Sunday, December 30, 2007

43 Miles for 43 Years

Yup, today is my Birthday. 43 years old! How did that happen? We all say that, I suppose!

It is also 3 years since I began this blog. I didn't know I would still be writing here after 3 years. I suppose it is my bloggerversary!

Last year I ran 42 miles on my birthday, so what else would I do but run 43 this year?

I had already planned on meeting friends at Afton State Park for a snowshoe run and a pot luck today and didn't want to make them feel obligated to run 43 miles with me, so I ran it yesterday instead, with my partner in crime, Topaz. I didn't want to let on before seeing my friends today that it was my birthday either. I just don't like people feeling like they should buy cards or presents or bring cake. It makes me feel uncomfortable.

Yesterday by 6 AM Topaz and I were running on the trail. The trail was covered with a few more inches of fresh, fluffy snow. The wind had created more drifts so I was trudging on through, again. It seems like that each time I go out there I am forging through a new trail. I do enjoy it though, it is wonderful having the trail to myself. Usually the cross country skiers are telling me to get off. Now that the trail is closed, I am the only one out there.

My plan was to run at least 20 miles on snowshoe, upon the trail, then run 10 across the lake and back, the rest on the gravel roads surrounding the trail, without the snowshoes. I brought Topaz his little paw slippers along in case he would begin to collect ice in his paws. I was sure he would run at least 25 miles with me, I could always run the rest alone.

The car was parked at a nearby cemetery loaded with water, Heed, gels, fruit, nuts, a few sandwiches, some venison for Topaz, a few milk bones. I went back to the car every 3 hours or so.

I watched Topaz closely, made sure that he was drinking water and eating. He ate some venison, some milk bones and a sandwich. I drank a ton of Heed and ate a ton of gels along with the Cliff Blocks.

Topaz never needed his booties. The temperature was near 20F all day long with a nice light snow. He never had any ice in his paws. He ran hard, then easy, then hard again. I just followed along.

After 30 miles on snowshoes I was ready to get them off of my feet. My feet seem to feel more tired on snowshoes than without. The bottoms ache after a while, like they are getting cramped or something. We went back to the car, I removed the snowshoes, put on a dry jacket and grabbed some dry gloves. Topaz drank some water, ate 1/2 of a sandwich and we were off for the gravel road.

Topaz is as well trained as I am. In the summer he sometimes lags as the temperatures get warmer, but in the winter he is running in front of me, circling me and coming back the whole time. He cools off in the snowbanks.

We ran out down the gravel road, to the lake access and back to the car. 43 miles. Done.

I ended up having an over 100 mile week..only 13 of it without snowshoes!

Plenty of time to think about this past year, the new year coming up, reflection and meditation. I have a lot to think about.

I came home, took a shower and was ready to watch a DVD on the new big screen TV I bought Steve for Christmas. Topaz, he chased the boys up and down the hill on their snowboards for another 2 hours. Guess 10 hours wasn't enough for him...

Today I met Alica, Tom, Nancy, Cheri and Jeffrey for a snowshoe run at Afton. The trail was groomed! What a treat after forging my own trails. It felt like running along a super highway. There were a few cross country ski tracks along the route, but we never saw anyone. We had a blast of a run. After a while we found ourselves back at the visitor center where Nancy had Caribou Mocha Java brewing and she made her waffles. She even brought along sliced warm apples in cinnamon. They were fabulous. Pierre and John had been pulling their sleds in preparation for the Arrowhead 135 Mile Winter Ultramarathon, but showed up in time for breakfast and Wynn showed up to visit a little while later.

A great way to start the day!

2 comments:

Julie said...

Happy Birthday, Julie!!! I will hit the big 40 in February - hopefully I will have as much success in the first 3 years of my 40s as you have!!! I'm sure people tell you this all the time...You definitely inspire me as a woman, an athlete, and prove that we only get BETTER when we reach 40!!!!

On a side note, was there much (or any)training involved to have Topaz run off leash with you? I've recently found my 4 legged running partner and I would love to have her run off leash with me but I'm nervous that she'll run off.

I saw you mentioned Olga in your "tagged" post. I wonder if she's running the Hagg Lake Mud Run here in Portland. My dad and I are doing the 25k together for my 40th birthday. It might be fun to say hi to someone who we have an internet friendship in common with.

Have a great 40th birthday!!!!!

Julie said...

whoops...hehe
I meant have a great 43rd year!!! Aw...I bet you wish you were a young pup like me again ;-)