Jun 302013
No gang signs this time…

Katie and I spent the weekend in Cleveland with my sister (GO SUBSCRIBE TO HER BLOG RIGHT MEOW!) and her husband, eating things and drinking things and hanging out like friends do. It was the first time I’ve visited Cleveland for the sake of visiting Cleveland, but it likely won’t be the last! More on the goings on up there, later.

While I was in town, I wanted to squeeze in a 5k. I haven’t raced that distance for quite a while, and I wanted to take a crack at one of my personal goals for this year, which was to finish under 24 minutes. Gotta get it in, even on vacation! I picked the Little Helping Hands 5k, a charity race to benefit Cornerstone of Hope, which is an organization dedicated to helping grieving kids and teens deal with loss.

I didn’t prep for this race quite as well as maybe I could have, as we spent the previous afternoon and evening doing work on pub food, drinks, and chocolate… er… “cake.” Even so,. I was up early, arrived at the venue in plenty of time to relax and warm up, and felt as ready as I was going to be. I hoped my fresh legs would outweigh my still-full belly.

The temperature was perfect, but a spitting rain came and went throughout my mile-long warm-up and all through the race. It wasn’t terrible, but it was enough to be annoying. More annoying, I had forgotten the armband for my phone, so I had to hand carry it through the race, to get the GPS and heart rate data that I’ve found so useful this year.

I found a reasonable place in the pack to start and tried to go out easy, remembering the benefits easy starts have paid in recent races. But the first mile was more or less downhill, and so my pace was more aggressive than I had planned, without putting in undue effort. I passed the first mile marker in just over 7 minutes, and felt like I could maybe hold pretty close to that pace for the rest of the race.

But what goes down must come up, and the second mile climbed, then went into and out of a ravine, costing me a minute or so. It was also during this mile that my stomach decided to remind me of the previous day’s debauchery, and while I didn’t get sick, it was a distraction. For awhile there, I could’ve sworn I was sweating pig fat!

The last mile, I tried to put everything aside and just push, knowing that I was on-pace to hit my goal time, if only I didn’t lose too much in the last split. The course climbed the same gradual grade that had aided my first mile, and I worked hard to control my breathing and keep my cadence up. I was reeling in a couple other runners and weaving through the crowds of people participating in the 1-mile “fun walk,” who plodded on, blithely unaware of the runners charging up behind them.

I rounded the final corner and saw the clock reading “23:xx,” and knew I had made it! I crossed the line in 23:33, good enough for a 2½ minute PR, and checking off another goal for the year! The run was good enough for 4th of 11 in my age group, and 29th of 178 finishers.

I’m very satisfied with the race, but I know I’ve got a little bit more left in me. With some more careful race prep and a faster course, who knows, maybe even another minute or so!

Jun 292013
Well, we’ve nearly reached the halfway point of the year, and so the halfway point of this project. So I thought it was time to let you all in on some rules I use to guide myself through all of this.
My biceps are laughably small. Except
when compared to my biceps two
years ago.

1. Never strive to be better than average. Always strive to be better than yourself. This gives you a goal that is both attainable on a daily basis, and perpetually in front of you. Each time you reach it you can celebrate having done so, but a new milestone will be placed before you. Let’s face it, until you’re competing at the world championship level, your performance will likely always be outshined by someone. Often in humiliating fashion. By a teenager. By comparing your performance to your own past performance, you are rejecting the unattainable, arbitrary standards of others, and instead setting in motion the kind of sustainable growth and improvement which may, some day, lead to you becoming a champion, even if it’s “only” of your local 5k.

And this advice doesn’t just apply to us rank amateurs. If you talk to reigning champions in any sport, especially those who repeat year after year, they’re always looking for ways to improve their own performance. Set faster laps, win more races, throw more touchdowns, whatever it may be. To stay at the top, they have to compete with themselves, even if they’re head and shoulders above all the competition.

“What would you like on your fries?”

2. All things in moderation, nothing to excess. Including moderation. Variety isn’t just the spice of life. It is life. Even the biological definition of life requires that it changes, improves, varies. Our bodies were made to eat lots of different things, and do lots of different things. Locking yourself down to machine-like inputs and outputs will only lead to stagnation at best, and deficiency at worst.

