Beer of the Week: Anchor Steam X Mas Ale

(By Stephen Magee) One of the oldest and most fashionable traditions is for a brewery to release a special beer for seasonal occasions or special events. Alas most brewers of today just make a nice label or increase the alcohol content and call it a special beer. Since 1972 Anchor Steam has been making a unique beer for the holiday season. Each year the beer is a new recipe and has a new label. Anchor Steam was a brewery in San Francisco that made it's first beer in 1896. Under the current ownership since 1971 when they bottled 200 cases of beer. Back in the Gold rush days and before there was refrigeration on the West coast, beer was made in a tradition called "Steam". There are many theories to this tradition, but no one knows for sure how and why it was called "Steam". It may have been that the early steam ships docked here, it may have been a steam brewing process. I suggest that you buy some of this limited edition beer (on sale from November to mid-January or while supplies last) drink a few and make up your own story as to why it is called "Steam". This beer is not for the timid. It has a rich malty taste, with a good hop bite, and a real spice flavor. Perfect for drinking after a run in the frosty winter air. Want to know more , to see the labels for all the Christmas beers Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season with a few tasty beers. -Peace Stephen


James Brown - R.I.P.

R.I.P. Godfather of soul.


Training Report: Week of Dec. 11-17

I took last Sunday and the first three days of this week off to rest and recover from the end of a long season. I originally intended to take the full week off, but I got restless so I decided to start on my winter base training phase. This week I ran 39 miles in 4 runs, including a tough 14 miler today where I ran 8 miles on horse trails and 6 on a hilly segment of the Rocky River Metro Park bike paths. The plan for the winter is to get in as much Lydiard style long steady distance work as I can handle. Emphasis on steady (i.e. 1:15-1:30 slower than 10K race pace) and not easy jogging. Josh wants me to aim for about 8 hours a week of running with a Sunday long run of 2 hours, which translates to about 60-65 miles a week give or take. I'd really like to be able to handle that because if I'm going to try to make a significant improvement at next year's nationals and in other races in general, I'll need to be able to handle more mileage than I have been doing without breaking down.


The Skids - The Saints Are Coming

Props to U2 for covering this, but the 1978 original by the Skids still blows the new version away. This is a live take from '78 on UK television show Top of the Pops.


Race Report: Masters Cross Country National Championships

Well folks this was the race I had been training for all year and I did really well. Competing against the absolute best runners in the country aged 40 and over, I finished 192nd in a field of about 500. Not too bad for a guy who started running two years ago after a 19 year layoff. I was very happy with my race considering the rough conditions. I ran 39:10 for 10K, which is 6:18 pace, but it honestly felt like I was running faster than when I did 37:27 (6:01 pace) back in November. The course, which consisted of a 2K loop followed by two challenging 4K loops, was super muddy (see photo of me holding up one of my shoes below) due to a very heavy rainstorm the night before and on top of it, the rolling hills throughout the course, as well as the two steep hills and log jumps and various narrow trails, kept everyone honest. Most people seemed to run 2-3 minutes slower than their usual 10K road race times.

I ran a very even paced effort. It didn't get all my splits as I was really focused on the long line of runners ahead of me so I barely looked at my watch. I held back on the first 2K loop, which was pretty flat but very muddy, looping around a horse track, and hit the 2 mile mark in 12:34. At that point I was worried that I was too slow but it 'felt' right. By the time we got to the first big hill near the end of the first 4K loop I knew that I was running smart. People were dying all around me and we had another 4K loop to go. I never got passed by anyone after the first half mile so even at times when I felt like I was moving very slowly, I was passing lines of people, just not accelerating as fast as I would have in a road race. I hit 5 miles in 31:16 (6:15 pace) and remember thinking, damn this feels a lot harder than when I cruised through 5 in the A2 Turkey Trot in 30:09! I was hurting but still thought I had a final gear in me for that last mile, but that last hill and log jumps with about a half to go slowed everyone around me to a crawl and the last 800 was a death march. I nearly threw up on the final straightaway and my wife says my mouth was foaming!

Anyway, most importantly, I went away inspired to train harder next year and maybe even get in the top 50-100! Bring on Cincy 2007!


Way To Go Ohio!

Ohio will be hosting the 2007 Club Nationals Cross Country Championships. This is the same race that I will be doing in San Francisco this coming weekend. Next year's event will be at Voice of America Park in West Chester, OH (near Cincy) on Saturday Dec. 8, 2007. The conditions will probably be pretty cold and brutal but that's what cross country is all about. It will be nice for us Midwesterners to get an edge! Hopefully a full BMLC team will be present in the masters race.


New Beer Mile World Record

Pending certification, it appears that Univ. of Oregon freshman distance star A.J. Acosta has set a new world record in the infamous beer mile with a time of 5:38.9 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. For those not in the know, a beer mile consists of racing an all out mile while chugging a can of beer at the start of each lap. 4 beers, 4 laps, lots of puking. By the way if you puke you get penalized! Acosta's beverage of choice was Budweiser. The 18 year old Acosta broke the previous mark of 5:40 set by 40 year old former New Zealand Olympian Sean Wade, who is now a U.S. citizen and one of the fastest old guy runners on the planet. A quick look at the results from Acosta's race reveals that all but two of the runners were underage! Hmmm. Props to Oregon runner Matt Dettman who opted for Bacardi Silver instead of beer!

Results can be found here:

More info on the Beer Mile can be found at:


Training Summary: November 27 - December 3

I'm in full taper mode now with the masters cross country national championships in San Francisco less than one week away now. This past week I did 36 miles on 5 runs with 2 days off. Highlights were a 12 mile negative split run on Monday and a session of 8 x 400 meter hills at race effort on Thursday. This week will be similar. Today will be a 10 mile negative split run -- it's 20 and windy outside right now so I'm mustering up courage as I write this entry -- and Wednesday will be 3 x 1000 meters at race pace with 200 meter jogs inbetween. Can't wait to get to SF. It's bleak here but will it will be in the 50's and 60's there! Rumor has it next year's national championships will be in Cincy, probably the weekend before Thanksgiving.


The Stands - Here She Comes Again

The Stands are from Liverpool and this gem is from their 2003 debut All Years Leaving. Something about the water there... Beatles, Bunnymen, La's


The Marmalade - I See The Rain

One of the best sixties songs ever and appropriate for the recent weather here in Cleveland!


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