Sheepleg's Blog. The Muttering Mutton
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Friday, June 21, 2013

Beat the Heat

It is officially summer.  Make sure you know how to stay cool.

When your body gets overheated it can lead to a variety of health concerns such as headaches and a drop in blood pressure that can lead to dizziness or fainting.  Not to mention that it is just plain uncomfortable when we get too hot.

To avoid overheating there are a variety of things that you can do.  If you are outdoors you can find shade under a tree, cabana, or patio umbrella, use a handheld or portable misting fan, and cool off in the ocean or the lake.

If you are indoors you can create circulation by opening a window, turning on a fan, or turning on the air conditioning.  To maximize your fans cooling potential take a look at the misting fans on the market today.

The infographic above How People Have Stayed Cool Over Time shows the unique methods people have used to prevent overheating.  Thankfully with today’s modern technology we have more options!

How people have stayed cool over time infographic

The infographic was created by David Shank, the VP/Sales of a company providing cooling methods to businesses and homeowners.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Guest Blog About Food Waste

"Clean your plate!" That's a statement many mothers make, and for good reason.

Over 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted worldwide every year! Not all of this waste comes from our homes and plates though. Food is lost or wasted at every step of the food supply chain, from production to distribution to consumption.

All in all, approximately 1/3 of all food produced globally for human consumption is discarded at some point during the process. But it’s not all bad news. This waste could actually be a productive source of energy, according to research collected by RWL Water Group.

Waste materials from milk, sugar, and rice production, for example, can be converted into biofuels, which can replace or be combined with petroleum-based fuels.

This infographic explores the waste-to-energy potential across the food industry. Turning food waste into a source of fuel sounds like a much better plan than dumping it in a landfill. Doesn’t it?

Source: RWL Water Group

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grilling For Beginners

Those taking up grilling for the first time need not worry about failing. As long as you know how to properly cook each type of meat on your grill you will be able to put together any dish you can think of.

The process of keeping meat safe to eat and free of germs and bacteria starts at the pre-grocery store phase, where it is kept dry and refrigerated using a temperature monitoring system to ensure freshness. Once you buy it from the store, it is important to properly store the meat before you get ready to cook.

Since each type of meat is different, we put this infographic together to explain each so you know how to best prepare them on your grill. From safe minimum cooking temperatures to essential barbeque tips, this infographic gives you the tools you need to improve your grilling skills.

With summer around the corner, start heating up your grill and send out invitations for your next party!

David Cormier is a graphic designer for Madgetech.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sheepleg Partners with Rainy Pass Repair

Hello all,

We are excited to announce that Sheepleg and Rainy Pass Repair are working together to help our fellow outdoors-folks keep their gear in tip top shape or even alter it to fit specific needs.

While Sheepleg is still in its terrible 2's and growing like a weed, Rainy Pass Repair has been fixing gear for over 25 years!  They not only repair gear, but they also alter and clean it as well.  They have agreements with some of the largest manufacturers so their work won't void your warranties.

The process couldn't be simpler.  You simply fill out a form, mail your gear and payment information to them, and they get you all squared away.  We don't get in the middle of the process.  It is just a heads up to our customers who have a favorite jacket they don't want to part with that there is a way.

If you held on to your blanky for years to protect you from the boogie man, you certainly need to hold on to the sleeping bag or tent that is going to keep the rain and critters...or worse yet, raining critters off of you at night while you sleep.

You can check them out in more detail on their website here.  They have gear tips, reviews, and all types of other information you can use.

Now go hit the trail!

The Shepherd.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Marathon Box is Checked

Hello all,

It is The Shepherd here with an exciting post for you.  I figure since it has been forever since my last one, I should make it something good.  After training for the last 3-4 months, I completed my first marathon this past weekend.

I will say all in all it was quite an experience that I won't forget.  It was harder than I expected, mostly in ways that I did not expect it to be.  Oddly enough, the hardest part has been the recovery; but I'll spare you those details.

My partner and I were fairly ready for training.  We had done the Tough Mudder a few months earlier and had kept our miles up from training for that event.  We started our official training at the beginning of the new year.  

Training for the marathon this year was in many ways easier than last year when we were training for the Derby Mini.  We had many more injuries to battle through last year than this one.  Don't get me wrong, there were plenty of niggles to work through this time as well, but nothing like last year when I was sidelined for a bit with some nasty foot pain.

