Tag Archives: pizza

Streaking Again!

It’s August, and still no big races to be had for the foreseeable future. There are two ways a stir-crazy endurance athlete like me can handle the situation: (#1) drown my sorrows with chocolate, (#2) take on another 31-day streak of at least one mile per day.

Since they’re not mutually exclusive, I’m doing both.

The chocolate? Just about any good brand will do, but my current drug of choice is Endangered Species bars. Heavens, they’re tasty. And ten percent of net profits go to save wildlife, so I’m being socially responsible too. Win-win, if you ask me.

As for the streaking part: the May challenge from RF Events was to do at least one mile per day of whatever motion was fancied to get there. My wife chose the sensible approach of walking the mile (or more). Me being Samurai Ultrarunner, I chose to run. And one measly mile? Puh-lease. If it isn’t at least five, it’s not a real run.

The net result was 179 running miles over 33 days. And a sore lower body. It wasn’t the total miles – I once ran close to that distance all at once – but the cumulative fatigue of running every day. Rest really *does* matter.

So for this month, I’m mixing it up. Some running, some cycling, and even some walking. Skip at Body Specs said there was hope for me after all. And then he put me through the wringer. (Gotta train the rest of the body, too.)

One highlight of the August streak so far was a bike ride from our campground in Empire to Lake Leelenau, where one of my favorite bakeries (9 Bean Rows) is located. This year they’ve added outdoor dining and thin-crust pizza.

40 miles on a hot day to get here. Worth it.

I took care of an entire artichoke pizza and almond croissant. The round trip was 81 miles, so I burned it off, but those first few miles on the return leg with an entire pizza in my stomach was a tad sketchy. Worth it, though.

I have to admit that it’s a little harder to get out the door sometimes, given the heat we’ve been having. One way to tackle that is to run early, as I did Wednesday morning, with the added bonus of a new coffee shop right down the street from where we finish; Drip House at the corner of Stadium and Main, right across from Michigan Stadium.

This morning I had a goat cheese and olive pastry, and something called a Military Drip, which has espresso, and matcha, and cocoa powder in it. A lot going on there. Sorry, no pictures. I polished those off quick. Maybe next week.

Muscle Power

I hope all my fellow fathers had a great Father’s Day yesterday! I got to spend part of my Sunday with DD #2, who kept an eye on me while I took a pre-triathlon practice swim in Kent Lake. This Wednesday is the big day!

Open water swimming is different from the pool, all right. When my goggles fogged up I couldn’t see the buoys and wound up zigzagging all over the place. Fortunately I didn’t head butt one, or take out any kids.

Hey, this lake has no lines painted on the bottom!

Hey, this lake has no lines painted on the bottom!

Afterward, we celebrated with Bigalora pizza for dinner. If there’s a Bigalora in your area, find the time to try it. Their pizza is made in the Napoletana style, with a fermented dough (the “biga” part), wood-fired with a thin crispy crust. It’s not cracker-crunchy like I had in Italy, but it’s close. And there’s less sauce and cheese than the standard American pizza, but I think there’s more flavor in them, and the toppings are large enough that you can actually taste them.

Bigalora Pizza - Fathers Day

Saturday was Flag Day, an appropriate day for the Liberty Run, part of the Liberty Festival in Canton. This event became particularly famous in 2012, when a record was set for the most runners dressed as the Statue of Liberty. It’s amazing what can get into the Guinness Book, isn’t it. No such grand statement this year, but still a great turnout, and plenty of colorful costumes.

Liberty Run costumes 1-2

Liberty Run costume - 3

Posing with medal, mug for completing the "Uncle Sam Slam" (5K + 10K), and age group award glass. Ah, sweet swag - isn't that the American Dream?

Posing with medal, mug for completing the “Uncle Sam Slam” (5K + 10K), and age group award glass. Ah, sweet swag – isn’t that the American Dream?

There were two races offered that morning – a 5K and a 10K. You can guess what I chose. (Yep. Both.)

I ran a good strong time in the 5K, and then jogged the 10K, where I got a reminder that “run easy” does not mean “run stupid”. Early in the 10K I stopped to snap a photo, causing the runner behind me to run into me. All I can say is that I wasn’t thinking. From then on I made sure to pull over to the side to take a picture.

Also part of the Liberty Festival was a “muscle car” exhibit, consisting of hot rods dating from the 1930s to the 1960s. All of them were in amazing condition, showing the care and attention their owners have spent on them.

82 years old and still smokin' hot.

