Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Beer is Community

I drink local beer because it is an extension of building and supporting my community. Sure, beer (as does any alcohol) certainly helps me relax after a long day or is incredibly refreshing post-run. But there is something different about drinking local (craft) beer. There are the people you meet, local brewers and breweries I become fans of, and opportunity to support a business that employs local workers.
Additionally, I’ve yet to find a local brewery that in some form of fashion isn’t involved in and supports their local community-whether through donating beer, providing raffle items, organizing their own fundraiser or fun run.

So essentially it all comes full circle (insert fancy flow chart here)-I spend money on local beer, they pay their local workers who then spend money in the community, and said breweries buy goods and services locally. 


Then there is the taste. Local beer simply tastes better because brewers are focused on the art and craft of brewing. They often use local ingredients, production is more focused on quality rather than quantity, and you can drink it fresh.  

And the chase, don’t forget the chase. There is nothing like trying to score the latest new release. It’s comparable to waiting for that special Tuesday when your favorite band’s newest album was going to drop. Sometimes you would line up outside the record store (remember them?) patiently waiting for the doors to open. For me, this is the same experience as scoring the newest local release.

The local beer community-brewers, store & bar staff, and fellow fans including a ton of runners-is one of the most solid group of folks I’ve met. They are quick to set aside a rare release for you, support your local initiatives, and relish in the good times of sharing a fresh pint of beer.

Local beer is all about community.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why Do I Run

I run because I can.

For many years, I convinced myself that I could no longer run outside. Due to my decreasing eyesight (I’m legally blind), I thought I couldn't run safely on my own. So outside of downhill skiing once or twice a season(very cautiously), I wasn't all that active.

In 2010, I was working on an incredibly stressful community organizing project that was constantly changing and moving very quickly. To help gain some mid-day clarity, I began to take short walks in Franklin Park, which is conveniently located across the street from the project I was working on. I organized my thoughts, made to-do lists, and enjoyed the quiet peacefulness of the park. One day, with no one else around, I decided to take a few running steps. Outside of feeling a little funny wearing full work attire (including dress shoes and big winter coat) I felt great. I didn't fall and stayed on the flat, level dirt path. I increased my running from there (wearing traditional running clothes!) and I was soon running four to five days a week.

I was hooked and possibly obsessed with running.

About five months later, I ran for over two hours at my in-laws (beautiful paths in Reston, VA) so I decided to sign up for a half-marathon. As they say in the movies, the rest is history. I've now run five marathons, three halfs, many 5ks, and am training for my first ultra.

Running has brought a lot of wonderful things into my life (I'm a more patient husband and father, I lost 50 lbs, I've met amazing athletes)-many of which I hope to write about in future posts. 

But for now, the most important thing for me is to know that there are many things I CAN do regardless of my eyesight.

Thanks for reading my first post and hope to see you out running.