Thursday, August 28, 2014

Oh, hello there

So yeah, once again I sorta fell off the face of the Earth.

On the blog front, at least. In real life, that couldn't be further from the truth.

Life this summer has been CRAZY!

But all is well, and I have so many things I want to share with you, so I'm just gonna jump right into it with a little recap of last week.


Yep, I'm training again, and I'm having a blast with it!

I'm currently training for an Olympic Duathlon in Muncie on October 4th.

I've done a couple of sprint tris (recaps here and here), but this will be my first du.

Earlier this summer I picked up an actual road bike from a guy who used it on a half-Ironman last year (he was upgrading to a tri bike), so that really got me excited to get into biking.

We just wrapped up week 6 of our training plan, and so far I'm getting the majority of my workouts in (which is great for me, especially with everything else we've got going on, but it also helps that it's not a very demanding training schedule).

On Sunday I did my first run-bike-run workout, and it went really well. I had a 5K run, 30K bike (roughly 18.6 miles), and a 3K run (or 1.8 miles).

Jennifer and I headed to the park for it, since she had a long brick to do as well. We got a bit of a later start than we were hoping for, so it was pretty hot and humid out. Overall, I was pretty happy with how things went:

5K Run - 26:01 (8:23/mile average)
30K Bike - 1:22:53 (13.4 mph average)
3K Run - 14:47 (8:04/mile average)

The bike was a lot slower than I was hoping for. There ended up being a lot more people out at the park than we were expecting (especially the number of people who don't understand common courtesy on the bike path), and there are a lot of sharp, blind corners at the park, so riding is pretty slow going there as it is. Out on the roads around our house, I can crank out around 17-18 mph on average without too much trouble.

On Sunday, September 7th we're doing Tri for Sight in Lexington (which was actually Jennifer's first tri a few years ago!). Now they're offering a sprint duathlon in addition to the sprint tri, so it works out perfectly for us, especially since we're both supposed to do a sprint race on that day according to our training plans. Don't you love when things just work out like that?

The bike is a little shorter than what a traditional sprint should be (it's only 13 miles), so I'm really hoping to average closer to 20mph.  Stay tuned for that race recap!

Beer Making

So my little one gallon test batches didn't quite turn out like I was hoping. I think the biggest problem was that I didn't make a yeast starter for them, assuming they were small enough that I could just dump half a vial of yeast in and be okay.

Well they kinda turned out like my first batches of beer; they all had a bit of an off-flavor and just weren't very good.

Even so, by doing the small batches I was able to brew when I wouldn't have been able to otherwise, so all wasn't exactly lost.

I've really stepped up my brewing game in the last month, though, starting with making a cooler into a mash tun. (A mash tun is what you use to steep your grains in hot water to get the sugars out of them.)

My fancy stainless steel ball valve, used to drain the wort

Here's the manifold on the inside made out of CPVC

The slits in the pipes allow the wort to flow out without disturbing the grains. That's why they face down.
Earlier this month, I invited the guys over for a little man night/brewing party where we put the mash tun to use for the first time.

This was the grain bed after draining the wort. I didn't think to get a picture while it was actually mashing :-/

This is the wort (i.e. sugary water) as it came out of the mash tun.

I had some issues hitting the mashing temperature I was looking for, but I still landed in an acceptable range. I think I just need to brew a few more batches to really dial it in. ;)

That was the second time I've had the guys over to brew, and that's definitely the way to do it. We tried some new beers, chopped some wood, made beer, and then sat around a fire talking about guy things all night. It was perfect.

The other exciting part about this batch is I finally get to try out that keg I got at the beginning of the year!

Last week the beer was ready to keg, so I got the CO2 tank filled, figured out how to use everything (without having things explode), and set to work.

Hit the final gravity of 1.010 right on the money
Running some sanitizer through beer line

We ended up only losing about half a gallon during the boil instead of the full gallon that I was expecting to lose, so we ended up with closer to 6 gallons of beer instead of 5. Since the keg only holds 5 gallons, that meant I had a little bit left over that I went ahead and bottled. We ended up with about 3 pints on top of the full keg.

A keg full of beer :)
I hooked the keg up to the gas last weekend, so now I'm patiently waiting for it to carb up so I can try it! (It should only take about a week.)

That Whole Vegetarian Thing

You may recall last December when I announced that I was going full-on vegetarian. A big part of that was to see how it would affect my marathon training, but really that was just another reason on top of many to pursue it since it had been on my mind for quite a while.

And it's mostly because of those other reasons that I'm still vegetarian today.

I do feel that it helped my training, but I'm not sure exactly how much. I think the fact that I stuck with the plan helped more than anything.

But I like how I feel now that I'm no longer eating meat, and I feel better morally, too.

I'm just two months away from my vegi-versary, and I can't see myself going back anytime soon.


I know he's the main reason you're even reading this, so I certainly can't leave him out.

But he has grown so much in these past few months that I just can't fit it all in here, so I'll leave you with some cute pictures for now until I can write up a full update post.

He's such a happy boy. We really got so lucky. :)

Until next time...

Thanks for reading!


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