82 years old and still smokin’ hot.

Needs no introduction.

Needs no introduction.

At the time I wasn’t looking for an analogy, but I tripped over it anyway. Maybe we don’t have the time, money, or desire to restore and maintain a vintage muscle car, but we all ought to take a strong interest in keeping ourselves running smoothly for a long time. The formula for doing so is simple and straightforward; eat right and exercise regularly. And yet those who track such things say that over one-third of Americans are seriously overweight, which is known to lead to health problems. Why is proper care of oneself so hard for many people to do?

I’m not suggesting that people get off the couch and run an Ironman, like fellow blogger Mario Sanchez did at age 55, or become a two-a-day racing fool like me. But I am suggesting that people at least get off the couch.

I realize with many of my readers I’m preaching to the choir, but if not – what’s holding you back? Find something enjoyable that engages your muscles. Run, bike, climb rocks, swim, play a sport. Or just walk. Your body will thank you for it. And you can enjoy that Bigalora pizza without feeling guilty.

Black Star Farms: PR Fitness, Pizza, and a Pig’s Life

Marathons, llamas and wood-fired pizzas? Count me in.

This past Saturday was the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, and several fellow PR Fitness runners took part. I did not, as I am running the upcoming Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon, but I was camping in the area, so after my own run (a measly 9 miles) I joined their post-race celebration at Black Star Farms near Suttons Bay.

I’d never heard of Black Star Farms, but I learned they are well-known for their winemaking, equestrian center, and bed-and-breakfast (an impressive-looking mansion that serves as the inn). They are also a fully operational farm, raising vegetables, fruits, and livestock, which visitors are encouraged to see. And they have a cafe with the aforementioned pizzas.

Not only do llamas provide wool, they are excellent guard animals and chase away predators like coyotes.

Not only do llamas provide wool, they are excellent guard animals and chase away predators like coyotes.

One of our runners knows Don, the managing partner, and he gave us a personal guided tour, filled with stories and a fascinating description of the farm and its operations. Here are a few highlights:

– They have a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, where people prepay for shares in the farm’s produce and receive regular deliveries of fresh, in-season vegetables and fruits as well as eggs and baked goods.

– The farm is environmentally verified for farmstead and cropping by MAEAP, which means they are following practices that support the environment and reduce pollution.

This experimental hothouse is inexpensive to set up and can grow crops ten months out of the year.

This experimental hothouse is inexpensive to set up and can grow crops ten months out of the year. (Click to enlarge)

– Don tries to encourage young people who want to be farmers by making land available to them and helping get their operations started.

In addition to being a good steward of the land, Don considers it his mission to educate people about farms. “Many people have never been to a farm,” he said, and when he asked the group how many of us came from a farm family, only one hand went up. He feels it’s important to “reconnect” people, particularly urban residents, to where their food comes from. As an example, he told us about Copper the pig.

"It's our responsibility as farmers to serve the animals - that they live healthy lives. And then they serve us."

“It’s our responsibility as farmers to serve the animals – to see they live happy lives. And then they serve us.”

Copper had been raised as a pet in a residential neighborhood. But he grew too big to keep, so his owner offered him to Black Star, and Don took him. The owner brought along Copper’s blanket and teddy bear and begged that the pig be kept in the house, or else he would be lonely. Don put him in a pen with the goats. Soon he’d dug himself a wallow and happily settled in, and was a popular attraction. The goats ate the blanket and teddy bear.

One morning that fall Don entered the dining room at the inn and said hello to a family just finishing their breakfast. He asked them what they planned to do that day. “We’re going to see Copper,” they told him. “We hear he’s really cute.”

Don pointed to the remnants of the sausage on their plates. “You’ve already met him,” he said.

The hind legs of these long-haired pigs are worth $1,000 each. Sorry, Wilbur.

The hind legs of these long-haired pigs are worth $1,000 each at market. Sorry, Wilbur.

The family was shocked, as I suppose most of us non-farmers would be, but pigs are something the farm raises, and farmers cannot afford to be sentimental about their crops. “It’s our responsibility as farmers to ensure the animals have a good life,” he said. “And then they are harvested, and they serve us.” Animals, as a farm resource, are harvested when the time comes, just as vegetables and fruits are.

Oh yes, and the pizzas are very tasty (click here for a photo of one). I had the basic Margherita (cheese, sauce, basil), but other items you can have include goat cheese, chicken, and prosciutto. Guess where that all comes from.

Next up – some fun facts about winemaking in Michigan.