SB and I had the opportunity to participate in a pretty special 5k this weekend (a different kind of special than the Big Gay 5k). However, before I get into that, I’ll share what else has been happening.
Truth is, not much, or rather, not much that is especially interesting. I’m still having my existential crisis with law school, I’m still very busy, and in fact the next two weeks are looking to be the busiest of my entire law school career thus far. Fun times.
However, as is obvious, it’s Fall, and I like Fall. There are too many reasons to list why I like Fall, but one of the newest ones is because we adopt a new Thomas.
Thomas is a Jack Be Little Pumpkin. Pictured above is Thomas II, son of Thomas I (who is now buried behind our building, destined to one day assimilate into the Great Pumpkin). Thomas I was quite a hearty pumpkin. He lasted from mid-October to mid-July (yes, seriously). The Thomas line is a strong one. Next year we will get Thomas III, and so on and so forth. This year it’s Thomas II, son of Thomas I, heir to the Thomas empire.
Also, another pumpkin family has gathered near our building.
The only downside to Fall is that it starts to get cold. Sure, we had that 70 degree “teaser” day this week, but the next day the high was 51, yep. Of course one of the best counters to the cold is warm coffee. Thanks to MIL and FIL SB and I now have a new coffee maker!
The old coffee maker still worked, it just.. wasn’t working well, so it was time for a new one. It’s ironic, I’m the one who got SB drinking coffee, and then I stopped, and then she got me drinking it again. Its a vicious caffeine-driven cycle.
Another thing that warms you up, you guessed it, beer.
This single was yet another in my ongoing Pumpkin Ale Season. It was probably the most “Pumpkin Spice” flavored beer I’ve ever had. I honestly can’t tell a taste difference between organic and in-organic beers, but this beer wasn’t priced anymore than the in-organic offerings, so it was worth trying, and I enjoyed it.
So this was a really good hefeweizen. My biggest shock is that I’d somehow never seen it, despite it being a year-round offering from Sierra Nevada. Heck, I was mainly just drawn to it for the name, I didn’t even realize that it was a hefeweizen until I picked it up. I’d definitely recommend this as a very solid wheat offering, if you can find it, which theoretically might be hard, though it shouldn’t be.
Since I have such a long (two) week(s) ahead of me, I decided to get a twelve-pack this weekend, rather than a six-pack. The idea is that the beers will last me through the week, but we’ll see how that pans out. I decided to go with a new brewery: Wachusett Brewing Company.
I figured that a sampler pack was a good way to start. If it wasn’t obvious (it wasn’t to me), each beer represents one of Boston’s champion teams – Patriots (NFL), Red Sox (MLB), Bruins (NHL), and Celtics (NBA).
Interestingly enough, the brewery is not on Wachusett Mountain (sadly), but it’s in nearby Westminster, so I guess that counts. I really don’t know much about the brewery aside from that, though I’ve been eyeing this sampler for awhile hoping it could go on special (it of course did not). If you’re wondering about the cans, you shouldn’t. I have hugely softened my stance on cans in the past year, largely in part due to my time in Denver. What I have found is that crappy beer in a can is horrendous beer, while good beer in a can is still good beer. Of all the micro-brews I’ve had in cans this past year, none of them tasted like “can” – while many macro brews just feel like I’m drinking aluminum. It must be a small versus large batch issue, I dunno. Either way, don’t let cans scare you away from good beer, and just don’t buy bad beer period. 😛
So let’s look at these “Champion” beers.
I’ll be honest, I have no idea what a “Triple Double” is. I know what a triple is, I know what a double is, but by that calculation the ABV would be higher than 8.5%. My guess is that there is a basketball reference I am missing here. However, 8.5% is nothing to mock, this is a strong beer. Since I was having it the night before an early race day, I decided to just have one beer (instead of two, my usual for weekend nights) – so naturally I chose the 8.5% ABV beer to largely nullify the difference.
