18 Jul 2014
Race Day: Friday, June 18, 2014 – 6:30pm
The Park Point 5-Miler is a cool race that I had done once before. It is a pancake flat out-and-back course where you can really let ‘er rip and race like a 5k. It’s always really competitive, too, so it is fun to see how you stack up. I think I jumped in this race last minute (should have done a timely race report… don’t quite remember!), but it was worth it because it is so fun and I got free socks. I wish every race gave away socks instead of tshirts.
I aided with the timing on this race, too, which just consisted of setting up the start mats. This was a very simple task at 75 degrees and sunny, but felt weird in short shorts and a running singlet!
Once the race started, I went out really fast and wanted to see if I could hold my first mile split the whole way. The field spread out pretty quick and it seemed like the leaders were pretty much set by the time the first mile came up. I had a fast split somewhere in the 5:40s. I got passed after the first mile but before the turnaround and thought that the finish order was pretty much set for me. Nobody else was gaining on me from behind and I would have to majorly implode to let another racer get in front of me.
My blistering pace was catching up to me on the way back, and my right foot was starting to hurt quite a bit. The plantar faciitis was definitely flaring up for this one. I started reeling in the kid who passed me earlier and that was motivation to keep pushing. I could feel my form starting to deteriorate, but I think I was keeping my pace up. I saw Tony, General Manager at DRC, on the sideline and he told me to catch him. I tried to kick it into high gear and got the kid in front of me. It really feels good to reel someone in like that!
I jammed it in to the finish line and had a really good time. I know I dropped back a little bit on the way back, but it was at least enough to bump up one place. I mowed down on some race rolls and drank half my weight in chocolate milk as I waited for my friends to finish. My foot was in pain, though, and I was limping.
A lot of familiar faces were there, and that makes it really fun! Instead of doing a cool down run, I biked back to the Running Co. where my car was parked.
Shoes: Brooks Pureflow 3
17 Jul 2014
Brew Day: 7/17/14
Transfer Day: 7/23/14
Bottle Day: 8/3/14
- 1 lb malted wheat grain
- 3 lbs Breiss Bavarian dry wheat extract
- 3.3 lbs Mallard Malts liquid wheat extract
- 1 oz German Perle
- 1 oz German Smaragd
- 1 oz German Mandarina Bavaria
- 1 package Wyeast German Wheat
- 1 tbsp Irish Moss (for clarity)
- 3 lbs. 1 oz Red Raspberry Puree
Original Gravity: 1.049
Transfer Gravity: 1.012
Final Gravity: 1.010
Estimated ABV: 5.12%
Brew Day – 7/17/14
1. Break open yeast packet.
2. Bring 2.5 gallons of water to a temperature of 160 degrees. Then, add 1 lb malted wheat grain.
3. Steep the grain between 150-160 degrees for 30 minutes
4. Add 2.5 gallons of water to brew kettle and start boil. When the water is boiling, add all malt extract.
5. Hop schedule:
- 0:60 – Perle
- 0:30 – Mandarina Bavaria
- 0:05 – Smaragd
6. After one hour of boiling, take the brew kettle off of the heat and into the ice bath.
7. Once the wort has cooled to ~80 degrees, siphon to the primary fermenter (in the bottling bucket) and pitch the yeast.
Transfer Day — 7/23/14
1. Clean and sanitize secondary fermenter (glass carboy) and all utensils.
2. Pour contents of raspberry puree into secondary fermenter.
3. Transfer beer into secondary fermenter to mix with raspberry puree.
4. Cap with bubbler and bring the secondary fermenter back into the closet.
Bottle Day — 8/3/14
1. Sanitize all equipment.
2. Transfer all beer into bottles and growlers.
3. Save a bit of uncarbonated beer for final gravity reading.
This was our second Raspberry Wheat and the big difference was using raspberry puree as opposed to a mixture of real raspberries and raspberry jam (with no preservatives). Preparing the raspberry flavoring for the beer was pretty labor intensive, so this method was definitely a little easier to do. The sediment level seemed to be pretty high, just like the first Raspberry Wheat. This beer was good, but really sweet and tasted best just one or two at a time.
