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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:

www.thehaysay.com

I hope you visit!

Just Keep Running

23 Sep

So you registered for a race several months ago.  You found a training plan, plotted your strategy, and got to work.  Before you knew it, the training consumed you.  You found yourself talking about last weekend’s long run to all your friends, reading running blogs during your lunch break, and laying in bed thinking about tomorrow’s tempo.  Week in, week out, you train harder, get stronger, and come closer to your goal.  Then it hits you, and you get a little bored.

All of a sudden, the routes become a bit monotonous, you would really love a Saturday morning to sleep in, and the thought of a 20 mile run sounds a lot less exciting than going out with your friends.  But unfortunately for you, just when things get a little tough, you really need to be stepping it up.  So how do you keep going?  What keeps you motivated?

With both my first marathon and the one I’m currently working towards, I’ve done nearly all the training on my own.  While I’ve had family, friends, and a GF to lean on through the good times and the bad, it has been up to me to get out of bed and onto the road.  Some of you might be on you own like me, or maybe you have a running team, but either way, training can be very tough.  Keeping up that high energy and motivation is crucial.

Here are a few good ways I’ve discovered to help keep myself motivated.

Read: When you’re not actually running, why not be reading about running?  Usually books and magazines don’t talk about how horrible something is (and if they do…put it down), they build it up!  Which is exactly what you need.  I subscribe to Runners World and the Washington Running Report.  Both give great racing tips, interesting stories, and new techniques to help out with your running.  A few great novels, if you haven’t read them already, are Born to Run and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

Watch: Nothing better than a good motivational running movie.  I recently watched Spirit of the Marathon with KFB.  It followed around 8 runners as they trained for the Chicago Marathon.  The runners ranged from elite to first timers, each with a unique story that brought them to the marathon.  It was a great reminder about why I love to run.  Another good running movie is Prefontaine, the amazing story about Steve Prefontaine, a record holding track runner.  I also try to watch all Ironman and Marathon coverage on NBC Sports.  Nothing makes you want to get off the couch and onto the trail more than a movie or show that makes you feel lazy.

Talk: This one is a no brainer, but I often find myself embarrassed to bring it up.  Don’t forget to keep talking about your training!  Share your excitement with your friends and family and they will get just as excited.  It always feels great when someone asks you about how many miles you did that week, or how many weeks left before the big race.  You have nothing to be embarrassed about, you are training for a race!

Ultimately, all training lies solely in your hands, which can be very scary.  Once you lose that motivation, your miles will start to fall flat.  Keep up the motivation, and keep running.

So how do you stay motivated to keep up your training?  Any other books or movies you would recommend?

Running Through Vacation

5 Sep

Mt. Katahdin, Maine

Well, you might have wondered where I’ve been the past few weeks.  I’m happy to report that I have been touring the North East on a series of mini vacations, moving apartments (more on that to come), and enjoying the summer.  August started out with a trip to Rhode Island, where I maxed and relaxed with KFB’s family in Narragansett.  This was my first trip to RI, and it was beautiful.  We had perfect weather, with the sun shinning bright and the breeze dropping temperatures to the low 80s.  The cool crisp mornings fulfilled the much-needed break from DC’s disastrous summer, providing the perfect atmosphere for a nice run.  After 5 days in RI, I came back to DC only to turn around and head to Atlantic City for a Bachelor Party.  This was also my first trip to AC, and well, I think I did pretty good for myself.  While running was at a minimum, I did almost pay for the whole trip in roulette winnings.  We did plenty of gambling, made plenty of funny memories, and of course drank plenty of beer.  To wrap up my August vacations, I headed to the mountains of Maine, for a short backpacking trip through Baxter State Park with some family.  In Baxter we climbed Mt. Katahdin, the final leg of the Appalachian Trail.  I’ve been through many parts of the AT, and I have to say that Katahdin was one of the most beautiful.  The mountain is very dramatic, with incredible views of the surrounding area.

For many people, running and vacation don’t seem to fit well in one sentence.  Unless, of course, “I’m not running on vacation” is the sentence.  But when you are in the middle of training, for whatever length, “I’m not running on vacation” isn’t always an option.  Having done a lot of it over the past few weeks, I’m here to say that my vacation runs (with the exception of AC…for obvious reasons) have been some of my best runs of this training season.

Running on vacation can be great.  Here are a few reasons way:

1)      It’s Fresh – So often I find myself running the same routes, several times a week.  I run past the same intersections, up the same hills, and through the same neighborhoods almost every day.  For the most part I could do it with my eyes closed.  This can be great, but can also be boring.  Vacation gives you the opportunity to explore this new town, city, state, or country that you probably don’t know very well.

Narragansett, RI

While in Rhode Island I went out for what I planned to be about a 10 mile run.  I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew that if I went out this one road, it would follow the coastline for several miles.  A few miles down the road, I found several cut-off streets that sent me right down to the water.  I saw some amazing views and explored some incredible neighborhoods.  Minutes and miles were flying by as I ran through these new streets.  Several times I even found a smile on my face, as I turned the corner to a new overlook.  I ended up running what I believe to be about 12-13 miles, and enjoying every minute of it.