So change it up. Eat outside your diet once a week or so. Try foods and drinks that challenge and intrigue your palette, or maybe even scare you a little. Push yourself to run further, or faster, or ride down a trail you’ve never attempted. Learn a new movement in the weight room, and perfect it until it’s one of your new favorites. Cross train, always. Find a well-written book or article or series or documentary on a topic you have no clue about and devour it. Push your mind and your body to places they’ve never been, and you’ll find that you grow in ways you could’ve never dreamed.

I raced with this thing on my ankle for the last three races of last season. That was dumb. Especially the 10 mile trail race.

3. Pay attention to your body, but first learn the language it speaks. If there is a food that makes you feel good physically, not just mentally, eat that. If it makes you feel bad, don’t eat it. But don’t stop eating a food (or a whole food group) because you heard/read somewhere it’s bad for you, and then find yourself believing in an effect that doesn’t exist. Always, always, when trying a new dietary technique or exercise, beware of your own confirmation bias.

If you stop eating a food and nothing changes, or the desired effect is not achieved, but then you start eating that food and you feel bad, it’s because your digestive system isn’t used to it, not because the food was bad from the beginning. There are various levels of enzymes and flora in your gut that process certain things. If those things aren’t present, those levels drop. When those things are reintroduced, it takes time for your body to bring the levels back up, and you’ll feel bad in the interim. This is not indicative of anything positive or negative, but only that you have removed and reintroduced a substance in your diet.

And by the way, if the food group you’re omitting has been part of the human diet for thousands of years, chances are it’s just fine. We’ve done pretty well for ourselves eating red meat, drinking milk, chewing fat and making various grains into all sorts of things. Unless you have a medically diagnosed sensitivity, you’re just guessing, and probably wrong.

Also, when you’re hungry, eat. You don’t have to eat a lot, and you should understand the effects of what you’re eating, but often the worst solution is to have nothing. Get ahead of your stomach by planning meals and snacks as far in advance as you can manage. Don’t forget to scale your intake in anticipation of planned exercise. While I don’t believe that there’s any such thing as “starvation mode” as such, there are compromises your body has to make when it is severely deficient, and none of them are particularly helpful to your goals of getting smaller/stronger/lighter/faster/bigger/more awesome.

This rule doesn’t only apply to food, however. Working out until you drop to the floor every day when you’re trying to get strong isn’t likely to help you with your goals. Going out and running five miles when your previous long was from the door of the mall to your car in the rain won’t make you a better distance runner. Don’t train yourself into an injury, push yourself too early, or put yourself in the hospital.

Speaking of the hospital, learn to recognize the signs of impending injury. There’s a big difference between discomfort and pain, and you have to find that line. It takes practice and experience. If you’re doing a movement in the gym that just feels wrong, whether it’s new to you or something you’ve done 1000 times, stop. Evaluate what you’re doing, and what your body is telling you about it. For years, I couldn’t do back squats because my shoulders just wouldn’t rotate back far enough to grasp the bar without pain. So, I stopped doing back squats and did other leg things, until I could rehab my shoulders enough to do the required movement. Continuing to try and wrench my shoulders into place for one exercise was never going to be productive, either for my shoulders or my squats.

So listen to what your body is saying, and then…

And it doesn’t hurt to have a cute girl to go along with you, either!

4. Be patient, and give changes time to work. Never make a change to an input or an output for a week, and then abandon it thinking it doesn’t work. The human machine is astoundingly adaptable and moldable, but all these changes take time. There is a lag, sometimes days and days long, between an action taken and the result of that action, and even then it might be too small to notice at first. So unless what you’re doing is causing you injury, just keep at it for awhile and really evaluate how it’s working for you.

Dramatic physical changes are often accompanied by rapid mental changes, but you can’t let your mind be the scale of progress for your body. Deciding to make a change is the first and hardest step, to be sure, but it isn’t the only step. If your goal is to lose weight, track your trends over months, not days. Compare years, not weeks. Remember that the goal is to have a healthy life, not a healthy 60 days, so always take the long view.

There are no secrets. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

 5. Never take an “expert’s” word as gospel. They may be an actual expert. They may be a colossal scumbag posing as one. They may just be some ripped dude at the gym who thinks what worked for him last week is going to work for everybody. The point is, the only expert on your body, on your technique, on your abilities, is you. This applies most overwhelmingly to supplements. The science behind so many supplements is shaky at best, and largely anecdotal. If you want to try something, by all means try it. But pay attention to the last two rules, give it an objective evaluation, and if it doesn’t seem to be doing anything, can it.