21 Jun 2014
Race Day: Saturday, June 21, 2014 – 7:45am
Grandma’s Marathon… what a race! This was the sixth year in a row I had raced on this day, but my first marathon. The Garry Bjorkland Half Marathon is really where this all started, and it was only a matter of time before I jumped into a 26.2 mile race. Why I registered in the first place, I don’t really know, but it was definitely well in advance. That means a I had a long winter and spring to train.
Training for a marathon is definitely different than anything, even long course triathlon. The sheer volume and consistency of running was made possible in large part to Diamond, my running partner. As if having a terrible race isn’t the worst prospect in the world, shrill barking in my ear is literally the best motivator to run in sub zero weather.
Anyways, the weather looked good all week and training leading up to the race was spot on. I felt confident going into the race and wanted to nail a 6:45 minute mile every single mile. The only mystery is how my body would react to working at the race expo from 5-9pm on Thursday night and then 9-9 on Friday. In the past, working the long days and trying to race 13.1 has been really tough, so I was pretty nervous how the ol’ bod would hold up to a much longer and more strenuous race.
I enjoy racing in cool weather, and definitely don’t mind a little mist! The race day brought 50s and foggy, light rain and mist. The pre-race nerves were there, but I felt like I had a really solid race plan and felt confident. This section will be brief, because as I write this, it is October and I don’t exactly remember how I felt during the race…. Note to self: do race recaps as soon as possible.
I began the race right on schedule. Every mile was a few seconds within my goal pace, and if I ever fell off, it felt easy to crank it up a bit to even my time out. I ran with some people for a bit and then either passed them or lost them in the mist. I remember talking to one guy who had to take a dump and lost his friend. He latched onto me in an attempt to make up time and catch his buddy, but I think he burnt himself out.
I knew that getting into town was going to hurt. I had been dealing with some plantar faciitis and was anxiously waiting for it to flare up. Even though the crowd support is really big in town, that is where I’ve always started to feel the burn in the half marathon. Sure enough, I felt my pace drop off bit by bit going past the Glensheen Mansion into Lemondrop Hill. My legs and muscles were starting to feel super fatigued, but I gathered the mental fortitude to put these thoughts of pain aside. Also, I knew my friends and supporters were coming up quickly.
I got a second wind as I came into the London Road business district. I think that this is always where you can pull through and have a good race, or crumble. I saw a group of friends on the side of the road and my form all the sudden was fantastic and I didn’t hurt so bad anymore. Andy snapped a few pics.
I also knew that Duluth Running Co. was right around the corner. That was going to be a huge boost because they always have a ton of spectators and a lot of familiar faces. And a free keg, so everyone cheers loudly. I ditched two gels at DRC, which means I only had two gels and sporadic water and Powerade at aid stations.
DRC was great. It felt like I was running a 5 minute mile and I high fived everyone on the curb and then disappeared into the mist. Once I was hidden, I could feel my back slump and my hips collapse. I was really fatigued, but at this point, you just keep running the final two or three miles. I tried to keep my pace but know I dropped off a bit. I knew I had to get around a 2:57 flat to hit my goal pace, and I really wanted to go under that, so I tried to kick it up in the finishing chute. My sister Emily snapped a few pics from the stands, where my parents and sister were spectating.
When I finished, I felt my calves cramp up immediately. I dropped down to grab them in pain. A volunteer came up to me and said that I better walk. He was right… I got up and my calves felt much better. Then, I waited at the massage tent with some snacks. Boy, that was uncomfortable. Walking felt good. The pain subsided until I sat down or just stood there. After 15 minutes with no line movement, I opted for self massage instead. I saw my parents and friends on my way to the drop bag area. The race went well and the only low moment of the day was when my running friend Stacie missed her BQ by a few minutes. If she kept her pace through the halfway mark, she would have met her goal by, like, 15 minutes. But that is price you pay for starting off too hot!
Overall, I was very pleased with the race. It went perfectly according to plan. Although I was slightly off my goal, the time was still really good in my eyes, and I had a new viewpoint on the marathon distance.
