Tag Archives: holiday weekend

Thanksgiving Week 2020: The Circle Closes

Thursday (Thanksgiving Day)

Breakfast: Eggs Benedict…sort of. My first poached egg came out perfect. #2 and #3 were both uncooked hot messes. #4 was a fried egg benedict.

My cooking multitasking did come out well, despite me stirring the Knorr hollandaise sauce for ten minutes without turning the front burner on. Still I did get the hollandaise sauce properly cooked; I even added some ground oregano and paprika to the mix. Ladles onto the first egg benedict, it did taste delicious. It even went well with the fried egg benedict. And my tactic of adding a slice of pancetta on top of the grilled prosciutto was a good choice, mixing the sweetness of pancetta with the salty Parma ham (as gordon Ramsay would call it).

Whole lot of extra hollandaise sauce leftover. Could have made eggs benedict for about eight servings with the one-packet batch that I made.

Desert prep: Tiramisu. Lesson learned here: electric mixer. I tried to hand-whisk the three egg whites, and I think I only got halfway. I also think I may not have really soaked the ladyfingers all the way through until the last four or five. From the first cracked egg to putting the finished product in the fridge took about an hour.

I had two helpings and it came out delicious. Only bad thing: all that leftover mascarpone filling. It’s chilling in the fridge now to prep for my Tuesday Marine Corps League potluck

Dinner: Bachelor’s Pad Seafood boil: Start to finish, the whole meal prep took about an hour and a half, and I sat down to dinner at the tail end of the Texans beating the Lions.

The one trick? The first thing that I had prepped was the pound of gulf jumbo shrimp, starting just after twelve thirty. However, by the time that I started putting things in the turkey fryer/boiler, the shrimp were a bright pink. IN theory I could have just chucked the crab in there, got some cocktail sauce for the shrimp and ate them as is. However, this was to be a seafood boil, so I made the command decision to shorten the cooking time from five minutes to two.

The shrimp made it…just barely. Went nice with drawn butter and white wine vinegar.

While waiting for Redskins-Cowboys, I chowed down on my boiled Thanksgiving feast and washed it down with a tall boy can of Miller Lite. I only made it through one plate.

Oh look…leftovers.

Sportball interlude:

Xavier 51, Bradley 50: Ya gotta make this free throws, Braves!

Washington Football Team 41, Dallas 16. It was 20-16 to start the fourth. I was full of dinner and finally finished my one tall boy by the time the rout ended.

Welcome back Alex Smith.

Hail to the Redskins.

Friday (Black Friday):

At 4: 45 p.m. I got ready to jump in the car and head to the Navy Lodge aboard NAS Patuxent River. It was there on the cold, dark morning after the Super Bowl that I started training for the Semper Fi Double, and I wanted to formally end the year there.

I saw the full moon.

One last full moon to run under.

COVID-19 restrictions had prohibited me from renting a room at the Navy Lodge, but never mind, I could still drive out to the base and do the run.

One last run. One last full moon.

Saturday (two hours later)

Got out of bed at 0550. Sunrise would be about 0630-ish. Out of bed, dressed for warmth. Oh, look I’m missing my gloves and knit cap. Going to be a recurring theme this winter…how many sets of gloves and caps can a man buy in a winter season?

At the Navy Lodge parking lot about 0610. Motorcyclist in the parking lot revving up his souped up motorcycle…nice one, idiot, you know there are people sleeping, right? If I were a Maryland state trooper, I would be making my ticket quota every month just on motorcyclists and pickup truck drivers.

The sky was overcast, covering the full moon. It wasn’t that cold, so the gloves and cap were not an issue. Didn’t do one last Japanese ham sandwich, or otherwise stretch. Just set up the MapMyRun, hit START WORKOUT, put the phone in my FlipBelt, on off I went.

Down Cuddihy, took a right on Buse, past the Moffat Building. Buse up and down to Cedar Point Road, ran it downhill all the way to the entrance road to the Drill Hall Gymnasium and down the road to the Marine Aviation Detachment HQ. Pulled even with, then past the HQ sign and turned around the way I came.

With my mind on other things besides the run, before I knew it, I was climbing up Buse Road towards the stoplight turning onto Cuddihy and the road back to the Navy Lodge. One last climb up Cuddihy, past the stop sign and past the Navy Lodge sign.

A couple of selfies in front of the Navy Lodge signage. Back in the car, and off to McDonald’s for breakfast (and for my third straight meal of the weekend).

The circle is closed. What I have written I have written.

Songs of the Day:

Triarii: The Final Legion

Q*Brick: Shot’em

Deep Purple: Highway Star

The Darkness: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Leonard Cohen: The Future

Manfred Mann: Blinded by the Light

Thanksgiving Week 2020: Crab Boil

Tuesday:

Taco Tuesday was a bust.

