Sunday, November 28, 2010

PrivatBrauerei Fassla Lagerbier

This weeks Rauchbier is the Lagerbier from the Privatbrauerei Faessla.  We didn't stop into the brewery here but I've got it located for future reference since I hear good things about their food as well as the beer.  Here is what I thought of the beer.

The Privatbrauerei Faessla Lagerbier pours a golden amber with little to no head much like the other rauchbiers I've reviewed.  The aroma is distinctly smoking malt but more malt than smoke.  The flavor is hoppy with just a hint of the smoke and the finish is smooth and dry.   A pretty good beer.

This is the last of Rauchbiers of Bamberg that I either tried in at the brewery or brought a bottle home.  Since there are many more to try from there and we'd like to see some of the other sites there again, I'm sure we'll be headed back.  That means look for more Rauchbier reviews next summer.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day 6 Ironman Training

Today was long run day.  I'll be honest I could barely walk today after 60 minutes of stairs yesterday.  In fact I'd been setting at my desk getting ready for a meeting when a particularly frustrating email popped up and I let out an expletive.  Doc left the conference room and came back in just as I was about to start the meeting and gave me two lidocane patches.  He'd thought that I'd been sitting for so long that I had really stiffened up.  I gave him back the patches and everyone had a good laugh.

Even though I was hobbling I made it down to the elliptical and got my long run equivalent today.  In fact the 60 minute workout and the stretching I did afterwards really improved my ability to walk.

Elapsed Time: 60:01
Calories: 544
Distance: 7.57 Miles
Distance Climbed: 4705 feet
Average Speed: 7.57 MPH
Average Pace: 7:55 / Mile
Average Heart Rate: 152

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 5 of Ironman Training

I successfully dragged my backside out of bed this morning so I could get my workout on early.  Today was supposed to be a bike day but of course I don't have a bike in Afghanistan and I'd hate to explain to Shantel how I got hit by an IED because I was riding my bike along the road.  The Army has promised me a stationary bike but that was back in late July/early August and is probably going to be one of those things that I leave my replacements instead of getting any use out of it myself.

So with that said SFC T and I hit the stairs for an hour, Doc was still sleeping.  Stairs?  You say.  Well if you can come up with a better alternate bike exercise let me know because I've never been a fan of running stairs and that hasn't changed.

Coming Down

 35 Stairs, Yes I counted them.  What I didn't count was the times I went up during the 60 minutes we did this.  I don't think I want to know.
Guess Who

Visitors From 100 Different Countries

If you all will click on the box with all of the flags on the right hand side of the blog you will discover that this blog has had people from over 100 different countries view it.

That's quite a number considering there are only around 195 countries in the world, give or take one or two depending on your country's political agenda. 

Now what I didn't do was go and pull out entities such as Wales or Scotland whose flags are probably counted in that 100. 

Still, all in all, 100 different countries viewing and over 4,000 unique page hits is quite a feat for my ramblings about beer drinking and triathlons.  Too bad I'm not good enough at writing, beer drinking or triathlons to make any money doing it. 

One thing I find fascinating with the flag counter is that dispite all of my talk about living in Germany and drinking German beers, the number of vistors from Germany only ranks number 5 on the list of visitors with USA, France (WTF!?!? France?), Canada, and Great Britain leading the way.  Things that make you go hmmmm.

Thanks for visiting and keep coming back.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ironman Training Day 2

I'm not going to post every day of training, just some highlights here and there or whenever the workouts shift gears. 

Day 2 is a run/swim day.  With that said there is places for me to run in Afghanistan but I darn sure don't want to be swimming in the rivers I've seen and I haven't seen a pool here although I'd bet that there was at least one in Kabul.  So instead of a swim we've decided to do a core workout based off a Men's Health Fab Abs workout plan.
I can only hope my abs look like the guy on the cover by the time cycling through the six week workout a couple of times.  I really doubt it though.  Here's a few pics of me trying my best though.

The other part of today's workout was the run and let me tell you for an early morning in run at 5200 feet in the middle of November in Afghanistan the weather is what I'd call "brisk".  I'm not sure my lungs thawed out until I was done in the shower this morning and I had the water as hot as I could get it.  SFC T was smart about it, he spent 30 minutes on the elliptical instead of braving the cold.  I'll probably have to follow suit next time.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Zabul PHQ Triathlon Club

Today was Day 1 of the 26 week Ironman Base Training for the Zabul PHQ Triathlon Club.  The workout today was strength:

Step Ups
Bent Over Rows with Kettlebells
Squat with Kettlebells
Push Ups
Seated Dumbbell Row
Heel Raise

40-60% of 1 Rep Max
20-30 Reps
3-4 Sets 90 Seconds Rest Between Sets

Not a bad day for the first workout.  It helps to have a couple of other guys prod me out of bed at 5:30.

