30 December 2008

28 on 28

This past Saturday I ran my 2nd-annual "Birthday Run," in which, for some strange reason, I decide it's a good idea to run my age in miles in late December in Wisconsin. Because my birthday this year falls on a Tuesday(today!), I moved up the run a bit to the previous weekend.

My plan was to start the run at 6 AM in Kiel. I would run to my parents' house in Plymouth (14 miles) and then run some loops in Plymouth to finish with 28 miles. It's tough to plan a route very definitively, as the weather is always up in the air (pun intended).

Friday night involved a great meal at a local restaurant with my entire family (10 adults, 6 kids) and then a gift exchange. The adults play a "white elephant" game that resulted in me winning an Eddie Bauer Survival Kit, some Vera Bradley crap stuff The Mrs wanted, and a 64-count box of those little chocolates that are filled with alcohol (which I plan to ship to Viper, not only because he was right, but also simply to anger some of you).

It ended up being a bit later of a Friday night than I had hoped, but it was worth it. When you have 3 older sisters, and they live in Portland OR, Chicago, and St. Paul, the times together are few and far between and cherished much more than some overrated sleep. Saturday morning's 5:15 alarm buzzing came very early, but I was up and eating my Chicken & Stars and trying to catch up on the water hydration...and that's a losing battle after too much Spotted Cow the night before. Despite this, I was ready to go and out the door at 6:02 AM...expecting chilly and icy conditions. I was in my screw shoes and in a couple layers of clothing. Big mistake.

It was actually about 45 degrees and raining. Yeck. Because of my screw shoes, I tried to stick to the shoulder of the road, but it was so mushy and muddy that it didn't work. So there I was, running 14 miles on roads in screw shoes. Not fun. Add in a 20 mph headwind and the kind of humidity normally reserved for just before a June thunderstorm, and I was not enjoying my running. Then my trusty iPod shuffle found The Runners Lounge podcast (I highly recommend it!) that included Nitmos, Razz, Vanilla, and Amy. It picked up my spirits...especially after the discussion transitioned from defecation (which was how I was feeling) to a Fartlek that the podcasters apparently forgot to end. I also learned that Nitmos prefers to run alone. I don't completely buy into this, though. I think he simply states he likes to run alone after finding out nobody wants to run with him. Between the flailing limbs keeping fellow runners at least a sidewalk's width away and the ill feelings he harbors for most of us (it's as if we're llamas), it sounds like about as much fun as running in the last couple days of December in Wisconsin.

Finally, after keeping an 8:55 pace for the first 14.5 miles, I arrived at my parents' house and was able to get rid of the screw shoes. Ellie had gone to yoga in the morning and met me at the 'rents house with a change of clothing and socks and shoes. Before she arrived I had announced that my run may become a 28K, instead of 28 miles. My morning run was that bad. It's amazing how clean, dry socks and non-studded shoes can change one's outlook!


Next, I ran with my sister Kathy and Bro-in-Law Mike on a 5 miler around Plymouth, trying to avoid the busy streets (yes, there ARE busy streets in a town of 8,000 people). By avoiding the traffic we were able to run in the road, which was less sloppy than the sidewalks. For a short time I tried to keep my feet dry, but eventually that proved to be pointless. The pace really slowed down at times because we literally couldn't run--the sidewalks or streets were too icey/slushy. Yuck. 5 miles, 47:42. Total: 19.5 Miles, 2:57:03.

After warming up a bit inside, it was time to head back out. My next loop involved Kathy, Ellie, and another Bro-in-Law Brian. The conditions continued to warm and worsen. The piles of snow were steaming from the heat, but it was far from sunny. In fact, visibility continued to worsen to the point it was getting a bit scary to run in the road. Oncoming cars without their lights on were heard long before they were seen. At one point we crossed a busy highway just outside of town. As we ran across, we could hear a semi coming, but couldn't see it. Not exactly a comforting feeling. At last, our 5 mile loop was complete, and the crew headed inside...

...except for me. I couldn't possible run 24.5 miles, but not finish off the full 28. So I headed back out, alone this time. I actually enjoyed finishing the challenge on my own. I had to cover 3.5 miles to finish, so I used my new toy (thanks, Ellie!)to notify me once I had run exactly 1.75 miles away, and then I turned around. I wasn't thinking straight, though, as the "out" portion of the run was almost completely downhill. Oops! I've heard that the Garmin doesn't have the elevation thing down yet, and my elevation chart seems to agree with that. Considering it was an out-back route, the line should be relatively symmetrical. Apparently, somewhere on the way back, I took the route over Teh Schmatterhorn!


Finally I was back. For the second year in a row, I was beaten up a bit by my "Birthday Run." This year, however, I was sweating like a horse in Kentucky in August (FYI, Pigs-as in 'sweating like a pig-'don't have very many sweat glands and therefore sweat very little) whereas last year I was borderline hypothermic. But the sense of accomplishment really was overwhelming. I did it! 28 Miles, 4:18:16, Avg Pace 9:13, Avg HR 150.