First, my breakfast tacos took a dump when I didn’t heat up my corn tortillas. They were too soft and practically disintegrated with the first bite. I only got one chorizo con huevos taco down, out of a filling made for at least three.

My maiden attempt at tacos al pastor? First problem was either my wooden skewers were too thin, or I didn’t place my meat on them the right way. The skewers stuck in the pineapple were all crooked when I put them in the oven. Making matters worse, I kept the spit of pork shoulder and pineapples in the oven too long. The whole thing eventually fell over; when I pulled out the spit after 90 minutes, the meat was clearly overdone (read: burnt). I also overdid heating up the flour tortilla, so it was crunchier than a soft taco shell should have been. I did get some edible meat out of the remains, but not much of a spectacular meal.

So…all that happened.

Wednesday:

I am pretty much set for tomorrow’s meals, and maybe beyond.

This morning, I resurrected my two-year-old Faberware Indoor Turkey Fryer out of my walk-in pantry storage. Draining the old oil, then cleaning the heating element and the oil reservoir took all of a half and hour. The brief search for the power cord ended when I found it next to where I had stored the fryer.

The fryer is clean and in place. I have a fresh three quart jug of Deer Park water to boil my dinner in and the seafood should be thawed by now.

Bachelor’s Crab Boil

Boil water (1/2 hour)

Red potatoes: boil 12 min.

Corn cobbettes: Boil 9 min.

Half-smokes, two links: Boil 9 min.

1 lb. Dungeness crab and 1/2 lb. jumbo shrimp: Boil 5 min.

The broth: Deer Creek water to fill line, followed by crab boil seasoning, a generous amount of Old Bay seasoning, and one tall boy can of Miller Lite.

Accompanied by drawn/melted butter and white wine vinegar. Served with another Miller Lite tall boy.

For lunch, I practiced actually poaching two eggs for my Thanksgiving morning breakfast of Eggs Benedict. One was alright, the other egg could have used about thirty more seconds. The Hollandaise sauce will be a sauce mix made by Knorr, an English seasoning company. According to master chef Marco Pierre White, Knorr makes pretty good beef and chicken stockpots, so I’ll give their sauce a shot.

Provided I don’t take too early of a bedtime, I plan on having homemade tiramisu for dessert. I wanted to have a bed of graham crackers under the bottom layer of the ladyfingers, but I kept forgetting to get them. Oh, well. Right after breakfast, I’m going to make the dessert and stick it in the fridge.

Song of the Day:

I was going to hotlink a video from Chef Marco, but I couldn’t pull up any… sooo:

Piano cover of Rammstein/”Sonne”

Piano cover of Guns N’ Roses/”Don’t Cry”

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Week 18 In Review: Sea of Faces, pt. 3

Yesterday, I ran the Larry Noel 15K (9.3 mi.) Race in Greenbelt, MD. The race was part of the 60th Annual Greenbelt Labor Day Festival.

The challenges coming into this week’s long run:

1) Training this week was not that great; I made my 4 and 5 mile runs, but skipped two of my circuit sessions at the gym (to include the Thursday fartlek).

2) The race start time was at 5:00 p.m. I usually run the Sunday runs between 0500-0600. The last two races started at 0800 and 0900.

3) The diet wasn’t that great either (since Reno).

4) Still bummed about the DNF from last Sunday. I ran out of gas near the 12 mile mark, and got lost 1/2 mile from the finish.

Prerace:

The day started at 0730, and I had breakfast about 0900. I had three scrambled eggs and four slices of pork jowl bacon, plus two cups of coffee. The rest of the day was spent alternating two 20-oz bottles of Shakeology with three 20-oz bottles of water. That was the biggest challenge of the day-trying to balance keeping fueled without starving or bloating myself before the run.

I left Lexington Park for my hotel in Laurel, MD at 2:15 p.m., about 45 minutes later than I planned. I still got to the hotel and changed over into my running gear (including Skin-So-Soft and Body Glide) and got to the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival with an hour to go before the run. I lucked into a parking space, and had a short walk to the festival. There was no “front gate” and no entry fee, but there were no clear directions to the run site either. It took myself and a female runner asking a couple of people where the registration and run course was. First we headed to the Greenbelt Aquatic Center, where we were directed to the Greenbelt Rec Center. There we found the registration area. We got our bibs and souvenir shirts (I wanted an XXL, but the L long sleeved tech shirt fit me nicely) and meandered over to the starting line. Well, the female did; I had to power walk back to the car to stash the shirt and get my Marine running ballcap.

The run field was the smallest I had seen, compared to the other two runs I did. Not that it mattered to me since I had no plans on competing for any prizes. At the race introductions, I learned that the race was named after one of the area’s local runners; the starting line was located in the very neighborhood where he lived. This was also the 55th running of this race.

