Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The best burrito is at ..... It's the December Election ..... Burrito Election!

Okay, let's have a December Election. Not the possible runoff for the Senate seat in Georgia, but a Burrito Election. Because I said so. And because most people seem to like burritos. And it's more fun to argue about burritos than politics, which guess what Batman?! We get to argue about again in Virginia...next year! Statewide races, Governor, Delegates. Yeah, election overload.....let's talk about food.

Where is it? Chipotle, with the biggest burritos of the bunch but a bit bland in some people's mind? I know I like the burritos but find the chips (a huge food weakness of mine) very over-salted and not in a Cape Cod chips cool way. California Tortilla, the new contender on the block? They have the most variety that's for sure. I really like their Havana Chicken burritos and salads. They've moved near the top of my list recently, especially with the burrito bucks program. Moe's? Very boisterous staff, go on Mondays for the best deals, the fish burritos are really good. Qdoba? Based out of Denver, there aren't a lot of locations around here, but it makes for a great post-Shenendoah NP dinner stop, just before braving I-66. I dock points from them for discontinuing the Mole burrito though. Carlos's cart of 16th and K? Outstanding but I don't work over there anymore, I hope he's still around. That was the best, freshest, quick lunch I ever found in DC. Or is it Illegal Pete's Chicken Pesto burrito in Denver? Hint hint it's this one.

Others I have liked in the last were the Picadillo Burrito at Picante Mexican Grill in Cambridge, Viva Burrito's fish burritos in Denver, which are smaller and more of the traditional Mexican style. In Colorado ski country, Frisco, Dillon, you name it, Fiseta Jalisco's are great too, and they serve tons of chips while your dinner is cooking. If you have any other favorites, please comment on them, early and often, Daley-style. I'm always up for finding new options, and truthfully I could use the help with the independent sit-down Mexican restaurants since I usually order tostadas when I am there.

Winter, come back in a few weeks please

I normally really enjoy winter. I don't know about a lot of you, but I like snow as long as I don't have to drive around DC in it. Skiing rocks, I want to go cross country skiing somewhere this year in the worst way, and one of the most enjoyable runs of last winter was down on the Southwest Waterfront in two inches of snow.

That does not mean I have enjoyed the last two days very much. I wasn't quite ready for the cold, dreary days with rain and high winds. Not yet anyway. It wouldn't surprise me if snow fell in the Poconos or even in WV. Only having a sweater for Monday's walk to get lunch was not a good thing. The temp thing by Verizon Center said 45. Bull. Tonight I ran my normal Tuesday run at a very good pace, but the conditions still sucked. For now, bring back the 60 degree days of fall. Saturday looks like just that. 8K run then hike out near Sky Meadows Park. Yeah!

Stay tuned for the December Election.......Chipotle vs California Tortilla vs Moe's vs Qdoba vs Carlos on 16th and K.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happiness is the 171 Bus

Or at least it was today. To make a long story short, I changed up my training routine because of the weather. I had been advised that the Potomac Heritage Trail is not a great place to run in wet weather. Yeah, I don't need to get hurt slipping on a wet tree root or a bunch of wet leaves. I couldn't make my fun run either since I was too tired when I woke up at 5:50 am, even if I went to bed at 10:30 the night before.

So I decided to just run down the Mount Vernon Trail a bit, and eventually end up at my gym to pick up my food from Diet to Go. There's a bus stop across the street from the gym so I figured I just needed to be at the bus stop around :35 past the hour and I'd be good to go. I ran through Belle Haven, down the trail, and then through Fort Hunt Park. Okay I got in nearly two hours of solid running in. But then I confused myself with the roads around Fort Hunt Road and ended up walking around in a circle for 45 minutes before finally figuring out that Fort Hunt Road is where I needed to go. I found my route back to the gym, but not before the skies opened up in a cold, hard, downpour.

Needless to say, I was very, very happy to find the 171 Bus to get me in a dry place for a bit. Even more so when I got off and was met with a 30 mph plus wind gust that accompanied the downpour. But it's a 5 minute walk from the bus stop to my building's front door, so I dried off, hopped in the shower, and headed to a pre-marathon pasta party. Good times, I am really looking forward to cheering on runners tomorrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Half Marathon Training

Okay, the half marathon is less than 4 weeks away, and I've run more than 13.1 miles in one day once in my life. But after the Army Ten Miler, I was tired but definitely had 3.1 more miles in me should the circumstances have required it. I'd like to get in a couple of 12-15 mile runs before November 15 just for comfort, but when can I fit this in? Weeknights? Not happening, I'm way too tired after the workday. The most I've run midweek is (I believe) 9. Weekends? Possible. Here's the training schedule I've set up for weekends:

Sat Oct 25: 3-4 mile group run, run as much of this as I can, hike the rest if I get tired.

Sun Oct 26: Off day, cheering on fellow runners at the Marine Corps Marathon, then Pats game at Murphy's Pub vs the suddenly dangerous St. Louis Rams.

Sat Nov 1: 8K for INOVA Hospital, then a hike somewhere around Sky Meadows State Park, since I'm halfway there already.

Sun Nov 2: If I'm going to get in the 12-15 mile run, it's probably today.

Sat Nov 8: Long run or hike near Shenandoah NP, it's the last day of daylight savings time after all. Cry knowing daylight savings time is over. I'm kidding!

Sun Nov 9: Veterans Day 10K.

Week before race, taper off distances quite bit.

I know doing lots of hiking may not seem like ideal training for a half marathon, but it does keep me aerobically fit, and I ran a ton, partially because I couldn't hike much, to get ready for Pikes Peak and it worked just fine.

Back on the hiking trail!