Since this is the “Celtics” beer, the “Larry” moniker should be pretty obvious. This is a strong “Triple Double” (whatever that is) Imperial IPA (which tend to be more alcoholic in general). It was a good single beer and surprisingly bold for an IPA – and I don’t just mean bold in alcohol, I mean bold in that it had the body of a wheat ale, with the bite of an Imperial IPA. It was good, I look forward to the three more awaiting me. 🙂
[Edit: Turns out I was right, I was missing the basketball reference within the Triple Double name. I actually learned this tonight (10/26) from Jeopardy.]
Of the four beers, this was the only one that I immediately recognized as being sports related, I mean the “Green Monsta” is pretty obvious (even to me, and I’ve never even been to Fenway). This is a strong (6.10% ABV) American IPA. Not as strong as Larry, but still stronger than normal. It also maintains that “meaty” sort of body that Larry had. Between the two I’d probably favor the Green Monsta, because it feels more drinkable while still maintaining that IPA kick. I could definitely see this as a good baseball beer, which would obviously be quite fitting.
As much as I dislike (hate) the New England Patriots (and their fan-base), I would never abstain from a beer just because it was stylized after them. Just as I initially missed the theme with Larry, I also didn’t “get” this a a Patriots beer at first. Nor did I even get the pun in the name. To her credit SB got it much faster than I did. “Bella Czech” – for some reason didn’t click with me. However, once I got the pun, it made me groan a bit more about this beer’s theme. However, while SB did get the pun quicker than me, earlier this week she didn’t know what “running aground” meant for boats (or about the Costa Concordia, for that matter), so I’d say I’m still on top 😛
As for the beer, it was the most “basic” beer of the bunch. The German and Czech hops balance each other fairly well, but the body is a bit light for a Czech Pilsner. Overall it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as the other beers in the pack. So, all in all, I’d dare say it was a bit flat.
Of the four brews, this one definitely has the best “pun” name in my opinion (though ironically I still missed it at first, just like Larry and Bella Czech). “Brewin'” alludes to the Bruins, of course. This is a distinctly American Pale Ale, so it’s a bit “cleaner” in mouthfeel than Larry and Green Monsta, while still packing more of a body-punch than Bella Czech, despite only having 4.80% ABV compared to Bella Czech’s 5.30% ABV. Overall this was a good American Pale, but it wasn’t really super memorable. Still, it gets bonus points from Valentino for having bear claws on it.
So overall I’d probably say that I preferred them in this order: Green Monsta, Larry, Brewin’, and then Bella Czech.
So anyways, enough about beer – what about the Red Bandanna Run?
Aside from being a 5k where we need to be at Boston College by 8:15am on a cold (~38 degrees) Saturday morning (in running gear), this race, fully titled the Welles Remy Crowther Red Bandanna 5k, is an incredibly special race.
So just who was Welles Remy Crowther? (He’s honestly someone that everyone should know about, far more than the shooters whose names plaster our news media.)
Well, normally this is when I’d do my normal thing and go into a detailed accounting of who he was – but not this time. The reason? Someone else has done it better than I ever could.
Seriously go watch that video. Even if you’ve seen it many times, watch it again. I am generally not overly sentimental, but that video hits me right in the feels. So that you’ve watched the video, which you must do as an American, you’ll understand the background of this race.
Which is precisely why SB and I knew that we had to do it once we made the Boston College connection. So, that is exactly what we did. We paid our 40$ entry fee, got up very early on a cold New England Saturday, donned our running gear, and started the 45 minute trip down to Boston College to be a part of something much larger than ourselves.
And it was worth it a thousand times over.
I think all things said and done there were about 1526 runners. A lot of them were clearly BC students (BC sports teams – namely Lacrosse – were heavily represented), BC alums, or BC affiliates. However, there was fare share of students from other schools, local residents, and even people from as far away as Wisconsin (just remember that the next time you don’t feel like taking the stairs, someone traveled from Wisconsin to Boston to run a 5k).
Once everyone was signed-in/registered and had their iconic red bandannas ready to go (kudos to SB for helping me with mine) it was time for a welcome from Welles’ parents, Jefferson and Allison Crowther (seen in the video above). The lacrosse team also presented them with a jersey bearing Welles’ former number, 19.
The brief welcome speech Jefferson Crowther gave clearly hit the audience in the feels. I mean, extremely in the feels. Even I might have gotten a bit choked up by it.