Remember this in training as well. Everybody has a plethora of different things that are right and wrong with their bodies, and minds. Some people are very strong in the upper body, but have to work like crazy to build their legs. Some people can knock out 1000 situps a day but struggle with pushups. Some people just can’t master certain movements. And all of that is okay, as long as you work around it sufficiently to meet your own personal goals. Don’t ever adhere so rigidly to a workout plan that it’s hurting you or holding you back, just because some “expert” wrote it. They don’t know you, and chances are they didn’t have your picture on their desk when they were writing the program.

More accurately, Fun, More Fun, Whee, and YEE HAW!

6. Find your happy place. No matter what you’re trying to do, or where you’re trying to go, you’ll almost never get there if you aren’t enjoying it or aren’t interested in it. Starting a fad diet and a 90 day workout program  pretty much guarantees that you’ll end up right back where you started. To make sustainable, maintainable progress, you have to change your lifestyle.

Don’t try a diet, change your eating habits. Permanently. Make small changes, one or two at a time, that you can embrace and maintain for the rest of your life. If you know that drinking soda is absolutely terrible for you, why are you doing it? What are you gaining from it? You  know what it tastes like already. You’re telling me your life would somehow be less worth living without it? Soda wasn’t that big of a loss for me, but Oatmeal Creme Pies… That hurt. So did quitting smoking. But you know what? Worth it, and now that I’m free of those things, I don’t spend all day wishing I could have them. They just don’t matter that much.

Don’t buy a series of home workout videos, buy a bicycle. Or a jumprope. Or a kickass pair of running shoes. Or some climbing gear, or a kayak, or hiking boots. Find something you love to do that gets you active, something that makes you feel like a kid, something that you’d rather be doing right now than reading this post, something that you obsess over when you’re daydreaming at work.

You might not know what that thing is yet, but that can be fun, too! Try some things, find some local groups to get involved with, and find the thing that’s going to work for you. There’s something out there for everybody, but you can’t wait for it to come to you.

You know you’re hooked when you’re reading
about disciplines you aren’t even interested in.

7. Become a huge geek. Once you’ve found that magical thing that drives you, go all-out nerd on it. Subscribe to the magazine, join the forums, read the blogs, and just dive into the culture. Immerse yourself in your new thing, study it, learn the lingo, and go on and on about it at work and social events. Your passion will not only feed itself, but it may just infect a few others, too. And that’s a good thing.

Good friends, good beer, and a good meal. I imagine heaven is a lot like this.

8. Surround yourself with passionate people. There’s nothing that will reinforce a habit pattern and provide a positive feedback loop quite like being consistently in the company of people who share your obsession. No matter what you do, there will be a group of people who are just as nutzo about it as you, and they’d love to hear your story. Whether they’re local or online, interacting with them will be among the happiest times in your life. You’ll be refreshed and inspired by them, and they will be by you, and together you’ll all have orders of magnitude more fun than you would on your own.

The pre-race rituals.

9. Plan. Set Goals. Compete. Having tangible things to work towards, like races and competitions, provides you with lights at the end of all the tunnels. I’ve met a lot of very fit people at the gym, on the track and at the trailheads over the years, and only a very small percentage of them exercise just for the sake of exercise. A gym routine swiftly becomes just that, and you almost can’t help but fall into a rut, which will make you stop training.

Having a race gives you something to work towards, a direction for all of your training. If you find yourself flagging before your 5k is done, maybe you need to work on your endurance. If it takes you longer than you want to finish a lap at your local mountain bike race, maybe you need more leg strength. If you can only jog from here to the mailbox right now, but you got talked into a half marathon, you’ve got very specific work to do. Even if you’re just trying to get to work faster on your bicycle, that just became your race. Use that goal as your compass, and let it pull you to where you want to go. There is nothing that will focus you more clearly than having a specific event to be ready for.

My niece, the best athlete in the family.

10. Have fun. Don’t forget that the point of all this is to end up a happier, healthier you. Don’t let your new lifestyle come to dominate you in a negative way, coming between you and family or friends. Know when to step back a little and be content with the progress you have made, or throttle back on a plan or program or activity that just isn’t doing it for you anymore.

