Sunday, March 09, 2014

For JUST 1 Cup of the Most Expensive Coffee in the World

I had read about Civet Coffee after hearing about it on NPR's "This American Life". It doesn't come without controversy and naysayers. But, I have been intrigued and curious for some time. So, when Touch of Modern, the source for a daily shopping email I receive, offered a package from ValBeMar
that contained enough grounds to make a 8-10 oz cup for $25, I went for it; you only live once. I received my single serving of Kopi Luwak Friday. Immediately, I started thinking when do I make this? Do I wait for a special occasion? Do I need to prepare my palette? How? What's the best way to make a single serving of coffee from grounds? Oh, the thoughts one will put into making a $25 single serving of coffee.

I decided I would be fluid as to when, but that it would have to be on a morning when there was no rush, no hustle and bustle, an easy starting day. Well, I overslept and missed the opportunity to join the Sunday morning running group I sometimes run with. The time has just sprung forward. And, I can run when I want to. Today was the day, Carpe Diem! I made the coffee.

I had done a little research and discovered the recommended way to make the coffee requires a Syphon Brewer. You can buy yours here. I didn't. After doing a little research which amounted to watching some YouTube videos. I decided to use my French Press:
Those are expresso cups and we got about 3 cups worth from the press. Thus, the following should provide a sense of scale for both size and price:
8 Bucks Worth of Cat-Poop Coffee
Okay, I know you're on the edge of your seat. It was good, very good. It was not 8 bucks worth of good though. I'm not a great describer of flavor, but I love coffee and have sampled many. This coffee was rich in flavor without any bitterness. The aftertaste was equally smooth, pleasant, and lasting just enough to earn appreciation without boredom, leaving you ready for the next sip. I would also agree with ValBeMar's description:
ValBeMar Kopi Luwak Kayumas is a full bodied coffee (almost syrupy) with a rich, heavy taste and hints of caramel or chocolate. Many describe the aroma as earthy, musty, and complex. - See more at:
Betsy, my wife, had a dilemma. She normally doctors her coffee up with sweetener and creamer. But, adding something to this coffee seemed to be the equivalent of putting steak sauce on a steak. In Texas where I grew up, one only puts steak sauce on bad steak. The flavor should come from the meat. A little salt and pepper perhaps, but that's all. While Betsy liked the taste of the coffee, she was still impelled to "doctor" it up. She did. She liked it, but didn't find it superior to some coffees we brought home from Costa Rica during our vacation there last year.

So, there you have it. Very good. Too expensive. Get a good, less expensive Costa Rican coffee, but if you see a good deal, you too, should try it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Castaway Cay 5K (Disney Cruise Island)

The Race

This race is more of an organized fun run. Everyone gets a medal and they all say "Winner". I won. I beat everyone behind me. OK, I did run pretty strong and there were a bunch of folks behind me. But, judging about appearances, there were few strong runners toeing the line. It was fun and I had a great run including a last mile at a faster than 8 minute a mile pace which is awesome for me. There were more people in the race than I expected. which did help the atmosphere feel more like a race. The course was essentially and out and back on a airstrip with a double loop diversion in the middle as described and videoed in these links created by people that are more descriptive that I:
The weather was beautiful. I ran strong and only regret that I let some clown pass me 10 inches before the finish line. He wouldn't have if I had known he was coming! I had done 3 workouts the day before, so I was a bit surprised I was so strong during this race.

The Details

January 19, 2014: Castaway Cay, Bahamas
5K, 3.1 Miles
Distance:3.1 Miles
Heart Rate:156
7:56 last mile!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Thursday, November 28, 2013

37th Sam Lapidus Montclair Run: I Ran My Age

The Race

Another race where peeing required more attention than seems reasonable. I peed 4 times in 5 minutes just before the race started. Then, I had to go to the bushes are about 2 miles. I mentioned this to my friend Dan at the race and he suggested I consider getting a PSA test. While I don't think I have a medical problem because this only happens during races, I think he offers good advice. It does feel abnormal when it happens.

I raced well. This is the best pace I have maintained for 6 miles in a very long time. I met my friend Dan at the beginning of the race and we chin-wagged for awhile. He indicated he was going to try to run his age. I am 56. I ran my age. I have doing a number of tempo runs and 400's at the track. Maybe, they are paying off. I saw Prince, Sophia, John, and a few other folks I know. The official results show a time different than my watch. Not sure why they are so different, but I'm going with my watch to claim running my age.

The Details

November 28, 2013: Birmingham, AL
10K, 6..2 Miles
37th Sam Lapidus Montclair Run
Distance:6.2 Miles
Heart Rate:158
Weather:Partly cloudy

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Race Report: Augusta Ironman 70.3 - Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda....

