This and that..

On July 6, I noted some recent issues with tightness in my right calf, which has been a recurring issue with me. I’ve suspected that poor kicking form while swimming freestyle and backstroke might contribute to this. I did not swim at all while we were on vacation last week, and had no tightness issues for the entire week. However, I’m noticing that a little bit of tightness is back today, also in the right calf, and I have not yet been in the pool. It just occurred to me that both days I’ve had the issues were right after I took long drives. On July 4, we took a 6-hour day trip to Pennsylvania, and yesterday was a 4-hour(!) drive home from Bethany. My right leg, of course, is the side I use for the accelerator pedal. Could there be a connection here?

While at the shore, I picked up a few half-pound bags of coffee beans, including some light roast (breakfast blend) from Local Coffee Roasting Co. in Roxana, DE. Today was my first foray into brewing anything lighter than medium roast in the AeroPress. I followed the James Hoffmann recipe pretty closely:

  • 11 grams coffee, ground at 42 clicks on the JX (1.5 turns minus 3 clicks)
  • 200 grams water at 99°C (1:18.1)
  • Two paper filters
  1. 20 second pour
  2. Steep 2 minutes
  3. Take off scale and swirl
  4. Wait 30 seconds
  5. Press 30 seconds

The end result was OK, but lacking in flavor, which tells me I’m probably not getting enough extraction from the beans. In his video, Hoffmann recommends adjusting either the grind size or the water temperature to address this, instead of upping the amount of coffee, which you might do with a darker roast. Next time, I may try going a little bit finer with the grind, and possibly heating the kettle water to a full boil and pouring directly off that.

Today’s Run Notes

It’s pretty miserable out there today. Not overly hot, but very humid. I didn’t get out for my run until 9:00, and by then, it was 80°F with a dewpoint of 72°, with bright sunshine (in contrast to recent days, which have been mostly cloudy to overcast in the mornings). My first note to myself is that I really, really have to get out of the house earlier on days when it is this humid. Before 7:00am would be ideal. My chosen route had less shade than usual, because the sun had already reached a lot of areas which typically have shade earlier in the morning. I only made it 4 miles before I had to stop to avoid overheating. My splits tell the story: mile 1 was 10:47/mile, mile 2 was 11:24/mile, mile 3 was 12:22/mile, and mile 4 was 13:49/mile. I walked another 1.3 miles to get home, so my total distance on the morning was 5.3 miles. In spite of the poor weather, it felt like an OK run form-wise. I’m getting better at maintaining a high cadence in varying conditions, even though, similar to Wednesday, my average cadence (177 steps per minute) was slightly slower than ideal.

Noteworthy today was that I ran with my new Xero HFS shoes instead of my usual Vibram V-Runs. I ordered a size 11.5 because the web site says they run small, but I probably would have been fine with size 11, as this pair feels a tiny bit large. Ironically, my Xero Terraflex trail shoes were too small at size 11, but perfect at 11.5. Go figure. Today’s run went just fine. The shoes didn’t feel like they were getting in the way, although they definitely felt “larger” than my Vibrams. I suspect that the HFS will make better winter running shoes than the Vibrams, as I’ll be able to wear warmer wool socks with them. Looking forward to testing that theory out in several months.

No huge issues with my right ankle/foot today. It bothers me more while walking than running, I guess because of the different biomechanics involved. I did some foam rolling, light stretching, and warm-ups before going out. My right calf seems less tight today than yesterday. I’m going to keep trying to improve my ankle mobility. In particular, I’ve been doing more heel walking to try to work my tibialis anterior muscles, which oppose the calf muscles. We’ll see how this goes over time.

Afternoon notes

Something is definitely up with my right foot and calf, as I’ve been getting some discomfort in the rear of the foot towards the heel while walking on my treadmill desk. My right calf also seems really tight, which is an issue I’ve dealt with a lot over the years. As I wrote yesterday, I suspect that it is an ankle mobility issue. It has gotten a little bit worse since I started swimming backstroke a few days ago, and I do think my kicking technique needs a lot of work. For the time being, I am going to stop doing backstroke and probably cut down a bit on freestyle, focusing more on breaststroke and butterfly, and see if it calms down. I’m also going to focus a little bit more on exercises to improve ankle mobility. I found this page, which seems like a pretty good resource.

I tried making some iced coffee this afternoon. I have a fair amount of pre-ground Wellsley Farms (BJ’s store brand) breakfast blend coffee with a “best by” date of August 2023, so I’m looking for creative ways to use it up. Since it’s ground fine for drip machines, it’s not ideal to use for cold brew, so I decided to try this recipe for iced coffee. I followed the recipe to the letter, using my electric kettle and measuring everything out with a scale. It’s the closest I’ve come to doing pour-over coffee. I don’t (yet) have a pour-over dripper, so I used a strainer and a regular coffee filter, and dripped the coffee into a Pyrex 2 quart measuring cup. Ideally, I need something a little bit deeper for this, as I had to lift the strainer up at the end to keep it out of the brewed coffee. But other than that, it turned out fine, and made about 24 ounces of iced coffee. It wasn’t all that strong, but good for a summer afternoon. I tried mixing some with a little bit of chocolate almond milk, which was tasty, but the almond milk doesn’t mix well with the water, and I had to keep stirring it to keep it from settling. Real dairy milk might fare better. At any rate, I’ll probably try doing this again.