Among the many lessons learned were to 1)NOT run 14.5 miles on pavement with 3/8 inch hex screws in your shoes, 2) NOT plan on receiving any sort of inspirational running advice via podcast from Nitmos, Vanilla, Amy, or RazZ, 3) NOT simply plan on really long runs without holding a steady stream of training runs throughout the week. I'm starting to learn that long runs are much easier and more effective when done within a training plan. For example, if you plan on running 28 miles on a Saturday, it's a good idea to have more than 10 miles already established in that training week. The 28 miles on Saturday should probably bring your weekly total to at least 45-50, rather than 31, as it did in my case. Lesson learned, and I'll remember that as I continue to train for Chippewa.

(Other lessons learned include 1)NOT pissing off Glaven, as he'll devote an entire post (and you know how long his posts are!) to ridiculing you, and 2) NOT pissing off Marcy, as she'll say you look sexy when superimposed as a cartoon, and then follow up that 'compliment' by calling you a d*ckweed. Ouch.)

( I hope to include some pictures from my new Garmin software at some point, but I don't know how to use my "printscreen" function yet, so you'll have to check back for that. In the meantime, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO NIC!)

15 comments:

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Yeah, that Marcy. MEEE-ow! I felt that one for you, brother. We all crave her love. Then she calls you a "d*ckweed". (NB: She's never called me one so she obviously still loves me.)

Can something be both "great" and "insane" simultaneously? Because while I was colossally impressed by your 1) running 28 miles on your birthday and 2) running 28 miles, I was also kinda waiting for the guys with the little-white-coats-whose-arms-tie-together-in-the-back to show up ("Hey, Virgil, this guy's got screws in his shoes, too! Think they maybe coulda come loose from his head? Get the extra-strength polymer-reinforced jacket, jest ta be safe").

But they never arrived.

So I guess, technically, "great" beats "insane" in a split decision.

Congrats, Nic, and happy birthday! I'd tell you to go enjoy yourself, but I'm afraid that would involve your lying on a bed of nails, given what you consider "enjoyment". In most cases, when you're on a bed of nails, you shouldn't be lying because in all likelihood you're being tortured and what your torturers want is the truth.

The Spotted Cow label makes it look as though the cow were mounting and humping the state of Wisconsin. I never knew Wisconsin was a bottom, though I did know you guys were into cows.

Nothing personal about that post, Dr. Nic. It was just your turn. It is my ambition to lampoon everyone on the Intertubes. Everyone. Not just in the Running Blogosphere. Every Single Entity. At last count, there were approximately one billion more denizens of the 'Tubes than there are people on Earth. (Mostly those Wisconsin cows searching for State-shaped porn.) See how important you are? You were at the top of the list.

Let's see. .. what else? Not sure this comment is long enough to p*ss off your little comment cop elf friend yet, but I can always come back and leave a couple more so I can once again experience that Rickles-like insult-wit: "Sheesh! Comment much?"

HAR! That kinda comedy gold NEVER gets old because it started out that way!

Once more: Happy birthday, Dr. Nic!

But did the post have to be so long?

Sheesh! Blog much?

HAR! See what I did there? Comedy gold I tells ya!!1!

MN Ultra Runner said...

Happy birthday dickweed!

Jess said...

Nice job on the 28! And happy b-day!

Nitmos said...

I was right along with you...really inspired...until the cheapshots on yours truly. Now, I just can't wait for you to turn 75. That'll be a real interesting Birthday Run. I'll chuckle the entire time I read about it.

Happy Birthday and New Years.

Viper said...

I see the attention whore has already posted his epic comment. I'm sure there will be some sort of addendum to come.

I'll gladly take those boozy chocolates off your hands. They'd just slow you down. Not me; I'm already slow.

Happy birthday and have a safe and happy New year.

Rachel said...

I have nothing but admiration for those that brave winter to run...and run 28 miles nonetheless! I hate running on the TM but there is nothing I hate more than running in slushy, slimy, icy roads. Especially if I can't see the semi that I hear. Glad to hear you'll be here in the fall though, for the TC Marathon.

KimsRunning said...

First let me tell you the word verification is HOOTTER...lmao

Ok, I'll grow up a little.

Happy Birthday!!! What a cool idea to run your birthday in miles! I will be 43 in March, let me know how that one goes.

I think GQ wants you. Baaaaaaad.

Xenia said...

Wow. I really hope you live to 100. I want to see that post.

Happy birthday and happy new year.

aron said...

awesome job and happy birthday!!!

Steve Stenzel said...

Happy Birthday! And NICE RUN!! Wow! Way to go!!

Happy New Year!!

Marcy said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

I was totally playing!! You ARE hot (and I mean that in the most complimentary way. Not in the pervy married old hag with 2 kids trying to pick you up kinda creepy way HAHA)

Grellan said...

Well done on getting through the 28 Nik. I'll do the birthday run with you when you reach my age. Happy birthday & new year.

chia said...

Happy Merry BirthdaymasHannukahKwanzaNewYear!

Helen said...

Happy Birthday Nic! not sure I would have kept going back out in those conditions. very glad mine is in the middle of the summer...

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