Here are some pictures of us working out in our ghetto gym

That's me doing the step ups with a 20lb weighted vest.  Much harder than I thought it would be

SFC T doing the step ups as well.  His little brother did an Ironman this summer and has been talking crap to him ever since.  He's going to do the base training with me while deployed to see what kind of shape he can get in.  I'm going to try and talk him into doing an Olympic Distance or Half Ironman when we redeploy.

Doc doing the seated dumbell rows.  The smallest dumbells we have are 20lbs and the rows really suck after awhile with them.  Doc's done a Half Ironman before and my goal is to talk him into doing Ironman Regensburg with me as well.

Klosterbrau Bockbier

This weeks Rauchbier comes from Klosterbrau in Bamberg, it's their Bockbier, a Helles Bock.    They brew seven other types of beers but this was the one that I grabbed off the shelf at the Getranke markt to try.

This beer pours a golden amber with only a little bit of head.  Lots of tiny bubbles make their way to the top.  The aroma is smoked malt but not nearly as overpowering as the Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock.  The flavor is overwhelmingly malty with just a hint of smoke and underlying taste of hops that carries through to the aftertaste.  Not a bad beer and it went well with some smoked cheese and summer sausage.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Spezial Brau Rauchbier Lager

The Spezial Braueri was our next beer related stop in Bamberg.  It was also on several recommended sites lists and according to one you can actually watch the brewing process.  I saved that for another day and just concentrated on sampling their beer.

The waiter made fun of us as I snapped a picture of the lager in it's glass, he wanted to know if I wanted to take a picture of Shantel's water as well.  OK I know I'm a tourist and it shows no matter how much German I learn and how European I try to dress.

The Spezial Brau Rauchbier Lager poured a reddish amber with a light head that dissappeared rapidly.  Unlike the Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock that I reviewed last week this amber only had a light smoky aroma.  The lager also tasted light and watery (I'm starting to wonder if that's not a characteristic of Bamberg beers)with only a light smoky flavor followed by some hops.  All in all a pretty drinkable beer.  I could see myself drinking 3 or 4 of these at a sitting as compared to the one or two of the Urbocks that I reviewed last week.  Shantel even liked it, pretty high praise from her.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Triathlon Training Essentials

As I get ready to start my Ironman Training program I thought I would lay out a few Triathlon gear essentials.  This list isn't all inclusive even if I've listed items like running shoes and bikes.  They are just some of the things that I wouldn't do without, but some of you may not need or want. Here goes.

Let's start with the Swim.

The first thing you need is a good set of goggles.  Goggles are relatively inexpensive but if you don't have a pair you'll quickly find that the chlorine in the pool will irritate the heck out of your eyes.

The next item you need is a wetsuit.  Not all races are wetsuit legal races but evern though I'm from the midwest where it gets hot as blazes in the summer, I've only done one race that was not wetsuit legal.  In addition to keeping you warm they also give you a bit of extra flotation.  These can get fairly expensive but if you are just begining in triathlon or just don't want the expense you can rent a wetsuit from here, they'll also give you the option to buy.

What's this next little item you ask?  It's a waterproof case and earphones for an iPod shuffle.  While many people may not view this an essential item, I do.  I've spent hours in the pool trying to improve my stroke (with few positive results) and this little baby makes the laps fly by.  Get one for your shuffle or other iPod here I highly recommend it.

Now on to the Bike.

You don't have to get a super fancy bike like the one pictured (I've been bugging Shantel to let me get the  bike in the picture and I think I might have succeeded) but you've got to have a  bike.  It's an essential part of the swim/bike/run theme of Triathlons.  I've seen people do Half Ironmans on mountain bikes, I've seen athletes do sprint triathlons on cruisers, all that matters is that you have a bike.  All of my bikes have been used so you can find some good deals out there on Ebay, Craigslist or through your local triathlon club with someone wanting to upgrade and get rid of thier old bike.  Just make sure you get one that fits you and spend the extra money to go to the local bike shop and have them fine tune it to fit your frame.  Not only will you go faster but you will be more efficient and have a better transition from the bike to the run.

