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The Hay Say has MOVED!

6 Oct

Thanks for coming, but THE HAY SAY has now MOVED!

You can now find us at:

I hope you visit!


Take Your Mark: The Parks Half-Marathon

13 Sep

Parks Half Marathon Course Map

I should start by saying one thing, this was just my second Half Marathon.  While I’ve run 13.1 miles many times in training, I haven’t raced that distance since I was in high school.  Back when I didn’t really run and wasn’t in shape, my family decided it would be fun to run the Virginia Beach Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  I crossed the finish line in just over 2:00, but came close to death in the process.  If you have ever run a Rock and Roll race, you know what is involved.  Lots of people, lots of music, and lots of distractions.  All of which can be great.  All of which are meant to take you away from what you came there to do.

The Parks Half Marathon was nothing like the Rock and Roll.  And it was awesome.  This race didn’t have cheerleaders at every mile, it didn’t have bands blasting throughout the race, and no Team In Training filling the masses.  There was no finishers medal, just a beanie with the race’s logo on it.  Instead what you had was just you, 13.1 miles of trail, and only about 2500 other racers.

The course is easily the most beautiful route I’ve run in a race.  After the first few miles of road, added mostly to allow for the pack to separate a bit, you file into Rock Creek Park and stay in the park the rest of the way.  I run a lot of my weekly miles through Rock Creak, but never make it to the northern part.  This section of the park is definitely my new favorite.  Nearly all of the 10 or so miles on the trail was far from any roads, deep under tree coverage, and extremely peaceful.

As you can see from the elevation chart below, most of the course is at a slight downgrade.  This allowed for fast starts and quick strides.  I went out a little harder than usual, feeling good and strong.  Somewhere around mile 5, I started feeling that speed a bit.  While I was still feeling good, I was concerned about my pace and knew that the climb was coming during the last few miles.  By mile 8 my legs were beginning to hurt.  For a second I considered slowing down, fearing to push myself too hard in the middle of my training.  Then I had an epiphany, and it sounded a little something like this, “Doug, you’re running a half marathon race, of course you are getting tired, and of course you are starting to hurt.  This is 13.1 miles!  Now get your ass into gear and move, damn it!” (yeah, I swear a lot in my head while running…).  Well it worked.  I picked up my pace even more and held steady through the finish line.

The race was rainy, full of mud, and farther away from DC than I thought, but I’ll definitely be running it again.  You just can’t beat the course or the vibe from the other runners.  It was everything distance running should be.

The Elevation Chart

Why I Drink Beer – Part 2

29 Jul

Stone Smoked Porter

Part 2: Hot and Cold

Picture this, It’s late July and you are on your way home from work.  It had been a stressful day at the office, keeping you at the desk a little over an hour late.  Once you’re able to get out, the bus decides not to show.  Knowing that it will be another 30 minutes until the next bus arrives, you decide to walk 5 blocks to another line that should pick you up sooner.  Before you even make it even one block, the sweat starts beading up on your forehead.  It’s 94 degrees and the swampy humidity of DC is ever-so heavy.  By the time you get on the bus, your back is soaked, your face is red with heat, and your feet are screaming for freedom.  You finally make it to your home bus stop and begin the short walk to the house.  Within ten minutes, the shorts are on, the fresh t-shirt feels great, and you are chilling out on the stoop with a Dogfish 60 min in hand.  Everything feels better.

Now picture this, It’s late January and you are on your way home from work.  It had been a stressful day at the office, keeping you behind your desk well past the usual quitting time.  By the time you are finally able to get out, the early sunset is long gone, and the winter chill has settled in.  As you walk through the darkness to your bus stop, an icy breeze starts burning your ears.  You try to plug the holes in your peacoat with the new scarf your sister got you for Christmas, but it just isn’t doing the trick.  Every minute in this bitter cold feels like 10.  The snow from the weekend before is still slowing down traffic, making the wait for the bus that much more dreadful.  Finally you make it to your home bus stop and begin the short walk to your house.  Within ten minutes, the sweats are on and you are curled up with the girlfriend in front of the TV.  You pour a Stone Smoked Porter.  Everything feels better.

