The Viper has returned. You all can exhale now.
I said I was leaving, but not for good. Just a little vacation away. And unlike you nerds, apparently, I can vacation without jumping on the innernetz every five seconds. (Though, admittedly, I used a computer once to send a belated birthday someecard.)
However, I knew how empty you would feel without a post from me for five days, so I gave you something to sip on while I was gone. And thanks to Tom and Amy at Runners' Lounge, you got a double dose of the Viper. I hope you cellared my bottled wit properly.
But well before I gave you the slip, I was trying to figure out what my goals will be for the remainder of the year. Should I run more races? Should I start streaking? Should I get faster?
While I was running alongside Lake Otsego toward my five-mile turnaround at what appropriately turned out to be the tavern building at the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York, I decided it just didn't matter what I did with my running the rest of the year. Just that I did it.
I have 791 miles logged so far this year. If I average 20.9 miles per week for the next 10 weeks, I'll hit my 1,000-mile goal. I have one more 5-K planned to complete the Shave Your 5-K Challenge. But I have no more race goals. The 50-minute 10-K and the four-hour marathon will have to wait until next year.
It's already been a good year. Why burden it with more goals?
My 10-mile run this weekend in Cooperstown was amazing. The leaves were in full color-change mode, and out across Lake Otsego there was smoke on the water. Believe it or not, the Viper was actually up before sunrise for a run. And it wasn't even for a race. Vacation will do strange things to you.
What vacation would be complete without some boozing with the locals?
First, there was the Brewery Ommegang, which let me peruse their facilities and try their beer for free. I promise I didn't not taint one of the batches of beer with anything too toxic.
I've been a fan of the Ommegang beers for a couple years, and I have celebrated both of my Akron Marathon finishes with an Ommegang variety, the Hennepin in 2008 and Abbey Ale in 2007.
However, the Rare Vos is quickly becoming one of my favorites, if only my local pub would get it on draft.
Ommegang's winter beer, a stout called Chocolate Indulgence, was actually released the week I was there. It's not my favorite of the chocolate stouts, but it's pretty good.
Second was the Bear Pond Winery, which had a pretty sweet deal for its tasting. For $5, you got six tastes and a $5 credit toward a bottle of wine. So, in essence, it was try before you buy, which is a practice I need to get my local spirits vendor to adopt.
The wine was suitable, but nothing knocked my socks off. The Holiday Bear was the most interesting and therefore the one purchased.
A Few Words on Our National Pastime
Yes, I did some drinking and running in Cooperstown, but as some of you have guessed my main attraction was the Baseball Hall of Fame. This has been on my list of things to do for years. If baseball is your favorite sport, you should go.
I was lost in baseball memorabilia for about four hours and enjoyed every minute of it -- except for when they'd repeatedly remind me of Cleveland's 60 years of futility in the World Series. Like all the images of Willie Mays' phenomenal, over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz's deep fly ball at the Polo Grounds during the 1954 World Series, which led the New York Giants' four-game sweep of Cleveland. Or seeing the exceptionally gaudy Florida Marlins 1997 World Series ring. Or just any time I saw any mention of the Boston Red Sox.
That being said, you Red Sox and Dodgers fans can consider this year the Curse of the Viper. I was rooting for a No Sox World Series from the start of the playoffs. (Go Rays!) And I couldn't bear to see Joe Torre and Manny Ramirez make it again. (Go Phillies!) Baseball has smiled on me. Just remember, there's always next year!