February Training

I’m looking at February as a big month of base building. Just over 100 miles for the month and a push toward medium volume (for me).

2/3-2/9: 30 miles of training, finally. By only half a mile, this is my highest mileage since when I ran the NYC Marathon in November 2018. I did a trail run at South Mountain Reservation in New Jersey with a group, which was fun. It’s pretty easy to get to and just challenging enough for someone like me who loves running on trails but doesn’t yet have trail shoes with a rock plate.

South Mountain PPTC Group

Muddy from South Mountain

2/10-2/16: 12.5 miles since I moved my long run to the following Monday, President’s Day while also missing my Thursday tempo and Saturday 5-mile Open Run.

Funfetti cupcakes for Galentine’s Day

2/17-2/23: 34 miles, including the final long run. Amazing eats at Golden Unicorn, Smith & Wollensky, and The Dough Club.

Dim sum at Golden Unicorn

2/24-2/28: x miles plus a short shakeout 2/29 before spectating the Olympic marathon trials

Next up in March: Atlanta Half 3/1, cheering the NYC Half and the UAE 10K, eating my way around Montreal, and some more trail running.

Winter Training Miscellany

I’ve been more consistent getting out there a few times a week and my long runs were going well enough in the low double digits. The lack of Polar Vortex weather has helped me get outside, plus I have treadmill access at New York Sports Club which has a ton of locations. I’m doing speed training Tuesdays and Thursdays, which is also helping.

Weekly Mileage:

January 13-19: 29 miles. This is my highest weekly mileage since April, right before my plantar fibroma ended my spring/summer season.

January 20 – 26: 21.5 miles out of a proposed 31 because I moved my long run then didn’t get it done.

January 27 – February 2: 28.6 miles, including a 4 mile race. I wanted to extend my warm up and cool down to hit 30 for the week, but was pretty beat after.

NYRR Open Run

Winter/Spring race calendar so far:

February 2: NYRR Gridiron 4 Miler

February 16: 10 miles as a tuneup race

March 1: Atlanta Half

April 5: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC. I’m in but need to secure accommodations and travel.

Early May: Ragnar Cape Cod May 8-9. I’m also in for Broad Street Run in Philly May 3rd since I had to defer in 2019 (and 2018, sigh). I don’t think I should race and relay three weeks in a row.

May 16: Brooklyn Half, after much agita getting in.

I’m trying to pick an actual 5K or 10K to hopefully PR, but might put those off until summer.

Eats: I’ve still been eating and cooking tasty things, but not taking a lot of pictures of them.

New Year, New Running Goals

2019 was not my best year for running (though many other good things happened in my career and personal life). I hit just over half of my yearly mileage goals (~640 miles out of a desired 1200), only eked out one PR (Richmond 5K), and DNS multiple races (most due to my injury and then sadly Ted Corbitt 15K in December due to illness). My mindset suffered even once I was cleared to run and I was definitely scared to put the pressure on my body and risk injury again. Then just before the holidays in December, I took a little week-long break from running due to mental fatigue and due in part to a murder in one of my local parks which shook me up.

After wrapping up work and flying across the country on December 18th, I did a PureBarre class in Las Vegas, then hiked a few miles in Zion National Park, then finally felt the urge to run again in San Diego. And it’s been decent ever since, whether on treadmill or trail or road. My mental game is getting stronger; I guess doing various workouts and even some heart rate zone training on the treadmill helps. I’ve bundled up and gone outside to run during cold gale warnings and I’ve been pushing myself to run in the rain more often, though it can be a bit annoying since I wear glasses. My new mental mantra as I try to push toward some speed or grind up some hills is the simple yet effective “You can do hard things”. I’ve got the same PR goals as last year in mind (sub-24 5K, sub 52-10K, sub 1:55 Half) and am signed up for a 4 miler, two 10 milers, and a hilly half in Atlanta between now and early April. Other races and possibly a fall full marathon TBD. I’m not sure where the spring season and 2020 will take me, but I’m excited to enjoy the process.

Some fun eats were had both before and during my travels, notably fish tacos in San Diego and getting all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ twice. I started drinking more nitro cold brew on the west coast, but have eased back into my normal coffee routine back in NYC. Plus that stuff’s usually $5+.

Hometown BBQ in Industry City NYC: pastrami sandwich, jalapeno cheddar hot link, mac & cheese, and a Topo Chico
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Uni on top of roe at Uogashi

 

Mid-November through Mid-January by the numbers:

Longest long run: 11 miles with Gabby, including 3 before the Joe Kleinerman 10K and 2 after. I’d only planned to do 8 but it was so great having a warmup and cooldown partner and getting to catch up. So now my long runs are set until my half 3/1 and second 10-miler 4/5.