The Race

My previous best 1/2 Ironman was also at Augusta in 2011 (6:10:30). This time I did 6:16:11, 5:41 slower than 2011. But, I think it could of been faster if I would have done a few things differently. First, I had to pee while swimming and I couldn't muster up enough gumption to do it while moving. Thus, I lost some time in the water. Sorry, fellow competitors. Second, I lost too much time putting compression sleeves on my calves. And, since that went slow I went ahead and did the socks. Thus, the long T1 time. Third, I had to pee on the bike. So, I tried to do it while moving. But, that meant getting in a position (not pedaling) to do so. It sort of worked after I tried a few times, but I was not able to empty my bladder. Thus, I ended up stopping at a porta john anyway. So, did I lose 5:41 seconds? To top it off, I hit the stop button between the swim to bike. Thus, I lost some unknown number of minutes on the watch during the race. So, I had to guess about where I was exactly in contrast to my 6:10:30 time of 2011.

So, lots of negatives, but my attitude during the race was not negative. I felt good and I had a good time. But, it would have been cool to PR too.

Setting up transition went well and I was able to park near the finish line. The swim started with the announcer telling us we would have start from the dock unlike previous years where we were started in the water. Why was this year different? Because the current was too strong. We were not unhappy to hear this. Except for my aforementioned need to pee, the swim was smooth and faster than previous years. Notably, this is the first wetsuit swim where I didn't have any issues at the beginning (trouble getting into the rhythm or  breathing). I did have a lot of trouble seeing the buoys, so I had to sight of the shore and other swimmers. LESSON: wear tinted goggles in direct sunlight. I need to find some tinted goggles I like to wear.

The bike went well. OK, again except for the need to pee and having to stop to do so. I passed a cyclist that clearly knew how. I was glad I didn't feel any mist in the air. The one thing I was worried about before the race turned out to be an non-issue. I was able to replenish my Profile Design hydration system (between the aero bars) while rolling. I did have to uncap the water bottles with my teeth as I am too scared to ride without holding the handle bars.

The run also went well except for one nutritional incident. I took perform at the first water stop and my stomach felt odd shortly there after. I stuck with water for the rest of the stops and the feeling passed. LESSON: stick to what you have practiced in training. I have quit using electrolyte based drinks like perform and gatorade based on information and conversations related to these:

Sodium supplementation is not required to maintain serum sodium concentrations during an Ironman triathlon
The Sports Drink Debate

I never walked, not even for the water stops.

While this was the last event for me this year, I feel ready for beginning my preparation for Ironman Chattanooga next year. I met or exceeded all my goals this year. I am pleased.

Post Race

The best thing about this race is that Teresa Jones, a friend of many years, was in the race too. We met the night before at Olive Garden along side many of the folks she has been training with. Teresa was working with me when I first launched my many year long running path (1994). I had just quit smoking and she was training for the 1995 Cooper River Bridge run. I signed up too. Several times she told me of an event she watched involving triathlon and a friend of hers. Fast forward a few years and I'm doing triathlons. Even better, Teresa starts doing triathlons. She set a stretch goal for the 2013 Augusta Ironman 70.3. 

I saw Teresa as I was completing my last loop of the run and she said our good friends, Bobby and Susan, were at the finish line. That made my day. Well, I didn't see them as I finished. I finished, then ate some pizza and fruit. I noticed that the finish line volunteers had not taken my timing chip. So, returned to the finish line to return it. On the way back, I spotted Susan. Joy! I joined Bobby and Susan and we cheered Teresa as she passed us on the course and up the finish chute. She did it!

It was a good day.


September 29, 2013: Augusta Ironman 70.3
Time: 6:16:11

SwimDistance: 1.2 Miles
Time: 30:08
TransitionTime: 7:56
CycleDistance: 56 Miles
Time: 3:01:24
Rate: 18.5
TransitionTime: 3:58
RunDistance: 13.1 Miles
Time: 2:42:45
Pace: 11:39
WeatherGenerally Clear
Temperature: 55.9-73.9°
Humidity: 90-48%


Fastest component in red.


Carbo-loading the night before with Teresa

$10,000,000 worth of bikes

The National Anthem launches the day as the flag comes down to earth

Swim-Bike-Run (They were playing "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees at the finish...

Moving along with Teresa

Sitting on the course to cheer on Teresa with Bobby and Susan (Bobby is taking the picture.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Race Report: Alabama Coastal Triathlon - Olympic Distance

I completed the Alabama Coastal Triathlon in Gulf Shores today. It is an olympic distance event. I was concerned about the event at first as I started having pain on the right side of groin yesterday and could feel it some this morning. Fortunately, it seemed to pass and disappear by the end of the race.  I have to travel to Orlando tomorrow. As a result Betsy and John choose not to accompany me as she would have to spend tomorrow here alone and drive home alone. The race went well, but I sure miss Betsy and John. I need to work once I get passed this race report anyway. So, its for the better, I reckon. Sure is lonely though.