To avoid piercing barks, I was back running that week!
Shoes: Brooks Pureflow 3
04 May 2014
Brew Day: 5/03/14
Bottle Day: 5/26/14
Original Gravity: 1.058
Final Gravity: 1.000
- 5 lbs pure, raw and unprocessed natural honey.
- 3 lbs plain extra light dry malt extract
- 1 packet (11.5g) Safale US-05 dry ale yeast
- 3 oz. Mt Hood Hop pellets
- 2.5 tsp. yeast nutrient
- 1 tsp. Irish Moss (for clarity)
- 1 oz (5 candies) Cascade Hop Candies
1. Make a yeast starter. Stir 1 tsp of dry malt extract in with one cup of warm degree water. Cover with saran wrap and wait until minutes. Add one teaspoon of dry malt extract and make sure yeast is active after around 30 minutes.
2. Heat 1 gallon of water in pot and boil 2.5 gallons of water in the brew kettle.
3. Add hot water (~160 degrees) to primary fermenter. Start dissolving honey with the hot water to make must.
4. Start heating another 1 gallon of water in pot. Add to must after it has reached ~160 degrees. Add 2.5 tsp of yeast nutrient. Add another half gallon of hot water, bringing the total volume of must to around 3 gallons.
5. When the water in the brew kettle is boiling, add all dry malt extract.
6. Add Irish Moss (for clarity) to the wort with 15 minutes left in boil.
7. Add hops to the wort.
- 0:60 – 1 oz.
- 0:30 – 1 oz.
- 0:05 – 1 oz.
8. Combine wort and must in the primary fermenter.
9. Cool wort to ~70 degrees.
10. Pitch yeast from yeast starter.
1. Boil water for priming sugar. When water is boiling, add priming sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and cover.
2.Transfer beer from fermenter to bottling bucket.
3. Add dissolved priming sugar.
4. Transfer beer to bottles and growlers, then cap ’em up!
This beer turned out really well. It was such a good summer beer… really light and crisp, yet alcoholic and kind of dry. The honey flavor really shined through and the hops were the icing on the cake. Without a ton of sediment, this was the type of beer that you could drink 3 or 4 of on a Friday night in summer and just feel great!
27 Apr 2014
Brew Day: 4/27/14
Transfer Day: 5/8/14
Bottle Day: 5/26/14
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.018
- 1 package 2278 Czech Pils Wyeast
- ~1 lb. of Pilsen grain
- 6 lbs Pilsen Malt Extract Syrup
- 1 lb. Pilsen Dry Malt Extract
- 1 oz Czech Saaz Hop Pellets (3.0% Alpha)
- 1 oz Czech Saaz Hop Pellets (4.0% Alpha)
- 1 oz Liberty Hop Pellets (4.5% Alpha)
- 1 Tsp. Irish Moss
1. Break the yeast packet to activate.
2. Crush the Pilsen Grain thoughourly. (As best as possible without a mill).
3. Heat ~ 1 gallon of water to 160 degrees. Then pour the crushed grain into the brew kettle to begin the partial mash. Mash the grain for one hour.
4. Sparge the wort with ~2.5 gallons of hot water.
5. Start the boil.
6. Once the wort is boiling, add all malt extract. Stir frequently to avoid burning the bottom of the kettle.
7. Add hops. Hop schedule:
- 0:60-1 oz Liberty
- 0:30-1 oz Czech Saaz (4% Alpha)
- 0:10 -1 oz Czech Saaz (3% Alpha)
8. With 10 minutes left in the boil, add Irish Moss (for clarity).
9. Fill a Tupperware bin full of cold water and frozen 2-liter pop bottles. After 60 minutes of boiling, take the brew kettle off the heat and move it to the wort cooling container.
10. The initial gravity was really high (likely because of the smaller wort volume), so we added a few cups of tap water to dilute the wort a bit.
11. Once the wort has cooled to ~ 70 degrees, pitch the yeast.
12. Seal the glass carboy and place it in the closet for fermentation.
1. Transfer beer from glass carboy to secondary fermenter.
1. Boil water for priming sugar. When the water is boiling, add priming sugar and stir until dissolved completely. Take off heat and cover.