If rule #6 isn’t happening any more, maybe you need to look for something else. Or maybe just add some variety. Or maybe apply what you’re doing in a different way. But always make sure that what you’re doing is the thing that will bring you back.

Live. Love what you’re living. Leave it all on the floor, or field, or course, or trail. Have a blast. Then have a beer, on me.

Jun 282013

In April of 1993, when I was nine years old, I lost my first grandparent. My mother’s mother, Laveda Bowman Cook, had suffered with the excruciating decline of Alzheimer’s Disease for a decade or more. My memories of her, of who she really was outside of what the disease had made her, are sparse and scattered.

What I remember most is pain. Her pain at her condition, at her inability to shine as she had through her whole life previously, playing the organ for her church, and singing, and raising her beautiful family in rural Indiana. The pain of my mother, watching her mother struggle and fail, and her father try to deal with the chaos. The pain of my father, watching my mom hurt and being unable to do anything about it.

Alzheimer’s is a cruel, evil disease. Like other maladies of the mind, it doesn’t just attack what you are, it attacks who you are. It takes away that which makes you, you, and replaces it with a shattered, splintered person that few will even recognize. And what’s worse, you won’t recognize them, no matter how special they may have been to you.

There aren’t many things in life that truly terrify me, but Alzheimer’s does. I’ve seen first hand what it can do to a person, and to their family, and it is something no one should ever have to endure. What’s worse, Alzheimer’s is the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression.

But we aren’t completely helpless. The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. They aid victims of the disease, support their families and caregivers, and coordinate and help fund research into their care, treatment and someday, a cure.

Earlier this month I wrote about what I feel is my mission. With that in mind, I have registered for this year’s Young’s Bike Tour, a two-day event raising money for four amazing charities, among them the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. In an effort to raise $501 for causes I believe in so strongly, I will be riding 183 miles in two days, from Young’s Dairy to Ohio Northern University and back. I ask that if you are able, please donate anything you can to help me help make the world a little less painful, and help people shine a little brighter.

Thank you.

Click here to donate.

Jun 272013
It didn’t hurt at the time…

I found these on my chest after my half marathon last weekend. They’re caused by my heart rate monitor strap, which apparently has a slight design flaw that allows it to move too much when I’m running. It’s no problem when cycling, and hasn’t showed up when running any distance up to 8 miles, but anything further, and it becomes an issue.

It’s still a bit novel to me, the little things you discover when endurance training and racing. When you’re running a 5k, or racing in a sprint bicycle race, there are a lot of things that simply don’t come into play. A shoe tied slightly too tight, a wheel a little out of true, or a shirt that doesn’t fit quite perfectly won’t bother you over a half hour, or even an hour. But when you start getting around 2 hours or more, every tiny little thing starts to make a huge difference. It’s taught me to sweat the small stuff with my prep, and pay attention to every little detail. The details will help my shorter races, to be sure, but I never would have found them without riding and running far beyond what I had ever thought possible.

Jun 262013

My mountain bike is in the shop at the moment, undergoing surgery for her worn drivetrain. While there, I’m having them remove the big ring in the front and replace it with this, a CNC-ed aluminum bash guard by RaceFace. I never use the big ring anyway, and this will increase my ground clearance, and keep me from gouging my calf open when I crash or slip off/out of my pedals. Plus it looks sweet!

Jun 252013
If you look close, you can actually see the steel from the belts. No bueno.

This has been a year for unexpected expenses. Or rather, for spending money before I had intended.

The tires on the truck were most certainly on their last season, the tread worn nearly to the wear bars. But since it’s summer, I had hoped to run them until Fall, getting every mile I could out of them before shelling out for pricey replacements. The trouble with wear-replaceable items is that if you replace them early, you’re often just wasting money.

But then, while stretching for my half marathon on Saturday, I noticed the damage shown above. So much for plans! The tread was starting to separate from the carcass of the tire in a serious way, and that doesn’t give me warm fuzzies when I’m hurtling down the freeway at [undisclosed speed].

So I made a call to my favorite tire shop, Jamie’s Tire & Service in Fairborn. My family has been taking our cars and trucks there for decades, and I even worked there for a short stint before I left for Basic Training, many years ago. Eric told me they could get the tires I wanted in by that evening, and made me an appointment for this morning to have them installed.

