Thursday, April 16, 2009

36th Birthday 36 Mile Run Report

One of the greater things about being an ultrarunner is that at the drop of a hat, unless getting ready for a big event or recovering from one, is that I can decide on any given day that I'm going to go run for 20, 30, or more miles. If you look at my schedule for this week as well as my schedule counting down to the Kettle Moraine 100 Miler, this week was supposed to be a down week since I just had a 58 mile weekend with over 12hrs of running this past weekend. Well, the endorphins or something else mysterious planted a thought in my head yesterday morning on my 4:30am run around home: "The forecast is saying 60F and sunny, it's your birthday, so why not take the day off from work and run 36 miles on your 36th birthday?" By the time I got home, I had 1/2 of the route already planned and plans to request the day off just as soon as I got to work. My plan was to see the girls off to school at 7:45am then hit the road. As long as I didn't fall apart, I could make it home before they did.
So the plan was to do one big loop from my home in Rootstown. I wanted to stop by major landmarks and also stop in different places to say "Hi!" to friends, snap a picture, and move on. I wanted to do at least the following: 1) stop by my favorite restaurant, the Pufferbelly, in Kent, 2) walk along the Cuyahoga River in Kent, 3) stop in at my church in Kent and say hello to the staff, 4) possibly a stop at Starbucks, 5) run to Ravenna and stop in at the hospital to see my wife at work, 6) stop by the new Veterans Memorial in Ravenna, 7) surprise my barber, Heather, in Ravenna, 8) stop by my parents' ice cream shop in Rootstown, and 9) to stop and see my parents, my only surviving grandparent, my Grandma Mary, and my sister-in-law and her 2 kids, Emma and Ean. Of course, taking pictures all along the way. As for the running part, my goal was to go out comfortably and try and manage my pace and nutrition/hydration so that I could remain consistent throughout the entire day. I knew that with temps climbing, not a cloud in the sky, and virtually no warm weather running yet this season, the bright sun could take it's toll. The "menu" for the run consisted of: red-skinned salted boiled potatoes. I started eating them at Mile 15 and every 5 miles thereafter. I also took one caffeinated cherry Clif Shot Blok every 5 miles. I carried 1.5 liters of water in my pack for hydration as well as a hand-held bottle full of Hammer's Heed. At Mile 11, I re-filled with Perpetuem, then back to Heed at Mile 24, then back to Perpetuem again at mile 29. Well, it all worked out exactly to plan. The food and hydration were a big hit and did everything they were supposed to. As for pace, I crossed the 26 mile point in 4hrs and finished the entire run in 5 1/2 hours which is equivalent to a 9min, 10sec per mile pace. The best part? That felt like a really comfortable pace and when I got home, even though I didn't want to take another step past 36 miles, I felt like I had much more left in me. Once again, a huge confidence boost for Kettle Moraine in 51 short days from now. I've got to back off now, though. A down week has GOT to happen to prevent any injury or overuse damage from happening. I am at such a peak in training right now and this is the time I am most susceptible to getting hurt...gotta be careful and get to that starting line strong, healthy, and injury-free.
Now for some pictures. I've included some of my favorites below but the whole album can be viewed here. Let me just say this one last thing about today's run: I am so very thankful to be able to do this. While it doesn't make sense to 99.9% of the population, it makes total sense to me, my family and fellow ultrarunners out there. There's just something about running....simply to run. "Why would you do something like this?" is a question I heard more than once today. Easy answer: because I can. It is really just as simple as that. There's also plenty of time for inward reflection, organization of life's priorities, observing nature change through the seasons, and soaking in all the sights and sounds of the path ahead. I don't ever plug anything in my ears while running and honestly, I don't ever expect to. The rest of life has plenty of "noise" like music, TV, kids (I still love 'em!!!), traffic, etc. This is my reserved quiet time and I treasure it. "Noise" in my ears would destroy one of the best parts of being out there. So here's those pictures:

So since tomorrow is my "scheduled" day off (hehehehehehe!!!!!!) and the forecast is supposed to be sunny and near 70F, I'm going to get in an easy 9 miles on the trails. The weekend is reserved for the Navy so no long runs this weekend.

Happy Trails, everyone!


Clara said...

#1, Happy Birthday!!
#2, Yes- it is so awesome to have the option of running 20+ miles on any day like it's no big deal. Woohoo!
#3, Awesome job, all in all. Way to keep up the training!

Clara said...

Oh ya, where do you store all of your potatoes when you're running? I always tend to run out of places, even with a Camelbak and pockets.

Mentor said...

Is that 'hehehehehe' for me? Looks like a great day!

Nick Billock said...

Clara: I have the Nathan #020 pack and there's a pretty room "pouch" in the front that will house them all plus some shot bloks.
By the way, HAVE FUN at Boston! Soak it all in and bring back a great story!

"Mentor"...why yes, those chuckles about today being my "scheduled" day off were sent your way! Another 10 miles on the trails, the way!