There were some bad runs for each of us.  One of my worst ones was an 8 miler that I didn't think I was going to finish because my shin muscle was so tight.  I worked through it with some stretching and focusing on keeping my feet relaxed on the backswing.

Jimmy had a bad run towards the end as we were tapering on a 12 miler where his knee was bothering him pretty bad.  This was a bad time, since it was so close to the end and messed with his head more than his body.  But he rested up, got out the good old sports tape, and was as good as new.

So after months of training and goodness knows how many amended fuel plans, we were ready to go.  We spent the night in a hotel the night before the race just a few blocks from the starting line. After waking up at 3:30 am to eat / drink our shakes (much to dismay of the girls) and again at 5:30 am to get ready, we headed out.

We got to the starting area, found our starting gate (sort of), and got in line.  I say sort of because we were supposed to be in corral D, but couldn't get that far because of all the people.  So we jumped in somewhere around corral C.  This ended up being for the best anyway because we ended up still passing many more people than we were passed by.  It certainly minimized the zigging and zagging we had to do. 

The sea of humanity aside, we were still able to spot our cheerleaders and give them a wave as we ran by at the start.  Notice we were so fast it is blurry...either that or somebody forgot to bring their camera (inside joke).

The first 6 miles or so were nice.  The crowd, assorted dj stands, and initial adrenaline are always enough to get you through the first part of the race.  After mile 6, my bowels that had mysteriously been locked up in the hotel decided they were ready to be evacuated.  Anyone who knows me knows that this is not out of the ordinary for me.  My bowels have a history of acting up at the right time, wrong time...come to think of it, pretty much anytime.  So we spent the next several miles looking for a nice place to take care of business.  Side note about the race.  It is always well planned and executed but if I were to have one request, it would be to have more facilities along the way.

After missing out on going as we passed through Churchill Downs (not a stitch of paper in any of the stalls or hand towel machines) we finally found a cozy green hut to lighten the load.

Funny story about this port a potty picture.  I did a google search for it and found another runners blog featuring this picture.  So as a shout out to her, here is her post.  Not exactly the same issue as I had, but small world nonetheless. 

Ok, so now I'm light on my feet again and Jimmy has had time to limber up.  We are back on the trail and hit "the hill".  It wasn't that we were not prepared for it.  We had been staring at it on our race map for months.  One hundred and twenty feet up in less than 2 miles.  Now to many standards, that is probably not that much, but to us it seemed like a mountain.  I even made a special playlist for it.  So we plugged in and headed up.  Oddly enough the major uphill was not so bad.  There was a nasty little rise at the end of the downhill that caught us both off guard.  I think this was the beginning of what was to come later.  By my estimation it was mile 15 or so.  We unplugged and kept right on trucking.

At mile 18 Jimmy started having a little more knee and quad trouble so we slowed a bit to make sure we didn't burn out.  At this point we were still several minutes ahead of our goal time so it was no big deal. 

As the miles piled on over 20 (which was also our longest training run distance), the fact this was a marathon and we were going to be in for some pain started to settle in.  I remember my quads both cramping around mile 22 on an uphill portion and thinking this was really going to be tricky.  We were losing time, but worse yet, we were losing gusto.

Every water station was a welcome site if not for the water, but simply just knowing we made it to one more checkpoint between mile markers.  And for the simple fact they also were giving out gels at some of them.  I had burned through the 7 GU's I packed on my waist belt and picked up a gel and a bottle of water from the last water station.  Bottles of water are GENIUS at that point in the race because you can really control the water and keep it with you without spilling for long periods of time.  It is certainly better than the cups of water at that point.

At mile 23 or 24 neither of us were talking much any longer and decided to just go ahead and plug back in for the push to the finish.  We finished just as we had trained for months.  Together.

We missed our goal time of 4 hours by just over a minute.  I blame that on the tunnels under Churchill Downs where you lose reception on your watch.  My pace actually read under where we needed to be, but who cares.  After 4 hours of running, I am happy to have survived.

A big shout out to my oldest sister for completing the marathon as well.  I know she trained hard and was pretty nervous about it but she completed it and seemed like she was in great spirits at the end.

Also a shout out to my brother in law (different sister) for finishing the mini in under 2 hours.  He was at home with his feet up by the time we got done.

Now that box is checked, I had planned on starting on training for triathlon.  What do you think?