Both of those scenarios seem to occur far too often in this fine capitol city.  With short Falls and even shorter Springs, it seems like the entire year is filled with weather extremes.  But even when you can’t count on nice weather, you can always count on a nice Micro Brew.  Beer is one of the only drinks around that can be both crisp and refreshing on a hot summer’s day AND wholesome and warming on those cold winter nights.  No matter how unnerving the weather, beer can always give you that comforting feeling.

That is one reason why I drink beer.

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Off To the Markets: Columbia Heights Community Market

22 Jul

CH Farmers Market (sorry for the poor quality phone pic)

This summer brought many new things to Columbia Heights: Fro-Yo, an almost done 14th Street, and the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace. Now, I’m a fan of just about any farmers market, but after a few Saturday mornings waking up at this market, I can’t stop raving on what they have to offer. It isn’t the biggest FM of the bunch, but what it lacks in vendors it certainly makes up for in variety.

The market is open from 9-2 every Saturday, and houses multiple vegetable growers (Chesley Farms, Dragonfly Farms and Licking Creek Bend Farm), a variety of meat vendors, cheese makers, bread bakers, and even a gelato guy.  Pretty much anything you might need.  The marketplace even accepts WIC and Stamps.

With no recent Arganica order, last Saturday KFB and I hit up the CH Community Marketplace with a few bucks in hand. We bought a loaf of whole wheat bread, 6 peaches, 3 nectarines, 3 tomatoes, a bundle of onions, red potatoes, green beans, a cucumber and 4 ears of corn all for just $20. A price that can’t be beat for such high quality, local produce.

Everyday several people read my review of Arganica Farm Club. I don’t want to put down the local delivery group which fed me through the winter, but recently I feel like it just can’t compare. DC’s Farmers Markets have so much to offer at such a great price.  You have the big markets like Dupont, but embracing the smaller markets like Columbia Heights Market will give you everything you need, the warmth of your neighbors, and the satisfaction you get from are purchasing real food.

The Columbia Heights Community Marketplace offers good eats, good people, and a good reason to wake up.  Don’t be a slacker and get your hungover butt out the bed for some food.

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20 Weeks

14 Jun

If all goes as planned, 20 weeks from now I’ll have just completed the Marine Corps Marathon.  While it isn’t my first marathon, there is still so much running through my head, at least 26.2 nervous butterflies fluttering through my stomach, and so much left unknown.  I now know what it feels like to hit the wall, to run myself to tears on a training day,  change plans with friends because I have to go on a run, and cross the finish line, but I don’t know what it is like to start this journey by myself, to run this new training schedule, or to run with a body that I already know has some issues.

On one hand I’m confident, because I know I can do it.  On the other hand, I’m shaking in my Asics, because now I know how much it is going to suck.

I’ll be using a 20 week training program, with 5 days of running per week.  This year I plan to do more track workouts, focusing a bit more on speed.  I will also be a little flexible with this schedule, listening to my body and adding some yoga throughout the weeks.  The training schedule starts off a bit light, but I thought it would be good for me.  I want to make sure that I don’t burn myself out, and take it easy on my knee.  I know there will be days during the first few weeks when I add a mile or two to a run, but I think it is best to take it easy instead of pushing it too hard from the get-go.

You can check out the training schedule below.  I’ll also be tracking my progress and updating it on TheHaySay weekly.  Plus you’ll be able to follow the progress in The Runs section.

Here goes nothing…

Marine Corps Marathon Training Schedule

Off to the Markets: Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market

2 Jun

Greens from Quaker Valley Orchards

Over Memorial Day Weekend I joined KFB and a few other friends for a camping trip out in Shenandoah National Park.  We planned the hikes, organized the equipment, and divided up the meals before hitting the mountains.  KFB and I picked dinner, and started planning.  After a few disappointing weeks with Arganica, we decided to just hit up the farmers market instead.  This was actually my first DC market of the year, so I was pretty excited to see what all they had.

The Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market is a charming little market located right in the small plaza on Mt. Pleasant Street and Lamont Street, NW.  It has several different vendors, each offering a few different items, a bike repair station, and some live joyful bluegrass to get you in the mood.