States run in: California, Virginia, and Massachusetts (and New York), plus some hiking in Utah and some PureBarre in Nevada (thanks to ClassPass).

Fastest speed: 7:19 minute mile in the wild/outside a couple times and 6:00 minute mile on the treadmill at Barry’s Bootcamp.

Hot yoga classes taken: 4, 3 of which were at Y7 on ClassPass. I’m surprised at how much I love this!

Highest mileage week: 26. Now to build for a bit.

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Zion National Park

Richmond 8K 2019 Race Report

My action shots from MarathonFoto are so awful, so there aren’t many photos to share. But I had a really great race, despite it being only my 2nd in the last 9 months. The others were Al Gordon in February where I was sick, then a tuneup 5K last weekend. And of course, many months of being injured in between. I’m so glad this was my comeback! I was hemming and hawing about doing the half in Richmond but knew that I wouldn’t PR and didn’t feel extra ready for the distance as my long runs had dropped off since mid-October. Plus, by the time I signed up, the half cost $100 and the 8K was only $40. Done!

After flying in Thursday night and going to bed at the late hour of 11pm, I skipped doing a shakeout on Friday. After picking up my packet, I ate way too much at ZZQ, Richmond’s new Texas-style BBQ joint. Then I had some pasta for dinner and slept poorly until my 5am wakeup call. The 8K went off right at 7am, so I hopped out for a 1 mile warmup and settled into the corrals. Times under 48 minutes were Corral 1, and I was shooting for 43. My previous 5 mile best time was 43:28 and I was pretty sure I could get this under an 8:43 pace.

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Those Splits tho

I met a fellow NYC-er in the corrals and we chatted for 5 minutes, then we were off! I took it out a smidge too fast then got concerned on mile two (plus that mile had the most elevation increase). Then after the turn onto Mulberry and move to Grace Street came the cobblestones. At one point, my foot got temporarily lodged into one and I stumbled. That was a real adrenaline rush and I recovered then was able to speed it up on the fourth mile. Then came the real downhills. I remembered the finish from running the Richmond Marathon two years ago and loved it again.

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Flying downhill

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PR Victory!

I was done by 7:43 and met my parents at the post-finish party. I rang the PR bell, ate a banana and my Dad kindly purchased me some Richmond gear to warm me up until we got back to the car. My pockets are bulging with the snacks I took at the end, though I skipped the Papa John’s pizza this time.

Then I met up with college girlfriends and we ate amazing food at Perch.

If my lottery entries for Berlin and NYC in 2020 are both no-gos, then I am strongly considering running the Richmond full again. I recommend their race series to everyone.

Richmond 2019 Training

This post originally titled Richmond Half 2019 Training and was supposed to cover everything in September, but then I never published it in September. Or October. My running has been pretty good (some weeks higher in mileage than others) but I’ve kept my weekend long runs right around 10 miles for the most part.  Essentially, I feel like I could run a half at any time, but I couldn’t hit a PR. I got medical clearance from my doctor and PT to run a half this fall/winter (but not a full marathon, which is fine). But the consistency of training never really happened. So I’m just going to do the 8K in Richmond on 11/16/19.

I moved out of Brooklyn in September and have been exploring Central Park a lot more. There are so many paths and trails and things to see (namely waterfalls) off the main 6-mile path. My goal is to run them all, plus run the entire perimeter of the park on 5th Avenue and Central Park South/West/North. It’s a lot easier to get to the many NYRR and other races in Central Park now, so I’ve popped by to cheer on friends or pace long runs.

In late September, I did a Tracksmith-sponsored long run in Rockefeller Park State Preserve and loved hitting the trails. The hills were killer, but I stayed steady and on the slower side. Obviously I wore Tracksmith.

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I went to Chicago in mid-October to spectate the marathon (for the third time in four years) and see friends from across the country and eat deep dish pizza. I ran a Nike-sponsored 4×800 race at Soldier Field and was pleased enough with my time. If anything, it made me want to get back to the track a bit more. In my injury-prone state, I haven’t been doing much speed work. Also, our team met Colleen Quigley!

 

Fall by the numbers:

Longest long run: 11 miles

Fastest speed: I hit 10 mph (a 6:00 minute mile) for maybe a minute during a Barry’s Bootcamp treadmill session and didn’t die or fly off the treadmill

I ran my first race since February, a 5K on Randall’s Island in 26:26, about 90 seconds off my PR.