At one point he said “I look at this crowd and I see my son in all of you” as his voice cracked and wobbled, clearly in pain from his tragic loss 14 years ago. Yep, all my feels. For real. But he bounded right back, and gave us an invigorating pre-race charge, and then we were off to the other side of Gasson Hall to the Golden Eagle to start the race. Unlike the Big Gay 5k, wherein the start was pretty much a bit of a clusterfuck (with slow people delaying all the fast people behind them) the Red Bandanna Run had “Pace Markers” along the start line. I think they ranged from 6 minute miles to 10 minute miles. SB stuck to the 10 minute marker, while I moved up to the 8 minute marker. Before too long it was time to get the race started.
I was actually trying to get my phone back in my running belt when the surge happened, so the photos of me leaving the start line are kind of funny as I’m trying to put my glove back on without getting killed in the stampede, SB, for her part, looked much more composed.
One cool thing about the run was that not only did the Crowther family (Welles’ parents and siblings) participate, but so did Baldwin. Yes, Baldwin the BC Mascot ran a 5k in his eagle suit. He actually did pretty good too (he beat SB by a few minutes).
In fact, all three of us (because Baldwin is by proxy on our team) did really well. I came in with my best 5k time ever (over 39 seconds faster than my previous best) while SB came in under 30 minutes, pretty dang good for her first (running) 5k! [She had walked the Apple Festival 5k in the past]. Considering how hilly this course was (there was a “Hell on Earth” hill between miles 2 and 3) I was very pleased with my result, I improved over a full minute from my Big Gay 5k time. In fact, now I can’t help but wonder if I should start looking at a 10k. We’ll see. The pain in my legs is far more of a hindrance than is my physical ability (funny note, I beat a fair number of BC athletes and ROTC members). One cool thing about SB’s run is that (after taking my advice to start on the edge) she was able to get a high-five from Jefferson Crowther as she crossed the start line. I would have too, but he hadn’t moved back around from the front to the side by the time I ran by, so sometimes it pays to start further back!
Aside from that big hill, it was a cool (literally) run around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and BC’s campus. The odd thing was that they didn’t officially close the roads (though we had police helpers) so at some parts we were running with cars, that was a first for me, but it never felt dangerous as that was really only an issue in one portion of the track.
Once it was all said and done, SB and had I some water and a cinnamon-raisin bagel. We tried to get Daryl 1 a shirt for the race, but they were out of his size. After that we went indoors (again, it was cold and we were in running gear) and stretched a bit. After awhile we heard someone talking over the speakers back outside, so we went out there for a bit of the closing ceremony.
They gave awards to the top 3 male and female finishers, so SB and I didn’t have to worry about being called up on stage. 😛 In addition to seeing the fast people and getting a bit of a closing speech, we also noticed a running team with an awesome name in front of us.
Sadly we didn’t get to see the entire closing ceremony as we had to go catch a bus (otherwise we would’ve had to wait another hour for the next tone) but it was still nice to be a part of the smaller ending event (about 90% of the people had already left), even if only for a short while.
So we headed home (which was cold), then got showers, ate lunch, and then went back out into the cold (but dressed much warmer this time) to get some groceries from Whole Paycheck. Since then we’ve either been watching College Football, eating, or in SB’s case currently sleeping. Also I decided to write this post since tomorrow [yesterday] I have to prepare for a meeting with Harvard’s Director of Cost Analysis and Compliance for a clinical project, so yeah, gonna be busy. Now I’m going to go wake up SB so we can get dinner started, and then later it will be time to drink a couple more of those Wachusett beers. 🙂
All in all, a nice Saturday, even if a very tiring one (especially with 6 hours of sleep), and I’m very glad that I was able to be a part of the Red Bandanna one, it’s my small tribute to one man’s heroic acts.
Next week brings a hospital visit (getting a mole removed, on my toe, gonna be awesome) loads of law school and clinic work, and lots of appointments, as well as SB and I’s anniversary. Then the week after that brings an explosion of journal work and an entire paper worth 50% of my grade, but for now, it’s chill time.
Until next time,