Saturday, February 15, 2014


My stepdaughter and son-in-law are destroying their house.  I think they plan to build another one on the foundation, but that is not relevant, when I get to wreak havoc with a sledge hammer, crowbar and chainsaw!  Destruction is so much more fun than construction.  I enjoy building, but it pales in comparison to taking apart Ikea storage modules in 93 seconds.

This blog is actually about PF (plantar fasciitis). For some strange reason, I thought that the first few days of destruction would involve removing trim, carpets, fixtures and storage cabinets.  I did not bring my steel toe, steel shank, acid proof running shoes.  Okay, they aren't exactly running shoes.  With 4 of us swinging and smashing, the basement was soon down to the stud walls, plumbing and electrical.  Plumbing was simple, cap all but the upstairs sink and toilet, which was the simplest configuration to maintain some plumbing during the initial destruction.  Stud walls were also easy, but unfortunately, while walking backwards to get a better look at some plumbing in the ceiling, I stepped on a nail.  Fortunately, I had received a tetanus shot the previous week.  My body seems to have an affinity for collecting metal; the shot was preemptive.

The nail didn't even come out the top of my foot, so I could safely ignore it and get back to destroying things.  A few hours later, I washed the wound and it is now almost completely healed.

2 days later, I went for a run along the Niagara path (the same one as the Niagara Ultra course) which had about 4 inches of crusty snow.  Running was tough, but it was nice to be on a trail (albeit paved) for the first time in about 4 weeks.  The nail hole, almost directly in the center of my foot, caused the identical pain as running with PF!  I thought briefly of putting a nail into my other foot to even out my gait, but that was just a crazy thought.  The Niagara trail was tough going and after only 6K I decided to turn back to Niagara-on-the-lake, where Lee Anne and I were staying for 2 nights.

While I was braving the cold and snow, Lee Anne went to the NOTL community centre, which includes a sports complex.  Guess what?  They have an indoor track!.  Not the biggest, but it is comprised of 2 lanes that follow the outside perimeter on the second floor.  The next day I tried the indoor track and it is MUCH easier than running outside, in 4 inches of snow.  I got to thinking of the various surfaces I have run on and this is how I would grade them, from easiest to hardest:

Treadmill, indoor track, road, crushed stone track, road with slush, trail, wet trail, muddy trail with hills, trail with 4 inches of snow, trail with 1 - 2 feet of snow, trail with hills and 1 - 2 feet of snow, Tour de Mont Blanc.  For those of you fortunate enough to have never experienced the TDMB, it is not a walk in the parc.  Try climbing at roughly a 10 degree slope for 4 hours, to start your day.  The scenery is wondrous and travelling through 3 European countries (France, Italy and Switzerland) on the same hike is quite the spectacle, but this is the same trail used by the UTMB race and it will kick your ass!  I could easily run the UTMB, if I had a month.

That's it.  A strange entry, but all the elements of slapstick comedy...

Friday, February 7, 2014

I Should be Running, Not Blogging!

Just got back from Bayview Wildwood Resort near Orillia.  I'm amazed that this resort has slipped under my radar for so long.  I have even looked for resorts in the general vicinity without stumbling upon BWR.  Consensus?  Nice resort.  Room prices are comparable to Deerhurst, but include breakfast (a la carte for small crowds, buffet if there are 12+ people) and a surprisingly upscale dinner.  Not in the league of Canoe, but good solid apps and mains with linen.  The chef is competent and has a variety of product at his/her disposal.

During the summer, it must be borderline chaos.  Being family oriented, Lee Anne and I are eyeing letting the grandchildren loose on the establishment.  Not that the GC's are holy terrors, but they would have tremendous fun at the resort.  Don't worry, I'll get to the running soon.  The resort is a mere 1.5 hours from Creemore.

Our stay was during the quiet season.  I liked it!  We had the pool and hot tub to ourselves.  I ate breakfast one morning (Lee Anne was running) and there were 4 other people in the restaurant.  We met an average of 2 people per hike.  One snowshoe hike was 3 hours long.  How many people did we meet?  2.  We both asked each other for directions.  It was tons of fun!  Although I brought our skates, we never did make it to the 5 rinks.  BWR had a shinny hockey tournament the previous weekend.  I saw 3 people skating, all on the same rink.  They should have spread themselves out over 2 - 3 rinks, but as they were playing hockey, I appreciate they wanted to be on the same rink.  We brought our skates and snow shoes, although the resort provides skates, XC skis and snow shoes for free!  We mainly ran, snowshoed and XC skied, aside from swimming and hot tubbing (it's a verb, buddy).

Running was either on a treadmill (one, but decent) or on the sparsely traveled roads.  I had my running snowshoes, but sadly, did not fit in a trail run.  Mainly because I was tired by 2:00 PM each day, from Lee Anne's exercise itinerary.  The only drawback to a vacation at Bayview Wildwood Resort is that you need a day or 2 to recover afterwards.

So, it is approaching 2:00 PM, we are back in Creemore and I should be should be out for a run just now, but am enjoying a brief sit-down.

Soon.  Very soon!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Winter Running

I admire runners such as my wife Lee Anne, who can slog out 40/45K back-to-backs in -20C, howling winds and that good old slushy mixture of ice and salt.  Her only complaint is that she gets tired. Really???  85K in 2 days dressed in 5 layers, slipping backwards more than moving forward and you get tired?  There must be something wrong with you.  Hmmm.  Next subject please.

I admit, I have trouble running a lot in the winter.  I will normally hit 3 runs per week, but not what I would call quality runs.  My long runs are short, my short runs are slow and my easy runs are laughable.Yes, there is some intelligence in scheduling a recovery season.  An excellent idea for other people.  Not so good for me.  I have a propensity to gain a bit of weight.  Not enough to be of concern, but enough to make it aggravating when trying to ramp up during maple syrup season.  More on that later.  I also have a bad back and knees.  If this is news to you, welcome to my blog!  It is 1,045 times easier for me to maintain a healthy running base than to reduce, then ramp back up.  The first time I venture north of 25K after an hiatus results in some painful recovery.  Nothing crippling, but the ramp-up is a bit staggered...

For what is hopefully the last year, March will be a combination of working, making maple syrup and attempting to ramp up my running.  Notice that "sleep" is missing from the mix.  Through some logistic error, there are only 24 hours in a day.  Obviously short-sighted planning on the part of some king or emperor...  Here is an approximate breakdown of my day, during sugaring season:  Work:  8.5 hours, Boiling down, 7 hours, running 1.5 hours, travelling:  3.5 hours.  Add it up, then explain to me why I can't run long during the week...

Well, time for a tetanus shot, then off for a run.  I'm in the February challenge.  So far:  February 1:  Move 2 houses into one.  I am still sore!  February 2:  Blow snow on the laneway for 2 hours (this is cold) and shovel for 2 hours (this is tough with tired arms - see moving on February 1).  Running:  Zip!

Dig Deep!