I ran in Saratoga Springs NY, Chicago IL, and San Juan Puerto Rico.

Plus, I went to a driving range for the first time in over a decade, got into sourdough bread baking, am a happy owner of a Theragun, and kept up eating delicious stuff all over town (and other places).

Lunch specials at Cho Dang Gol
Piña colada and red snapper in Old San Juan
Deep dish pizza and the best salad at Lou Malnati’s in Chicago
Apple cider donuts upstate
Waiting for seafood boil

Not in Training (Yet)

I’m been running irregularly for the last 6 weeks, plus a fair amount of strength and cross-training as well as weekly physical therapy. I’m not signed up for any races this fall but am building a base to start training for the Richmond Half November 16. I’ve made progress in PT in terms of hip strengthening but still have a ways to go. The plantar fasciitis is 90% gone (pain-wise). I’m definitely regretting running through it for so long before, during, and after the NYC Marathon and not getting it checked out sooner. Having my current health insurance with my job at a health system means no co-pays for specialist visits or physical therapy, which really helps. I’m planning to see my physiatrist again soon then do a re-assessment with the sports medicine doctor to see if there are improvements in my form.

Summer so far has been very sweaty, both through heat wave temperatures and a lot of working out. Vacation #1 was to Fort Lauderdale in early June, which was hot, sunny, and unbearably humid. But the water was clear and warm and we rented a red convertible Mustang and zoomed around South Florida, eating stone crabs and Cuban.

Scooting around Fort Lauderdale June 5-8
Stone Crabs in Hollywood FL

Back in NYC, I’ve been taking a lot of workout classes through ClassPass, random deals, and getting a free birthday SoulCycle class that turned into 3 when my class was unexpectedly canceled due to a fire drill. Otherwise, it’s been a lot of time on the elliptical as well as doing my PT exercises and some strength training. Runs have been mostly solo, but I’m looking forward to getting back in with a group.

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Before a run (after was red, sweaty, and with a dead gnat in my sports bra)

I only kind of have full fall marathon training FOMO because the temperatures do not have me missing the Saturday long runs. I have another month of base building before half training kicks off (if I follow a 12 week plan), and while the heat won’t break before then, I’m happy to skip it. Plus, Vacation #2 is to Austin, Texas and it’ll be even hotter there. I’ll hopefully get back on track with checking in weeklyish before then.

Now for a brief and highly curated selection of eats lately.

Ube and pandan baked goods at Purple Dough
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1/4 the menu at Clinton Hall
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Seafood Paella at Bazar

That’s it for now!

Week 2 & 3 & 4 of Brooklyn Half Marathon 2019 Training

So the perks of doing a 12-week plan are that even after 2 weeks (and especially after a mentally iffy second week), you still have 10 more weeks. And then you go on vacation and get food poisoning and all your runs are still at a ‘tough’ or ‘massive’ or ‘historic’ relative effort according to Strava reading your Apple Watch Heart Rate Data. Huh. Shruggie arms emoji. I’m happy with the state of my long runs this early on, since they’re already in the double digits but I definitely have work to do on the quantity and length of weekday runs.

Week 2

Monday 3/4: Rest Day, which was a relief since the Sunday night snow was heavy and wet and not everyone had shoveled sidewalks the next morning.

Tuesday 3/5: 3.2 quick-ish miles in the lower part of Central Park with a Jackrabbit store sponsored run trying out some On Clouds shoes. Got donuts for Fat Tuesday.

Wednesday 3/6:  5.7 miles in Central Park in the late morning. My plan called for 7 miles Tuesday, 8 miles Thursday, and a rest Thursday but I needed to modify. For now, I’m better off doing short runs over more days than the 4 days of very long runs and workouts. I’m hoping to adapt better in a few weeks with the increase in volume then really take to the lactate threshold workouts.

Had more donuts just because.

Thursday 3/7: Rest day

Friday: 3/8 8.4 miles in the PM around Prospect Park.

Saturday 3/9: Skipped long run in favor of getting brunch last-minute with a friend and his daughter, trying to bake a pie from scratch (dough is so hard!), and having an early dinner of omakase at Sushi Lab.

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Santa Barbara and Hokkaido Uni

Then I met my bf for cocktails and okonomiyaki at Bar Goto.

 

Sunday 3/10: Woke up to pouring rain and a lost hour of time and skipped my club’s new member run in favor of relaxing. Saw Captain Marvel and loved it! Then baked another pie and made Instant Pot sweet and sour chicken.