We had a grilled veggie melody dinner in mind, and knew that most of what we might be cooking over the camp fire isn’t really in season, but we were able to find some delicious items for the trip.

Asparagus from Truck Patch Farms

Asparagus - Truck Patch Farms

To start, we found a great loaf of rosemary bread  baked fresh from Atwater’s Bakery.  We ended up coating it in garlic and butter, wrapping it in foil and throwing it on the coals.  After a short toasting, it was the perfect addition to the meal.  We also found some asparagus and strawberries from Truck Patch Farms in New Windsor, MD.   Good for us, but unfortunate for our camping friends, neither of these made it to the mountains.  The asparagus was so flavorful we just had to have it for dinner that night, and the strawberries so sweet they didn’t make it past dessert.  These fresh strawberries and a little vanilla ice cream went together like coffee and morning, or BP and shame.  I heard this was the last week for local asparagus, so I’m glad we took this opportunity to have one last indulgence while we could.

What did make it on our trip were some tasty Fuji apples from Quaker Valley Orchards.  Nothing beats a juicy apple on a humid hike.

Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market is a great place to get your seasonal produce and local meat right near Columbia Heights.  While I can’t wait for Columbia Heights’ new farmers market to open up next Saturday, I really hope that it doesn’t take away from Mt. P neighborhood market and its charming character.  I know I’ll certainly be frequenting both this summer.

Strawberries from Truck Patch Farms

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Rave Run – Sweating It Out

25 May

5 Mile Route (Click image for interactive ap)

The first signs of a DC summer are here.  High temps and high humidity fill the late evening air, and I for one am glad to see it!  After such a long winter full of cold, icy runs, nothing feels better than returning to the house soaked with sweat.  It wasn’t until this week that I really had my first great hot run of the year.  After a weekend of no running and too much boozing, a swift 5 miles with a lot of leaking (read: sweat), couldn’t have felt better. It is one thing to get home and be tired from a run.  It is another thing to get home, be tired, and FEEL wet.  No question you just had a work out.

I’m not looking forward to 90+ degree training this summer, but I’ll soak up this 75 degree, 70% humidity any day.

So what do you think?

I’ll be post all of my routes on my MapMyRun profile.

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I did it again.

3 May

Well, I did it again. I registered for another marathon.  This year there was no pep talks from the roommate, no pacing around with clammy hands and freaking out before I push the button.  It was just me, the computer, and the stupid decision.

My 2010 New Years resolution included a bit of a running challenge.  One of the races part of the challenge was the Marine Corps Marathon.  After running Baltimore last year, I really wanted to do the marathon at home.  The race was painful, but the worst part of the experience was definitely waiting until I drove myself back to the District for a shower.

Official training will begin in a few weeks, and this time I have a much better idea about what to expect.  I know that it will hurt.  I know there will be times when I want to quit.  But I also know that I’ll grow stronger and more energized with every run.  As long as I can keep healthy, I’m confident I will succeed.

I plan to do a much better job this year tracking my training routes, races and stories.  You can follow along to everything running related here.

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The Daily Hay – Forming a Queue

3 Mar

The Daily Hay is a daily feature, highlighting whatever I feel worthy of your 5 minutes or less. No real commentary, just a link to the article, music, or video. Enjoy.

From Washington Post:  Same-sex Couples Line Up as DC Gay Marriage Law Takes Effect

“D.C. Superior Court began accepting marriage license applications from same-sex couples Wednesday morning, a historic milestone for gay couples and activists that was made possible by the city’s new gay marriage law.”

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The Daily Hay – I need new Snowpants.

17 Feb

The Daily Hay is a daily feature, highlighting whatever I feel worthy of your 5 minutes or less. No real commentary, just a link to the article, music, or video. Enjoy.

Bill McKibben of The Washington Post explains to us how global warming is the cause of this year’s record snowfall.

The Washington Post – Record Snows on a Warming Planet

“By Bill McKibben
RIPTON, VERMONT — You want to hear my winter weather story? No, really, I know you do.”

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