For the past few years, My buddy Ken Saveth and I have celebrated our birthdays--both in July--by doing a bunch of "somethings". When we were 50, we ran 50 miles. When we were 52, we ran across the pedestrian bridge 52 times. (It's shaded, and the breeze off the river made it almost like running in air conditioning.)
This year, we both turned 56 in July, and he had this idea to do hill repeats up a pretty steep hill along the Creek Turnpike Trail.
We set up a tent for shade, and I had a cooler of Gatorade, and a few choice beers. 56 trips would be around 7 miles, and 4200 feet of climb. To keep an accurate count of laps, I had bought a bag of M&Ms and put them in a Solo cup, and to my amazement, there were EXACTLY 56 M&Ms in the bag--a good omen! But actually, I had my doubts about finishing this given the heat. We were in the shade when we started at 6:30 am, but once the sun was high enough to bear down on the hill, it was sure to get brutal.
We had plenty of company. A group of back packers were training for an upcoming through hike. They marched up and down the hill for an hour.
The view from the top was good. There was also a good breeze there, and as sweaty our shirts were, it was a nice cooling affect.
Brandon and Cameron Plate just FLEW up and down the hill--preparing for their 3-day adventure in Silverton Colorado where they will try to better their 127 miles from last year.. They ended up with 28 up and downs each. 28 + 28 = 56!! That was possibly a sign that we should just hang it up--SOMEONE got their 56.
K2 already had in 2-3 laps when I started, and after 10 laps, I knew getting 56 was just not gonna happen. But we began to think outside the box. K2 thought he had 10 as did I. If we did one more for 11 repeats, 5 + 6 = 11. Perfect. we got the "56" covered--kinda-sorta.
However, my M&M tally showed I had 12 laps. Oh well, it's all good. I'll just call it a DNF. I'll be back later for more repeats--it's a good hill.
Thanks to Michelle Bates, Michael Saveth, the Plates, and Jason Bement who came out to join in on the fun.
Next year, to celebrate 57 years, it's gonna be a chugging challenge. Chug a big bottler of 57 steak sauce, throw up, and then call it good.