2)       Change of Weather –  With a new location comes new weather.  Going on vacation doesn’t necessarily mean that you are going to find cooler weather if your hometown is hot, or warmer weather if your hometown is cold, but it mixes it up!  Lucky for me most of my vacations were up north, providing some ideal weather conditions for a lengthy run.

Once I got off the trail in Maine, I took some time to go out for a run.  Even though my legs were well used throughout the hike and climb, I wanted to make sure I kept up with some miles.  I went on a jog around a lake in the small town of Winthrop.  The scenery was great, but the weather even better.  The cooler temperatures definitely helped power the senses and get me going.

3)       Lose the Mileage –  If you are anything like me, you often find yourself totally caught up in your mileage.  Too frequently I’m so focused on how many miles I’ve run this week that I forget to have fun.  I pick my routes for the length, not the enjoyment.  Because you usually don’t know where you are going when you take off for a jog while on vacation, it gives you the option to just go out there and run.  Don’t bother opening up your mapmyrun account, and just use the watch. Tell yourself that you want to go out for a certain amount of time, and take off.  Go wherever the road takes you, and explore whenever looks interesting.

Running through your vacation can seem like an added stress you would rather just leave at home, but if you look at it as a good vacation outing, it can be a real highlight.  Keep up your running, keep enjoying your vacation.

Anyone else do any vacation running this summer?

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In The News: Food

3 Aug

NPR covered two stories today about the local food movement.  The first was about the author of “Ripe: The Search for The Perfect Tomato” who discusses the value of local tomatoes ripened right on the vine!  The second discusses the problems that have the local meat industry is now facing.  With higher demand for local, ethically raised meat, it is hard to find a place to butcher!

“Once upon a time, tomatoes were considered poisonous, even dangerous. But gradually, the plump produce made its way into our homes and onto our plates. Arthur Allen tells the story of the tomato’s redemption, popularization and eventual modification in his book, Ripe: The Search For The Perfect Tomato.

“At the State University of New York’s meat lab, students learn how to kill, cut and grind up beef, pork and lamb. After a month, they get a meat-processing and food-safety certificate and the basic know-how to work in the industry. The program aims to help fill the shortage of butchers and small slaughterhouses — and keep meat local.

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In The News: Running

20 Jul

Last week NPR’s Diane Rehm brought on some of the big names in the modern running movement.  Christopher McDougall, author of ‘Born to Run’ and barefoot running activist, Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston Marathon and Runners World editor, and Dr. Stephen Pribut, a sports medicine specialist, all sat down to discuses barefoot running, running trends, and the modern runner.  It is definitely a show worth checking out.

“Millions of Americans run to lose weight, stay in shape or relieve stress. But many suffer injuries that keep them off the road and out of commission. A look at barefoot running and other trends gaining traction.”

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BP Videos

10 Jun

Photo Taken from BeyondDC.com

Every day I look at the news in disbelief that this disaster is still going on, and getting worse.  It blows my mind that we are STILL unable to stop the leak.  I see the images, read the stories, and feel sick to my stomach.

There has been so much satire about the spill, so I picked out a few that I thought you might enjoy.

The first one comes from UCBComedy.

The second was compiled by the NRDC.

Chinese Food Makes Me Sick…

8 Jun

“I like girls that wear Abercrombie and Fitch, Chinese food makes me sick…”

Well, I haven’t really liked girls in Abercrombie since 7th grade, and Chinese food only makes me sick about half the time, but when I started thinking about this post, that song wouldn’t leave my head!

Last week while I was camping with a group of friends, we passed through several small towns on the way to Big Meadows.  Looking for a place to eat, we noticed that we were pretty much limited to one of three options:  1) Small town diner, 2) Fast Food, or 3) Chinese Food.  Of course we opted for the small town diner, but it struck up a conversation on Chinese Food.

The conversation started when someone asked if Chinese Food was on the way out.  The once staple to everyone’s take-out rotation, is now little more than a small town strip mall option, food court staple, or (in DC) one of those crazy Chinese/Subs/Seafood combo dumps.  In our great city full of food options from nearly any country in the world, I can only think of one, maybe two, places that I would actually get Chinese Food.

So if Chinese is on the way out, what is feeding our hunger for Asian food goodness?  After a little consideration, we decided that Thai was the new Chinese.  As others have noticed recently as well, Thai joints seem to be popping up all over the place!  They’re hip, they’re trendy, and yes, they are freak’n delicious.

So why is it that Thai is taking over Chinese?  It could be that we were just simply tired of General Tso, but I think it is a much bigger phenomena.  Even though the majority of Americans haven’t yet jumped on the organic or local food wagon, we are all certainly more conscious about what we eat.  When I think about Chinese take-out, three foods comes to mind: Fried egg-rolls, flavors of fried chicken (read Sesame, General Tso, etc.) and egg foo yung, all with a side of two pieces of broccoli.    When I think of Thai food, I think veggies and rice noodles, spring-rolls, and tofu substitutions.

