Sunday, January 29, 2012

Biking and Eating

Just to recap...

I started this blog about running in December.

I signed up for 3 20+ mile races scheduled from February through April.

By the end of the month, I was hurt from doing a little too much of this... (not sure which one I am, but sure I'm in there somewhere)

And so... January 2012 = mildest winter I remember in years (ever?), but no running.

* * *

Late last year I questioned why I was still a paying member of a gym when I never used it. All I really needed was the device below (sold here for $25!) and I was set.

A gym is like an insurance policy for runners -- you never hope you have to use it, but that day inevitably comes when you are glad you have it. I've seen more of the inside walls of my gym this month than I had in the previous 6, abandoning the ATT, Umstead, and Duke Forest and joining the ranks of the New Years Resolution crowd.

It took about a week for spin classes and interval workouts on a C2 rower to lose their novelty. As a result, I bought a bike, which I had been meaning to do for years, but never had good reason to. I've learned quite a bit about bikes and cyclists in the last few weeks, one being that some cyclists spend waaaay too much money on their gear and (some) do a pretty good job convincing others to do the same.

In the end, I opted for nothing fancy, just a simple dual-sport hybrid bike. If I ever make the jump to triathlons, I'll consider something faster, but for now this works. After all the rain last weekend, and weekdays that never end before sunset this time of year, I finally got out this weekend.

I rode all the way down to the end of the Tobacco Trail... it was a busy morning on the trail, where runners outnumbered bikes 10:1... I guess everyone is training for Tobacco Road. The one thing I learned on a bike out on the 'flat' ATT -- there are hills, you just don't notice them running.

Turns out mile 0 of the ATT looks exactly the same as all the others:
dirt trail... lots of trees... West Cary moms pushing strollers...

And then I hit Umstead today. The hills there are not so subtle. I think I rode every mile of bridle trail there today, even Cedar Ridge and Turkey Creek.

Turkey Creek: the black diamond of Umstead Park

After two attempts at running over the last month, neither of which caused any pain during the run, but both of which resulted in me limping the next day, I decided to visit a doctor. They took an X-Ray to see if a stress fracture showed up, and it came out negative. Could be a false positive -- as some are notoriously difficult to detect. It may be plantar fasciitis (which I've had before, but the location on the foot is a bit unusual).

Either way, I'll be on two wheels for a while. First world problems.

And on to other blogging subjects, like restaurant reviews.


With no races on the horizon, and after biking across 3 counties, I was ready to gorge myself at Durham's relatively new Nanataco.

Durham has never had a shortage of cheap "Mexican" restaurants. Freshman year of college, Cosmic Cantina was practically a weekly visit. But Cosmic is a ways uptown for me, and I've made a point to avoid Duke undergrads whenever possible, which is hard to do in that part of town. In South Durham, we have Chubby's Tacos and Bandido's, both of which serve carnitas burritos the size of an entire hog (yes, a whole pig wrapped up in a flour tortilla -- amazing). Thanks to my inability to know when to stop eating, I always leave feeling like I just did permanent damage to myself, but somehow still end up hungry a few hours later.

Nanataco... that was a revelation.

We stumbled across this when sitting (and freezing) at the Thai Cafe across the street. I read the review on carpedurham, and had to check it out. They have two separate menus for tacos: a regular menu and a 'dirty meat' menu that includes duck, hog jawl/(jowl?), lamb cheek, and pork belly. Extra points to any restaurant with a dirty meat menu. I went for the hog jawl/jowl, lamb cheek, and a chorizo with a side of rice and beans, and with an appetizer of chips and guacamole (that was as good as any I've had outside of Costa Rica).

Megan did not opt for any of the dirty meats, instead ordering boring chicken tacos (which I'm sure were still good). To her credit, she did at least get a margarita. The whole tab was under $30 for two, which is quite a bit cheaper than its parent restaurant (Nana's).

Which means more money to save up for that $17,000 bike...

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