Double Wow! Eastern Trail + Palace Diner = Amazing!

Both of us had recently been suffering from a Running Slump.  My problem has been laziness boredom with the routes in our neighborhood, so we have decided to branch out for some destination runs.  Not far from us is the Eastern Trail down in York County.  It’s an old railroad line that has been converted to a running/biking/walking trail.  A couple of  major pluses are that it has loads of shady stretches which is a plus during July morning runs and it’s really flat terrain.

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We are two weeks into some marathon training that schedules long runs on Sunday, but fortunately the long July 4th holiday allowed us to flip our excruciating long run (7 miler) to Monday morning.  That allowed us some annual Strawberry pickin’ and jammin’ on Sunday.

The newness of the trail for us has been invigorating and has rekindled some passion to log some miles.  It’s also nice to be off well traveled streets and enjoy some quietness other than good conversation which Katie proclaimed that I had to improve upon during our runs (sometimes I get in the zone and put on a thousand mile stare). Our long Monday run crossed three town lines and then this morning’s run gave us some adventures in Saco only.

I got a nice runner’s high from these runs, but the real reward was our post-workout trips to the Palace Diner in Biddeford.  All I can say is Wow!  We had been talking about going here for a couple years and all I can say is that I wish we went sooner! There was a wait to get in since it is counter service for about a dozen people, but they are nice to provide coffee service during your wait. On Monday, despite our 8:30am arrival, I ordered a hamburger and to quote the movie, Cocktail, “Beer is for Breakfast” a Coors Banquet Beer. The burger and fries were amazing and Katie ordered a breakfast sandwich that is beyond compare.  Jalapeños will definitely be a staple for our homemade breakfast sandwiches now.

Then this morning we dragged brought our younger son, Frank, for another Eastern Trail run (Frank did a walk) and Palace Diner adventure. I don’t usually like Tuna, but the Tuna Sandwich I had was pure ecstasy!  Frank ordered the Fried Chicken sandwich and it was Heaven.  Katie was unadventurous and went with the breakfast sandwich again and it still impressed.

Once again, Palace Diner impressed and I know it will be great motivation to run more sections of the Eastern Trail!

FYI: They are cash only for payment, but there is a Bangor Savings ATM nearby on Main Street.

See you on the road!

Errandonne 2017…A ride for some take out pizza from OTTO (Read Street)

Not really a breakfast run, but I did manage to squeeze in my first double digit run of the year after work today.  It had been a while, but I managed to run across to Falmouth on a mild March afternoon, although it was chilly on the way back.

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Was pretty worn out after, but Katie convinced me to set out on our first Errandonnee 2017 Challenge event of the year to bring home dinner from OTTO Pizza on Read Street.  We’re no strangers to OTTO, in fact in my own unofficial ranking of Portland pizza, OTTO is on top (followed closely by Pizzaiolo and Portland’s newest, Tipo).

There was some chill to the night air, but we had a pleasant ride there.  We put in our order for a large cheese and small sausage with Vidalia Onion.  Otto has some fantastic speciality pizzas, but it is their basic pies that really sell me.  Our only concern about the order was securing them to our bike on the way home, but bungee cords did the trick.

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We decided to order at door for the pizza rather than ordering ahead, so we would have an excuse to enjoy a libation or two while we waited it would be fresh and hot for the ride home.  At the bar we enjoyed a couple of local brews and I had an extra special treat of UFF dry cider (more on them in another post soon).  We also ordered the bruschetta appetizer, which was OK.  The balsamic had a nice flavor, but I prefer my tomatoes chopped smaller and the bread was a bit dry.  That did not stop us from eating all though since we earned the calories on our ride.

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We made the ride home and like usual, the kids (and us) made sure there would be no pizza leftovers for lunch the next morning.  OTTO’s pizza continues to impress even when delivered by bike on a chilly March evening.

Saturday Tri…Run, Bike, Eat at Schulte & Herr

This winter has proved to be a tough one to run through.  After finally crawling out of bed we decided to get out and at least do a morning 5k.  Fortunately, our conversation about Katie running this year’s Boston Marathon carried us to 4.5 miles.  After a quick shower for Katie (I tend to go without until Sunday night), we set out on our bikes for Schulte & Herr.

Katie had the spaetzle (think the most amazing Mac&Cheese ever with Emmantaler) and I had the German Breakfast Plate. The ham and sausages were great although I did order some mustard to enhance the flavor.  A hard-boiled egg would’ve been a nice addition, but overall the breakfast was fantastic!

Cold Weather is here: What I’m wearing.