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Total: 17.3 miles. I shocked myself by not running at all over the weekend but I guess I still have some time to get my mental game on track and prepare my legs for the 30+ mileage again.

Week 3

Monday 3/11: 5 easy miles, trying to keep it in Zone 3 for heart rate which invariably involves some walking and jog shuffling.

Tuesday 3/12: Rest Day and dinner at Ani Ramen to celebrate my friend’s 50K instagram followers milestone.

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The namesake Ani Ramen

Wednesday 3/13: PM Central Park loop for 6.5 miles.

Thursday 3/14: AM Central Park recovery run including the reservoir for 4.4 miles.

Friday 3/15: Early flight to SF and bopping around, visiting friends and exploring the city.

Saturday 3/16: 12 mile long run along the Embarcadero and piers of San Francisco.

Bay Bridge Sunrise
Golden Gate Bridge
Unreal SF Hills

Sunday 3/17: Light hiking around Big Basin State Park in CA and checking out the Santa Cruz waterfront. Dinner at Din Tai Fung.

Some of the Din Tai Fung Spread

Total: 27.9 miles

Week 4 – Scheduled Recovery Week

Monday 3/18: 5.2 miles exploring UC Berkeley’s campus. The hills!

Tuesday 3/19: Flight to Seattle and dinner at Walrus and the Carpenter.

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Steak Tartare
Sound Views from Ray’s Boathouse over a bottle of wine

Wednesday 3/20: 4.2 miles around Seattle. Poke and Dole Whip for lunch in the International District, buying too many Japanese Kit Kat flavors, then beers and burgers for dinner. Falling in love with Seattle one bite and view at a time.

The Gum Wall in Pike Place

Thursday 3/21: Light hiking and exploring Deception Pass State Park. Then I got food poisoning on the way back to town from Anacortes.

Rosario Beach
View from Deception Pass Bridge

Friday 3/22: I had planned to run 8 miles but chose to take it easy in light of the food poisoning. I went to the UW campus to see a James Turrell exhibit and some other art, then flew back to NYC later afternoon after some final Seattle coffee and touring Pike Place Market.

Saturday 3/23: Rest day – platelet donation, lunch, then seeing US and my friend’s band.

Sunday 3/24: 7 miles as a cutback long run, enjoying the weather. My plan actually called for 9 miles but I had told myself it was only 8 and that 7 was good enough. Yoga in the morning (my first time since late January, whoops). Had huge Italian sandwiches in Bensonhurst after.

Lioni’s Italian Heroes

Total: 16.4 miles.

Week 1 of Brooklyn Half Marathon 2019 Training

I used my guaranteed entry for the Brooklyn Half (from deferring last year’s due to peroneal tendon injury) and am setting it as my goal race for the spring season. I’m also doing the Broad Street 10 Miler again since I had to defer last year’s entry. I’m using a 12 week half marathon training plan from Pete Pfitzinger’s Faster Road Racing with some adaptations. He’s big on mid-to-long midweek mileage (8 miles for a Wednesday run) and keeping the long runs double digits until taper.

Monday 2/25: Day 1 was a rest day and the weather was awful, so I was glad to take it.

Tuesday 2/26: The plan called for 6 general aerobic miles, but I did 2 easy, 3 tempo, and 1 easy.

Wednesday 2/27: Rest Day and my club’s annual Awards Night.

Thursday 2/28: My plan called for 8 miles, but I was so done after only 5.

Friday 3/1: I ended up doing my long run this night, with a loop of the park, then running to and around Williamsburg with my club and ending with snacks and beer before eventually getting pizza. 10.2 miles total

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza from Vinnie’s Pizzeria

Saturday: Rest day, and I really mean rest. Went to a Korean spa and got a massage.

Sunday: 8.3 miles with friends in the afternoon before more snow.

Total: 29.5 out of a prescribed 31. Not bad for my first real week back at it.

Other Running and Food in Between Halfs

Halves? I’m already kicking off my next half marathon training plan (this one being 12 weeks and very aggressive with the workouts and mileage) for the Brooklyn Half on May 19th. I have a couple tuneup races in April and May but am trying to just build the mileage in March. But I got back from New Orleans February 12th and the rest of the month flew by. Below are some eats and such from the tail end of New Orleans and back in New York.

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Jackson Square
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Cochon: rabbit and dumplings, gumbo, fried gator, brussels sprouts, catfish and rice
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Strawberry Cream Cheese King Cake (we did not find the baby)
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Muffaletta from Central Grocery
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(Fried) Seafood Eggs Benedict at Stanley
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Back in NYC; prime rib and mutton chop and sides at Keen’s for Valentine’s Day
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Some of the Galentine’s Spread
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Mochi cake, ooey gooey butter cake, chocolate chip mashmallow cookies, and my favorite salsas
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Ravioli Pizza. It’s a thing.

