My date for Valentine's Day this year was with a hill.
Monday: 8 miles in 71.
Tuesday: 9 miles in 71. Rainy and windy, I tried to run marathon pace, but had sore calves, ran too slow and quit early. At the UMTR meeting in the evening, my plans became "Gnarly": Zumbro, Trail Mix, Chippewa, Ice Age, Superior, Kettle, Afton, Voyageur, Lean Horse, Sawtooth, Glacial, Wild Duluth. 705 miles in the Steve Slam!
Wednesday: 8 in 72. Comfortable, but knees creaky.
Thursday: 9 in 71, with 9 x 1/2 mile in 3:09-3:14 with wind, 3:28-3:34 against.
Friday: 8 in 73. Cold. A bit stiff toward end.
Saturday (Valentine's Day): 20 in 3:49. 20 times up the Ohio Street hill.
If one's supposed to spend Valentine's with the one you love, I must love the Ohio Street hill. It's exactly 1/2 mile up, making mileage easy to measure and the same elevation change as the Sawtooth 100 average, so one knows exactly what one's in for.
The plan was to think of 50 miles and settle for 35. If I can do 35, I know I'm ready for Sawtooth. It was supposed to be sunny, dry and calm with temps in the 20's. Of course, it was blowing snow and sub-zero windchills. At 90 minutes, I had to get in my car and turn on the heater to warm up. I went to the trunk to get another shirt to add, as my arms froze. The shirt, being 15 degrees, caused me to chill even more for a while. When my water bottle froze, I went for the spare in the trunk, but couldn't open the bottle, as my hands were frozen solid. My arms were numb and waxy white... so I quit and ate the 5 danishes I bought at Jerabek's (I opened the box with my teeth.)
There was a group of runners who I saw go from downtown St. Paul and up the hill, then somewhere for an hour and back again. There was a woman among them who was trying to encourage me, "You can do it!" [Hey lady. It's my 15th friggin time.] Several bikers went up the hill during the day and the other runners also used the roadway, whereas I stayed on the concrete path. 4 hours of concrete...
George Thorogood's "Who Do You Love?" was the song stuck in my head this day (gotta get me one of those cobra snake neckties). Came up with a riddle: Mr. Trebor's children are R.J. and Hannah; what does his wife call him? Found myself looking at the St. Paul skyline and thinking of how it's changed in the last 25 years (I, of course, haven't changed at all). The mind does weird things when cold and tired.
Sunday: 11.5 in 121, with walking breaks. The plan was to finish off the 50 miles, but it was nearly as cold as Saturday. Listened to the symphony of ice cracking on the lake. Ran into the two Pats and told them about Zumbro.
There was a contest to name the baby giraffe at the local zoo. The winning name was "Willow." My suggestion was "Waddle Monster."
[Monday: 30 in 5:19. I'm calling it a moral victory. I got my 50, it just took 3 days to do it. Thought a lot about PID controllers and crime; may post about it later. ]
6 hours ago