I'll be exhausted at work tomorrow, especially if the Red Sox game takes too long, but I was very happy to hit the hiking trails again. I hiked a loop similar to the Tuscaora Trail / Overall Run loop today, although I went down the Weddlewoods Trail before hitting the Heiskel Hollow Trail. Great hike, probably 9-10 miles, with some steep climbs. The waterfalls were barely visible or audible but I saw some good views of the Massanutten Range to the west.

Some other random things I saw:

- A Sunoco station that would not take cards, the first I've experienced
- A Questar? food stop that looked like it had some okay pork sandwiches
- I-66 was actually in decent shape until Reston, when it morphed into its usual bleep a hundred times over self
- A deer on the trail heading down from Skyline Drive
- About 18 dry streambeds
- A VA State trooper with his lights off in the same place in the mixing bowl they always are
- A medical helicopter, ambulance, and Warren County Cop car on US 340 South for some reason. Unknown, since there was no car wreck, another hiker saw it and wondered if someone in the hillside houses had a heart attack. They waved us through in under a minute so I wonder if it was a drill.
- There's not a lot to Front Royal, even if I didn't drive US 340 north through the whole town.

I'm hoping to get out hiking a couple more times this fall. We'll see how the calendar works out.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Colds are as irratating as hell - more hiking plans

While the current cold isn't near thsi one, it's still a PITA nonetheless. I ended up missing a group run this morning since my head was congested and my throat was bugging me, so I slept in for 11 hours since I was totally wiped out. Now I don't really have much of a cough, but I hate having to take it really easy so I can make good use of tomorrow, especially since daylight savings time ends on November 8.

Hey, Maryland's about to kick off vs Wake Forest! Hopefully Bill doesn't get into Express' blog Log for the third time since he won't have to rant since the Terps played better but this will be tough. I can watch that for a bit.

This cold is like most I get, weakens me just enough so I can't do what I want to do, but never makes me sick enough to make me sleep off an entire day. The latter is probably better for longer term health. But oh well. I'll take another nap today since if I actually want to stay up for tonight's Red Sox game I'll need it. Even on weekends, unless I'm out I'm hardly ever up past midnight and the game won't get over until at least then.

Besides, more sleep means I can actually take advantage of what's supposed to be the better of the two weekend days and get a hike in. I haven't figured out where I'm going yet but it will come in due time. Rock for the Terps! 7-0 early lead, Darius Heyward-Bey is the best player on the field, and they're getting him the ball!

Add TR Island to Fort Marcy trail run/hike to my planned adventures, this is next Saturday's project. A dry week of weather is expected and everyone who's been on this trail has told me it's real slick in wet weather, so I put this off one more week so it's real dry when I run on it.

I hope this cold is gone by next Sunday, since I'm going to Crystal City to cheer on my friends that are running the Marine Corps Marathon. A lot of us who aren't running are going to cheer those who are. It's the least I can do for the running community. But I don't want to give anyone my cold.

I must go and finally decide where I'm hiking tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sometimes you need a three day weeekend to recover from a three day weekend

Since I'm tired and sleepy, I'll run through what I did this three day weekend.

Friday night: went to the gym, then to Momo's on U Street in DC. Night before party for people like me who are fans of the United States National Soccer Team. Good time, got to see some of the Sox game too.

Saturday: woke up at 8:15, ate three pieces of toast and chugged a Powerade, barely making it to my friend's house for a ten mile run at 9. Finished the run, ate dinner, watched some football, and went to the World Cup Qualifier. USA is on to the final qualifying round in the CONCACAF region after pounding Cuba 6-1. Awesome seeing friends, tailgating for a bit, and seeing the win most importantly. Not even the pizza place off Potomac Avenue trying to charge us extra to sit down and eat put a damper on the night.

Sunday: woke up, chilled, went for a 2 hour plus trail run at Great Falls Park and Riverbend Park, VA. It was one of those times where I wanted to leave by a certain time, but got into a groove running and kept on going until I got tired. Then I walked back to my car and went towards home. I had a good time at Murphys on Sunday even though the Pats got their asses handed to them by the Chargers.

Monday: slept in, did little before going to the gym, then the Caps game. A 5-1 demolition of Vancouver, they were outshooting the Canucks 25-3 after two periods! Michael Nylander scored on a penalty shot and assisted on at least two goals, Alexander Semin had two sweet goals, and the Caps did this without getting much from Ovechkin at all, save for a couple of crushing hits. He had an off night and the Caps still dominated. A good sign for them going forward.

More future events, I want to get some hiking in this fall in the worst way. Some of the trips I plan to take are:

- Part of Ashby Gap to Chester Gap
- Sky Meadows State Park
- Harpers Ferry / Maryland Heights again
- White Oak Canyon link, link
- Old Rag Mountain
- The Priest Mountain

If anyone has any other suggestions for me to hike in the area, please leave comments, I'm always open to new trails.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Jon Lester Rules The World Once Again

I cannot stay up to watch baseball games that start at 10 pm on a weeknight. Not when a busy job calls the next morning. I fell asleep last night just after the Red Sox fell behind 1-0. After Jed Lowrie's error, I said to myself, tough break, I wasn't expecting them to win this series, I just hope that he doesn't let it get to him. Well, he led off the two run ninth inning with a single, so it didn't phase him. And Jon Freaking Lester! Clutch. Seven innings of one run baseball for the win. This kid just gets better and better, and has been the Sox' number one pitcher this season. Awesome start!

Tomorrow night is a 9:30 start and a late night, seeing as Dice K is starting (He's had a great year but he throws tons of pitches per inning) and playoff games have longer Tv timeouts, and it'll be 1:30 or late before the game ends. It's either Southside or home for me. And lots of sleeping on Saturday, seeing as I'm taking part in the Army Ten Miler on Sunday.

Go Red Sox! And Jon Lester rules the world.