Dirty German 50M D.N.F.- ’15

D.N.F.- That stands for “Did Not Finish” for those that didn’t quite get that.

If you want to read a blog post that has positive words and vibes, you’ve come to the wrong post. You may want to read the first and last paragraphs for some positive words.

The Dirty German Ultras(25K, 50K, and 50 Miler) are in Pennypack Park, which is located northeast of Philadelphia. The park runs north to south for about 20 miles, with a creek running through it. There are multiple trails within it, including a paved bike trail, and flat, dirt single track trails. For being so close to the big city, the park is well-kept. There were a few parts of the trail that had a bit of garbage along it, but overall, it’s a nice park for a weekend type event.

The trail is very runnable. There is hardly any elevation change and the trail itself is well-groomed, with hardly any rocks and roots. It is a very “easy” trail to run on. Of course, this thinking is exactly what caused me not to finish the race. FIRST MISTAKE

Leading up to a 50 mile race, one would think that in order to complete it, the runner should be mentally and physically prepared. I thought I was. After all, I did the Hyner Challenge and a marathon on back to back weekends a few weeks prior and succeeded. The elevation gain in Hyner was over 7,000 feet. The New Jersey Marathon was flat and fast. Heck, I was going to take care of this Dirty German 50 miler without an issue…easy peasy.

What I did was take a 50 mile race for granted. SECOND MISTAKE

It was a humid day, but when you sign up for an outdoor event, mother nature doesn’t stop and give you a cloudy, 60 degree day, just for you. She continues on.

The 50 miler consists of three loops around the park. The first loop was a good one. I felt good and my legs were well rested. I was conserving energy while running 9:30-9:45 minute per mile averages. This was just what I wanted for a 9 hour finish. THIRD MISTAKE.

How could I go into a 50 mile race without thinking through exactly the game plan. If I was thinking clearly, I would have: 1) not have had a finish goal time, 2) realized it was humid and would have adjusted my finish goal time to something respectable, 3) not planned the 50 mile run like it was a marathon by running straight through the first 12 miles without a walk break

I tend to sweat more than the average runner. So by about mile 14, my shorts, shirt, socks, and sneakers were soaked. I was staying fairly hydrated at the beginning, but at one point, it all changed. By the beginning of the second loop, around mile 17 or so, bad thoughts slowly crept into my head. FOURTH MISTAKE

I started walking more and was taking more salt, sodium, and water. At one point the thought of running about 32 more miles seemed impossible. I had traveled over 18 miles, and seemed like I had just started my run, but felt drained all at the same time. Sounds confusing, right? Yeah, I was too. At that point, I really started to “disconnect” from my run. The task of running 30 more miles really hit me hard. My mental preparation for this race was non-existent, so it was so easy for me to give in.

I certainly talked a big game coming into this race, thinking I could run a 50 miler with ease. And there I was at mile 24, going through how I was going to type this very post about my first D.N.F. FIFTH MISTAKE

How messed up is that?! Here I am not even half way through a race and all I could think of was how I was going to start this D.N.F FU*KING blog post. Yeah, exactly. As you can see, my mind was so far away from the trail I was running on.

It was a very long last 7 miles on that trail. At one point, my hydration seemed to be back on track, but my mind was so set on stopping after the second loop, that I didn’t even care. I crossed the start/finish line without a care in the world except I just wanted ice water. I didn’t care it was my first D.N.F. SIXTH MISTAKE

Adjective descriptions that best describe my 50 miler on Sunday: Carelessness. Uninterested. Not determined. No guts. Not willing to fight. Heartless. Close minded. Lifeless. (other words also come to mind, but I’ll refrain from sharing them)

There were some positives that came out of the ultra on Sunday. My trail running friend Matt, and his buddy Jay, fought through and completed the 50 miler with great will power. My other running friends Becky and Mary Lou, both succeeded in completing the 50K portion. Both of them are considered more road runners, than trail runners, which makes their accomplishments special. Even more special is that Becky won her age group and Mary Lou came in second in her age group! Another trail runner from my area, Rick, earned second place in his age group in the 50K!

For me, this race was a learning experience. Hopefully I’ll bounce back on my next run.

Blood Orange Hefeweizen

The temperatures are warming up and I am at the next recipe in my “Extreme Brewing” book. Blood Orange Hefeweizen…..perfect timing! My wife was pleased to hear I was making this as well.

This is the recipe I followed, but I made a couple of adjustments throughout the brew process. I will explain them….

Beer 1

The recipe starts out asking for 4 gallons of water. The pot I have tops out at 5 gallons and with the risk of it boiling over, I started off this recipe with 3 1/2 gallons. Once the H20 started to boil, I removed the pot from the heat and added the 6.5 lbs of light liquid wheat extract and stirred thoroughly for about 2 minutes. I then returned the pot to the heat.

The recipe calls for 1/2oz  hop additions in the boil. It said to add Hallertau hops 5 minutes into the boil, but I had 1oz of German Hallertau Blanc left over from a previous batch that needed to be used so I added 1 oz at the 5 minute mark. I figured since I like hoppy beers, it wouldn’t hurt to add more hops to this hefeweizen. It should not alter the flavor of the beer that much. Here are the hops I used for this batch….

Beer 2

At the 40 minute mark of the boil, I added 1oz of the Saaz hops. There was about a 1/2 hour wait in between adding hops, so I cut, peeled, and removed the white piths from the blood oranges. The white part that is on the skin of the oranges would give the beer a very bitter taste, so I removed it as best I could. The recipe called for 4 blood oranges. I went to Giant to get 4, but they said they were out of them. Supposedly, the blood orange season is in winter, primarily in December. Luckily we had 3 blood oranges at home, so I used them. Here they are cut up….

Beer 4

I then added the oranges/peels to 1 1/2 liters of water and heated on the stove until it reached 160 degrees. I then removed them from the heat and put them into a cheese cloth bag. I would have to add that to the fermenter bucket at the end.

With 15 minutes left in the boil, I added a teaspoon of Irish Moss to the boil. I like to add Irish Moss to every batch of beer. It is supposed to give clarity to the beer, and with all the hops and blood orange/peel sediment, I definitely would need to use it….

Beer 3

With 10 minutes left in the boil, I added 1oz of the regular Hallertau hops that it asked for. Once the hour boil was finished, I stirred the wort clockwise, took it off the burner, and let sit for 10 minutes. I then put the pot in our kitchen sink that was filled with ice. I was able to cool the wort down to about 75 degrees within about a 45 minute time period.

I then transferred the cooled wort to a fermenter bucket. I added the oranges and peels in the cheese cloth to the wort, and added about 1 1/2 gallon of regular water to the bucket to make it a total of a 5 gallon batch. I added the yeast, stirred and aerated for a few minutes, and took the Starting Gravity reading. It read 1.044, which was a little under the 1.050 that the recipe says it should be. That is due to the 1/2 gallon I left out in the beginning of the boil. Adding the 1 1/2 gallons of pure water at the end also added to the lower S.G. reading.

Either way, I promised my wife this batch should be ready to drink in 1 month. We are looking forward to it!