Thursday, January 19, 2017

Creemore Snow Run

I'm still having trouble grasping the fact that I will attempt to garner the OUTRace Norm Patenaude award this year.  I must be out of my mind.  Yes, I am agreeing with you...  After making such a hubris declaration, I sat down with the OUTRace schedule and did some number crunching.  There are 11 ultra events on the schedule.  I need to complete 8 of them.  We are not able to make 2 of the events; Niagara and Haliburton.  My nephew had the temerity to plan his wedding on June 17, which is the Niagara Ultra and also my birthday.  We are most likely in Great Britain in September.  I know, I could sign up for Hali and see what happens, but I need to present a semblance of logic.  Speaking of realism, in case of a DNF, I need to sign up for the remaining 9 ultras, 3 of which occur on 3 consecutive weekend.  Want to guess how many times I have run back-to-back ultras?  Yes indeed, zero times!  Oh well, pragmatism is a lost art in the ultra community...

Creemore Snow Run

About 15 hardy souls braved the elements and drove up (okay Stephen, down) to Creemore.  The course was surprisingly easy to run.  I think the key factor was that Creemore received a light dusting of snow, instead of the projected freezing rain.  Temperatures were mild and the sun had some difficulty breaking through the cloud layer.  The result was mainly firm footing, with a few icy spots to keep you on your toes.

A few were satisfied with a single 7.5K loop although most stretched the run to 3 loops.  Stephen Bridson held on for 5 loops, considered a seriously tough 37.5K.  Everhard Olivieri-Munroe bagged 6 loops for an official ultra.  One runner (yes, I have forgotten her name) ran one loop.  What makes this of note is that this was her first outdoor run.  Talk about picking a tough first run!

After the run, we retired to the house and chatted about recent runs and race plans for 2017.  This mild January weather is helping us to run outdoors instead of being chained to the treadmill.  I do hope that the weather turns cold as I need some snow before the maple syrup season.  I think people were delighted to receive a finishing medal, embossed with a runner and CSR.  Not quite a race, but the course was tough enough to acknowledge with a finishing medal!

And so, I am a bit in limbo lately.  We leave in about a month for Costa Rica, to spend a week on the beach with Lee Anne's daughter Lily, son-in-law Daryl and the grandchildren.  Not enough time to start a project...  We get back on March 1, just in time to crank up the maple syrup machine.  If anyone is interested in seeing the operation, please email me and we can make plans.  I have 340 taps, so the help is much appreciated!

Some of you should receive an email from OUTRace, as plans are to send out the 2017 start-up email this weekend.  It talks about the 2016 series winners, what's new in 2017 and a suggestion on how to attempt your first ultra, or (if you are already an ultra runner) trying a 6 hour race.  I'm looking forward to a challenging year.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

New Year's Running Resolution - And St. Thomas

Once again it is time to set down plans and aspirations for the running year.  I have had some challenges recently, running with bronchitis and in the heat, in St. Thomas.  These will have an impact on my running, but I might as well plan optimistically and attempt to train up to the plan.

Lee Anne and I enjoyed 11 days in St. Thomas USVI, a small island in the Caribbean.  It was almost a last minute deal, when Lawrence and Lisa offered their house to our friends Manny and Barb.  For the price of flights and a bit of food, we had fun and warm weather over the holidays.  Running on St. Thomas is a challenge, due to the 30 degree weather and a lack of sidewalks or shoulders on the roads.  They drive on the wrong side of the road (hey!  You either drive on the right side or the wrong side) and due to the steep hills and narrow streets, running is very exciting.  I hope that one day St. T will upgrade their roads to at least third world standards...

St. T is also a popular cruise ship stop, having up to 6 of the big boats in port on a given day.  Lee Anne and I have never been on a cruise, so perhaps it is my ignorance talking, but it seems quite depressing to take a cruise.  I realize the boats are absolutely massive, but it appeared to us that the cruisers that did disembark, took a taxi downtown, bought a few trinkets and sat at a bar until it was time to board.  I'm sure some toured the island, but with a lack of trails and sidewalks, it would be a struggle.

The nearby island of St. John's is a different story, with a large national park.  Both islands are part of the USA, so the national park had some intriguing trails and lovely beaches.  We spent 3 days on St. John, mainly on the trails.

Just before flying to St. T, Lee Anne and I sampled the flu that was making its way around Creemore.  When sick, I attempt to avoid coughing.  Once I start coughing, I develop bronchitis, which means a trip to the doctor for antibiotics.  My attempt to run in Creemore shortly before going to St. T was laughable, coughing up lung bits every 30 seconds until I made the wise decision to end the run.  Running in St. T was not much better, coughing, battling the heat and fatigue.  My "long" runs were circa 10K and involved copious walking breaks.  Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable change to be running in shorts and a T.  I tried very hard to avoid complaining about the heat...

And so, we have made it to 2017!  The OUTRace schedule is missing a few of the old races, including the Creemore Vertical Challenge, but the addition of 3 new races will more than compensate.  June is looking a bit crowded, but since very few "humans" attempt to run all the races in the series, it should provide more selection for both road and trail people.  Also, the schedule has been extended, with a new race (Fat Ass Trail Run) in November.

In 2015 I started 7 ultra races and completed 6.  In 2016 I started 2 ultra races and only completed one.  My theory is that if your run enough ultras in a given year, there is less need to train properly.  Yes, there is little logic or rational in my theory, but I'm not listening to you, so back off.  For 2017, I hope to join the fanatical fringe and complete the Norm Patenaude award.  This award is given to runners who complete 8 or more OUTRace ultra events in one year.  This is not going to be easy.  In fact, I was hesitant to mention my "A" goal, as it will be difficult on so many fronts.  By my calculation, there are only 11 ultra races in the calendar and I am at a wedding for one of them...  It also means being healthy for 7 contiguous months, which conflicts vastly with my track record.  I usually track the number of minutes between injuries!  There is also talk of being out of the country for part of the summer.  Due to the CVC, I have not taken a trip in July or August since circa 2006.

Don't forget about the Creemore Snow Run starting at 9:00 AM on Sunday January 15, 2017.  I have formed the clay medals and will fire them once dry.  Not sure what conditions to expect, but it is usually massive effort or dangerous - a win/win situation...  reply to this post for directions (same start as the CVC).

That's it for now.  I will have to post which races I am eyeing in the near future.  With Lee Anne hesitant to sign up for the trail races, I could be on my own for a few events.