I have a six pack of Reeds ginger beer sitting untouched in my fridge. It's a decent beverage, but I can't drink it anymore after having "Q Ginger," billed as "a superior ginger ale." That reads to me like up-sell marketing, but in fact I have to agree. It's the best ginger beverage I've ever had.
I've done my research too. I've sampled at least a dozen different ginger beers -- from Australia to Jamaica. The Jamaican varieties tend to pack more of a kick, but are also very, very sweet. Others have a density to them that isn't quite as refreshing as I would like. And many use high-fructose corn syrup, which is the worst of the sweeteners you can put in your body.
They do come in some neat bottles though.
In contrast, Q Ginger has just these ingredients:
A dash of organic Agave for sweetener
A touch of coriander, cardamom, cayenne, rose oil, and orange peel
The flavor balance of real ginger root, just slightly sweetened, and the spices as an afternote I find refreshing and complementary to whatever you are eating or just on its own. The fact that it is natural and only has 60 calories is nice as well.
Yes, it's spendy for a soda pop. But if you are non-alcie like me, it's a nice special occasion beverage, preferably with something salty and greasy.
In a close second, if you want more of a kick, Bruce Cost makes a superior ginger beer as well.
Here's a video of me attempting a front flip, taken by the awesome acrobatics instructor Andrey at Athletic Playground.
Andrey used this killer iPhone app called Coach's Eye that allows him to take video of his students, replay it for them in slo-mo or frame-by-frame, and show them how to improve by drawing lines that reveal sub-optimal body position or technique. Really cool to see.
I wonder if anyone uses this for dance classes? Might be really useful.
Logged one of my best runs this morning, which feels pretty great: 3.8 miles in just under 35 minutes , averaging a 9:10 min/mile pace.
I love this route from my Oakland apartment, through Piedmont and up the stately hills of Mountainview Cemetery. When I get to the top of one of the main hills and start to descend back toward home it feels almost effortless. Almost.
Attention Bay Area coders, designers and tech innovators! On March 31, TechSoup.org and ISIS are co-sponsoring a "hack-a-thon" on youth health in San Francisco. You can help design an app that can save the lives of young people.
Here's the details:
ISIS is hosting our first ever hack-a-thon, together with our partners TechSoup. A hack-a-thon is a live event bringing together developers, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs to build exciting new apps and tools, in this case to improve young people’s health and wellness. This short and focused event – 1 day only – will result in the rapid development of interesting concepts and working prototypes that will be developed further by the participating teams back at their desks and at future hack-a-thon events, with ISIS and TechSoup as partners for future product development and distribution.
It looks like a really fun event with a wide mix of people and groups involved. Oh and there's a $1,000 prize for the best app design!
For the last day of the year, my cousins had the brilliant idea to do a casual, 5 mile "fun run" from Crissy Field to the Golden Gate Bridge and back. It was a gorgeous Bay Area winter morning, in the mid-50s, sunny, windless and clear. Folks were out jogging, biking, walking their dogs and taking pictures. A perfect running day.
The run itself was mostly on packed dirt, passing by beautiful views of the city and the Bay. I hardly noticed the effort as we chatted and admired the scenery on the way. Before I knew I, was at the foot of the bridge, touching "Hoppers Hands."
After the jump is a 3D flyover of our route, if you'd like to do it yourself, either as a stroll, a bike or a run...
I've been fairly consistently running for the past six months, which has been a significant change to my exercise routine. I'm in the 'burbs, without access to a gym or studio, which makes biking, exercise machines and classes not so convenient. So I've been running.
So to get through my regular 50 minute run, I put on whatever banging music will distract me for that time until the torture is done. In general it helps. When my favorite dance or hip-hop track comes on, I feel renewed energy to tackle a steep incline or push through the final third of my run. And overall it staves off the boredom and helps me ignore the punishment I'm putting my body through.
Except this morning my iPhone wasn't cooperating, and I had to do my morning run without music. In the past when this has happened, I have found that my endurance dwindles and my pace slows down until I am just barely slogging along, counting down the seconds until it is over.
Today for some reason, perhaps because I haven't been running for a couple of weeks, it felt really freeing to just be running in the silence. I could hear the hum of the traffic, the birds chirping, the sprinklers staccato beat. I found myself noticing smells as I passed flowers and trees. I saw the light change from early morning grays to brighter and brighter colors everywhere.
And I could notice things going on in my body. My left leg had a dull ache that caused me to favor the right. My neck and back were sore, so I stretched them out during my warm up stretch. I observed my stride and the placement of my feet on the ground.
And before I knew it, a pleasant 50 minutes had passed and I was back home.
I will probably go back to playing music during my runs because it does make it more enjoyable. But there is something to being fully present in your body and in the world as you move through it, attuning your senses to what is going on around you and within you. Even while, or especially while, exercising.
I have asthma, flat feet and short legs. I find running to be easily the most boring form of exercise I have ever done, next to weight lifting.
But I recognize that running is one of the easiest, cheapest and most effective ways to burn calories and increase overall health that there is. And running is a natural part of the human condition. So being able to do it for a reasonable period of time I think enhances my survivability.
Luckily there are apps like iMapMyRun for the iPhone. Combined with my most energetic music playlists, iMapMyRun makes doing my morning run much more tolerable. I even, somewhat, look forward to it.
What iMapMyRun does is track my daily progress, including where I ran, how far, how fast, and for how long. You just start up the app on your iPhone, hit "record a workout," and you are off. It uses the GPS data to give fairly precise measurement of my distance and speed in real time. So I end every run with a bunch of data about how I did that morning, which for a geek like me is great.
So far, so good. But what iMapMyRun also does that is brilliant is post my workout online so that my friends can see what I've been up to, either on Twitter or Facebook. For someone as unmotivated to run as I am, having a bit of social pressure to keep it up really helps. And when I surpass my personal goals, getting to brag a bit online about it is nice.
Plus you get neat 3D flyovers of your run, like the video above! Damn, I ran far that morning.
You can also go online and check out your past workouts, evaluate progress made, and set goals for yourself to achieve. Paid users get even more features like fitness reports, no ads, and discounts on health stuff. But for someone like me, the free app and online tools are plenty.
There are I am sure plenty of other things that the app and online tools can do that I have not explored. For now, I am happy with how iMapMyRun just helps me keep track of my runs, broadcast how I am doing, and evaluate my progress over time. For someone who dislikes running as much as I do, all that is a big help.