Going to Jamie’s is always like a trip home, for me. I was a kid in that waiting room, while they fixed Mom’s van. I was a young adult there, slinging tires and oil for a living while I waited for the Air Force to give me a date. The familiar faces, the smell of the still-curing new rubber, the industrially musical sounds of impact tools and hydraulic lift motors and banging mallets always conjure a smile. I always enjoy that background music while I lounge in the waiting area, reading a copy of Bicycling and sipping my iced coffee.

This morning’s smile was somewhat dampened by having to spend this $900 four months early, and by the revelation that I’ll soon need to spend $600 more on worn chassis and suspension components. The shuffling of one spending priority up the list always means another must move down, and so this means delaying home projects, motorcycle parts and new bicycles. Ah, the frustrations and compromises of adulthood that they never mention in school.

Baby got a new pair of shoes!

Jun 242013

There’s a hill near my house that winds down to the bottom of the river valley. It’s a great little hill to bomb down, and a pretty good climb to get back up. Lucky for me, the training loop I picked today only included the downhill portion! That’s a new top speed on the road bike for me, and it felt as natural as walking. Gotta find a bigger hill one of these days!

Jun 232013

One of the really great things about doing the endurance racing I’ve gravitated towards this year is that it’s a great excuse for borderline gluttony. After I got cleaned up from my half yesterday, we went out to Sima for sushi, beer and green tea ice cream.

Then for dinner, we decided to try out Salsas, a newish Mexican place near our house, where Katie got a surprisingly large burrito. The second half of which I had for lunch today, and it was really good! Almost as good as the margarita I had, which packed a serious punch. Great little dive.

Jun 222013
No, those aren’t gang signs, that’s sign language for PR!

Maybe there’s something to the whole “poor dress rehearsal equals perfect performance” thing, after all.

I ran the 2nd annual Heights Half Marathon today, and despite a very challenging race, had my best performance at that distance to date! My “ramp up” for this race consisted of exactly two distance runs, one of eight miles and the other of ten, and neither were particularly stellar performances. I missed the early registration deadline, then the online registration deadline and so had to register the morning of the race, something that I hate doing both because it’s more expensive and because it subtracts from my warm-up and mental preparation time before the race.

But I got there and registered, warmed up a little bit and felt good. The lessons I’ve learned over the past few years about race prep, specifically rest and nutrition, paid dividends in that I felt as good as I possibly could have at the starting line. In fact, none of the nagging injuries I’ve fought for the past year were present, either. Despite my somewhat haphazard training and non-standard morning, I lined up feeling as good or better than I have for any race in a long, long time.

I lined up towards the back third of the 270+ runner field, since I always get a boost by passing people, instead of getting passed. And despite the downhill start out of the YMCA parking lot, I made a conscious effort to go out easy, maybe 60% of race pace, until my heart rate and breathing were up to speed and I was in a rhythm.

When the time was right, I picked a couple people who had passed me, and started reeling them back in. The increased pace came easy and my legs felt good, and soon I was running with the people I had been chasing. A little pack of us formed, and I stayed with them for the next few miles, getting pushed and pushing them in turn, the way a good group can work. Then just before mile 5, we turned East, into the sun and on an open road, and our pack splintered.

The next 5 miles proved to be the hardest of the race. The course went up and back on a fairly new boulevard, devoid of trees or shade, and on this morning, without a breeze. To make things worse, the race organizers had somehow managed to include only one water stop on what was easily the hardest stretch of the course, and mid-race too.

The race became a sufferfest, as the sun rose and the humidity seemed to load each breath with weight. I charged on, the benefits of my endurance training and racing this year carrying me forward without too much of a dent in my pace. Fortunately, I had stashed a Hammer Gel in my waistband at the last moment, and I sipped on that for a half mile to help keep myself going. Still, by the time we reached the residential section of the course and the water stops began again, I was flagging, and so was everybody else.

This is more than an inconvenience. I saw no fewer than three people collapsed on the course, which is extremely unusual at my speed bracket. None of us are pushing fast enough to win the thing, but most of us have some experience at this distance and won’t get ourselves dehydrated, provided the support is right. One guy left in an ambulance, and I thought I heard CareFlight later on. I don’t often criticize race organizers, but the “desert” in the middle of the race today was a huge oversight.

