. I was already frozen and I almost quit.

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I didn’t warm up at all before the race because I didn’t want to take off all my layers till the very last moment. The swim went really slow for me. And the worst part was the water had a film of gasoline on it! So every time I turned to breathe I would get a mouthful of fumes and gasoline. Yuck!

Finally out of the water! haha 18:52 is slow for me. I’m ok with it though because I didn’t train for the swim at all. Last time I swam was the Luray tri!  Oops!

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Jack said I came out of the water looking surprisingly upbeat!

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T1 was 2:35. I thought that was slow because I stopped to dry off and put a fleece on. But I ended up having the 13th fastest T1 time! Its only because everyone else had to take the extra time to take off their wetsuits.

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The bike was painful because I couldn’t feel my feet or my hands. 45:26.

T2 in 2:36, I had to sit down to put my running shoes on because my feet were so frozen that I couldn’t stand on one leg at a time!

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And I think I was finally starting to warm up on the run! I was really happy with my run time! Finished the run in 26:43. Total time:1:36:06. And I finished 11th in my age group. I’m happy with that! I’m also happy we have no more triathlons this year! (It’d be too cold)  I’ll be doing more next year for sure!