Chutes and Ladders:

The course started and finished in the Grenbelt neighborhoods that bordered the Greenbelt Recreation Center and Park, and the bulk of the race took place near the US Agricultural Labs where pesticides were being field tested.

http://www.usatf.org/events/courses/maps/showMap.asp?courseID=MD04002RT

This course was mostly hills, uphills and downhills. The first kilometer (of 15) started with a steady uphill. AS the race began, I let most of the pack go. My goal was to concentrate on my fourteen-mile pace and maintain a steady rhythm; I had hoped to catch up to any stragglers later on in the race. As I headed up the incline towards the first incline I had two epiphanies: 1) there were going to be a lot of climbs during this run, and 2) no way was I going to catch anybody today. That fourteen mile pace? Not today.

The first loop was were I dubbed the race “Chutes and Ladders.” The “ladders” were all the climbs/uphills (more than a few) and the chutes were the downhills. At the 7K and 8K were two long stretches of uphill. During those stretches I was passed by a few old people, including a woman who I had to guess was in her seventies. Not a real morale boost, I can tell you. Just before the 9K point, at the crossroads of the T, I headed for the portajohn.

Conversation I had with a female runner:

“Don’t give up, we don’t have long to go!”

“Who is ‘we?'”

“Hey, I’m French!”

…or something like that.

AS I reached the back half of the T, the course flattened out a bit. At the 10K, as I sucked down the chocolate power gel, I noticed the sky had darkened, and I saw the lightning and heard the thunder. I figured the rain was coming, I just hoped to not be struck by lightning. About a klick after the turnaround, the heavens finally opened up.

After hitting the T and heading on the last 3K of the race, there was going to be one last “ladder”, a 2K stretch of hill up Ridge Road. Fortunately, the chocolate gel had kicked in and I had hit my second wind. As the rain poured down and my legs found their drive, I found myself more willing and able than I thought I was to take the hill. I reminded myself that this was never about beating anybody or showing off; I reminded myself that I took the “out of the box” runs like these because I didn’t want any easy training for the marathon. At that point, the rain didn’t matter, the fourteen minute pace didn’t mater, and the other runners didn’t mater. It was all about working the course and learning to fight through the tough times in every race.

The final klick was flat, but it was full of twists and turns. I took the final mile at full speed because I finally had something for a “final kick”, keeping wary of my traction because of the now-wet course. I wanted to finish strong, but I was getting annoyed by all the turns in the final leg of the route. I finally crossed the line, but there was no timer’s clock, only a device that recorded the time on the chip in out race bibs. I had no pedometer or stopwatch on me, so I would have to get my time later; I had to settle to for the satisfaction of completing the race.

Aftermath:

As I made my way through Greenbelt Park on my way back to the car, I noticed that the rain had driven off Festival hosts, guests, and vendors alike. The drive back to the hotel was short, but more hazardous than it should have been. I hadn’t cooled down enough, so the windows and windshields were all fogged up (no help from my car’s defogger). The rain and the darkness of the hour added to the difficulty of the trip, but I managed to make it back to Hampton Inn without any incidents or run-ins with the police.

There was a Joe’s Crab Shack in the area, but my fatigue and the driving conditions forbade any more driving for the night. I took an Epsom salt bath, chowed down on reheated Olive Garden from the night before, and settled in for the night.

Lessons learned:

1) In-race hydration and fueling (power gels, orange slices, etc) really makes a difference

2) Don’t worry about being passed by senior citizen runners. They’ve probably been running longer than you have (I only restarted running in April)

3) Course conditions and elevations don’t matter, how you handle them does.

4) A steady pace at the start will help you get that “final push” near the end.

This wasn’t a “fun” Labor Day weekend, but I think it will be beneficial in a couple of months…

Icy Hot and Instant Noodles

Tuesday morning I banged my knee on something; two gym sessions and a hill run later, my knee is staring to act up on me. Nothing major or swollen, but going up and down a flight of stairs got real challenging about 1700 or so. I wen to CVS to get some Icy Hot sleeves for my knees. I’m riding on Icy Hot’s reputation on this one. I had a serious crimp in my back one time, and 10 minutes after applying an Icy Hot patch to my back the pain was gone.

I’ve also got to run in less than six hours, so I am going to attempt a carbo¬†load with one cup of Maruchan Instant Noodles (shrimp flavor) and one cup Velveeta instant Shells and Cheese. Here’s hoping I don’t have to have a major bowel movement in the morning so I can get my run over with by 0600, not 0800. I have tomorrow off, but I have things to do.

Tomorrow’s run is Willow Road-Shangri-La 3. I need to get some course maps from the NAS Pax River gym so I can pick a good five miler for Sunday.

Memorial Day Weekend for me? Marine Corps League¬†stuff, try to register for one more class at Southern Illinois University, MCM, friend’s wedding on Saturday, pay bills…and maybe a lonely toast on Monday to all the fallen heroes of America.