I think we are growing up!  Not only do we no longer associate Asian food with just Chinese anymore, but we are learning to eat our veggies.  And with our grown-up taste buds, we are moving on to bigger and tastier things.  So what do you think?  Is Chinese on the way out and Thai taking its place?  Or are we just diversifying a bit?

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The Dhamma Brothers

13 May

This past Tuesday, KFB and I joined a few other friends for the a DC area viewing of The Dhamma Brothers.  The documentary takes place in the Donaldson Correction Facility, a high security prison in the State of Alabama.  It documents the account of several prisoners who decide to attend a 10 day workshop of Vipassana Meditation.  The workshop is 10 very structured days of total silence and meditation for hours on end.  Throughout the film you see once extremely violent criminals open up and address reality often for the first time.

The film shows hope for people with none.  In a very violent and dangerous community, it is hard to think of a life of peace.  Following the film was a panel with some of the Vipassana teachers from the prison and some of the administrators from the Donaldson Correction Facility.  The Warden of the prison testified the importance of the program, which was forbidden for many years due to the conservative Christian’s movement to keep it out of the prison.  As we heard from the testimonies and saw in the film, it was through Vipassana Meditation that many of them found peace for themselves and the world.

It was truly an incredible story, one certainly worth checking out.

The Dhamma Brothers will air on DC Public TV on Sunday, June 20 at 11:00 p.m. and Tuesday, June 22 at 8:00 p.m.

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Brewing TV’s First Episode

11 May

Northern Brewer, one of my favorite homebrew supplies stores, has started a new online show airing once a week.  They are calling it Brewing TV.  Here is what they have to say on their website:

“Brewing TV’s mission is to cover the world of homebrewing through the magic of video.  There are so many stories to be told, brews to be brewed, and people to profile … in other words, no shortage of segments and content to be shot.  The homebrewing community has always been a strong one, whether it’s your LHBS, a club in your city, you and some friends brewing in your kitchen on a weekend afternoon, or an online forum with rabid regulars. Brewing TV is a place where those different communities can connect and hear about what homebrewing has been, what it is, and where it is going.  Brewing TV is a voice for homebrewing culture … the “why,” not the “how.” If you want technical, you can always read a book!  Seriously, read more books.

I highly recommend you check out episode 1, as they meet the guys behind Fulton Brewing Company, brew and American Wheat, and explore the Upper Mississippi Mas Out.  Enjoy!

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Stuck in the Middle

10 May

This past weekend I traveled down south to Atlanta to visit my sister and mother for Mother’s Day.  We had a great weekend planned, filled with street fairs, farmers markets, and botanical gardens.  Every day in Atlanta was just what we wanted.  The problem came when I wasn’t IN Atlanta, but getting TO Atlanta.

Thursday after worked I headed over to Reagan to hop a plane from DCA to ATL.  All was going as planned, checked in online, had a few minutes to read my book at the gate, and grabbed a bite to eat.  When my boarding zone was called, I walked down the gate and onto the plane.  “Seat 20 B” read my ticket.  “Bummer” I thought, once I realized that B was in the middle of A and C.  As I walked down the aisle, I tried to pick out where row 20 would be.  “Oh, maybe it is in between those two business men headed home from meetings in DC,” I thought.  But nope, that was row 17.  “Hmm, well maybe it is right between those nice looking young people.  This wont be too bad.”  But no, that was row 19.

“Omm…I think…I’m in that seat,” I said reluctantly to the people sitting in row 20.  Quickly my “this wont be too bad” attitude turned to “Oh Shit!”  The woman in the aisle seat slowly squeezed out of her seat to let me in.  I plop myself down next to a 6’5” big boned man sitting next to the window, and a 300 pound woman, sitting in the aisle.  Now, I’m not one to judge, but when I’m not able to put my arm rest down because she is too big for the seat, I judge.  Even panic.

I quickly look around for an open seat.  That thought left before I could even process when the captain got on and announced that this was a full flight.  I sit back, and try to relax.  Thankfully the woman was trying her best not to bother me.  She was leaning out into the aisle as best she could.

When the plane took off, I tried to fall asleep.  It being Seis de Mayo, and since I was out plenty late the night before, I had no trouble closing my eyes and drifting off.  I woke up about 45 minutes later, to realize that the kindness the woman was exerting before had run out.  She was ALL over me.  I could not put my arm back or even lean my seat back (not that I could have anyway since the button you press was on the armrest that couldn’t go down).

I tried to block the uncomfort out by reading, but since I couldn’t hold the book properly (my arms folded over my lap), it was extremely difficult.  What was once a quick two hour flight quickly turned into an eternity in the sky.  I was the cheese between two pieces of Texas Toast.

Thankfully all flights come to an end, and I made it to Atlanta.  Now I’m left with this question:  Should someone who can’t fit in a plane seat, with the arm rest down, be forced to pay for two seats?

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