The Shepherd

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Shepherd tackles Tough Mudder

Hello all,

It has been a while since I've made any posts and I guess you can blame it on my Mom.  I just haven't had anything good to say, so I haven't said anything at all.  But after completing the Kentucky Tough Mudder, I've got a few things to talk about.

For those of you not familiar with Tough Mudder, just click on the link.  Then sign up for the one closest to you and get to training!

The Kentucky Mudder was held on October 20th.  We set out at 8:20, which was the second group of the day.  Our thinking here was that the obstacles would not be too worked over and thus easier to navigate.  This was our thinking 9 months ago when we signed up and were not thinking of October weather in Kentucky.  I have seen it snow on Halloween and handed out candy in shorts as well.  It is a crap shoot for sure.  Mr. cold weather decided to show up this year and we took off running with the temperature a balmy 42 degrees.  The sunrise was at 7:49.  Brr.

Normally 40 something degrees is great running weather.  You can start off cool but your body heat makes it perfect after a mile or so.  The main difference here is that I don't usually, and by usually I mean never, run while soaking wet after being dumped in ice water.

But I'll get to that in a minute.  First let's cover the course.

Our course was roughly 10 miles through some pretty hilly terrain.  The terrain actually turned out to be the second most difficult obstacle.  I took this map and zoomed in on MapMyRun just to see what the elevation changes were.  You can see that here.  It is not a perfect representation of every nook and cranny on the course, but it serves its purpose.  We were hosted by the Big Rock Off-Road Park near Maysville, KY

Maysville was a nice town with friendly people, the park was a great place to have it, and most of all the event was planned and executed wonderfully.  From the shuttles to the ample supply of toilets, it was great.

I was part of a team of Mudders from Elizabethtown, KY.  We were supported by Sheepleg (of course) and Hardin Memorial Health, who supplied us with our team shirts.

Enough of the setup.  Let's get to running.

Before you can even get to the start line you have to scale a 10 foot wall.  As pumped up as you are at this point, this wall is easy.  I felt like a ninja hopping over this one.

We all gathered at the start line and listened to the MC.  We gave the Tough Mudder pledge and listened to the National Anthem.  The MC did his thing and got us all even more amped up before turning us loose on the course...or did he turn the course loose on us?

Stay tuned for a recap of each obstacle and everything in between.  You didn't really think I would give it all up at once did you?

Up Next:  The start and Kiss of Mud.

Until then,

The Shepherd.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

GSI Microdualist: The Perfect Cookset for Couples

Hello all,

Sheepish preaches more truth.

GSI Microdualist: The Perfect Cookset for Couples 



For many, a camping cookset conjures images of a cast iron pan, a dutch oven, or a footlong steel fork, and while few can argue with the great taste of confections that come from these implements, they aren’t very practical for the backpacker that has to carry all of his or her gear into the backcountry while hiking or camping. New lightweight pots made of anodized aluminum or titanium shave pounds off your load in your pack and are compact enough to minimize bulk, but most of these solutions are aimed at the solo hiker. Being married with a young son, I recently decided to supplement my old trusty titanium ‘bachelor’ mug with a new GSI Microdualist.

The GSI Microdualist is a very cleverly designed kit with components that nest perfectly together to provide a glamping-style outdoor culinary experience for two at thru-hiker weights. At the core, there’s the 1.4L Microdualist pot made of a proprietary GSI hard anodized aluminum alloy called Halulite, which means there’s no coating to scratch off- you can even clean it with sand and a clean cloth. The lid of the pot has strainer holes for draining water from cooked pasta or vegetables, and incorporates a high-vis heat-resistant handle. Nesting inside the pot are two nesting sets of cup and bowl, one set orange, one set blue, with heat-insulated sleeves on the cups and sip-lids to keep you from spilling your Swiss Miss all over your self. Included are two color-coordinated telescopic “foons”. A stove sack is included in the set to keep your stove and fuel canister from rattling in your pack. Even the outer stuff sack pulls double duty, with a welded, waterproof interior you can use as a sink for washing or for carrying water.

The entire set weighs 17oz, but you can leave behind any pieces to fit the needs of the trip you’re planning to save weight. On our recent trip to Cumberland Island, Georgia, I lamented not having a small bowl to mix food in and eat from since I only use my titanium mug to boil water in; this kit will serve me well when my family comes along with me on adventures. Check out the Microdualist at Sheepleg today.