If nothing else in my life is going "right" right now, at least the crazy weekends are keeping my spirits afloat. This particular weekend began on Thursday with our 16 mile trail run at Patapsco. The trails were muddy, and the course was brutal. I made sure to make it the hardest, non-repeat 16 miles we could do. We were also keeping the pace very honest, so it was by no means a light jog. About 90 minutes in, however, I completely ate it. I don't even know what happened, other than I faceplanted into the mud. I think I jumped over a set of logs and there was mud on the other side, and my feet just never got underneath me. It looked like I rolled around in feces.
With a mile and a half to go we ran up Gun Rd, where there was some battling. And then the rain started. We were all pretty worked by the end. This also kicked off Brennan's 24/24/24 Challenge. His goal was, from 6:27pm Thursday to 6:27pm Friday, to run 24 miles and drink 24 beers. If you think this feat is completely easy I encourage you to attempt it. Particularly when it's really just you drinking and for no reason other than just to do it. By 8:30 we had knocked out 16 of the running miles and it was onto the beers.
Meanwhile I had to meet up with a colleague for a moment and didn't finish til 11:30, and had yet to eat dinner. I was dying. I ate 6 slices of pizza and then met up with the gang at Taps around midnight. Brennan was already 10 beers deep. We head to South Side Saloon. 11. Then down to Don't Know. 12. 12.5. Then it's 1:45, bar is closing, Brennan walks outside with half his beer and projectile vomits everywhere. I think it was the pizza. 13. Finished the beer, we walk back to Arjun's.
It's now 2am and Bren cracks another Miller Lite. I am too tired to even ride my bike home, so I crash on the couch. 2:30. Wake up at 5:55. Ride home, stop at DD along the way, change into cycling gear and ride up to Falls Road to meet OJ and Zero. 70 miles later and I'm back home. I was sleepy tired but had to keep Brennan accountable, so he, Arjun, Alex and I went to Red Star for lunch. Now Brennan was at 21 or 22 total beers. And he had run 7 miles in the morning, so he just had a few more of each. We watched Step Brothers while he drank another few beers, knocked out 24. Then at 6:15 he, Arjun and I laced up the shoes and went for a ceremonial mile around our beer mile course, which is the parking lot for Ravens' stadium that is under 95.
There it was - 24/24/24. It was impressive. Then since he was feeling good, we ran another 3 miles, and then I ran home to make it 8 for the day.
NOW I was tired. It was nice out, and I hate not doing things on days that are July 3rd that are also Fridays, but with Hubs of Fury looming on Saturday I knew I had to take it easy.
Woke up on Saturday at 6:30, and felt like death. Like I was getting sick, and also someone had hit me in the triceps repeatedly with a bamboo stick. I think it was the jarring effect from my spill on the trails. I made the (wise) decision to not go up to TriSpeed ride. 20 miles each way + at least 40-50 with them would make a day I wasn't willing to put in on tired legs. It actually worked out, as, being the 4th of July and a Saturday, it is my favorite day of the year - celebrating America and watching the Tour! I flipped between that and Wimbledon for a while, and then finally around 4:30p I made it out of the house to put in a short 6 miles.
The only highlight from the run was the last mile. It is just under a mile and a half from the intersection of Boston and Fleet back up to my house via Fleet St. It is also all uphill. Normally I make it down in 9:30 at a reasonable pace, and going back up I like to be between 9:30 and 10 unless I'm really trying to get after it. In the past few weeks I've had efforts of just under 9 to 8:20, which was the quickest I've run up it. My plan was to take the first half mile to get up to speed and then hit it hard from the Shell station. It's a mile from the corner of the Shell back up, and just under half a mile to the Shell. I came through in 2:41 and thought hmm, sub 8 is possible, but very unlikely. I'd have to run pretty hard to do that.
I was running hard, but making sure I was also staying within myself. I hit Highland Ave and then got to run downhill for a minute home. I didn't think there was much likelihood of running under 8, so I wasn't really looking at my watch until I stopped. 8:00.9. Ha. Should have just gone that little bit harder. I think OJ had done 7:55 the one day, and I feel like the big difference was just the first half mile being a little easier. I can probably pull 10 seconds there. But no need, at least not this week. 5:20 uphill mile isn't bad.
After the run it was time to prepare for Hubs of Fury. For those unaware, it is our super awesome, super dangerous bar "crawl" that takes place on bikes. This enables us to visit many, many bars across many different parts of Baltimore. 20 of us congregated at the gates of Fort McHenry at 8pm, and I kicked things off with a motivational speech. I'll post it one of these days for your enjoyment. Everyone was on their bikes, including Jim Adams and Denise Knickman, which was awesome. Many of us don spandex and other cycling outfits. First stop was J. Patrick's in Locust Point, which was our first stop at last year's first ever Hubs.
From there we headed to Arjun's to watch the fireworks, and then left at 10pm to ride around to Little Italy. This is where things went wrong. The roads were closed to vehicular traffic, but there were thousands of people just walking around, not paying attention, following the fireworks. I made it through without incident, but a few people crashed. Then we got to Mustang Alley and it was CLOSED. Fury!
We headed into Fells over to Bar on Lancaster, which was supposed to be reopening on this day following renovations - but they too were closed. Who closes on the 4th of July?! In order to get settled we just stopped at Oliver the Wharf Rat, which was good, and then walked to the next stop, Bad Decisions. We then had the long transfer/hill stage which was to ride up to Highlandtown and go to Blue Hill. BH had just opened the previous day, and it is this enormous place that's way too nice and expensive for where it's located. It used to be a hardcore lesbian bar and now it's...well, not. There was no one in there, which was cool for us.
Sitting out on their second floor patio, we spotted a guy walking across the street who started yelling up at us. We encouraged him to do a handstand, and even gave him the slow clap. After he pussyfooted around I was about to leave, until he blew our minds by doing a standing backflip. It was crazy. Our last stop was supposed to be in the Square, and we thought we'd stop by Walt's to do some karaoke. Who would thought that Walt's, a disgusting little dive bar, would be so popular. We went to another local spot Pickled Parrot to close out the night with a sick dance party.
And then to the Square for pretzel dogs. Kris ate 5 of them.
The next morning was nice-ish, but I still felt pretty beat up. Watched the Tour, watched the men's Wimbledon and then headed out for a 50 mile ride with Zero. We put in a few decent efforts. The highlight of this ride was climbing out of Loch Raven seated in the big ring, which is usually a good gauge of fitness. I avoided running, as I'd already put in 55 miles for the week and 50 the week before. I was going to do an easy 5 to hit 60 but reminded myself it's just a number and not really important.
So it was tiring, but another pretty awesome weekend. The week ahead is filled with some recovering, no real workouts and a trip back to NJ for some recovery ahead of Sunday's Providence half Ironman. I'm looking forward to racing, and after it's over I've got no racing plans for the rest of the summer.
A quick note on the Tour. It is the most awesome spectacle on the planet. A sporting event on wheels, snaking around France and darting in and out of other countries and principalities. Fans are able to be within inches of the sport's superstars. And the stages are harder than anyone can imagine. Every day poses a different challenge. I just watched Mario Bruseghin crash, and was bleeding everywhere, and he just gets back on his bike, gets attended to the doctor while holding onto a car riding at 30+mph. These guys are absolute studs and while cheating is deplorable, you get an idea of why they almost are forced to do it. I just don't understand how you can race all out for a 200+km mountain stage and get back on your bike and do it again the next day. Unpossible.