As I mentioned in the first post of this blog, the last day of every month is hereby designated to be “OUTDOOR SPEED DAY” (caps-lock intentional). Brief little blurbs about running and drinking every day can get boring, and so to keep things interesting, on the last day of every month I intended to run a mile as fast as I can, followed by drinking a beer as fast as I can. Oh, and it has to be outdoors. I decided that last part somewhat arbitrarily, but the truth is that nobody brags about breaking a personal speed record (PR) on a treadmill, because treadmills take all the variables out of running. Running is already pretty boring as it is, and so to make it even more boring is just….stupid. Treadmills are stupid.
Without further ado, let’s get to the results of the first OUTDOOR SPEED DAY of the year.
The Run — 2.93 miles in 24:33 (fastest mile — 06:45)
Thanks to events from the previous evening, I was fairly hungover when I woke up. I wanted to push my run off until the afternoon, but my parents’ anticipated arrival at 1pm forced me to get my OUTDOOR SPEED DAY workout out of the way in the morning. My folks had planned on coming in from out of town to take me out for a belated birthday lunch, and then I was planning on attending the Chicago Beer Festival that afternoon/evening at 6pm. Figuring that my parents’ visit would likely last a couple hours, that wouldn’t leave me enough time for my food to settle and go running before the beer festival, so I had no other choice but to run my speed mile in the morning.
I wanted to run my fast mile as a straight shot along the lakefront running path, where there would be no traffic lights to stop me or intersections to slow me down. I also wanted to finish the mile as close to my apartment as possible, since in my hungover state, I figured that I wouldn’t want to be running far after my fast mile. If I worked it out ideally, then I would finish my run right where the running path meets up with Roscoe St. (my street), and then I would have only a short jog back to my apartment. To get to my starting point, I hopped on a bus and got off about a mile and a half south of my apartment. After about half a mile of warm-up jogging, I reached the running path, and I geared up for my fast mile. My only goal in mind was to run faster than a 07:00/minute mile.
Once the distance on my Garmin watch shifted from 0.99 miles to 1.0 miles, I took off like a shot…and immediately regretted it. You see, I’m kind of a pussy when it comes to cold-weather running…my lungs just can’t take it when I gulp in large amounts of cold air. It wasn’t cold cold out this morning, but the temperature was still hovering in the High 30s/Low 40s. Wearing my cold weather running gear, I didn’t have any problems during my warm-up mile, but once I sped up and started taking in larger gulps of air, my lungs turned to ice blocks. Within about a 1/4-mile I was gassed, but per my arbitrary rules, I had to keep going without stopping. At about the 0.5-mile mark I was confident that I would complete the mile in under 7 minutes, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to keel over and die.
At roughly the 3/4-mile mark, I did come across a welcome face– Dan Solera, who maintains his own excellent running blog, was running south on the shore path as I was running north. As he let out an exuberant, “Otter, what’s up?!”, I realized just how gassed I was when I replied with a feeble, “Heywhatsupmanhowyoudoing?” that came out more like a wheeze. Fuck being social, I had a job to finish. I gutted through the last two-tenths of a mile to finish with an inaugural OUTDOOR SPEED DAY mile time of 6:45.
The only downside of this was that I started my warmup a little too far north– by the time I finished my speed mile, I was about a half-mile further north than I wanted to be. I turned around and wearily ran back home, my first speed running challenge in the books.
THE CHUG — ANDERSON VALLEY BREWING CO. BOONT ESB (Extra Special Bitter)
This was a bad idea. After I’d finished my run, I was expecting to be able to trade one of my good beers to my roommate Cash for one of his Miller Lites; unfortunately, he’d polished off his last Miller Lite the night before. After scouring my refrigerator for any sort of light beer, I realized that the only beer I had in stock was the remnants of a 6-pack of Anderson Valley Boont ESB, which is a bitter that comes in at a dizzying 6.8% AVB — not exactly ideal for chugging. While delicious, this wouldn’t be the most suitable beer for quick-drinking.
With roommate Cash manning the stopwatch on my phone, we headed out to the back porch so that I could chug the beer outdoors. I turned in a far-from-respectable time of 4.59 seconds, but it meant that my first OUTDOOR SPEED DAY was technically complete