2. Thoroughly sanitize instruments, bottles, and growlers.
3. Transfer beer to bottling bucket.
4. Add priming sugar and stir into the beer.
5. Transfer beer from bottling bucket to bottles and growlers.
6. Cap ’em up!
7. Fill the fridge with the bottled beer for aging.
The Pilsner tasted really bad for a long time–there were strong banana flavors, it wasn’t very carbonated, and just generally nasty. That makes it a little easier to age properly, however. After about three months from bottling, we starting tasting the Pilsner again and it was significantly better. We bottled in late May and were enjoying the Pilsner all throughout the fall. The final flavor was really light and crisp, yet slightly maltier and more flavorful than your typical big-name lager. It was a great session beer and super tasty on a warm fall afternoon!
24 Mar 2014
For those who are not familiar with Duluth, or for those who are familiar with Duluth but have been deprived, I will enlighten you about Park Point. This long and beautiful beach is said to be the world’s largest natural sandbar. In the summer, it is the perfect place to lounge and relax and catch some rays. That is a different post for a different time, or season, though.
Park Point looks drastically different in the winter. I had never visited the beach in the winter, as I figured it was just cold, sandy and desolate–much unlike the summer where it is a cold, sandy and popular place to hang out. I suppose not as different as it sounds! Well, if the wind is blowing in the right direction, it is a warm, sandy and popular place to hang out.
Thanks to Destination Duluth, I stumbled across some pictures from local photographers who were capturing some amazing winter scenery at Park Point, and I became intrigued. The next Sunday, I wrangled Diamond up and we headed to the beach.
The first excursion was a nice sunny Sunday. Nice is kind of a misnomer, because it was really cold. The wind was very brisk right off of the lake and there wasn’t much we could do to seek shelter from the biting breeze. As we walked up to the beach, I was instantly amazed with the features. There were huge hills of ice all along the shoreline as far as the eye could see on either side. I noticed a hole in the ice.
I realized that the hole led to an ice cave. I crawled through the hole and it was so cool! How does something like this form??
Once inside, the icicles hanging from the ceiling were incredible. It looked like a real cave…the icicles resembled stalactites and there was a chamber. I’ve seen Park Point in the summer and I knew that this feature was made out of entirely ice. That really blew my mind.
I went a bit further down the beach and found another cave. It wasn’t as low and deep as the first cave, but was really tall, which made for a cool picture.
After my hands became numb, Diamond and I decided to pack up and go home. Of course, we stopped at the Smokehaus on the way home. When in Rome, as they say. We both had so much fun that I decided that going to Park Point would be the perfect Sunday routine. So next Sunday we went again!
The next Sunday, we had another really incredible time. It was sunny and a bit warmer this week, and the wind was coming out of the south, so being on the lake side in the caves was sheltered. This time, we found two really, really cool caves. The first one was massive–the ice formation was the biggest one I have seen.
There was a little dropoff, then the ice opened up into a chamber with all sorts of smaller pockets. Also, the ice must have been a little thinner than in some of the other caves, because the light shining through made some really cool colors. It was like a stained glass window. Below is a snowy picture from inside of the biggest chamber looking outside. Diamond is near the entrance.
I snapped a quick video on one of our later trips. Where the ceiling melted through was were the ice was thinnest on our previous trips. You can get an idea of the contours of the icy cave floor and how many little chambers were there.
The second cave we found that day was almost by accident. The entrance was a really small hole, likely created by the drifting snow. I had to crawl on my stomach down a chute, and I could see that after 10 feet or so, there was a larger chamber. Once I slid all the way down, the ice opened up into a huge chamber. Unlike the first cave, this one was a big room… there weren’t any offshoots or anything. The icicles were really amazing in this cave. This one was dark on the inside and it took a minute for my eyes to adjust.
Below is a picture of Diamond trying to maneuver through the cave. She was just smashing the icicles off of the ceiling without a second thought, and I am over here trying to be as careful as possible to preserve nature.