I did a little recovery run around the Marigny and French Quarter the day after the race, then had to skip a run the day we left New Orleans because it was downpouring and I needed to do laundry and pack. I barely ran the week I got back from New Orleans because I got a cold on Friday the 15th and took 3 days off on what was supposed to be a busy running-filled weekend. I did manage to host a small Galentine’s party and volunteer at one of my club’s races.

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I had to test that the finish line tape would break away

I started running again on President’s Day, then showed up to the start line of the Al Gordon 4 Miler Saturday the 23rd feeling pretty unprepared speedwise and still pretty snotty. I was able to do it as a progressive run and not blow up in the back half like last year, so that was nice. I’m hoping my next 4 mile race in April will go a little better. I’m not racing at all in March, but doing lots of easy/recovery miles, going long with double digits pretty much every week, and trying out some speedwork. I’m planning to post training recaps in the hopes that this is my fastest dedicated Half Marathon training cycle ever. My PR of 1:57:04 is from this past October but that was during the height of marathon training. My A Goal at this point is under 1:55, but I’ll see how the tuneup races go.

Week 10 of New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Training & Mini Race Report

And the briefest race report. I’m going to just frontload this by saying that I don’t think late winter or early spring half marathons are for me. This is the third year in a row where I arrive at the start line very undertrained and crabby with myself for paying over $100 to race without having a real shot ay my goal time. So the previous two years, I was a little closer to said goal times but now I’m older and wiser and didn’t want to have a big blowup in the back of the race. This is good in a way because it makes me really examine my intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for running. And also think about how much I, as a Southerner living in the Northeast for the past decade (!!), still don’t really like winter. We’ll see if anything changes on that front.

Monday 2/4: It was a smidge warmer than usual but I missed a morning run and already had dinner plans at the amazing Krok for some spicy Isan Thai. I had the perfect view of the route to Brooklyn Bridge Park to watch all the runners go by as my mouth slowly burned.

Tuesday 2/5: 3.4 miles on the Hudson River Park before taking a class on the erg at RowHouse.

Wednesday 2/6: Lunar New Year dinner at Golden Unicorn.

Thursday 2/7: Halal combo for lunch and dinner aka the best $6 ever spent.

Friday 2/8: Flight to New Orleans with my friend Jay. We immediately started eating everything in sight, from chargrilled oysters at Felix’s to beignets at Cafe du Monde. There was gumbo, jambalaya, and baked ham at Mother’s. Everyone else arrived later that night while I caught an all-female brass band and saw my first (unofficial) Mardi Gras parade.

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Chargrilled Oysters

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The Yat Pack?
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HAM!

Saturday 2/9: No shakeout, just more good food. Brunch at Ruby Slippers, more beignets from Cafe du Monde, carb loading with great pasta from Little Gem Saloon, then cheering on a Mardi Gras parade.

Eggs Benedict and Pancake Sampler at Ruby Slippers
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The second most delicious blackened chicken and alfredo pasta of my life (the first also from New Orleans circa 2005)

 

Sunday 2/10: Race Day (oh, did you think I just came to eat? Pretty much). I showed up to the starting line downtown unsure of what to shoot for. I thought about going out at 9:00 minute miles then trying for a negative split for the last 5K, which would have been my 3rd fastest half marathon (maybe even 2nd). But honestly I didn’t really feel trained for that. So I decided to run the first mile however I felt, then evaluate from there. I hit it in 9:30 and didn’t feel like it was sustainable as the sun came out a bit (then slunk back into the clouds) and the humidity worked its magic, so I slowed to a 10:00 minute mile pace for the rest of the race. I had some King Cake from spectators around mile 6 and a Jell-o shot at mile 12, determined to have a little fun with it.

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St. Charles Avenue
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Moose Ears for the Finish

We hung around the finish area as a group, enjoying the snacks and some free Michelob Ultra.

After showering and a nap for me, we went back to Felix’s for more poboys and chargrilled oysters, drinks at Carousel Bar and Pat O’Brien’s, then several pounds of seafood at the well-named Cajun Seafood.

2 pounds of crawfish; shrimp, snow crab legs, corn, and potatoes
Hurricanes
Huge Ass Beers on Bourbon Street

All in all, not my best half marathon or even close, but definitely one of the most fun! I think it rivals and bests the Nike Womens San Francisco Half since the spectators wanted to get us drunk.