This year has not exactly been a typical Maine winter, especially after our record 70 degree Christmas Day. Today we received a small taste of winter with morning temps of 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) with a wind chill of 12 degrees.  Finally a chance to wear some winter gear without fear of over-heating.  I don’t always get this right, but today I had the perfect combination of gear that prevented me from being too cold, too hot or chafed at the end of this 15 mile jaunt through our neighborhood (lots of loops today in Evergreen Cemetery to protect from the wind).  To quote Goldilocks it was “Just Right!”

From the inside out, here was my gear for the day:

  1. ICEBREAKER Antomica Briefs: These have been a revelation for running.  Previously I had been using synthetic compression shorts from Nike and Under Armor.  They were good, but chafing was still an issue for longer runs. The Icebreaker briefs are 100% merino wool (not itchy at all); they have kept me dry down there and I have had zero chafing in those unmentionable parts!  FYI: they run small, so be sure to order 1 or 2 sizes up.

Anatomica Briefs

2. Mizuno Breath Thermo Layered Tights: I bought these last year at Fleet Feet in Portland.  They are synthetic (nowadays I’d probably get wool tights), but they have a great feel.  I have worn these in temps as low as 10 below zero (F) and my legs have never felt cold.  An added bonus is the the compression feel of these tights that seem to give my legs an added boost in those hellbacious later miles.  They require more washing than wool due to odor, but I’m sure to baby them by washing in cold water only and never put them in the dryer.  These have held up well.

Mizuno Running Men Training Apparel Bottoms Pants

3. PEP Shevlin + Running Shirt: I reviewed this shirt and company back in October.  All I can say is “AWESOME!” This is the perfect wool base layer.  Its water wicking is amazing and the shirt’s durability has been off the charts.  Also, ZERO nipple chafing!  Not sure if the ladies out there have this issue, but it can be excruciating, especially that first trip under the shower after the run.  I almost could have went with this as my only layer under my jacket, but I was feeling a bit wimpy for the first sub 20 degree run of the month.

4. Darn Tough Socks: Like the PEP shirt, Darn Tough Socks can’t be beat.  My Adidas Ultra Boosts are wonderful running shoes, but the mesh top provided virtually no warmth.  Not a problem with Darn Toughs even if I manage to trek through a puddle one mile into a double digit run.  For winter runs I prefer the crew socks with light cushion in order to avoid chilly ankles.

Light Hiker Micro Crew Light Cushion / Charcoal/Lime / M Small

5. IBEX Stretch Merino Glove Liners: I have used these for every run in November and December in temperatures ranging from today’s 20 degrees F (windchill of 12) up to 50 degrees.  They have been terrific.  My hands have been dry and warm without another glove on top.  Today I did use the “hobo” glove top from the PEP shirt and they both held up well after the initial chilly fingers during the first mile.

Lightweight insulating stretch Merino glove liner

6. IBEX Indie Skimmer Hat: For outer layers, IBEX seems to be the winner for providing the most warmth.  This hat is like a nuclear power plant on my head.  In fact, I revert to my SMARTWOOL hat for temps above freezing because the IBEX wool is so warm.  For today’s run this was ideal though.  Never had to shed it and despite being soaked with sweat my head was warm from start to finish.

Unisex's - Indie Skimmer Hat

7. SAUCONY Run Strong Sportop: I wore another layer above my base PEP layer mainly because I wanted coverage around my neck.  Like IBEX’s wool, SAUCONY’s synthetic fabric seems to be the best.  It has a soft feel and a comfortable fit.  Last winter, this was my usual base layer, but chafing was the issue as was the case with all other synthetics I wore.  This shirt performs well by itself on warmer days (45-55) and I like the quarter zip for venting if I get overheated.

RUN STRONG SPORTOP, Tangelo, dynamic

8. ASICS Lined Winter Running Jacket: I’ll have to check on the model, but the Asics jacket I have was a wonderful purchase.  I bought it last year on clearance at Sports Authority.  The jacket features side pockets and a very handy breast pocket where I store my phone with headphones coming out.  The warmth of this pocket is great because I have been finding that my Iphone 6 will shut down at the slightest sense of low temperature (very frustrating when using Runkeeper to track the run).  It is lined with a waffled liner that dries out quickly after the run.  Additionally the extra long cut and sleeves with attached “hobo” gloves help to provide a very protective outer shell.  My jacket has weathered snow, sleet, hail, and low temps like a champ!  If I was a Mail Carrier, I’d wear this jacket.

9. Adidas Ultra Boost Shoes: I wear these no matter what the weather, but I thought I’d include them here.  Will do a more thorough review at some time, but my third pair of Ultra Boosts this year continue to impress.

A fun part of running is the gear.  One thing about winter running is that there is a lot more gear that is required, but it is fun to search out the best in that quest for the perfect run.

See you on the road!