To go with your bike you'll also need a helmet, it's a USAT rule that you can't race without a helmet, in fact if the helmet must even be buckled outside of the transition area.

For those of you that live in an area that doesn't have a long biking season a bike trainer is absolutely essential, especially if you plan doing an early season race.  I also like to set up in a room with a TV and watch a movie or something while also getting my workout on.  There are several different varieties available and I've got a cyclops brand that I've had for years and use constantly and it continues to hold up.

Finally for the run portion.

You'll need a good pair of running shoes.  Shantel is always giving me crap that I actually have more shoes than she does.  That's not strictly true but it's close.  I go through a pair of running shoes about every 3-4 months.  I'm a big guy (190-200lbs) so I pound the heck out of my shoes and I change them often.  A good rule of thumb is to change them out every 300-400 miles.

The next run essential is an elastic system that makes it so you don't have to tie your shoes, you just slip into them and off you go.  I have been using these for years on my running shoes and absolutely love them.  You  can get a pair like I use from here.   

A heart rate monitor is the next run essential.  I'm a big fan of training in heart rate zones.  It works for me and tons of other runners so try it yourself sometime.  I also use a Garmin 305 Forerunner GPS as my heart rate monitor.  Not only does it track my heart rate, download the data to my computer but it tells me how far I've gone.  I can even use it to see how I do against previous runs along the same route.  Finally it can also measure my bike works out my rpms and catagorize it differently than my runs.  It's also a little on the expensive side but I can't imagine training without it, so I've definitely gotten my money's worth out of it.

The last run item can also be used for swimming as noted above.  That's an MP3 player of some kind, I really don't know what I'd do if I didn't have my iPod when it comes to long swim workouts or long runs.  I don't use it while biking and don't recommend any one else does either. 

The final thing you need for triathlon training is a plan.  There are a ton of them out there, some for free like the ones listed here and here or some will cost you a little bit.  As a 26 year old I did my first Half Ironman and I finished in around 7 1/2 hours without a coherent training plan.  As a 35 year old I did my second and third Half Ironmen finishing one in just over 6 hours and the other in 6 1/2.  The difference was that I had a plan and it worked.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock

While home on R&R the family and I took a quick day trip to Bamberg Germany, home of rauchbier or smoked beer.  The breweries in Bamberg are actually listed as one of Germany's Best Breweries.  They were also listed in our Germany Day Trip Guide Book, it also had many recommendations from our friends who had been here before.  So how could we pass it up.  I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention the Bamberg Cathedral, the New Palace with the Rose Garden, or the river cruises.  So if you come to visit us you'll probably find yourself making the 90 minute drive up to Bamberg with us.  But back to the beer.

 A rauchbier gets it's smoky flavor because the malt is dried over an open fire.  To sample our first rauchbier and to get a bite to eat we stopped into a place called the Schlenkeria Braureiausschank that was recommended in our guidebook.  To read more about it's history and rauchbiers click here

Since I like bocks I tried their Urbock (Original Bock), that they only offer in October.  It poured a deep amber that was almost black with virtually no head and no tracing.  The intense smoky aroma penetrated even my stubborn sniffer.  The beer itself tasted thin almost watery with a only a little bit of hops flavor penetrating the overwhelming smoky taste.  Overall I'd call it interesting rather than good but it did go well with the boiled pork belly (that's a whole another story) and saurkraut.

I picked up two bottles from different breweries in addition to stopping in another brewery to sample their beer before leaving.  So look for reviews of those in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I May Have Lost My Mind But I've Got A Plan......I Think!?!?

Here's a screenshot of the proof that I really have lost my mind.  At least that's what several of my friends have told me, even the ones who regularly do Marathons or Half Ironman distance races.

But I do have a plan. I've picked up a copy of Training Plans for Multisport Athletes by Gale Bernhardt  it has a 26 Week Ironman training plan that I will use to establish a good base prior to redeploying and then it has a 13 Week Ironman training plan that I will use to sharpen up prior to the race.  There are right about 26 weeks left in this deployment and then just about 13 weeks from when I get home until the race.  So I think this would work out quite well.  I am somewhat concerned about the swim portion as always, but I should be able to muddle my way through the water just like I always do, I'll just have to hit the pool hard when I get back.

Now if I can just get my buddy Andy to sign up for this race like he promised me he would.  You know misery loves company.