Thursday, June 25, 2009

Summer Distractions

I'm all for summer. The weather is warm, the sun is out, there are plenty of activities to do and of course, there are a lot of races. This week, the weather turned from cool rainy weather to hot summer weather. I also have noticed that there are a lot more distractions to derail my fall marathon training.

One of my biggest distractions are those shaved ice stands that pop up all over the place this time of the year. If you are deprived and do not have any of these in your area, please let me know so I can come set one up and allow you to experience the goodness that is shaved ice. Years ago, my wife and I stumbled upon one of the first shaved ice stands in the area and instantly we became addicted. You might now be wondering what the big deal is, people have had snow cones for years, right? True as it is, you have not truly experienced life until you have had shaved ice.

Snow cones are made by grinding ice into small particles, piling them in a cone and then adding flavored syrup on top. A few problems develop with this barbaric form of a cool treat. First, the grinding just reduces the size of the ice, it doesn't make it any easier to eat. You still can break your teeth on a kernel of ice. Second, because you are dealing with small chunks of ice, you have to be extremely skilled in your geometry and sense of architectural engineering to be able to eat one without a snow cone landslide from developing. Finally, the syrup doesn't stay on the ice. It briefly touches the ice, realizes it is too cold to stay and moves to the bottom of the cone. By the time you have worked your way to the bottom you can be reworded with a fabulous sugar high or discover that the syrup has worked a hole in your cone and now everyone can see what you just ate.

Shaved ice is a whole different experience. First the ice isn't ground into smaller cubes, it is shaved. By shaving, the ices becomes more like it's snow flake friends and is closer to its crystalline structure (thus making it soft). No teeth break on the shaved ice because it is softer. A spoon is a necessity when having one. Then there is the syrup combination. Because shaved ice is much softer, the syrup likes to hang out thus giving the consumer a better tasting product.

Are you convinced yet? Here's a great added cream. Some places will add a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the bottom before adding the shaved ice. Talk about added goodness. I didn't realize how deprived I was until I was show the light.

Why is this a distraction. Because there is one within 1/4 mile from my home and is strategically located on three of my favorite running routes. They aren't open at 6:30 when I am running, but they might as well be. I run by the stand and all of a sudden my pace slows and I start wondering what flavor combination will I try next. I fear that one day, I may just stop all together and be frozen in place staring at the different flavor options, admiring the tiki hut design for the hut and anxiously anticipating the time when it will open. It's a huge distraction, but I have come up with a solution that didn't even require me to buy anything.

My fuel belt has a pouch that will easily fit a couple ones. Who needs GU on a long run? Imagine what would happen being frozen in place when the store opens and to have NO MONEY! That's a frightening possibility that I am not even going to consider.


  1. Lol, you crack me up. I was introduced to the shaved ice with ice cream in Hawaii. I shall now go cry for the lack of it.

  2. LOL, I must admit, I have never pondered the finer pts of snow cones vs shaved ice. I'm not sure if we have any shaved ice stands around here. I'd have to go outside to find out and I avoid going outside.

    However, I have a Rival Ice Shaver (actually I have just bought another one just in case the first one dies), which I bought at Wal-mart. I use it to make snow cones (but I guess they are not *really* snow cones) for my kids. For my husband I make this Korean treat that involves adding ice cream, red bean paste, and fruit cocktail. Never thought of just adding ice cream to the shaved ice.

    Your post made me think of my middle school teacher who used to drive around in the summer and sell snow cones out of his station wagon. He stopped coming to our neighbordhood b/c he said we would just wave but not buy anything.