The swim went well, but I did start by swimming to the wrong buoy:

And, I saw lots of jelly fish. I felt a minor sting on my right forearm on the first loop. I mistakenly hit stop of my Garmin 910XT watch as I entered T1 :( I did figure it out before I lost too much time. The ride felt great and the run was not fast, but was steady. For a minute, I thought I had a chance of breaking 3 hours. But, I missed by 6 minutes. But, it was my fastest olympic to-date, so I can't complain.


September 7, 2013: Alabama Coastal Triathlon
Time: 3:06:14

Distance: 1.5K
Time: 38:26
TransitionTime: 1:40
CycleDistance: 24.85 Miles
Time: 1:15:05
Rate: 19.9
TransitionTime: 2:46
RunDistance: 6.2 Miles
Time: 1:08:19
Pace: 11:07
WeatherMostly Cloudy
Temperature: 73.0°-84°
Humidity: 90%

Some pictures from the day:

Beautiful day, let's go do a triathlon
Activity is starting to pick up
The transition area.
Transition set up and ready
Transition is ready
Betsy did so good I listened to the pre-race briefing from my balcony.

Time to join the crowd.
Into the water we go. Jelly fish await...
What we look like coming out of the water.
3 hours and 6 minutes after the start...
Yep, I'm a bit tired.
Some pictures added from Ronnie Blakney's Facebook.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Race Report: Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon (Opps, Duathlon) - Olympic Distance

Another adventure to be had. And, I was faster than previous years  in every comparable event (read on to understand "every comparable event").  Before even arriving at the race, I got the following in an email:
Hopefully by now, you are aware of the interesting week we have had preparing for this weekend’s race.  The weather has posed some challenges with recent rains and flooding resulting in a change in the race format. Our swim start and swim exit have been under water all week and water outflow in the Tennessee River has been as high as 300% more than normal, making the environment unsafe for swimmers, kayakers or any water activity.
So, in the spirit of our founders Caulder and Betsy Willingham, we have put on our rain boots and come up with a plan. We will have a duathlon this year [run/bike/run] that will provide each of you the challenge, excitement and quality you expect from Team Magic and Chattanooga Track Club races.
And, sure enough, there sure looked like lots of high, fast moving water upon inspection:

You can see the landing and the exit we usually use is under water.
But, the transition area was set up when we arrived and I talked to my coach about how to approach a duathlon since I have never done one. I was especially concerned about running 2 miles where I normally swim. Answer: take the 1st mile easy (9:29) and run strong for the second (8:38). The recommendations for the next 2 events I assume were as they would be if I had started with a swim. So, the start was launched and executed the first 2 miles and the bike as planned.

Into T1 and I have to pee. So, into the porta-potty and yet, I still have a pretty good transition time. I didn't have any other issues and I got out to a good start on the bike.

The bike was a bit hectic at the beginning. People were bunching up and many were riding to the left while not passing. I had to ask several riders to move to the right so I could pass. I had the usual get passed on the climbs and pass on the descents experience. There was some road construction and several parts of the ride that had some really rough road surface. The surface was prepped for paving, but was still grooved and very rough. On the second half, I was approaching a forced lane change from the left to right lane. The edge of the left lane met the right on a raised edge and looked dangerous to me since this was on a good descent too. So, I slowed down before crossing the bump. Just as I got to the right side of where I should be, I hear a woman yelling something from behind. The next thing I know she blows by me on my right. We exchanged unpleasantries. I passed her and that was that. I can't say who was at fault, but I sure didn't see her coming up behind me as I obeyed the forced lane change.

T2 went equally well as T1 without the pee break. I have changed my laces in my running shoe to the type that are elastic and do not require tying. These are the bomb! My goal was start slow for the first 2, stronger for the middle and negative splits for the last 2. I did not pull it off. The first 3 went as planned, but I faded. Here are the mile split paces:
  1. 10:03
  2. 10:10
  3. 9:55
  4. 10:17
  5. 10:33
  6. 11:20


July 14, 2013: Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon
Olympic (Swim cancelled, Duathlon)
Time: 2:51:17

RunDistance: 2 Miles
Time: 18:08
TransitionTime: 2:48 (with potty break)
CycleDistance: 26.1 Miles
Time: 1:24:59
Rate: 18.4
TransitionTime: 2:12
RunDistance: 6.2 Miles
Time: 1:03:12
Pace: 10:22
WeatherMostly Cloudy
Temperature: 73.0°
Humidity: 90%


Fastest component in red.
* Can't compare to previous years as the swim was cancelled and replaced with a 2 mile run.


Transition is ready
Approaching the finish line
My favorite fan