Monday, April 22, 2013

And They're Off!

Ah, the Spring Warm-up!  I know I keep harping on how the $35 is a great deal considering the grand prize, spot prizes, a great course and fantastic weather.  Okay, strike that last one...  But it is also a wonderful chance to talk with people about their upcoming race season, how they fared over the winter and simply an opportunity to talk running.  When I talk running at work, I notice the eyes glazing over.  Suddenly that meeting they were avoiding becomes paramount; I think my talking of running keeps Honda running.  Get it?  No?  Why are your eyes glazing over?

The grand prize (free entry into most of the races) went to John Turner, a regular on the circuit.  It is always a toss-up as to whom I wish would win the prize.  Great to see a "recent" member win and watch their amazing ramp-up over the "free" year, but I also hope the regulars win it frequently.  They are the ones supporting the series year after year.

The day started cold and cloudy, then the sun came out for 42.2 seconds, then the snow started falling.  I could see the big city runners (almost everyone there), eyes wide with surprise and outrage.  "Snow???  Ah come on!  I spent $35 to run in this twaddle"?  (They used a different word)  Apparently, there is some rule in Toronto that states you cannot have 3 hours of snowfall on April 13.  I enjoyed it, mainly because I watched most of the snow from inside the Dunedin hall, with a cup of cofffee in hand.  Later it got better, as I poured a glass of wine.  It's not that I skipped the running part.  I actually ran 20K, which is good for me.  I think everyone there would attest that 20K on those hills and snow covered trails was not insignificant.  I was actually sore for 2 days!

The Bruce trail was excellent conditioning for the upcoming trail races.  Snow covered, treacherous footing, lateral muscles tested in a frenzied asperous cruise through rocks and roots near cliffs.  Pure bliss!  The road sections are also easy to summarize.  Up or down.  I don't mean 20 feet up, distance or vertical gain, but up, as in the first 3 minutes of an airbus 300 on take-off.

The weather could have been better, but I kinda like the course!

So, now we get serious.  Game face time.  Pick Your Poison.  I have made a mental note to sign up for this race early next year.  With surgery behind me and absolutely no hint of an injury (yes, I work for the propaganda department, how did you know?) I will be able to sign up with aplomb, months before race date.  The course is challenging, well organized and close to home!

I find it a bit eerie that PYP did not sell out early this year.  At this writing, they are 50 away from the cap.  Perhaps there is some inherent lethargy before the first race.  Perhaps the late winter has made some people hesitate to sign up until the weather is more clearly defined.  Snow on April 13 - Hogwash!

See you there!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Winter 2, Spring ZERO

I am truly sorry to those of you who would like nothing better than to run in shorts, outside, in the sun, without upping the hypothermia count.  I am enjoying this weather.  Would I prefer 15C for my afternoon runs?  No.  Why?  What is wrong with you?  (This is you talking to me)  Have you taken leave of your senses?  Oh yeah, I forgot.  I'm talking to Pierre...

I invest time (enough to make ultra training look like a shortcut), money (not a lot, but it adds up over the year) and effort into making maple syrup.  If this year had paralleled last year, I would have made 10 litres.  Total.  Suffice it to say that the syrup season is progressing well, albeit late.  Quite late.  I've made syrup in April before, but never light syrup.  Or medium...  Always dark.  Circa April first you start to hear this little shaky-old-man voice in the back of your head stating "The end is near"!  But not (thankfully) this year!  Last weekend (okay, technically still March) I boiled down for 4 days, making 78 litres of syrup.  That's over 3,000 litres of sap that boiled away to steam.  3 tonnes of steam!  I burned 2 bushcord of wood in 4 days.  That's a row of wood 16 inches wide, 4 feet high and 48 feet long.  I have made 100 litres of syrup, so the podium finishers at Creemore Vertical Challenge won't have an overriding desire to lynch me this year.  My militant Users (have you ever dealt with a maple syrup "customer"?) are happy and only halfheartedly threatening me this year.  They know their fix is on the way.

The season will continue into this weekend and possibly next.  Please excuse me while I dance the maple syrup producers jig of joy.  Oh!  And in case you have signed up for Creemore early, and read the fine print, yes, the "early bird" syrup is already bottled.  They are only 250 ml jugs since I do not have the capacity to fill 100 larger jugs (see a future blog regarding my plans for retirement...) but they are both cute and more than simply a sampler of sweet syrup.  Seriously!

So there you have it!  Nothing about running (since I have done little in the last week), nothing about the upcoming Spring Warm-up (yes, I know, I might still be boiling down), but a note on the M season set straight!