The cave looked something like a lollipop–a narrow passageway that opens up into a big circular chamber. So cool!
Every week except twice removed, Park Point has been a fun Sunday ritual. I’m hoping to keep it up into the summer!
15 Mar 2014
Brew Day: 3/15/14
Transfer Day: 3/25/14
Bottle Day: 4/2/14
Original Gravity: 1.080
Transfer Gravity: 1.013
Final Gravity: 1.012
- 6 lbs. Plain Extra Light Dry Malt Extract
- 3.3 lbs. (one can) Extra Light Liquid Malt Extract
- 1 package (11.5 g) Safale US-05 American Dry Ale Yeast
- 13.35 ounces Cascade Hop pellets
- 1 ounce Cascade Hop (full leaf–for dry hop)
- 1 Tbsp. Irish Moss (for clarity)
- 5 oz. Priming Sugar
1. Make yeast starter
- Pour a glass of lukewarm tap water (80 degrees)
- Add yeast
- Add a bit of dry malt extract (~2 tbsp.)
2. Boil 5 gallons of water
3. When water is boiling, add all malt extract.
4. Add hops
- 0:60 – 4.5 oz
- 0:45 – 3.5 oz
- 0:10 – 2.7 oz
- 0:05 – 2.6 oz
5. Add Irish moss (for clarity) at 0:15 left in boil.
6. Get ice bath ready. Put ice chunks into Tupperware bin with water.
7. After 0:60 minutes of boiling, move the brew kettle to the ice bath.
8. When wort has cooled to Transfer wort into primary fermenter with auto-siphon.
9. Pitch yeast and aerate thoroughly.
1. Sanitize thoroughly: auto-siphon, glass carboy, carboy plug, hop bag.
2. Fill hop bag with full leave Cascade hops.
3. Shove the hop bag into the glass carboy.
4. Transfer beer into glass carboy.
1. Add priming sugar to approximately 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved completely.
2. Sanitize auto-siphon, bottling bucket, and brew paddle.
3. Transfer beer to bottling bucket and add priming sugar.
4. Sanitize all bottles and caps.
5. Bottle the beer.
6. Cap bottles.
7. Store in the aging cellar/closet for carbonating.
This one turned out really good!! It had a really tasty citrusy and hoppy flavor. The high alcohol content wasn’t overpowering, but you could taste it and definitely feel it after a couple!
10 Mar 2014
Race Day: Saturday, March 8, 2014 – 9 AM
I had the pleasure of racing a really fun 10 mile race this past weekend in Minneapolis, the 100% Irish For a Day 10 mile. I am very fond of the 10 mile distance and I think this race was perfect to get a gauge on how hard I can push this early in the running season. I was at the race with my mom, who registered for the un-timed 5k. Also, my friend Stacie, who I’ve been doing a bit of marathon training with, drove down from Duluth that morning and raced the 10 mile.
Unfortunately, I left my running jacket at the Minnesota Timberwolves game that I attended the night before the race, which made me really nervous about layering for the race. The temperature was mid-teens into the 20s by noon or so. I ended up using an old windbreaker from the back of my parent’s coat closet. I bundled up for the sub-20 degree weather, and after a half mile, I realized I majorly overdressed. Luckily, we parked right off of the race course and I threw the windbreaker onto the snowbank. My hamstring was bothering me a bit during the week leading up to the race, so I was nervous to see how it would react by me pushing hard for 10 whole miles. I started slow as not to aggravate my muscles, plus it took a bit to rip off the jacket and get my race shirt back on. There was a split around the 5k mark, and I think this is one of the first races I’ve posted a negative split. It felt really good to consistently pass people, and I didn’t feel very fatigued until the last mile. The conditions were pretty tough–a lot of ice and slippery areas, but the weather was pretty nice otherwise. It was sunny and felt great once I got going.
Shoes: Saucony Ride 6
06 Mar 2014
Michael C Ward. The life and times.
I want to get a website up as a fun project. I like web development and a website is the coolest way to get information and ideas out to the world! Feel free to explore to your heart’s content. This website will be updated with all sorts of cool stuff (if all goes according to plan).