Saturday, May 09, 2009

It's All About Constant Improvement

There are all kinds of motivational adages out there about constant self-improvement. While it would be great to go to bed each night feeling like a better man, truth is for me it probably happens less often than not. Somehow, I don't think I'm alone in this quandary...let me know if you grow and improve every day, I'd love some tips. So, that sorry-sounding intro was my lead in to sharing my last weekend in Pittsburgh, PA and my quest for an improvement in my marathon finishing time. This visit to the 'burgh, it was less about the beer and more about the return (after a six-year hiatus) of the Marathon to the City's streets. On the way into Pittsburgh on Friday, I wanted to drive some of the Marathon course to get a better feel for it, so we jumped off I-376 onto Braddock Avenue and stopped at D's Six Pax and Dogz in search of liquid goodies. This time only came away with a Reuben & The Jets (Lagunitas, Zappa Series), Mama's Little Yella Pils (Oskar Blues, 12 oz. can), and Imperial Porter (Shipyard, Pugsley's Sig. Series). Nothing local to speak of...until our way out of the city on Sunday after the Marathon. After a way-fortuitous upgrade to the Presidential Suite and a big-time carb loading meal of pasta, salad, and bread, Patty and I relaxed Saturday night in our suite (that probably had more square footage than our house), watched a movie, and I tossed back the 5.4% ABV Pils from Oskar Blues. Liquid carb loading (providing a low abv) can be a good thing too. Plus, the alcohol's sedative effects can help calm the night's-before jittery nerves. But you, or at least I, need to stop after one or two of these. I won't get into all of the gory details of my marathon experience; I'm not sure that many of you really care. Suffice to say, it's one that I'll recommend to others and likely do again in a few years. Between the organization, the neighborhoods and spectators, and the course layout, it all played a role in me having my best marathon performance ever. I finished in 4:08:42 and was almost satisfied. If you'd like to know more, drop an e-mail to me and I'll share. (Or, if you'd like to check out some local Pittsburgh news coverage of the Marathon, check this link or this other link.) After it was over and with our late checkout from the Presidential Suite (had to milk every last minute we could), I was able to shower and stretch a bit before packing up and heading out. But, before a 4 hour drive across state, we needed some food and beer. Church Brew Works seemed to make sense. They'd reopened at 2pm after being closed during the race. Let's just say we got a bit more than we bargained for! Meaning: EKG IPA, check. Oatmeal Stout, check. Pizza, soup, and pierogies...checkedy, check, check. But then, I spied some mini-kegs. Nope, not the run-of-the-mill Dunkel, Gold, or Pale. It was a mini keg of Millenium Trippel and 750ml bottle of Quadzilla to go. Knowing when to say when is an elusive talent! Now, this weekend, it's onward to improving my 5-k performance...this time a bit closer to home in Berwyn, PA. Afterward, you should likely find me rehydrating at Triumph in Old City, looking for a bit more of the lovely Eddy (the only Eddy I've known to call lovely!) from Iron Hill and a bunch of other sour and funky friends. Will I see you there?


Travis said...

Congrats on the PR.

Rebecca Stephens said...

In terms of growing and improving, this doesn't happen too much with me, but I surpassed my own expectation of how well one of my songs would do in's contest. Its reached #39 and I never thought it would make the top 100.