Week 19 In Review: Revival and Ribs

First, a confession: I skipped the planned Yoga and Bodyflow sessions this week because I devoted that time to shopping for my first attempt at cooking crockpot baby-back ribs.

Other than that, this week was devoted to making up for the two circuit course sessions plus the fartlek that I missed last week. I made up the fartlek on Labor Day, in the World Gym parking lot.

Because this week was going to be an somewhat punishing week, I wanted a chance to reward myself with some home cooking. I did a speech on the preparations of baby backed ribs, and I discovered that I could make my own ribs without the hassle of getting a smoker or a bigger charcoal grill. With a crock pot, I could put in my ribs and stuff at 0700 and have a nice meal when I get home at 1600.

Friday afternoon, instead of going to yoga, I went to Shopper’s Supermarket and got the smallest and least expensive rack of ribs that I could find. If I screwed this up, I wanted this mess to be minimal.

Saturday afternoon, I bought a Crock Pot from the Navy Exchange at Patuxent River. After I got home, I spent an hour-plus prepping the ribs. I spent an hour trying to cut away the membrane from the meat; if it was still on while the meat cooked, the sauces and marinades wouldn’t get through the meat. After the somewhat messy job of cutting the membrane, I put on the rub. Because I am a very amateur and lazy chef, I picked up a couple of small bottles of McCormick’s spice blends for barbecue. I grabbled a bottle and began rubbing down the meat. After rubbing one side down I grabbed the bottle for to spread some spices over the membrane side of the meat. I got a quick glance at the bottle and saw the words “Montreal Steak.”

I had grabbed the bottle for steak rubs, not one of the two for barbecue rubs.

Whatever.

I grabbed one of the two barbecue spices and finished rubbing the meat down. I wrapped it in foil and put the meat away.

PRERUN:

I got up an extra half-hour early to get the meat set for cooking. I wanted to try a North Carolina style marinade, so I used two 32-oz bottles of apple cider vinegar and two 16-oz bottles of apple juice to try and cut the tartness of the vinegar. In retrospect, I should have bought another bottle of apple juice (or some apple cider), then put the vinegar and juice/cider in a blender and tried to mix them together. I put in my juice/vinegar mix, put the meat in the Crock Pot bowl, set it for 8 hours (to maybe compensate for the sloppy job of “membraning”), then went about prepping for my run.

Today, I planned to do an 18 mile run from Abberly Crest Apartments to NAS Pax River’s Gate 1 (2.5 mi.). From there it would be to Cuddihy Road to run the base triathlon bicycle circuit, which was 13 miles. After finishing the bicycle course loop, I would head back down Three Notch Road to Gate 2 Road, then back to Willow Rd and back home.

In today’s run, I wanted to address in race fueling and hydration. I wasn’t too keen on the hydration backpacks offered at Dick’s Sporting Goods or the Navy Exchange, so I decided to depend upon Quench chewing gum near the latter stages of the run. If I got thirsty/dry-mouther, i would pop in a piece or two. For the in-run fueling, I would suck down a Gu energy gel at the 12 mile mark and another one just before the hill that went back up Cuddihy Road.

I wanted to do time checks at the 6 and 12 mile intervals, depending on my pedometer for approximate distances. However, as I approached a “guesstimate” point for the 6 mile, I checked my watch and found out that it HAD NOT BEEN RUNNING. Dammit. From then on, I decided to check my distance/time when the hourly chime went off on my watch.

I started out in the darkness of 0500 and when the sun came up at just before 0600, it was a grey overcast. There was a good wind blowing, and I got caught in for the first 5-6 miles of the run. The day was mostly pleasant running, and it didn’t warm up until, the sun broke through the clod cover, sometime around 0900. The Gu was a decent help through the final third of the run, but I think I chewed more Quench than I expected (or was that hunger as well?) I finished the run at 4’37”; the odometer said the course was 18 miles, but my pedometer said 19.32 when I was done. Nevertheless, I finished the run in good spirits; I had made only two stops for pee breaks in the opening six miles, and one more for Morning Colors at 0800 (12.75 mark, at the Test Pilot School Runway).

POSTRUN

After the run (about 0945-ish) I hit the epsom salt bath and took a power nap.At just before 1:00 p.m., the Crock Pot finished with my ribs. I had prepped my oven broiler to put some heat on my ribs; however,as I removed the meat from the Crock Pot, I saw the phrase “fall off the bone” came from. My baby back ribs had become pulled pork.

Whatever.

I put the rings and de-boned meat in the broiler for 4:00, and let them sit. They came out a little blackened, but not burned, and they were still tender and juicy. I put some meat on a plate with some deviled egg potato sale and some Olive Garden breadsticks from the cargo-load meal from the night before.

The final verdict: the long time in the Crock Pot compensated for my hack job at removing the membrane, but I got pulled pork instead of ribs. I should have used more apple juice (or better yet, apple cider) to cut the vinegar. In the end, the meal was an unqualified success.

THE COURSE

The course started and finished with the Willow Road to Shangri-La loop; at the Corner of Willow/Shangri-La and Great Mills Road, I made a right on Great Mills towards Gate 2. At Gate 2 I took a left onto Highway 4 until I got to the road going to Gate 1. After passing gate 1 I took the road to the Buse Road/Cuddihy Road intersection and made a left onto Cuddihy Road. At the parking lot of the base swimming center is about three miles.

I took Cuddihy Road and followed it to Tate Road and took a right, following Tate Road to the state of the ten-mile base loop. I followed the base loop back to the Cedar Point/Tate intersection and took a right back onto Tate. I followed Tate back to Cuddihy and back up the hill, then made a right at the Cuddihy/Buse intersection back to Gate 1. Took a right onto Three Notch Road to the intersection at Three Notch/Great Mills, then the last left back to Willow road for the final mile-plus back home.

The course combines parts of my familiar runs: the opening half of my Willow Road-Shangri-La run, the Cuddihy to Tate four miler, and the NAS Pax ten-miler. On Cuddihy Road, I found a Portajohn at a softball field next to the road, and I found another Portajohn at the four mile point that marked the opening stretch of shoreline. The back three miles on the base run are by the base beach areas and the base golf course; near the 6-8 mile stretch is a bridge that crosses some marshland. After a two mile straightaway, there’s a nice downhill curve that leads to a small rise as you cross the TPS Runway.

Cuddihy Road, aside from the softball field with convenient Potajohn, is a good downhill near the early stages of the run, and a good climb (but not really energy sapping, like the mule long climb I did at Grrenbelt last week) going back up. As you head to Gate 1 it is another climb, albeit not as steep.

VIDEOS:

Gene Simmons (bassist/vocalist for KISS) declared rock and roll officially dead this weekend. In honor of that astute assent I present the following:

Saw this video on a Super Bowl Sunday (Redskins/Dolphins I think):

If you’ve ever seen the movie “28 Days Later”, here’s the full version of that creepy opening theme:

The climaxing drum roll near the end would fold nicely into this G n’ R classic:

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