I got to work on Friday, Day 5 of 5 for my work-week and with my Santa running socks on for dress-down Friday, I wanted to spice things up a bit so I set the challenge: 400 push-ups by the time I left for the day at the rate of 50 per hour, on the hour. 400 sounds crazy but 50 per hour felt doable. Getting to 200 wasn't hard but with each passing hour (which seemed to go by faster than ever before), those push-ups in on the cold tile floor in the stockroom got harder and harder. I remember pumping out the 350th around 3:45pm, only 50 from my goal and how thinking that nothing would stop me from the coveted 400. At around 4:40pm, 5min before quittin' time, I pumped out the final set. It was not easy and at 30, I took a walking break, thinking foolishly that I would gain some energy and strength back. I came back to knock out 10 more and at 48 (or 398), I hit the floor, literally. Up on my knees, I knelt for a moment to get my composure. "Come on you big wimp, two more quality push-ups!" I did one more...then sat up again. "Dangit." I pumped out the last in Navy-regulation-style, happy as a clam. I normally do...well...ZERO per day so 400 on this day was pretty sweet. I have found a new way to pass the hours at work and get some strength-work in at the same time. The only problem: I had a 20 mile trail run planned for 14 hours in the future...uh oh. Rubber arms on the trails don't make a good combination.
With an alarm sounding at 3:50am on Saturday morning, I first lifted my arms in bed wondering what they'd feel like. Surprisingly, they felt fine...no more sore than if I had done some bench-pressing or other free weights. Good to go! At 6am, I hit the trails with 8 or so others, led by Beth T., and into the night and onto the snowy trails we went. In the distance, Boston Mills Ski Resort was fully illuminated with fresh powder awaiting the locals to their slopes. It was good to not be the leader or organizer of this run and just someone who showed up. I had a great run up to Brecksville and back and ran the majority of the run with a guy from the Netherlands who was on his FIRST trail run. He is a 3hr marathoner (which I am not) but on this day, he fell in love with the trails. I did my best to brain-wash him into my world of ultra-running and by the end, he was asking questions about how to train for a 100-miler. (HA! Mission accomplished!) I'd mention his name, but I'd butcher the spelling of it so I won't touch it. By the time we got back to the Boston Store, he was hooked on the beauty and splendor of the trails and will certainly be back. Just before the end, I shot video once again of the my favorite downhill, the Rollercoaster Hill just past the "Piano Keys." I've shot this many times in the past and in different seasons. It actually turned out pretty good this time. Another 20 miles and a day I passed 2200 miles for the year. 2008's total was 2,107 so this has already became the biggest mileage year ever for me. I thought it would be higher with (3) 100-mile races but with the recovery after each one, the mileage all balances itself out. I'm happy with this quantity and really don't want to increase it in the future.
All in all, a great winter weekend with our first good snowfall of the season. While I don't relish the sub-freezing temperatures for day-to-day living, I do relish the season for trail running. My endurance goes up, I fade much slower, and my hydration is much easier to control. With proper gear, there is no excuse to stay indoors in NE Ohio winters. Even with ice, my friends...sheet metal screws work wonders attached to a pair of Keen trail shoes. :-)
A note: if you've ever wanted to check out some new trails, specifically in the West Branch State Park, I'm going to lead up a short trail run on Wednesday, December 23rd. Drop me a note if you want to join me.
Happy Trails, everyone!