After I got back into the residential, the race got really hard for me. My energy level had dropped noticeably, and I was working hard to go slow, a predicament I hate being in. The usual parade of dark thoughts crossed my mind; thoughts of stopping, of quitting running altogether, of cutting the course, walking back to my truck, and never running again.

But I stuck with it, kept the pace as strong as I felt I could keep it, and tried to break the remaining distance into manageable pieces in my mind. “Just run to the next water stop.” “Only 3 more miles, you do that all the time.” “2 miles to go, that’s only 20 minutes, tops.” The conversations I have with myself in all of my endurance races. The same negotiations between mind and body, to just keep going a little further.

Finally we were back on the main road, and we could see the finish at the YMCA. I pulled my headphones out and listened to the spectators, trying to use their enthusiasm as fuel to get me to the line. The finish was uphill, and so my usual kick was relegated to only a determined charge that increased my pace slightly. But as I came to the top of the hill, I saw the clock and found just a little extra kick! It was still under two hours! My goal for the half marathon distance for the year was to finish in under two hours!

I was too delirious and exhausted to tell what the rest of the numbers said, but I ran as hard as I could, and then a little harder. I was making noises quite involuntarily, groaning and shouting with each quick breath, doing everything I could to get up the hill and through the traps.

And I made it! I finished in 1:59:23, under my goal, and a full TEN MINUTES under my previous best, set in April! In the nine months since I finished my first half marathon, I’ve knocked off 18 minutes, something I couldn’t have dreamed would happen when I was training last summer.

In the end, I finished 69th overall, and 7th of 20 in my age group, both placements I am very satisfied with. I would need to knock off a further 16 minutes to make the podium, but if I stick with this… who knows?

Jun 212013

Look at these two young kids! It’s hard to believe that’s Katie and I, in a lot of ways. A few years ago, this picture wouldn’t have been possible. We were both too heavy, and I was too weak. But now, it’s no big deal. Getting in shape has allowed us to enjoy life more, and enjoy each other more. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to say we both feel younger than we have in years.

Jun 202013

This is how my Wednesday night ended, and my Thursday morning began. I came across a car accident on my way home from work and stopped to help. The driver had drifted left and struck a barrier, which demolished the left front of her car, but everything crumpled how it was supposed to. No one was injured, and it was a single vehicle, but the car’s hazards didn’t work (owing to the battery compartment being demolished) and her phone was lost inside the car, so she was stuck.

I was in the right place at the right time to help somebody, something that happens to me a lot. What doesn’t happen a lot is being able to see the whole chain of events, start to finish, that put me in that right place and time.

Earlier in the week, my friend Chris had passed off a couple of his bicycles to me. They’d been damaged in a move, and he wanted me to look at them and see if they could be fixed. I decided they could be (but not by me), and so on Wednesday morning, I wore civvies on the way to work so I could drop the bikes off at my local bike shop. Because I wore civvies to work, when a few people asked if I wanted to stop for a beer on the way home, I was able to say yes. Because I was able to say yes, I went home via the South route instead of my normal North route, because the former swung past the bar.

And because I went home the South route, and an hour later than I otherwise would have, I came across the accident just minutes after it happened, and was able to call the police, put out flares and comfort the driver while we waited. I called Katie too, and she brought us warmer clothing and water, and helped out a ton.

On the rare occasion that we are able to witness the beginning, middle and end of a story like this, it convinces me all the more of the wisdom and power of Providence.

Jun 192013
The only proper way to cook with white wine is to drink whatever portion of the bottle you don’t use in the recipe.

 While I can’t claim to be anywhere near the all-star in the kitchen that my sister is (if you aren’t following her blog, you are wrong), I do occasionally crank out something pretty tasty from the kitchen. For a recent family gathering, I helped whip up an Asparagus Artichoke Shitake Risotto and a Spring Asparagus Pancetta Hash that both turned out quite tasty, if I do say so myself. It was my first attempt at a risotto, and under Katie’s careful tutelage, it was a success.

Later, for lunches, I tweaked the recipe for the hash (read: I used what was laying around) and used fresh green beans instead of asparagus, bacon instead of pancetta, and topped them with an Innisfree egg to make quick, breakfasty meals to take to work. Yum!

What can’t be improved with the addition of goat cheese and an egg?