 

 

 

Breakfast At Bayou Kitchen

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We finally made it to the Bayou!  We managed to hit the road early enough to beat the morning rush.  After a chilly 6 miles around the West End, the blast of warm air as we entered The Bayou Kitchen was a welcome feeling.

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We’ve actually eating here since they opened several years ago.  One thing I love here is that you can order from either the breakfast or lunch menu no matter what time of day it is.  Be sure to check the daily
Specials on the wall before ordering.  You may find a gem that is worth trying.  I had the fortune of having Tonga Toast from the Specials list a few years ago.  It was thick pieces of hearty Italian bread with a crunchy coating.  I loved it so much that it has become a frequently requested item for our at home breakfasts during weekends or trips to Rangeley.  The Dark Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Pancakes were very tempting this day.

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The regular menu has many delicious options for both breakfast and lunch (Bayou serves breakfast and lunch only) and every one I have had has been fantastic.  From prior visits I recommend trying the Veggie Homie Plate (home fries smothered with veggies and cheese), the Breakfast Sandwich (traditional style, but for a real treat, order is with the Andouille sausage), or El Rancho Verde omelet (a medley of Cajun and southwest flavor).  If you are in the mood, Bayou Kitchen’s French Toast and pancakes are large and perfectly cooked.  Another item to note is the Home Fries, quartered red potatoes with some light Cajun seasoning.  You can see it all being prepared if you sit at the bar in front of the griddle.

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As great as breakfast and many lunch options (Gumbo or Jambalaya or great choices -if available, get them with crawfish!-), I have one standby order that I order almost exclusively when visiting The Bayou Kitchen:

  1. Chicken Piquant (sometimes I add crawfish): Cajun hot and sour soup with chicken simmered in olive oil and vinegar with onions, peppers, garlic, tomato and spices.  Served over rice.  TALK ABOUT A WONDERFUL MEDLEY OF FLAVOR!
  2. Jalepeno Cheddar cornbread.  Biscuits and other cornbread varieties are available, but I love crumbling a few pieces into the Chicken Piquant.  FLAVORFUL WITH GREAT TEXTURE (crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside)!  It is a special treat with some butter.
  3. Grits.  A nice treat for our Yankee city.  I add a dab of butter and maple syrup, but everyone has their own secret preference for their grits.
  4. A can of Moxie.  I don’t know why, but it is a perfect compliment to this meal.  I actually do not drink Moxie any other time.

 

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My special order at The Bayou Kitchen

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This Portland Yankee loves him some grits with breakfast!

 

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Katie usually goes for more traditional breakfast fare at BK.  The breakfast sandwich with a side of homies.

Katie went for the breakfast sandwich and a side of homefries.  I love the home fries done on the griddle.  On the table I mix ketchup and some hot sauce which is a perfect compliment to the light spices on the potatoes.

The service and atmosphere at the Bayou Kitchen is a treat if your looking for local flavor with some Cajun taste.  The staff is very friendly, the food arrives hot and fast, and the coffee is quickly replenished.  Also, they are reasonably priced (our bill came to $22.00).

I used to think BK was a hidden gem in Woodfords Corner, but the word has been spreading.  They expanded a couple of years ago, but still continue to have a full house for breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays.  The wait sometimes will be up to 15-20 minutes, but they will call or text if you choose to wait nearby.  No matter what, it is worth the wait if you want a hearty breakfast with some Cajun flavor.

See you on the road!

Race Day!

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It’s been a long week without running.  We’re getting ready for today’s race. I have no idea what to expect, but I’m hoping to run pain free.  Curious to see if all this test results in a faster time or will I get winded.  Tough decision about what to wear.  Temp will be around 45 degrees with no wind or rain.  Perfect conditions for shorts and long sleeves, but no sure if I go with wool or synthetic top.  Probably going with my red Saucony synthetic 1/4 zip since it looks festive.  We’ll see how it goes.

See you on the road! (Finally) 🌲

Getting Antsy

Ugh!  This is not a pretty picture:

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I’ve been on the sidelines this week trying to heal what I suspect is an IT band injury (Iliotibial Band Syndrome – ITBS).  It’s weird because it only starts hurting while running.  It first cropped up about a month ago starting around mile 9 of longer runs, but it has been starting progressively earlier.  On my my most recent run, I felt the sharp pain on my outer right knee at the end of mile one.  I’ve tried icing and some exercises, but Katie convinced me to take a week off.  That’s a hard thing to do!

My biggest fear about taking extended time off is that I will not return to regular running (this has happened before).  We are racing a 5k this upcoming weekend, so I’m hopeful that will spur me back into action.  The really scary thing is that I have a read a lot of ITBS horror stories of people being sidelined for weeks or months before fully healing.  I’m hoping 7 days off does the trick or else I’m gonna have to rethink my menu choices!

See you on the road (hopefully soon)!